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Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine - Volume 55, No. 344, June, 1844
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{Transcriber's note: Spellings are sometimes erratic. A few obvious misprints have been corrected, but in general the original spelling has been retained. Accents in the French and Spanish passages are inconsistent, and have not been standardised. Greek phrases have been transliterated, and are enclosed in + signs eis Athenas.}



BLACKWOOD'S EDINBURGH MAGAZINE.

NO. CCCXLIV. JUNE, 1844. VOL. LV.



CONTENTS.

TRADITIONS AND TALES OF UPPER LUSATIA. NO. I. THE FAIRIES' SABBATH, 665

COLUMBUS. (A PRINT AFTER A PICTURE BY PARMEGGIANO.) BY B. SIMMONS, 687

TO SWALLOWS ON THE EVE OF DEPARTURE. BY THE SAME, 690

THE DILIGENCE. A LEAF FROM A JOURNAL, 692

WHO WROTE GIL BLAS? 698

MICHAEL KALLIPHOURNAS, 725

AFRICA—SLAVE TRADE—TROPICAL COLONIES, 731

NARRATION OF CERTAIN UNCOMMON THINGS THAT DID FORMERLY HAPPEN TO ME, HERBERT WILLIS, B.D. 749

BEAU BRUMMELL, 769

THE ACTUAL CONDITION OF THE GREEK STATE, 785

INDEX, 797

* * * * *

EDINBURGH: WILLIAM BLACKWOOD AND SONS, 45, GEORGE STREET; AND 22, PALL-MALL, LONDON.

To whom all Communications (post paid) must be addressed.

SOLD BY ALL THE BOOKSELLERS IN THE UNITED KINGDOM.

PRINTED BY BALLANTYNE AND HUGHES, EDINBURGH.



BLACKWOOD'S EDINBURGH MAGAZINE.

No CCCXLIV. JUNE, 1844. VOL. LV.



TRADITIONS AND TALES OF UPPER LUSATIA.

No. I.

THE FAIRIES' SABBATH.

WHAT is a fairy?

READ!

["A Wood near Athens.—Enter a Fairy on one side, and Puck on the other.{A}]

"Puck. How now, Spirit! whither wander you?

Fairy. Over hill, over dale, Thorough bush, thorough brier, Over park, over pale, Thorough flood, thorough fire, I do wander ever where, Swifter than the moones sphere; And I serve the Fairy Queen, To dew her orbs upon the green: The cowslips tall her pensioners be; In their gold coats spots you see; Those be rubies, fairy favours, In those freckles live their savours: I must go seek some dewdrops here, And hang a pearl in every cowslip's ear. Farewell, thou lob of spirits, I'll begone; Our queen and all our elves come here anon.

Puck. The King doth keep his revels here to-night; Take heed, the queen come not within his sight. For Oberon is passing fell and wrath, Because that she, as her attendant, hath A lovely boy, stolen from an Indian king; She never had so sweet a changeling. And jealous Oberon would have the child Knight of his train, to trace the forests wild: But she, perforce, withholds the loved boy: Crowns him with flowers, and makes him all her joy: And now they never meet in grove, or green, By fountain clear, or spangled starlight sheen, But they do square; that all their elves, for fear, Creep into acorn cups, and hide them there."

And there, then, they are!—The blithe and lithe, bright and fine darlings of your early-bewitched and for ever-enamoured fancy! There they are! The King and the Queen, and the Two royal Courts of shadowy, gorgeous, remote, and cloud-walled Elf-land: The fairies of the vision once wafted, "by moon or star light," upon the "creeping murmur" of the Avon!—THE FAIRIES IN ENGLAND! YOUR fairies!

Nevertheless you, from of old, are discreet. And you mistrust information which discountenances itself, by borrowing the magical robe of verse! Or you misdoubt this medley of our English blood, which in the lapse of ages must, as you deem, have confounded, upon the soil, the confluent streams of primitively distinct superstitions! Or your suspicious inquisition rebels against this insular banishment of ours, which, sequestering us from the common mind of the world, may, as you augur, have perverted, into an excessive individuality of growth, our mythological beliefs: Or—Southwards then!

One good stride over salt water lands you amongst a people, who, from the old, have kept THEMSELVES TO THEMSELVES; whose warm, bold, thorough-loyal hearts hereditarily believe, after the love and reverence owed from the children's children to the fathers' fathers. Here are—for good and for ill—and from a sure hand:—"THE FAIRIES IN LOWER BRITANNY; alio nomine—THE KORRIGANS."

"Like these holy virgins, (the Gallicenae or Barrigenae of Mela,) our Korrigans predict the future. They know the skill of healing incurable maladies with particular charms; which they impart, it is affirmed, to magicians that are their friends. Ingenious Proteuses, they take the shape of any animal at their pleasure. In the twinkling of an eye they whisk from one end of the world to the other. Annually, with returning spring, they celebrate a high nocturnal festivity. A tablecloth, white as the driven snow, is spread upon the greensward, by the margin of a fountain. It is covered with the most delicious viands; in the midst sparkles a crystal goblet, which sheds such a splendour as serves in the stead of torches. At the close of the repast, this goblet goes round from hand to hand; it holds a miraculous beverage, one drop of which, it is averred, would make omniscient, like the Almighty. At any least breath or stir of human kind, all vanishes.

"In truth, it is near fountains that the Korrigans are oftenest met with; especially near such as rise in the neighbourhood of dolmens.{B} For in the sequestered spots whence the Virgin Mary, who is held for their chief foe, has not yet driven them, they still preside over the fountains. Our traditions bestow upon them a strong passion for music, with sweet voices; but do not, like those of the Germanic nations, make dancers of them. The popular songs of all countries frequently depict them combing their fine fair hair, which they seem daintily to cherish. Their stature is that of the other European fairies: they are not above two feet in height. Their shape, exquisitely proportioned, is as airy, slight, and pellucid as that of the wasp. They have no other dress than a white veil, which they wrap around their body. Seen by night, they are very beautiful: in the daytime, you perceive that their hair is grey—that their eyes are red—that their face is wrinkled. Accordingly, they begin to show themselves only at the shut of eve; and they loathe the light. Every thing about them denotes fallen intelligences. The Breton peasants maintain that they are high princesses, who, because they would not embrace Christianity when the apostles came to preach in Armorica, were stricken by the curse of God. The Welsh recognise in them, souls of Druids doomed to penance. This coincidence is remarkable.

"They are universally believed to feel a vehement hatred for the clergy, and for our holy religion, which has confounded them with the spirits of darkness—a grand motive, as it appears, of displeasure and offence to them. The sight of a surplice, the sound of bells, scares them away. The popular tales of all Europe would, meanwhile, tend to support the church, in viewing them as maleficent genii. As in Britanny; the blast of their breath is mortal in Wales, in Ireland, in Scotland, and in Prussia. They cast weirds.{C} Whosoever has muddied the waters of their spring, or caught them combing their hair, or counting their treasures beside their dolmen, (for they there keep, it is believed, concealed mines of gold and of diamonds,) almost inevitably dies; especially should the misencounter fall upon a Saturday, which day, holy to the Virgin Mother, is inauspicious for their kind,"{D} &c. &c. &c.

Here, in the stead of the joyously-sociable monarchal hive, you behold a republic of solitarily-dwelling, and not unconditionally beautiful, naiads! No dancing! And a stature, prodigiously disqualifying for the asylum of an acorn cup! You are unsatisfied. Shakspeare has indeed vividly portrayed one curiously-featured species, and M. De la Villemarque another, of the air-made inscrutable beings evoked by your question; but your question, from the beginning, struck at the GENERIC notion in its purified logical shape—at the definition, then—of the thing, a fairy.

Sir Walter Scott,{E} writing—the first in time of all men who have written—at large and scientifically upon the fairies of Western Europe, steps into disquisition by a description, duly loose for leaving his own foot unentangled. "The general idea of SPIRITS, of A LIMITED POWER AND SUBORDINATE NATURE, DWELLING AMONG THE WOODS AND MOUNTAINS, is perhaps common to all nations."

A little too loose, peradventure!

Dr James Grimm, heroically bent upon rescuing from the throat of oblivion and from the tooth of scepticism, to his own TEUTONS—yet heathen—a faith outreaching and outsoaring the gross definite cognisances of this fleshly eye and hand, sets apart one—profoundly read and thought—chapter, to WIGHTS AND ELVES.{F}

These terms, WIGHT and ELF, are presented by Dr Grimm as being, after a rough way, synonymous; and you have above seen another Germanic writer—a native of Warwickshire—take ELF for equivalent, or nearly so, with FAIRY.

Of his many-natured Teutonic wights and elves, then, but with glances darted around, northwards and westwards, and southwards and eastwards, Dr Grimm begins with speaking thus:—

"From the deified and half-divine natures [investigated by this author in several of his antecedent chapters] a whole order of other beings is especially herein distinguished, that whilst the former either proceed of mankind, or seek human intercourse, these form a segregated society—one might say, a peculiar kingdom of their own—and are only, by accident or the pressure of circumstances, moved to converse with men. Something superhuman, approximating them to the gods, is mingled up in them: they possess power to help and to hurt man. They are however, at the same time, afraid of him, because they are not his bodily match. They appear either far below the human stature, or misshapen. Almost all of them enjoy the faculty of rendering themselves invisible."

You turn away your head, exclaiming that the weighty words of our puissant teacher are, for your proficiency, somewhat bewildering, and for your exigency by much too—TEUTONIC.

Have a care!

However, "Westward Hoe!" Put the old Rhine between the master of living mythologists and yourself, and listen to Baron Walckenaer unlocking the fountains of the fairy belief, and showing how it streams, primarily through France, and secondarily through all remaining Western Europe. "If there is a specifically characterized superstition, it is that which regards the fairies: those female genii,{G} most frequently without name, without descent, without kin, who are incessantly busied subverting the order of nature, for the weal or the woe of mortals whom they love and favour without a motive, or, as causelessly, hate and persecute."{H}

What, female only? Where are Oberon and Puck? Without a name? Where Titania?—Mab? Without a motive? Where the godmother of the sweet-faced and sweet-hearted Cinderella? Partial, and without a distinct type in your own recollections, you guessingly pronounce the characterization of the perpetual secretary too——French. Driven back, disappointed on all sides, you turn round upon your difficulties, and manfully project beating out a definition of your own; to which end, glancing your eye back affectionately, and now, needle-like, northwards across the Channel, you "at one slight bound" once more find yourself at your own fireside, and on your table The Midsummer Night's Dream, open at the second scene of the first act.

