room and house, and running down the street as if I had just escaped
from a lunatic asylum.
"Richards," cried I to my friend, "shall we start tomorrow?"
"Thank God!" exclaimed Richards. "So you are cured of the New York
fever? Start! Yes, by all means, before you get a relapse. You must
come with me to Virginia for a couple of months."
"I will so," was my answer.
As we were going down to the steam-boat on the following morning,
Staunton overtook us, breathless with speed and delight.
"Wish me joy!" cried he. "I am accepted!"
"And I jilted!" replied I with a laugh. "But I am not such a fool as
to make myself unhappy about a woman."
Light words enough, but my heart was heavy as I spoke them. Five
minutes later, we were on our way to Virginia.
* * * * *
Great Homer sings how once of old
The Thracian women met to hold
To "Bacchus, ever young and fair,"
Mysterious rites with solemn care.
For now the summer's glowing face
Had look'd upon the hills of Thrace;
And laden vines foretold the pride
Of foaming vats at Autumn tide.
There, while the gladsome Evöe shout
Through Nysa's knolls rang wildly out,
While cymbal clang, and blare of horn,
O'er the broad Hellespont were borne;
The sounds, careering far and near,
Struck sudden on Lycurgus' ear -
Edonia's grim black-bearded lord,
Who still the Bacchic rites abhorr'd,
And cursed the god whose power divine
Lent heaven's own fire to generous wine.
Ere yet th' inspired devotees
Had half performed their mysteries,
Furious he rush'd amidst the band,
And whirled an ox-goad in his hand.
Full many a dame on earth lay low
Beneath the tyrant's savage blow;
The rest, far scattering in affright,
Sought refuge from his rage in flight.
But the fell king enjoy'd not long
The triumph of his impious wrong:
The vengeance of the god soon found him,
And in a rocky dungeon bound him.
There, sightless, chain'd, in woful tones
He pour'd his unavailing groans,
Mingled with all the blasts that shriek
Round Athos' thunder-riven peak.
O Thracian king! how vain the ire
That urged thee 'gainst the Bacchic choir
The god avenged his votaries well -
Stern was the doom that thee befell;
And on the Bacchus-hating herd
Still rests the curse thy guilt incurr'd.
For the same spells that in those days
Were wont the Bacchanals to craze -
The maniac orgies, the rash vow,
Have fall'n on thy disciples now.
Though deepest silence dwells alone,
Parnassus, on thy double cone;
To mystic cry, through fell and brake,
No more Cithaeron's echoes wake;
No longer glisten, white and fleet,
O'er the dark lawns of Taÿgete,
The Spartan virgin's bounding feet:
Yet Frenzy still has power to roll
Her portents o'er the prostrate soul.
Though water-nymphs must twine the spell
Which once the wine-god threw so well -
Changed are the orgies now, 'tis true,
Save in the madness of the crew.
Bacchus his votaries led of yore
Through woodland glades and mountains hoar;
While flung the Maenad to the air
The golden masses of her hair,
And floated free the skin of fawn,
From her bare shoulder backward borne.
Wild Nature, spreading all her charms,
Welcomed her children to her arms;
Laugh'd the huge oaks, and shook with glee,
In answer to their revelry;
Kind Night would cast her softest dew
Where'er their roving footsteps flew;
So bright the joyous fountains gush'd,
So proud the swelling rivers rush'd,
That mother Earth they well might deem,
With honey, wine, and milk, for them
Most bounteously had fed the stream.
The pale moon, wheeling overhead,
Her looks of love upon them shed,
And pouring forth her floods of light,
With all the landscape blest their sight.
Through foliage thick the moonshine fell,
Checker'd upon the grassy dell;
Beyond, it show'd the distant spires
Of skyish hills, the world's grey sires;
More brightly beam'd, where far away,
Around his clustering islands, lay,
Adown some opening vale descried,
The vast Aegean's waveless tide.
What wonder then, if Reason's power
Fail'd in each reeling mind that hour,
When their enraptured spirits woke
To Nature's liberty, and broke
The artificial chain that bound them,
With the broad sky above, and the free winds around them!
From Nature's overflowing soul,
That sweet delirium on them stole;
She held the cup, and bade them share
In draughts of joy too deep to bear.
Not such the scenes that to the eyes
Of water-Bacchanals arise;
Whene'er the day of festival
Summons the Pledged t' attend its call -
In long procession to appear,
And show the world how good they are.
