LIBRARY OF THE
WORLD'S BEST LITERATURE
ANCIENT AND MODERN
CHARLES DUDLEY WARNER
HAMILTON WRIGHT MABIE LUCIA GILBERT RUNKLE GEORGE HENRY WARNER
THE ADVISORY COUNCIL
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CRAWFORD H. TOY, A.M., LL.D., Professor of Hebrew, HARVARD UNIVERSITY, Cambridge, Mass.
THOMAS R. LOUNSBURY, LL.D., L.H.D., Professor of English in the Sheffield Scientific School of YALE UNIVERSITY, New Haven, Conn.
WILLIAM M. SLOANE, PH.D., L.H.D., Professor of History and Political Science, PRINCETON UNIVERSITY, Princeton, N.J.
BRANDER MATTHEWS, A.M., LL.B., Professor of Literature, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY, New York City.
JAMES B. ANGELL, LL.D., President of the UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN, Ann Arbor, Mich.
WILLARD FISKE, A.M., PH.D., Late Professor of the Germanic and Scandinavian Languages and Literatures, CORNELL UNIVERSITY, Ithaca, N.Y.
EDWARD S. HOLDEN, A.M., LL.D., Director of the Lick Observatory, and Astronomer, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, Berkeley, Cal.
ALCEE FORTIER, LIT.D., Professor of the Romance Languages, TULANE UNIVERSITY, New Orleans, La.
WILLIAM P. TRENT, M.A., Dean of the Department of Arts and Sciences, and Professor of English and History, UNIVERSITY OF THE SOUTH, Sewanee, Tenn.
PAUL SHOREY, PH.D., Professor of Greek and Latin Literature, UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO, Chicago, Ill.
WILLIAM T. HARRIS, LL.D., United States Commissioner of Education, BUREAU OF EDUCATION, Washington, D.C.
MAURICE FRANCIS EGAN, A.M., LL.D., Professor of Literature in the CATHOLIC UNIVERSITY OF AMERICA, Washington, D.C.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
LIVED GEORGE BANCROFT—Continued: 1800-1891 Wolfe on the Plains of Abraham ('History of the United States') Lexington (same) Washington (same)
JOHN AND MICHAEL BANIM 1798-1874 The Publican's Dream ('The Bit of Writin'') Ailleen Soggarth Aroon Irish Maiden's Song
THEODORE DE BANVILLE 1823—1891 Le Cafe ('The Soul of Paris') The Mysterious Hosts of the Forests ('The Caryatids': Lang's Translation) Aux Enfants Perdus: Lang's Translation Ballade des Pendus: Lang's Translation
ANNA LAEITIA BARBAULD 1743-1825 Against Inconsistency in Our Expectations A Dialogue of the Dead Life Praise to God
ALEXANDER BARCLAY 1475-1552 The Courtier's Life (Second Eclogue)
RICHARD HARRIS BARHAM 1788-1845 As I Laye A-Thynkynge The Lay of St. Cuthbert A Lay of St. Nicholas
SABINE BARING-GOULD 1834- St. Patrick's Purgatory ('Curious Myths of the Middle Ages') The Cornish Wreckers ('The Vicar of Morwenstow')
JANE BARLOW 18— Widow Joyce's Cloak ('Strangers at Lisconnel') Walled Out ('Bogland Studies')
JOEL BARLOW 1754-1812 A Feast ('Hasty Pudding')
WILLIAM BARNES 1800-1886 Blackmwore Maidens May Milken Time Jessie Lee The Turnstile To the Water-Crowfoot Zummer an' Winter
JAMES MATTHEW BARRIE 1860- The Courtin' of T'nowhead's Bell ('Auld Licht Idylls') Jess Left Alone ('A Window in Thrums') After the Sermon ('The Little Minister') The Mutual Discovery (same) Lost Illusions ('Sentimental Tommy') Sins of Circumstance (same)
FREDERIC BASTIAT 1801-1850 Petition of Manufacturers of Artificial Light Stulta and Puera Inapplicable Terms ('Economic Sophisms')
CHARLES BAUDELAIRE (by Grace King) 1821-1867 Meditation Death of the Poor Music The Broken Bell The Enemy Beauty Death The Painter of Modern Life ('L'Art Romantique') Modernness From 'Little Poems in Prose': Every One His Own Chimera; Humanity; Windows; Drink From a Journal
LORD BEACONSFIELD (by Isa Carrington Cabell) 1804-1881 A Day at Ems ('Vivian Grey') The Festa in the Alhambra ('The Young Duke') Squibs from 'The Young Duke': Charles Annesley; The Fussy Hostess; Public Speaking; Female Beauty Lothair in Palestine ('Lothair')
BEAUMARCHAIS 1732-1799 Outwitting a Guardian ('The Barber of Seville') Outwitting a Husband ('The Marriage of Figaro')
FRANCIS BEAUMONT AND JOHN FLETCHER 1584-1625 The Faithful Shepherdess Song Song Aspatia's Song Leandro's Song True Beauty Ode to Melancholy To Ben Jonson, on His 'Fox' On the Tombs in Westminster Arethusa's Declaration ('Philaster') The Story of Bellario (same) Evadne's Confession ('The Maid's Tragedy') Death of the Boy Hengo ('Bonduca') From 'The Two Noble Kinsmen'
WILLIAM BECKFORD 1759-1844 The Incantation and the Sacrifice ('Vathek') Vathek and Nouronihar in the Halls of Eblis (same)
HENRY WARD BEECHER 1813-1887 Book-Stores and Books ('Star Papers') Selected Paragraphs Sermon: Poverty and the Gospel A New England Sunday ('Norwood')
LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN (by Irenaeus Stevenson) 1770-1827 Letters: To Dr. Wegeler; To the Same; To Bettina Brentano; To Countess Giulietta Guicciardi; To the Same; To His Brothers; To the Royal and Imperial High Court of Appeal; To Baroness von Drossdick; To Zmeskall; To the Same; To Stephan v. Breuning
CARL MICHAEL BELLMAN (by Olga Flinch) 1740-1795 To Ulla Cradle-Song for My Son Carl Amaryllis Art and Politics Drink Out Thy Glass
JEREMY BENTHAM 1748-1832 Of the Principle of Utility ('An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation') Reminiscences of Childhood Letter to George Wilson (1781) Fragment of a Letter to Lord Lansdowne (1790)
JEAN-PIERRE DE BERANGER (by Alcee Fortier) 1780-1857 From 'The Gipsies' The Gad-Fly Draw It Mild The King of Yvetot Fortune The People's Reminiscences The Old Tramp Fifty Years The Garret My Tomb From His Preface to His Collected Poems
GEORGE BERKELEY 1685-1753 On the Prospect of Planting Arts and Learning in America Essay on Tar-Water ('Siris')
HECTOR BERLIOZ 1803-1869 The Italian Race as Musicians and Auditors ('Autobiography') The Famous "K Snuff-Box Treachery" (same) On Gluck (same) On Bach (same) Music as an Aristocratic Art (same) Beginning of a "Grand Passion" (same) On Theatrical Managers in Relation to Art
SAINT BERNARD OF CLAIRVAUX 1091-1153 Saint Bernard's Hymn Monastic Luxury (Apology to the Abbot William of St. Thierry) From His Sermon on the Death of Gerard
BERNARD OF CLUNY (by William C. Prime) Twelfth Century Brief Life Is Here Our Portion
JULIANA BERNERS Fifteenth Century The Treatyse of Fyssbynge with an Angle
WALTER BESANT 1838- Old-Time London ('London') The Synagogue ('The Rebel Queen')
BESTIARIES AND LAPIDARIES (by L. Oscar Kuhns) The Lion The Pelican The Eagle The Phoenix The Ant The Siren The Whale The Crocodile The Turtle-Dove The Mandragora Sapphire Coral
MARIE-HENRI BEYLE (Stendhal) (by Frederic Taber Cooper) 1783-1842 Princess Sanseverina's Interview ('Chartreuse de Parme') Clelia Aids Fabrice to Escape (same)
WlLLEM BlLDERDIJK 1756-1831 Ode to Beauty From the 'Ode to Napoleon' Slighted Love The Village Schoolmaster ('Country Life')
BION Second Century B.C. Threnody Hesper
AUGUSTINE BIRRELL 1850- Dr. Johnson ('Obiter Dicta') The Office of Literature (same) Truth-Hunting (same) Benvenuto Cellini (same) On the Alleged Obscurity of Mr. Browning's Poetry (same)
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PAGE Egyptian Hieroglyphics (Colored Plate) Frontispiece "The Irish Maiden's Song" (Photogravure) 1473 "Milking Time" (Photogravure) 1567 "Music" (Photogravure) 1625 Henry Ward Beecher (Portrait) 1714 "Beethoven" (Photogravure) 1750 Jean-Pierre de Beranger (Portrait) 1784 "Monastic Luxury" (Photogravure) 1824
John Banim Theodore de Banville Anna Laetitia Barbauld Richard Harris Barham Jane Barlow Joel Barlow James Matthew Barrie Frederic Bastiat Charles Baudelaire Lord Beaconsfield Beaumarchais Francis Beaumont William Beckford Ludwig van Beethoven Jeremy Bentham George Berkeley Hector Berlioz Saint Bernard of Clairvaux Juliana Berners Walter Besant Henri Beyle (Stendhal) Augustine Birrell
GEORGE BANCROFT (Continued from Volume III)
WOLFE ON THE PLAINS OF ABRAHAM
From 'History of the United States'
But, in the meantime, Wolfe applied himself intently to reconnoitering the north shore above Quebec. Nature had given him good eyes, as well as a warmth of temper to follow first impressions. He himself discovered the cove which now bears his name, where the bending promontories almost form a basin, with a very narrow margin, over which the hill rises precipitously. He saw the path that wound up the steep, though so narrow that two men could hardly march in it abreast; and he knew, by the number of tents which he counted on the summit, that the Canadian post which guarded it could not exceed a hundred. Here he resolved to land his army by surprise. To mislead the enemy, his troops were kept far above the town; while Saunders, as if an attack was intended at Beauport, set Cook, the great mariner, with others, to sound the water and plant buoys along that shore.