Inquirer whosoever! A problem lies large before us—complicated, abstruse even, yet—suitably to the subject—a delicate one! To hunt down an elusive word, and a more elusive notion! It is to find a set of determinings which, laid together, shall form a circle fitted to confine that inconfinable spirit—a Fairy; or, if you better like plain English, to find the terms needed for signifying, describing, expounding the Thought which, lurking as at the bottom of your mind, under a crowd of thoughts, rises up, in all circumstances, to meet and answer the name——a fairy; the Thought, which when all accidental and unessential attributes liable to be attracted to the fairy essence have been stripped away, remains; the substrate, absolute, essential, generic notion, therefore—a fairy; that Thought, which whencesoever acquired, and held howsoever, enables you to deal to your satisfaction with proposed fairies, acknowledging THIS one frankly;—THIS, but for a half-sister; shutting the door upon ANOTHER. You may distinguish these terms at your pleasure, by sundry denominations: for example, you may call them Elements of the notion—a fairy—or circumscriptive Lines of such a notion, or indispensable Fairy-marks, or elfin Criteria, or by any other name which you may happen to like as well or better; but when found, call them as you will, they must reveal in essence, the thing which we look for—the answer to the question with which we first started, and to which we have as yet found no satisfactory solution.

As for the process of the finding. This notion is to be tracked after widely, and in intimate recesses; more hopefully, therefore, according to a planned campaign than a merely wild chance expatiation. The chase ranges over a material and an intellectual ground. Of either—a word.

I. The material—is a geographical—region, and may be called, summarily—The western half of Europe. Let us regard it as laid out by languages at this day spoken. Here is a map, roughly sketched:—

A.—ABORIGINAL.

1. NORTH-WESTERN CELTS.—Ireland, Highlands of Scotland, and the interjacent Isle of Man.

2. SOUTH-WESTERN CELTS.—Wales, Britanny, and the, till lately, Celtic-speaking Cornwall.

3. NORTHERN GERMANS, or GERMANS BEYOND THE EIDER, or SCANDINAVIANS.—Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Iceland.

4. SOUTHERN GERMANS, or GERMANS BELOW THE EIDER, or TEUTONS.—Netherlands, the German empire, Switzerland.

B.—LATIN SPEAKING.

1. ITALY.—Sicily.

2. SPAIN.

3. PORTUGAL.

4. Latin-speaking FRANCE, distinguishing Normandy.

C.—GERMAN AND LATIN MIXED.

1. ENGLAND.

2. SCOTTISH LOWLANDS.

II. From all this tangible territory, we are to sweep up—what? An overlying intellectual kingdom, videlicet—THE KINDS OF THE FAIRIES, rudely marked out, perhaps, as follows:—

1. The community of the Fairies, monarchal or republican:—The Fairy folk; Fairies proper.

2. The solitary domestic serviceable Fairy.

3. In the mines, under the water; a Fairy folk.

4. The solitary water Fairy.

5. The Fairy-ancestress.

6. The Fairy, tutelary or persecuting, of the chivalrous metrical romance.

7. The Fairy, tutelary or persecuting, now giving and now turning destinies, of the fairy tale proper.

We have then to ask what are the terms, marks, common traits, or by whatsoever name they are to be called, which are yielded by a comparison of such seven kinds. Something like the following eight will possibly arise:—

First, A FAIRY IS A SUBORDINATE SPIRIT.

Secondly, IS ATTRACTED TO THE SURFACE OF OUR PLANET.

Thirdly, AT ONCE SEEKS AND SHUNS MANKIND.

Fourthly, HAS A BODY.

Fifthly, IS ATTENUATE.

Sixthly, IS WITHOUT PROPER STATION AND FUNCTION IN THE GENERAL ECONOMY OF THE UNIVERSE; OR IS MYTHOLOGICALLY DISPLACED.

Seventhly, IS ENDOWED WITH POWERS OF INTELLIGENCE AND OF AGENCY EXCELLING HUMAN.

Eighthly, STANDS UNDER A DOOM.

To these eight criteria, taken in the nature of the thing enquired, the reflective inquirer will perchance find himself led on to add two furnished from within himself, as that—

First, Acknowledging, as in these latter days our more delicate psychologists have called upon us to do, the names FANCY and IMAGINATION as designating TWO faculties, the fairies belong rather to the FANCY.

Secondly, Accepting for a legitimate thought, legitimately and cogently signified, the High Marriage which one of these finer Metaphysicians{I}—instructed no doubt by his personal experience—prophesies to his kind, between the "intellect of man" and "this goodly universe," we may say that, regularly, this marriage must have its antecedent possessing and agitating Love; that this love must, like all possessing agitated love, have its attendant Reverie. Now, might one venture to surmise that this REVERIE breathes into the creating of a fairy?

Does the jealous reader perchance miss in the above proposed eight several elements the UNITY OF NOTION, which he has all along seemed to feel in his own spirit and understanding? Let him at once conceive, as intensely joined, the two permanent characters of tenuity and mythological displacement, and take this compound for the nucleus of the unity he seeks. About these two every other element will easily place itself. For a soul, he shall infuse into the whole, after in like manner inseparably blending them—FANCY, and that love-inspired REVERIE which won its way to us from Grassmere.

And so take, reader, our answer to your question, "What is a fairy?" THIS IS A FAIRY. Are you still unsatisfied? Good. The field of investigation lies open before you, free and inviting. On, in your own strength, and Heaven speed you!

* * * * *

The eight or nine tales of sundry length, and exceedingly diversified matter, contained in the two little volumes of Herr Ernst Willkomm,{J} which have put us a-journeying to Fairy-land, have begun to produce before the literary world the living popular superstitions of a small and hidden mountainous district, by which Cis Eidoran Germany leans upon Sclavonia: hidden, it would seem, for any thing like interesting knowledge, until this author began to write, from the visiting eye of even learned curiosity. Nor this without a sufficient reason; since the mountains do, of themselves, shut in their inhabitants, and, for a stranger, the temper of the rugged mountaineer, at once shy and mailing himself in defiance, is, like the soil, inaccessible. To Ernst Willkomm this hinderance was none. He discloses to us the heart of the country, and that of the people which have born him, which have bred him up; and he will, if he is encouraged, write on. Three of these tales, or of these traditions—for the titles, with this writer, appear to us exchangeable—regard the fairies properly so called. They are, "The Priest's Well," "The Fairies' Sabbath," here given, and "The Fairy Tutor," being the first, the third, and the seventh, of the entire present series. Upon these three tales the foregoing attempt at fixing the generic notion of a fairy was intended to bear. Should pretty Maud, the stone-mason's daughter, our heroine for to-day, find the favour in English eyes which her personal merit may well claim, the remaining two are not likely to be long withheld.

The illustrations which shall now follow, drawn from distinguished authorities, aim at showing the consonancy of Herr Willkomm's pictures with authentic representations of Elfin superstition already known to the world. If, however, the criteria which have been proposed, have been rightfully deduced, the illustrations should as materially serve us in justifying these by proof.

Amongst the numerous points of analogy which strikingly connect our tale with popular tales and traditions innumerable, three are main to the structure of the tale itself. They may be very briefly described as—

I. The Heathenism of the Fairies. II. Their need, thence arising. III. Maud's ability to help them.

* * * * *

I. The opinion, which sets the fairies in opposition to the established faith of all Christendom, is widely diffused. To the Breton peasant, as M. de la Villemarque has above informed us, his Korrigan is a heathen princess, doomed to a long sorrow for obstinately refusing the message of salvation.

The brothers Grimm, speaking of the fairies in Ireland, say that "they are angels cast out from heaven, who have not fallen as low as hell; but in great fear and uncertainty about their future state, doubt, themselves, whether they shall obtain mercy at the last day."{K}

Of the fairies in Scotland, it is averred by the same learned and exact writers, that "they were originally angels dwelling in bliss, but who, because they suffered themselves to be seduced by the archfiend, were hurled down from heaven in innumerable multitudes. They shall wander till the last day over mountains and lakes. They know not how their sentence will run—whether they shall be saved or damned; but dread the worst."

Tales, in many parts of Europe, which represent the fairies as exceedingly solicitous about their salvation, and as inquiring of priests and others concerning their own spiritual prospects, for the most part with an unfavourable answer, tend to fix upon them a reproachful affinity with the spirits of darkness.

* * * * *

II. That the powerful fairies, who have appeared to us, from childhood upwards, as irresistible dispensers of good and evil to our kind, should need aid of any sort from us, is an unexpected feature of the fairy lore, which breaks by degrees upon the zealous and advancing inquirer.

The two excellent brothers Grimm, in the most elaborate and comprehensive collection,{L} probably, of national traditions that Europe possesses, have furnished us with various instances. We select a very few. In the following graceful Alpine pastoral, the need of human help attaches to an exigency of life or death:—

GERMAN TRADITIONS.

No. CCXX. The Queen of the Snakes.

"A herd maiden found upon the fell a sick snake lying and almost famished. Compassionately she held down to it her pitcher of milk. The snake licked greedily, and was visibly revived. The girl went on her way; and it presently happened that her lover sued for her, but was too poor for the proud wealthy father, who tauntingly dismissed him till the day when he too should be master of as large herds as the old herdsman. From this time forwards had the old herdsman no luck more, but sheer misfortune. Report ran that a fiery dragon was seen passing o' nights over his grounds; and his substance decayed. The poor swain was now as rich, and again sued for his beloved, whom he obtained. Upon the wedding-day a snake came gliding into the room, upon whose coiled tail there sat a beautiful damsel, who said that it was she to whom formerly the kind herd maid had, in strait of hunger, given her milk, and, out of gratitude, she took her brilliant crown from her head, and cast it into the bride's lap. Thereupon she vanished; but the young couple throve in their housekeeping greatly, and were soon well at ease in the world."