Not theirs the wild-wood wanderings,
The voices of the winds and springs:
But seek them where the smoke-fog brown
Incumbent broods o'er London town;
'Mid Finsbury Square ruralities
Of mangy grass, and scrofulous trees;
'Mid all the sounds that consecrate
Thy street, melodious Bishopsgate!
Not by the mountain grot and pine,
Haunts of the Heliconian Nine:
But where the town-bred Muses squall
Love-verses in an annual;
Such muses as inspire the grunt
Of Barry Cornwall, and Leigh Hunt.
Their hands no ivy'd thyrsus bear,
No Evöe floats upon the air:
But flags of painted calico
Flutter aloft with gaudy show;
And round then rises, long and loud,
The laughter of the gibing crowd.
O sacred Temp'rance! mine were shame
If I could wish to brand thy name.
But though these dullards boast thy grace,
Thou in their orgies hast no place.
Thou still disdain'st such sorry lot,
As even below the soaking sot.
Great was high Duty's power of old
The empire o'er man's heart to hold;
To urge the soul, or check its course,
Obedient to her guiding force.
These own not her control, but draw
New sanction for the moral law,
And by a stringent compact bind
The independence of the mind -
As morals had gregarious grown,
And Virtue could not stand alone.
What need they rules against abusing?
They find th' offence all in the using.
Denounce the gifts which bounteous Heaven
To cheer the heart of man has given;
And think their foolish pledge a band
More potent far than God's command.
On this new plan they cleverly
Work morals by machinery;
Keeping men virtuous by a tether,
Like gangs of negroes chain'd together.
Then, Temperance, if thus it be,
They know no further need of thee.
This pledge usurps thy ancient throne -
Alas! thy occupation's gone!
From earth thou may'st unheeded rise,
And like Astræa - seek the skies.
Who sits upon the Pontiff's throne?
On Peter's holy chair
Who sways the keys? At such a time
When dullest ears may hear the chime
Of coming thunders - when dark skies
Are writ with crimson prophecies,
A wise man should be there;
A godly man, whose life might be
The living logic of the sea;
One quick to know, and keen to feel -
A fervid man, and full of zeal,
Should sit in Peter's chair.
Alas! no fervid man is there,
No earnest, honest heart;
One who, though dress'd in priestly guise,
Looks on the world with worldling's eyes;
One who can trim the courtier's smile,
Or weave the diplomatic wile,
But knows no deeper art;
One who can dally with fair forms,
Whom a well-pointed period warms -
No man is he to hold the helm
Where rude winds blow, and wild waves whelm,
And creaking timbers start.
In vain did Julius pile sublime
The vast and various dome,
That makes the kingly pyramid's pride,
And the huge Flavian wonder, hide
Their heads in shame - these gilded stones
(O heaven!) were very blood and bones
Of those whom Christ did come
To save - vile grin of slaves who sold
Celestial rights for earthy gold,
Marketing grace with merchant's measure,
To prank with Europe's pillaged treasure
The pride of purple Rome.
The measure of her sins is full,
The scarlet-vested whore!
Thy murderous and lecherous race
Have sat too long i' the holy place;
The knife shall lop what no drug cures,
Nor Heaven permits, nor earth endures,
The monstrous mockery more.
Behold! I swear it, saith the Lord:
Mine elect warrior girds the sword -
A nameless man, a miner's son,
Shall tame thy pride, thou haughty one,
And pale the painted whore!
Earth's mighty men are nought. I chose
Poor fishermen before
To preach my gospel to the poor;
A pauper boy from door to door
That piped his hymn. By his strong word
The startled world shall now be stirr'd,
As with a lion's roar!
A lonely monk that loved to dwell
With peaceful host in silent cell;
This man shall shake the Pontiff's throne:
Him Kings and emperors shall own,
And stout hearts wince before
The eye profound and front sublime
Where speculation reigns.
He to the learned seats shall climb,
On Science' watch-tower stand sublime;
The arid doctrine shall inspire
Of wiry teachers with swift fire;
And, piled with cumbrous pains,
Proud palaces of sounding lies
Lay prostrate with a breath. The wise
Shall listen to his word; the youth
Shall eager seize the new-born truth
Where prudent age refrains.
Lo! when the venal pomp proceeds
From echoing town to town!
The clam'rous preacher and his train,
Organ and bell with sound inane,
The crimson cross, the book, the keys,
The flag that spreads before the breeze,
The triple-belted crown!
It wends its way; and straw is sold -
Yea! deadly drugs for heavy gold,
To feeble hearts whose pulse is fear;
And though some smile, and many sneer,
There's none will dare to frown.
