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Y. M. C. A. OF U. C.

Accession 1.Q.JL7.5.6 Class Q







OF r




1884, BY JAMES R. OSGOOD & Co.

All rights reserved.





" My Books, my best companions "



NATHANIEL HAWTHORNE : A Virtuoso's Collection 1

ALFRED TENNYSON: Dora . . . . . . 21

SIR WALTER SCOTT : A Tale of Witchcraft . . .27

ROBERT BROWNING : One Word More . . 37

ALEXANDER SMITH : In a Skye Bothy .... 45


MRS. JAMESON : A Revelation of Childhood ... 71

CHARLES SPRAQUE : To Montague .... 89

BARRY CORNWALL: The Man-Hunter .... 91

GERALD MASSEY: The Norseman .... 106

EDMUND BURKE : The Druids . . . . ' . 109

JOHN G. WHITTIER: The Witch's Daughter . . 123

LEIGH HUNT: The Old Lady, and The Old Gentleman 131

WILLIAM MOTHERWELL: A Sabbath Summer Noon . 140

MARY RUSSELL MITFORD : The Incendiary . . 145


JOHN G SAXE: Wishing 159

CHARLES ROBERT LESLIE: The Great Portrait-Painters 161
MATTHEW ARNOLD : The Youth of Man ... 1 85
DR. ARNOLD: Hannibal's March into Italy . . .18!)
HENRY W. LONGFELLOW: The Monk Felix . . 211
THOMAS DE QUINCEY: A Mountain Catastrophe . .216
RALPH WALDO EMERSON: Threnody . . . 240
JOHN G. LOCKHART : Last Days of Sir Walter Scott . 249

JAMES RUSSELL LOWELL : Cambridge Worthies Thirty

Years Ago 270

BETTINA VON ARNIM: Beethoven .... 204

SIR PHILIP SIDNEY: A Song from the Arcadia . . 300





THE other clay, having a leisure hour at my disposal, 1
stepped iuto a new museum, to which my notice was
casually drawn by a small and unobtrusive sign : " To BE


simple yet not altogether unpromising announcement that
' turned my steps aside for a little while from the sunny side-
walk of our principal thoroughfare. Mounting a sombre
staircase, I pushed open a door at its summit, and found
rsyself in the presence of a person, who mentioned the mod-
erate sum that would entitle me to admittance.

" Three shillings, Massachusetts tenor," said he. " Xo, I
mean half a dollar, as you reckon in these days."

"While searching my pocket for the coin, I glanced at the
doorkeeper, the marked character and individuality of whose
aspect encouraged me to expect something not quite in the
ordinary way. He wore an old-fashioned great-coat, much
faded, within which his meagre person was so completely
enveloped, that the rest of his attire was undistingulshable.
But his visage was remarkably wind-flushed, sunburnt, and
weather-worn, and had a most unquiet, nervous, and appre-
hensive expression. It seemed as if this man had some all-
important object in view, some point of deepest interest
to be decided, some momentous question to ask, might he
but hope for a reply. As it was evident, however, that I


coulil have nothing to do with his private affairs, 1 passed
through an open doorway, which admitted me into the exten-
sive hall of the museum.

Directly in front of the portal was the bronze statue of a
youth with winged feet. He was represented in the act of
flitting away from earth, yet wore such a look of earnest
invitation that it impressed me like a summons to enter the

" It is the original statue of Opportunity, by the ancient
sculptor Lysippus," said a gentleman who now approached
me. " I place it at the entrance of my museum, because it
is not at all times that one can gain admittance to such a

The speaker was a middle-aged person, of whom it was
not easy to determine whether he had spent his life as a
scholar or as a man of action ; in truth, all outward and ob-
vious peculiarities had been worn away by an extensive and
promiscuous intercourse with the world. There was no mark
about him of profession, individual habits, or scarcely of
country ; although his dark complexion and high features,
made me conjecture that he was a native of some southern
clime of Europe. At all events, he was evidently the vir-
tuoso in person.

" With your permission," said he, " as we have no descrip-
tive catalogue, I will accompany you through the museum,
and point out whatever may be most worthy of attention. In
the first place, here is a choice collection of stuffed animals."

Nearest the door stood the outward semblance of a wolf,
exquisitely prepared, it is true, and showing a very wolfish
fierceness in the large glass eyes which were inserted into
its wild and crafty head. .Still it was merely the skin of a
wolf, with nothing to distinguish it from other individuals of
that unlovely breed.

