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V. -:j 


This edition consists of twenty-five sets on 
Japan paper, one hundred sets on hand-made 
paper, and two hundred and fifty sets on a 
specially made paper, all numbered and signed. 

















Copyright, 1902, by 
William Patten. 



TION ix 







(Note. The original pagination of the works is indicated by italic numerals in 

parentheses in the margins, and the various title-pages 

are reproduced in facsimile.) 




To Mrs. Cowell. 


• •••••• 

My dear Lady, you know that what I used to do with 
your own Verses was, to cut out; and now you won't let 
me do so with mine! E, B. C. will have had the Proof re- 
turned him before this: he almost frightened me; the more 
so because I know he is right. But, like Macbeth when 
he had committed the murder, I scarce dare go back to 
look on what I have done. 

Do ask E, B. C. to answer me a Question in the Notes, 
It is about that line 'He knows about it all — he knows — 
he knows' (which reminds me of Borrow somehow!) I 
quote the original Line (as I suppose) — 'U ddnad, U 
ddnad, U ddnad, C7.' Now, I can't find this in the first 
Calcutta Copy, which E, B. C, sent me from India, and 
in which I read it, if anywhere (for that, tell E, B. C, 
I know I didn't invent). But I can't find it in any Copy 
now: and I can scarce believe that the Line as I give it 
can be made to scan. Do, I say, ask Husband about this; 
and let him annotate it on the Proof sheet, which he will 
have to return to me. . . . 

[ ix ] 








llmbtKb hxto (Snglisfe tost. 








Omar Khayyam was born at Naishapur in Khorassan in 
the latter half of our Eleventh, and died within the First 
Quarter of our Twelfth, Century. The slender Story of 
his Life is curiously twined about that of two other very 
considerable Figures in their Time and Country: one of 
whom tells the Story of all Three. This was Nizam ul 
Mulk, Vizyr to Alp Arslan the Son, and Malik Shah the 
Grandson, of Toghrul Beg the Tartar, who had wrested 
Persia from the feeble Successor of Mahmiid the Great, 
and founded that Seljukian Dynasty which finally roused 
Europe into the Crusades. This Nizam ul Mulk, in his 
Wasi^at — or Testament — which he wrote and left as a 
Memorial for futiu-e Statesmen — relates the following, 
as quoted in the Calcutta Review, No. 59, from Mirk- 
hond's History of the Assassins. 

" *One of the greatest of the wise men of Khorassan (iv) 
Vas the Imam MowaiFak of Naishapur, a man highly 
'honoured and reverenced, — may God rejoice his soul ; his 
'illustrious years exceeded eighty-five, and it was the uni- 
versal belief that every boy who read the Koran or stud- 
*ied the traditions in his presence, would assuredly attain 

[ 5 ] 


'to honour and happiness. For this cause did my father 
'send me from Tiis to Naishapiir with Abd-us-samad, the 
'doctor of law, that I might employ myself in study and 
'learning under the guidance of that illustrious teacher. 
'Towards me he ever turned an eye of favour and kind- 
'ness, and as his pupil I felt for him extreme affection 
'and devotion, so that I passed four years in his service. 
'When I first came there, I found two other pupils of 
'mine own age newly arrived. Hakim Omar Khayyam, 
'and the ill-fated Ben Sabbah. Both were endowed with 
'sharpness of wit and the highest natural powers ; and we 
'three formed a close friendship together. When the 
'Imam rose from his lectures, they used to join me, and 
'we repeated to each other the lessons we had heard. Now 
'Omar was a native of Naishapiir, while Hasan Ben Sab- 
'bah's father was one Ali, a man of austere life and prac- 
'tice, but heretical in his creed and doctrine. One day 
'Hasan said to me and to Khayyam, 'It is a universal be- 
'lief that the pupils of the Imam Mowaffak will attain 
'to fortune. Now, even if we all do not attain thereto, 
'without doubt one of us will; what then shall be our 
'mutual pledge and bond?' We answered 'Be it what 
'you please.' 'Well,' he said, 'let us make a vow, that to 
'whomsoever this fortune falls, he shall share it equally 
'with the rest, and reserve no pre-eminence for him- 
(V) I 'self.' 'Be it so,' we both replied, and on those terms we 
'mutually pledged our words. Years rolled on, and I 
'went from Khorassan to Transoxiana, and wandered to 
'Ghazni and Cabul; and when I returned, I was invested 

[ 6 ] 


*with office, and rose to be administrator of affairs dur- 
*ing the Sultanate of Sultan Alp Arslan.' 

"He goes on to state, that years passed by, and both his 
old school- friends found him out, and came and claimed 
a share in his good fortune, according to the school-day 
vow. The Vizier was generous and kept his word. Hasan 
demanded a place in the government, which the Sultan 
granted at the Vizier's request; but discontented with a 
gradual rise, he plunged into the maze of intrigue of an 
oriental court, and, failing in a base attempt to supplant 
his benefactor, he was disgraced and fell. After many 
mishaps and wanderings, Hasan became the head of the 
Persian sect of the Ismailians, — a party of fanatics who 
had long murmured in obscurity, but rose to an evil emi- 
nence under the guidance of his strong and evil will. In 
A. D. 1090, he seized the castle of Alamut, in the prov- 
ince of Riidbar, which lies in the mountainous tract, south 
of the Caspian Sea; and it was from this mountain home 
he obtained that evil celebrity among the Crusaders as the 
terror through the Mohammedan world ; and it is yet dis- 
puted whether the word Assassin, which they have left in 
the language of modem Europe as their dark memorial, 
is derived from the hashish, or opiate of hemp-leaves 
(the Indian bhang,) with which they maddened them- 
selves to the sullen pitch of oriental desperation, or 
from the name of the founder of the dynasty, whom 
we have seen | in his quiet collegiate days, at Naisha- (vi) 
piir. One of the coimtless victims of the Assassin's dag- 

[ 7 ] 


ger was Nizam-ul-Mulk himself, the old school-boy 

"Omar Khayyam also came to the Vizier to claim the 
share; but not to ask for title or office. 'The greatest 
'boon you can confer on me,' he said, 'is to let me live in 
'a corner under the shadow of your fortune, to spread 
'wide the advantages of Science, and pray for your 
'long life and prosperity/ The Vizier tells us, that, when 
he found Omar was really sincere in his refusal, he 
pressed him no further, but granted him a yearly pension 
of 1200 mithkdls of gold, from the treasury of Naisha- 

"At Naishapur thus lived and died Omar Khayyam, 
'busied,' adds the Vizier, 'in winning knowledge of every 
'kind, and especially in Astronomy, wherein he attained 
'to a very high pre-eminence. Under the Sultanate of 
'Malik Shah, he came to Merv, and obtained great praise 
'for his proficiency in science, and the Sultan showered 
'favours upon him.' 

"When Malik Shah determined to reform the calendar, 
Omar was one of the eight learned men employed to do 
it; the result was the Jaldli era, (so called from Jalal-u- 
din, one of the king's names,) — 'a computation of time,' 
says Gibbon, 'which surpasses the Julian, and approaches 
(vii) 'the I accuracy of the Gregorian style.' He is also the 

^ Some of Omar's Rubdiydt warn us of the danger of Greatness, the 
instability of Fortune, and rvhile advocating Charity to all Men recom- 
mending us to he too intimate with none. Attar makes Nisdm-ul- 
Mulh use the very words of his friend Omar [Rub. a;xxi.'\, "When 
Nizdm-ul-Mulh was in the Agony (of Death) he said, 'Oh God! I am 
'passing away in the hand of the Wind.' " 

[ 8 ] 


author of some astronomical tables, entitled Ziji-Malik- 
shahi," and the French have lately republished and trans- 
lated an Arabic Treatise of his on Algebra. 

"His Takhallus or poetical name (Khayyam) signifies 
a Tent-maker, and he is said to have at one time exercised 
that trade, perhaps before Nizam-ul-Mulk's generosity 
raised him to independence. Many Persian poets simi- 
larly derive their names from their occupations ; thus we 
have Attar, "a druggist," Assar, "an oil presser," &c.^ 
Omar himself alludes to his name in the following whim- 
sical lines : — 

'Khayyam, who stitched the tents of science, 
Has fallen in grief's furnace and been suddenly burned ; 
The shears of Fate have cut the tent ropes of his life, 
And the broker of Hope has sold him for nothing !' 

"We have only one more anecdote to give of his Life, 
and that relates to the close; it is told in the anonymous 
preface which is sometimes prefixed to his poems; it has 
been printed in the Persian in the appendix to Hyde's 
Veterum Persarum Religio, p. 499; and D'Herbelot al- 
ludes to it in his Bibliotheque, under Khiam: — ^ 

" *It is written in the chronicles of the ancients that this 
'King of the Wise, Omar Khayyam, died at Naishapiir 
'in the year of the Hegira, 517 (a. d. 1123) ; in science he 

* Though all these, like our Smiths, Archers, Millers, Fletchers, <^c., 
may simply retain the Surname of an hereditary calling. 
^ "Philosophe Musulman qui a vecu en Odeur de Saintete dans la Fin 
du premier et le Commencement du second Siecle," no part of which, 
except the "Philosophe/* can apply to our Khayyam, 

[ 9 ] 


(mii) *was I unrivalled, — ^the very paragon of his age. Khwa- 
'jah Nizami of Samarcand, who was one of his pupils, re- 
flates the following story: *I often used to hold conversa- 
*tions with my teacher, Omar Khayyam, in a garden ; and 
'one day he said to me, *My tomb shall be in a spot, where 
*the north wind may scatter roses over it.' I wondered 
*at the words he spake, but I knew that his were no idle 
'words.^ Years after, when I chanced to revisit Naisha- 
*pur, I went to his final resting place, and lol it was just 
'outside a garden, and trees laden with fruit stretched 
'their boughs over the garden wall, and dropped their 
'flowers upon his tomb, so as the stone was hidden under 
'them.' " 

Thus far — without fear of Trespass — from the Cal- 
cutta Review. The writer of it, on reading in India this 
(ix) story of I Omar's Grave, was reminded, he says, of 
Cicero's Account of finding Archimedes' Tomb at Syra- 
cuse, buried in grass and weeds. I think Thorwaldsen 

^ The Rashness of the Words, according to D'Herbelot, consisted in 
being so opposed to those in the Koran: "No Man knows rvhere he 
shall die" — This Story of Omar recalls a very different one so natu- 
rally — andf when one remembers how wide of his humble mark the 
noble sailor aimed — so pathetically told by Captain Cook — not by 
Doctor Hawkesworth — in his Second Voyage. When leaving Ulietea, 
"Oreo's last request was for me to return. When he saw he could 
not obtain that promise, he asked the name of my Marai — Burying- 
place. As strange a question as this was, I hesitated not a moment 
to tell him 'Stepney,' the parish in which I live when in London. I was 
made to repeat it several times over till they could pronounce it; and 
then 'Stepney Marai no Tootee* was echoed through a hundred mouths 
at once. I afterwards found the same question had been put to Mr. 
Forster by a man on shore; but he gave a different, and indeed more 
proper answer, by saying, 'No man who used the sea could say where 
he should be buried.' " 

[ 10 ] 


desired to have roses grow over him; a wish religiously 
fulfilled for him to the present day, I believe. However, 
to return to Omar. 

Though the Sultan "shower'd Favours upon him," 
Omar's Epicurean Audacity of Thought^ and Speech 
caused him to be regarded askance in his own Time and 
Country. He is said to have been especially hated and 
dreaded by the Sufis, whose Practice he ridiculed, and 
whose Faith amounts to little more than his own when 
stript of the Mysticism and formal recognition of Islam- 
ism under which Omar would not hide. Their Poets, in- 
cluding Hafiz, who are (with the exception of Firdausi) 
the most considerable in Persia, borrowed largely, indeed, 
of Omar's material, but turning it to a mystical Use more 
convenient to Themselves and the People they addressed ; 
a People quite as quick of Doubt as of Belief; as keen 
of Bodily Sense as of Intellectual; and delighting in a 
cloudy compound of both, in which they could float lux- 
uriously between Heaven and Earth, and this World and 
the Next, on the wings of a poetical expression, that 
might serve indifferently for either. Omar was too 
honest of Heart as well as of Head for this. Having 
failed (however mistakenly) of finding any Providence 
but Destiny, and any World but This, he set about mak- 
ing the most of it; preferring rather to soothe the Soul 
through the Senses into Acquiescence with Things as he 
saw them, than to perplex it with vain disquietude after 
what they might be. It has been seen, however, that his 
Worldly Ambition was not exorbitant; and he very likely 

[ 11 ] 



(x) takes a humorous or | perverse pleasure in exalting the 
gratification of Sense above that of the Intellect, in which 
he must have taken great delight, although it failed to 
answer the Questions in which he, in common with all 
men, was most vitally interested. 

For whatever Reason, however, Omar, as before said, 
has never been popular in his own Country, and therefore 
has been but scantily transmitted abroad. The MSS. of 
his Poems, mutilated beyond the average Casualties of 
Oriental Transcription, are so rare in the East as scarce 
to have reacht Westward at all, in spite of all the acqui- 
sitions of Arms and Science. There is no copy at the In- 
dia House, none at the Bibliotheque Imperiale of Paris. 
We know but of one in England: No. 140 of the Ouse- 
ley MSS. at the Bodleian, written at Shiraz, a. d. 1460. 
This contains but 158 Rubaiyat. One in the Asiatic So- 
ciety's Library at Calcutta, (of which we have a Copy) 
contains (and yet incomplete) 516, though swelled to 
that by all kinds of Repetition and Corruption. So 
Von Hammer speaks of his Copy as containing about 
200, while Dr. Sprenger catalogues the Lucknow MS. 
at double that Number.^ The Scribes, too, of the Oxford 
and Calcutta MSS. seem to do their Work under a sort 
of Protest; each beginning with a Tetrastich (whether 
genuine or not), taken out of its alphabetic order; the 
Oxford with one of Apology; the Calcutta with one of 

* "Since this Paper was written" (adds the Reviewer in a note), "we 
have met with a Copy of a very rare Edition, printed at Calcutta in 
1886. This contains J^S8 Tetrastichs, with an Appendix containing 
6J!f. others not found in some MSS" 

[ 12 ] 



Expostulation, supposed (says a Notice prefixed to the 
MS.) to have I risen from a Dream, in which Omar's (xi) 
mother asked about his future fate. It may be rendered 
thus: — 

"Oh Thou who burn'st in Heart for those who burn 
"In Hell, whose fires thyself shall feed in turn ; 

"How long be crying, 'Mercy on them, God !' 
"Why, who art Thou to teach, and He to learn?" 

The Bodleian Quatrain pleads Pantheism by way of 

"If I myself upon a looser Creed 
"Have loosely strung the Jewel of Good deed, 
"Let this one thing for my Atonement plead: 
"That One for Two I never did mis-read." 

The Reviewer, to whom I owe the Particulars of 
Omar's Life, concludes his Review by comparing him 
with Lucretius, both as to natural Temper and Genius, 
and as acted upon by the Circumstances in which he lived. 
Both indeed were men of subtle, strong, and cultivated 
Intellect, fine Imagination, and Hearts passionate for 
Truth and Justice; who justly revolted from their Coun- 
try's false Religion, and false, or foolish. Devotion to it; 
but who yet fell short of replacing what they subverted 
by such better Hope as others, with no better Reve- 
lation to guide them, had yet made a Law to themselves. 
Lucretius, indeed, with such material as Epicurus fiu*- 

[ 13 ] 



nished, satisfied himself with the theory of so vast a ma- 
chine fortuitously constructed, and acting by a Law that 
implied no Legislator; and so composing himself into 
a Stoical rather than Epicurean severity of Attitude, sat 
down to contemplate the mechanical Drama of the Uni- 
(xii) verse which he was part Actor in ; | himself and all about 
him (as in his own sublime description of the Roman 
Theatre) discoloured with the lurid reflex of the Curtain 
suspended between the Spectator and the Sun. Omar, 
more desperate, or more careless of any so complicated 
System as resulted in nothing but hopeless Necessity, 
flung his own Genius and Learning with a bitter or hu- 
morous jest into the general Ruin which their insufficient 
glimpses only served to reveal; and, pretending sensual 
pleasure as the serious purpose of Life, only diverted 
himself with speculative problems of Deity, Destiny, 
Matter and Spirit, Good and Evil, and other such ques- 
tions, easier to start than to run down, and the pursuit 
of which becomes a very weary sport at last! 

With regard to the present Translation. The original 
Rubaiyat (as, missing an Arabic Guttural, these Tetra- 
stichs are more musically called) are independent Stan- 
zas, consisting each of four Lines of equal, though varied. 
Prosody, sometimes all rhyming, but oftener (as here 
imitated) the third line a blank. Something as in the 
Greek Alcaic, where the penultimate line seems to lift 
and suspend the Wave that falls over in the last. As 
usual with such kind of Oriental Verse, the Rubaiyat 
follow one another according to Alphabetic Rhyme — a 

[ 14 ] 


strange succession of Grave and Gay. Those here se- 
lected are strung into something of an Eclogue, with per- 
haps a less than equal proportion of the "Drink and 
inake-merry," which (genuine or not) recurs over-fre- 
quently in the Original. Either way, the Result is sad 
enough : saddest perhaps when most ostentatiously merry : 
more apt to move Sorrow than Anger toward the old 
Tentmaker, who, after vainly endeavouring to unshackle 
I his Steps from Destiny, and to catch some authentic (xiU) 
Glimpse of Tomorrow, fell back upon Today (which 
has out-lasted so many Tomorrows!) as the only Ground 
he got to stand upon, however momentarily slipping from 
under his Feet. 

While the present Edition of Omar was preparing, 
Monsieur Nicolas, French Consul at Rescht, published a 
very careful and very good Edition of the Text, from a 
lithograph copy at Teheran, comprising 464 Rubaiyat, 
with translation and notes of his own. 

Mons. Nicolas, whose Edition has reminded me of sev- 
eral things, and instructed me in others, does not consider 
Omar to be the material Epicurean that I have literally 
taken him for, but a Mystic, shadowing the Deity under 
the figure of Wine, Wine-bearer, &c., as Hafiz is sup- 
posed to do ; in short, a Sufi Poet like Hafiz and the rest. 

I cannot see reason to alter my opinion, formed as it 
was a dozen years ago when Omar was first shown me 
by one to whom I am indebted for all I know of Oriental, 

[ 15 ] 


and very much of other, literature. He admired Omar's 
Genius so much, that he would gladly have adopted any 
such Interpretation of his meaning as Mons. Nicolas' if 
he could.^ That he could not appears by his Paper in 
the Calcutta Review already so largely quoted; in which 
(xiv) he argues from the | Poems themselves, as well as from 
what records remain of the Poet's Life. 

And if more were needed to disprove Mons. Nicolas' 
Theory, there is the Biographical Notice which he him- 
self has drawn up in direct contradiction to the Inter- 
pretation of the Poems given in his Notes. Here is one 
of the Anecdotes he produces. "Mais revenons a Khe- 
yam, qui, reste etranger a toutes ces alternatives de 
guerres, d'intrigues, et de revoltes, dont cette epoque fut 
si remplie, vivait tranquille dans son village natal, se 
livrant avec passion a I'etude de la philosophic des Soufis. 
Entoure de nombreux amis il cherchait avec eux dans le 
vin cette contemplation extatique que d'autres croient 
trouver dans des cris et des hurlemens," &c. "Les chro- 
niqueurs persans racontent que Kheyam aimait surtout 
a s'entretenir et a boire avec ses amis, le soir au clair de 
la lune sur la terrasse de sa maison, entoure de chanteurs 
et musiciens, avec un echanson qui, la coupe a la main, la 
presentait a tour de role aux joyeux convives reunis. — 
Pendant une de ces soirees dont nous venons de parler, 
survient a I'improviste un coup de vent qui eteint les 

^ Perhaps would have edited the Poems himself some years ago. He 
may now as little approve of my Version on one side, as of Mons. 
Nicolas' on the other. 

[ 16 ] 



chandelles et renverse a terre la cruche de vin, placee 
imprudemment sur le bord de la terrasse. La cruche fut 
brisee et le vin repandu. Aussitot Kheyam, irrite, im- 
provisa ce quatrain impie a I'addresse du Tout-Puissant: 
'Tu as brise ma cruche de vin, mon Dieu! tu as ainsi 
ferme sur moi la porte de la joie, mon Dieu! c'est moi 
qui bois, et c'est toi qui commets les desordres de Tivresse 1 
oh! (puisse ma bouche se remplir de la terre!) serais tu 
ivre, mon Dieu?' 

"Le poete, apres avoir prononce ce blaspheme, jetant 
les yeux sur une glace, se serait aper9u que son visage 
etait noir|comme du charbon. C'etait une punition du (xv) 
ciel. Alors il fit cet autre quatrain non moins audacieux 
que le premier. *Quel est Thomme ici-bas qui n'a point 
conmiis de peche, dis? Celui qui n'en aurait point com- 
mis, comment aurait-il vecu, dis? Si, parce que je fais 
du mal, tu me punis par le mal, quelle est done la dif- 
ference qui existe entre toi et moi, dis?' " 

I really hardly knew poor Omar was so far gone till 
his Apologist informed me. Here we see then that, what- 
ever were the Wine that Hafiz drank and sang, the verit- 
able Juice of the Grape it was which Omar used not only 
when carousing with his friends, but (says Mons. Nico- 
las) in order to excite himself to that pitch of Devotion 
which others reached by cries and "hurlemens." And 
yet whenever Wine, Wine-bearer, &c., occur in the Text 
— which is often enough — Mons. Nicolas carefully an- 
notates "Dieu," "La Divinite," &c.: so carefully indeed 
that one is tempted to think he was indoctrinated by the 

[ 17 ] 


Sufi with whom he read the Poems. (Note to Rub. ii. 
p. 8.) A Persian would naturally wish to vindicate a 
distinguished Countryman; and a Siifi to enrol him in his 
own sect, which already comprises all the chief Poets of 

What historical Authority has Mons. Nicolas to show 
that Omar gave himself up "avec passion a I'etude de la 
philosophic des Soufis"? (Preface, p. xiii.) The Doc- 
trines of Pantheism, Materialism, Necessity, &c., were 
not peculiar to the Siifi; nor to Lucretius before them; 
nor to Epicurus before him; probably the very original 
Irreligion of thinking men from the first ; and very likel)'^ 
to be the spontaneous growth of a Philosopher living in 
(xm) an Age of [social and political barbarism, under sanction 
of one of the Two and Seventy Religions supposed to 
divide the world. Von Hammer (according to Spreng- 
er's Oriental Catalogue) speaks of Omar as "a Free- 
thinker, and a great opponent of Suftsmf perhaps be- 
cause, while holding much of their Doctrine, he would 
not pretend to any inconsistent severity of morals. Sir 
W. Ouseley has written a Note to something of the same 
effect on the fly-leaf of the Bodleian MS. And in two 
Rubaiyat of Mons. Nicolas' own Edition Siif and Siifi 
are both disparagingly named. 

No doubt many of these Quatrains seem unaccountable 
unless mystically interpreted; but many more as unac- 
countable unless literally. Were the Wine spiritual, for 
instance, how wash the Body with it when dead? Why 
make cups of the dead clay to be filled with — "La Di- 

[ 18 ] 

vinite" — by some succeeding Mystic? Mons. Nicolas 
himself is puzzled by some "bizarres" and "trop Orien- 
tales" allusions and images — "d'lme sensualite quelque- 
fois revoltante" indeed — which "les convenances" do not 
permit him to translate ; but still which the reader cannot 
but refer to "La Divinite." ^ No doubt also many of the 
Quatrains in the | Teheran, as in the Calcutta, Copies, are (^cmi) 
spurious ; such Ruhdiydt being the common form of Epi- 
gram in Persia. But this, at best, tells as much one way 
as another; nay, the Siifi, who may be considered the 
Scholar and Man of Letters in Persia, would be far more 
likely than the careless Epicure to interpolate what fa- 
vours his own view of the Poet. I observe that very few 
of the more mystical Quatrains are in the Bodleian MS., 
which must be one of the oldest, as dated at Shiraz, a. h. 
865, A.D. 1460. And this, I think, especially distinguishes 
Omar (I cannot help calling him by his — no, not Chris- 
tian — familiar name) from all other Persian Poets: That, 
whereas with them the Poet is lost in his Song, the Man 
in Allegory and Abstraction ; we seem to have the Man — 
the Bonhomme — Omar himself, with all his Humours 

^ A Note to Quatrain 23J/. admits that, however clear the mystical 
meaning of such Images must he to Europeans, they are not quoted 
without "rougissant" even by laymen in Persia. — "Quant aua; termes 
de tendresse qui commencent ce quatrain, comme tant d'autres dans 
ce recueil, nos lecteurs, habitues maintenant a Vetrangete des ex- 
pressions si souvent employes par Kheyam pour rendre ses pensees 
sur Vamour divin, et a la singularity des images trop orientates, d'une 
sensualite quelquefois revoltante, nauront pas de peine a se persuader 
qu'il s'agit de la Divinite, bien que cette conviction soit vivement dis- 
\cutee par les moullahs musulmans, et meme par beaucoup de la'iques, (xvii) 
qui rougissent veritablement d'une pareille licence de leur compatriote 
a regard des chose spirituelles." 

[ 19 ] 


and Passions, as frankly before us as if we were really 
at Table with him, after the Wine had gone round. 

I must say that I, for one, never wholly believed in 
the Mysticism of Hafiz. It does not appear there was 
any danger in holding and singing Siifi Pantheism, so 
long as the Poet made his Salaam to Mohammed at the 
beginning and end of his Song. Under such conditions 
Jelaluddin, Jami, Attar, and others sang; using Wine 
and Beauty indeed as Images to illustrate, not as a Mask 
to hide, the Divinity they were celebrating. Perhaps 
some Allegory less liable to mistake or abuse had been 
(xmii) better among so inflam-|mable a People: much more so 
when, as some think with Hafiz and Omar, the abstract 
is not only likened to, but identified with, the sensual 
Image; hazardous, if not to the Devotee himself, yet to 
his weaker Brethren; and worse for the Profane in pro- 
portion as the Devotion of the Initiated grew warmer. 
And all for what? To be tantalized with Images of sen- 
sual enjoyment which must be renounced if one would 
approximate a God, who, according to the Doctrine, is 
Sensual Matter as well as Spirit, and into whose Universe 
one expects unconsciously to merge after Death, with- 
out hope of any posthumous Beatitude in another world 
to compensate for all the self-denial of this. Lucretius' 
blind Divinity certainly merited, and probably got, as 
much self-sacrifice as this of the Sufi; and the burden of 
Omar's Song — if not "Let us eat" — is assuredly — "Let 
us drink, for Tomorrow we die!" And if Hafiz meant 
quite otherwise by a similar language, he surely miscal- 

[ 20 ] 


culated when he devoted his Life and Genius to so equivo- 
cal a Psahnody as, from his Day to this, has been said 
and sung by any rather than spiritual Worshippers. 

However, it may remain an Open Question, both with 
regard to Hafiz and Omar: the reader may understand 
them either way, literally or mystically, as he chooses. 
Whenever Wine, Wine-bearer, Cypress, &c., are named, 
he has only to suppose "La Divinite;" and when he has 
done so with Omar, I really think he may proceed to the 
same Interpretation of Anacreon — and even Anacreon 

[ 21 ] 


I Wake! For the Sun behind yon Eastern height 
Has chased the Session of the Stars from Night; 

And, to the field of Heav'n ascending, strikes 
The Sultan's Turret with a Shaft of Light. 

II Before the phantom of False morning died,^ 
Methought a Voice within the Tavern cried, 
"When all the Temple is prepared within, 
"Why lags the drowsy Worshipper outside?" 

III And, as the Cock crew, those who stood before 
The Tavern shouted — "Open then the door! 

"You know how little while we have to stay, 
"And, once departed, may return no more." 