None dares but one - the race is rare -
One free and honest man:
Truth is a dangerous thing to say
Amid the lies that haunt the day;
But He hath lent it voice; and, lo!
From heart to heart the fire shall go,
Instinctive without plan;
Proud bishops with a lordly train,
Fierce cardinals with high disdain,
Sleek chamberlains with smooth discourse,
And wrangling doctors all shall force,
In vain, one honest man.
In vain the foolish Pope shall fret,
It is a sober thing.
Thou sounding trifler, cease to rave,
Loudly to damn, and loudly save,
And sweep with mimic thunders' swell
Armies of honest souls to hell!
The time on whirring wing
Hath fled when this prevail'd. O, Heaven!
One hour, one little hour, is given,
If thou could'st but repent. But no!
To ruin thou shalt headlong go,
A doom'd and blasted thing.
Thy parchment ban comes forth; and lo!
Men heed it not, thou fool!
Nay, from the learned city's gate,
In solemn show, in pomp of state,
The watchmen of the truth come forth,
The burghers old of sterling worth,
And students of the school:
And he who should have felt thy ban
Walks like a prophet in the van;
He hath a calm indignant look,
Beneath his arm he bears a book,
And in his hand the Bull.
He halts; and in the middle space
Bids pile a blazing fire.
The flame ascends with crackling glee;
Then, with firm step advancing, He
Gives to the wild fire's wasting rule
The false Decretals, and the Bull,
While thus he vents his ire: -
"Because the Holy One o' the Lord
Thou vexed hast with impious word,
Therefore the Lord shall thee consume,
And thou shalt share the Devil's doom
In everlasting fire!"
He said; and rose the echo round
"In everlasting fire!"
The hearts of men were free; one word
Their inner depths of soul had stirr'd;
Erect before their God they stood
A truth-shod Christian brotherhood,
And wing'd with high desire.
And ever with the circling flame
Uprose anew the blithe acclaim: -
"The righteous Lord shall thee consume,
And thou shalt share the Devil's doom
In everlasting fire!"
Thus the brave German men; and we
Shall echo back the cry;
The burning of that parchment scroll
Annull'd the bond that sold the soul
Of man to man; each brother now
Only to one great Lord will bow,
One Father-God on high.
And though with fits of lingering life
The wounded foe prolong the strife,
On Luther's deed we build our hope,
Our steady faith - the fond old Pope
Is dying, and shall die.
TRADITIONS AND TALES OF UPPER LUSATIA.
THE FAIRY TUTOR.
You have seen - and 'tis no longer ago than YESTERDAY! - you must well
remember the picture - which showed you from the rough yet
delicate - the humorous yet sympathetic and picturesque - the original
yet insinuating pencil of a shrewd and hearty Lusatian
mountaineer - the aerial, brilliant, sensitive, subtle, fascinating,
enigmatical, outwardly - mirth-given, inwardly - sorrow-touched,
congregated folk numberless - of the Fairies Proper! - showed them at
the urgency of a rare and strange need - clung, in DEPENDENCY, to one
fair, kind, good and happily-born Daughter of Man! - And what
wonder? - The once glorious, but now forlorn spirits, leaning for one
fate-burthened instant their trust upon the spirits ineffably
favoured! - What wonder! that often as the revolution of ages brings
on the appointed hour, the rebellious and outcast children of heaven
must sue - to their keen emergency - help - oh! speak up to the height
of the want, of the succour! and call it _a lent ray of grace_, from
the rebellious and REDEEMED children of the earth! - And see, where,
in the serene eyes of the soft Christian maiden, the hallowing
influence shines! - Auspiciously begun, the awed though aspiring Rite,
the still, the multitudinous, the mystical, prospers! - _Gratefully_,
as for the boon inexpressibly worth - _easily_, as of their own
transcending power - _promptly_, as though fearing that a benefit
received could wax cold, the joyful Elves crown upon the bright hair
of their graciously natured, but humanly and womanly weak
benefactress - the wedded felicity of pure love!
And the imaginary curtain has dropped! Lo, where it rises again,
discovering to view our stage, greatly changed, and, a little
perhaps, our actors! - Once more, attaching to the HUMAN DRAMA,
slight, as though it were structured of cloud, of air, the same light
and radiant MACHINERY! Once more, only that They, whom you lately saw
tranquil, earnest even to pathos - "now are frolic" - enough and to
spare! - Once more - THE FAIRIES.