Since fairies, like ourselves, are mortal, TWO LIVES may be understood as at stake in the following:—

No. LXVIII. The Lady of Alvensleben.

"Some hundred years ago, there lived at Calb, in the Werder, an aged lady of the house of Alvensleben, who feared God, was gracious to the people, and willingly disposed to render any one a service: especially she did assist the burgesses' wives in difficult travail of childbirth, and was, in such cases, of all desired and highly esteemed. Now, therefore, there did happen in wise following:—

"In the night season there came a damsel to the castle gate, who knocked and distressfully called, beseeching that it should not mislike her, if possible, forthwith to arise, and to accompany her from the town, where there lay a good woman in travail of child, because the last hour and uttermost peril was already upon her, and her mistress wist no help for her life. The noblewoman said, 'It is very midnight; all the town gates be shut and well barred: how shall we make us forth?' The damsel rejoined that the gate was ready open, she should come forth only, (but beware, as do some add, in the place whither she should be conducted, to eat or to drink any thing, or to touch that should be proffered her.) Thereupon did the lady rise from her bed, dressed her, came down, and went along with the damsel which had knocked. The town gate she found open, and as they came further into a field was there a fair way which led right into a hillside. The hill stood open, and although she did well perceive that the thing was darksome, she resolved to go still on, unalarmed, until she arrived at last where was a little wifikin that lay on the bed, in great pains of travail. But the noble lady gave her succour, (by the report of some, she needed no more than lay her hand upon her body,) and a little baby was born to the light of day.

"When she had yielded her aid, desire took her to return from out the hill, home; she took leave of the sick woman, (without having any thing touched of the meats and liquors that were offered her,) and the former damsel anew joined her, and brought her back unharmed to the castle. At the gateway the damsel stood still, thanked her highly in her mistress's name, and drew off from her finger a golden ring, which she presented to the noblewoman with these words, 'Have this dear pledge in right heedful keeping, and let it not part from you and from your house. They of Alvensleben will flourish so long as they possess this ring. Should it ever leave them, the whole race must become extinct.' Herewith vanished the damsel.

"It is said that the ring, at this day, is rightly and properly kept in the lineage, and for good assurance deposited at Lubeck. But others, that it was, at the dividing of the house into two branches, diligently parted in two. Others yet, that the one half has been melted, since when it goes ill with that branch: the other half stays with the other branch at Zichtow. The story moreover goes, that the benevolent lady was a married woman. When she upon the morrow told her husband the tale of that had betid her in the night, he would not believe her, until she said, 'Forsooth, then, an' ye will not trow me, take only the key of yon room from the table: there lieth, I dare warrant, the ring.' Which was exactly so. It is marvellous the gifts that men have received of the fairies."

The most touching by far of the traditions at our disposal for illustrating at once the dependence of the fairies upon man, and their anxiety concerning their souls' welfare, is one in which the all-important hope which we have said that they sometimes solicit from the grave and authorized lips of priests, appears as floating on the lightest breath of children. Our immediate author is James Grimm, speaking in his German Mythology of the water spirit. The tradition itself is from Sweden, where this mythological being, the solitary water fairy, bears the name of "The Neck."

"Two lads were at play by the river side. The Neck sate and touched his harp. The children called to him—

"'Why sittest thou here, Neck, and playest? Thou wilt not go to heaven.' Then the Neck began bitterly weeping, flung his harp away, and sank in the deep water. When the boys came home they told their father, who was a priest, what had happened. The father said—

"'Ye have sinned towards the Neck. Go ye back, and give him promise of salvation.'

"When they returned to the river, the Neck sate upon the shore, mourning and weeping. The children said—

"'Weep not so, thou Neck. Our father hath said, that thy Redeemer too liveth.'

"Then the Neck took joyfully his harp, and played sweetly until long after sundown."

"I do not know," tenderly and profoundly suggests Dr Grimm, "that any where else in our traditions is as significantly expressed how NEEDY of the Christian belief the HEATHEN are, and how MILDLY it should approach them."

* * * * *

III. A few words shall here satisfy the claims of a widely-stretching subject. Is there one order of spirits which, as the Baron Walckenaer has assured us, lavishes on chosen human heads love unattracted, and hate unprovoked? We must look well about us ere fixing the imputation. Spirits, upon the other hand, undoubtedly there are, and those of not a few orders, fairies of one or another description being amongst them, who exert, in the choice of their human favourites, a discrimination challenging no light regard.

A host of traditions, liberally scattered over a field, of which, perhaps, Ireland is one extremity and China the other, now plainly and emphatically declare, and now, after a venturous interpretation, may be understood to point out, simplicity of will and kindness of heart as titles in the human being to the favour of the spirits. At times a brighter beam irradiates such titles, to which holiness, purity, and innocence, are seen to set their seal. We cull a few instances, warning the reader, that, although of our best, he will possibly find them a mere working upwards to the most perfect which we have it in our power to bring before him in the beautiful tale of Maud.

Amongst the searchers who seem to have been roused into activity by the German traditions of the brothers Grimm, Ludwig Bechstein takes distinguished place for the diligence with which he has collected different districts of Germany. Our inquiry shall owe him the two following

TRADITIONS OF THE GRABFELD.

No. LVII. The little Cherry-Tree upon Castle Raueneck.

"There prevails, concerning the ruins of the old hill-castle Raueneck, a quite similar tradition to that which holds of the like named ruined strength near Baden, in Austria. There lies yet buried here a vast treasure, over which a spirit, debarred from repose, keeps watch, anxiously awaiting deliverance. But who is he that can and shall actually lift this treasure and free the spirit? Upon the wall there grows a cherry seedling that shall one day become a tree; and the tree shall be cut down, and out of it a cradle made. He that, being a Sunday's child, is rocked in this cradle, will grow up, but only provided that he have kept himself virginally pure and chaste, at some noontide hour set free the spirit, lift the treasure, and become immeasurably rich; so as he shall be able to rebuild Castle Raueneck and all the demolished castles in the neighbourhood round. If the plant wither, or if a storm break it, then must the spirit again wait until once more a cherry stone, brought by a bird to the top of the lofty wall, shoot and put forth leaves, and haply grow to a tree."

No. LXII. The Hollow Stone.

"In the wood near Altenstein there stands a high rock. The inhabitants of the neighbourhood say that this rock is hollow within, and filled with treasure in great store from the olden time. At certain seasons and hours, it is given to Sunday children to find the rock doors open, or to open them with the lucky flower."

The singular superstition of spiritual favour fixing itself upon the human child, consecrated, as it were, by the hallowed light upon which the eyes first open, will shortly return upon us in The Fairies' Sabbath.

Lo! where, from the bountiful hand of the Brothers Grimm, fall two bright dewdrop of tradition upon the pure opening flower of childhood.

GERMAN TRADITIONS.

NO. CLIX. The Treasure at Soest.

"In the time of the Thirty Years' war, there was to be seen standing not far from the town of Soest, in Westphalia, an old ruin, of which the tradition ran that there was an iron trunk there, full of money, kept by a black dog and a bewitched maiden. The grandfathers and grandmothers Who are gone, used to tell that a strange nobleman shall one day arrive in the country, deliver the maiden, and open the chest with a fiery key. They said that divers itinerant scholars and exorcists had, within the memory of man, betaken themselves thither to dig, but been in so strange sort received and dismissed, that no one since further had list to the adventure, especially after their publishing that the treasure might be lifted of none who had once taken woman's milk. It was not long since a little girl from their village had led her few goats to feed about the very spot; one of which straying amongst the ruins, she had followed it. Within, in the castle court, was a damsel who questioned her what she did there: and when she was informed, pointing to a little basket of cherries, further said, 'It is good; therefore take of that thou see'st before thee, with thy goat and all, and go; and come not again, neither look behind, that a harm befall thee not.' Upon this the frightened child caught up seven cherries, and made her way in alarm out of the ruins. The cherries turned, in her hand, to money."

NO. CLX. The Welling Silver.

"In February of the year 1605, in the reign of Henry Julius, Duke of Brunswick, at a mile's distance from Quedlinburg, where it is called at the Dale, it happened that a poor peasant sent his daughter into the next shaw to pick up sticks for fuel. The girl took for this use a larger basket upon her head, and a smaller in her hand; and when she had filled them both and was going home, a mannikin clad all in white came towards her, and asked:—

"'What art carrying there?'

"'Gathered sticks,' the girl made answer, 'for heating and cooking.'

"'Empty the wood out,' said further the little manling, 'take thy basket and follow me. I shall show thee something that is better and more profitable than thy sticks.'

"He then took her by the hand, and led her back again to a knoll, and showed her a place which might be of two ordinary tables' breadth of a fair pure silver, being smaller and larger coins of a moderate thickness, with a image stamped like a Virgin Mary, and all round an impress of exceedingly old writing. As the silver welled up, as it were, abundantly out of the ground, the little girl was terrified and drew back, neither would she empty out the sticks from her small hand-basket. Accordingly, the little man in white himself did so, filled the basket with the money, and gave it back to the little damsel with saying, 'That shall be better for thee than thy sticks.' She was confounded and took it; but upon the mannikin's requiring that she should likewise empty out her larger basket and take silver therein, she refused and said—'That she must carry fuel home too; for there were little children at home who must have a warm room, and there must be wood ready likewise for cooking.' This contented the manling, who said, 'Well, then, go; take it all home,' and thereupon disappeared.

"The girl carried the basket of silver home, and told what had happened to her. The boors now ran flocking with pickaxes and other tools, and would have their share of the treasure, but none of them was able to find the spot where the silver had welled out.

"The Prince of Brunswick had a pound of the coined silver brought him, as did moreover a burgess of Halberstadt, N. Everkan, purchase the like."

The quick-sighted reader will not easily have missed detecting the sudden effect produced upon the two spirits by THE TRUTHFUL RIGHT-MINDEDNESS OF THE TWO LITTLE GIRLS.