The day and night of the twelfth were employed in preparations. The autumn evening was bright; and the general, under the clear starlight, visited his stations, to make his final inspection and utter his last words of encouragement. As he passed from ship to ship, he spoke to those in the boat with him of the poet Gray, and the 'Elegy in a Country Churchyard.' "I," said he, "would prefer being the author of that poem to the glory of beating the French to-morrow;" and, while the oars struck the river as it rippled in the silence of the night air under the flowing tide, he repeated:—
"The boast of heraldry, the pomp of power, And all that beauty, all that wealth e'er gave, Await alike the inevitable hour— The paths of glory lead but to the grave."
Every officer knew his appointed duty, when, at one o'clock in the morning of the thirteenth of September, Wolfe, Monckton, and Murray, and about half the forces, set off in boats, and, using neither sail nor oars, glided down with the tide. In three quarters of an hour the ships followed; and, though the night had become dark, aided by the rapid current, they reached the cove just in time to cover the landing. Wolfe and the troops with him leaped on shore; the light infantry, who found themselves borne by the current a little below the intrenched path, clambered up the steep hill, staying themselves by the roots and boughs of the maple and spruce and ash trees that covered the precipitous declivity, and, after a little firing, dispersed the picket which guarded the height; the rest ascended safely by the pathway. A battery of four guns on the left was abandoned to Colonel Howe. When Townshend's division disembarked, the English had already gained one of the roads to Quebec; and, advancing in front of the forest, Wolfe stood at daybreak with his invincible battalions on the Plains of Abraham, the battle-field of the Celtic and Saxon races.
"It can be but a small party, come to burn a few houses and retire," said Montcalm, in amazement as the news reached him in his intrenchments the other side of the St. Charles; but, obtaining better information, "Then," he cried, "they have at last got to the weak side of this miserable garrison; we must give battle and crush them before mid-day." And, before ten, the two armies, equal in numbers, each being composed of less than five thousand men, were ranged in presence of one another for battle. The English, not easily accessible from intervening shallow ravines and rail fences, were all regulars, perfect in discipline, terrible in their fearless enthusiasm, thrilling with pride at their morning's success, commanded by a man whom they obeyed with confidence and love. The doomed and devoted Montcalm had what Wolfe had called but "five weak French battalions," of less than two thousand men, "mingled with disorderly peasantry," formed on commanding ground. The French had three little pieces of artillery; the English, one or two. The two armies cannonaded each other for nearly an hour; when Montcalm, having summoned De Bougainville to his aid, and dispatched messenger after messenger for De Vaudreuil, who had fifteen hundred men at the camp, to come up before he should be driven from the ground, endeavored to flank the British and crowd them down the high bank of the river. Wolfe counteracted the movement by detaching Townshend with Amherst's regiment, and afterward a part of the Royal Americans, who formed on the left with a double front.
Waiting no longer for more troops, Montcalm led the French army impetuously to the attack. The ill-disciplined companies broke by their precipitation and the unevenness of the ground; and fired by platoons, without unity. Their adversaries, especially the Forty-third and the Forty-seventh, where Monckton stood, of which three men out of four were Americans, received the shock with calmness; and after having, at Wolfe's command, reserved their fire till their enemy was within forty yards, their line began a regular, rapid, and exact discharge of musketry. Montcalm was present everywhere, braving danger, wounded, but cheering by his example. The second in command, De Sennezergues, an associate in glory at Ticonderoga, was killed. The brave but untried Canadians, flinching from a hot fire in the open field, began to waver; and, so soon as Wolfe, placing himself at the head of the Twenty-eighth and the Louisburg grenadiers, charged with bayonets, they everywhere gave way. Of the English officers, Carleton was wounded; Barre, who fought near Wolfe, received in the head a ball which made him blind of one eye, and ultimately of both. Wolfe, also, as he led the charge, was wounded in the wrist; but still pressing forward, he received a second ball; and having decided the day, was struck a third time, and mortally, in the breast. "Support me," he cried to an officer near him; "let not my brave fellows see me drop." He was carried to the rear, and they brought him water to quench his thirst. "They run! they run!" spoke the officer on whom he leaned. "Who run?" asked Wolfe, as his life was fast ebbing. "The French," replied the officer, "give way everywhere." "What," cried the expiring hero, "do they run already? Go, one of you, to Colonel Burton; bid him march Webb's regiment with all speed to Charles River to cut off the fugitives." Four days before, he had looked forward to early death with dismay. "Now, God be praised, I die happy." These were his words as his spirit escaped in the blaze of his glory. Night, silence, the rushing tide, veteran discipline, the sure inspiration of genius, had been his allies; his battle-field, high over the ocean river, was the grandest theatre for illustrious deeds; his victory, one of the most momentous in the annals of mankind, gave to the English tongue and the institutions of the Germanic race the unexplored and seemingly infinite West and South. He crowded into a few hours actions that would have given lustre to length of life; and, filling his day with greatness, completed it before its noon.
Copyrighted by D. Appleton and Company, New York.
From 'History of the United States'
Day came in all the beauty of an early spring. The trees were budding; the grass growing rankly a full month before its time; the bluebird and the robin gladdening the genial season, and calling forth the beams of the sun which on that morning shone with the warmth of summer; but distress and horror gathered over the inhabitants of the peaceful town. There on the green lay in death the gray-haired and the young; the grassy field was red "with the innocent blood of their brethren slain," crying unto God for vengeance from the ground.
Seven of the men of Lexington were killed, nine wounded; a quarter part of all who stood in arms on the green. These are the village heroes, who were more than of noble blood, proving by their spirit that they were of a race divine. They gave their lives in testimony to the rights of mankind, bequeathing to their country an assurance of success in the mighty struggle which they began. Their names are held in grateful remembrance, and the expanding millions of their countrymen renew and multiply their praise from generation to generation. They fulfilled their duty not from the accidental impulse of the moment; their action was the slowly ripened fruit of Providence and of time. The light that led them on was combined of rays from the whole history of the race; from the traditions of the Hebrews in the gray of the world's morning; from the heroes and sages of republican Greece and Rome; from the example of Him who died on the cross for the life of humanity; from the religious creed which proclaimed the divine presence in man, and on this truth, as in a life-boat, floated the liberties of nations over the dark flood of the Middle Ages; from the customs of the Germans transmitted out of their forests to the councils of Saxon England; from the burning faith and courage of Martin Luther; from trust in the inevitable universality of God's sovereignty as taught by Paul of Tarsus and Augustine, through Calvin and the divines of New England; from the avenging fierceness of the Puritans, who dashed the mitre on the ruins of the throne; from the bold dissent and creative self-assertion of the earliest emigrants to Massachusetts; from the statesmen who made, and the philosophers who expounded, the revolution of England; from the liberal spirit and analyzing inquisitiveness of the eighteenth century; from the cloud of witnesses of all the ages to the reality and the rightfulness of human freedom. All the centuries bowed themselves from the recesses of the past to cheer in their sacrifice the lowly men who proved themselves worthy of their forerunners, and whose children rise up and call them blessed.
Heedless of his own danger, Samuel Adams, with the voice of a prophet, exclaimed: "Oh, what a glorious morning is this!" for he saw his country's independence hastening on, and, like Columbus in the tempest, knew that the storm did but bear him the more swiftly toward the undiscovered world.
Copyrighted by D. Appleton and Company, New York.
From 'History of the United States'
Then, on the fifteenth of June, it was voted to appoint a general. Thomas Johnson, of Maryland, nominated George Washington; and as he had been brought forward "at the particular request of the people of New England," he was elected by ballot unanimously.