And see, too - where, centring in herself interest and action of the
rapidly shifting scenery - ever again a beautiful granddaughter of Eve
steps - free and fearless, and bouyant and bounding - our fancy-laid
boards! - Ah! but how much unresembling the sweet maid! - _Outwardly_,
for lofty-piled is the roof that ceils over the superb head of the
modern Amazon, Swanhilda - more unlike _within_. Instead of the clear
truth, the soul's gentle purity, the "plain and holy Innocence" of
the poor fairy-beloved mountain child - SHE, in whose person and
fortunes you are invited - for the next fifty minutes - to forget your
own - harbours, fondly harbours, ill housemates of her virginal
breast! a small, resolute, well-armed and well confederated garrison
of unwomanly faults. Pride is there! - The iron-hard and the
iron-cold! There Scorn - edging repulse with insult! - and envenoming
insult with despair! - leaps up, in eager answer to the beseeching
sighs, tears, and groans of earth-bent Adoration. And there is the
indulged Insolency of a domineering - and as you will precipitately
augur - an _indomitable_ Will! And there is exuberant SELF-POWER,
that, from the innermost mind, oozing up, out, distilling,
circulating along nerve and vein, effects a magical metamorphosis!
turns the nymph into a squire of arms; usurping even the clamorous
and blood-sprinkled joy of man - the tempestuous and terrible CHASE,
which, in the bosom of peace, imaging war, shows in the rougher lord
of creation himself, as harsh, wild, and turbulent! Oh, how much
other than yon sweet lily of the high Lusatian valleys, the
shade-loving Flower, the good Maud - herself looked upon with love by
the glad eyes of men, women, children, Fairies, and Angels! oh, other
indeed! And yet, have you, in this thickly clustered enumeration of
unamiable qualities, implicitly heard the CALL which must fasten,
which has fastened, upon the gentle Maud's _haughty_ antithesis - the
serviceable regard, and - the FAVOUR, even of THE FAIRIES.
Hear, impatient spectator, the simple plot and its brief process. You
are, after a fashion, informed with what studious, persevering, and
unmerciful violation of all gentle decorum and feminine pity, the
lovely marble-souled tyranness has, in the course of the last three
or four years, turned back from her beetle-browed castle-gate, one by
one, as they showed themselves there - a hundred, all worthily
born - otherwise more and less meritorious - petitioners for that
whip-and-javelin-bearing hand. You are NOW to know, that upon this
very morning, an embassy from the willow-wearers all - or, to speak
indeed more germanely to the matter, of the BASKET-BEARERS,
waited upon their beautiful enemy with an ultimatum and manifesto in
one, importing first a requisition to surrender; then, in case of
refusal to capitulate, the announcement that HYMEN having found in
CUPID an inefficient ally, he was about associating with himself, in
league offensive, the god MARS, with intent of carrying the
Maiden-fortress by storm, and reducing the aforesaid wild occupants
of the stronghold into captivity - whereunto she made answer -
- - our castle's strength
Will laugh a siege to scorn -
herself laughing outrageously to scorn the senders and the sent This
crowning of wrong upon wrong will the Fairies, in the first place,
wreak and right.
[Footnote 22: To German ears - to SEND A BASKET - is to REFUSE A
PROPOSAL OF MARRIAGE.]
But further, later upon the same unlucky day, the Kingdom of Elves,
being in full council assembled in the broad light of the sun, upon
the fair greensward; ere the very numerous, but not widely sitting
diet had yet well opened its proceedings - "tramp, tramp, across the
land," came, flying at full speed, boar-spear in hand, our madcap
huntress; and without other note of preparation sounded than their
own thunder, her iron-grey's hoofs were in the thick of the sage
assembly, causing an indecorous trepidation, combined with
devastation dire to persons and - wearing apparel.
This wrong, in the second place, the Fairies will wreak and right.
And all transgression and injury, under one procedure, which
is - _summary_; as, from the character of the judges and executioners,
into whose hands the sinner has fallen, you would expect;
sufficiently prankish too. With one sleight of their magical hand
they turn the impoverished heiress of ill-possessed acres forth upon
the highway, doomed to earn, with strenuous manual industry, her
livelihood; until, from the winnings of her handicraft, she is
moreover able to make good, as far as this was liable to pecuniary
assessment, the damage sustained under foot of her fiery barb by the
Fairy realm; comfort with handsome presents the rejected suitors; and
until, thoroughly tame, she yields into her softened and opened
bosom, now rid of its intemperate inmates, an entrance to the once
debarred and contemned visitant - LOVE.