"How does this animal deserve a place in your collec
tion ? " inquired I.


It is the wolf that devoured Little Red Riding Hood,"
answered the virtuoso ; " and by his side with a milder
and more matronly look, as you perceive stands the she-
wolf that suckled Romulus and Remus."

k - All, indeed ! " exclaimed I. " And wliat lovely lamb is
this with the snow-white fleece, which seems to .e of as
delicate a texture as innocence itself?"

" Methinks you have but carelessly read Spenser/ replied
my guide, " or you would at once recognize the ' milk-white
lamb ' which Una led. But I set no great value upon the
lamb. The next specimen is better worth our notice."

u What ! " cried I, " this strange animal, with the black
head t of 9fi ox upon the body of a white horse ? Were u
possible to suppose it, I should say that this was Alexander's
steed Bucephalus."

" The same," said the virtuoso. " And can you likewise
give a name to the famous charger that stands beside hi.n ? ''

Next to the renowned Bucephalus stood the mere skeleton
of a horse, with the white bones peeping through his ill-
conditioned hide ; but, if my heart had not wanted towards
that pitiful anatomy, I might as well have quitted the museum
at once. Its rarities had not been collected with pain and
toil from the four quarters of the earth, and from the depth 3
of the sea, and from the palaces and sepulchres of ager, ic
those who could mistake this illustrious steed.

" It is Rosinante ! " exclaimed I, with enthusiasm.

And so it proved. My admiration for the n^ble and
gallant horse caused me to glance with less interest at- the
other animals, although many of them might Iiave deserved
the notice of Guvier himself. There was the donkey which
Peter Bell cudgelled so soundly, and a brother of the same
species who had suffered a similar infliction from the ancient
prophet Balaam. Some doubts were entertained, however,
as to the authenticity of the latter beast. My guide pointeu
out the venerable Argus, that faithful dog of Ulysses, and


another dog, (for so the skin bespoke it,) which, though
Imperfectly preserved, seemed once to have had three heads.
It was Cerberus. I was considerably amused at detecting
in an obscure corner the fox that became so famous by the
loss of his tail. There were several stuffed cats, which, as a
dear lover of that comfortable beast, attracted my affection-
ate regards. One was Dr. Johnson's cat Hodge ; and in the
same row stood the favorite cats of Mahomet, Gray, and
"Walter Scott, together with Puss in Boots, and a cat of very
noble aspect who had once been a deity of ancient Egypt,
Byron's tame bear came next. I must not forget to mention
the Erymanthean boar, the skin of St. George's dragon, and
that of the serpent Python ; and another skin with beauti-
fully variegated hues, supposed to have been the garment
of the " spirited sly snake " which tempted Eve. Against
the walls were suspended the horns of the stag that Shake-
speare shot ; and on the floor lay the ponderous shell of the
tortoise which fell upon the head of JEschylus. In one row,
as natural as life, stood the sacred bull Apis, the " cow with
the crumpled horn," and a very wild-looking young heifer,
which I guessed to be the cow that jumped over the moon,
She was probably killed by the rapidity of her descent As
I turned away, my eyes fell upon an indescribable monster,
which proved to be a griffin.

" I look in vain," observed I, " for the skin of an animal
which might well deserve the closest study of a naturalist,
the winged horse Pegasus."

" He is not yet dead," replied the virtuoso ; " but he is so
hard ridden by many young gentlemen of the day that I
hope soon to add his skin and skeleton to my collection."

We now passed to the next alcove of the hall, in which
was a multitude of stuffed birds. They were very prettily
arranged, some upon the branches of trees, others brooding
upon nests, and others suspended by wires so artificially that
they seemed in the very act of flight. Among them was s


white dove, with a withered branch of olive-leaves in her

" Can this be the very dove," inquired I, " that brought
the message of peace and hope to the tempest-beaten pas-
sengers of the ark ? "

" Even so," said my companion.

" And this raven, I suppose," continued I, " is the same
that fed Elijah in the wilderness."

"The raven? No," said the virtuoso; "it is a bird of
modern date. He belonged to one Barnaby Rudge ; and
many people fancied that the Devil himself was disguised
under his sable plumage. But poor Grip has drawn his last
cork, and has been forced to * say die ' at last. This other
raven, ha'rdly less curious, is that in which the soul of King
George I. revisited his lady love, the Duchess of Kendall."