Washington was then forty-three years of age. In stature he a little exceeded six feet; his limbs were sinewy and well-proportioned; his chest broad; his figure stately, blending dignity of presence with ease. His robust constitution had been tried and invigorated by his early life in the wilderness, the habit of occupation out of doors, and rigid temperance; so that few equaled him in strength of arm, or power of endurance, or noble horsemanship. His complexion was florid; his hair dark brown; his head in its shape perfectly round. His broad nostrils seemed formed to give expression and escape to scornful anger. His eyebrows were rayed and finely arched. His dark-blue eyes, which were deeply set, had an expression of resignation, and an earnestness that was almost pensiveness. His forehead was sometimes marked with thought, but never with inquietude; his countenance was mild and pleasing and full of benignity.
At eleven years old left an orphan to the care of an excellent but unlettered mother, he grew up without learning. Of arithmetic and geometry he acquired just knowledge enough to be able to practice measuring land; but all his instruction at school taught him not so much as the orthography or rules of grammar of his own tongue. His culture was altogether his own work, and he was in the strictest sense a self-made man; yet from his early life he never seemed uneducated. At sixteen, he went into the wilderness as a surveyor, and for three years continued the pursuit, where the forests trained him, in meditative solitude, to freedom and largeness of mind; and nature revealed to him her obedience to serene and silent laws. In his intervals from toil, he seemed always to be attracted to the best men, and to be cherished by them. Fairfax, his employer, an Oxford scholar, already aged, became his fast friend. He read little, but with close attention. Whatever he took in hand he applied himself to with care; and his papers, which have been preserved, show how he almost imperceptibly gained the power of writing correctly; always expressing himself with clearness and directness, often with felicity of language and grace.
When the frontiers on the west became disturbed, he at nineteen was commissioned an adjutant-general with the rank of major. At twenty-one, he went as the envoy of Virginia to the council of Indian chiefs on the Ohio, and to the French officers near Lake Erie. Fame waited upon him from his youth; and no one of his colony was so much spoken of. He conducted the first military expedition from Virginia that crossed the Alleghanies. Braddock selected him as an aid, and he was the only man who came out of the disastrous defeat near the Monongahela, with increased reputation, which extended to England. The next year, when he was but four-and-twenty, "the great esteem" in which he was held in Virginia, and his "real merit," led the lieutenant-governor of Maryland to request that he might be "commissioned and appointed second in command" of the army designed to march to the Ohio; and Shirley, the commander-in-chief, heard the proposal "with great satisfaction and pleasure," for "he knew no provincial officer upon the continent to whom he would so readily give that rank as to Washington." In 1758 he acted under Forbes as a brigadier, and but for him that general would never have crossed the mountains.
Courage was so natural to him that it was hardly spoken of to his praise; no one ever at any moment of his life discovered in him the least shrinking in danger; and he had a hardihood of daring which escaped notice, because it was so enveloped by superior calmness and wisdom.
His address was most easy and agreeable; his step firm and graceful; his air neither grave nor familiar. He was as cheerful as he was spirited, frank and communicative in the society of friends, fond of the fox-chase and the dance, often sportive in his letters, and liked a hearty laugh. "His smile," writes Chastellux, "was always the smile of benevolence." This joyousness of disposition remained to the last, though the vastness of his responsibilities was soon to take from him the right of displaying the impulsive qualities of his nature, and the weight which he was to bear up was to overlay and repress his gayety and openness.
His hand was liberal; giving quietly and without observation, as though he was ashamed of nothing but being discovered in doing good. He was kindly and compassionate, and of lively sensibility to the sorrows of others; so that, if his country had only needed a victim for its relief, he would have willingly offered himself as a sacrifice. But while he was prodigal of himself, he was considerate for others; ever parsimonious of the blood of his countrymen.
He was prudent in the management of his private affairs, purchased rich lands from the Mohawk valley to the flats of the Kanawha, and improved his fortune by the correctness of his judgment; but, as a public man, he knew no other aim than the good of his country, and in the hour of his country's poverty he refused personal emolument for his service.
His faculties were so well balanced and combined that his constitution, free from excess, was tempered evenly with all the elements of activity, and his mind resembled a well-ordered commonwealth; his passions, which had the intensest vigor, owned allegiance to reason; and with all the fiery quickness of his spirit, his impetuous and massive will was held in check by consummate judgment. He had in his composition a calm, which gave him in moments of highest excitement the power of self-control, and enabled him to excel in patience, even when he had most cause for disgust. Washington was offered a command when there was little to bring out the unorganized resources of the continent but his own influence, and authority was connected with the people by the most frail, most attenuated, scarcely discernible threads; yet, vehement as was his nature, impassioned as was his courage, he so retained his ardor that he never failed continuously to exert the attractive power of that influence, and never exerted it so sharply as to break its force.
In secrecy he was unsurpassed; but his secrecy had the character of prudent reserve, not of cunning or concealment. His great natural power of vigilance had been developed by his life in the wilderness.
His understanding was lucid, and his judgment accurate; so that his conduct never betrayed hurry or confusion. No detail was too minute for his personal inquiry and continued supervision; and at the same time he comprehended events in their widest aspects and relations. He never seemed above the object that engaged his attention, and he was always equal, without an effort, to the solution of the highest questions, even when there existed no precedents to guide his decision. In the perfection of the reflective powers, which he used habitually, he had no peer.
In this way he never drew to himself admiration for the possession of any one quality in excess, never made in council any one suggestion that was sublime but impracticable, never in action took to himself the praise or the blame of undertakings astonishing in conception, but beyond his means of execution. It was the most wonderful accomplishment of this man that, placed upon the largest theatre of events, at the head of the greatest revolution in human affairs, he never failed to observe all that was possible, and at the same time to bound his aspirations by that which was possible.
A slight tinge in his character, perceptible only to the close observer, revealed the region from which he sprung, and he might be described as the best specimen of manhood as developed in the South; but his qualities were so faultlessly proportioned that his whole country rather claimed him as its choicest representative, the most complete expression of all its attainments and aspirations. He studied his country and conformed to it. His countrymen felt that he was the best type of America, and rejoiced in it, and were proud of it. They lived in his life, and made his success and his praise their own.
Profoundly impressed with confidence in God's providence, and exemplary in his respect for the forms of public worship, no philosopher of the eighteenth century was more firm in the support of freedom of religious opinion, none more remote from bigotry; but belief in God, and trust in his overruling power, formed the essence of his character. Divine wisdom not only illumines the spirit, it inspires the will. Washington was a man of action, and not of theory or words; his creed appears in his life, not in his professions, which burst from him very rarely, and only at those great moments of crisis in the fortunes of his country, when earth and heaven seemed actually to meet, and his emotions became too intense for suppression; but his whole being was one continued act of faith in the eternal, intelligent, moral order of the universe. Integrity was so completely the law of his nature, that a planet would sooner have shot from its sphere than he have departed from his uprightness, which was so constant that it often seemed to be almost impersonal. "His integrity was the most pure, his justice the most inflexible I have ever known," writes Jefferson; "no motives of interest or consanguinity, of friendship or hatred, being able to bias his decision."
They say of Giotto that he introduced goodness into the art of painting; Washington carried it with him to the camp and the Cabinet, and established a new criterion of human greatness. The purity of his will confirmed his fortitude: and as he never faltered in his faith in virtue, he stood fast by that which he knew to be just; free from illusions; never dejected by the apprehension of the difficulties and perils that went before him, and drawing the promise of success from the justice of his cause. Hence he was persevering, leaving nothing unfinished; devoid of all taint of obstinacy in his firmness; seeking and gladly receiving advice, but immovable in his devotedness to right.
Of a "retiring modesty and habitual reserve," his ambition was no more than the consciousness of his power, and was subordinate to his sense of duty; he took the foremost place, for he knew from inborn magnanimity that it belonged to him, and he dared not withhold the service required of him; so that, with all his humility, he was by necessity the first, though never for himself or for private ends. He loved fame, the approval of coming generations, the good opinion of his fellow-men of his own time, and he desired to make his conduct coincide with his wishes; but not fear of censure, not the prospect of applause could tempt him to swerve from rectitude, and the praise which he coveted was the sympathy of that moral sentiment which exists in every human breast, and goes forth only to the welcome of virtue.
There have been soldiers who have achieved mightier victories in the field, and made conquests more nearly corresponding to the boundlessness of selfish ambition; statesmen who have been connected with more startling upheavals of society: but it is the greatness of Washington that in public trusts he used power solely for the public good; that he was the life and moderator and stay of the most momentous revolution in human affairs; its moving impulse and its restraining power....
This also is the praise of Washington: that never in the tide of time has any man lived who had in so great a degree the almost divine faculty to command the confidence of his fellow-men and rule the willing. Wherever he became known, in his family, his neighborhood, his county, his native State, the continent, the camp, civil life, among the common people, in foreign courts, throughout the civilized world, and even among the savages, he, beyond all other men, had the confidence of his kind.
Copyrighted by D. Appleton and Company, New York.