IV Now the New Year reviving old Desires,^ (2) 
The thoughtful Soul to Solitude retires, 

Where the White Hand of Moses on the Bough 
Puts out, and Jesus from the Ground suspires.^ 

[ 23 ] 



V Iram indeed is gone with all his Rose,^ 

And Jamshyd's Sev'n-ring'd Cup where no one knows; 

But still a Ruby gushes from the Vine, 
And many a Garden by the Water blows. 

VI And David's lips are lockt ; but in divine ^ 

High-piping Pehlevi, with "Wine! Wine! Wine! 
"Red Wine!" — the Nightingale cries to the Rose 
That sallow cheek ^ of her's to incarnadine. 

VII Come, fill the Cup, and in the fire of Spring 
Your Winter-garment of Repentance fling: 

The Bird of Time has but a little way 
To flutter — and the Bird is on the Wing. 

VIII Whether at Naishapur or Babylon, 

Whether the Cup with sweet or bitter run, 

The Wine of Life keeps oozing drop by drop. 
The Leaves of Life keep falling one by one. 

IX Morning a thousand Roses brings, you say; (8) 

Yes, but where leaves the Rose of yesterday? 

And this first Summer month that brings the Rose 
Shall take Jamshyd and Kaikobad away. 

[ 24 ] 


X Well, let it take them ! What have we to do 
With Kaikobad the Great or Kaikhosrii? 

Let Rustum cry "To Battle!" as he likes/ 
Or Hatim Tai "To Supper!" — heed not you. 

XI With me along the strip of Herbage strown 
That just divides the desert from the sown, 

Where name of Slave and Sultan is forgot — 
And Peace to Mahmiid on his golden Throne! 

XII Here with a little Bread beneath the Bough, 
A Flask of Wine, a Book of Verse — and Thou 

Beside me singing in the Wilderness — 
Oh, Wilderness were Paradise enow! 

XIII Some for the Glories of This World; and some 
Sigh for the Prophet's Paradise to come; 

Ah, take the Cash, and let the Promise go, 
Nor heed the music of a distant Drum! ^ 

XIV Were it not Folly, Spider-like to spin (4) 
The Thread of present Life away to win — 

What? for ourselves, who know not if we shall 
Breathe out the very Breath we now breathe in ! 

[ 25 ] 


XV Look to the blowing Rose about us — "Lo, 
"Laughing," she says, "into the world I blow: 

"At once the silken tassel of my Purse 
"Tear, and its Treasure on the Garden throw." ® 

XVI For those who husbanded the Golden grain, 
And those who flung it to the winds like Rain, 

Alike to no such aureate Earth are turn'd 
As, buried once. Men want dug up again. 

XVII The Worldly Hope men set their Hearts upon 
Turns Ashes — or it prospers ; and anon. 

Like Snow upon the Desert's dusty Face, 
Lighting a little hour or two — was gone. 

XVIII Think, in this batter'd Caravanserai 

Whose Portals are alternate Night and Day, 

How Sultan after Sultan with his Pomp 
Abode his destin'd Hour, and went his way. 

XIX They say the Lion and the Lizard keep (5) 

The Courts where Jamshyd gloried and drank deep: ^^ 

And Bahram, that great Hunter — the Wild Ass 
Stamps o'er his Head, but cannot break his Sleep. 

[ 26 ] 


XX The Palace that to Heav'n his pillars threw, 
And Kings the forehead on his threshold drew — 

I saw the solitary Ringdove there, 
And "Coo, coo, coo," she cried; and "Coo, coo, coo." ^^ 

XXI Ah, my Beloved, fill the Cup that clears 
To-DAY of past Regret and future Fears: 

To-morrow! — Why, To-morrow I may be 
Myself with Yesterday's Sev'n thousand Years/ ^ 

XXII For some we loved, the loveliest and the best 
That from his Vintage rolling Time has prest. 

Have drunk their Cup a Round or two before. 
And one by one crept silently to rest. 

XXIII And we, that now make merry in the Room 
They left, and Summer dresses in new bloom. 

Ourselves must we beneath the Couch of Earth 
Descend, ourselves to make a Couch — for whom? 

XXIV I sometimes think that never blows so red (6) 
The Rose as where some buried Caesar bled ; 

That every Hyacinth the Garden wears 
Dropt in her Lap from some once lovely Head. 

[ 27 ] 


XXV And this delightful Herb whose living Green 
Fledges the River's Lip on which we lean — 

Ah, lean upon it lightly I for who knows 
From what once lovely Lip it springs unseen! 

XXVI Ah, make the most of what we yet may spend, 
Before we too into the Dust descend ; 

Dust into Dust, and under Dust, to lie. 
Sans Wine, sans Song, sans Singer, and — sans End! 

XXVII Alike for those who for To-day prepare. 

And those that after some To-morrow stare, 

A Muezzin from the Tower of Darkness cries, 
"Fools! your Reward is neither Here nor There!" 

XXVIII Another Voice, when I am sleeping, cries, 

"The Flower should open with the Morning skies." 

And a retreating Whisper, as I wake — 
"The Flower that once has blown for ever dies." 

XXIX Why, all the Saints and Sages who discuss'd (T) 

Of the Two Worlds so learnedly, are thrust 

Like foolish Prophets forth ; their Words to Scorn 
Are scattered, and their Mouths are stopt with Dust. 

[ 28 ] 



XXX Myself when young did eagerly frequent 

Doctor and Saint, and heard great argument 

About it and about : but evermore 
Came out by the same door as in I went. 

XXXI With them the seed of Wisdom did I sow, 

And with my own hand wrought to make it grow: 

And this was all the Harvest that I reap'd — 
"I came like Water, and like Wind I go." 

XXXII Into this Universe, and Why not knowing, 

Nor Whence, like Water willy-nilly flowing: 

And out of it, as Wind along the Waste, 
I know not Whither, willy-nilly blowing. 

XXXIII What, without asking, hither hurried Whence? 
And, without asking. Whither hurried hence ! 

Ah, contrite Heav'n endowed us with the Vine 
To drug the memory of that insolence ! 

XXXIV Up from Earth's Centre through the Seventh Gate (s) 
I rose, and on the Throne of Saturn sate,^^ 

And many Knots imravel'd by the Road ; 
But not the Master-knot of Human Fate. 

[ 29 ] 


XXXV There was the Door to which I found no Key: 

There was the Veil through which I could not see: 

Some Httle talk awhile of Me and Thee 
There was — and then no more of Thee and Me/^ 

XXXVI Earth could not answer; nor the Seas that mourn 
In flowing Purple, of their Lord forlorn ; 

Nor Heaven, with those eternal Signs reveal'd 
And hidden by the sleeve of Night and Morn. 

XXXVII Then of the Thee in Me who works behind 
The Veil of Universe I cried to find 

A lamp to guide me through the darkness; and 
Something then said — "An Understanding blind." 

XXXVIII Then to the Lip of this poor earthen Urn 
I lean'd, the secret Well of Life to learn: 

And Lip to Lip it murmur'd — "While you live, 
"Drink! — for, once dead, you never shall return." 

XXXIX I think the Vessel, that with fugitive (9) 

Articulation answer'd, once did live. 

And drink; and that impassive Lip I kiss'd, 
How many Kisses might it take — and give! 

[ 30 ] 


XL For I remember stopping by the way 

To watch a Potter thumping his wet Clay: 

And with its all-obliterated Tongue 
It murmur'd — "Gently, Brother, gently, pray!" 

XLi For has not such a Story from of Old 
Down Man's successive generations roU'd 

Of such a clod of saturated Earth 
Cast by the Maker into Human mould? 


XLii And not a drop that from our Cups we throw 
On the parcht herbage but may steal below 

To quench the fire of Anguish in some Eye 
There hidden — far beneath, and long ago. 

XLiii As then the Tulip for her wonted sup 

Of Heavenly Vintage lifts her chalice up. 

Do you, twin offspring of the soil, till Heav'n 
To Earth invert you like an empty Cup. 

XLiv Do you, within your little hour of Grace, (lo) 

The waving Cypress in your Arms enlace. 

Before the Mother back into her arms 
Fold, and dissolve you in a last embrace. 

[ 31 ] 


XLV And if the Cup you drink, the Lip you press, 
End in what All begins and ends in — Yes; 

Imagine then you are what heretofore 
You were — thereafter you shall not be less. 

XLVi So when at last the Angel of the drink ^^ 
Of Darkness finds you by the river-brink, 

And, proffering his Cup, invites your Soul 
Forth to your Lips to quaff it — do not shrink. 

XLVii And fear not lest Existence closing your 

Account, should lose, or know the type no more ; 
The Eternal Saki from that Bowl has pour'd 
Millions of Bubbles like us, and will pour. 

XLViii When You and I behind the Veil are past, 

Oh but the long long while the World shall last. 

Which of our Coming and Departure heeds 
As much as Ocean of a pebble-cast. 

XLix One Moment in Annihilation's Waste, (ii) 

One Moment, of the Well of Life to taste — 

The Stars are setting, and the Caravan ^^ 
Draws to the Dawn of Nothing — Oh make haste! 

[ 32 ] 


li Would you that spangle of Existence spend 
About THE SECRET — quick about it, Friend ! 

A Hair, they say, divides the False and True — 
And upon what, prithee, does Life depend? 

LI A Hair, they say, divides the False and True; 
Yes ; and a single Alif were the clue. 

Could you but find it, to the Treasure-house, 
And perad venture to The Master too; 

Lii Whose secret Presence, through Creation's veins 
Running, Quicksilver-like eludes your pains: 

Taking all shapes from Mah to Mahi; ^^ and 
They change and perish all — but He remains; 

Liii A moment guess'd — then back behind the Fold 
Immerst of Darkness round the Drama roU'd 

Which, for the Pastime of Eternity, 
He does Himself contrive, enact, behold. 

Liv But if in vain, down on the stubborn floor (12) 

Of Earth, and up to Heav'n's unopening Door, 

You gaze To-day, while You are You — how then 
To-morrow, You w^hen shall be You no more? 

[ S3 ] 


LV Oh, plagued no more with Human or Divine, 
To-morrow's tangle to itself resign, 

And lose your fingers in the tresses of 
The Cypress-slender Minister of Wine. 

LVi Waste not your Hour, nor in the vain pursuit 
Of This and That endeavour and dispute ; 

Better be merry with the fruitful Grape 
Than sadden after none, or bitter. Fruit. 

LVii You know, my Friends, how bravely in my House 
For a new Marriage I did make Carouse: 

Divorced old barren Reason from my Bed, 
And took the Daughter of the Vine to Spouse. 

LViii For "Is" and "Is-not" though with Rule and Line,^^ 
And "Up-and-down" by Logic I define. 
Of all that one should care to fathom, I 
Was never deep in anything but — Wine. 

Lix Ah, but my Computations, People say, (is) 

Have squared the Year to human compass, eh? 

If so, by striking from the Calendar 
Unborn To-morrow, and dead Yesterday. 

[ 34 ] 


LX And lately, by the Tavern Door agape, 

Came shining through the Dusk an Angel Shape 

Bearing a Vessel on his Shoulder ; and 
He bid me taste of it; and 'twas — the Grape! 

LXi The Grape that can with Logic absolute 

The Two-and- Seventy jarring Sects confute: ^^ 

The sovereign Alchemist that in a trice 
Life's leaden metal into Gold transmute : 

Lxii The mighty Mahmiid, Allah-breathing Lord, 
That all the misbelieving and black Horde ^^ 
Of Fears and Sorrows that infest the Soul 
Scatters before him with his whirlwind Sword. 

Lxin Why, be this Juice the growth of God, who dare 
Blaspheme the twisted tendril as a Snare? 

A Blessing, we should use it, should we not? 
And if a Curse — why, then. Who set it there? 

LXiv I must abjure the Balm of Life, I must, (W 

Scared by some After-reckoning ta'en on trust, 
Or lured with Hope of some Diviner Drink, 
When the frail Cup is crumbled into Dust ! 

[ 35 ] 


Lxv If but the Vine and Love-abjuring Band 
Are in the Prophet's Paradise to stand, 

Alack, I doubt the Prophet's Paradise 
Were empty as the hollow of one's Hand. 

Lxvi Oh threats of Hell and Hopes of Paradise! 
One thing at least is certain — This Life flies: 

One thing is certain and the rest is Lies ; 
The Flower that once is blown for ever dies. 

Lxvii Strange, is it not? that of the myriads who 

Before us pass'd the door of Darkness through 

Not one returns to tell us of the Road, 
Which to discover we must travel too. 

LXVlll The Revelations of Devout and Learn'd 

Who rose before us, and as Prophets burn'd. 

Are all but Stories, which, awoke from Sleep 
They told their fellows, and to Sleep return'd. 

Lxix Why, if the Soul can fling the Dust aside, (W 

And naked on the Air of Heaven ride, 

Is't not a shame — is't not a shame for him 
So long in this Clay suburb to abide! 

[ 36 ] 


Lxx But that is but a Tent wherein may rest 
A Sultan to the realm of Death addrest; 
The Sultan rises, and the dark Ferrash 
Strikes, and prepares it for another guest. 

Lxxi I sent my Soul through the Invisible, 
Some letter of that After-life to spell: 

And after many days my Soul return'd 
And said, "Behold, Myself am Heav'n and Hell:" 

Lxxii Heav'n but the Vision of fulfill'd Desire, 
And Hell the Shadow of a Soul on fire. 

Cast on the Darkness into which Ourselves, 
So late emerg'd from, shall so soon expire. 

Lxxiii We are no other than a moving row 

Of visionary Shapes that come and go 

Round with this Sun-illumin'd Lantern held 
In Midnight by the Master of the Show; ^^ 

Lxxiv Impotent Pieces of the Game He plays (le) 

Upon this Chequer-board of Nights and Days; 

Hither and thither moves, and checks, and slays; 
And one by one back in the Closet lays. 

[ S7 ] 

Stion rubaiyat of 

LXXY The Ball no question makes of Ayes and Noes, 
But Right or Left as strikes the Player goes ; 

And He that toss'd you down into the Field, 
He knows about it all — he knows — HE knows! ^^ 

Lxxvi The Moving Finger writes ; and, having writ, 
Moves on : nor all your Piety nor Wit 

Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line, 
Nor all your Tears wash out a Word of it. 

Lxxvii For let Philosopher and Doctor preach 

Of what they will, and what they will not — each 

Is but one Link in an eternal Chain 
That none can slip, nor break, nor over-reach. 

Lxxviii And that inverted Bowl we call The Sky, 

Whereunder crawling coop'd we live and die. 

Lift not your hands to It to help — for It 
As impotently rolls as you or I. 

Lxxix With Earth's first Clay They did the Last Man knead, ( 
And there of the Last Harvest sow'd the Seed : 

And the first Morning of Creation wrote 
What the Last Dawn of Reckoning shall read. 

[ 38 ] 


Lxxx Yesterday This Day's Madness did prepare ; 
To-morrow's Silence, Triumph, or Despair: 

Drink! for you know not whence you came, nor why: 
Drink! for you know not why you go, nor where. 

Lxxxi I tell you this — When, started from the Goal, 
Over the flaming shoulders of the Foal 

Of Heav'n Parwin and Mushtari they flung. 
In my predestin'd Plot of Dust and Soul 


Lxxxii The Vine had struck a fibre : which about 
If clings my Being — let the Dervish flout ; 

Of my Base metal may be filed a Key, 
That shall unlock the Door he howls without. 

Lxxxiii And this I know: whether the one True Light, 
Kindle to Love, or Wrath-consume me quite, 
One Flash of It within the Tavern caught 
Better than in the Temple lost outright. 

Lxxxrv What! out of senseless Nothing to provoke (is) 

A conscious Something to resent the yoke 

Of unpermitted Pleasure, under pain 
Of Everlasting Penalties, if broke! 

[ 39 ] 


Lxxxv What! from his helpless Creature be repaid 
Pure Gold for what he lent us dross-allay'd — 

Sue for a Debt we never did contract, 
And cannot answer — Oh the sorry trade ! 

Lxxxvi Nay, but, for terror of his wrathful Face, 
I swear I will not call Injustice Grace; 

Not one Good Fellow of the Tavern but 
Would kick so poor a Coward from the place. 

Lxxxvii Oh Thou, who didst with pitfall and with gin 
Beset the Road I was to wander in. 

Thou wilt not with Predestin'd Evil round 
Enmesh, and then impute my Fall to Sin? 

Lxxxviii Oh Thou, who Man of baser Earth didst make. 
And ev'n with Paradise devise the Snake: 

For all the Sin the Face of wretched Man 
Is black with — Man's Forgiveness give — and take! 

[ 40 ] 


Lxxxix As under cover of departing Day (i9) 

Sliink hunger-stricken Ramazan away, 

Once more within the Potter's house alone 
I stood, surrounded by the Shapes of clay. 

xc And once again there gather'd a scarce heard 
Whisper among them; as it were, the stirr'd 
Ashes of some all but extinguisht Tongue, 
Which mine ear kindled into living Word. 

xci Said one among them — "Surely not in vain, 

"My Substance from the common Earth was ta'en, 

"That He who subtly wrought me into Shape 
"Should stamp me back to shapeless Earth again?" 

xcii Another said — "Why, ne'er a peevish Boy 

"Would break the Cup from which he drank in Joy; 

"Shall He that of his own free Fancy made 
"The Vessel, in an after-rage destroy!" 

xciii None answer'd this; but after silence spake CW 

Some Vessel of a more ungainly Make ; 

"They sneer at me for leaning all awry; 
"What! did the Hand then of the Potter shake?" 

[ 41 ] 


xciv Thus with the Dead as with the Living, What? 
And Why? so ready, but the Where for not, 

One on a sudden peevishly exclaim'd, 
"Which is the Potter, pray, and which the Pot?" 

xcv Said one — "Folks of a surly Master tell, 

"And daub his Visage with the Smoke of Hell; 
"They talk of some sharp Trial of us — Pish! 
"He's a Good Fellow, and 'twill all be well." 

xcvi "Well," said another, "Whoso will, let try, 
"My Clay with long oblivion is gone dry: 

"But, fill me with the old familiar Juice, 
"Methinks I might recover by-and-bye!" 

xcvii So while the Vessels one by one were speaking. 
One spied the little Crescent all were seeking: ^^ 

And then they jogg'd each other, "Brother! Brother! 
"Now for the Porter's shoulder-knot a-creaking!" 

[ 42 ] 


xcviii Ah, with the Grape my fading Life provide, (2i) 

And wash my Body whence the Life has died, 

And lay me, shrouded in the hving Leaf, 
By some not unfrequented Garden-side. 

xcix Whither resorting from the vernal Heat 

Shall Old Acquaintance Old Acquaintance greet. 

Under the Branch that leans above the Wall 
To shed his Blossom over head and feet. 

c Then ev'n my buried Ashes such a snare 
Of Vintage shall fling up into the Air, 

As not a True-believer passing by 
But shall be overtaken unaware. 

CI Indeed the Idols I have loved so long 

Have done my credit in Men's eye much wrong: 

Have drown'd my Glory in a shallow Cup, 
And sold my Reputation for a Song. 

Cll Indeed, indeed, Repentance oft before (22) 

I swore — but was I sober when I swore? 

And then and then came Spring, and Rose-in-hand 
My thread-bare Penitence apieces tore. 

[ 43 ] 


cm And much as Wine has play'd the Infidel, 

And robb'd me of my Robe of Honour — ^Well, 

I often wonder what the Vintners buy 
One half so precious as the ware they sell. 

CIV Yet Ah, that Spring should vanish with the Rose! 
That Youth's sweet-scented manuscript should close! 

The Nightingale that in the branches sang. 
Ah whence, and whither flown again, who knows! 

cv Would but the Desert of the Fountain yield 
One glimpse — if dimly, yet indeed reveal'd. 

Toward which the fainting Traveller might spring. 
As springs the trampled herbage of the field! 

cvi Oh if the World were but to re-create. 

That we might catch ere closed the Book of Fate, 

And make The Writer on a fairer leaf 
Inscribe our names, or quite obHterate! 

evil Better, oh better, cancel from the Scroll (23) 

Of Universe one luckless Human Soul, 

Than drop by drop enlarge the Flood that rolls 
Hoarser with Anguish as the Ages roll. 

[ 44 ] 



cviii Ah Love! could you and I with Fate conspire 
To grasp this sorry Scheme of Things entire. 
Would not we shatter it to bits — and then 
Re-mould it nearer to the Heart's Desire! 

cix But see! The rising Moon of Heav'n again 

Looks for us, Sweet-heart, through the quivering Plane 

How oft hereafter rising will she look 
Among those leaves — for one of us in vain! 

ex And when Yourself with silver Foot shall pass 
Among the Guests Star-scatter'd on the Grass, 

And in your joyous errand reach the spot 
Where I made One — turn down an empty Glass! 


[ 45 ] 


^ The "False Dawn;" Subhi Kdzih, a transient Light on the Horizon 
about an hour before the Subhi sddik, or True Dawn; a well-known 
Phenomenon in the East. 

^ New Year. Beginning with the Vernal Equinox, it must be remem- 
bered; and (howsoever the old Solar Year is practically superseded 
by the clumsy Lunar Year that dates from the Mohammedan Hijra) 
still commemorated by a Festival that is said to have been appointed 
by the very Jamshyd whom Omar so often talks of, and whose yearly 
Calendar he helped to rectify. 

"The sudden approach and rapid advance of the Spring," says 
Mr. Binning, "are very striking. Before the Snow is well off the 
Ground, the Trees burst into Blossom, and the Flowers start from 
the Soil. At Naw Rooz {their New Year's Day) the Snow was lying 
in patches on the Hills and in the shaded Vallies, while the Fruit- 
trees in the Garden were budding beautifully, and green Plants and 
Flowers springing upon the Plains on every side — 

* And on old Hyems' Chin and icy Crown 

* An odorous Chaplet of sweet Summer buds 

* Is, as in mockery, set * 

Among the Plants newly appear'd I recognized some old Acquain- (26) 
tances I had not seen for many a Year: among these, two varieties 
of the Thistle; a coarse species of the Daisy, like the Horse-gowan; 
red and white Clover; the Dock; the blue Corn-flower; and that vul- 
gar Herb the Dandelion rearing its yellow crest on the Banks of 
the Watercourses." The Nightingale was not yet heard, for the Rose 
was not yet blown: but an almost identical Blackbird and Wood- 
pecker helped to make up something of a North-country Spring. 
^ Exodus iv. 6 ; where Moses draws forth his Hand — not, according 
to the Persians, ''leprous as Snow/' — but white, as our May-Blossom 
in Spring perhaps. According to them also the Healing Power of 
Jesus resided in his Breath. 

* Iram, planted by King Shaddad, and now sunk somewhere in the 
Sands of Arabia. Jamshyd's Seven-ring'd Cup was typical of the 
7 Heavens, 7 Planets, 7 Seas, &c., and was a Divining Cup. 
^ Pehlevi, the old Heroic Sanskrit of Persia. Hafiz also speaks of the 
Nightingale's Pehlevi, which did not change with the People's. 
^ I am not sure if this refers to the Red Rose looking sickly, or the 
Yellow Rose that ought to be Red ; Red, White, and Yellow Roses all 

[ *7 ] 



common in Persia. I think Southey, in his Common-place Book, 
quotes from some Spanish author about a Rose being White till 10 
o'clock; "Rosa perfecta" at 2; and "perfecta incarnada" at 5. 
^ Rustum, the "Hercules" of Persia, whose exploits are among the 
most celebrated in the Shah-nama. Hatim Tai a well-known Type of 
Oriental Generosity. 

(27) ^ A Drum — beaten outside a Palace. 
® That is, the Rose's Golden Centre. 

^^ Persepolis : called also Takht'i Jamshyd — The Throne of Jam- 
SHYD, "King-Splendid," of the mythical Peeshdddian Dynasty, and 
supposed (according to the Shah-nama) to have been founded and 
built by him. Others refer it to the Work of the Genie King, Jan Ibn 
Jan — who also built the Pyramids — before the time of Adam. 

Bahram Gur — Bahrdm of the Wild Ass — a Sassanian Sovereign — 
had also his Seven Castles (like the King of Bohemia!) each of a 
different Colour; each with a Royal Mistress within; each of whom 
tells him a Story, as told in one of the most famous Poems of Per- 
sia, written by Amir Khusraw: all these Sevens also figuring (accord- 
ing to Eastern Mysticism) the Seven Heavens, and perhaps the Book 
itself that Eighth, into which the mystical Seven transcend, and 
within which they revolve. The Ruins of Three of these Towers are 
yet shown by the Peasantry; as also the Swamp in which Bahram 
sunk, like the Master of Ravenswood, while pursuing his Gur. 
^^ This Quatrain Mr. Binning found, among several of Hafiz and 
others, inscribed by some stray hand among the ruins of Persepolis. 
The Ringdove's ancient Pehlevi, Coo, Coo, Coo, signifies also in Per- 
sian "Where? Where? Where?" In Attar's "Bird-parliament" she 
is reproved by the Leader of the Birds for sitting still, and for ever 
harping on that one note of lamentation for her lost Yusuf. 
^^ A thousand years to each Planet. 
^^ Saturn, Lord of the Seventh Heaven. 

(28) ^* Me-and-Thee : some dividual Existence or Personality distinct 
from the Whole. 

^^ The custom of throwing a little Wine on the ground before drink- 
ing still continues in Persia, and perhaps generally in the East. 
Mons. Nicolas considers it "un signe de liberalite, et en meme temps 
un avertissement que le buveur doit vider sa coupe jusqu'a la derniere 
goutte." Is it not more likely an ancient Superstition: a Libation to 
propitiate Earth, or make her an Accomplice in the illicit Revel .^^ Or, 
perhaps, to divert the Jealous Eye by some sacrifice of superfluity, 
as with the Ancients of the West? With Omar we see something 
more is signified; the precious Liquor is not lost, but sinks into the 
ground to refresh the dust of some poor Wine-worshipper foregone. 
Thus Hafiz, copying Omar in so many ways: "When thou drink- 
est Wine pour a draught on the ground. Wherefore fear the Sin 
which brings to another Gain ?" 

[ 48 ] 


^ j-iv^AA^kj. EDITION 

^® According to one beautiful Oriental Legend, Azrael accomplishes his 
mission by holding to the nostril an Apple from the Tree of Life. 
^^ The Caravans travelling by night, after the Vernal Equinox — ^their 
New Year's Day. This was ordered by Mohammed himself, I believe. 
^® From Mah to Mahi ; from Fish to Moon. 

^® A Jest, of course, at his Studies. A curious mathematical Quatrain 
of Omar's has been pointed out to me; the more curious because al- 
most exactly parallel'd by some Verses of Doctor Donne's, and quoted 
in Izaak Walton's Lives ! Here is Omar : "You and I are the image 
of a pair of compasses; though we have two heads (sc. our\ feet) we (29) 
have one body; when we have fixed the centre for our circle, we bring 
our heads (sc. feet) together at the end." Dr. Donne: 

If we be two, we two are so 

As stiff twin-compasses are two; 
Thy Soul, the fixt foot, makes no show 

To move, but does if the other do. 

And though thine in the centre sit. 

Yet when my other far does roam. 
Thine leans and hearkens after it. 

And grows erect as mine comes home. 

Such thou must be to me, who must 

Like the other foot obliquely run ; 
Thy firmness makes my circle just. 

And me to end where I begun. 

^® The Seventy-two Religions supposed to divide the World : includ- 
ing Islamism, as some think: but others not. 

^^ Alluding to Sultan Mahmiid's Conquest of India and its dark 

^^ Fdnusi khiydl, a Magic-lanthorn still used in India ; the cylindrical 
Interior being painted with various Figures, and so lightly poised 
and ventilated as to revolve round the lighted Candle within. 
^^ A very mysterious Line in the Original : 

O ddnad O ddnad O ddnad O 

breaking off something like our Wood-pigeon's Note, which she is said 

to take up just where she left off. 

^* Parwin and Mushtari — the Pleiads and Jupiter. 