My guide next pointed out Minerva's owl and the vulture
that preyed upon the liver of Prometheus. There was like-
wise the sacred ibis of Egypt, and one of the Stymphalides
which Hercules shot in his sixth labor. Shelley's skylark,
Bryant's water-fowl, and a pigeon from the belfry of the Old
South Church, preserved by N. P. AVillis, were placed on
the same perch. I could not but shudder on beholding
Coleridge's albatross, transfixed with the Ancient Mariner's
crossbow shaft. Beside this bird of awful poesy stood a
gray goose of very ordinary aspect.

" Stuffed goose is no such rarity," observed I. " Why do
you preserve such a specimen in your museum ? "

" It is one of the flock whose cackling saved the Rompn
Capitol," answered the virtuoso. " Many geese have cackled
and hissed both before and since ; but none, like those, have
clamored themselves into immortality."

There seemed to be little else that demanded notice in
this department of the museum, unless we except Robinson
Crusoe's parrot, a live phosnix, a footless bird of paradise,
and a splendid peacock, supposed to be the same that onr*>


contained the soul of Pythagoras. I therefore passed to the
next alcove, the shelves of which were covered AN ith a mis-
cellaneous collection of curiosities, such as arc usually found
in similar establishments. One of the first tilings that took
my eye was a strange-looking cap, woven of some substance
that appeared to be neither woollen, cotton, nor linen.

" Is that a magician's cap ? " I asked.

" No," replied the virtuoso ; " it is merely Dr. Franklin's
cap of asbestos. But here is one which, perhaps, may suit
you better. It is the wishing-cap of Fortunatus. Will you
try it on ? "

" By no means," answered I, putting it aside with my
hand. " The day of wild wishes is past with me. I desire
nothing that may not come in the ordinary course of Provi-

" Then probably," returned the virtuoso, " you will not be
tempted to rub this lamp ? "

While speaking, he took from the shelf an antique brass
lamp, curiously wrought with embossed figures, but so cov-
ered with verdigris that the sculpture was almost eaten

" It is a tnousand years," said he, " since the genius of this
lamp constructed Aladdin's palace in a single night. But
he still retains his power ; and the man who rubs Aladdin's
.amp has but to desire either a palace or a cottage."

u I might desire a cottage," replied I ; " but I would have
it founded on sure and stable truth, not on dreams and fan-
tasies. I have learned to look for the real and true."

My guide next showed me Prospero's magic wand, broken
into three fragments by the hand of its mighty master. On
the same shelf lay the gold ring of ancient Gyges, which
enabled the wearer to walk invisible. On the other side of
the alcove was a tall looking-glass in a frame of ebony, but
veiled with a curtain of purple silk, through the rents of
which the gleam of the mirror was perceptible.


" This is Cornelius Agrippa's magic glass," observed the
virtuoso. " Draw aside the curtain, and picture any human
form within your mind, and it will be reflected in the mir-

" It is enough if I can picture it within my mind," an-
swered I. "Why should I wish it to be repeated in the
mirror? But, indeed, these works of magic have grown
wearisome to me. There are so many greater wonders in
the world, to those who keep their eyes open and their sight
undimmed by custom, that all the delusions of the old sorcer-
ers seem flat and stale. Unless you can show me something
re0!Iy curious, I care not to look farther into your museum."

" Ah, well, then," said the virtuoso, composedly, " perhaps
you may deem some of my antiquarian rarities deserving of
a gknce."

He pointed out the iron mask, now corroded with rust ;
and my heart grew sick at the sight of this dreadful relic,
which had shut out a human being from sympathy with his
race. There was nothing half so terrible in the axe that
beheaded King Charles, nor in the dagger that slew Henry
of Navarre, nor in the arrow that pierced the heart of Wil-
liam Rufus, all of which were shown to me. Many of the
articles derived their interest, such as it was. from having
been formerly in the possession of royalty. For instance,
here was Charlemagne's sheep-skin cloak, the flowing wig of
Louis Quatorze, the spinning-wheel of Sardanapalus, and
King Stephen's famous breeches which cost him but a crown.
The heart of the Bloody Mary, with the word " Calais "
worn into its diseased substance, was preserved in a bottle of
spirits ; and near it lay the golden case in which the queen
of Gustavus Adolphus treasured up that hero's heart.
Among these relics and heirlooms of kings I must not forget
the long, hairy ears of Midas, and a piece of bread which
had been changed to gold by the touch of that unlucky mon-
arch. Accl as Grecian Helen was a quf-en, it may here be


mentioned that I was permitted to take into my hand a lock
of her golden hair and the bowl which a sculptor modelled
from the curve of her perfect breast. Here, likewise, was
the robe that smothered Agamemnon, Nero's fiddle, the Czar
Peter's brandy-bottle, the crown of Seniiramis, and Canute's
sceptre which he extended over the sea. That my own land
may not deem itself neglected, let me add that I was favored
wit i a sight of the skull of King Pliilip, the famous Indian
chief, whose head the Puritans smote off and exhibited upon
u pole.