JOHN AND MICHAEL BANIM
Of the writers who have won esteem by telling the pathetic stories of their country's people, the names of John and Michael Banim are ranked among the Irish Gael not lower than that of Sir Walter Scott among the British Gael. The works of the Banim brothers continued the same sad and fascinating story of the "mere Irish" which Maria Edgeworth and Lady Morgan had laid to the hearts of English readers in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century days. The Banim family was one of those which belonged to the class of "middlemen," people so designated in Ireland who were neither rich nor poor, but in the fortunate mean. The family home was in the historic town of Kilkenny, famous alike for its fighting confederation and its fighting cats. Here Michael was born August 5th, 1796, and John April 3d, 1798. Michael lived to a green old age, and survived his younger brother John twenty-eight years, less seventeen days; he died at Booterstown, August 30th, 1874.
The first stories of this brotherly collaboration in letters appeared in 1825 without mark of authorship, as recitals contributed for instruction and amusement about the hearth-stone of an Irish household, called 'The O'Hara Family.' The minor chords of the soft music of the Gaelic English as it fell from the tongues of Irish lads and lasses, whether in note of sorrow or of sport, had already begun to touch with winsome tenderness the stolid Saxon hearts, when that idyl of their country's penal days, 'The Bit o' Writin',' was sent out from the O'Hara fireside. The almost instantaneous success and popularity of their first stories speedily broke down the anonymity of the Banims, and publishers became eager and gain-giving. About two dozen stories were published before the death of John, in 1842. The best-known of them, in addition to the one already mentioned, are 'The Boyne Water,' 'The Croppy,' and 'Father Connell.'
The fact that during the long survival of Michael no more of the Banim stories appeared, is sometimes called in as evidence that the latter had little to do with the writing of the series. Michael and John, it was well known, had worked lovingly together, and Michael claimed a part in thirteen of the tales, without excluding his brother from joint authorship. Exactly what each wrote of the joint productions has never been known. A single dramatic work of the Banim brothers has attained to a position in the standard drama, the play of 'Damon and Pythias,' a free adaptation from an Italian original, written by John Banim at the instance of Richard Lalor Shiel. The songs are also attributed to John. It is but just to say that the great emigration to the United States which absorbed the Irish during the '40's and '50's depreciated the sale of such works as those of the Banims to the lowest point, and Michael had good reason, aside from the loss of his brother's aid, to lay down his pen. The audience of the Irish story-teller had gone away across the great western sea. There was nothing to do but sit by the lonesome hearth and await one's own to-morrow for the voyage of the greater sea.
THE PUBLICAN'S DREAM
From 'The Bit o' Writin' and Other Tales'
The fair-day had passed over in a little straggling town in the southeast of Ireland, and was succeeded by a languor proportioned to the wild excitement it never failed to create. But of all in the village, its publicans suffered most under the reaction of great bustle. Few of their houses appeared open at broad noon; and some—the envy of their competitors—continued closed even after that late hour. Of these latter, many were of the very humblest kind; little cabins, in fact, skirting the outlets of the village, or standing alone on the roadside a good distance beyond it.
About two o'clock upon the day in question, a house of "Entertainment for Man and Horse," the very last of the description noticed to be found between the village and the wild tract of mountain country adjacent to it, was opened by the proprietress, who had that moment arisen from bed.
The cabin consisted of only two apartments, and scarce more than nominally even of two; for the half-plastered wicker and straw partition, which professed to cut off a sleeping-nook from the whole area inclosed by the clay walls, was little higher than a tall man, and moreover chinky and porous in many places. Let the assumed distinction be here allowed to stand, however, while the reader casts his eyes around what was sometimes called the kitchen, sometimes the tap-room, sometimes the "dancing-flure." Forms which had run by the walls, and planks by way of tables which had been propped before them, were turned topsy-turvy, and in some instances broken. Pewter pots and pints, battered and bruised, or squeezed together and flattened, and fragments of twisted glass tumblers, lay beside them. The clay floor was scraped with brogue-nails and indented with the heel of that primitive foot-gear, in token of the energetic dancing which had lately been performed upon it. In a corner still appeared (capsized, however) an empty eight-gallon beer barrel, recently the piper's throne, whence his bag had blown forth the inspiring storms of jigs and reels, which prompted to more antics than ever did a bag of the laughing-gas. Among the yellow turf-ashes of the hearth lay on its side an old blackened tin kettle, without a spout,—a principal utensil in brewing scalding water for the manufacture of whisky-punch; and its soft and yet warm bed was shared by a red cat, who had stolen in from his own orgies, through some cranny, since day-break. The single four-paned window of the apartment remained veiled by its rough shutter, that turned on leather hinges; but down the wide yawning chimney came sufficient light to reveal the objects here described.
The proprietress opened her back door. She was a woman of about forty; of a robust, large-boned figure; with broad, rosy visage, dark, handsome eyes, and well-cut nose: but inheriting a mouth so wide as to proclaim her pure aboriginal Irish pedigree. After a look abroad, to inhale the fresh air, and then a remonstrance (ending in a kick) with the hungry pig, who ran, squeaking and grunting, to demand his long-deferred breakfast, she settled her cap, rubbed down her prauskeen [coarse apron], tucked and pinned up her skirts behind, and saying in a loud, commanding voice, as she spoke into the sleeping-chamber, "Get up now at once, Jer, I bid you," vigorously if not tidily set about putting her tavern to rights.
During her bustle the dame would stop an instant, and bend her ear to listen for a stir inside the partition; but at last losing patience she resumed:—
"Why, then, my heavy hatred on you, Jer Mulcahy, is it gone into a sauvaun [pleasant drowsiness] you are, over again? or maybe you stole out of bed, an' put your hand on one o' them ould good-for-nothing books, that makes you the laziest man that a poor woman ever had tinder one roof wid her? ay, an' that sent you out of our dacent shop an' house, in the heart of the town below, an' banished us here, Jer Mulcahy, to sell drams o' whisky an' pots o' beer to all the riff-raff o' the counthry-side, instead o' the nate boots an' shoes you served your honest time to?"
She entered his, or her chamber, rather, hoping that she might detect him luxuriantly perusing in bed one of the mutilated books, a love of which (or more truly a love of indolence, thus manifesting itself) had indeed chiefly caused his downfall in the world. Her husband, however, really tired after his unusual bodily efforts of the previous day, only slumbered, as Mrs. Mulcahy had at first anticipated; and when she had shaken and aroused him, for the twentieth time that morning, and scolded him until the spirit-broken blockhead whimpered,—nay, wept, or pretended to weep,—the dame returned to her household duties.
She did not neglect, however, to keep calling to him every half-minute, until at last Mr. Jeremiah Mulcahy strode into the kitchen: a tall, ill-contrived figure, that had once been well fitted out, but that now wore its old skin, like its old clothes, very loosely; and those old clothes were a discolored, threadbare, half-polished kerseymere pair of trousers, and aged superfine black coat, the last relics of his former Sunday finery,—to which had recently and incongruously been added a calfskin vest, a pair of coarse sky-blue peasant's stockings, and a pair of brogues. His hanging cheeks and lips told, together, his present bad living and domestic subjection; and an eye that had been blinded by the smallpox wore neither patch nor band, although in better days it used to be genteelly hidden from remark,—an assumption of consequence now deemed incompatible with his altered condition in society.
"O Cauth! oh, I had such a dhrame," he said, as he made his appearance.
"An' I'll go bail you had," answered Cauth, "an' when do you ever go asleep without having one dhrame or another, that pesters me off o' my legs the livelong day, till the night falls again to let you have another? Musha, Jer, don't be ever an' always such a fool; an' never mind the dhrame now, but lend a hand to help me in the work o' the house. See the pewther there: haive it up, man alive, an' take it out into the garden, and sit on the big stone in the sun, an' make it look as well as you can, afther the ill usage it got last night; come, hurry, Jer—go an' do what I bid you."
He retired in silence to "the garden," a little patch of ground luxuriant in potatoes and a few cabbages. Mrs. Mulcahy pursued her work till her own sensations warned her that it was time to prepare her husband's morning or rather day meal; for by the height of the sun it should now be many hours past noon. So she put down her pot of potatoes; and when they were boiled, took out a wooden trencher full of them, and a mug of sour milk, to Jer, determined not to summon him from his useful occupation of restoring the pints and quarts to something of their former shape.
Stepping through the back door, and getting him in view, she stopped short in silent anger. His back was turned to her, because of the sun; and while the vessels, huddled about in confusion, seemed little the better of his latent skill and industry, there he sat on his favorite round stone, studiously perusing, half aloud to himself, some idle volume which doubtless he had smuggled into the garden in his pocket. Laying down her trencher and her mug, Mrs. Mulcahy stole forward on tiptoe, gained his shoulder without being heard, snatched the imperfect bundle of soiled pages out of his hand, and hurled it into a neighbor's cabbage-bed.
Jeremiah complained, in his usual half-crying tone, declaring that "she never could let him alone, so she couldn't, and he would rather list for a soger than lade such a life, from year's end to year's end, so he would."