^° At the Close of the Fasting Month, Ramazan (which | makes the (30) 

Musulman unhealthy and unamiable), the first Glimpse of the New 

Moon (who rules their Division of the Year), is looked for with the 

utmost Anxiety, and hailed with Acclamation. Then it is that the 

[ *9 ] 



Porter's Knot may be heard — toward the Cellar, perhaps. Omar has 
elsewhere a pretty Quatrain about this same Moon — 

" Be of Good Cheer — the sullen Month will die, 
*' And a young Moon requite us by and bye: 

*• Look how the Old one meagre, bent, and wan 
"With Age and Fast, is fainting from the Sky! " 


[ 50 1 



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an ailegorg. 




covvell's steam printing works, butter market 



Oh Sun Invisible, of which a Beam 

About this World of Matter wandering 

And striking through some lamp of Mortal Clay, 

We follow, madden, and fall down before. 

And with mad sensual Ecstacies adore. 

Unconscious of its origin Divine; 

Not till thy Secret Beauty through the cheek 

Of Laili smite does she inflame Majnun ; ^ 

And not till Thou have sugar'd Shirin's Lip 

The Hearts of those Two Rivals fill with blood. 

For liov'd and Lover are not but by Thee, 

Nor Beauty; — Mortal Beauty but the Veil 

Thy Heavenly hides behind, and from itself 

Feeds, and our Hearts yearn after as a Bride 

That glances past us Veil'd — but ever so 

That none the Veil from what it hides may know. 

How long wilt thou continue thus the World 

To cozen ^ with the Phantom of a Veil 

From which thou only peepest? I would be 

^ All well known Types of Eastern Lovers. Shirin and her Suitors 
figure in Sect. xx. 

^ The Persian Mystics also represent the Deity Dice-ing with Human 
Destiny behind the Curtain. 

[ 55 ] 

IdSon salaman and absal. 

Thy Lover, and thine only — I, mine Eyes 
Seal'd in the Light of Thee to all but Thee, 
Yea, in the Revelation of Thyself 
Lost to Myself, and all that Self is not 
Within the Double World that is but One. 
Thou movest under all the Forms of Truth, 
Under the Forms of all Created Things ; 
Look where I will, still nothing I discern 
But Thee throughout this Universe, in which 
Thyself Thou dost invest, and through the Eyes 
Of Man, the subtle Censor,^ scrutinize. 
To thy Harim Dividuality 
(2) No Entrance finds — no Word of This and That ; 
Do Thou my separate and Derived Self 
Make one with thy Essential ! Leave me room 
On that Divan which leaves no room for Twain; 
Lest, like the simple Arab in the Tale, 
I grow perplext, oh God! 'twixt "I" and 'THOU'; 
If I — ^this Spirit that inspires me whence? 
If THOU — then what this sensual Impotence? 

From the solitary Desert 
Up to Bagdad came a simple 
Arab; there amid the rout 

^ "The Apollonius of Keats' Lamia." 

[ 56 ] 


Got bewildered of the countless 
People hither, thither, running. 
Coming, going, meeting, parting, 
Clammer, clatter, and confusion. 

All about him and about. 
Travel-wearied, hubbub-dizzy. 
Would the simple Arab fain 
Get to sleep — ''But then, on waking, 
''How,'' quoth he, "amid so many 

"Waking know Myself again?'* 
So, to make the matter certain, 
Round his ancle ties a Pumpkin, 
And, into a corner creeping, 
Bagdad and Himself and People 

Soon are blotted from his brain. 
But one that heard him and divin'd 
His purpose, slily crept behind; 
Off the Sleeper's ancle slipping. 

Round his own the Pumpkin ties. 

And down to sleep beside him lies. 
By and by the Arab waking 
Looks directly for his Signal — 
Sees it on another's Ancle — 
Cries aloud, "Oh Good-for-Nothing 
"Rascal to perplex me so! 
"That by you I am bewilder'd, (s) 

[ 57 ] 


''Whether 1 be I or no! 

''If I — the Pumpkin why on You? 

"If Yojj—then Where am I, and Who?" 

Oh God! like this bewilder'd Wretch am I 
Bewilder'd, in this World of Why and What, 
Self-contradiction, and Duality, 
Bewilder'd; in this World of Mine and Thine, 
Bewilder'd utterly! Perplex me not 
Discovering on Thyself of Me the Sign, 
But into Me that of Thyself inspire 
As with Thyself shall Me identify! 
These mortal Dregs to Spiritual Wine — 
Or, if not that, yet, as that earthen Cup 
Whose name on earth I bear,^ with thy Divine 
This Human composition so refine 
And purify, till not unworthy found 
To pass that Spiritual Vintage round! 

^ The Poet's name, "Jami," signifying "A Cup." The Poet's Yusuf 
and ZuLAiKHA opens also with this Divine Wine, the favourite Symbol 
of Hafiz and other Persian Mystics. The Tavern spoken of is The 

I listen in the Tavern of Sweet Songs, 

And catch no Echo of their Harmony: 

The Guests have drunk the Wine and are departed. 

Leaving their empty Bowls behind — not one 

To carry on the Revel Cup in hand! 

Up Jami then! and whether Lees or Wine 

To offer — boldly offer it in Thine! 

[ 58 ] 



And yet how long, Jami, in this Old House 

Stringing thy Pearls upon a Harp of Song? 

Year after Year striking up some new Song, 

The Breath of some Old Story? ^ Life is gone, (4) 

And that last Song is not the Last; my Soul 

Is spent — and still a Story to be told ! 

And I, whose Back is crooked as the Harp 

1 still keep tuning through the Night till Day! 
That Harp untun'd by Time — the Harper's hand 
Shaking with Age — how shall the Harper's hand 
Repair its cunning, and the sweet old Harp 

Be modulated as of old? Methinks 

'Twere time to break and cast it in the Fire; 

The vain old Harp that sweet to other ears 

May sound no more, but from the Fire may breathe 

Sweet Resignation to the Harper's Soul, 

Now that his Body looks to Dissolution. 

My Teeth fall out — my two Eyes see no more 

Till by Feringhi Glasses turn'd to Four; * 

Pain sits with me sitting behind my knees. 

From which I hardly rise unhelpt of hand ; 

^ "Yiisuf and Zulaihha" "Laili and Majnun/' S^c. 

2 l^irsi notice of Spectacles in Oriental Poetry, perhaps. 

[ 59 ] 


I bow down to my Root, and like a Child 
Yearn, as is likely, to my Mother Earth, 
With whom I soon shall cease to moan and weep. 
And on my Mother's Bosom fall asleep. 

The House in ruin, and its Music heard 
No more within, nor at the door of Speech, 
Better in Silence and Oblivion 
To fold me head and foot, remembering 
What The Voice whisper'd in the Master's ^ ear — 
"No longer think of Rhyme, but think of Me!"— 
Of Whom? — Of Him whose Palace The Soul is. 
And Treasure-House — who notices and knows 
Its Income and Out-going, and then comes 
To fill it when the Stranger is departed. 
Whose Shadow being Kings — whose Attributes 
The type of Theirs — their Wrath and Favour His — 
(5) Lo! in the Celebration of His Glory, 

The Shah ^ whose subject upon Earth I am. 
As he of Heaven's, comes on me unaware. 
And suddenly arrests me for his own. 
Therefore for one last Travel, and as brief 
As may become the weary breath of Age, 
Once more I dip my pen into the Well, 
And send it forth discoursing on the Page, 

* Jelaluddin — Author of the "Mesnavi." 

^ Yacub Beg: whose Fathers Vision appears in the next Section. 

[ 60 ] 


Where, of the Mortal writing, I may read 
Anticipation of the Invisible. 

One who traveVd in the Desert 
Saw Majnun where he was sitting 
All alone like a Magician 

Tracing Letters in the Sand, 
"Oh distracted Lover! writing 
''What the Sword-wind of the Desert 
*'Undecyphers so that no one 

''After you shall understand.'' 
Majnun answered — "I am writing 
"Only for myself, and only 
" *Laili,' — If for ever 'Laili' 
"Writing, in that Word a Volume, 
"Over which for ever poring, 
"From her very Name I sip 
"Her Presence till I drink her Lip.'' 

[ 61 ] 



When Night had thus far brought me with my Book, 
In middle thought Sleep robb'd me of myself; 
And in a Dream myself I seem'd to see 
Walking along a straight and even Road, 
Which neither Whirlwind lifted into Dust, 
Nor Rain confounded into Mire ; a Road 
(6) Fair as the Spirit-walk of the Sufi. 

There I, methought, was pacing tranquilly, 
When, on a sudden, the tumultuous Shout 
Of Soldiery behind broke on mine Ear, 
And took away my Wit and Strength in Fear. 
I look'd about for refuge, and Behold! 
A Palace rose before me; whither running 
For refuge from the coming Soldiery, 
Suddenly from the troop a Shahzeman,^ 
By name and nature Hasan — in the robe 
Of Honour mounted on a milk-white horse. 
And wearing a white Turban on his Head, 
Turn'd his rein tow'rd me, with a gracious smile 

* "Lord of the World, Sovereign; Hasan, Beautiful, Good." Ha- 
san Beg of Western Persia, famous for his Beauty, had helped Jdmi 
with Escort in a dangerous Pilgrimage. He died (as History and a 
previous line in the Original tell) before Saldmdn was written, and 
was succeeded by his Son Yacub, to whom this Poem was addressed. 

[ 62 ] 


Opening before mine eyes the door of Peace. 

Then, riding up to me, dismounted; kiss'd 

My Hand, and many a Jewel from his Lips 

Of Salutation utter'd ; but of these 

Not one that in my ear till Morning hung. 

When, waking on my bed, my waking Wit 

I question'd what the Vision meant, it answered; 

"This favour done thee by the Shah now dead 

"Foreshows the Son's Acceptance of thy Verse, 

"Which lose no time in pushing to conclusion." 

This hearing, I address'd me like a Pen 

To steady writing; for perchance, I thought, 

From the same Fountain whence the Vision grew 

The Interpretation also may come True. 

Breathless to a Dream-divining 
Wizard ran a simple fellow — 
*'Lo, this Morning I was dreaming — 
''And, methought, in yon deserted 
"Village wandered — all about me 

''Shattered Houses — and, Behold! (7) 

''Into one, methought, I went — and 

"Dug — and found a hoard of Goldr 

Quoth the Wizard in Derision, 

"Oh Thou Jewel of Creation, 
[ 63 ] 


"Go and sole your Feet like Horse's, 
''Tiger-claw your hands with Iron, 
''And returning to your Village 

"Stamp in rubbish, scratch in dust, 
"And give Earth so sound a Shaking, 

"Hand you something up she must'' 
Went at once the unsuspecting 
Countryman; with hearty Purpose 

Set to work as he was told; 
And the very first encounter, 

Struck upon his hoard of Gold! 

If thou would have thy Purpose by the Hilt, 
Catch at it boldly — or Thou never wilt. 

[ 64 ] 




A Shah there was who ruled the Reabn of Yiin/ 

And wore the Ring of Empire of Sikander ; 

And in his Reign A Seee, of such Report 

For Insight, reaching quite behind the Veil, 

That Wise men from all Quarters of the World, 

To catch the Jewel falling from his Lips 

Out of the secret Treasure, as he went, 

Went in a Girdle round him. — Which The Shah 

Observing, took him to his Secresy; 

Stirr'd not a step, nor set Design afoot. 

Without that Seer's direction; till, so counseled, 

From Kaf to Kaf ^ reached his Dominion : (s) 

No People, and no Prince that over them 

The ring of Empire wore, but under His 

Bow'd down in Battle ; rising then in Peace 

Under his Justice grew, and knew no Wrong 

And in their Strength was his Dominion strong. 

^ Or "Yavan," Son of Japhet, from whom the Country was called 
"YuNAN," — Ionia, meant by the Persians to express Greece gener- 
ally. Sikander is, of course, Alexander the Great, of whose Ethics 
J ami wrote, as Nizdmi of his Deeds. 

^ The Fabulous Mountain supposed by Asiatics to surround the World, 
binding the Horizon on all sides. 

[ 65 ] 


The Shah that has not Wisdom in Himself, 
Nor has a Wise Man for his Counsellor, 
The Wand of his Authority falls short, 
And his Dominion crumbles at the base. 
For he, discerning not the characters 
Of Tyranny and Justice, confounds both. 
Making the World a Desert, and Redress 
A Fantom-water of the Wilderness. 

God said to the Prophet David — 
''David, whom I have exalted, 
''From the sheep to he my People's 

"Shepherd, by thy Justice my 

"Revelation justify. 
"Lest the misbelieving — yea, 
"The Fire-adoring, Princes rather 
"Be my Prophets, who my Will, 
"Knowing not my Word, fulfiV 

[ 66 ] 


One night The Shah of Yiinan as he sate 

Contemplating his measureless extent 

Of Empire, and the Glory wherewithal 

As with a Garment robed, he ruled alone; 

Then found he nothing wanted to his heart 

Unless a Son, who, while he lived, might share. 

And, after him, his robe of Empire wear. 

And then he turned him to The Seer, and said ; (9) 

"Oh Thou, whose Wisdom is the Rule of Kings — 

"(Glory to God who gave it!) — answer me; 

"Is any Blessing better than a Son? 

"Man's prime Desire ; by whom his Name and He 

"Shall live beyond Himself; by whom his Eyes 

"Shine living, and his Dust with Roses blows. 

"A Foot for Thee to stand on, and an Arm 

"To lean by; sharp in Battle as a Sword; 

"Salt of the B anquet -table ; and a Tower 

"Of salutary Counsel in Divan; 

"One in whose Youth a Father shall prolong 

"His Years, and in his Strength continue strong." 

[ 67 ] 



When the shrewd Seer had heard The Shah's discourse 

In commendation of a Son, he said : 

"Thus much of a Good Son, whose wholesome Growth 

"Approves the Root he grew from. But for one 

"Kneaded of Evil — ^Well, could one undo 

"His Generation, and as early pull 

"Him and his Vices from the String of Time. 

"Like Noah's, puiF'd with Ignorance and Pride, 

"Who felt the Stab of 'He is None of Thine!' 

"And perish'd in the Deluge.^ And as none 

"Who long for children may their children choose, 
"Beware of teasing Allah for a Son, 

"Whom having, you may have to pray to lose." 

Sick at heart for want of Children, 
Ban before the Saint a Fellow, 
Catching at his garment, crying, 
''Master, hear and help me! Pray 
''That Allah from my barren clay 
(10) "Raise me up a fresh young Cypress, 

"Who my childless Eyes may lighten, 

^ See Note in Appendix I. 

[ 68 ] 


''And not let me like a Vapour 

''Unrememhered pass away,'' 
But the Dervish said — ''Consider; 

"Wisely let the matter rest 
"In the hands of Aixah wholly, 
"Who, whatever we are after, 

"Understands our business best'' 
Still the man persisted — "Master, 
"I shall perish in my longing: 
"Help, and set my prayer a-going!" 

Then the Dervish rais'd his hand 
To Heav*n — to Heav'n his arrow flew; 

From the mystic Hunting-land 
Down into the Father's arms 

A musky Fawn of China drew — 
A Boy — who, when the shoot of Passion 

In his Nature planted grew. 
Took to drinking, dice-ing, drabbing. 
From a corner of the house-top 
Ill-insulting honest women. 
Dagger-drawing on the Husband, 

And for many a City-brawl 
Still before the Cadi summon'd. 

Still the Father pays for all. 
Day and night the Youngster's doings 
Such — the City's talk and scandal; 
[ 69 ] 


Neither Counsel, Threat, Entreaty, 
Moved him — till the desperate Father 
Once more to the Dervish running. 
Catches at his garment — crying — 
''Oh my only Hope and Helper! 
"One more Prayer! That God, who laid, 
''Would take this Trouble from my head!'' 
But the Saint replied "Remember 
"How that very Day I warn'd you 
"Not with blind petition Allah 
"Trouble to your own confusion; 
(11) "Unto whom remains no more 

"To pray for, save that he may pardon 
"What so rashly prayed before.'' 

[ 70 ] 



"So much for the Result then — oft as not 
"So much beside the Mark; and for the Means — 
"Oh Shah, who would not be himself a Slave, 
"Which Shah least should, and of an Appetite 
"Among the basest of his Slaves enslav'd — 
"Better let Azrael find him on his Throne 
"Of Empire sitting, childless and alone, 
"Than his untainted Majesty resign 
"To that seditious Drink, of which one draught 
"Still for another and another craves, 
"Till it become a noose to draw the Crown 
"From off thy Brows — about thy Lips a Ring, 
"Of which the rope is in a Woman's hand, 
"To lead Thyself the road of Nothing down. 
"For what is She? A Foohsh, Faithless Thing— 
"To whom The Wise Self -subjected, himself 
"Deep sinks beneath the Folly he sets up. 
"A very Kafir in Rapacity; 
"Clothe her a hundred years in Gold and Jewel, 
"Her garment with brocade of Susa braided, 
"Her very Night-gear wrought in Cloth of Gold; 
"Dangle her ears with Ruby and with Pearl, 

[ 71 ] 

ISXn salaman and absal. 

"Her House with Golden Vessels all a-blaze, 
"Her Tables loaded with the Fruit of Kings, 
"Ispahan Apples, Pomegranates of Yazd; 
"And, be she thirsty, from a Jewell'd Cup 
"Drinking the water of the Well of Life — 
"One little Twist of Temper, — all youVe done, 
"Goes all for Nothing. 'Torment of my Life!' 
"She cries, 'What ever have you done for me!' — 
"Her Brow's white tablet — Yes — 'tis uninscrib'd 
(12) "With any Letter of Fidelity; 

"Who ever read it there? Lo, in your Bosom 
"She lies for years — one moment out of sight, 
"And she forgets you — worse, if, as you turn, 
"Her Eyes on any Younger Lover light." 

Once upon the Throne together 
Telling one another Secrets, 
Sat SuLAYMAN and Balkis; ^ 
The Hearts of Both were turnd to Truth, 
Unsullied by Deception. 
First the King of Faith Sulayman 
Spoke — ''However just and wise 
''Reported, none of all the many 
"Suitors to my palace thronging 

^ Solomon and the Queen of Sheba. 

[ 72 ] 


'*But afar I scrutinize; 
''And He who comes not empty-handed 

''Grows to Honour in mine Eyes.'' 
After this Balkis a Secret 
From her hidden Bosom uttered. 
Saying — "Never Night or Morning 
"Comely Youth before me passes 
"Whom I look not longing after'' — 

"If this, as wise Ferdiisi says, the Curse 

"Of Better Women, what then of the Worse?" 

[ 73 ] 



The Seer his Satire ended; and The Shah, 
Determin'd on his purpose, but the means 
Resigning to Supreme Intelligence, 
With Magic-mighty Wisdom his own Might 
CoUeagued, and wrought his own Accomplishment. 
For Lo! from Darkness came to Light A Child, 
(IS) Of carnal composition unattaint; 

A Perfume from the Realm of Wisdom wafted; 

A Rosebud blowing on the Royal Stem; 

The Crowning Jewel of the Crown; a Star 

Under whose Augury triumph'd the Throne. 

For whose behest dividing, and in one 

Whole perfect Jewel re-uniting, those 

Twin Jewel-words, Salamat and Asm an,* 

They hail'd him by the title of Salaman, 

And whereas from no Mother Milk he drew. 

They chose for him a Nurse — ^her name Absal — 

So young, the opening roses of her breast 

But just had budded to an infant's lip; 

So beautiful, as from the silver line 

Dividing the Musk-Harvest of her Hair 

Down to her Foot that trampled Crowns of Kings, 

^ Salamat, Inviolability; Asman, Heaven. 

[ 74 ] 


A Moon of Beauty Full; who thus elect 
Salaman of Auspicious Augury 
Should in the garment of her Bounty fold, 
Should feed him with the flowing of her Breast. 
And, once her Eyes had open'd upon Him, 
They closed to all the world beside, and fed 
For ever doating on the Royal Jewel 
Close in his golden cradle casketed: 
Opening and closing which her Day's Delight, 
To gaze upon his Heart-inflaming Cheek, — 
Upon the Babe whom, could she, fain she would 
Have cradled as the Baby of her Eye/ 
In Rose and Musk she wash'd him — to his lips 
Press'd the pure sugar from the Honeycomb; 
And when. Day over, she withdrew her Milk, 
She made, and having laid him in, his bed, 
Burn'd all night like a Taper o'er his head. 

Then still as Morning came, and as he grew. 

Finer than any Bridal-puppet, which 

To prove another's love a Woman sends, (u) 

She trick'd him up — with fresh CoUyrium dew 

Touch'd his Narcissus Eyes — the musky Locks 

Divided from his Forehead — and embraced 

With Gold and Ruby girdle his fine Waist. 

^ Literally, Mardumak — the Mannakin, or Pupil, of the Eye, cor- 
responding to the Image so frequently used by our old Poets. 

[ 75 ] 

Idition salaman and absal. 

So for seven years she rear'd and tended him: 
Nay, when his still-increasing Moon of Youth 
Into the further Sign of Manhood pass'd, 
Pursued him still, till full Fourteen his Years, 
Fourteen-day full the beauty of his Face, 
That rode high in a Hundred Thousand Hearts ; 
For, when Salaman was but Half -lance high. 
Lance-like he struck a wound in every one. 
And burn'd and shook down Splendour like a Sun. 

[ 76 ] 



Soon as the Lord of Heav'n had sprung his Horse 

Over the Horizon into the Blue Field, 

Salaman, kindled with the Wine of Sleep, 

Mounted a Barb of Fire for the Maidan; 

He and a Troop of Princes — Kings in Blood, 

Kings in the Kingdom-troubling Tribe of Beauty, 

All young in Years and Courage,* Bat in hand 

Gallop'd a-field, toss'd down the Golden ball 

And chased, so many Crescent Moons a Full; 

And, all alike intent upon the Game, 

Salaman still would carry from them all 

The Prize, and shouting "Hal!" drive home the Ball.^ 

This done, Salaman bent him as a Bow (i5) 

To Archery — from Masters of the Craft 

Call'd for an unstrung Bow — himself the Cord 

Fitted unhelpt,^ and nimbly with his hand 

^ The same Persian Word serving for Youth and Courage. 

^ The Game of Chugdn, for Centuries the Royal Game of Persia, and 

adopted (Ouseley thinks) under varying modifications of Name and 

Practice by other Nations, was played by Horsemen, who, suitably 

habited, and armed with semicircular-headed Bats or Sticks, strove to 

drive a Ball through a Goal of Upright Pillars. (See Frontispiece and 

Appendix.) We may call it "Horse-hockey," as it is even now played 

by young Englishmen in the Maidan of Calcutta, and other Indian 

cities, I believe, and might perhaps be well tried among our own young 

Gentlemen here. 

® Bows being so gradually stiffened, to the Age and Strength of the 

[ 77 ] 

edSt salaman and absal. 

Twanging made cry, and drew it to his ear: 
Then, fixing the Three-feather'd Fowl, discharged. 
No point in Heav'n's wide Azure but his Arrow 
Hit; nay, but Heaven were made of Adamant, 
Would overtake the Horizon as it roU'd ; 
And, whether aiming at the Fawn a-foot. 
Or Bird on wing, direct his Arrow flew, 
Like the true Soul that cannot but go true. 

When Night came, that releases Man from toil. 

He play'd the Chess of Social intercourse ; 

Prepared his Banquet Hall like Paradise, 

Summon'd his Houri-f aced Musicians, 

And, when his brain grew warm with wine, the Veil 

Flung oif him of Reserve : Taking a Harp, 

Between its dry string and his finger quick 

Struck Fire : or catching up a Lute, as if 

A Child for Chastisement, would pinch its ear 

To wailing that should make an Elder weep. 

Now like the Nightingale He sang alone; 

Now with another lip to lip ; and now 

Together blending Voice and Instrument ; 

And thus with his Associates Night he spent. 

Archer, as at last to need five Hundredweight of Pressure to bend, says 
an old Translation of Char din, who describes all the Process up to 
bringing up the String to the Ear, "as if to hang it there/' before 
Shooting. Then the First Trial was, who could shoot highest: then, 
the Mark, ^c. 

[ 78 ] 


His Soul rejoiced in Knowledge of all kind; 

The fine edge of his Wit would split a Hair, 

And in the noose of Apprehension catch 

A Meaning ere articulate in Word; 

Close as the knitted Jewel of Parwin * (W 

His jewel Verse he strung; his Rhetoric 

Enlarging like the Mourners of the Bier.^ 

And when he took the nimble Reed in hand 

To run the errand of his Thought along 

Its paper field, the Character he traced, 

Fine on the lip of Youth as the First Hair, 

Drove Penman, as that Lovers, to despair. 

His Bounty was as Ocean's — nay, the Sea's 
Self but the Foam of his Munificence, 
For it threw up the Shell, but he the Pearl; 
He was a Cloud that rain'd upon the World 
Dirhems for drops; the Banquet of whose Bounty — 

^ ^ The Pleiads and the Great Bear. This contrast is otherwise pret- 
tily applied in the Anvari Soheili — "When one grows poor, his Friends, 
heretofore compact as The Pleiads, disperse wide asunder as The 

[ 79 ] 


But here that inward Minister of mine 
Arrested and rebuked me — "Foolish Jami! 
"Wearing that indefatigable Pen 
"In celebration of an Alien Shah 
"Whose Throne, not grounded in the Eternal World, 
"If Yesterday it were, To-day is not, 
"To-MORROW cannot be." ^ But I replied; 
"Oh Fount of Light! — under an alien Name 
"I shadow One upon whose Head the Crown 
"Both Was and Is, and Shall be; whose Firman 
"The Kingdoms Sev'n of this World, and the Seas, 
(17) "And the Sev'n Heavens themselves are subject to. 
"Good luck to him who under other Name 
"Instructed us that Glory to disguise 
"To which the Initiate scarce dare lift their Eyes." 

Sate a Lover in a garden 
All alone, apostrophizing 
Many a Flower and Shrub about him. 
And the Lights of Heav'n above, 

^ The Hero of the Story being of Yunan — Ionia^ or Greece gener- 
ally, (the Persian Geography not being very precise,) — and so not 
of THE Faith. 

[ 80 ] 


Nightingaling thus, a Noodle 
Heard him, and, completely puzzled, 
''What,'' quoth he, ''and you a Lover, 
"Raving, not about your Mistress, 
"But about the Stars and Roses — 

"What have these to do with Love?'' 
Answer'd he; "Oh thou that aimest 
"Wide of Love, and Lovers' Language 

"Wholly misinterpreting; 
"Sun and Moon are but my Lady's 

"Self, as any Lover knows; 
"Hyacinth I said, and meant her 

"Hair — her Cheek was in the Rose — 
"And I myself the wretched Weed 

"That in her Cypress shadow grows," 

[ 81 ] 



And now the Cypress stature of Salaman 
Had reached his top, and now to blossom full 
The Garden of his Beauty : and Absal, 
Fairest of hers, as of his Fellows he 
The Fairest, long'd to gather from the Tree. 
But, for that Flower upon the lofty stem 
Of GlorjT^ grew to which her hand fell short. 
Now with the Woman's cunning she began 
Enticing as she might within her reach. 
Darkened the night of those dark Eyes in which 
(18) To lose — and over them adorn'd the Bows ^ 

To wound him there when lost : her musky Locks 
Into so many snaky ringlets curl'd 
In which Temptation nestled: one perchance 
With its own shadow playing on the cheek 
Whose blooming Rose she kindled with fresh dew. 
And then one tiny grain of Musk lay there,^ 
The Bird of that Beloved Heart to snare. 
Sometimes in passing with a Laugh would break 
The Pearl-enclosing Ruby ; or again 

^ With dark Indigo-Paint, as the Archery Borv with a thin Papyrus- 
like Bark. 
^A Patch, sc. — "Noir comme le Muse." De Sacy. 