As to the way and style of the Fairy operations that carry out this
drift, comparing the Two Tales, you will see, that omitting, as a
matter that is related merely, not presented, that misadventure under
the oak-tree - there is, in the chamber of Swanhilda, but a Fairy
delegation active, whilst under the Sun's hill whole Elfdom is in
presence; in that resplendent hollow, wearing their own lovely
shapes; within the German castle-walls, in apt masquerade. There they
were grave. Here, we have already said, that they are merry. There
their office was to feel and to think. Here, if there be any trust in
apparitions, they drink, and what is more critical for an Elfin
lip - they eat!
Lastly, to end the comparisons for our well-bred, well-dressed, and
right courtly cavalier, who transacted between the Fairy Queen and
the stonemason's daughter, him you shall presently see turned into a
sort of Elfin cupbearer or court butler; not without fairy grace of
person and of mind assuredly; not without a due innate sense of the
beautiful, as his perfumed name (SWEETFLOWER) at the outset warns
you; and, as the proximity of his function to her Majesty's
person - for we do not here fall in with any thing like mention of a
king - would suggest, independently of the delicately responsible part
borne by him in the action, the chief stress of which you will find
incumbent upon his capable shoulders.
Such, in respect of the subject, is, thrice courteous and intelligent
reader, the second piece of art, which we are glad to have the
opportunity of placing before you, from our clever friend Ernst
Willkomm's apparently right fertile easel. The second, answering to
the first, LIKE and UNLIKE, you perceive, as two companion pictures
But it would be worse than useless to tell you that which you have
seen and that which you will see, unless, from the juxtaposition of
the two fables, there followed - a moral. They have, as we apprehend,
a moral - _i.e._ one moral, and that a grave one, in common between
Hitherto we have superficially compared THE FAIRIES' SABBATH and the
FAIRY TUTOR. We now wish to develope a profounder analogy connecting
them. We have compared them, as if ESTHETICALLY; we would now compare
them MYTHOLOGICALLY - for, in our understanding, there lies at the
very foundation of both tales A MYTHOLOGICAL ROOT - by whomsoever set,
whether by Ernst Willkomm to-day, or by the population of the
Lusatian mountains - three, six, ten centuries ago; or, in unreckoned
antiquity, by the common Ancestors of the believers, who, in still
unmeasured antiquity, brought the superstition of the Fairies out of
central Asia to remote occidental Europe.
This ROOT we are bold to think is - "A DEEPLY SEATED ATTRACTION,
ALLYING THE FAIRY MIND TO THE PURITY AND INTEGRITY OF THE MORAL WILL
IN THE MIND OF MEN." And first for the Tale which presently concerns
us: - THE FAIRY TUTOR.
SWEETFLOWER will beguile us into believing that the interposition of
the Fairies in our Baroness's domestic arrangements, grows up, if one
shall so hazardously speak, from TWO seeds, each bearing two
branches - namely, from two wrongs, the one hitting, the other
striking from, themselves - BOTH which wrongs they will AVENGE and
AMEND. We take up a strenuous theory; and we deny - and we
defy - SWEETFLOWER. Nay, more! Should our excellent friend, ERNST
WILLKOMM, be found taking part, real or apparent, with SWEETFLOWER,
we defy and we deny Ernst Willkomm. For in this mixed case of the
Fairy wrong, we distinguish, first, INJURIES which shall be
retaliated, and, as far as may be, compensated; and secondly, a
SHREW, who is to be turned _into_ a WIFE, being previously turned
_out of_ a shrew.
We dare to believe that this last-mentioned end is the thing
uppermost, and undermost, and middlemost in the mind of the Fairies;
is, in fact, the true and _the sole final cause_ of all their
Or that the _moral heart_ of the poem - that root in the human breast
and will, from which every true poem springs heavenward - is here the
zeal of the spirits for _morally reforming Swanhilda_; is, therefore,
that deep-seated attraction, which, as we have averred, essentially
allies the inclination of the Fairies to the moral conscience in our
One end, therefore, grounds the whole story, although two and more
are proposed by _Sweetflower_. It is one that _satisfies_ the moral
reason in man; for it is no less than to cleanse and heal the will,
wounded with error, of a human creature. That other, which he
displays, with mock emphasis, of restitution to the downtrodden
fairyhood, is an exotic, fair and slight bud, grafted into the
sturdier indigenous stock. For let us fix but a steady look upon the
thing itself, and what is there before us? a whim, a trick of the
fancy, tickling the fancy. We are amused with a quaint calamity - a
panic of caps and cloaks. We laugh - we cannot help it - as the pigmy
assembly flies a thousand ways at once - grave councillors and
all - throwing terrified somersets - hiding under stones, roots - diving
into coney-burrows - "any where - any where" - vanishing out of