"Well, an' do then—an' whistle that idle cur off wid you," pointing to a nondescript puppy, which had lain happily coiled up at his master's feet until Mrs. Mulcahy's appearance, but that now watched her closely, his ears half cocked and his eyes wide open, though his position remained unaltered. "Go along to the divil, you lazy whelp you!"—she took up a pint in which a few drops of beer remained since the previous night, and drained it on the puppy's head, who instantly ran off, jumping sideways, and yelping as loud as if some bodily injury had really visited him—"Yes, an' now you begin to yowl, like your masther, for nothing at all, only because a body axes you to stir your idle legs—hould your tongue, you foolish baste!" she stooped for a stone—"one would think I scalded you."
"You know you did, once, Cauth, to the backbone; an' small blame for Shuffle to be afeard o' you ever since," said Jer.
This vindication of his own occasional remonstrances, as well as of Shuffle's, was founded in truth. When very young, just to keep him from running against her legs while she was busy over the fire, Mrs. Mulcahy certainly had emptied a ladleful of boiling potato-water upon the poor puppy's back; and from that moment it was only necessary to spill a drop of the coldest possible water, or of any cold liquid, on any part of his body, and he believed he was again dreadfully scalded, and ran out of the house screaming in all the fancied theories of torture.
"Will you ate your good dinner, now, Jer Mulcahy, an' promise to do something to help me, afther it?—Mother o' Saints!"—thus she interrupted herself, turning towards the place where she had deposited the eulogized food—"see that yon unlucky bird! May I never do an ill turn but there's the pig afther spilling the sweet milk, an' now shoveling the beautiful white-eyes down her throat at a mouthful!"
Jer, really afflicted at this scene, promised to work hard the moment he got his dinner; and his spouse, first procuring a pitchfork to beat the pig into her sty, prepared a fresh meal for him, and retired to eat her own in the house, and then to continue her labor.
In about an hour she thought of paying him another visit of inspection, when Jeremiah's voice reached her ear, calling out in disturbed accents, "Cauth! Cauth! a-vourneen! For the love o' heaven, Cauth! where are you?"
Running to him, she found her husband sitting upright, though not upon his round stone, amongst the still untouched heap of pots and pints, his pock-marked face very pale, his single eye staring, his hands clasped and shaking, and moisture on his forehead.
"What!" she cried, "the pewther just as I left it, over again!"
"O Cauth! Cauth! don't mind that now—but spake to me kind, Cauth, an' comfort me."
"Why, what ails you, Jer a-vous neen?" affectionately taking his hand, when she saw how really agitated he was.
"O Cauth, oh, I had such a dhrame, now, in earnest, at any rate!"
"A dhrame!" she repeated, letting go his hand, "a dhrame, Jer Mulcahy! so, afther your good dinner, you go for to fall asleep, Jer Mulcahy, just to be ready wid a new dhrame for me, instead of the work you came out here to do, five blessed hours ago!"
"Don't scould me, now, Cauth; don't, a-pet: only listen to me, an' then say what you like. You know the lonesome little glen between the hills, on the short cut for man or horse, to Kilbroggan? Well, Cauth, there I found myself in the dhrame; and I saw two sailors, tired afther a day's hard walking, sitting before one of the big rocks that stand upright in the wild place; an' they were ating or dhrinking, I couldn't make out which; and one was a tall, sthrong, broad-shouldhered man, an' the other was sthrong, too, but short an' burly; an' while they were talking very civilly to each other, lo an' behould you, Cauth, I seen the tall man whip his knife into the little man; an' then they both sthruggled, an' wrastled, an' schreeched together, till the rocks rung again; but at last the little man was a corpse; an' may I never see a sight o' glory, Cauth, but all this was afore me as plain as you are, in this garden! an' since the hour I was born, Cauth, I never got such a fright; an'—oh, Cauth! what's that now?"
"What is it, you poor fool, you, but a customer, come at last into the kitchen—an' time for us to see the face o' one this blessed day. Get up out o' that, wid your dhrames—don't you hear 'em knocking? I'll stay here to put one vessel at laste to rights—for I see I must."
Jeremiah arose, groaning, and entered the cabin through the back door. In a few seconds he hastened to his wife, more terror-stricken than he had left her, and settling his loins against the low garden wall, stared at her.
"Why, then, duoul's in you, Jer Mulcahy (saints forgive me for cursing!)—and what's the matter wid you, at-all at-all?"
"They're in the kitchen," he whispered.
"Well, an' what will they take?"
"I spoke never a word to them, Cauth, nor they to me;—I couldn't—an' I won't, for a duke's ransom: I only saw them stannin' together, in the dark that's coming on, behind the dour, an' I knew them at the first look—the tall one an' the little one."
With a flout at his dreams, and his cowardice, and his good-for-nothingness, the dame hurried to serve her customers. Jeremiah heard her loud voice addressing them, and their hoarse tones answering. She came out again for two pints to draw some beer, and commanded him to follow her and "discoorse the customers." He remained motionless. She returned in a short time, and fairly drove him before her into the house.
He took a seat remote from his guests, with difficulty pronouncing the ordinary words of "God save ye, genteels," which they bluffly and heartily answered. His glances towards them were also few; yet enough to inform him that they conversed together like friends, pledging healths and shaking hands. The tall sailor abruptly asked him how far it was, by the short cut, to a village where they proposed to pass the night—Kilbroggan?—Jeremiah started on his seat, and his wife, after a glance and a grumble at him, was obliged to speak for her husband. They finished their beer; paid for it; put up half a loaf and a cut of bad watery cheese, saying that they might feel more hungry a few miles on than they now did; and then they arose to leave the cabin. Jeremiah glanced in great trouble around. His wife had fortunately disappeared; he snatched up his old hat, and with more energy than he could himself remember, ran forward to be a short way on the road before them. They soon approached him; and then, obeying a conscientious impulse, Jeremiah saluted the smaller of the two, and requested to speak with him apart. The sailor, in evident surprise, assented. Jer vaguely cautioned him against going any farther that night, as it would be quite dark by the time he should get to the mountain pass, on the by-road to Kilbroggan. His warning was made light of. He grew more earnest, asserting, what was not the fact, that it was "a bad road," meaning one infested by robbers. Still the bluff tar paid no attention, and was turning away. "Oh, sir; oh, stop, sir," resumed Jeremiah, taking great courage, "I have a thing to tell you;" and he rehearsed his dream, averring that in it he had distinctly seen the present object of his solicitude set upon and slain by his colossal companion. The listener paused a moment; first looking at Jer, and then at the ground, very gravely: but the next moment he burst into a loud, and Jeremiah thought, frightful laugh, and walked rapidly to overtake his shipmate. Jeremiah, much oppressed, returned home.
Towards dawn, next morning, the publican awoke in an ominous panic, and aroused his wife to listen to a loud knocking, and a clamor of voices at their door. She insisted that there was no such thing, and scolded him for disturbing her sleep. A renewal of the noise, however, convinced even her incredulity, and showed that Jeremiah was right for the first time in his life, at least. Both arose, and hastened to answer the summons.
When they unbarred the front door, a gentleman, surrounded by a crowd of people of the village, stood before it. He had discovered on the by-road through the hills from Kilbroggan, a dead body, weltering in its gore, and wearing sailor's clothes; had ridden on in alarm; had raised the village; and some of its population, recollecting to have seen Mrs. Mulcahy's visitors of the previous evening, now brought him to her house to hear what she could say on the subject.
Before she could say anything, her husband fell senseless at her side, groaning dolefully. While the bystanders raised him, she clapped her hands, and exalted her voice in ejaculations, as Irishwomen, when grieved or astonished or vexed, usually do; and now, as proud of Jeremiah's dreaming capabilities as she had before been impatient of them, rehearsed his vision of the murder, and authenticated the visit of the two sailors to her house, almost while he was in the act of making her the confidant of his prophetic ravings. The auditors stept back in consternation, crossing themselves, smiting their breasts, and crying out, "The Lord save us! The Lord have mercy upon us!"
Jeremiah slowly awoke from his swoon. The gentleman who had discovered the body commanded his attendants back to the lonesome glen, where it lay. Poor Jeremiah fell on his knees, and with tears streaming down his cheeks, prayed to be saved from such a trial. His neighbors almost forced him along.
All soon gained the spot, a narrow pass between slanting piles of displaced rocks; the hills from which they had tumbled rising brown and barren and to a great height above and beyond them. And there, indeed, upon the strip of verdure which formed the winding road through the defile, lay the corpse of one of the sailors who had visited the publican's house the evening before.
Again Jeremiah dropt on his knees, at some distance from the body, exclaiming, "Lord save us!—yes! oh, yes, neighbors, this is the very place!—only—the saints be good to us again!—'twas the tall sailor I seen killing the little sailor, and here's the tall sailor murthered by the little sailor."
"Dhrames go by conthraries, some way or another," observed one of his neighbors; and Jeremiah's puzzle was resolved.