[ 82 ] 


When busied in the room, as by mischance 

Would let the lifted sleeve disclose awhile 

The vein of Silver running up within: 

Or, rising as in haste, her golden anclets 

Clash, at whose sudden summons to bring down 

Under her silver feet the golden Crown. 

Thus, by innumerable Witcheries, 

She went about soliciting his Eyes, 

By which she knew the Robber unawares 

Steals in, and takes the Bosom by surprise. 

Burning with Desire Zulaikha 
Built a Chamber, Wall and Ceiling 
Blank as an untarnisht Mirror, 
Spotless as the heart of Yusuf. 
Then she made a cunning Painter 
Multiply her Image round it; 
Not an Inch of Wall but echoed 
Back the image of her Beauty, 
Then amid them all in all her 
Glory sat she down, and sent for 
Yusuf — she began a Tale 
Of Love — and lifted up her Veil, 
Bashfully beneath her burning 

Eyes he turn'd away; but turning 

[ 83 ] 


(19) Wheresoever, still about him 


Still, without a Veil, Zulaikha. 

But a Voice as if from Canaan 

CalVd him; and a Hand from Darkness 

Touched; and ere the living Lip 
Through the fantom of bewilder' d 
Eyes seduced him, he recoiVd, 

And let the shirt of Ruin slip. 

[ 84 ] 



Alas for those who having tasted once 

Of that forbidden Vintage of the Lips 

That, press'd and pressing, from each other draw 

The Draught that so intoxicates them both. 

That, while Reproach knocks at the door in vain. 

And Time unheeded flies above the head, 

As from the very Well of Life they drink. 

And, drinking, fancy they shall never drain. 

But rolling Heaven from his Ambush whispers, 

"So in my License is it not set down: 

"Ah for the sweet Societies I make 

"At Morning, and before the Nightfall break; 

"Ah for the BHss that with the Setting Sun 

"I mix, and, with his Rising, all is done!" 

Once in Bagdad a poor Arab, 

After weary days of fasting. 

Into the KhalifaJis Palace, 

Into the Khalifah's very 

Banquet-chamber, where in State 

Hakun Alraschid supping sate, 
[ 85 ] 


PusJid and pushing with the throng, 
Got before a perfume-breathing 
Pasty, like the lip of Shirin 

Luscious, or the Poefs Song, 
(20) Soon as seen, the famisht clown 

Seizes up and swallows down. 
Then his mouth undaunted wiping — 
''Oh Khali f ah hear me Swear, 
''While I breathe the dust of Bagdad, 
"Ne'er at any other Table 
"Than at Thine to sup or dine.'' 
The Khalifah laugh'd and answered; 

"Fool! who think; st to arbitrate 
"What is in the hands of Fate — 

"Take and thrust him from the Gate!'' 

[ 86 ] 



While a Full Year was counted by the Moon, 

Salaman and Absal rejoiced together. 

And for so long he never saw the face 

Of Seer or Shah, nor they the face of Him. 

They question'd those about him, and from them 

Heard something; then Himself to Presence summon'd. 

And, subtly sifting on all sides, so plied 

Interrogation till it hit the mark. 

And all the Truth was told. Then Seer and Shah 

Struck out with Hand and Foot in his redress. 

And First with Reason, which is also Best ; 

Reason that rights the Wanderer; that completes 

The Imperfect — Reason that resolves the Knot 

Of either World, and sees beyond the Veil. 

For Reason is the Fountain from of old 

From which the Prophets drew, and none beside: 

Who boasts of other Inspiration, lies — 

There are no other Prophets than The Wise. 

[ 87 ] 


First spoke The Shah: — "Salaman, Oh my Soul, 
"Oh Lustre of the Banquet of my House, 
(21) "Light of the Eyes of my Prosperity, 

"And making bloom the Court of Hope with Rose; 

"Year after Year, Salaman, like a Bud 

"That cannot blow, my own Blood, I devoured, 

"Till, by the seasonable breath of God, 

"At last I blossom'd into thee, my Son; 

"Year after year the Crown has chafed my Brow, 

"For thee; my Foot been growing to the Throne 

"Only for Thee — Oh spurn them not with Thine. 

"Nor let the full-blown Rose of Royalty 

"Be left to wither in a hand unclean. 

"For what thy proper Pastime? Bat in hand 

"To mount and manage Rakhsh ^ along the Field; 

"Not, with no weapon but a wanton Curl 

"Idly reposing on a Silver Breast. 

"Go, fly thine Arrow at the Antelope 

"And Lion — let me not my Lion see 

"Slain by the Arrow eyes of a Ghazal. 

"Go, flash thy steel among the ranks of Men, 

^ "Lightning." The name of Rustam's famous Horse in the Shah- 


[ 88 ] 


"And smite the Warriors' necks; not, flying them, 
"Beneath a Woman's foot submit thine own. 
"Leave off such doing in the name of God, 
"Nor bring thy Father weeping to the ground; 
"Years have I held myself aloft, and all 
"For Thee — Oh Shame if thou prepare my Fall!" 

When before Shirueh's dagger 

Kai Khusrau,* his Father, fell, 

He declared this Parable — 
''Wretch! — There was a Branch that wawing 
''Wanton o'er the Root he drank from, (22) 

"At a Draught the Living Water 

"Drained wherewith Himself to crown; 
"Died the Root — and with him died 

"The Branch — and barren was brought downf 

* Khusrau Parviz (Chosroe The Victorious), Son of NosHfaAVAN 
The Great; slain, after Thirty Years of Prosperous Reign, by his Son 
Shirueh, Tvho, according to some, was in Love with his Father's Mis- 
tress Shirin. See further. Section xxi., for one of the most dramatic 
Tragedies in Persian History. 

[ 89 ] 



Salaman heard — the Sea of his Soul was mov'd, 
And bubbled up with Jewels, and he said : 
"Oh Shah, I am the Slave of thy Desire, 
"Dust of thy Throne-ascending Foot am I ; 
"Whatever thou desirest I would do, 
"But sicken of my own Incompetence; 
"Not in the hand of my infirmer Will 
"To carry into Deed mine own Desire. 
"Time after time I torture mine own Soul, 
"Devising liberation from the Snare 
"I languish in. But when upon that Moon 
"Z think, my Soul relapses — and when look — 
"I leave both Worlds behind to follow her!" 

[ 90 ] 



The Shah ceased Counsel, and The Seer began. 

"Oh crowning Blossom on the Tree of Life 

"Planted in Paradise; Oh Master-stroke, 

"And all-concluding flourish of the Pen 

"KuN FA YAKUN ; ^ Thysclf prime Archetype, 

"And ultimate Accomplishment of ManI 

"The Almighty Hand, that out of common Earth 

"That mortal Outward to the perfect Form 

"Of Beauty moulded, in the fleeting Dust 

"Inscrib'd Himself, and in that Bosom set (23) 

"A Mirror to reflect Himself in Thee. 

"Let not that Dust by rebel Passion blown 

"Obliterate that Character: nor let 

"That Mirror, sullied by the breath impure, 

"Or Form of carnal Beauty fore-possest, 

"Be made incapable of the Divine. 

"Oh veil thine Eyes from Mortal Paramour, 

"And follow not her Step!— For what is She?— 

"What is She but a Vice and a Reproach, 

"Her very Garment-hem Pollution! 

^ "Be ! AND IT IS." — The famous Passage of Creation stolen from Gen- 
esis by the Kurdn, 

[ 91 ] 


"For such Pollution madden not thine Eyes, 
"Waste not thy Body's Strength, nor taint thy Soul 
"Nor set the Body and the Soul in strife! 
"Supreme is thine Original Degree, 
"Thy Star upon the Top of Heaven; but Lust 
"Will bring it down, down even to the Dust!" 

Quoth a Muezzin to the crowing 
Cock — "OA Prophet of the Morning, 

''Ne'er a Prophet like to you 
''Prophesied of Dawn, nor Muezzin 
"With so shrill a voice of warning 
"Woke the Sleeper to Confession 
"Crying, "La allah illa 'llah, 

"Muhammad rasulhuhu." ^ 
"One, methinks, so richly gifted 

"Should have prophesied and sung 
"In Heav'n, the Bird of Heav'n among, 
"Not with these poor Hens about him, 
"Raking in a Heap of Dung,'' 
"And," replied the Cock, "in Heaven 
"Once I was; but by my foolish 

^ "Confess that there is no God but God; that Muhammad is his 

[ 92 ] 


'Lust am fallen down to raking 

'With my wretched Hens about me (24) 

''On the Dunghill. Otherwise 
'I were even now in Eden 

"With the Bird of Paradise r 

[ 93 ] 



Of all the Lover's sorrows, next to that 
Of Love by Love forbidden, is the voice 
Of Friendship turning sour in Love's reproof 
And overmuch of Counsel — whereby Love 
Grows stubborn, and recoiling unsupprest 
Within, devours the heart within, the breast. 

Salaman heard ; his Soul came to his Lips ; 

Reproaches struck not Absal out of him, 

But drove Confusion in; bitter became 

The Drinking of the sweet Draught of Delight, 

And wan'd the Splendour of his Moon of Beauty. 

His Breath was Indignation, and his Heart 

Bled from the Arrow, and his Anguish grew. 

How bear it? — ^Able to endure one wound. 

From Wound on Wound no remedy but Flight ; 

Day after Day, Design upon Design, 

He turn'd the Matter over in his Heart, 

And, after all, no remedy but Flight. 

Resolv'd on that, he victuall'd and equipp'd 

A Camel, and one night he led it forth. 

And mounted — ^he with Absal at his side. 

Together on one Camel side by side, 

[ 94 ] 



Like sweet twin Almonds in a single shell. 
And Love least murmurs at the narrow space 
That draws him close and closer in embrace. 

When the Moon of Canaan YusuF 
Darken d in the Prison of ^gypt, 
Nightly like a Fantom, nightly 

Would ZuLAiKHA steal away 
From her Palace to the Dungeon (25) 

Where her buried Treasure lay. 
Then to those about her wondering — 
''Were my Palace,'' she replied, 
''Wider than Horizon-wide, 
"It were narrower than an Anfs eye, 
"Were my Treasure not inside: 
"And an Anfs eye wider were 
"Than Heaven, if but my Love were there'' 

[ 95 ] 



Six days Salaman on the Camel rode, 
And then the hissing arrows of Reproof 
Were fallen far behind ; and on the Seventh 
He halted on the Seashore ; on the shore 
Of one of those Sev'n Seas that, like a floor 
Of rolling Firmament below the Sky's, 
And reaching in Circmnf erence from Kaf 
To Kaf, down to the Back of Gau and Mahi ^ 
Descended, and its Stars were Creatures' Eyes. 
The Face of it was as it were a range 
Of moving Mountains ; or a countless Host 
Of Camels trooping tumultuously up, 


Host upon host, and foaming from the lip. 
Within, innumerable glittering things 
Sharp as cut Jewels, to the sharpest eye 
Scarce visible, hither and thither slipping. 
As Silver Scissors slice a blue Brocade; 
(26) But in its Depths a Dragon, that if roused, 
The Dragon of the Stars ^ would start aghast. 

^ Bull and Fish — the lowest Substantial Base of Earth. ''He first 
made the Mountains; then cleared the Face of the Earth from Sea; 
then fixed it fast on Gau; Gau on Mahi; Mahi on Air; and Air on 
what? on Nothing; Nothing on Nothing, all is Nothing — -Enough." 
Attar; quoted in De Sacy's Pendnamah, xxxv. 

^ The Sidereal Dragon, whose Head, according to the Paurdnic (or 
Poetic) Astronomers of The East, devoured the Sun and Moon in 

[ 96 ] 


Salaman eyed the moving Wilderness 

On which he thought, once launcht, no Foot, nor Eye 

Should ever follow ; forthwith he devis'd 

Of sundry scented woods along the shore 

A little Shallop like a Quarter-moon, 

Wherein Absal and He like Sun and Moon 

Enter'd as into some Celestial Sign; 

That, figured like a Bow, but Arrow-like 

In Flight, was feather'd with a little Sail, 

And, pitcht upon the Water like a Duck, 

So with her Bosom sped to her Desire. 

When they had sailed their Vessel for a Moon, 
And marr'd their Beauty with the wind o' th' Sea, 
Suddenly in mid Sea reveaFd itself 
An Isle, beyond Imagination fair; 
An Isle that all was Garden; not a Flower, 
Nor Bird of Plumage like the flower, but there ; 
Some like the Flower, and others like the Leaf; 
And some as if for Bridal pair adorn'd 
With crown and collar, among whom alone 
The jewelFd Peacock like a Sultan shone; 
While, Lord of all Musicians, to the Rose 
Which never ceas'd to blow, the Nightingale 

Eclipse. "But we know" said Ramachandra to Sir W. Jones, "that 
the supposed Head and Tail of the Dragon mean only the Nodes, or 
Points formed by Intersections of the Ecliptic and the Moon's Orbit." 
— Sir W. Jones* Works, vol. iv., p. 7^. 

[ 97 ] 


Sang like a Lover hidden in the trees 
Which arm in arm from fingers paralyz'd 
With any breath of air Fruit moist and dry 
Down scattered in profusion to their feet. 
Where fountains of sweet water ran between, 
(27) And Sun and shadow chequer-chased the green. 
Here Iram-garden seem'd in secresy 
Blowing the Rosebud of its Revelation ; 
Or Paradise, forgetful of the dawn 
Of Audit, lifted from her face the veil. 

Salaman saw the Isle, and thought no more 
Of Further — there with Absal he sat down, 
Absal and He together side by side 
Together like the Lily and the Rose, 
Together like the Soul and Body, one. 
Under its Trees in one another's Arms 
They slept — they drank its Fountains hand in hand- 
Paraded with the Peacock — raced the Partridge — 
Followed the clamorous Parrot in his chase 
Of sugar Fruit, or filch'd it from his bill : 
Or sang divisions with the Nightingale. 
There was the Rose without a Thorn, and there 
The Treasure and no Serpent to beware — 
Oh think of such a Mistress at your side 

In such a Solitude, and none to chide! 

[ 98 ] 


Said to Wamik one who never 
Knew the Lover's passion — ''Why 
''Solitary thus and silent 
"Solitary places haunting y 
"Like a Dreamer, like a Spectre^ 

"Like a thing about to die?'' 
Wamik answer' d — "Meditating 
"Flight with Her to yet remoter 
"Wildernesses, where, whichever 

"Way one travelVd, human face 
"One should never meet, and never 

"Even human footstep trace; 
"There to pitch my Tent — for ever 
"There to gaze on my Beloved; 
"Gaze, till Gazing out of Gazing 
"Grew to Being Her I gaze on, (28) 

"She and I no more, hut in One 
"Undivided Being blended. 
"All that is by Nature twain 
"Fears, or suffers by, the Pain 
"Of Separation: Love is only 

"Perfect when itself transcends 
"Itself, and, one with that it loves, 

"In undivided Being blends," 

[ 99 ] 



When by and by the Shah was made aware 
Of that Heart-breaking Flight, his Royal robe 
He chang'd for Ashes, and his Throne for Dust, 
And wept awhile in Darkness and alone, 
Then rose; and, taking counsel from the Seer, 
Pursuit set everywhere afoot: but none 
Could trace the footstep of the flying Deer. 
Then from his secret Art the Seer-Vizyr 
A Magic Mirror made; a Mirror such 
As that Sikander on the Watch-tower set 
Of Egypt,^ glance for glance exchanging with 
That brazen Giant far athwart the seas; 
A Mirror like the Bosom of the Sage 
Reflecting in its mystic compass all 
Within the Sev'n-f old volume of the World 
Involv'd; and, looking in that Mirror's face, 
The Shah beheld the face of his Desire. 
Beheld those Lovers, like that earliest pair 
Of Lovers, in this other Paradise 
So far from human Eyes in the mid sea. 
And yet within the magic Mirror near 

^ The concave Mirror on the Pharos of Alexandria, communicating y 
it was believed, rvith some such optics on the Colossus of Rhodes. 

[ 100 ] 


As one might touch them with a finger, isled. 

The Shah beheld them; and Compassion touch'd 

His Eyes with tears : Reproach died on his Lips ; 

And arm'd with Righteous Judgment as he was, (^) 

Yet, seeing those two Lovers with one lip 

Drinking that Cup of Happiness and Tears ^ 

In which Farewell had never yet been flung,^ 

He paused for their Repentance to recall 

The lifted Arm that was to shatter all. 

The shafts to which the Lords of Wrath at last 
Submit, themselves at others once had cast. 
Draw not in haste the Sword, which Fate, may be. 
Will sheathe, hereafter to be drawn on Thee. 

FiRHAD, who the shapeless mountain 
Into human likeness moulded. 
Under Shirin's eyes as slavish 

Potters' earth himself became. 
Then the secret fire of jealous 
Frenzy, catching and devouring 

Kai Khusrau, broke into flame. 

1 Kparijpa fiaKpbv ^dovrjq koX daKpiuv 
Kcfwuvreg k^imvov hxptg k (^^Otjv. 
^ A pebble flung into the Cup being a signal for a company to 
break up. 

[ 101 ] 


With that ancient Hag of Darkness 
Plotting, at the Banquet Firhad's 
Cup he poison'd; and thereafter 

Beign'd in Shirin's eyes alone. 
So — But Fate that Fate revenges^ 
Arms Shirueh with the dagger 
That together from his Mistress 

Tore, and hurVd him from his Throne} 

* One Story is that Khusrau had promised that if Firhdd cut through 
a Mountain^ and brought a Stream through, Shirin should be his. 
Firhdd was on the point of achieving his Work, when Khusrau sent an 
old Woman (here, perhaps, purposely confounded with Fate) to tell 
him Shirin was dead; whereon Firhdd threw himself headlong from 
the Rock. The Sculpture at Beysitun (or Besitun), where Rawlinson 
has decyphered Darius and Xerxes, was traditionally called Firhdd' s. 

[ 102 ] 



But as the days went on, and still The Shah (so) 

Beheld Salaman how sunk in Absal, 

And still the Crown that should adorn his Head, 

And still the Throne that waited for his Foot, 

Trampled from Memory by a Base desire. 

Of which the Soul was still unsatisfied — 

Then from the Sorrow of The Shah fell Fire; 

To Gracelessness Ungracious he became, 

And, quite to shatter that rebellious Lust, 

Upon Salaman all his Will, with all ^ 

His Seer-Vizyr's Might-magic arm'd, discharged. 

And Lol Salaman to his Mistress turn'd, 

But could not reach her — look'd and look'd again. 

And palpitated tow'rd her — but in Vainl 

Oh Misery! As to the Bankrupt's Eyes 

The Gold he may not finger I or the Well 

To him who faints with thirst ere he can reach; 

Or Heav'n above reveal'd to those in Hell I 

Yet when Salaman's anguish was extreme. 

The Door of Mercy open'd, and he saw 

That Arm he knew to be his Father's reacht 

^ He mesmerizes him! — See also further on this Power of the Will 
in Sections xxiii. and xxvi. 

[ 103 ] 


To lift him from Perdition — ^timidly, 
Timidly, tow'rd his Father's Eyes his own 

He lifted, Pardon-pleading, Crime-confest, 
And drew once more to that forsaken Throne, 

As the stray Bird one day will find her Nest. 

One was asking of a Teacher, 
''Whether, and by what authentic 
''Sign, a Father his reputed 

"Son for his should recognize?'' 
Said the Master, "By the Stripling, 
"As he grows to Manhood, growing 
"Like to his reputed Father, 

"Good or Evil, Fool or Wise.'' 
(31) "Lo the disregarded Darnel 

"With itself adorns the Wheat-field, 
"And for all the vernal season 

"Satisfies the Farmer's eye; 
"But the Hour of Harvest coming, 

"And the Thrasher by and by, 
"Then a barren Ear shall answer, 

" 'Darnel^ and no Wheat am I.' " 

[ 104 ] 




When the Shah saw Salaman turn again. 

And breath'd the Breath of Reconciliation, 

He laid the Hand of Love upon his Shoulder, 

The Kiss of Welcome on his Cheek, and said, 

"Oh Thou, who lost, the Banquet lost his Salt, 

"And Mankind's Eye the Pupil!— Thy Return 

"Is as another Sun to Heaven; a new 

"Rose blooming in the Garden of the Soul. 

"Arise, Oh Moon of Majesty unwanedl 

"The Court of the Horizon is thy Court. 

"Thy Kingdom is the World whose Throne and Crown 

"Are as base Metal, unimpress'd by Thee, 

"Not to be stamp'd by one not worthy Them. 

"Oh spurn them not behind Thee ! Oh my Son, 

"Wipe Thou the Woman's Henna from thy Hand: 

"Withdraw Thee from the Minion who from Thee 

"Dominion draws; * the Time is come to choose, 

"Thy Mistress or the World to hold or lose." 

Four are the Signs of Kingly Aptitude ; 

Wise Head — pure Heart — strong Arm — and open Hand. 

^ "Shah" and "Shahid" (Mistress) — a sort of Punning the Persian 
Poets are fond of. 

[ 105 ] 

I«j?jX salaman and absal. 

Wise is he not, and pure he cannot be — 
Who binds himself to an uncleanly Lust; 
(S2) Nor Valiant, who submits to a weak Woman ; 
Nor Liberal, whose Liberality 
To one unworthy channel is confin'd. 
And of these Four who misses All or One 
Is not the Bridegroom of Dominion. 

[ 106 ] 



Alas for that poor Lover! "Next the curse 
"Of Love by Love forbidden, nothing worse 
"Than Friendship turn'd in Love's reproof unkind, 
"And Love from Love divorcing" — Thus I said. 
Alas, a worse, and worst, is yet behind — 
Love's back-blow of Revenge for having fled! 

Salaman heard: his Forehead to the dust 
He bow'd with shame : fast to his Father's hand — 
But faster yet, and faster, to his own 
Clung one, who by no tempest of Reproof 
Or Wrath might be dissever'd from the stem 
She grew to : till, between Remorse and Love, 
He came to loath his Life and long for Death. 
And, for from him She would not be divorc'd. 
With Her he fled again : he fled — but now 
To no such Island in the middle seas 
As lapped them into Paradise before. 
But to the Solitude of Desolation, 
The Wilderness of Death. And as before 
Of sundry scented woods along the shore 
A Shallop he devised to carry them 
Over the waters whither Foot nor Eye 

[ 107 ] 


Should ever follow them, he thought — so now 
Of sere wood strewn about the plain of Death, 
A raft to bear them through the Wave of Fire 
Into Annihilation, he devis'd, 
Gathered, and built; and, firing with a Torch, 
Absal and he together, hand in hand. 
Sprang to the Flames exulting. But the Seer 
(38) In secret all had order'd ; and the Flame, 
Directed by his Self-fulfilling Will, 
Devouring Absal into ashes, passed 
Salaman — all the baser Metal burn*d. 
And to itself the authentic Gold returned. 

[ 108 ] 



From the Beginning such the Destiny 
Of Man, whose very Clay was soak'd in tears. 
For when at first of common Earth they took, 
And moulded to the stature of the Soul, 
For Forty days, for Forty days, the cloud 
Of Heav'n wept over him from head to foot: 
And when the Forty days had passed to Night, 
The Sunshine of one solitary Day 
Look'd out of Heav'n to dry the weeping clay.* 
And though that brighter morning in the rear 
Of sadness on the breathless Image rose. 
Yet, with the Living, every wise man knows 
Such consummation scarcely shall be here! 

Salaman fired the Pile; and in the Flame 
That, passing him, consumed Absal like straw, 
Died his Divided Self, his Individual 
Survived, and, like a living Soul from which 
The Body falls, strange, naked, and alone. 
Then rose his cry to Heaven — ^his Eyelashes 

^ Some such Legend is quoted hy De Sacy and D'Herbelot from some 
Commentaries on the Kurdn. 

[ 109 ] 


Dropt blood — ^his sighs stood like a smoke in Heaven. 
And morning rent her garment at his anguish. 
And when Night came, that drew the pen across 
(34) The written woes of Day for all but him, 
Crouch'd in some lonely corner of the house, 
He seem'd to feel about him in the dark 
For one who was not, and whom no fond word 
Could summon from the Void in which she lay. 
"Oh Thou, who, living, lighted up this Heart, 
"Now dark with thy remembrance! Lighted up 
"These eyes now blind with unavailing tears! 
"Oh, long, long Home of Love now lost for ever! 
"We were together — we were all alone — 
"Each to the other all in all — the World 
"Nothing to us, nor we to all the World — 
"No Road to reach us, nor an Eye to watch — 
"All Day we whisper'd in each other's Ears, 
"In one another's Arms all Night we slept — 
"All seem'd to our Desire, as if the Hand 
"Of unjust Fortune were for once too short. 
"Oh that the Flame I lighted with this hand 
"Had taken Me not Thee — or Me with Thee 
"Had taken — Me with Thee at any cost, 

"Stript of this terrible Self -solitude ! 
"Me but with Thee Annihilation-lost, 

"Or in Eternal Intercourse renew'd!" 

[ 110 ] 


Slumber-drunk an Arab in the 
Desert off his Camel tumbled. 
Who the lighter of her burden 

Ambled unconcerned away. 

When, along with breaking Day 
The Arab woke, and, on the ground 
Safely saddled, looked around — 
''Oh my Camel! Oh my Darling! 

''Camel of my Soul!'' quoth he, 
"That I were with my Camel lost, 

"Or else my Camel found with me!'' 

[ 111 ] 



(35) When in this strait The Shah Salaman saw, 
His Soul was struck with Anguish, and the vein 
Of Life within was strangled — what to do 
He knew not. Then he turn'd him to The Seer- 
"Oh Altar of the World, to whom Mankind 
"Directs the face of Prayer in Weal or Woe, 
"Nothing but Wisdom can untie the Knot; 
"And hast Thou not the cunning in thy hand, 
"Holding the Master-Key that opens all? 
"Absal is perisht; and, because of Her, 
"Salaman dedicates his Life to Sorrow; 
"I cannot bring back Her, nor comfort Him 
"Without her, nor myself without my Son, 
"Unless with thy far-reaching Wisdom Thou 
"Compassionate us both." Then said The Seer- 
"Oh Thou that err'st not from the road of Right, 
"If but Salaman have not broke my Bond, 
"Nor lies beyond the reach of my Recall, 
"He shall return, unload his Heart to me, 
"And I will find a Remedy for all." 

[ 112 ] 



Then the Seer found Salaman where he sate 
Bow'd down alone in darkness; and once more 
Made the long-silent voice of Reason sound 
In the deserted Palace of the Soul ; 
Until Salaman lifted up his head 
To bow beneath the Master; sweet it seem'd, 
Sweeping the Chaff and Litter from his own, 
To be the very Dust of Wisdom's Door, 
Slave of the Firman of the Lord of Life, 
Who pour'd the Wine of Wisdom in his Cup, 
Who laid the Dew of Peace upon his lips; (36) 

Yea, wrought in Miracle in his behalf. 
For when Old Love return'd to Memory, 
And broke in Passion from his Lips, The Seer, 
Under whose waxing Wn^ Existence rose 
From Nothing, and, relaxing, waned again. 
Raising a Fantom Image of Absal, 
Set it awhile before Salaman's eyes, 
TiD, having sow'd the seed of Comfort there. 
It went again down to Annihilation. 
But ever, as the Fantom past away. 
The Seer would tell of a Celestial Love ; 

[ lis ] 


"Zuhrah," ^ he said, "Zuhrah, compared with whom 
"That brightest star that bears her name in Heav'n 
"Was but a winking Taper; and Absal 
"Queen-star of Beauties in this world below, 
"But a distorted Image in the stream 
"Of fleeting Matter; and all sweet Discourse, 
"And Music ravishing the ears of Man, 
"A far-off Echo of that Harp in Heav'n 
"Which Dervish-dances to her Harmony." 