Correspondingly, James Grimm, from surveying collectively the Teutonic traditions of bewitched or mysteriously hidden treasure, says—

"To the lifting of the treasure is required silence and innocence. * * * Innocent children's hands are able to lay hold upon it, as to draw the lot. * * * Who has viciously stained himself cannot approach it."{M}

Two short instances more from the copious fraternal collection, and we have done. With a temper of pure childlike antiquity, they express in the persons of the dwarfs—Teutonic approximative, fairies—the sympathy of the spirits with unstained and innocent human manners; and may, if the traditions which exhibit the fairies under a cloud of sin and sorrow should have been felt by the reader as at all grating upon his old love of them, help to soothe and reconcile him by a soft gleam of illumination, here lingering as in a newly revealed Golden Age of his own.

GERMAN TRADITIONS.

No. CXLVII. The Dwarfs upon the Tree.

"In the summer, the dwarfs often came trooping from the cliffs down into the valley, and joined either with help, or as lookers-on at least, the human inhabitants at their work, especially the mowers, in hay-harvest. They, then and there, seated themselves at their ease and pleasantly, upon the long and thick arm of a maple in the embowering shade. But once there came certain evil-disposed persons, who, in the night, sawed the bough through, so that it held but weakly on to the trunk; and when the unsuspecting creatures, upon the morrow, settled themselves down upon it, the bough cracked in two, the dwarfs tumbled to the ground, were heartily laughed at, fell into violent anger, and cried aloud—

'O, how is the heaven high and long! And falsehood waxen on earth so strong! Here to-day, and for ever away!'

They kept their word, and never again made their appearance in the country."

No. CXLVIII. The Dwarfs upon the Crag Stone.

"It was the wont of the dwarflings to seat themselves upon a great crag stone, and from thence to watch the haymakers; but a few mischievous fellows kindled a fire upon the stone, made it red-hot, and swept away embers and ashes. Morning came, and with it the tiny folk, who burned themselves pitiably. They exclaimed in high anger—

'O wicked world! O wicked world!'

cried vengeance, and vanished for evermore!"

We have shown,—1. The Anti-christian character imputed by tradition to the fairies. 2. The occasional dependence of the more powerful spirits upon the less powerful human beings; and, 3. The strong affectionate leaning in the will of the spirits towards moral human excellence. Of the ability which, in virtue of this excellence, the human creature possesses to help, Maud must, for the present, be permitted to stand for the sole, as she is beyond all comparison our best, example.

* * * * *

The book of Ernst Willkomm takes a position in strong contrast to the corresponding works due to the Brothers Grimm, and other great gatherers of legendary lore. He has a personal poetic interest in the tales which they have not. He presents himself as the expositor, not only of his native superstitions, but also, zealously, of the Upper Lusatian manners. Himself cradled amongst the mountains, he has drawn with infinite pains, and by slow degrees, as he best could, from the deep interior life of the people, their jealously withheld credences, and the traditions which are sacredly associated with every nook of their craggy district.

"The tract of country," says Willkomm in his Preface, "the true Highlands of Upper Lusatia, called by the inhabitants themselves the Upper Country, to which the tales are native, is one very narrowly circumscribed. It amounts to scarcely ten square (German) miles. I have, however, selected it for my undertaking," he continues, "because it is intimately familiar to me; because the innermost character of the small population who inhabit it is confidentially known to me; because there is hardly a road or a path in the country which, on the darkest night, I could not find. Interesting, romantic, magnificent is the piece of earth which, at the confines of Bohemia, runs over hilly heights and lofty hill, tops on to the high mountain-chain. But still more interesting, I maintain with confidence, is the race of people."

It may seem strange at first, that the wise and profound explorers whom we have so often had occasion to cite, the brothers Grimm, should have failed to present us with any traditions from a corner of ground around which they have so successfully laboured. We have hinted already at the sufficient reason of the blank. Willkomm tells us, that the rest of the world, which "the cabin'd cribb'd" Lusatian has himself learned to call "o' th' outside," has taken no cognisance of his beautiful hill country. Lusatia has a literature of her own, and no one is acquainted with it. "She had, and partly still has, her own, similar to the Imperial cities, exceeding free and energetic municipal constitution." But no one cares about it. Celebrated and learned historians, questioned by Willkomm on the subject, have acknowledged their ignorance in regard to the character and laws of its small people. A more cogent reason, however, lies nearer home, in the impenetrable reserve and self-insulation of the mountaineers themselves. Willkomm confesses that their coldness towards strangers is unparalleled; they have no confidence whatever in foreigners; "and let a Lusatian but suspect," he says, "that you come a-fishing to him, and to listen out his privacies; then may you," as we may render the Lusatian proverb, "'Lose yourself before you find his mushroom.'" He will communicate to strangers little of his manners and customs; of his superstitious practices, his sacredly guarded traditions, absolutely nothing. "He is unpliant, self-sequestered, coarse-grained; beyond all conception easy and phlegmatic."

Every genuine people, however, is rough-handed; and Willkomm proceeds, after an ingenuous description of their defects, to vindicate the natural heart of his brother highlanders. "Let him amongst the gentle," he proudly exclaims, "who desire to hear for once something novel, something right vigorous, sit down beside me. He need not fear that morals and decency will be cast out of doors. No, no! The people are thoroughly moral and chaste at heart, if they are somewhat coarse in expression;—ay, and tender withal. Their imagination glides as delighted along fragrant threads of gold, as it eagerly descends amongst the powers of darkness, amidst the dance of will-o'-the-wisps and horrible ghost-reels. They are, at once, a blunt, good-hearted, aboriginal stamp of men, with all the advantages and deficiencies appurtenant."

The Lusatian traditions, brought to light in Germany by Ernst Willkomm, and now first made known to Englishmen in these pages, were collected by our author, as we have already observed, with difficulty and labour. A native only of the mountain district could obtain from the lips of the people their sacred and well-preserved lore, and even he not easily. The tales were narrated from time to time in the spinning-room, or in the so-called "Hell" of the boor or weaver, without any determinate connexion. The listener gathered mere fragments, and these not fully, when, thrown off his guard, he ventured to interrupt the speaker. Each narrator conceives his tale differently, and one individual is apt to garnish the experience of many, or what he has heard from others, with a little spice of his own invention. Further, the details of ten or twelve occurrences are associated with one single spot; all of which appear externally different, and yet internally are connected closely, "so that when comprehended in one whole picture, and not till then, they form what, in a strict and literary sense, we are accustomed to call a TRADITION or TALE. I, at least," adds Ernst Willkomm, "in such an upgathering of these disjointed tones of tradition, could only accomplish something that satisfied me by searching out the profound hidden meaning of the people's poesy: and I have at last gone no further than attempting to compose these detached fragments of tradition, Lusatianwise and popularwise, from the people's own telling, into a whole. Upon this scheme only could alike the poetical worth of the tales, and the portraiture of the race, be rescued and rightly secured."

That the traditions have been rescued and maintained in their purity and truth; coloured, no doubt, in the telling, and that unavoidably, under the pencil of their educated renderer—we have every reason to believe from internal evidences. Maintaining their own originality, they correspond in the main to the traditions which come to us from almost every known country on the globe, concurring to attest the intimate and necessary relation of the human soul with what would seem to be the remnants of an ancient and universal mythology. They bear upon their front the minute impress of reality, not to be mistaken, and beyond the mere invention of the poet. They are a valuable addition to the common stock. The style of Willkomm is clear, and to the point; almost always, as he says, in characterizing the speech of his own Upper Lusatians, "hitting the nail upon the head." It breathes of his own mountain air, and possesses a charm, a vigour, and freshness, which we fear that we shall endeavour in vain to transfer to the following version:—

THE FAIRIES' SABBATH.

"Children born of a Sunday, and bastards, inherit the gift, denied to other human beings, of beholding spirits, of talking with them, and, if opportunity befriend, of right intimately communing with them. This was a truth experienced by pretty Maud, the stone-mason's only daughter, who, a hundred years ago or so, led, at the foot of the mountain-ridge yonder, a quiet home-loving life. Maud was born, of all days in the year, upon Easter Sunday, which is said to be a truly lucky day for a mortal not otherwise heavily burdened with earthly blessings. In this last respect, Maud had no reasonable cause of complaint; for her father, by the labour of his hands, painfully earned just as much as went to a frugal housekeeping, and the mother kept the little family in order; so that things looked always neat and clean enough in the abode of the stone-mason.

"All Sunday's children are very wise, and, if they are maidens, always uncommonly beautiful. Maud was, as a child, admired by every body; nay, it once went so far, as that a rich and beautiful, but very sickly-looking, lady of quality, who was travelling over the mountain in a fine carriage, tried hard to coax the poor mother out of her pretty Maud with a large sum of gold. When the maiden had fairly stepped out of child's shoes, and was obliged to seek employment away from home, there was a mighty ado. It was for all the world as if a fairy was going through the place, when Maud, early in the morning, strolled along the banks of the murmuring stream on her road to a wealthy weaver's. The young fellows saluted the fair one as they greeted no other. No one ventured, however, to accost her with unseemly speeches—a kind of thing, by the way, that young men at all times are very prone to. Maud was treated by every one like a saint. Maidens even, her equals in years, prized her highly; and in no way envied her the general admiration. This might be founded in the behaviour itself of Maud. More forward to oblige, to do good offices, more sweetly behaved, was no one. And then she had such a grace with it all, so innocent an eye, that when you looked into it, heaven itself seemed to shine out upon you. In short, whoever spoke with Maud, or might walk a few steps with her, that man was for the whole day another and a happier creature, and whatever he undertook prospered with him.