Two steps were now indispensable to be taken; the county coroner should be summoned, and the murderer sought after. The crowd parted to engage in both matters simultaneously. Evening drew on when they again met in the pass: and the first, who had gone for the coroner, returned with him, a distance of near twenty miles; but the second party did not prove so successful. In fact they had discovered no clue to the present retreat of the supposed assassin.
The coroner impaneled his jury, and held his inquest under a large upright rock, bedded in the middle of the pass, such as Jeremiah said he had seen in his dream. A verdict of willful murder against the absent sailor was quickly agreed upon; but ere it could be recorded, all hesitated, not knowing how to individualize a man of whose name they were ignorant.
The summer night had fallen upon their deliberations, and the moon arose in splendor, shining over the top of one of the high hills that inclosed the pass, so as fully to illumine the bosom of the other. During their pause, a man appeared standing upon the line of the hill thus favored by the moonlight, and every eye turned in that direction. He ran down the abrupt declivity beneath him; he gained the continued sweep of jumbled rocks which immediately walled in the little valley, springing from one to another of them with such agility and certainty that it seemed almost magical; and a general whisper of fear now attested the fact of his being dressed in a straw hat, a short jacket, and loose white trousers. As he jumped from the last rock upon the sward of the pass, the spectators drew back; but he, not seeming to notice them, walked up to the corpse, which had not yet been touched; took its hand; turned up its face into the moonlight, and attentively regarded the features; let the hand go; pushed his hat upon his forehead; glanced around him; recognized the person in authority; approached, and stood still before him, and said "Here I am, Tom Mills, that killed long Harry Holmes, and there he lies."
The coroner cried out to secure him, now fearing that the man's sturdiness meant farther harm. "No need," resumed the self-accused; "here's my bread-and-cheese knife, the only weapon about me;" he threw it on the ground: "I come back just to ax you, commodore, to order me a cruise after poor Harry, bless his precious eyes, wherever he is bound."
"You have been pursued hither?"
"No, bless your heart; but I wouldn't pass such another watch as the last twenty-four hours for all the prize-money won at Trafalgar. 'Tisn't in regard of not tasting food or wetting my lips ever since I fell foul of Harry, or of hiding my head like a cursed animal o' the yearth, and starting if a bird only hopped nigh me: but I cannot go on living on this tack no longer; that's it; and the least I can say to you, Harry, my hearty."
"What caused your quarrel with your comrade?"
"There was no jar or jabber betwixt us, d'you see me."
"Not at the time, I understand you to mean; but surely you must have long owed him a grudge?"
"No, but long loved him; and he me."
"Then, in heaven's name, what put the dreadful thought in your head?"
"The devil, commodore, (the horned lubber!) and another lubber to help him"—pointing at Jeremiah, who shrank to the skirts of the crowd. "I'll tell you every word of it, commodore, as true as a log-book. For twenty long and merry years, Harry and I sailed together, and worked together, thro' a hard gale sometimes, and thro' hot sun another time; and never a squally word came between us till last night, and then it all came of that lubberly swipes-seller, I say again. I thought as how it was a real awful thing that a strange landsman, before ever he laid eyes on either of us, should come to have this here dream about us. After falling in with Harry, when the lubber and I parted company, my old mate saw I was cast down, and he told me as much in his own gruff, well-meaning way; upon which I gave him the story, laughing at it. He didn't laugh in return, but grew glum—glummer than I ever seed him; and I wondered, and fell to boxing about my thoughts, more and more (deep sea sink that cursed thinking and thinking, say I!—it sends many an honest fellow out of his course); and 'It's hard to know the best man's mind,' I thought to myself. Well, we came on the tack into these rocky parts, and Harry says to me all on a sudden, 'Tom, try the soundings here, ahead, by yourself—or let me, by myself.' I axed him why? 'No matter,' says Harry again, 'but after what you chawed about, I don't like your company any farther, till we fall in again at the next village.' 'What, Harry,' I cries, laughing heartier than ever, 'are you afeard of your own mind with Tom Mills?' 'Pho,' he made answer, walking on before me, and I followed him.
"'Yes,' I kept saying to myself, 'he is afeard of his own mind with his old shipmate.' 'Twas a darker night than this, and when I looked ahead, the devil (for I know 'twas he that boarded me!) made me take notice what a good spot it was for Harry to fall foul of me. And then I watched him making way before me, in the dark, and couldn't help thinking he was the better man of the two—a head and shoulders over me, and a match for any two of my inches. And then again, I brought to mind that Harry would be a heavy purse the better of sending me to Davy's locker, seeing we had both been just paid off, and got a lot of prize-money to boot;—and at last (the real red devil having fairly got me helm a-larboard) I argufied with myself that Tom Mills would be as well alive, with Harry Holmes's luck in his pocket, as he could be dead, and his in Harry Holmes's; not to say nothing of taking one's own part, just to keep one's self afloat, if so be Harry let his mind run as mine was running.
"All this time Harry never gave me no hail, but kept tacking through these cursed rocks; and that, and his last words, made me doubt him more and more. At last he stopped nigh where he now lies, and sitting with his back to that high stone, he calls for my blade to cut the bread and cheese he had got at the village; and while he spoke I believed he looked glummer and glummer, and that he wanted the blade, the only one between us, for some'at else than to cut bread and cheese; though now I don't believe no such thing howsumdever; but then I did: and so, d'you see me, commodore, I lost ballast all of a sudden, and when he stretched out his hand for the blade (hell's fire blazing up in my lubberly heart!)—'Here it is, Harry,' says I, and I gives it to him in the side!—once, twice, in the right place!" (the sailor's voice, hitherto calm, though broken and rugged, now rose into a high, wild cadence)—"and then how we did grapple! and sing out one to another! ahoy! yeho! aye; till I thought the whole crew of devils answered our hail from the hill-tops!—But I hit you again and again, Harry! before you could master me," continued the sailor, returning to the corpse, and once more taking its hand—"until at last you struck,—my old messmate!—And now—nothing remains for Tom Mills—but to man the yard-arm!"
The narrator stood his trial at the ensuing assizes, and was executed for this avowed murder of his shipmate; Jeremiah appearing as a principal witness. Our story may seem drawn either from imagination, or from mere village gossip: its chief acts rest, however, upon the authority of members of the Irish bar, since risen to high professional eminence; and they can even vouch that at least Jeremiah asserted the truth of "The Publican's Dream."
'Tis not for love of gold I go, 'Tis not for love of fame; Tho' Fortune should her smile bestow, And I may win a name, Ailleen, And I may win a name.
And yet it is for gold I go, And yet it is for fame,— That they may deck another brow And bless another name, Ailleen, And bless another name.
For this, but this, I go—for this I lose thy love awhile; And all the soft and quiet bliss Of thy young, faithful smile, Ailleen, Of thy young, faithful smile.
And I go to brave a world I hate And woo it o'er and o'er, And tempt a wave and try a fate Upon a stranger shore, Ailleen. Upon a stranger shore.
Oh! when the gold is wooed and won, I know a heart will care! Oh! when the bays are all my own, I know a brow shall wear, Ailleen, I know a brow shall wear.
And when, with both returned again, My native land to see, I know a smile will meet me there And a hand will welcome me, Ailleen, And a hand will welcome me!
("O Priest, O Love!")
THE IRISH PEASANT'S ADDRESS TO HIS PRIEST
Am I the slave they say, Soggarth Aroon? Since you did show the way, Soggarth Aroon, Their slave no more to be, While they would work with me Ould Ireland's slavery, Soggarth Aroon?
Why not her poorest man, Soggarth Aroon, Try and do all he can, Soggarth Aroon, Her commands to fulfill Of his own heart and will, Side by side with you still, Soggarth Aroon?
Loyal and brave to you, Soggarth Aroon, Yet be no slave to you, Soggarth Aroon, Nor out of fear to you Stand up so near to you— Och! out of fear to you! Soggarth Aroon!
Who, in the winter's night, Soggarth Aroon, When the cowld blast did bite, Soggarth Aroon, Came to my cabin door, And on my earthen floor Knelt by me, sick and poor, Soggarth Aroon?
Who, on the marriage day, Soggarth Aroon, Made the poor cabin gay, Soggarth Aroon; And did both laugh and sing, Making our hearts to ring, At the poor christening, Soggarth Aroon?
Who, as friend only met, Soggarth Aroon, Never did flout me yet, Soggarth Aroon? And when my hearth was dim Gave, while his eye did brim, What I should give to him, Soggarth Aroon?
Och! you, and only you, Soggarth Aroon! And for this I was true to you, Soggarth Aroon; In love they'll never shake When for ould Ireland's sake We a true part did take, Soggarth Aroon!
THE IRISH MAIDEN'S SONG
You know it now—it is betrayed This moment in mine eye, And in my young cheeks' crimson shade, And in my whispered sigh. You know it now—yet listen now— Though ne'er was love more true, My plight and troth and virgin vow Still, still I keep from you, Ever!