Salaman listen'd, and inclin'd — again 

Repeated, Inclination ever grew ; 

Until THE Seer beholding in his Soul 

The Spirit ^ quicken, so effectually 

With Zuhrah wrought, that she reveal'd herself 

In her pure lustre to Salaman 's Soul, 

And washing Absal's Image from his Breast, 

There reign'd instead. Celestial Beauty seen. 

He left the Earthly ; and, once come to know 

Eternal Love, he let the Mortal go. 

^ "Zuhrah." The Planetary and Celestial Venus. 

^ "Maany." The Mystical pass-word of the Sufis, to express the 

Transcendental Nerv Birth of The Soul. 

[ "4 ] 



The Crown of Empire how supreme a Lot! (^) 

The Throne of the Sultan how high! — But not 
For all — None but the Heaven-ward Foot may dare 
To mount — The Head that touches Heaven to wear! — 

When the Belov'd of Royal Augury 

Was rescued from the Bondage of Absal, 

Then he arose, and shaking off the Dust 

Of that lost Travel, girded up his Heart, 

And look'd with undefiled Robe to Heaven. 

Then was His Head worthy to wear the Crown, 

His Foot to mount the Throne. And then the Shah 

To such a Banquet as the like in all 

The folded records of the World is not 

From all the quarters of his World-wide Realm 

Summoned all those who under Him the ring 

Of Empire wore. King, Captain, and Vizyr; 

Of whom not one but to Salaman did 

Obeisance, and lifted up his Neck 

To yoke it under his Supremacy. 

Then the Shah crown'd him with the Golden Crown, 

And set the Golden Throne beneath his Feet, 

And over all the heads of the Assembly, 

And in the Ears of all, his Jewel-word 

With the Diamond of Wisdom cut, and said : — 

[ 115 ] 



"My Son/ the Kingdom of The World is not 
"Eternal, nor the Sum of right Desire ; 
"Make thou the Law reveal'd of God thy Law, 
(38) "The Voice Divine within thy bosom heard 
"Interpreter; and considering To-day 
"To-MORROw's Seed-field, ere That come to bear, 
"Sow with the harvest of Eternity. 
"And, for all Work, and most of all the Work 
"That Kings are born to, wisely should be wrought, 
"Where doubtful of thine own sufficiency, 
"Ever, as I have done, consult the Wise. 
"Turn not thy Face away from the old Ways, 
"That were the Canon of the Kings of Old ; 
"Nor cloud with Tyranny the Glass of Justice: 
"By Mercy rather to right Order turn 
"Confusion, and Disloyalty to Love. 
"In thy Provision for the Realm's estate, 
"And for the Honour that becomes a King, 
"Drain not thy People's purse — the Tyranny 
"Which Thee enriches at thy Subjects' cost, 

* One sees J ami taking Advantage of his Allegorical Shah to read a 
Lesson to the Actual — whose Ears Advice, unlike Praise, scarce ever 
reached unless obliquely. The Warning (and doubtless with good 
Reason) is principally aimed at the Minister, 

[ 116 ] 


"Awhile shall make Thee strong; but in the End 
"Shall bow thy Neck beneath thy People's hate, 
"And lead thee with the Tyrant down to Hell, 
"There to become the Fuel of its Fires. 
"Thou art a Shepherd; and thy Flock the People, 
"To save, not to destroy; nor at their Loss 
"To lift Thyself above the Shepherd's calling: 
"For which is for the other. Flock or Shepherd? 
"And join with thee True men to keep the Flock — 
"Dogs, if you will — but Trusty — ^head in leash, 
"Whose Teeth are for the Wolf, not for the Lamb, 
"And least of all the Wolf's Accomplices. 
"For Shahs must have Viz^s — ^but be they Wise 
"And Trusty — knowing well the Realm's Estate — 
"Knowing how far to Shah and Subject bound 
"On either hand — not by Extortion, 
"Nor Usury wrung from the People's purse, 
"Their Master's and their own Estates (to whom 
"Enough is apt enough to make rebel) 
"To such a Surfeit feeding as feeds Hell. 
"Proper in Soul and Body be They — pitiful 
"To Poverty — hospitable to the Saint — (89) 

"Their sweet Access a Salve to wounded Hearts, 
"Their Wrath a Sword against Iniquity, 
"But at Thy summons only to be drawn: 
"Whose Ministers they are, to bring Thee in 

[ 117 ] 

IdSon salaman and absal. 

"Report of Good or Evil through the Realm; 

"Which to confirm with thy peculiar Eye, 
"And least of all, remember — least of all, 
"Suffering Accuser also to be Judge, 

"By surest steps build up Prosperity." 

[ 118 ] 



Under the Leaf of many a little Fable 

Lies Truth for those who look; of this now told. 

If thou wouldst look behind and find the Fruit, 

(To which the Wiser hand has found his way) 

Have thy Desire — No Tale of Me and Thee, 

Though I and Thou be its Interpreters ^ 

What signifies The Shah? and what The Seer? 

And what Salaman not of Woman bom? 

Who was Absal who drew him to Desire? 

And what the Kingdom that awaited him 

When he had drawn his Garment from her Hand? 

What means that Fiery Pile? and what The Sea? 

And what that Heavenly Zuhrah who at last 

Clear'd Absal from the Mirror of his Soul? 

Listen to me, and you shall understand 

The letter Majnun wrote along the sand.^ 

^ The Story is of Generals, though enacted by Particulars. 
^ In Section ii. 

[ "9 ] 

ISSn salaman and absal. 


(40) The Incomparable Creator, when this World 
He did create, created First of all 
The First Intelligence ^ — First of a Chain 
Of Ten Intelligences, of which the Last 
Sole Agent is in this our Universe, 
Active Intelligence so call'd; The One 
Distributor of Evil and of Good, 
Of Joy and Sorrow. Himself apart from Matter, 
In Essence and in Energy — He yet 
Hath f ashion'd all that is — Material Form, 
And Spiritual, all from Him — by Him 

^ "These Intelligences are only another Form of the Neo-Platonic 
Dcemones. The Neo-Platonists held that Matter and Spirit could have 
no Intercourse — they rvere, as it rvere, incommensurate. Horv then, 
granting this premise, rvas Creation possible? Their ansrver was a 
kind of gradual Elimination. God, the 'Actus Purus' created on (Eon; 
this (Eon created a Second; and so on, until the Tenth (Eon was suf- 
ficiently Material (as the Ten were in a continually descending Series) 
to affect Matter, and so cause the Creation by giving to Matter the 
Spiritual Form. 

Similarly we have in Sufiism these Ten Intelligences in a corre- 
sponding Series, and for the same End. 

There are Ten Intelligences, and Nine Heavenly Spheres, of which 
the Ninth is the Uppermost Heaven, appropriated to the First Intelli- 
gence; the Eighth, that of the Zodiac, to the Second; the Seventh, 
Saturn, to the Third; the Sixth, Jupiter, to the Fourth; the Fifth, 
Mars, to the Fifth; the Fourth, the Sun, to the Sixth; the Third, 
Venus, to the Seventh; the Second, Mercury, to the Eighth; the First, 
The Moon, to the Ninth; and The Earth is the peculiar Sphere of 
the Tenth, or lowest Intelligence, called The Active." 

[ 120 ] 


Directed all, and in his Bounty drown'd. 
Therefore is He that Firman-issuing Shah 
To whom the World was subject. But because 
What He distributes to the Universe 

Another and a Higher Power supplies. 
Therefore all those who comprehend aright 

That Higher in The Seer will recognise. 
HIS the Prime Spirit that, spontaneously (41) 

Projected by the Tenth Intelligence, 
Was from no Womb of Matter reproduced 
A Special Essence called The Soul of Man ; 
A Child of Heaven, in Raiment unbeshamed 
Of Sensual Taint, and so Salaman named. 

And who Absal? — The Lust-adoring Body, 

Slave to the Blood and Sense — through whom The Soul, 

Although the Body's very Life it be. 

Does yet imbibe the Knowledge and Desire 

Of Things of Sense ; and these united thus 

By such a Tie God only can unreach. 

Body and Soul are Lovers Each of Each. 

And what the Flood on which they sail'd, with those 
Fantastic creatures peopled; and that Isle 
In which awhile their Paradise they found. 
And thought, for ever? — That false Paradise 
Amid the fluctuating Wilderness 

[ 121 ] 


Of Sensual passion, in whose Bosom lies 
A World of Being from the Light of God 
Deep in that unsubsiding Deluge drown'd. 

And why was it that Absal in that Isle 
So soon deceived in her Delight, and He 
Fell short of his Desire? — That was to show 
How soon the Senses of their Passion tire. 
And in a surfeit of themselves expire. 

And what the turning of Salaman's Heart 
Back to The Shah, and to the Throne of Might 
And Glory yearning? — What but the Return 
Of the Lost Soul to his true Parentage, 
And back from Carnal Error looking up 
Repentant to his Intellectual Right. 

And when the Man between his living Shame 
Distracted, and the Love that would not die, 
(42) Fled once again — what meant that second Flight 
Into the Desert, and that Pile of Fire 
On which he fain his Passion with Himself 
Would immolate? — That was the Discipline 
To which the living Man himself devotes. 
Till all the Dross of Sense be scorcht away. 
And, to its pure integrity sublimed. 
His Soul alone survives. But forasmuch 

[ 122 ] 


As from a darling Passion so divorc'd 

The wound of old Affection bleeds anew. 

Therefore the Seer would ever and anon 

Raise up and set before Salaman's eyes 

That Fantom of the past ; but evermore 

Revealing one Diviner, till his Soul 

She fiird, and blotted out the Mortal Love. 

For what is Zuhrah? — What but that Divine 

Original, of which the Soul of Man 

Darkly possesst, by that fierce Discipline 

At last he disengages from the Dust, 

And flinging off the baser rags of Sense, 

And all in Intellectual Light arrayed. 

As Conqueror and King he mounts the Throne, 

And wears the Crown of Human Glory — Yea, 

Throne after Throne surmounting till he reigns 

That Empire of Humanity tranooonds, 

One with the Last and First Intelligence. 

And viiih the Spirit Universal blondG. 

This is the Meaning of This Mystery, 
Which to know wholly ponder in thy Heart, 
Till all its ancient Secret be enlarged. 
Enough — The written Summary I close. 
And set my Seal — 

"The Truth God only Knows." 

[Note. The alterations in the text are in FitzGerald's autograph in a 
copy of this edition given by him in 1875 to Mr. T. S. Perry of 
Boston, U. S. A.] 

[ 123 ] 


Section I. P. 1. 

*'To thy Harim Dividuality 
"No Entrance finds, 8fC. 

This Sufi Identification with Deity (further illustrated in the Story 
of Sect, xix.) is shadowed in a Parable of Jelaladdin, of which here is 
an outline. "One knocked at the Beloved's Door; and a Voice asked 
from within^ 'Who is there.'*' and he answered, 'It is I.' Then the 
Voice said, 'This House will not hold Me and Thee.' And the Door 
was not opened. Then went the Lover into the Desert, and fasted 
and prayed in Solitude. And after a Year he returned, and knocked 
again at the Door. And again the Voice asked, 'Who is there .-*' and 
he said, 'It is Thyself !' — and the Door was opened to him." 

Section VI. P. 9. 

**Like Noah's, puff'd with Ignorance and Pride, S^, 

In the Kuran God engages to save Noah and his Family, — ^meaning 
all who believed in the Warning. One of Noah's Sons (Canaan or 
Yam, some think) would not believe. "And the Ark swam with them 
between waves like Mountains, and Noah called up to his Son, who 
was separated from him, saying, 'Embark with us, my Son, and stay 
not with the Unbelievers.' He answered, 'I will get on a Mountain 
which will secure me from the Water.' Noah replied, 'There is no 
security this Day from the Decree of God, except for him on whom he 
shall have Mercy.' And a Wave passed between them, and he became 
one of those who were drowned. And it was said, 'Oh Earth, swallow 
up thy waters, and Thou, oh Heaven, withhold thy Rain!' And im- 
mediately the Water abated and the Decree was fulfilled, and the 
I Ark rested on the Mountain Al Judi, and it was said, 'Away with the (44) 
ungodly People!' — Noah called upon his Lord and said, 'Oh Lord, 
verily my Son is of my Family, and thy Promise is True; for Thou 
art of those who exercise Judgment.' God answered, 'Oh Noah, verily 
he is not of thy Family; this intercession of thine for him is not a 
righteous work.' " — Sale's Kurdn, vol. ii. p. 21. 

[ 125 ] 

IdS^ appendix. 

Section VIII. P. 13. 

"Finer than any Bridal-puppet, which 

*'To prove another's love a Woman sends, 8fC. 

In Atkinson's version of the "Kitabi Kuhsum Nameh" we find, among 
other Ceremonials and Proprieties of which the Book treats, that when 
a Woman wished to ascertain another's Love, she sent a Doll on a 
Tray with flowers and sweetmeats, and judged how far her Affection 
was reciprocated by the Doll's being returned to her drest in a Robe 
of Honour or in Black. The same Book also tells of trvo Dolls — 
Bride and Bridegroom, I suppose — being used on such occasions; the 
test of Affection being whether the one sent were returned with or 
without its Fellow. 

Section IX. P. 14. 

"The Royal Game of Chugdn." 

The Frontispiece of this Version of the Poem is "accurately copied" 
from an Engraving in Sir William's Book, which he says (and those 
who care to look into the Bodleian for it may see), is "accurately 
copied from a very beautiful Persian MS., containing the Works of 
Hafiz, transcribed in the year 956 of the Hejirah, 1549 of Christ; 
the MS. is in my own Collection. This Delineation exhibits the Horse- 
men contending for the Ball; their short Jackets seem peculiarly 
adapted to the Sport; we see the Mil, or Goals; Servants attend on 
Foot, holding Chugans in readiness for other Persons who may join 
in the Amusement, or to supply the place of any that may be broken. 
A young Prince — as his Parr, or Feather, would indicate — receives 
on his Entrance into the Meidan, or Place of Exercise, a Chugan 
from the hands of a bearded Man very plainly dressed; yet (as an 
intelligent Painter at Ispahan assured me, and as appears from other 
Miniatures in the same Book) this Bearded Figure is meant to repre- 
sent Hafiz himself," &c. 
(45) The Persian legend at the Top Corner is the Verse from Hafiz which 
the Drawing illustrates: 

Shahsuv^ra khush bemeidan fimedy giuy bezann. 

Section XVII. P. 23. 

I am informed by a distinguished Arabic Scholar that the proper Cry 
of the Muezzin is, with some slight local variations, such as he heard 
it at Cairo and Damascus. 

[ 126 ] 


Allah Akbar^ Allah Akbar; 

Allah Akbar, Allah Akbar; 

Ishhad la allah ilia llah; 

Ishhad la allah ilia 'llah; 

Ishhad la allah ilia 'llah; 

Ishhad Muhammad rasuluhu; 

Ishhad Muhammad rasuluhu; 

Ishhad Muhammad rasuluhu; 

Hayya 'ala 's-salat, Hayya 'ala 's-salat, 

Inna 's-salat khair min an-naum. 
"God is great/' {four times) ; "Confess that there is no God but God," 
{three times) ; "Confess that Muhammad is the prophet of God," 
{three times) ; "Come to Prayer, come to Prayer, for Prayer is bet- 
ter than Sleep." 

Section XIX. P. 27. 

**Here Iram-garden seem'd in secresy 
"BloTving the Rosebud of its Revelation;** 

"Mahomet," says Sir W. Jones, "in the Chapter on The Morning, 
towards the end of his Alcoran, mentions a Garden called *Irem,' 
which is no less celebrated by the Asiatic Poets than that of the Hes- 
perides by the Greeks. It was planted, as the Commentators say, by 
a king named Shedad," — deep in the Sands of Arabia Felix — "and 
was once seen by an Arabian who wandered far into the Desert in 
search of a lost Camel." 

[ 127 ] 


To W. F. Pollock. 

Woodbridge, Jan. 1873. 

• •••••• 

What, you tell me, Palgrave said about me, I should 
have thought none but a very partial Friend, like Donne, 
would ever have thought of saying. But Til say no more 
on that head. Only that, as regards the little Dialogue, 
I think it is a very pretty thing in Form, and with some 
very pretty parts in it. But when I read it two or three 
years ago, there was, I am sure, some over-smart writ- 
ing, and some clumsy wording; insomuch that, really lik- 
ing the rest, I cut out about a sheet, and substituted an- 
other, and made a few corrections with a Pen in what 
remained, though plenty more might be made, little as 
the Book is. Well; as you like this little Fellow, and I 
think he is worth liking, up to a Point, I shall send you a 
Copy of these amended Sheets. 

To W. F. Pollock. 


. . . When I look over the little Prose Dialogue, 
I see lots that might be weeded. I wonder at one word 
which is already crossed — ^Emergency.' 'An Emer- 
gency!' I think Blake could have made a Picture of it 
as he did of the Flea. Something of the same disgusting 
Shape too. , . . 

[ xi ] 





** Malim Virum sine Lileiis quam Literas sine Viro." 

" Belter A Man who doesn't know liis Letters than ' A Book 

IN Breeches.' ** 







During the time of my pretending to practise Medicine 
at Cambridge, I was aroused, one fine forenoon of May, 
by the sound of some one running up my staircase, three 
or four steps at a time; then, directly, a smart rapping 
at the door; and, before I could say, "Come in," Euphra- 
nor had opened it, and striding up to me, seized my arm 
with his usual eagerness, and told me I must go out with 
him — "It was such a day — Sun shining — Breeze blowing 
— hedges and trees in full leaf. He had been to Chester- 
ton, (he said,) and rowed back with a man who now left 
him in the lurch; I must take his place." I told him what 
a poor hand at the Oar I was, and, such walnut-shells as 
these Cambridge boats were, I was sure a strong fellow 
like him must rejoice in getting a whole Eight-oar to him- 
self once in a while. He laughed, and said, "The pace, the 
pace was the thing — However, that was all nothing, but — 
in short, I must go out with him, whether for a Row, or a 
Walk in the fields, or a Game of Billiards at | Chesterton (2) 
— whatever I liked — only go I must." After a little more 
banter, about my possible Patients, I got up; closed a 
very heavy Treatise on Magnesia I was reading ; on with 
coat and hat; and in three minutes we had run down- 
stairs, out into the open air; where both of us calling out 

[ 133 ] 


together what a glorious day it was, we struck out briskly 
for the old Wooden Bridge, where Euphranor said his 
boat was lying. 

"By the bye," said I, as we went along, "it would be 
a charity to knock up poor Lexilogus, and carry him 
along with us." 

Not much of a charity, Euphranor thought — Lexilo- 
gus would so much rather be left with his books. Which 
I declared was the very reason he should be drawn abroad ; 
and Euphranor, who was quite good-humoured, and 
wished Lexilogus all well, (for we were all three York- 
shiremen, whose families lived no great distance asun- 
der, ) easily consented. So, without more ado, we turned 
into Trinity great Gate, and round by the right up a 
staircase to the Attic where Lexilogus kept. 

The door was sported, but I knew he must be at home ; 
so, using the privilege of an old friend, I shouted to him 
through the letter-slit. Presently we heard the sound of 
books falling, and soon after Lexilogus' thin, pale, and 
spectacled face appeared at the half -opened door. He 
was always glad to see me, I believe, howsoever I dis- 
turbed him; and he smiled as he laid his hand in mine, 
rather than returned its pressure. 

The tea-things were still on the table, and I asked him 
(though I knew well enough) if he were so fashionable 
as only just to have breakfasted? 
(3) "Oh — long ago — directly after Morning Chapel." 

I then told him he must put his books away, and come 
out on the River with Euphranor and myself. 

[ 134 ] 



"He could not possibly," he said; — "not so early, at 
least — the yearly Examination — " 

"Come, come, my good fellow," said Euphranor, "that 
is the very reason, the Doctor says; he will have it so. 
So make haste." 

I then told him (what I then suddenly remembered) 
that, beside other reasons, his old Aunt, a Cambridge 
tradesman's widow whom I attended, and whom Lex- 
ilogus helped to support out of his own little funds, 
wanted to see him directly on business. He should go 
with us to Chesterton, where she lodged; visit her while 
Euphranor and I played a game or two of billiards at the 
Inn; and afterwards (for I knew how little of an Oars- 
man he was) we would all three take a good stretch into 
the Fields together. 

He supposed he should be back by Hall, of course; 
about which I would make no conditions ; and he then re- 
signed himself to Destiny. While he was busy changing 
and brushing his clothes, Euphranor, who had walked 
somewhat impatiently about the room, looking now at the 
books, and now out of the window at some white pigeons 
wheeling about in the clear blue sky, went up to the man- 
tel-piece and called out, "What a fine new pair of screens 
Lexilogus had got! the present, doubtless, of some fair 

Lexilogus said they were a present from his sister on 
his Birth-day ; and coming up to me, brush in hand, asked 
if I recognized the views? 

"Quite well, quite well," I said, and told him to | get on (4) 

[ 135 ] 


with his toilet — "the old Church — the Yew-tree, — your 
Father's house — one cannot mistake them." 

"And were they not beautifully done?" he wanted to 
know ; and I answered without hesitation, they were ; for 
I knew the Girl who had painted them, and that (what- 
ever they might be in point of Art) a still finer spirit 
than Art had guided her hand. 

At last, after a little hesitation as to whether he should 
wear Cap and Gown, (which I decided he should not, for 
this time only,) Lexilogus was ready: and calling out on 
the staircase to his Bed-maker not to meddle with his 
books, we ran down-stairs, crossed the great Court — 
through the Screens thronged with Gyps and Bed-mak- 
ers, and redolent of perpetual Dinner; thence, after stop- 
ping a moment to read some notices, through the cloisters 
of Neville's Court, and so out upon the open space before 
the Library. The sun shone broad on the new-shaven 
expanse of grass, while Holiday-seeming folks sauntered 
along the River-side, and under the trees, now flourish- 
ing in freshest green — the Chestnuts especially in full 
fan, and bending down their white cones over the sluggish 
current, which seemed indeed more fitted for the slow 
merchandise of Coal, than to wash the walls and flow 
through the groves of Academe. 

We now considered we had missed our proper point of 
Embarkation; but this was righted at a slight expense of 
college propriety. Euphranor calling out to some one 
who had his boat in charge with others by the Wooden 
Bridge, we descended the grassy slope, stepped in, and 

[ 136 ] 


settled the order of our voyage. Euphranor and I were 
to pull, and Lexilogus (as I at | first proposed) was to (5) 
steer. But seeing he was averse from meddling in the 
matter, I agreed to take all the blame of my own awk- 
ward rowing on myself. 

"And just take care of this, will you, Lexilogus?" said 
Euphranor, handing him a Book which fell out of his 
pocket as he took his coat off. 

"Oh, Books, Books!" I exclaimed, "I thought we were 
to steer clear of them, at all events. Now we shall have 
Lexilogus reading all the way. What is it — Greek, Al- 
gebra, German, or what?" 

It was none of these, however, Euphranor said, but 
only Digby's Godefridus; and then asking me whether 
I was ready, and I calling out, "Ay, ay, Sir," our oars 
splashed in the water. Threading the main arch of Trin- 
ity bridge, we shot past the Library, I exerting myself 
so strenuously, (as bad rowers sometimes do,) that I al- 
most drove the nose of the boat against one of the least 
ornamental offices of the College. This danger past, 
however, we got on better; Euphranor often looking be- 
hind him to anticipate our way, and counteracting with 
his experienced Oar the many misdirections of mine. 
Amid all this, he had leisure to ask me if I knew those 
same Digby books? 

"Some of them," I told him — "the Broad Stone of 
Honour for one; indeed I had got the first Protestant 
edition of it, now very rare." 

"But not so good as the enlarged Catholic," said Eu- 

[ 1S7 ] ' 



phranor, "of which this Godefridus is part; at least so 
Hare says." 

"Perhaps not," I replied ; "but then on the other hand, 
not so Catholic ; which you and Lexilogus will agree with 
me is a great advantage." 
(6) Which I said slyly, Euphranor being rather taken with 
the Oxford doctrine just then coming into vogue. 

"You cannot forgive him that," said he. 

"Nay nay," said I, "one can forgive a true man any- 
thing. Digby is a noble Fellow — one of the Few whose 
Fulness of Soul justifies the venting it in Print." 

"If only as a Garden of Quotations," said Euphranor, 
"as plentiful as old Burton, only the Flowers so much 
richer and rarer." 

"Ay," said I, "that one may pilfer at pleasure, and still 
leave enough to make Midsummer of scores of barren 
Discourses." And then Euphranor asked me, "Did I not 
remember Digby himself at College? perhaps know him?" 

"Not that," I answered, but remembered him very well. 
And in answer to Euphranor's questions proceeded to 
give him some personal recollections of his Author. 

"And, Hare says, really himself the Knight he drew?" 

"At least," I answered, "he rowed very vigorously on 
this river, where I am now labouring so awkwardly." 

In which and other such talk, constantly interrupted 
by the little accidents of our voyage, we had threaded 
our way through the barges congregated at Magdalen; 
through the Locks; and so for a pull of three or four 
miles down the river and back again to Cross's; where 

[ 138 ] 


we surrendered our boat, and footed it over the fields to 
Chesterton, at whose Church we came just as its quiet 
chimes were preluding Twelve o'clock. Close by was the 
himible house whither Lexilogus was bound. I looked in 
for a moment at the | old lady, and left him with her, pri- (T) 
vately desiring him to join us as soon as he could at the 
Three Tuns; the Three Tuns, which I preferred to any 
younger rival, because of the many pleasant hours I had 
spent there in my own College days. 

When Euphranor and I got there, we found all the 
tables occupied ; but one, as usual, would be at our service 
before long. Meanwhile, ordering some light Ale after 
us, we went into the Bowling-green, with its Lilac bushes 
now in full bloom and full odour; and there we found, 
sitting alone upon a bench, Lycion, with a cigar in his 
mouth, and rolling the bowls about lazily with his foot. 

"What! Lycion! and all alone!" I called out. 

He nodded to us both — said he was waiting till some 
men had finished a pool of billiards up-stairs — "A great 
bore — for it was only just begun; and one of the fellows 
a man I particularly detest, so I am obliged to wait here 
till he is off." 

"Come and console yourself with some Ale, then," said 
I. "Are you ever foolish enough to go pulling on the 
river, as we have been doing?" 

"Not often; he did not see the use," he said, "of per- 
spiring to no purpose." 

"Just so," replied I. "But here comes our liquor; 
sweet is Pleasure after Pain, at all events." 

[ 139 ] 



We then sat down in one of those little arbours cut 
into the Lilac bushes round the Bowling-green ; and while 
Euphranor and I were quaffing each a glass of Home- 
brewed, Lycion took up the volume of Digby, which Eu- 
phranor had laid on the table. 
(8) ''Ah, Lycion," said Euphranor, putting down his | glass, 
"there is one would put you up to a longer and stronger 
pull than we have had." 

"Chivalry — " said Lycion, glancing carelessly over the 
pages; "I thought people had done talking about that 
sort of thing." 

"What sort of thing?" Euphranor asked him. 

"Why, Dragons, Tournaments, old Armour, and so 

"Rather a hasty acquaintance to judge of a book in, is 
it not?" said Euphranor, smiling. 

Lycion had heard of it before, and laughed at. 

"Possibly," replied Eluphranor. "Nevertheless, I can 
assure you it is not about Tournaments, Dragons, and 
'that sort of thing' at all — that is, not about them only." 

"Don't you remember," Lycion said, addressing me, 
"what an absurd thing the Eglinton Tournament was? 
What a complete failiu*e! There was the Queen of 
Beauty on her throne, and the Heralds, and the Knights 
in full Armour on their horses — they had been practis- 
ing for months, I believe — but unluckily, at the very mo- 
ment of Onset, the rain began, and the Knights threw 
down their lances and put up umbrellas." 

I laughed, and said I remembered something like it 

[ 140 ] 


had occurred, though not to umbrella-point, which I 
thought was an Adelphi or Louis Philippe burlesque on 
the affair. And I asked Euphranor what he had to say- 
in defence of the Tournament. 