"It would have been strange indeed had such a maiden lacked suitors, or not very early found a sympathizing heart. Now, as for the suitors, there was no dearth of them, Heaven knows! for there were youngsters of the queerest fashion. Many without manners, though right well to look at; others wealthy, but without heart or soul; and others again ready to burst with rage, if any one but touched his hat to the beautiful Matilda. To all such, the innocent child had not a word to say; for she knew well enough, that scant blessing waits on marriages of such a make. There was but one young fellow who could be said to please her thoroughly, and he was neither rich nor singularly handsome. She had become acquainted with him at the weaver's, where he, like herself, went daily to work. Albert was industrious, well-behaved, and spoke so sensibly and right-heartedly, that Maud ever listened to him with delight. Truth to tell, he simply put her own feelings into words. A very little time passed, before she engaged herself secretly to Albert; and all would have gone on happily and well with them, had the two lovers but possessed just money enough to scrape a few matters together, and to set up housekeeping. But both were poor—poor as church mice; and, just for that reason, the father of Maud did not look very favourably upon the settled love-affair of his daughter. He would have been better satisfied if the silly thing, as he called her, had given her hand to one of the rich suitors, who would have given their ears to please her. Since, however, once for all, the mischief was done, he, like a good man, determined to cause his only child no heartache, and let matters get on as they might. One condition only he insisted upon—which was, that Maud should for the future work under her father's roof; Albert, meanwhile, having leave every evening to pay his visits there. In this arrangement the two lovers cordially acquiesced; for, young as they were, they could well afford a little waiting. Meantime, it must be their endeavour, by incessant labour and careful economy, to save up as much as they needed for setting themselves up in their humble dwelling. So they lived on from day to day in quiet content. And so, no doubt, many days, and many, would have glided by, had not a singular occurrence disturbed the profound tranquillity. This was the way of it:—

"Maud's father, the stone-mason, found it too much for him, with his heavy work and all, when, at noon, he had the long journey to make between the stone quarry and his own home. Besides, the fine stone-dust had brought on an inflammation of the eyes, so that he was obliged to avoid the glare of the sun: no easy thing for him to do, since his road homeward lay over a green high hill, upon which the sun beat scorchingly: wherefore, also, the people have given it the name of the Sun's hill. It was made, in consequence, Maud's duty to take daily her father's homely dinner to the stone quarry—a road which, although toilsome, was by no means disagreeable to her; inasmuch as Albert often found means to get leave of absence, and then always escorted her a part of the way.

"Over the Sun's hill nobody went willingly alone, either by day or by night; for the tale ran, that to many persons wondrous things had happened. Some had even caught, they said, their death-sickness there. True it is, any more definite report was not easily obtained. Only so much had Maud heard from her mother, that the GOOD PEOPLE were said, a very, very long time ago, to have vanished into the green hill; just when, in all the places around, so many churches had sprung up, and the sound of bells rang over mountain and wood. These reports notwithstanding, Maud, unconscious of evil, took her daily walk over the Sun's hill, where indeed no one ever encountered her; so that the splendid landscape looked often desolate and awful in the hot midday's glow.{N} For this reason it was always a great relief to her, when, from the top of the steep hill, she saw Albert ascending towards her. She then felt herself more secure, and went with better spirits forward. It was near Whitsuntide—the father sickly and more peevish than ever, and work bringing in no supply; for provisions had risen fearfully in price in consequence of the previous unusually hard winter. Now, as often as Maud brought the dinner to her father, he complained bitterly, and reproached her harshly for her folly; so that the poor child was almost heartbroken, pined, and led a melancholy life.

"She most deeply felt her trouble, when at noon she took her lonely journey along the desolate path that led to the quarry. Then she often shed the bitterest tears, and prayed to God to show her an outlet, and to have pity on their poverty.

"One day—it was just a week to Whitsun-eve—it happened that as she went upon her way, silently and in sorrow, and in vain looked for the beloved figure of Albert, she suddenly heard such a marvellously clear sound of a bell that she stood still to hearken. It was upon the mid summit of the Sun's hill; the air perfectly calm, and around, far and near, not a creature to be seen. From the distant hamlet in the valley clinked only the sharp tones of the whetting scythe. Maud believed that she had had a ringing in her ears, and walked on. The singular sound was repeated, resembling the tone exactly of a small silver bell.

"'How strange it is!' said the maiden to herself, casting her eyes upon the ground; and in the soft moss, right at her feet, she perceived something glistening like a fragment of blue glass. She stooped and picked up what in colour and shape resembled a blue harebell, or, as it is called, Fairy's hat; only, where the stalk should have been, there was a so small and elegantly-wrought little silver bell, that Maud could not help laughing outright.

"'Bless me!' she exclaimed, 'who can have made that comical thing?' and thereupon she shook the flower, and the wee little bell began to sound so prodigiously clear, that the poor damsel let it fall, affrighted.

"'What are thy commands?' asked immediately a slender bright voice. Before her stood a delicate creature, not higher than her hand; but of a symmetry of person that was perfectly astonishing. His small expressive head, round which a grove of curls, like crisped sunbeams, played, was just of a size, that the flower with the wondrous bell served it for a covering. For Maud saw how he put on the sparkling hat with much gravity, and at the same time, very knowingly, giving himself a right bold and dandy appearance.

"'What are you then?' asked Maud trembling.

"The little fellow made a smart bow, 'Thy servant, with thy good leave,' replied the strange being. 'I and my people have known thee a long time. We have heard thy complainings; and because thou hast a kind heart, and lovest the flowers, and dost not wantonly pull them to pieces, am I charged to do thee a pleasure, provided thou wilt do the like for me and my people.'

"'Indeed! you pretty little original!' answered Maud, 'who are thy people? I'——

"'Hush!' interrupted the little one, with a repelling gesture of the hand and a very impressive contraction of the brow. 'These are questions which I cannot answer, and, what is more, cannot suffer. It is not civil to put questions of the WHENCE and the WHAT. If thou wilt trust me, and I should think that I have the air of a proper gentleman, then resolve without delay whether thou wilt do me a pleasure for a reasonable compensation.'

"'Dear little sir!' replied Maud, overcome, 'I am not mistrustful, but so beset and afflicted that I really do not know how I am to understand this strange business. Do not make sport of me, good child; or, if thou art a spirit, I beseech thee have compassion on me, and let me go my way in peace. My father is waiting for me. His little bit of dinner is drying in the heat of the sun.'

"'Silly prattle!' interrupted the little one. 'Thy old father lies under the rock side, and snores till the fern leaves waggle over him. The good man's dinner will not take much harm. However, that thou mayest see how good and honourable my intentions are, take thou my little cap. Be it the pledge which I shall redeem from thee with a compensation. Only resolve quickly now whether thou wilt trust me. My time is short.'

"Maud hesitated still. She held the miraculous cap with its silver bell in her hand. The desire to get rid of the uncanny creature the sooner the better, and also, perhaps, a particle of female curiosity wrung from her her consent.

"'Good!' said the little one in great glee. 'Now, hear me! This day week, upon Whitsun-eve, as ye call it, do thou come here in the evening, as soon as the moon has mounted this green hill. Be not afraid; for only good will befall thee. As soon as thou hast reached this spot, ring with the little bell which I have given thee; and thou wilt not repent having been serviceable to the good people.'

"Scarcely had the little man given Maud her direction, when the astonished maiden remarked that the ground before her feet flashed like molten gold, sunk deeper and deeper, and in this glowing gulf the extraordinary being vanished, like a silver star. The whole phenomenon lasted only a few seconds, then every thing was again at rest as before. The little bell-flower only assured Matilda that she did not dream, and that something unusual had really taken place.

"Possessed with her feelings, she took her father his meal; and found him, in sooth, fast asleep under the wall of rock. Of her adventure she said nothing, but carried the pledge of the little man well secured in her bosom. And yet how was it possible for her to persevere in her silence? It is true, Maud knew not if the communication of the incident was permitted her. She put her trust, however, in the pledge; and, since she had not been commanded to silence, she hoped to be justified in making Albert acquainted with what had happened.

"She did it with fear and trembling, and produced to her astonished lover, as witness, the flower which had withered in the warmth of her bosom. Singularly enough, let her shake it as often as she would, the little bell could not be made to ring.

"'And you really mean to go?' asked Albert, when he had a little recovered from his surprise. 'I should like to see you! To get flirting with ghosts and hobgoblins, or whatever else the devils may be. No! go you don't. You will throw that stupid thing into the running stream. There it won't hurt you; and upon that confounded Sun's hill you will please never to set foot more.'

"'I have given my word, Albert; and I must keep my word let what will happen.'

"'Very well,' said the youngster, 'that's enough! Then every thing's at an end between us—clean at an end!'

"'How you take on now! For whom else, but for you, have I accepted this pledge? For whom else have I so long endured—so long borne my father's upbraidings? Dost thou think that, had I wished it, I could not long since have wedded? And is it my fault that I am a Sunday's child? Is it not said that all Sunday's children are born to good-luck? If you hinder me from keeping my word with this miraculous being—and the luck that is decreed me is meanwhile scattered to all the four winds—you may settle it with the spirit and face his anger; for I wash my hands in innocency.'

"Maud began to cry, kissed the shrunken leaf, and hid it again in her bosom. Albert was not at ease. He was annoyed at the untoward encounter, a touch of jealousy disquieted and distressed his soul, and yet he could not say that the girl was in the wrong. At length he said, dispiritedly—

"'Go through with your folly then. I will, however, be near you, and if the moon-spun rascal takes improper liberties, I will snap his neck, though mine too should crack for it.'

"For the first time in his life, Albert parted with Maud in an ill-humour, and the poor girl herself passed a bad and restless night.

* * * * *

"'Mother,' said Maud a few days afterwards, whilst she was getting the father's dinner ready for her, 'did you ever see a fairy?'

"'God forbid, girl!' cried the worthy and somewhat timid woman, crossing herself. 'How came that into thy head? What hast thou to do with fairies and elves, dwarfs and wights? A good Christian has no business with such things of nothing, or worse.'

"'Why, aunt Nelly was telling the other day such surprising stories of the people!' Matilda replied; 'but she did not drop a hint of our having reason to fear any harm from them. She even called them the GOOD PEOPLE.'

"'Daughter!' the mother seriously rejoined, 'we call them so that they may do us no mischief. It is safer for us to leave them quite alone.'

"'Can it be true, mother, that they have buried themselves under the Sun's hill, and keep house and home there? Aunt Nelly would have it that in the still of the night, by bright moonlight, you may hear them singing wonderful tunes.'