" Show me something else," said I to the virtuoso.
" Kings are in such an artificial position, that people in the
ordinary walks of life cannot feel an interest in their relics.
If you could show me the straw hat of sweet little Nell, I
would far rather see it than a king's golden crown."

" There it is," said my guide, pointing carelessly with his
staff to the straw hat in question. " But, indeed, you are
hard to please. Here are the seven-league boots. Will you
try them on ? "

" Our modern railroads have superseded their use," an-
swered I ; " and as to these cowhide boots, I could show you
quite as curious a pair at the Transcendental community in

We next examined a collection of swords and other weap-
ons, belonging to different epochs, but thrown together with-
out much attempt at arrangement. Here was Arthur's sword
Excalibar, and that of the Cid Campeador, and the sword of
Brutus rusted with Caesar's blood and his own, and the sword
of Joan of Arc, and that of Horatius, and that with which
Virginius slew his daughter, and the one which Dionysius
suspended over the head of Damocles. Here also was Ar-
ria's sword, which she plunged into her own breast, in order
to taste of death before her husband. The crooked blade of
Saladin's cimeter next attracted my notice. I know not by
what chance, but bo it happened, that the sword of one of oui


militia-generals was suspended between Don Quixote's lance
and the brown blade of Hudibras. My heart throbbed high
at the sight of the helmet of Miltiades and the spear that
was broken in the breast of Epaminondas. I recognized
the shield of Achilles by its resemblance to the admirable
cast in the possession of Professor Felton. Nothing in this
apartment interested me more than Major Pitcairn's pistol,
the discharge of which, at Lexington, began the war of the
Revolution, and was reverberated in thunder around the land
for seven long years. The bow of Ulysses, though unstrung
for ages, was placed against the wall, together with a sheaf
of Robin Hood's arrows and the rifle of Daniel Boone.

"Enough of weapons," said I, at length; "although I
would gladly have seen . the sacred shield which fell from
heaven in the time of Numa. And surely you should obtain
the sword which Washington unsheathed at Cambridge.
But the collection does you much credit. Let us pass on."

In the next alcove we saw the golden thigh of Pythago-
ras, which had so divine a meaning ; and, by one of the queer
analogies to which the virtuoso seemed to be addicted, this
ancient emblem lay on the same shelf with Peter Stuyve-
sant's wooden leg, that was fabled to be of silver. Here was
a remnant of the Golden Fleece, and a sprig of yellow leaves
that resembled the foliage of a frost-bitten elm, but was duly
authenticated as a portion of the golden branch by which
^Eneas gained admittance to the realm of Pluto. Atalanta's
golden apple and one of the apples of discord were wrapped
in the napkin of gold which Rhampsinitus brought from Ha-
des ; and the whole were deposited in the golden vase of
Bias, witli its inscription : " To THE WISEST."

" And how did you obtain this vase ? " said I to the vir-

" It was given me long ago," replied he, with a scornful
expression in his eye, " because I had learned to despise all


It had not escaped me that, though the virtuoso was evi-
dently a man of high cultivation, yet he seemed to lack sym
pathy with the spiritual, the sublime, and the tender. Apart
from the whim that had led him to devote so much time,
pains, and expense to the collection of this museum, he im-
pressed me as one of the hardest and coldest men of the
world whom I had ever met.

" To despise all things ! " repeated I. " This, at best, is
the wisdom of the understanding. It is the creed of a man
whose soul, whose better and diviner part, has never beeb
awakened, or has died out of him."

" I did not think you were still so young," said the vir-
tuoso. " Should you live to my years, you will acknowledge
that the vase of Bias was not ill bestowed."