"Nothing at all," he replied. "It was a silly thing, and 
fit to be laughed at for the very reason that it was only 
an affair of old armour — ^As Digby himself emphatically 
tells us," he went on, taking the Book and rapidly turn- 
ing over the leaves. — "Here it is" — and | he read — " 'The (9) 
error that leads men to doubt of this first proposition' — 
that is, you know, that Chivalry is not a thing past, but, 
like all things of Beauty, eternal — *the error that leads 
men to doubt of this first proposition consists of their 
supposing that Tournaments, steel Panoply, and Coat 
arms, and Aristocratic institutions, are essential to Chiv- 
alry; whereas, these are, in fact, only accidental atten- 
dants upon it, subject to the influence of Time, which 
changes all such things.' " 

"I am told the old Knights were really great Black- 
guards," said Lycion, turning his cigar in his mouth, 
and glancing at his antagonist, "with all their pre- 
tences of fighting for religion, distressed damsels, and 
so on." 

"Come, Lycion," said I, "y^^ must not abuse them; 
you, whose Pedigree links you through Agincourt and 
Crecy, almost up to King Arthur." 

"O yes. King Arthur, and his Round Table and Seven 
Champions; and pray do not forget Don Quixote. He 
is one of your Heroes, I hope, Euphranor?" 

[ 141 ] 


Euphranor declared that Don Quixote was a man of 
true Chivalric soul — only — 

"Only mad," interrupted Lycion, "and mistook Wind- 
mills for Giants. And I doubt if King Arthur's Giants 
were half so substantial." 

"Perhaps Digby would tell us," said I, who saw Eu- 
phranor's colour rising, "there can be no want of Giants 
and Dragons while Oppression and Misery abound in the 

"To be sure," said Euphranor; "these old Romances 

are Symbols of the Truth ; nay, the Truth itself, inasmuch 

(10) as they record the Warfare which all Heroic men | must 

wage for ever with Evil, under whatsoever shape it may 


"Does not Carlyle somewhere tell us," said I, "that 
Chivalry must now seek and find its mission in the cam- 
paigns, not of War, but of Peace; which need no less 
Energy, Endurance, and Self-devotion? He talks of a 
'Chivalry of Labour,' I think; the proper conquests for 
modern Heroes to be those of the Loom and the Steam 
engine; and that henceforward not 'Arms and the Man,' 
but 'Tools and the Man,' must be the Epic of the world." 

"O well," said Lycion, "if your Arthurs and Lancelots 
are to turn into peaceable Spinners, Stokers, and Tailors, 
I shall never quarrel with them. Let them go on con- 
quering and to conquer; in the latter vocation especial! v: 
and more especially if, like true Knights, they charge 
nothing for their services." 

"Yes, my dear fellow," said I, laughing, "but then you 

[ 142 ] 


must not sit idle, smoking your cigar, in the midst of it ; 
but, as your Ancestors led on mailed troops at Agin- 
court, so must you put yourself at the head of these Tail- 
ors, and become what Carlyle calls 'a Captain of In- 
dustry,' a Master-tailor, leading on a host of Journeymen 
to fresh fields and conquests new." 

"Besides," said Euphranor, who did not relish this sud- 
den descent of his hobby, "surely Chivalry will ever find 
endless, if bloodless, engagement in the Laws, Educa- 
tion, and other such Advancement of a People ; or, if you 
hke it, of the World at large. As Tennyson so nobly 
says, King Arthur, who was carried away wounded to 
the island valley of Avilion, to be nursed by Queens, will, 
and does, return to us in the shape of a modern | Gentle- (ii) 
man *of stateliest port.' And whatever Carlyle or any 
one else may say. War is not yet out of the world : there 
are still those ready to strike in a bad cause, and it would 
be hard if there were none to resist in a good." 

"Well," said Lycion, who, often seeming inattentive 
to what was making against him, quickly caught at any 
turn in his favour — "we have a paid Army to do all that 
for us." 

"A paid Army!" repeated Euphranor with great in- 
dignation. "And do you pretend to say, Lycion, that 
you, for one, would sit there smoking your eternal cigar, 
if England herself were to be invaded, for instance?" 

Lycion, however, only turned that eternal cigar in his 
mouth, and glanced rather superciliously at his antago- 
nist. And I, who had been all this while reading Gode- 

[ 143 ] 


fridus at the page Euphranor had left open, said, "Here 
we are, as usual, disputing without being as yet agreed 
upon the meaning of the terms we are using. Here, Eu- 
phranor, suppose you read us this passage, which defines 
what Digby himself understands by the word Chivalry^ 
and then we shall see the way clearer perhaps." 

I gave him the book, and he read : 

"Chivalry is only a name for that general Spirit or 
state of mind, which disposes men to Generous and He- 
roic actions; and keeps them conversant with all that is 
Beautiful and Sublime in the Intellectual and Moral 
world. It will be found that, in the absence of conserva- 
tive principles, this Spirit more generally prevails in 
(12) Youth than in the later periods of men's life : | and, as the 
Heroic is always the earliest age in the history of nations, 
so Youth, the first period of life, may be considered as 
the Heroic or Chivalrous age of each separate Man ; and 
there are few so unhappy as to have grown up without 
having experienced its influence, and having derived the 
advantage of being able to enrich their imagination, and 
to soothe their hours of sorrow, with its romantic recol- 
lections. The Anglo-Saxons distinguished the period 
between Childhood and Manhood by the term "Cnithade," 
Knighthood: a term which still continued to indicate the 
connexion between Youth and Chivalry, when Knights 
were styled "Children," as in the historic song beginning 

Childe Rowlande to the dark tower came, — 
an excellent expression, no doubt; — for every Boy and 
Youth is, in his mind and sentiment, a Knight, and essen- 

[ 144 ] 


tially a Son of Chivalry. Nature is fine in him. Noth- 
ing but the circumstances of a singular and most degrad- 
ing system of Education can ever totally destroy the ac- 
tion of this general law. Therefore, so long as there has 
been, or shall be, a succession of sweet Springs in Man's 
Intellectual World; as long as there have been, or shall 
be, Young men to grow up to maturity; and until all 
Youthful life shall be dead, and its source withered up 
for ever; so long must there have been, and must there 
continue to be, the spirit of noble Chivalry. To under- 
stand therefore this first and, as it were, natural Chivalry, 
we have only to observe the features of the Youthful age, 
of which examples surround us. For, as Demopho says 
of young men ; 

Ecce autem similia omnia : omnes congruunt : 
Unum cognoris, omnes noris. 

Mark the Courage of him who is green and fresh in the (is) 
Old world. Amyntas beheld and dreaded the insolence 
of the Persians ; but not so Alexander, the son of Amyn- 
tas, axs ysoQ, xs ecbv, %ac xaxcbv dTraQTjc (says Herodotus) 
o68a(itt)C Itt %axs)(£iv oioc xs '^v. When Jason had related 
to his companions the conditions imposed by the King, 
the first impression was that of horror and despondency; 
till Peleus rose up boldly, and said, 

QpT) jX7)xtdao9ai 5 %' Sp^opisv o5 [Jiev loXTua 

BooX'^^ slvai Svsiap, 8aov z' stzl xdpxsi /sipcav. 

*If Jason be unwilling to attempt it, I and the rest will 
undertake the enterprise; for what more can we suffer 

[ 145 ] 



than death?' And then instantly rose up Telamon and 
Idas, and the sons of Tyndarus, and CEnides, although 


But Argus, the Nestor of the party, restrained their im- 
petuous valour." 

"Scarce the Down upon their lips you see," (said I,) 
"Freshmen; — so that you, Euphranor, who are now Bach- 
elor of Arts, and whose upper lip at least begins to show 
the stubble of repeated harvests, are, alas, fast declining 
from that golden prime of Knighthood, while Lycion 
here, whose shavings might almost be counted — " 

"Pshaw," interrupted Lycion, "I have no ambition to 
be one of his Heroes." 

"But you can't help it, it appears," said I, "and must 

not, like a bad bird, foul your own nest. And see here 

(14) again," I continued, having taken the book from|Euphra- 

nor's hands — "after telling us that Chivalry is only 

Youth, he goes on to define what Youth is." 

*It is a remark of Lord Bacon, that 'for the Moral part. 
Youth will have the pre-eminence, as Age hath for the 
Politic;' and this has always been the opinion which is 
allied to that other belief, that the Heroic (the Homeric 
age) was the most Virtuous age of Greece. When De- 
mosthenes was desirous of expressing any great and gen- 
erous sentiment, he uses the term vsavc^bv cpp6v7)iAa' — "and 
by the way," added I looking up parenthetically from 

[ 146 ] 



the Book, "the Persians, I am told, employ the same word 
for Youth and Courage" — 'and it is the saying of Plau- 
tus when surprise is evinced at the Benevolence of an old 
man, 'Benignitas hujus ut Adolescentuli est.' There is 
no difference, says the Philosopher, between Youthful 
Age and Youthful Character; and what this is cannot 
be better evinced than in the very words of Aristotle. 
'The Young are ardent in Desire, and what they do is 
from Affection ; they are tractable and delicate ; they ear- 
nestly desire and are easily appeased ; their wishes are in- 
tense, without comprehending much, as the thirst and 
hunger of the weary; they are passionate and hasty, and 
liable to be surprised by anger; for, being ambitious of 
Honour, they cannot endure to be despised, but are indig- 
nant when they suffer injustice; they love Honour, but 
still more Victory ; for Youth desires superiority, and vic- 
tory is superiority, and both of these they love more than 
Riches; for as to these, of all things, they care for them 
the least. They are not of corrupt manners, but are Inno- 
cent, from not having beheld much wickedness ; and they 
are credulous, from having been seldom de-|ceived; and (i5) 
Sanguine in hope, for, like persons who are drunk with 
wine, they are inflamed by nature, and from their hav- 
ing had but little experience of Fortune. And they live 
by Hope, for Hope is of the future, but Memory is of 
the past, and to Youth the Future is everything, the Past 
but little; they hope all things, and remember nothing; 
and it is easy to deceive them, for the reasons which have 
been given; for they are willing to hope, and are full of 

[ 147 ] 


Courage, being passionate and hasty, of which tempers 
it is the nature of one not to fear, and of the other to 
inspire confidence ; and thus are easily put to Shame, for 
they have no resources to set aside the precepts which they 
have learned: and they have lofty souls, for they have 
never been disgraced or brought low; and they are unac- 
quainted with Necessity; they prefer Honour to Advan- 
tage, Virtue to Expediency; for they live by Affection 
rather than by Reason, and Reason is concerned with 
Expediency, but Affection with Honour: and they are 
warm friends and hearty companions, more than other 
men, because they delight in Fellowship, and judge of 
nothing by Utility, and therefore not their friends; and 
they chiefly err in doing all things over much, for they 
keep no medium. They love much, and they dislike much, 
and so in everything, and this arises from their idea that 
they know everything. And their faults consist more in 
Insolence than in actual wrong; and they are full of 
Mercy, because they regard all men as good, and more 
virtuous than they are; for they measure others by their 
own Innocence; so that they suppose every man suffers 
wrongfully.' "So that Lycion, you see," said I, looking 
(16) up from the book, "is, in virtue of his eighteen Sum-|mers 
only, a Knight of Nature's own dubbing — yes, and here 
we have a list of the very qualities which constitute 
him one of the Order. And all the time he is pretend- 
ing to be careless, indolent, and worldly, he is really 
bursting with suppressed Energy, Generosity, and De- 

[ 148 ] 


"If one can't help it then," said Lycion rather sulkily, 
"what is the use of writing books about it?" 

"O yes, my dear fellow," said I, "it is like giving you 
an Inventory of your goods, which else you lose, or even 
cast away, in your march to Manhood — which you are 
so eager to reach. Only to repent when got there; for I 
see Digby goes on — 'What is termed Entering the 
World' — which Manhood of course must do — 'assuming 
its Principles and Maxims' — which usually follows — 'is 
nothing else but departing into those regions to which 
the souls of the Homeric Heroes went sorrowing — 

6v T:6z\Loy yodcoaa, Xnzoo(f dSpox'^xa xat iJjPtjv.' " 

"Ah, you remember," said Euphranor, "how Lamb's 
friend, looking upon the Eton Boys in their Cricket- 
field, sighed 'to think those fine Lads should so soon turn 
into frivolous Members of Parliament!' " 

"Why frivolous?'' said Lycion. 

"Ay, why frivolous?" repeated I. 

But Euphranor went laughing on, "Well, never mind, 
they needn't unless they like for some twenty years to 
come. Pythagoras, you know. Doctor, gives up the first 
forty years of his Man's allotted Eighty to Childhood 
and Youth ; a dispensation which you and I at least shall 
not quarrel with." 

"No, nor any one else, I should suppose," said I. 
"Think, my dear Lycion, what a privilege for you to 
have yet more than twenty good years' expatiation in the (i7) 

[ 149 ] 

t^^^ll EUPHRANOR, 

Elysian Cricket-field of Youth before pent up in that 
Close Borough of your Father's! And Euphranor, 
whom we thought fast slipping out of his Prime as his 
Youth attained a Beard, is in fact only just entering 
upon it. And, most wonderful of all, I, who not only 
have myself entered the World, but made my bread by 
bringing others into it these Fifteen years, am myself 
only just ceast to be a Boy!" 

Lycion now called up to his friends in the Billiard 
room, one of whom appeared at the window, cue in hand, 
and shook his head, saying however, in a confidential way, 
that "All would be right in a few minutes;" and so re- 
tired. On which Lycion had nothing for it but to light 
another cigar, and lying down on his back with his hat 
over his eyes, compose himself to Inattention. 

Euphranor, who had been musing during this little epi- 
sode, now said, 

"You, however. Doctor, who have passed the Rubicon, 
will hardly confess the tract you have left behind you 
better than that you are entering upon?" 

"Of course not," I answered. 

"And yet," said he, "in the passage you have read, you 
see he compares the Youth of Man to the Heroic age of 
a Nation." 

"Which, however, may not be its Best age," answered 
I. "Lycion and I may not agree that Argonautic expedi- 
tions, Trojan or Holy wars, mark the best epochs of a 
People, whatever you Heroic gentlemen think." 

"Well, but if what Digby says be true, that 'tis this 

[ 150 ] 



Spirit keeps Men and Nations most convers-|ant with (is) 
what is Beautiful and SubUme in the Moral and Intellec- 
tual world — And here is Bacon declaring that Youth ex- 
cels in THE Moral, and Age in the poor Politic only" — 

"Old Age, he might mean," I suggested smiling — "or 
such a Politic of Moral as Jeremy Bentham's." 

Euphranor however repudiated all such base Moral as 
this, and would have nothing whatever to do with Jeremy 
Bentham. "And what mighty Virtues Aristotle attrib- 
utes to Youth!" said he. 

"And mighty Faults too, for that matter," I returned. 
"Does he not call it rash, ambitious, overbearing, — inso- 
lent even? — faults that we who have entered the World 
have learned to amend?" 

"Well then," said Euphranor, "the sooner these Eton 
boys get there the better, after all." 

"But then, on the other hand," said I, "how much they 
owe to being out of it; for you see Aristotle says they 
are Innocent from not having beheld much Wickedness, 
Hopeful from not having been disappointed. Trustful 
from not having been deceived. Lofty of soul and despis- 
ing Riches from never having been brought low; and so 
forth. Your friend Plato, if I remember, will not allow 
even those who are destined to be Judges in his Republic 
to make acquaintance with Crime till near Middle life, 
for fear they should harden into a distrust of human na- 
ture, and dry up those Generous Affections and Hope- 
ful Energies of which Aristotle's Catalogue is almost 
made up." 

[ 151 ] 



"Ah!" said Euphranor, "and Bacon somewhere else ob- 
serves, I think, that 'Youth doth profit in the Affections, 
and Age in the Reason.' " 
(19) "Age then has the best of it, according to Bacon, in the 
Reason as well as the Politic, whatever they may be ; and 
Youth in the Affections and the Moral, whatever they.'' 

"No very high qualities, I doubt," said he, smiling, "if 
unconnected — I don't care for your Politic — but, with 
Reason, — The Moral of Dogs and Horses, Plato would 
call them." 

"Let me see," said I, taking up the book again, and 
running my eye over the passage — "yes, — 'Ardent of 
desire,' — 'Tractable,' — some of them at least — 'With- 
out comprehending much' — 'Ambitious' — 'Despisers of 
Riches' — except the famous Dog and Shadow, — but that 
is a Fable — 'Warm friends and hearty Companions' — 
really very characteristic of the better breed of Dogs and 
Horses. And why not? The Horse, you know, has given 
his very name to Chivalry, because of his association in 
the Heroic Enterprises of Men, — 'The most Hidalgo 
Brute of all,' Calderon calls him. And as for Dogs — 
Lord Byron says he never had but one Friend — *and — ' " 

"There he lies!" cried Euphranor, snorting. "Lord 
Byron! — But there are other Affections — " 

"Wife and children?" said I, as he paused. "Birds, 
you know, have both ; and your Knights are supposed as 
yet to know nothing of either." 

"I hope you like it, Euphranor," said Lycion from 
under his hat. 

[ 152 3 



"Pshaw! Doctor," Euphranor called out rather impa- 
tiently — "Religious Affections, for instance, which all 
Children feel, and Dogs and Horses never." 

"My dear Euphranor," said I, more seriously, "is [not (20) 
all Affection, quoad Affection, unreasonable? If you 
speak of the Object of Affection, that is another thing. 
Men only (as we suppose) comprehend the Idea of God; 
— And, by the way, does not Bacon say that Man looks 
up to God, as a Dog to his Master?" 

"But meaning that Man looks up with a Reasonable 
Affection, as Dog to Man with i^Tireasonable." 

"Well," said I, "when turn'd of Forty perhaps"— 
(humph!)* — 

"No, no," urged Euphranor. "To be able to look up 
to a God at all, is Reason; and so of Truth, and Justice, 
and other abstract Ideas, which are Intuitive in Children ; 
remembered, Plato says, from some previous existence, 
and included by Bacon, I have no doubt, in what he calls 
the Moral of Youth." 

"And Wordsworth too," added I, "does not he affirm 
this Intuition is the more active the Younger we are, as 
being nearer to God, who is our home?" 

Euphranor assented, and I said, "But, Euphranor, if 
this Intuition be Reason, we overrule Bacon and Aris- 
totle, and decide that not Age excels in it, but Child- 

"Unless," said he, "considering the Intuitive to be 
drawn out by the Dialectic, as music from an instnmaent, 

*Dele "(tumph!)." 

[ 153 ] 

StTon euphranor, 

into the full harmony of complete REASON, as we see 
done in Plato's Dialogues with the Young." 

"Hear these Metaphysicians, Lyeion!" said I, ''Rea- 
son drawn out by Reason into REASON!" 

Lyeion only answered with one long-drawn sigh of 
smoke, that went the way of most Metaphysics. 

"Or," said Euphranor, laughing, "suppose I change 
the Terms, and put all into some — Coleridgean formula, 
(21) I such as — 'The Intuition^ the Understanding = the whole 
Reason.' " 

We both laughed at this grand Proposition, which Eu- 
phranor gave out in a mock-heroic way. And then I said, 
"This poor Reason has run the gauntlet of definition 
harder than any word in the language, I believe. Some 
make it an Instinct ; some a process of that Instinct, con- 
founding ReasoTi with Reasonm^', perhaps. Milton says 
it is nothing but Choice. And, by the way, (what has 
escaped us before, Euphranor,) Aristotle, or his Trans- 
lator, seems to identify it with Bacon's Politic. — 'Con- 
cerned with Eoopediency,' he defines it. Jeremy Ben- 
tham, after all!" 

"Aristotle had rather a leaning that way," Euphranor 
said — "so unlike his glorious Master." 

"Well," I said, "I, for one, do not pretend to decide 
among such great authorities, all calling names. I stick 
to the common phraseology of the country, and when I 
want to name the Supreme faculty of human Judgment, 
whensoever and howsoever begun and completed, give 
the Idol its old name of REASON, and so leave it. As 

[ 154 ] 


for that Intuitive Moral-material which you say is innate 
with us, I should think your friend Plato would agree 
it should have full room to develop in; that the Instru- 
ment, as you call it, should be well seasoned and strung 
before played on by that same sceptical agent you told 
us of, the dialectic Understanding." 

"Only to be touched by so delicate a finger as his own 
Socrates," answered Euphranor, smiling. 

"And even he was accused of doing it unskilfully, was 
he not? of turning the harmonious Instincts of | Youth (22) 
into discord, and making Sophists of the Etonians of 

"A great calumny," Euphranor declared. 

"Well, at any rate he would not let this precious In- 
tuition be tampered, or tamper, with the Finger of 
Worldly or Parliamentary Policy; though, by the bye, 
I doubt he was accused of some corruption of that kind 

"Aristophanes and Anytus were both of a piece," per- 
sisted Euphranor. 

"And as to those blinder Affections of Aristotle's 
Youth, Plato may say what he likes, but he would have 
been especially sorry could his Horses, Dogs, Servants, 
or Sons, have been argued out of them, even by his own 

"And why?" 

"Because he probably wanted them to follow and do 
what he thought good for them, whether they understood 
it dialectically or not, as you will agree with me we want 

[ 155 ] 

Stxon euphranor, 

our Dogs and Children to do, and as those Children of 

old, your Knights, did." 

"And which they would not the less do for Under- 
standing, surely." 

''Perhaps not, if with a very great Cerebellum at the 
back of all that Forehead ; else you know my old ^Native 
hue of Resolution,' &c.," said I, smiling. "And by some 
of the more irreverent writers on Himianity, Reason itself 
is said to be the weakest governing part about us — a 
sign-post, somebody says, which points the way, but by 
no means urges us along it. But if it be not even Rea- 
cts; son, but only such a Will o' the Wisp | as most Men, and 
more Boys, mistake for her, pointing several, and wrong, 
ways? Whereas, once shown the Right road, these Blind 
Affections actually push on along it, being nearest allied 
in Growth and Energy to our Animal Affections, which 
are said to be the strongest governing part about us." 

"To which, however, you are not going to reduce Chiv- 
alry, I hope," said Euphranor. 

"Well," said I, "You and Plato must consider together, 
whether great part of the Dog's, Horse's, and Knight's 
^dialectic affections we spoke of does not indeed re- 
sult from good Bodily condition in Dogs, Horses, and 

He looked incredulous. 

^'As, for instance, what we are always talking of as 
Animal Spirits, Animal Courage, Sanguine Temper, and 
so forth — all which, by the way, Aristotle says inflame 
Youth not at all like Reasonable people, but 'like per- 

[ 156 ] 


sons drunk with wine' — a kind of moral in which Youth 
proverbially surpasses Age, partly in virtue of its better 
Animal condition." 

He looked reproachfully. 

"Why, you know," said I, laughing, "your starved 
Horse won't run, and your starved Soldier — wilV 

"Chivalry an essence of Beef -steaks!" ejaculated he. 

"I hope you like it," said Lycion, from under his hat. 

But I went on laughing — "No, no, not beef -steaks 
only, else your Alderman would be a Bayard — He must 
be well exercised as well as fed; at Cricket with those 
Eton lads, or Boating with you, in order to convert the 
Beef -steak and Turtle into pure Blood, Muscle, Sinew, 
and Pluck,'' 

Brute strength, however, Euphranor would have it, (on (24) 
Plato's authority again, I believe, for Plato was his 
Oracle,) brutalized the Soul. He must admit, however, 
that Telamon, and Idas, and (Enides, and those other 
youthful Knights we had read of, wanted a good stock of 
it to work that very heavy Craft, the Argo; as did also 
King Arthur's Knights in grappling with Giants and 
Dragons; and even those of our own time, "the Modern 
Gentlemen," if they were to lead to Conquest any more 
forcible Host than a Tailor's. And I asked him whether, 
apart from any influence such Exercises, or the Animal 
condition they helped to bring about, might have upon 
the Soul, Digby did not consider Bodily Strength per se, 
and the Riding, Swimming, Rowing, and so forth, which 
advanced it, and from whose equal Development of the 

[ 157 ] 


Body a Gentleman might be known, as very necessary 
Accomplishments of his English Knighthood? 

"No doubt," Euphranor said; and then, recurring to 
what I had before hinted at, remembered some observa- 
tion of Sir Walter Scott, (another Hero of his,) that 
Strong men are usually good-humoured, Scott himself, 
as Euphranor remarked, being so good an instance. 
There was also Bacon's testimony as to Fretfulness being 
chiefly observable in Weakness, Old age. Childhood, and 
Sickness, and several other Authorities quoted in the same 
direction. "So that, on the whole," said I, tapping on 
the top of Lycion's hat, "what with the keeping out of 
Knavery till one knows how to join in it properly; and 
avoiding Bad air in more senses than one; and cultivat- 
ing Good Affections, and Good Health, and perhaps 
(25) (Euphranor says) Good Humour, and | perhaps also 
some other Good things we cannot now think of — 
Lamb's friend might have been right after all in la- 
menting the departure of the Eton lads from the 
Fields of their Youth for a premature Manhood in St. 

"Especially," said Euphranor, "as I assure you, what- 
ever Aristophanes or Anytus may say, Plato will not 
have a man meddle with the Laws till he is past Thirty." 

"Well," said Lycion, "let your Ancients — or Moderns 
— say as they like, the law of England settles it other- 


"You mean," said I, "in fixing on Twenty-one as the 
age of — Discretion?" 

[ 158 ] 


He nodded; and I said — "Discretion enough to pocket 
Rents, marry, make your Will, and so on." 

"Yes, and sit in Parliament," said he. 

I was obliged to admit this — "There is no denying it — 
only perhaps not to advise, but courageously to second, 
and carry out into vote, what some Nestor Russell or 
Ulysses Peel proposes — as the Knights of Greece and 
England obeyed the highest wisdom of Law or Church in 
their days." 

"Nay, nay," interposed Euphranor, "and to advise too, 
in order that the Generous counsel, the vsavabv cpp6v7](xa, 
of Youth, may vivify and ennoble the cold Politic of 
Age. As in the passage we read from Digby, Amyntas, 
the Man of Policy, was wrong, and his son Alexander 

But oddly enough, as I remember'd the story in He- 
rodotus, by a device which smack'd more of Policy than 
Generosity. "But in the other case, Argus, 1 1 suppose, (26) 
was not so wrong in restraining the impetuosity of his 
Youthful Crew, who, — is it not credibly thought? — would 
have fail'd, but for Medea's unexpected Magical as- 

Euphranor was not clear about this. 

"He was — Argus I mean — 'the Nestor of the Party,' 
says Digby. Brave old Nestor, who though more than 
two Generations old, Agamemnon, I think, declares that 
Troy walls would soon be down had he Ten such Gen- 
erals! So Good-humoured and Conciliatory too, with a 
cheerful Garrulity about the gallant exploits of his 

[ 159 ] 



Youth — a really fine old Gentleman, whom one would I 
think have hailed as 'Old Cock!' meeting him in the Gre- 
cian lines! — Ah, Euphranor! If, by so full an Appren- 
ticeship of Youth, one could like him be so thoroughly 
seasoned with its Spirit, that all the Reason of Manhood, 
and Politic of Age, and Experience of the World, should 
serve not to freeze, but to direct, the Genial Current of 
the Soul, — Youth itself, a Perennial Spirit, independent 
of Time, so that 

Ev'n while the vital Heart retreats below, 

Ev'n while the hoary head is lost in Snow, 

The Life is in the leaf, and still between 

The fits of falling Snow appears the streaky Green — 

that Boy's Heart within the Man's never ceasing to throb 
and tremble, even to the remotest Age; nay, at the last 
breath of this Life giving it Elasticity to bound into an- 
other; — Then indeed your Senate would need no other 
Youth than its Elders to vivify their Counsels, or could 
admit the Young without danger of corrupting them by 
ignoble Policy." 