"The mother fixed her eyes upon Maud, set the old man's morsel of food upon the hearth stone, and, taking her daughter by the hand, led her to the stove, and seated her upon the family bench.

"'Listen!' she said, 'and take thou heed to my words. The good people, or the fairies, which is their proper name, although they do not like to be called so, do indeed live, though few have the gift of beholding them, in all the mountains and valleys round about. Very, very seldom, and only upon the most extraordinary occasions, do they ever show themselves. When they do, it betokens luck to him that sees them, and brings it, if he quietly fulfill their wishes. These are certainly often out of the way, just like the people, who are strange and incomprehensible enough. Thank Goodness, they never crossed my path! but your godmother Helen, she had many, many years ago, a curious adventure with the fairies.'

"'Really, mother! Aunt Nelly spoken to the fairies! O pray, dear mother, tell me quickly and fully the whole story!'

"'First run to the quarry, and take your father his dinner,' said the mother. 'I will try in the meanwhile to remember all about it; and if you will promise me to say not a word to any one—not even to your godmother, you shall hear what your aunt told me at that time.'

"Maud very naturally promised every thing, took herself off, and was back again as quickly as possible. She did not loiter for a moment upon the road, did not even notice the signals which her Albert made as he came towards her from the distance. She could think only of her mother's story.

"'Here I am again, mother!' she said breathless. 'I call that running! I should say that the king's trained runners could do no better. But now begin, dear mother. I will listen to you as if you were saying mass.'

"'As well as I can remember,' proceeded the mother, 'the case of the fairies is a very singular one. Your godmother Helen disclosed to me, it is true, just the chief particulars only; but they were quite enough to let you understand something of the good people. They told her that, once in every fifty or a hundred years, they have a kind of church meeting, which from old time they call a Sabbath. For you must know, child, that the fairies are properly Jews,{O} right down old chaffering Jews, from Olim's time.'{P}

"'O bless me! Jews!' cried Maud, frightened out of her wits.

"'Yes, yes, Jews and nothing else,' repeated the mother warmly; 'and that's the very reason why, up to this day, they are so given to trafficking in precious stones, pearls, gold, silver, and artful jewellery. And when they give themselves a holiday, they go running about above-ground, making presents to new-born babies if they are very lovely, and playing all kinds of odd pranks. According to your godmother Helen, the history of the fairies runs thus:—The whole people, and their name is LEGION, were formerly in heaven.'

"'In heaven!' cried Maud, interrupting her mother, 'then why didn't the silly creatures stay there? Where else do they hope to be more snug and comfortable than in heaven! seated under the fur-cap of father Abraham!'

"'How you prate!' said the mother, checking her. 'If you do not instantly tie up your tongue, and think more respectfully of the good people, I shall not tell you another syllable.'

"'O pray! I will be quite quiet!'

"'Very well. Then the fairies were a long while ago in heaven,' continued the mother. 'At that time they were part of the angelic host, were fine handsome people, went about in glittering robes, and sat at God's right hand. Now, it befell that the chief angel of all got dissatisfied with the old management of affairs in heaven, stirred up discontent, tampered with the half of all the angels, and tried, with their help, to thrust out the old rightful Master of heaven and earth from his bright throne. But it fared with him as it does with most rebels, and rightly should with all. Our Father, in his glory, got the better of Satan, took him by the hair of his head, and pitched him head-foremost out of heaven into the pit of darkness, and his whole sharkish band of retainers after him. Amongst these, however, a good many had given ear to his fine tales, and had followed him thoughtlessly, although they were not properly wicked at heart. They repented their hasty work, even whilst they were falling deeper and deeper into gloom. They put up a prayer of repentance to their Lord, and implored his forgiveness; and because God saw that they were not rotten at the core, he hearkened to their petition, and rescued them out of the claws of Satan. But since they were not worthy to be received into heaven again, the Lord banished them back to the earth, with leave given them to dwell either within it, or in upper air, upon the hills and rocks. You must know that, during their fall, a surprising change had gone on in the transgressors. They had kept their forms of light—dwindled in size, however, immensely. And since they could not now become men,{Q} and had fooled away their celestial bliss, the Lord granted them a clear field, with power, until the last day, to make themselves worthy by good deeds of being re-admitted into heaven. And thus they have their abodes all about the open hills and the meadow flats; and only once in every fifty or a hundred years, upon Whitsun-eve, are they permitted, in their own way, to keep the Sabbath. And then they can only do it by loading a truly good human being with the blessings of fortune. For thus only can they hope to expiate their great offence in the sight of Heaven.'

"'And did godmother Helen hear this from the good people themselves?' asked Maud, as her mother ceased. 'Was she, then, lucky?'

"'No,' said the mother, 'Nelly was not lucky, because she did not observe the commandment of the fairies.'

"'Well, if one of the creatures came to me, and should lay a command upon me, I would keep a quiet tongue within my head, and do readily what he wished.'

"'Foolish chatter!' said the mother chidingly. 'Thou dost offend the quiet people with thy empty babbling for they can hear every thing that human lips utter.'

"Maud went singing to her work, and long mused upon her timid mother's narrative. What she had heard filled her with so eager a curiosity that she could scarcely wait for Whitsun-eve, although she took care to let no one observe it. From time to time she stole a glance at her bell-flower, tried to make it ring with shaking, but failed to bring, by any means, one sound from the delicate little bell.

"With a longing dread, Maud saw the promised Whitsun-eve draw near. It was not easy to leave the parental roof at nightfall. The enamoured maiden, however, found a becoming excuse which placed a few hours at her disposal. She went her way with the fairy cap in her bosom, ascended the green summit of the Sun's hill, now glimmering in the moonlight, and drew from its hiding-place the pledge that had been entrusted to her. As if by a miracle, the little flower, touched by the moon's silvery glow, expanded in an instant. Almost spontaneously it began to oscillate in her hand, and shrill and clear the little bell rang, so that it resounded into the adjacent wood, whence a soft echo melodiously responded.

"The voice of Albert, who with vigorous strides was ascending the hill to look close after the adventure of his beloved, reached her ear. But the senses of Matilda were engrossed by the fairies, and to his repeated calls she gave no answer. And she had good reason. For scarcely had the little bell rung, when a flash, like a sparkling snake, darted here and there upon the grass, and out of the quivering light there arose a small and exceedingly beautiful creature, whom Maud immediately recognised for the lord of the bell-flower. The little fellow was in Spanish costume. He wore a doublet of sky-blue butterflies' wings, over which dropped a magnificent lace collar woven of the gossamer. The delicate feet were covered with transparent shoes, made of dew-drops.

"Maud stood mute with astonishment, as well at the tiny smallness of the fairy, as at his truly classical beauty. The little creature was, in his way, a perfect Adonis.

"'Now, my trembler, art thou resolute to follow me?' whispered the fairy in a note that came to her like a note of the harmonicon. 'Restore me the pledge, for we have no time to lose.'

"Maud gave back the bell-flower; the elf seized it in his little diaphanous alabaster floral hands, waved it three times round his dazzling head, so that the little bell sent a peal round the hills, and then threw it upon the ground. It dilated immediately, took the shape of a galley with masts and yards, although no larger than the moon's disk as we see it from the earth. In the same instant the elf sat in the little vessel, which trembled at every step, drew a rush from his girdle, and steered with it in the air.

"'Now, come, step in!' he called to Maud.

"'In that!' exclaimed the maiden astounded. 'Heaven love you, there's hardly room for my two feet! Besides, it will tear under me like a poppy-leaf, for I verily believe it is made of mere air.'

"'Spare your remarks, Miss Pert!' returned the fairy, 'and step in. I pledge my honour, and will give up my hope of salvation, if this bark of our master's do not carry thee safely over half the earth ball in less than no time.'

"It might be that Maud now stood under the mysterious power of a spell, or that she was urged by an invincible curiosity. Enough: she placed her feet in the quaking gondola, which swelled aloft like an air-balloon until it reached the maiden's shoulders. Now the ground sank away, and Matilda's senses failed her in the dizzy speed with which she was hurried down into the bowels of the earth. At this precise moment Albert reached the top of the hill. He had only the pleasure of looking after them, and hardly that; for it appeared to him as if every thing about him was immersed in a sea of azure so resplendently clear, that he was for several minutes robbed of his sight.

"From the magical slumber into which the child had fallen during her descent into the kingdom of the fairies, she was awakened by a witching harmony of sounds. She opened her eyes, and observed, with not a little wonder, that she was lying upon a bed or mat, or whatsoever else it might be called, of costly emerald. Over her head nodded marvellous flowers of the most glowing colours; butterflies, of unseen splendour, flitted on cooling pinions around her couch, and fanned her with an air so sweet, so invigorating, that the maiden had never breathed before with such delight. But with all the magnificence, all the spirit and splendour, every thing was quite other than upon the sunny earth above. The flowers and herbs glittered indeed; but they seemed to be juiceless, and looked as if formed of crystal. Even the butterflies had a peculiar motion, like that of an involuntary sleepwalker. Only the harmonious strains, which now rang louder and louder, more and more ravishing, were so ecstatic, so inviting to joyous devotion, that Maud would fain have shouted aloud for joy; but she felt that she could not speak, could not cry out, and sight, touch, and hearing, were more alive than ever.

"Thus she lay for some time motionless, pleasingly intent upon the nodding flowers, the swarming butterflies. At length the winged multitude dispersed, and two slender fairy-forms approached her bed and beckoned her to arise and follow them.

"Maud arose; and the fairies, who hardly reached up to her knee, taking her between them, conducted her through a gate of mother-of-pearl into an illimitable space, through which throng of countless millions of elves confusedly moved. The converse of these semi-spirits sounded in the distance harmonious, like perfect music. Notwithstanding the immense multitude, there was nothing of tumult, nothing of uproar. They stood all in the finest concord, and bent, waving their flower-caps gracefully, towards the abashed, astonished maiden. It bewildered Maud to see that not only overhead arched a star-bespangled sky, but likewise underneath her feet the same solemn starry splendour was revealed, as if the slight fairy people walked, between two heavens, upon the milkwhite vapour which rolled on under them like clouds. Every fairy had on glass or crystal shoes, if that which they wore on their feet might be so called. It is, however, possible that the exquisitely made limbs of these perplexing beings only deluded the eyes of the poor girl with such an appearance.