Ever, until a proof you give How oft you've heard me say, I would not even his empress live Who idles life away, Without one effort for the land In which my fathers' graves Were hollowed by a despot hand To darkly close on slaves— Never!
See! round yourself the shackles hang, Yet come you to love's bowers, That only he may soothe their pang Or hide their links in flowers— But try all things to snap them first, And should all fail when tried, The fated chain you cannot burst My twining arms shall hide— Ever!
THEODORE DE BANVILLE
Theodore Faullain De Banville is best known as a very skillful maker of polished artificial verse. His poetry stands high; but it is the poetry not of nature, but of elegant society. His muse, as Mr. Henley says, is always in evening dress. References to the classic poets are woven into all of his descriptions of nature. He is distinguished, scholarly, full of taste, and brilliant in execution; never failing in propriety, and never reaching inspiration. As an artist in words and cadences he has few superiors.
These qualities are partly acquired, and partly the result of birth. Born in 1823, the son of a naval officer, from his earliest years he devoted himself to literature. His birthplace, Moulins, an old provincial town on the banks of the Allier, where he spent a happy childhood, made little impression on him. Still almost a child he went to Paris, where he led a life without events,—without even a marriage or an election to the Academy; he died March 13th, 1891. His place was among the society people and the artists; the painter Courbet and the writers Muerger, Baudelaire, and Gautier were among his closest friends. He first attracted attention in 1848 by the publication of a volume of verse, 'The Caryatids.' In 1857 came another, 'Odes Funambulesque,' and later another series under the same title, the two together containing his best work in verse. Here he stands highest; though he wrote also many plays, one of which, 'Gringoire,' has been acted in various translations. 'The Wife of Socrates' also holds the stage. Like his other work, his drama is artificial, refined, and skillful. He presents a marked instance of the artist working for art's sake. During the latter years of his life he wrote mostly prose, and he has left many well-drawn portraits of his contemporaries, in addition to several books of criticism, with much color and charm, but little definiteness. He was always vague, for facts did not interest him; but he had the power of making his remote, unreal world attractive, and among the writers of the school of Gautier he stands among the first.
From 'The Soul of Paris'
Imagine a place where you do not endure the horror of being alone, and yet have the freedom of solitude. There, free from the dust, the boredom, the vulgarities of a household, you reflect at ease, comfortably seated before a table, unincumbered by all the things that oppress you in houses; for if useless objects and papers had accumulated here they would have been promptly removed. You smoke slowly, quietly, like a Turk, following your thoughts among the blue curves.
If you have a voluptuous desire to taste some warm or refreshing beverage, well-trained waiters bring it to you immediately. If you feel like talking with clever men who will not bully you, you have within reach light sheets on which are printed winged thoughts, rapid, written for you, which you are not forced to bind and preserve in a library when they have ceased to please you. This place, the paradise of civilization, the last and inviolable refuge of the free man, is the cafe.
It is the cafe; but in the ideal, as we dream it, as it ought to be. The lack of room and the fabulous cost of land on the boulevards of Paris make it hideous in actuality. In these little boxes—of which the rent is that of a palace—one would be foolish to look for the space of a vestiary. Besides, the walls are decorated with stovepipe hats and overcoats hung on clothes-pegs—an abominable sight, for which atonement is offered by multitudes of white panels and ignoble gilding, imitations made by economical process.
And (let us not deceive ourselves) the overcoat, with which one never knows what to do, and which makes us worry everywhere,—in society, at the theatre, at balls,—is the great enemy and the abominable enslavement of modern life. Happy the gentlemen of the age of Louis XIV., who in the morning dressed themselves for all day, in satin and velvet, their brows protected by wigs, and who remained superb even when beaten by the storm, and who, moreover, brave as lions, ran the risk of pneumonia even if they had to put on, one outside the other, the innumerable waistcoats of Jodelet in 'Les Precieuses Ridicules'!
"How shall I find my overcoat and my wife's party cape?" is the great and only cry, the Hamlet-monologue of the modern man, that poisons every minute of his life and makes him look with resignation toward his dying hour. On the morning after a ball given by Marshal MacMahon nothing is found: the overcoats have disappeared; the satin cloaks, the boas, the lace scarfs have gone up in smoke; and the women must rush in despair through the driving snow while their husbands try to button their evening coats, which will not button!
One evening, at a party given by the wife of the President of the Chamber of Deputies, at which the gardens were lighted by electricity, Gambetta suddenly wished to show some of his guests a curiosity, and invited them to go down with him into the bushes. A valet hastened to hand him his overcoat, but the guests did not dare to ask for theirs, and followed Gambetta as they were! However, I believe one or two of them survived.
At the cafe no one carries off your overcoat, no one hides it; but they are all hung up, spread out on the wall like masterpieces of art, treated as if they were portraits of Mona Lisa or Violante, and you have them before your eyes, you see them continually. Is there not reason to curse the moment your eyes first saw the light? One may, as I have said, read the papers; or rather one might read them if they were not hung on those abominable racks, which remove them a mile from you and force you to see them on your horizon.
As to the drinks, give up all hope; for the owner of the cafe has no proper place for their preparation, and his rent is so enormous that he has to make the best even of the quality he sells. But aside from this reason, the drinks could not be good, because there are too many of them. The last thing one finds at these coffee-houses is coffee. It is delicious, divine, in those little Oriental shops where it is made to order for each drinker in a special little pot. As to syrups, how many are there in Paris? In what inconceivable place can they keep the jars containing the fruit juices needed to make them? A few real ladies, rich, well-born, good housekeepers, not reduced to slavery by the great shops, who do not rouge or paint their cheeks, still know how to make in their own homes good syrups from the fruit of their gardens and their vineyards. But they naturally do not give them away or sell them to the keepers of cafes, but keep them to gladden their flaxen-haired children.
Such as it is,—with its failings and its vices, even a full century after the fame of Procope,—the cafe, which we cannot drive out of our memories, has been the asylum and the refuge of many charming spirits. The old Tabourey, who, after having been illustrious, now has a sort of half popularity and a pewter bar, formerly heard the captivating conversations of Barbey and of Aurevilly, who were rivals in the noblest salons, and who sometimes preferred to converse seated before a marble table in a hall from which one could see the foliage and the flowers of the Luxembourg. Baudelaire also talked there, with his clear caressing voice dropping diamonds and precious stones, like the princess of the fairy tale, from beautiful red, somewhat thick lips.
A problem with no possible solution holds in check the writers and the artists of Paris. When one has worked hard all day it is pleasant to take a seat, during the short stroll that precedes the dinner, to meet one's comrades and talk with them of everything but politics. The only favorable place for these necessary accidental meetings is the cafe; but is the game worth the candle, or, to speak more exactly, the blinding gas-jets? Is it worth while, for the pleasure of exchanging words, to accept criminal absinthe, unnatural bitters, tragic vermouth, concocted in the sombre laboratories of the cafes by frightful parasites?
Aurelien Scholl, who, being a fine poet and excellent writer, is naturally a practical man, had a pleasing idea. He wished that the reunions in the cafes might continue at the absinthe hour, but without the absinthe! A very honest man, chosen for that purpose, would pour out for the passers-by, in place of everything else, excellent claret with quinquina, which would have the double advantage of not poisoning them and of giving them a wholesome and comforting drink. But this seductive dream could never be realized. Of course, honest men exist in great numbers, among keepers of cafes as well as in other walks of life; but the individual honest man could not be found who would be willing to pour out quinquina wine in which there was both quinquina and wine.
In the Palais Royal there used to be a cafe which had retained Empire fittings and oil lamps. One found there real wine, real coffee, real milk, and good beefsteaks. Roqueplan, Arsene Houssaye, Michel Levy, and the handsome Fiorentino used to breakfast there, and they knew how to get the best mushrooms. The proprietor of the cafe had said that as soon as he could no longer make a living by selling genuine articles, he would not give up his stock in trade to another, but would sell his furniture and shut up shop. He kept his word. He was a hero.
BALLADE ON THE MYSTERIOUS HOSTS OF THE FOREST
From 'The Caryatids'
Still sing the mocking fairies, as of old, Beneath the shade of thorn and holly-tree; The west wind breathes upon them pure and cold, And still wolves dread Diana roving free, In secret woodland with her company. 'Tis thought the peasants' hovels know her rite When now the wolds are bathed in silver light, And first the moonrise breaks the dusky gray; Then down the dells, with blown soft hair and bright, And through the dim wood, Dian thrids her way.
With water-weeds twined in their locks of gold The strange cold forest-fairies dance in glee; Sylphs over-timorous and over-bold Haunt the dark hollows where the dwarf may be, The wild red dwarf, the nixies' enemy: Then, 'mid their mirth and laughter and affright, The sudden goddess enters, tall and white, With one long sigh for summers passed away; The swift feet tear the ivy nets outright, And through the dim wood Dian thrids her way.