Whether Lycion would have deigned any Comment, 
(27) 1 1 know not; for just now his friend looked out again 
from the Billiard-room window, and called out to him, 
"the Coast was clear." On which Lycion getting up, and 
muttering something about its being a pity we did not go 
back to School for Trap-ball, and I retorting we could 
carry it forward into Life with us, he carelessly nodded 

[ 160 ] 


to us both, and with an^'Au Revoir" went with his Cigar 
into the House. 

During this, Euphranor and I both applied to our 
Glasses; and, after a little pause, he began to rally me 
upon my ignominious subjection of the Soul to the Car- 
cass — a Theory, he said, I was far too often harping upon. 
I laughed and said, we Doctors were of old infamous for 
such doctrine — we spoke up for our Craft, not choosing 
Plato and the Soul-doctors to carry off all the fees; we 
only wanting to divide the spoil, however, just as Nature 
was supposed to have divided it, and quite as ready to 
grant that Soul acted on Carcass as Carcass on Soul. He 
remember'd Sterne's Jerkin and Jerkin's lining? 

"O base metaphor!" cried Euphranor, "just like Sterne, 
whom I wonder you don't hate as I do, — Soul and Body 
all of one texture !" 

"No, no," said I, laughing; "Jerkin, you know, may 
be lined with other and finer material than himself." 

"With coarser too," replied Euphranor, "as I believe 
Sterne's own Jerkin was, for his Body was a very deli- 
cate one, and his Soul one of the grossest the World has 
been contaminated with." 

I then asked him what he had to say to the old favourite 
of the Body being a House, and the Soul its Tenant — 
*the Body's Guest'— Would that do for him? 

"Well" — he nodded: and I said, that if inclined to (28) 
argue, one might say the Tenant, whether Prince or Peas- 
ant, must be affected according as his Lodging is whole- 
some or not; thrive in it if compact, roomy, and sweet; 

[ 161 ] 



but catch all kind of Fever, and Ague, if close, foul, and 
dilapidated. More especially, if he were not only a Ten- 
ant, but a Prisoner, as was the Soul in this Body; unless 
indeed, as some thought, she got abroad through the key- 
hole at night, when it was fast locked in sleep; making 
rather an odd use of her liberty in Dreams. — 

But here Euphranor called out again that the Lodger 
I spoke of, whether Peasant or Prince, was, in some sort, 
of the very same matter composed as his lodging; — a 
Clay-built Body in a Clay-built shed, — as bad a Meta- 
phor, after all, as Jerkin and lining. "Besides," he went 
on eagerly, "is it not well known that persons at the last 
extremity of Illness, of Old age, — on the very verge of 
Death, — shine out brighter than ever in Piety, Wisdom, 
and Love." And he went on to repeat those old lines; 

"The Soul's dark Cottage, batter'd and decay'd, 
Lets in new Light through chinks that Time has made ; 
Stronger by Weakness wiser men become, 
As they draw near to their Eternal home.' 


"Halloo 1" I called out, "got back to the Clay Cottage 

"Only to escape from it, or prove," said he, "how its 
Inmate thrives upon its very Ruin and decay. What in- 
stances we have of the greatest Minds dwelling in the 
craziest and puniest Bodies! Look at Pascal now" — 

(29) "Whose Intellect — and Piety" — 

" — Made him, I have read, dismiss his Family from 

[ 162 ] 


his death Bed, lest their Love should divert his own from 
God. A strange twist of the Lining, surely, whether 
from within or without. But the profoundest Problems, 
wittiest Epigrams, or most Pious Sermons, are no fur- 
ther samples of the Man — Locke's 'Whole, Sound, 
Roundabout Man' — Heart as well as Head — Affections, 
Energies, Courage, Will, and Temper — than that famous 
Brick was of the whole House." 

"Oh, to be sure," said Euphranor, laughing, "I forgot, 
— one must, according to you, be Half Horse to be Whole 
Man." And, after a little silence on both sides, I smil- 
ing in my turn, said ; 

"Like some objects that will force themselves on one's 
eyes in a landscape for ever so long, this confounded Clay 
Cottage will not be got out of sight. The Poets are fond 
of it. It now occurs to me in that inverse relation with 
its Lodger, as might have been Pascal's case, for what 
I know. You remember that restless Soul, 

'That o'er-informed its tenement of clay, 
Fretting the puny Body to decay ?' " 

"Well," said Euphranor, "and so flies back to her 
proper home." 

"A great escape, doubtless," I said. "But if it has 
pleased God to lease her this same Clay Cottage for some 
Three-score Years (which she may well spare from Eter- 
nity) to work out her own and other's probation? Else 
she could doubtless break a window, and so fly out any 
day — with the chance of faring worse, however." 

[ 163 ] 


(80) "Well, perhaps," said he. 

"And then if your crazy Cottage won't fall of itself 
to pieces at once, but, after the manner of creaking Gates 
and Cottages, go creaking on, calling on the Tenant too 
(which is doubly hard) for all Repairs; and this when 
he wants to be about other more important Business? 
To think how much time a Divine Soul has to waste over 
some little bit of Cheese, perhaps, that, owing to Bad 
Drainage, will stick in the Stomach of the most Univer- 
sal Philanthropist!" 

Euphranor laughed. "What could be done for her?" 
And I answered, "Perhaps nothing better than, accord- 
ing to that old Prescription, the Physician's Curse, that 
^Prevention is better than Cure,' build up for her, from 
the very Ground, a spacious, airy, and wholesome Tene- 
ment, (becoming so Divine a Tenant,) of so strong foim- 
dation and masonry as to resist the wear and Tear of 
Elements without, and herself within. "Yes ; and a hand- 
some house withal — unless indeed you think the handsome 
Soul will fashion that about herself from within — ^like a 

"Ah," said Euphranor, "the most beautiful of all hu- 
man Souls, as I think, could scarce accomplish that." 

"Socrates?" said I. "No; but did not he profess that 
his Soul was naturally an ugly Soul to begin with? So, 
by the time he had beautified her within it was too late 
to re-front her Outside, which had case-hardened, I sup- 
pose. Or perhaps he was not Dandy enough to care 
about the outward cut of his Jerkin, so long as the Stuff 

[ 164 ] 



was good within. Well; he proved what his Soul was 
made of, not only by his Talk in the City, but his Deeds 
in the Field; by | his Death as well as by his Life. But, (si) 
to be sure, a Man comes down at once victoriously upon 
us, and without Deed or Dialectic, finds a royal road to 
all hearts — (except, as was said, of the Blind) — cloth'd 
with the beauty of the Divine Image in which Man was 
originally made." 

"Aye," said Euphranor, "but where refer to the Origi- 
nal for that?" 

"Why, where, but in the Greek Statues, of their Gods, 
if you please, but made in the Image of Men furthest re- 
moved from the Beast, and instinctively accepted by all 
Nations similarly organized as the Type in which the 
Deity reflected himself. And Montaigne, who is my 
Plato you know, partly because he tells me nearly all I 
now read of youfs — he somewhere quotes Aristotle say- 
ing, that we all of us owe a sort of Worship to the Beau- 
tiiul, as to the Gods themselves, whose Images they re- 
semble. And did not your Socrates thus worship Alci- 
biades, as well for his outward as for his inward Divin- 
ity? Who, by the way, might almost have set for the 
Original from which Aristotle drew this Portrait of 
Youth that we have been discussing, with all its splendid 
Virtues and Defects." 

"Ah," said Euphranor, "you should have heard what 
Skythrops said on that score in my Rooms, accidentally 
opening the Book on the very passage we have been 

[ 165 ] 



"Well, what did he say?" 

"Oh, you can fancy — that Youth, so far from *draw- 
ing clouds of Glory from God who is its Home,' draws 
clouds of Sulphur from — his home. He ran over Aris- 
(82) totle's Inventory as you call it; the old talk, he said, | of 
Honour, Glory, and so on — Pagan virtues — ^very well 
for a Pagan to record and a Papist to quote ; but he won- 
dered I could keep such a book in my rooms. And he 
specially commented on the o^piQ, which as you observed, 
waits on the very Virtues Aristotle admires." 

"Well," said I, "dead wood doubtless makes best 
posts, and that is what Skythrops wants. He, you see, 
would nip the Flower of Youth as if it were Flower of 
Brimstone: then Lycion would stifle it in St. Stephen's; 
and how many now-a-days ruin by forcing it to blow be- 
fore its time! Really, the Youth which Lycion says we 
all inherit, and you say has only to be sublimed by Cricket 
into a Chivalry which no Class of Men can afford to do 
without, seems to me in a bad way just now." 

"Our friend Charles Lamb says the children of the 
Poor never can be Young," said Euphranor. 

"What," said I, "the Poor of the Plough, Yorkshire, 
or other? Whose Service, Sir Edward Coke says, is 
aptly placed against Knight's Service, *for that the 
Ploughman maketh the best Soldier?' " 

"Aristotle's ^skziozo^ StJjxoc too," added Euphranor. 

^Sola relinquentes Pueris hceredia Rastros, 
Jugera pauca, Domum luteam, cultumque Supremi 
Numinis, et sanctos mores, studiumque Laboris.^ 
[ 166 ] 


"A Clay Cottage for the Clay Cottage of the Soul to 
dwell, and, it appears, best dwell, in," said I, laughing. 
"But Lamb was judging of the only Poor he saw — in 
London and great Cities — where, by the way, they now 
found Schools and Universities for the Rich." 

"No reflection on my own old Westminster, 1 1 hope," (33) 
said Euphranor, "nor I think against our other great old 

"Which yet," I said, "were accused of somewhat sacri- 
ficing the Living Man to the Dead languages, and of 
somewhat negligent Moral Discipline. However, the 
Rich are, we know, at least as hard to be saved as the 
Poor. Look at Lads lolling all day in Easy Chairs, 
stewing at Operas and in Feather-beds at Night, consum- 
ing and consumed by those Eternal Cigars which help to 
paralyze you all before Fifty! So as I never can get a 
case of strenuous old Gout now to deal with, for which I 
really have a Talent. Why, is not washy Claret almost 
superseding this Good Stuff," tapping my Glass, "which, 
with good old Port, used to be the Liquor of my College 

"Not with me and mine, I assure you," said Euphra- 
nor laughing, "though perhaps not so much from Love 
of Heroism as want of Pence. Well, 'Medio tutissimus' 
What if we Middle Classes have the best start after all?" 

''Your cried I, "We! Why, think how Jack and Tom 
are crammed, from their very Cradles, to work themselves 
into some Silk Gown or other, and become fine Gentle- 
men Themselves, and support innumerable poor Rela- 

[ 167 ] 

StTon euphranor, 

tions! A stout old Lady of the Old School, whose Grand- 
son was put into my hands, having lost his Senses in 
gaining a Medal, told me the other day, 'She thought, 
Doctor, the World grew Wiser and Weaker every day.' 
'No ; I think the Ploughboy has the best of it in these days 
after all — Oh Fortunati Nimium! — His Knightly Child- 
hood produced into extreme Old Age by Ignorance — of 
the World at least, into which he is never called to enter 
(34) at all; I still less into Parliament; learning Patience at 
Crow-keeping — Strength at the Plough — Temperance 
of Necessity — Hardihood by constant communion with 
rough Mother Nature, on whose Bosom he is almost 
cradled, and, from his very Birth, rolls, and roars, and 
grows as strong and happy, and, I think, as good — " 

"As hearing Skythrops tell of his predestined Deprav- 
ity in a stived-up room," guessed Euphranor. 

"Skythrops is not aware," rejoined I, "that it is such 
unfettered Animal Activity most completely lays the very 
Devil of Mischief he then complains of — as a few years 
afterward of a Worse." 

"Ah, I remember," said Euphranor, "how you used to 
rouse us children to Rebellion when a Maiden Aunt ran 
out to warn us in, or reduce us to order." 

"Or for fear your dresses should be dirtied; for we 
of your middle Class must always look Respectable you 
know. Then Noise and Shouting, without which Chil- 
dren can't play or work their Lungs, if out-doors, is Vul- 
gar, and in-doors, disturbs the serious and nervous Elders 
within. Then what shrieking from the window if a little 

[ 168 ] 



Dew lay on the Grass, or Summer Cloud overcame the 
Sky, to prevent you enjoying what Richter calls the most 
wholesome and luxurious of all Baths — a Thunder- 

"I suppose you would have a Child's Shoes made with 
holes in them on purpose to let in water, as Locke recom- 
mends," said Euphranor, laughing. 

"I wouldn't keep him within for having no whole 
Shoes, or whole Clothes — or any — only the Police would 

"But the Child catches cold." 

"Put him to bed and dose him." 

"But he dies." (35) 

"Then, as a sensible woman said, *is provided for.' 
Your own Plato, I think, says it is best the delicate should 
die at once; and the Spartans killed them." 

"Come, come. Doctor," said Euphranor. "However, 
we will suppose he survives, — what else?" 

"My Plough-boy? Oh yes — where did I leave him? 
In the Mud — or, as Poets might say, on Nature's fra- 
grant Bosom, shaded by her Leafy Tresses, under her 
Heaven-blue Eyes; learning at least her Granmiar in 
many Modes and Tenses — in free Communion with 
Flowers, Woods, Streams, and Stars — with whom, by the 
by, beginning Acquaintance in Love, he has sometimes 
out-stript the Book-Student in Learning." 

"Pray don't forget Dog and Hog," said Euphranor, 
"whose Heroic virtues we are all to share you know. 
And, above all. Boxer, the Cart-horse." 

[ 169 ] 


"Who — if well fed — sometimes reveals a very incon- 
venient innate Chivalry," said I, "when he would carry 
his Argo after the Hounds, when they and their Music 
break through the sere November Covert." 

"And it is wonderful," Euphranor observed, "what 
forbearance the nobler animals show with Children; how 
great Dogs suffer themselves to be pulled about by them ; 
and how Horses will carry Boys with a kind of proud 
docility, who would kick and plunge under a grown-up 
Rider. Perhaps they like Children's soft voices and light 
weights; for which very reason, I have heard, they are 
more manageable by Women than by Men." 

"Yes," said I, "beside a sense of Humour, perhaps, at 
being bestrid by Urchins; ay, and real Generosity too, 
that will not take advantage of weakness." 
(36) "But come, Doctor," said Euphranor, "your Plough- 
boy even must not be for ever in the Mud — nor his Affec- 
tions go wholly to the Dogs." 

"Well, he has a mother like the rest of us," said I, "from 
whose Bosom — unlike many of us — ^he draws the Milk 
of Life and Love; whose very Eyes, it was well said, 
beam the Idea of the Unseen Parent, if that be what you 
are driving at, into his Soul — ^better again than Mr., Mrs., 
or Miss Cornelia Skythrops." 

"Or any shrill Teacher from one of their Model 
Schools," said Euphranor. 

"Then," said I, "think what an Element of Religion 
the Clown has in his Ghosts, Witches, Hobgoblins, Jack- 
o-lanterns — " 

[ 170 ] 



"Doctor! Doctor!" 

"And Fairies! who still drop testers in the shoes of the 
diligent. It has never been merry in England, says some 
old Writer, since They left dancing on the Green-sward." 

"Well, better perhaps a Child believe, than be able to 
disprove, them." 

"Oh! I'd make a Ghost of him who tried! Set him- 
self up above Doctor Johnson indeed! — Sweep a Child's 
Mind clear of all this, and see if its dry Places don't get 
occupied with Devils seven times more tiresome at least. 
The Lord deliver me from a Child who can explain the 
Theory of the Pump ! Why, does not punning Plato call 
Wonder, Thaumas, the Father of Philosophy herself, 
in the person of Iris, Ambassador from the Gods to Men? 
So we quote about the Beginning of Wisdom — " 

"Come, Doctor, 'Fear' — of something very different 
from Ghost and Goblin." ♦ 

"Well, well," said I, laughing, "but at any rate you (37) 
must allow your Children their Fairies, Giants, Giant- 
killers, and Dragons, if not their Ghosts, if you expect 
Lycion to allow you King Arthur with his; Symbols, you 
say, of the Truth, if not the Truth itself; and sung even 
to my Plough-baby from old Border Ballad and Chap- 

"Part of what Plato may call the Music of Education^ 
I suppose," said Euphranor, smiling. 

"All, too, (here We have perhaps the advantage over 
my poor Clown,) illustrated with Pictures, (which are 
indeed part of the Music,) as also of the Good Horse, 

[ 171 ] 

Stion euphranor, 

and the Great Dog — {'Quorum Eooempla nisi moveant, 
nihil unquam movehitf) to be followed in due course by 
the Lion-hearted Heroes of what we call History; your 
Richards, Harrys, Elizabeths, Marlboroughs, Nelsons, — 
nay, your very Caesars, Alexanders — nay, even your 
Homeric Heroes, who have found their way into the le- 
gendary Broad-sheet along with Jack and his Bean- 

"All of whom we shall one day read, as well as hear, 
of," said Euphranor laughing; "for even your Plough- 
boy wouldn't care to be left behind his friend the Learned 
Pig at the Country Show in the knowledge of his 

"Well, I don't know what to say to that. Does not 
your Plato somewhere declare against any but Oral In- 
struction? I think he does. And if frightened at MS., 
what would he say to Print? However, if your Boy 
must learn his Alphabet, he may do so in the most Mu- 
sical manner of all. Don't you know?" 

"To Master John, the Chamber-maid 
A Horn-book gives of Ginger-bread ; 
And, that the Child may learn the better, 
As he can name he eats the Letter." 

(S8) I only wish my poor Clown had such facilities — for any- 
thing but Learning. However, take you care to give 
your Boy very little of his Alphabet daily. Ginger-bread 
or other; and that again not in Skythrops' stived-up 
room, which will go far to turn the stomach. It seems a 

[ 172 ] 


Truism till you come to apply it — Never tax a Child's — 
stomach — beyond its strength. As in our way of life (not 
in the Cottage, where the Child finds his own Legs) 
Mother and Nurse are as apt to make their Child walk 
before he can stand, as Skythrops to forbid the free play 
of his limbs when he should be doing little else than use 

"Ah," said Euphranor, "and beside being put to learn 
what one could not understand, how often wrongly taxed 
with Obstinacy for blundering what one was thought to 
have understood an hour or two before!" 

"Perhaps a Fall in the Barometer being to blame," said 
I. "Yes, so we misinterpret the far finer Barometer of 
the Child's mind, whose variations might yet be read by 
the wiser Eye in the Child's face. If good with Men, 
how much better with Children, Rich or Poor, to lean 
to Indulgence rather than Severity. And still truer with 
regard to Morals than Intellect. You at least get at 
Truth, if ugly Truth, by letting a child display his char- 
acter without fear; and evil humours that determine out- 
wardly, are far more likely to disperse than when re- 
pressed to rankle within. And, any how, the ugliest 
Truth is better than the handsomest Falsehood." 

"But if," said Euphranor, "our Hero really, and with 
malice prepense rebel against such harmonious Music as 
we have provided for him?" 

" 'The Birch Tree still grows in the depth of thy\val- (39) 
leys,' " said I, "and doubtless followed Orpheus with the 
rest. Then there is the Cane — an Exotic Luxury. My 

[ 173 ] 


Ploughman's Fist and home-bred Oak-stick supply all 
the Medicine needed for his Ginger-bread." 

"Somewhat too much for the Disease, I doubt," said 
Euphranor, "judging from what I have seen of their Dis- 
cipline. Come, Doctor, Rod and Stick are almost gone 
out of date." 

"Going," said I, "and, as of so many other branches 
of Education, the less of them the better. I may not go 
the whole old-fashioned length of 'Spare the Rod, Spoil 
the Child,' but I must say I am for an occasional dose; 
rare and rememberable ; a last resort of just Authority 
over Child, as over Dog and Horse, like whom he is not to 
reason, but to obey, when Obedience is manifestly in his 

"My Mother," said Euphranor musing, "who I sup- 
pose never struck one of us in her life, though we were 
no better than the rest — I remember her observing to a 
neighbour one day, that so far as she saw. Children gen- 
erally grew up with just contrary likings and ways of 
thinking from their Parents." 

"Yes," said I ; "y^^ know how one Generation is known 
to swerve away to the opposite extreme from its Prede- 
cessor, — Pious to Infidel — Poetical to Practical, and so 
on. — And our Children are our next Generation. Your 
Great Men, I believe, generally leave no Posterity at all, 
or turn out something quite other than themselves ; which 
touches at some other law of Nature. As for us common 
folks, we generally bring the reaction on ourselves, by 
dragging, or over-coaxing, the Horse to the water we our- 

[ 174 ] 



selves like to drink of. Your mother, I dare say — as 
good and wise a Woman as ever 1 1 knew — knew better (40) 
than this; she might insist, for instance, on your attend- 
ing Family Prayer — a short one — twice a day, and Sun- 
day Church once a week, but not tease your Conscience 
as to whether you really felt yourself a miserable sinner, 
loved the Missions — though by your High-Church — " 

"Not she! oh, never, never!" cried Euphranor, "and 
we now catch ourselves constantly saying how right she 
was in the few things we ever thought her mistaken about. 
God bless her!" 

He took a long pull at his glass, and was silent some 
little while — she had died a few years ago. — And then he 
said — "Well, come Doctor, How far have we brought 
your Hero? Out of the Women's Apartments where the 
old Persian would have him kept for the first Seven years 
of Life? and where he was, one might hope, pretty safe 
from the Stick?" 

"Yes, that,'' I said, "might advantageously be carried 
over to the account of the next Seven years. But, in the 
meanwhile, what had become of Lexilogus?" 

"Ah, what indeed?" But Euphranor thought nothing 
was to be done but wait quietly for him, at least till our 
Tipple was out. And as I had insensibly carried Sir Lan- 
celot through his First Septenniad, I should e'en carry 
him on through his Second. Which, I answered, was not 
my Business at all in any Walk of Life ; that, as Plough- 
boy, he never had any need of me, almost from his very 
Birth ; and that even in the Higher Circles I had only to 

[ 175 ] 

SitTon euphranor, 

consult with Mother and Nurse for those first Seven 
Years when, as you tell us — from Xenophon, I believe — 
he was in the Women's Apartments ; and then only about 
his Jerkin, — nothing to do with its Lining then or after." 
(41) "Then," replied Euphranor laughing, "I must give 
him up to Skythrops, who is now coming up the Garden." 

"In a white neck-cloth, and with a face of determined 
Reprobation! Yes, he has often condoled with me here- 
tofore on the poor Child's backwardness and depravity: 
and now his hour is come." 

"Well, and you give him up?" 

"Not I, but rather in the doorway fast oppose to him 
my portly personage — thin as he is he slips no further in 
— he cannot melt me with his Vinegar, direct the Torrent 
on me as he may." 

"Come, come," said Euphranor laughing at my mod- 
ern prose, "y^^ shall let him pass, and hear what he has 
got to say for himself." 

"Very well," said I, "into the parlour with him then, 
where the luncheon is happily spread, from which Sky- 
throps very largely partakes, proposing, between full 
mouthfuls and glaring spectacles, the scheme he has al- 
ready tried on several Victims; — some Twelve hours' 
a-day Indoor instruction, Greek, Latin, Mathematics, 
Modern Languages, Geography, and general Christian- 
ity, to perhaps Two hours' Recreation, — videlicet, an 
improving Walk with Skythrops himself and his decay- 
ing pupils. To all which I listen deferentially as you ad- 
vise, not fretting the current with a single Objection; on 

[ 176 ] 


the contrary, mixing it with a third glass of Sherry, 
which he duly imbibes with a protest against Wine being 
his habit ; and then, proposing to show him a late improve- 
ment in the place, I fairly escort him down the Garden 
again, and so out of the Premises." 

"Hilloa, Doctor," cried Euphranor, "here we have | got (42) 
your Plough-boy out of his Mud into a House with 
Sherry and Premisesr 

"The more the Pity," said I. "'Twas you did it. How- 
ever, there having got him, there keep him, if you please, 
so long as you keep Skythrops out." 

"He and his Scheme do not suit you?" 

"No," said I. "There is Magnetism in these things. 
Boj^s cannot learn of one who has nothing of the Boy in 
him. As for his scheme it only wanted reversing;" and 
I told him of a Table I had lately seen made by a Ger- 
man Physiologist, who, proposing to begin serious appli- 
cation at Seven years old (and not a whit earlier) with 
but One hour's in-door study, keeps adding on an Hour 
every Year, so as, by Fourteen years old, the Boy studies 
Eight hours of the Twenty-four. 

"Distinctions," Euphranor remarked, "which, ever so 
good, could never be made in Schools." 

"That were made, however, in one School," I replied, 
"and that a German. Not only the hours of Exertion, 
whether bodily or mental, proportioned to the ages of the 
pupils, but even the hours of Sleep — no Lesson lasting 
longer than an Hour — and wholesome changes of Sub- 
ject, Master, and School-rooms, to refresh the Boy's 

[ 177 ] 


mind. Only to glance at Nature's own out-o'-door Acad- 
emy, where, at any rate, so much of herself is to be 

"Ah," said Euphranor, "I remember envying those 
who had time and money to follow Sedgwick in his Geo- 
logical Hunt across country — amounted on Hacks and 
Screws of all sorts and sizes." 

"Why, even your Greeks," I said, "taught abstract 
Philosophy in the Porch, and walking abroad; though, 
(43) to be sure, in a better climate than our's; and, as you | say, 
how much better the Philosophy of Nature, which, since 
Bacon's time, has continued to grow and bear fruit, while 
Metaphysic and Moral remain pretty much where they 
were 2000 years ago. Come! what say you now to Sir 
Lancelot beginning a Course of Anatomy with me?" — 

"My dear Doctor!— At Eight!" 

"Oh, out of doors, of course — say, in the straw-yard — 
on a Dead Horse to begin with. As to witnessing any 
Pig in the Parish killed and cut up, of course all Boys 
with a Spark of healthy Destructiveness in them will 
flock to that of Themselves." 

"One need not wonder," said he, "at the Brutes so 
many of them grow into." 

"You mean," said I, "the many Men of Feeling who 
turn away from the sight of Blood just when wanted to 
stop it?" 

"Come, come. Doctor, I would rather have him into 
the School-room at once — and now we have made a Par- 
lour-boarder and got him well into English, he shall learn 

[ 178 ] 


that very Greek and Latin, which, say what you will, I 
know you venerate in your heart." 

"Yes," said I, "for the grand Languages themselves, 
and for some dozen Master-works untranslatable into any 
other. Otherwise I am tempted to agree with the Boy in 
one of Crabbe's Stories — I forget which — 

'Heav'ns ! if a language once be fairly dead, 
*Let it be buried, not preserv'd and read. 
'If any good these crabbed books contain, 
'Translate them well, and let them so remain ; 
'To one huge vault convey the useless store, 
'Then lose the key, and never find it more.' " 

"Well," said Euphranor laughing, "But to get the | Boy (44) 
into Latin and Greek, or into any other Language but 
his own, he must learn Grammar; — itself about as hard 
an Abstraction as may be. I am sure I now wonder at 
the jargon I had to learn and repeat when I was a Boy, 
and only now in happy hour light upon the Reason of the 
rules I then mechanically repeated." 

"True," said I, "but you were then only expected, I 
hope, mechanically to use them; by some formal termina- 
tions in us, a, um, do, das, dat, and such like, learning 
to distinguish the different parts of Speech, and by other 
empirical Rules their connexion, or Syntax; till able to 
put the scattered words together, and so ford through a 
Sentence. And the Repetition by heart of those rules 
fixed them in your mind, and was a fair exercise of Mem- 
ory and Attention. I hate your modern Philosophical 

[ 179 ] 



Grammars, which deaden the Boy's faculties to the how, 
while hammering at the why, 'Floreat Etona!' with her 
old Lily, and Propria quce marihus. Why, you might as 
well keep a Boy starving till he had learned the Theory 
of Digestion." 

"Which you were for teaching him however, with your 
dead Horse," said Euphranor laughing. "Well, come, 
however he may fare with the dead Horse, I suppose he 
is coming on all this while with the Living." 