"Nearly in the middle of the immeasurable arena rose a temple of gold, silver, and precious stones, which, with its lofty pillars reaching to the sky, was emblazoned in so wondrous a light, that, notwithstanding the extreme refulgence, it did not dazzle. Within this, upon a ceaselessly revolving sun-orb, stood the most beautiful and tallest of the fairies. In her golden hair gleamed stars. Joy and ecstasy radiated like a glory from her lovely pale face, and vapoury raiment concealed, but as with a breath, her incomparable figure. Towards her pressed the innumerable host; for the sublime creature might be the priestess of the united elfin race. Maud was carried forwards with them, that she might be a witness of the singular worship that was here solemnized. Not a word was spoken, no hymn was sung; there was but a looking-up of supplication, of trustfulness, in which all the fairies, turning round upon their sparkling little feet, took part. After a few minutes a joyful expression in the countenance of the worshippers proclaimed the happy issue of the Sabbath. The stars of the upper sky shot down like silver spangles, and hung suspended in the luminous hair of the fairies, giving them the appearance of carrying dancing lights on their heads. A loud, melodious, strain of rejoicing thrilled through the vast room. The radiant structure heaved and sank. Overhead a verdurous canopy of leaves vaulted itself; the elves, entwining arms and legs, flew in a lightning whirl around the high priestess and the dazzled Maud, who, unawares, had come close upon the lovely fairy.

"In a little while the slender body-chain of elves gave way; they grouped themselves into numberless rows; every one took off the star from his head, and, tripping up, deposited it at the feet of the priestess, where they at length all united in composing themselves into a great gold-bright sphere, exactly resembling that upon which the high, officiating fairy had been borne round in the temple.

"The elfin now extended her hand to Maud and said—

"'We thank thee for the readiness with which thou hast followed my messenger into this our hidden kingdom. Thou hast, by thy presence, prospered our Sabbath festival. Receive, for thy reward, the gratitude of all the fairies; and bear with thee this gift in remembrance of this day.'

"So speaking, she plucked the coronal of stars from her hair, stretched it out with both her hands, and hung it upon the head and neck of Matilda.

"'Whenever thou art in trouble,' she continued, 'think of the good people; pull one of these stars, throw it in the air by the light of the moon, and whatsoever thou wishest, provided it be lawful, shall be granted thee.'

"Maud would have stammered forth her thanks, but she felt herself still powerless to speak. A kiss of the fairy upon her forehead was the signal for breaking up. The good people once more waved their caps. The gondola floated by, Maud mounted it, and, as quickly as she had descended, was lifted up upon the earth again.

"'There!' said the little pilot fairy, tying the supple rudder about the wrist of Maud, 'that is my wedding gift to you and Albert. Give him the half of it if he pouts; and—have a care—no blabbing!'

"With that the gondola dissolved like a cloud in the air. The fairy vanished; and Maud lay alone upon the fragrant dewy grass of the Sun's hill.

"Still all-amazed at what had happened, and not yet come rightly to herself, she slowly rose, intending to go home. It was then she perceived Albert, who, with folded arms, was staring wildly and savagely into the wood below. Matilda coughed.

"'Why where, in the name of all that is holy, have you been dancing to?' was the not very tender greeting of her lover. 'I saw you standing there as I came up the hill; and then lightning and streams of fire were all about me, and here I have been full five minutes, running about in all directions, without being able to find a trace of you.'

"'Only five minutes!' exclaimed Maud; 'that is extraordinary!'

"'Yes; and, no offence to you, not altogether right,' answered Albert. 'Did I not beg of you to wait for me?'

"'That you might wring the fairy's neck for him?' said the maiden, laughing. 'Set yourself at ease, Albert; it is much better as it is.'

"'What is?' screamed the youngster.

"'Never mind! It is all done now; and indeed, dear boy, we shall neither of us repent it. Come, let us go home.'

"'O ho!—dear boy!—Mighty wise and patronizing truly!'

"'Well, then, good Albert,' said Matilda coaxingly; 'only come away, and don't be angry. In four weeks we shall be married.'

"'In fo—ur wee—eeks!' stuttered Albert.

"'Yes, and in three, if you like it better,' prated the overjoyed Maud. 'The good people,' she added, almost inaudibly, 'have enabled us to marry. Therefore behave pretty, be quiet, and don't quarrel—or else—'every thing is at an end between us—clean at an end!' Don't you know that I am a Sunday's child, and am under the especial protection of these kind, little, powerful creatures?'

"The jealous youth followed the maiden with reluctance. Whilst he walked, murmuring in an under-tone at her side, he noticed by the light of the full moon something flickering in Matilda's hair. He examined it more closely, and then stood still.

"'What new fashion do you call that?' he asked in a voice of chagrin. 'The idea of hanging dried mushrooms in one's hair! If you will only walk with that finery by daylight down to the brook, the children will run after you, and point at you with their finger.'

"'Mushrooms!' replied Maud. 'Why, where are your eyes again?'

"'Well, I suppose you don't mean to call them silver crowns? Thank Heaven, my eyes are good enough yet to see the difference between dried funguses and coined money!'

"'They are glittering stars, sir,' said Maud, short and decided.

"'O indeed!' returned Albert. 'Well, then, the next time I would recommend you to select some that shine rather brighter.'

"The lovers had, in the meanwhile, reached the hut of the stone-mason. Albert entered with Matilda. The father lay asleep by the stove. The mother turned her spinning-wheel.

"'Good-evening, mother!" said Albert. 'Have the goodness to tell that conceited girl there, that her headgear is the most miserable that ever was seen.'

"'What!' said the old lady wondering, and with a shake of the head. 'Maud has no other gear that I see, but her own beautiful hair, which may God long preserve to her!'

"Instead of giving any answer, Albert would have set the daughter before her mother's eyes. But Maud had already, in the doorway, pulled off the fairy's gift, and turned pale as she saw that she had actually worn dried mushrooms on a string, twisted of withered rushes. Albert observed her perplexity, and laughed. He bantered her, and snatched two or three mushrooms from the chain, to hoard up for future sport. This was the token of their reconciliation. Maud, although very calmly, assured her lover, over and over again, that within a month their nuptials should take place. That the tired old man might not be disturbed, Albert went home early; and Maud hastened to put carefully away, for a while, the very meagre-looking fairy gifts.

"On the following morning, Albert was off betimes to his work. Putting on his jacket, he heard something chinking within. His surprise was naturally great, knowing that he had no money there. He dived at once into his pocket, and drew out two large old gold pieces. Then he suddenly remembered, that the evening before he had pocketed the mushrooms which he had snatched away from Maud, and the most extravagant joy possessed him. He forgot his work and every thing else; started off, and ran, as fast as his legs could carry him, to the house of the stone-mason.

"Maud stood at the brook, before the door, washing her small white hands in the clear stream.

"'Good-morrow, dear Maud, and a thousand blessings on thy sweet head!' cried Albert to her, as he came running. 'Look, look, how thy mushrooms have changed! If the others turn out as well, I am afraid that, after all, I must forgive that little shrimp that was so killingly polite to you!'

"'Delightful! delightful!' exclaimed Matilda, gazing at the gold pieces. 'Mine have not changed yet—but that doesn't matter; for in the night, a little rush band, with which the fairy steered me into his kingdom of wonders, has bloomed into precious pearls and brilliants, and two sparkling wreaths are now lying upstairs in my drawer.'

"Joyful surprise choked Albert's words in his throat; but Maud drew him on, and displayed to him her glories from the fairy world.

"'Let us leave nothing undone that may help our luck. Do you take the little wreath for the present. Such is the wish of the mysterious being, who required my attendance at the Fairies' Sabbath.'

"Albert received the gift with a softened heart. He begged Maud's forgiveness of his fault; she granted it willingly, and before four weeks had passed by, the lovers were man and wife.

"Of her adventure on Whitsun-eve, Maud never spoke. So much the more had her godmother Helen to say about it; for it was not difficult to guess that the fairies had had their prospering hand in the marriage of her godchild. The stone-mason now gave up his laborious calling. Albert became the master of a moderate property, which he diligently cultivated with his beloved Maud; and, as fair child after child was born to them, the happy mother laid upon the breast of each a shriveled leaf from the elfin chain, for so had her little guide counseled her, when she once, in a doubtful hour, had summoned him to her aid. Albert and Matilda reached a good old age; their children throve, and carefully preserved, like their parents, the gifts received from the subterranean folk, who continued their favour to them and to all their posterity."

FOOTNOTES:

{A} Midsummer Night's Dream.

{B} DOLMEN; literally, stone table. Remarkable structures, learnedly ascribed to the Druids; unlearnedly, to the dwarfs and fairies; and numerous throughout Western Britanny. One or more large and massive flat stones, overlaying great slabs planted edgeways in the ground, form a rude and sometimes very capacious chamber, or grotto. The superstition which cleaves to these relics of a forgotten antiquity, stamps itself in the names given to many of them by the peasantry:—Grotte aux fees, Roche aux fees, &c.

{C} WEIRDS. The French has—LOTS. "Elles jettent des SORTS." For justifying the translation, see the fine old Scottish ballad of KEMPION; or KEMP OWAYNE, at the beginning:—

"Come here, come here, ye freely fede, (i. e. nobly born,) And lay your head low on my knee, A heavier WEIRD I shall ye read Than ever was read to gay ladye.

"I WEIRD ye to a fiery beast: And released shall ye never be, Till Kempion the kinges son Come to the crag and thrice kiss thee!"

{D} From the preface to the exceedingly interesting collection by M. Th. de la Villemarque, of the transmitted songs that are current amongst his Bas Breton countrymen.

{E} Essay on The Fairies of Popular Superstition, in "The Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border."

{F} Deutsche Mythologie, von Jacob Grimm. Chap. xiii. Ed. 1. 1835, and xvii. Ed. 2. 1843.