She gleans her sylvan trophies; down the wold She hears the sobbing of the stags that flee, Mixed with the music of the hunting rolled, But her delight is all in archery, And naught of ruth and pity wotteth she More than the hounds that follow on the flight; The tall nymph draws a golden bow of might, And thick she rains the gentle shafts that slay; She tosses loose her locks upon the night, And through the dim wood Dian thrids her way.
Prince, let us leave the din, the dust, the spite, The gloom and glare of towns, the plague, the blight; Amid the forest leaves and fountain spray There is the mystic home of our delight, And through the dim wood Dian thrids her way.
Translation of Andrew Lang.
AUX ENFANTS PERDUS
I know Cythera long is desolate; I know the winds have stripped the garden green. Alas, my friends! beneath the fierce sun's weight A barren reef lies where Love's flowers have been, Nor ever lover on that coast is seen! So be it, for we seek a fabled shore, To lull our vague desires with mystic lore, To wander where Love's labyrinths beguile; There let us land, there dream for evermore, "It may be we shall touch the happy isle."
The sea may be our sepulchre. If Fate, If tempests wreak their wrath on us, serene We watch the bolt of Heaven, and scorn the hate Of angry gods that smite us in their spleen. Perchance the jealous mists are but the screen That veils the fairy coast we would explore. Come, though the sea be vexed, and breakers roar, Come, for the breath of this old world is vile, Haste we, and toil, and faint not at the oar; "It may be we shall touch the happy isle."
Gray serpents trail in temples desecrate Where Cypris smiled, the golden maid, the queen, And ruined is the palace of our state; But happy loves flit round the mast, and keen The shrill winds sings the silken cords between. Heroes are we, with wearied hearts and sore, Whose flower is faded and whose locks are hoar. Haste, ye light skiffs, where myrtle thickets smile Love's panthers sleep 'mid roses, as of yore: "It may be we shall touch the happy isle."
Sad eyes! the blue sea laughs as heretofore. Ah, singing birds, your happy music pour; Ah, poets, leave the sordid earth awhile; Flit to these ancient gods we still adore: "It may be we shall touch the happy isle."
Translation of Andrew Lang.
BALLADE DES PENDUS
Where wide the forest bows are spread, Where Flora wakes with sylph and fay, Are crowns and garlands of men dead, All golden in the morning gay; Within this ancient garden gray Are clusters such as no man knows, Where Moor and Soldan bear the sway: This is King Louis's orchard close!
These wretched folk wave overhead, With such strange thoughts as none may say; A moment still, then sudden sped, They swing in a ring and waste away. The morning smites them with her ray; They toss with every breeze that blows, They dance where fires of dawning play: This is King Louis's orchard close!
All hanged and dead, they've summoned (With Hell to aid, that hears them pray) New legions of an army dread. Now down the blue sky flames the day; The dew dies off; the foul array Of obscene ravens gathers and goes, With wings that flap and beaks that flay: This is King Louis's orchard close!
Prince, where leaves murmur of the May, A tree of bitter clusters grows; The bodies of men dead are they! This is King Louis's orchard close!
Translation of Andrew Lang.
ANNA LAETITIA BARBAULD
When Laetitia Aikin Barbauld was about thirty years old, her friend, Mrs. Elizabeth Montague, wishing to establish a college for women, asked her to be its principal. In her letter of refusal Mrs. Barbauld said:—"A kind of Academy for ladies, where they are to be taught in a regular manner the various branches of science, appears to me better calculated to form such characters as the Precieuses or Femmes Savantes than good wives or agreeable companions. The very best way for a woman to acquire knowledge is from conversation with a father or brother.... The thefts of knowledge in our sex are only connived at while carefully concealed, and if displayed are punished with disgrace." It is odd to find Mrs. Barbauld thus reflecting the old-fashioned view of the capacity and requirements of her own sex, for she herself belonged to that brilliant group—Hannah More, Fanny Burney, Maria Edgeworth, Jane Austen, Joanna Baillie, Mary Russell Mitford—who were the living refutation of her inherited theories. Their influence shows a pedagogic impulse to present morally helpful ideas to the public.
From preceding generations whose lives had been concentrated upon household affairs, these women pioneers had acquired the strictly practical bent of mind which comes out in all their verse, as in all their prose.
The child born at Kibworth Harcourt, Leicestershire, a century and a half ago, became one of the first of these pleasant writers for young and old. She was one of the thousand refutations of the stupid popular idea that precocious children never amount to anything. When only two, she "could read roundly without spelling, and in half a year more could read as well as most women." Her father was master of a boys' school, where her childhood was passed under the rule of a loving but austere mother, who disliked all intercourse with the pupils for her daughter. It was not the fashion for women to be highly educated; but, stimulated perhaps by the scholastic atmosphere, Laetitia implored her father for a classical training, until, against his judgment, he allowed her to study Greek and Latin as well as French and Italian. Though not fond of the housewifely accomplishments insisted upon by Mrs. Aikin, the eager student also cooked and sewed with due obedience.
Her dull childhood ended when she was fifteen, for then her father accepted a position as classical tutor in a boys' school at Warrington, Lancashire, to which place the family moved. The new home afforded greater freedom and an interesting circle of friends, among them Currie, William Roscoe, John Taylor, and the famous Dr. Priestley. A very pretty girl, with brilliant blonde coloring and animated dark-blue eyes, she was witty and vivacious, too, under the modest diffidence to which she had been trained. Naturally she attracted much admiration from the schoolboys and even from their elders, but on the whole she seems to have found study and writing more interesting than love affairs. The first suitor, who presented himself when she was about sixteen, was a farmer from her early home at Kibworth. He stated his wishes to her father. "She is in the garden," said Mr. Aikin. "You may ask her yourself." Laetitia was not propitious, but the young man was persistent, and the position grew irksome. So the nimble girl scrambled into a convenient tree, and escaped her rustic wooer by swinging herself down upon the other side of the garden wall.
During these years at Warrington she wrote for her own pleasure, and when her brother John returned home after several years' absence, he helped her to arrange and publish a selection of her poems. The little book which appeared in 1773 was highly praised, and ran through four editions within a year. In spite of grace and fluency, most of these verses seem flat and antiquated to the modern reader. Of the spirited first poem 'Corsica,' Dr. Priestley wrote to her:—"I consider that you are as much a general as Tyrtaeus was, and your poems (which I am confident are much better than his ever were) may have as great effect as his. They may be the coup de grace to the French troops in that island, and Paoli, who reads English, will cause it to be printed in every history in that renowned island."
Miss Aikin's next venture was a small volume in collaboration with her brother, 'Miscellaneous Pieces in Prose by J. and A.L. Aikin.' This too was widely read and admired. Samuel Rogers has related an amusing conversation about the book in its first vogue:—"I am greatly pleased with your 'Miscellaneous Pieces,'" said Charles James Fox to Mrs. Barbauld's brother. Dr. Aikin bowed. "I particularly admire," continued Fox, "your essay 'Against Inconsistency in our Expectations.'" "That," replied Aikin, "is my sister's." "I like much," continued Fox, "your essay on 'Monastic Institutions.'" "That," answered Aikin, "is also my sister's." Fox thought it wise to say no more about the book. The essay 'Against Inconsistency in our Expectations' was most highly praised by the critics, and pronounced by Mackintosh "the best short essay in the language."
When thirty years old, Laetitia Aikin married Rochemont Barbauld, and went to live at Palgrave in Suffolk, where her husband opened a boys' school, soon made popular by her personal charm and influence. Sir William Gell, a classic topographer still remembered; William Taylor, author of a 'Historic Survey of German Poetry '; and Lord Chief Justice Denman, were a few among the many who looked back with gratitude to a childhood under her care.
Perhaps her best known work is the 'Early Lessons for Children,' which was written during this period. Coming as it did when, as Hannah More said, there was nothing for children to read between 'Cinderella' and the Spectator, it was largely welcomed, and has been used by generations of English children. The lessons were written for a real little Charles, her adopted son, the child of her brother, Dr. Aikin. For him, too, she wrote her 'Hymns in Prose for Children,' a book equally successful, which has been translated into French, German, Spanish, Italian, and even Latin.
After eleven busy years at Palgrave, during which, in spite of her cheerful energy, Mrs. Barbauld had been much harassed by the nervous irritability of her invalid husband, the Barbaulds gave up their school and treated themselves to a year of Continental travel. On their return they settled at Hampstead, where Mr. Barbauld became pastor of a small Unitarian congregation. The nearness to London was a great advantage to Mrs. Barbauld's refreshed activity, and she soon made the new home a pleasant rendezvous for literary men and women. At one of her London dinner parties she met Sir Walter Scott, who declared that her reading of Taylor's translation of Buerger's 'Lenore' had inspired him to write poetry. She met Dr. Johnson too, who, though he railed at her after his fashion, calling her Deborah and Virago Barbauld, did sometimes betray a sincere admiration for her character and accomplishments. Miss Edgeworth and Hannah More were dear friends and regular correspondents.