Without further discussion of the point, he directed my
attention to other curiosities. I examined Cinderella's little
glass slipper, and compared it with one of Diana's sandals,
and with Fanny Elssler's shoe, which bore testimony to the
muscular character of her illustrious foot. On the same
shelf were Thomas the Rhymer's green velvet shoes, and
the brazen shoe of Empedocles which was thrown out of
Mount JEtna. Anacreon's drinking-cup was placed in apt
juxtaposition with one of Tom Moore's wine-glasses and
Circe's magic bowl. These were symbols of luxury and
riot ; but near them stood the cup whence Socrates drank
his hemlock, and that which Sir Philip Sidney put from his
death-parched lips to bestow the draught upon a dying sol-
dier. Next appeared a cluster of tobacco-pipes, consisting
of Sir Walter Raleigh's, the earliest on record, Dr. Parr's,
Charles Lamb's, and the first calumet of peace which was
ever smoked between a European and an Indian. Among
other musical instruments, I noticed the lyre of Orpheus and
those of Homer and Sappho, Dr. Franklin's famous whistle,
the trumpet of Anthony Van Corlear, and the flute which
Goldsmith played upon in his rambles through the French


provinces. The staff of Peter the Hermit stood ii. a corner
with that of good old Bishop Jewel, and one of ivory, which
had belonged to Papirius, the Roman Senator. The pon-
derous club of Hercules was close at hand. The virtuoso
showed me the chisel of Phidias, Claude's palette, and the
brush of Apelles, observing that he intended to bestow
the former either on Greenough, Crawford, or Powers, and.
the two latter upon Washington Allston. There was a small
vase of oracular gas from Delphos, which I trust will be
submitted to the scientific analysis of Professor -Silliman. I
was deeply moved on beholding a vial of the tears into which
Niobe was dissolved ; nor less so on learning that a shapeless
fragmenUof salt was a relic of that victim of despondency
and sinful regrets, Lot's wife. My companion appeared
to set great value upon some Egyptian darkness in a black-
ing-jug. Several of the shelves were covered by a collec-
tion of coins, among which, however, I remember none but
the Splendid Shilling, celebrated by Phillips, and a dollar's
worth of the iron money of Lycurgus, weighing about fifty

Walking carelessly onward, I had nearly fallen over a
huge bundle, like a pedler's pack, done up in sackcloth,
and very securely strapped and corded.

" It is Christian's burden of sin," said the virtuoso.

" O, pray let us open it ! " cried I. " For many a year
I have longed to know its contents."

" Look into your own consciousness and memory," replied
the virtuoso. "You will there find a list of whatever it

As this was an undeniable truth, I threw a melancholy
look at the burden and passed on. A collection of old gar-
ments, hanging on pegs, was worthy of some attention, es-
pecially the shirt of Nessus, Caesar's mantle, Joseph's coat
of many colors, the Vicar of Bray's cassock, Goldsmith's
peach-bloom suit, a pair of President Jefferson's scarlet


breeches, John Randolph's red-baize hunting-sin it, the drab
small-clothes of the Stout Gentleman, and the rags of the
" man all tattered and torn." George Fox's hat impressed
me with deep reverence as a relic of perhaps the truest
apostle that has appeared on earth for these eighteen hun-
dred years. My eye was next attracted by an old pair of
shears, which I should have taken for a memorial of some
famous tailor, only that the virtuoso pledged his veracity that
they were the identical scissors of Atropos. He also showed
me a broken hour-glass which had been thrown aside by
Father Time, together with the old gentleman's gray fore-
lock, tastefully braided into a brooch. In the hour-glass was
the handful of sand, the grains of which had numbered the
years of the Cumaean sibyl. I think that it was in this
alcove that I saw the inkstand which Luther threw at the
Devil, and the ring whi^h Essex, while under sentence of
death, sent to Queen Elizabeth. And here was the blood-
incrusted pen of steel with which Faust signed away his

The virtuoso now opened the door of a closet, and showed
me a lamp burning, while three others stood unlighted by its
side. One of the three was the lamp of Diogenes, another
that of Guy Fawkes, and the third that which Hero set forth
to the midnight breeze in the high tower of Abydos.

" See ! " said the virtuoso, blowing with all his force at the
lighted lamp.

The flame quivered and shrank away from his breath, but
clung to the wick, and resumed its brilliancy as soon as the
blast was exhausted.

" It is an undying lamp from the tomb of Charlemagne,"
observed my guide. " That flame was kindled a thousand
years ago."

" How ridiculous to kindle an unnatural light in tombs ! "

Online Libraryi00bostFavorite authors in prose and poetry → online text (page 1 of 66)