{G} "Ces genies femelles."

{H} From Walckenaer's Dissertation on the Origin of the Fairy Belief; last printed, in an abridged form, by Jacob, in his edition of the Contes des Fees, par Perrault, (Paris, 1842.)

{I} "Paradise and groves Elysian, fortunate fields—like those of old Sought in the Atlantic main, why should they be A history only of departed things, Or a mere fiction of what never was? For the discerning Intellect of man, When wedded to this goodly Universe In love and holy passion, shall find these A simple produce of the common day. I long before the blissful hour arrives Would chant, in lonely peace, the spousal verse Of this great consummation."

WORDSWORTH. Preface to the Excursion.

{J} SAGEN UND MAHRCHEN aus der Oberlausitz. Nacherzahlt von Ernst Willkomm, Hanover, 1843.

{K} IRISCHE ELFENMARCHEN: Uebersetzt von den Bruedern Grimm. Leipzig, 1826. Introduction.

{L} DEUTSCHE SAGEN: Herausgegeben von den Bruedern Grimm. Berlin, 1816 and 1818.

{M} Grimm's German Mythology, p. 544.

{N} "——his look Drew audience and attention, STILL AS night Or SUMMER'S NOONTIDE AIR."—Paradise Lost. Book II.

{O} The fairies themselves hardly can have imparted to godmother Helen the two irreconcilable derivations of their order: that they were Jews, and that they were fallen angels. But the poet DRAMATICALLY joins, upon the mother's lip, the two current traditions. With her, fallen angel and Jew are synonymous, as being both opposed to the faith of the cross.

{P} Who is this unknown OLIM? Our old friend perchance, the Latin adverb, "Olim," of yore—gradually slipped from the mouths of scholars into the people's, and risen in dignity as it descended.

{Q} Sic.



COLUMBUS.

(A Print after a Picture by Parmeggiano.)

BY B. SIMMONS.

I.

RISE, VICTOR, from the festive board Flush'd with triumphal wine, And lifting high thy beaming sword, Fired by the flattering Harper's chord, Who hymns thee half divine. Vow at the glutted shrine of Fate That dark-red brand to consecrate! Long, dread, and doubtful was the fray That gives the stars thy name to-day. But all is over; round thee now Fame shouts, spoil pours, and captives bow, No stormier joy can Earth impart, Than thrills in lightning through thy heart.

II.

Gay LOVER, with the soft guitar, Hie to the olive-woods afar, And to thy friend, the listening brook, Alone reveal that raptured look; The maid so long in secret loved— A parent's angry will removed— This morning saw betrothed thine, That Sire the pledge, consenting, blest, Life bright as motes in golden wine, Is dancing in thy breast.

III.

STATESMAN astute, the final hour Arrives of long-contested Power; Each crafty wile thine ends to aid, Party and principle betray'd; The subtle speech, the plan profound, Pursued for years, success has crown'd; To-night the Vote upon whose tongue, The nicely-poised Division hung, Was thine—beneath that placid brow What feelings throb exulting now! Thy rival falls;—on grandeur's base Go shake the nations in his place!

IV.

FAME, LOVE, AMBITION! what are Ye, With all your wasting passions' war, To the great Strife that, like a sea, O'erswept His soul tumultuously, Whose face gleams on me like a star— A star that gleams through murky clouds— As here begirt by struggling crowds A spell-bound Loiterer I stand, Before a print-shop in the Strand? What are your eager hopes and fears Whose minutes wither men like years— Your schemes defeated or fulfill'd, To the emotions dread that thrill'd His frame on that October night, When, watching by the lonely mast, He saw on shore the moving light, And felt, though darkness veil'd the sight, The long-sought World was his at last?{A}

V.

How Fancy's boldest glances fail, Contemplating each hurrying mood Of thought that to that aspect pale Sent up the heart's o'erboiling flood Through that vast vigil, while his eyes Watch'd till the slow reluctant skies Should kindle, and the vision dread, Of all his livelong years be read! In youth, his faith-led spirit doom'd Still to be baffled and betray'd, His manhood's vigorous noon consumed Ere Power bestow'd its niggard aid; That morn of summer, dawning grey,{B} When, from Huelva's humble bay, He full of hope, before the gale Turn'd on the hopeless World his sail, And steer'd for seas untrack'd, unknown, And westward still sail'd on—sail'd on— Sail'd on till Ocean seem'd to be All shoreless as Eternity, Till, from its long-loved Star estranged, At last the constant Needle changed,{C} And fierce amid his murmuring crew Prone terror into treason grew; While on his tortured spirit rose, More dire than portents, toils, or foes, The awaiting World's loud jeers and scorn Yell'd o'er his profitless Return; No—none through that dark watch may trace The feelings wild beneath whose swell, As heaves the bark the billows' race, His Being rose and fell! Yet over doubt, and pride, and pain, O'er all that flash'd through breast and brain, As with those grand, immortal eyes He stood—his heart on fire to know When morning next illumed the skies, What wonders in its light should glow— O'er all one thought must, in that hour, Have sway'd supreme—Power, conscious Power— The lofty sense that Truths conceived, And born of his own starry mind, And foster'd into might, achieved A new Creation for mankind! And when from off that ocean calm The Tropic's dusky curtain clear'd, All those green shores and banks of balm And rosy-tinted hills appear'd Silent and bright as Eden, ere Earth's breezes shook one blossom there— Against that hour's proud tumult weigh'd, LOVE, FAME, AMBITION, how ye fade!

VI.

Thou LUTHER of the darken'd Deep! Nor less intrepid, too, than He Whose courage broke EARTH'S bigot sleep Whilst thine unbarr'd the SEA— Like his, 'twas thy predestined fate Against your grin benighted age, With all its fiends of Fear and Hate, War, single-handed war, to wage, And live a conqueror, too, like him, Till Time's expiring lights grow dim! O, Hero of my boyish heart! Ere from thy pictured looks I part, My mind's maturer reverence now In thoughts of thankfulness would bow To the OMNISCIENT WILL that sent Thee forth, its chosen instrument, To teach us hope, when sin and care, And the vile soilings that degrade Our dust, would bid us most despair— Hope, from each varied deed display'd Along thy bold and wondrous story, That shows how far one steadfast mind, Serene in suffering as in glory, May go to deify our kind.

FOOTNOTES:

{A} October 11, 1492.—"As the evening darkened, Columbus took his station on the top of the castle or cabin, on the high poop of his vessel. However he might carry a cheerful and confident countenance during the day, it was to him a time of the most painful anxiety; and now, when he was wrapped from observation by the shades of night, he maintained an intense and unremitting watch, ranging his eye along the dusky horizon in search of the most vague indications of land. Suddenly, about ten o'clock, he thought he beheld a light glimmering at a distance. Fearing that his eager hopes might deceive him, he called to Pedro Gutierrez, gentleman of the king's bedchamber, and enquired whether he saw a light in that direction; the latter replied in the affirmative. Columbus, yet doubtful whether it might not be some delusion of the fancy, called Rodrigo Sanchez of Segovia, and made the same enquiry. By the time the latter had ascended the roundhouse, the light had disappeared. They saw it once or twice afterwards in sudden and passing gleams, as if it were a torch in the bark of a fisherman rising and sinking with the waves, or in the hand of some person on shore, borne up and down as he walked from house to house. So transient and uncertain were these gleams, that few attached any importance to them; Columbus, however, considered them as certain signs of land, and, moreover, that the land was inhabited."—IRVING'S Columbus, vol. i.

{B} "It was on Friday, the 3d of August 1492, early in the morning, that Columbus set sail on his first voyage of discovery. He departed from the bar of Saltes, a small island in front of the town of Huelva, steering in a south-westerly direction," &c.—IRVING. He was about fifty-seven years old the year of the Discovery.

{C} "On the 13th September, in the evening, being about two hundred leagues from the island of Ferro, he, for the first time, noticed the variation of the needle, a phenomenon which had never before been remarked. Struck with the circumstance, he observed it attentively for three days, and found that the variation increased as he advanced. It soon attracted the attention of the pilots, and filled them with consternation. It seemed as if the very laws of nature were changing as they advanced, and that they were entering another world subject to unknown influences."—Ibid.



TO SWALLOWS ON THE EVE OF DEPARTURE.

BY THE SAME.

"The day before V——'s departure for the last time from the country—it was the 4th of August, one of the hottest days of the season—as evening fell, he strolled with an old school-fellow through the cool green avenues and leafy arcades of the neighbouring park, where his friend amused him by pointing out to his attention vast multitudes of Swallows that came swarming from all directions to settle on the roofs and gables of the manor-house. This they do for several days preparatory to their departing, in one collected body, to more genial climates."—MS. Memoir.

I.

Joyous Birds! preparing In the clear evening light To leave our dwindled summer day For latitudes more bright! How gay must be your greeting, By southern fountains meeting, To miss no faithful wing of all that started in your flight!

II.

Every clime and season Fresh gladness brings to you, Howe'er remote your social throngs Their varied path pursue; No winds nor waves dissever— No dusky veil'd FOR EVER, Frowneth across your fearless way in the empyrean blue.{A}

III.

Mates and merry brothers Were ye in Arctic hours, Mottling the evening beam that sloped Adown old Gothic towers! As blythe that sunlight dancing Will see your pinions' glancing Scattering afar through Tropic groves the spicy bloom in showers!

IV.

Haunters of palaced wastes!{B} From king-forlorn Versailles To where, round gateless Thebes, the winds Like monarch voices wail, Your tribe capricious ranges, Reckless of glory's changes; Love makes for ye a merry home amid the ruins pale.

V.

Another day, and ye From knosp and turret's brow Shall, with your fleet of crowding wings, Air's viewless billows plough, With no keen-fang'd regretting Our darken'd hill-sides quitting, —Away in fond companionship as cheerily as now!

VI.

Woe for the Soul-endued— The clay-enthralled Mind— Leaving, unlike you, favour'd birds! Its all—its all behind. Woe for the exile mourning, To banishment returning— A mateless bird wide torn apart from country and from kind!

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