"No doubt," said I, "the Horse he was taken to look 
at, feed, and be held on, he now bestrides alone — a Pony 
at any rate — trots, gallops, gets a peep at the Hounds 
throwing off; in due time a Run with them — fleshes his 
maiden courage at a Leap — " 

"Ah," said Euphranor, "we poorer fellows, as I said, 
are cut out of this." 

"Well, there are the Ditches and Rivers for you to fall 

(45) into, and be drowned in, whether Leaping, Skat-|ing, 

Swimming, or Boating; nay, in this dear Old England 

of ours, the Sea herself ready to embrace and strangle 

the whole Youth of Britain in her arms." 

"Ah, there again," said Euphranor — "if Mamma was 
frightened at her boy dabbling in the Dew, what will she 
say now he is brought home half drowned, or his Arm 
broken by a fall from his Pony?" 

"I must console her as before," said I — 

" 'If he fall in, Good night! 
Send Danger from the East unto the West, 
So Honour cross it from the North to South.' 
[ 180 ] 


" 'Better a Broken arm than the Fear of one,' says 
Richter; Better die well ever so Young, than grow up a 
Valetudinary and Poltroon. One can only grow Strong 
in Body and Soul by such exercises as carry Danger 
along with them; and Strong in Body and Soul our 
Knight must be; must he not?" 

"Nay, but," said Euphranor, "Z have not yet agreed 
that the Soul's strength depends on the Body's; nor 
Mamma perhaps that the Body can only be made strong 
by dangerous Exercises." 

"Well — by Strong Exercises, however." 


"And is not all Strong Exercise more or less Danger- 
ous? In Digging, Rolling, or even Running over. Mam- 
ma's Garden, we may sprain, strain, and rupture, if we 
do not break, limbs. There is no end of finding dangers 
if you look for them. Men have died of grape-stones 
sticking in the throat — are we never to eat unpicked 
grapes again? And as for strength of Soul — Courage, 
for instance, — that includes so much beside — |How is this, (46) 
if not born in the Man, to be attained, and if innate, how 
mamtained, but in the Demand for it; so repeated upon 
the yet plastic Mind of Youth as, if not an Instinct, to 
become a Habit of the Soul, and act with the Force and 
promptitude of Instinct?" 

"Mamma may say, in good Example, great Object, 
Religious Principle, and so on," said Euphranor. 

"And there may be found the long-concocted Deter- 
mination, that, after all the struggles of natural Fear, 
may nerve a man to be a Cranmer at last. But while it 

[ 181 ] 


succeeds in one, it fails in a thousand. For here, as with 
Will and Decision also, comes the ancient diiFerence 
between Resolving and Doing; which latter is what we 
want. Nay, you know, the habit of Resolving without 
Acting (as we necessarily do in Books and in the Closet) 
is worse for us than never resolving at all, inasmuch 
as it gradually snaps the natural connexion between 
Thought and Deed, and the Man's last state is worse than 
his first." 

"Ah," said Euphranor, "you stole that from the New- 
man I lent you. Doctor; how true and good it is!" 

"Very true and very good," answered I, "and I dare 
say stolen from him; though I had long before been fa- 
miliar with a Proverb, as old as the Fathers for anything 
I know, as to the result of Thought's lying a-bed." 

Euphranor laughed, and said my old "Native Hue of 
Resolution" was a cleanlier Comparison. 

"And then," said I, "if this Closet-Courage could cer- 
tainly brace us up for any long foreseen Emergency,* 
would it help us at the sudden pinches of Accident for 
(47) which our Knight must assuredly be prepared; — 1 1 mean, 
when there is no time to make up our Minds. But the 
Mind must act at once, ready made." 

"What is called Presence of Mind,'" said Euphranor. 

"A very wonderful thing," said I; "as, for instance, 
such a sudden Resolution as the mind is put upon, 
whereby, should his Horse chance to fall and roll over. 
Full Cry, the Rider as instantly between Saddle and 

* For "Emergency" read "accident." 

[ 182 ] 



ground, braces himself up to pitch, not a flaccid * heap 
of Flesh only fit to squash, but Nerve-compact, and out of 
his horse's reach — a Presence of Mind which Fielding 
tells us that brave old Parson Adams had, when even 
most Absent-minded — " 

"I have often thought," said Euphranor, "what a won- 
derful act of the Soul it is in Cricket, where the Batter has 
to make up his mind whether to hit, tip, or block, all in 
the twinkling of an eye, between the Ball's being deliv- 
ered from the Bowler's hand, and its arrival at his own 
Wicket. How much to be 'Willed, Done, and Per- 
formed,' in that moment of time!" 

"Yes," said I, "and the Boxer, whose mind is to decide, 
and his fists to follow his mind so instantly, as to put in a 
blow at the very moment of guarding one oiF." 

" 'Gladiatorem in Arena caper e Consilium,' " said Eu- 
phranor. "But granting your Heroic Games do provoke 
those Powers of the Soul — by the bye, why wouldn't Bat- 
tledore and Shuttlecock do, for Decision at least?" t 

"Not where Danger is concerned, however," said I. 

"Well, even the Gladiator's Arena skill will hardly 
help on horseback; and would any, or all, of these noble 
Arts avail us in the Emergencies X of actual mo-|dern (48) 
Life when the Gladiator may be looked on as gone, the 
Boxer going, and even the Fox almost stole away for 

* For "flaccid" read "helpless.** 

t Dele "for Decision at least." 

X For "Emergencies" read "demands." 

[ 183 ] 



"So far help," said I, "that the Soul having learned to 
abide unshaken in one (especially if a Greater) Trial will 
be better able so to face another, and at least bring to 
bear all the resources she has. Like Logic and Mathe- 
matics, you know, whose particular Problems do not spe- 
cially resolve any other, but dispose us to a solution of 
all — especially all minor Dilemmas — though perhaps not 
so convincingly as the Fist. And what is any modem 
Life you like, but all a Battle against the Blows and Buf- 
fets of Fortune, whose lightest Taps will count as Blows 
if we be not armed against her hardest, and which if Man, 
unprovided with Woman's natural passive Submission, 
did not actively Resist, he was sure to make himself and 
all about him wretched. Or, if you like that better, what 
but a Chase after something more fugitive, and when 
found, no sweeter than a Fox? where the Heart, if not 
the Neck, was in danger of Breaking? Why, Decision 
was necessary in taking a Lodging as a Leap, and, if 
tampered with, more difficult and distressing: Ztidecision 
of all kinds being, as Bacon says, really a Decision, of 
such a kind as, after all distractions, generally ends in 
deciding on a course which unites the Inconveniencies of 
all Alternatives. So the weak Will spills itself in con- 
tradictory Wishes; — all these irritating the Owners with 
Themselves and all around them. Depend upon it," said 
I, "your Carpet-Knight will have his Battles on the Car- 
pet — with Wife, Children, Friends, and Servants, Des- 
(49) tiny and Himself. | Besides," I went on laughing, "the 
Noble Arts you laugh at are not so obsolete in even the 

[ 184 ] 


pipingest days of Peace. Accidents will still happen in 
the best-regulated families. The House will take fire, 
the Coach will break down, the Boat will upset ; — is there 
no gentleman who can swim, to save himself and others; 
no one do more to save the Maid snoring in the garret, 
than merely repeating, 'How very awful!' Some one is 
taken ill at midnight; John is drunk in bed; Is there no 
Gentleman can saddle Dobbin — much less get a Collar 
over his Head, or the Crupper over his tail, without such 
awkwardness as brings on his Abdomen the kick he fears, 
and spoils him for the journey?" 

Euphranor laughed, and I went on, " *I tell you, 
my Lord Fool, out of this Nettle Danger, we pluck this 
Flower Safety' Why, the most timid Valetudinary is 
ordered a gentle Ride; the quietest Cob is bought; but 
only he trots safely who has galloped hard ; no one so sure 
to come down in the road as your heavy Sack of a Sitter, 
with no seat in his saddle, nor hand on his bridle ; and no 
one so sure to break his nose when down he does come. 
Besides," I continued, "what after all is the amount of 
danger in all the Hunting, Wrestling, Boating, &c., that 
Boys go through? Half a dozen are drowned, half a 
dozen shot for rabbits by their friends, half a dozen get 
broken arms or collar-bones in the course of the year; 
and for this little toll paid to Death and disaster, how 
large a proportion of the Gentry of this Country are 
brought up manfully fitted for War; — such *Manly 
Sports being,' Fuller says, *the Grammar of Military 
Performance' — and I|say for Peace also. If I have to (so) 

[ 185 ] 

StTon euphranor, 

do with Sir Lancelot, he shall take his chance, to grow 
up a Man fit to live, or honourably to die in striving 
toward it. And so I leave him at the end of his Second 

"Close upon the age of those young Argonauts," said 
Euphranor, "upon whose lips the Down as yet was not." 

"Yes," said I; "push him on three or four years, and 
you may dub him Knight according to ancient usage, I 

"Fitted in Body and Mind to his calling?" 

"Well, Euphranor, I cannot tell: my mind misgives 
me when about to send my Pupil into the Lists, whether 
Nature originally endowed him well enough, and whether 
I have helped to make the best of Nature's bounty. My 
Idea of Knighthood may fall very far short of yours and 

"Well, what sort of a fellow do you turn out, at any 

"At Sixteen or Seventeen, say? Why, Euphranor, 
with how much of his first Septenniad about him! And 
why not? Being yet, according to your computation, a 
Child for some twenty years to come ! — ^his Locks as thick, 
if not so long — Locks never to fall, but some Fifty years 
hence to begin May-whitening over a Green old Age ; his 
Eye as full, clear, and direct, but settling toward a more 
constant Object; his Nose at least with something of a 
turn to Romanism: still, of course, not a furrow on face 
or brow, over which the blood mantles as before, only 
higher and deeper at the mention of what is Noble or 

[ 186 ] 


Shameful — Ah, Euphranor, would he but bring me back 
this face of his [Second Septenniad at the expiration of (5i) 
his Third! — His Body striking out into manly propor- 
tion not yet filled up, — Flesh giving way to Fibre and 
Muscle, — ^his Voice changed from Childish Treble to the 
Ringdove Register of Youth, 'sweet and tuneable,' as 
were those of the Family of Margaret Newcastle; she 
does not mean, she says, (nor do I,) Singing Voices; but 
*no husking or wharling in the Throat' — that is her word ; 
— ringing out upon occasion clear and cheery as Chanti- 
cleer, and telling always of a roomy Chest, and in some 
measure, I think, of a candid Soul. However that may 
be," continued I, seeing Euphranor shake his head at me 
with a smile — "Candid of Soul I trust he is; for I have 
ever sought his Confidence and never used it against him- 
self ; never arraigned him for the honest out-break of 
Youthful Spirit; nor exacted Sympathy when it was out 
of the nature of Youth to Sympathize. Inflamed to the 
full with Aristotle's Wine of Life, he is eager as before — 
after the Fox perhaps instead of the Hoop; Fearless, 
Generous, Giving and Forgiving, — if still passionate, yet 
less easily moved, and by deeper causes; if as stubborn 
against Force, yet helpless against Helplessness and an 
appeal to those Affections and Remembrances now 
lodged in a longer Past, and that deeper Heart whose 
shadowiest recesses also the Mystery of Woman is begin- 
ning to haunt. Ambitious perhaps, but of Honour in 
Action rather than Talk, in Riding than in Reading; yet 
perhaps thinking more of what he reads than he cares to 

[ 187 ] 

eSon euphranor, 

tell — somewhat awkwardly disposed perhaps to Dancing 
and other Drawing-room Accomplishments, which even 
(52) now he shirks to go Earth-stopping with | Tom and Jack 
who used to set him upon Topsail's back in days gone by. 
Apt, I am afraid, to yawn under Lulham's discourse; 
yet not ceasing to repeat Morning and Evening the short 
Prayer he learned at his Mother's knee — *Make me a 
good Boy!' and still less to go to Rest without her Bless- 
ing. In short, I should be content to find him with the 
Faults as well as with the Virtues of a vigorous Constitu- 
tion of Mind and Body, which Time and good Object 
may direct into a Channel that will find room and outlet 
for all." 

"Rather a Tom Jones tendency,* I doubt," observed 
Euphranor, as I ceased speaking. 

"Better than a Blifil, any how," retorted I. " The dry 
Rogue who sets up for Judgment being incorrigible,' 
says virtuous Berkeley, whereas 'the Errors of the lively 
Rake, lying in his Passions, may be cured.' But I will 
not admit even Fielding's — and still less my — Tom to be 
a Rake ; though I admit I must have him launch into Life 
with a Vigour that might run into an Extreme of Evil 
as well as Good. Only Vigour he must have, as the one 
needful thing: subject like all best things to worst Cor- 
ruptions ; vigour of Body and Soul, whether implicate or 
individual; Strength itself, even of Evil, being a kind of 
Virtue, which Time, if not good Counsel, is sure to mod- 
erate ; whereas Weakness is the one radical and Incurable 

* For "tendency" read "sort of Fellow." 

[ 188 ] 


Evil, increasing with Every Year of Life. — Which fine 
sentence, or to that effect, you will find somewhere in the 
Newman you lent me, and whose Authority I know you 
cannot doubt." 

"And all this without regard to a Lad's Profession or 
natural Genius?" 

I asked him "if it would not do very well at least for (53) 
the Profession of Shooting Partridges or Hunting the 
Fox; nay, even serving as High Sheriff?" 

"He could not deny that," laughing. 

"Or if obliged, poor fellow, — a Younger son perhaps, 
— to do something to earn him Bread — or Claret — for 
his Old Age, whether not fairly qualified to be knocked 
on the Head as Soldier or Sailor?" 

"Nor that." 

"As for the Church, (which is your other Gentlemanly 
Profession,) you know your Bishop can consecrate Tom 
or Blifil equally by that Imposition — " 

"Doctor, Doctor," broke in Euphranor, "you have 
been talking very well, don't spoil it by one of your 

"Well, well," said I,— "Oh, but there is still the 

"For which I am sure he needs all the Chivalry you 
can ingraft upon him," said Euphranor. 

"And in which I would rather trust myself with Tom 
than Blifil," added I, "Lawyer as the latter is in grain. 
Well, what else? Surgery? But that is an Ungentle- 
manly Profession, into which you would not let me ini- 

[ 189 ] 


tiate him; though it is said to need 'the Lion's Heart' as 
much as another." 

"But also the Lady's Hand," replied he, smiling. 

"Not in drawing one of the Molares, I assure you. 
However, thus far I do not seem to have indisposed him 
for the Professions his Rank usually opens to him; per- 
haps even, if he have what you call a Genius that way, 
not to some of those Ologies we thought he might pick 
(54) up a liking for in the Mud, and even light] upon some 
discovery which the more systematic Explorer missed; as 
Pan a-hunting found out Ceres, whom the more seriously- 
searching Gods could not." 


"Or even a turn for searching into Digby and Plato 
for qualities he already unconsciously possesses." 

Euphranor, on whose earnest face no Sign of Self -con- 
sciousness appeared, sat meditating a-while by himself as 
I drew the last draught from my Tumbler: and then ob- 
served that, if my Notions were right, the Body needed 
to be made as much a matter of Discipline as the Brain, 
whether at Home or Abroad; a matter which the Great 
Schools at least (which Arnold thought the only good 
ones) ignored, taking for granted Boys would only give 
up too much time that way without any Encouragement. 
A mistake, I thought, in these days, when, beside School- 
work, there were so many sedentary Muses soliciting the 
Hours allotted to Active Recreation. A Mistake also, 
looking to Holiday Activity as a due Compensation for 
School Study; Mind and Body needing ever to be kept 

[ 190 ] 



in proportionate Action — certainly not to Mind's over- 
exertion, who had so many years of Growth before her, 
unless, by premature Energy, she shook the Foundations 
of that House of hers, then so rapidly completing for 
better or worse. The Greeks we knew made Gymnastic 
a part of their Discipline ; so do the modern Germans ; so, 
I thought, might and should our Schools; the larger the 
better, as affording all the more efficient means not only 
for Individual but Collective Gymnastic, — Military 
Drills, Exercises, Watches, expressly enjoined by Mil- 
ton, I remembered, beside the Good they did the Body, 
land as Preparation for possible War, carrying a Sense (55) 
of Order, Duty, Submission, mutual Dependence, and 
wholesome Companionship into the Soul. Even as to 
rarer Appliances, which we think the Rich only can have 
or want, and those mainly at Home; Fellenberg had them 
in his so much poorer Establishments than our Harrows 
and Etons. Not only the Swimming-Bath, which he 
found one best remedy for Indolence or Inertness of 
Mind as well as Body — (our Seas and Rivers supply us 
with that of the best Water) — but also his Riding-School 
for Poor as well as Rich; beside Gardens and Plough- 
ing-fields for Rich as well as Poor, — "Where, as I was 
saying before," said Euphranor, "our young Tailor might 
have a turn at the Bat, and our young Lord at the 
Plough, now and then." 

"And all the better, if the young Lord were put to 
earn his Bread there for a week or so every now and then," 
said I, "affording him light as to the condition of the 

[ 191 ] 



Poor, ^unquenchable by logic and statistics,' Carlyle says, 
'when he comes, as Duke of Logwood, to legislate in Par- 
liament.' " 

"To hear you talk. Doctor, one might suppose you 
would send your son to Germany for his Schooling; but 
I know your inveterate prejudice for an Englishman 
being brought up in England, imbibing English air and 
English associations into his very nature from the very 

"Yes," said I, "I am for growing up by the Thames 
under Windsor Castle, not by the Rhine under Heidel- 

"Not forgetting glorious Westminster Abbey!" cried 
he with exultation. 
(56) "No," said I, "we will not transplant our Youth to 
Fellenberg,* but have a slip of himt over here if needful. 
For even that I suggest with hesitation, and under Awe 
of the old Genius of those Nobler Schools of ours, which, 
in blunder and out of blunder, perhaps from having 
better Stuff to work upon, had somehow managed to 
send abroad a better article of Manhood than Ger- 
many, who indeed somewhat overlaid the Free Spirit 
of her Youth by Discipline of many Kinds. J But 
for our little Schools — (I don't speak of such hideous 
Spectres as Dotheboys, now laid, I trust, for ever, by a 
more potent Wand than mine, ) — you scarcely know, my 

* For "Fellenberg" read "Germany." 

f For "him" read "it." 

i For "a better article" etc., read "as good an Article as Europe had 

to show." 

[ 192 ] 



dear Euphranor, what sordid, pusillanimous, Soul-and- 
Body-stunting things the most of these are, which, if 
English Good Sense should not explode just before it is 
too late, (as English Good Sense has somehow a knack 
of doing,) would almost extirpate half the Middle (and 
that how large a Class!) of English Chivalry. Nor are 
the poor Masters only to blame. The Fathers who send 
are quite as base and ignorant as the Masters who re- 
ceive, as anxious to get their full pennyworth as the others 
to give it. Oh your Suburban Minerva Academies, and 
Classical and Commercial Seminaries, where young Gen- 
tlemen are boarded, taught, and indeed Done for, for 
some twenty or thirty Pounds a year: their 'Moral and 
Intellectual Culture carefully attended to'; the 'strictest 
Attention' paid to what is called 'their Health' — some 
Mrs. Apollo perhaps superintending the Pupils' Stom- 
achs as her Husband their Souls. Some Ten hours a day 
of Indoor Desk-work, of a kind too most indigestible by 
the Young; the little Play-time cut up into inter- jcalary (57) 
shreds, precluding any Generous invigorating Game, 
even if the few square yards of heartless gravel and the 
strict Edict against whatever ever so remotely threatens 
the Boy's limbs or the Master's windows, should permit; 
perhaps, a so-called Gymnastic Gallows in the centre, up 
which you see creatures with the Bodies of Babies and 
the faces of Old Men climbing and turning over with a 
feeble squeak of Emulation. No Rowing, no Sailing, 
no Sliding even, no stolen Ride on Horse, Donkey, or 
Coach-Box, no wild Chase over the Meadows, Hedge, 

[ 193 ] 


and Ditch, animated by the pursuit of some infuriate and 
over-blown Gamekeeper; but a walk, Two and Two, 
along the road, dogged by the sallow, spectacled, and still- 
reading Usher. Sunday, that comes a day of Rest to 
all beside, revisiting these poor things only with a worse 
increase of hypocritical restriction of the Spirits and un- 
natural tension of the Mind ; having to endure, and after- 
wards record, two long Sermons — -perhaps to indite a 
short one — " 

"Of course no Fighting," said Euphranor, "and, I sup- 
pose, no Flogging neither." 

"And yet," said I, "the clenched Fist so soon resolved 
into the Open hand, when once the question of Might and 
Right was settled — how much better than the perpetual 
canker of a grudge never suffered to explode! — and 
Flogging had its humour too — soon passed away, shame 
and smart, from fore and aft — how much better than the 
Heart-pining, Body-contracting Confinements and Repe- 
titions which double the already overloaded task-work, 
and revenge a temporary fault with lasting injury." 
(58) "You get excited about it. Doctor," said Euphranor 
as I paused almost for Breath. 

"Oh, it succeeds, it succeeds," I went on. "The little 
Fellow who came with but little Colour in his Cheek and 
troublesome Activity in his Blood, soon loses what he 
had; contracts instead of expanding, — dwindles instead 
of Growing, — and becomes a Credit to the School, and a 
blessing to his parents. Only one of Nature's *best 
earthly mould,' with the spirit of her Chivalry strong in 

[ 194 ] 



his blood, it is who kicks over the traces, throws the whole 
Very eligible Establishment' into disorder, and finally 
rouses the dastard Skythrops into a meagre attitude of 
Expulsion, however unwilling to part with any Victim 
who pays. But *Go he must — nothing can be done with 
him — ' He goes : is sent to Sea — rolls and tosses over the 
World — returns a good-humoured, active, lively, sun- 
burnt fellow, with tobacco and cheroots for his old Dad; 
silks for Mother and Sisters; a parrot for old aunt Deb- 
orah; a bamboo which he says he would give old Sky- 
throps but for fear of his licking the boys with it. So 
he travels, and returns, and travels again; has at last 
scraped a little money together ; marries a good-humoured 
girl who has even less world's wealth than himself; nay, 
I believe had married her long before he was half as rich 
as he is; — has a large family of children healthy as him- 
self — the more the merrier, he says; and so whistles 
through and over the ups and downs of life; his healthy, 
courageous Good-humour, and Activity of soul, radiat- 
ing a more happy Atmosphere throughout a little circle, 
and through that, imperceptibly, to the whole World, 
than shop-loads of Poems, Sermons, and Essays, | by dys- (59) 
peptic Divines, sickly Poets, and universal Philanthro- 
pists, whose fine feelings and bad stomachs generally 
make them Tyrants in their own families, and whose 
Books go to draw others into a like unhappy condition 
with themselves." 

"And the Good boy," said Euphranor, — "what be- 
comes of him?" 

[ 195 ] 



"I have no heart to follow him," said I. "Poor fel- 
low! the last I heard of him was, that after a most unim- 
peachable progress through School and College, he was 
either dying at some German Bath covered with Blotches 
and Boils; or, still worse, surviving — a highly Respect- 
able, and indeed Religious, Attorney in large practice." 

"Do you remember," said Euphranor, "that fine pas- 
sage in the Clouds — little as I love Aristophanes, by the 
bye — between the Aiitaioc and "ASixo^ A6yoc ?" 

I had forgotten, I said, my little Latin and less Greek: 
and he declared I must however read this Scene over again 
with him. "It is, you see. Old Athens pleading against 
Young; whom after denouncing, for relinquishing the 
hardy Discipline and simple severe exercises that reared 
the Mapa9a)V0jJLdpoc "AvSpa(;, for the Warm Bath, the 
intricate, lascivious Dance, and the Law Court; he sud- 
denly turns to the Young Man who stands hesitating 
between them, and in those Verses, musical as the whisper 
of the Trees they tell of — 

"Come, my good fellow," said I, "you must interpret." 
And Euphranor, with a little sly smile, and looking down, 
recited — 

"O listen to me, and so shall you be stout-hearted and fresh as a 
Daisy : 
Not ready to chatter on every matter, nor bent over Books till 
you're hazy: 

[ 196 ] 


No Splitter of straws, no dab at the Laws, making Black seem 

White so cunning; 
But wandering down out o' the town, and over the green Meadow 

running : 
Ride, wrestle, and play with your fellows so gay, all so many 

Birds of a feather. 
All breathing of Youth, Good-humour, and Truth, in the time of 

the jolly Spring weather. 
In the jolly Spring time, when the Poplar and Lime dishevel their 

tresses together." 

"Well, but go on," said I, when he stopped, "I am 
sure there is something more of it, now you recall the pas- 
sage to me — about broad Shoulders and little — " 

"But this was all he had cared to remember," he said. 

I then asked him who was the Translator; to which he 
replied, it was more a Paraphrase than a Translation, 
and I might criticise as I liked. To which I had not much 
to object, I said — perhaps the Trees "disheveling their 
tresses" was a little Cockney, which he agreed it was, be- 
side missing that very Whisper, which in Sound and 
Sense is most delightful of all, and might so easily have 
been retained. And he then observed how the degrada- 
tion Aristophanes satirized in the Athenian youth went 
on and on, so that, when Rome came to help Greece 
against Philip of Macedon, the Athenians, Livy says, 
could contribute little to the common cause but Dec- 
lamation and Despatches — *quibus solum valent,' he 

"Ay," said I, "and to think that when Livy was | so (ei) 

[ 197 ] 


writing of Athens, his own Rome was just beginning to 
go down-hill in the same way and for the same causes: 

Nescit equo rudis 
Hserere ingenuus puer, 
Venarique timet, ludere doctior 
Graeco seu jubeas trocho, 
Seu malis vetita legibus alea: 

how unlike those early times, when Heroic Father begot 
and bred Heroic Son; Generation following Generation 
through ages of national glory, crowned with Laurel and 
with Oak; under a system of Education, the same Livy 
says, handed down, as it were an Art, from the very foun- 
dation of Rome, and filling her Senate with Generals, 
each equal, he declares, to Alexander. — But come, my 
dear fellow," said I, jumping up, "here have I been dis- 
coursing away like a little Socrates, while the day is pass- 
ing over our heads. We have forgotten poor Lexilogus, 
who (I should not wonder) may have stolen away to 

Euphranor, who yet seemed to linger with the subject, 
nevertheless rose up. On looking at my watch I saw we 
could not take anything like the Walk we had proposed 
and be at home by their College dinner; so as it was I 
who had wasted the day, I would stand the expense, I 
said, of Chops and Ale at the Inn: after which we could 
all return at our ease to Cambridge in the Evening. As 
we were leaving the Bowling-green, I called up to Ly- 
cion, who thereupon appeared at the Billiard-room win- 

[ 198 ] 


dow with his coat off, revealing a rather gorgeous waist- 
coat, and asked him if he had nearly finished his Game? 
In reply, he | asked us if we had finished our Ogres and (62) 
Giants? Whom, on the contrary, I said, we were now 
running away from that we might live to fight another 
day — would he come with us into the Fields for a walk? 
or, if he meant to go on playing Billiards, would he dine 
with us on our return? "He could not walk with us, cer- 
tainly," he said; and when I spoke of dinner again, 
seemed rather to hesitate; but at last said, "Very well;" 
and, nodding to us, retired with his cue and waistcoat 
back into the room. 

Then Euphranor and I, leaving the necessary orders 
within, sallied out towards the Chui^ch, observing, as we 
went along, how much pains Lycion took to spoil the 
good that nature had given him. For, at Harrow, he was 
(as Euphranor understood) a good-humoured, lively, 
and rather gallant boy. But dining with Ambassadors, 
and the Clubs, and Almack's was spoiling him. And 
Euphranor spoke of the levity and indifference, now so 
fashionable, — so unnatural to Youth, — especially un- 
graceful, he thought, (and so did I,) in Women. And he 
observed, I remember, that even if there were no other 
ill effects of London dissipation on them, yet the simply 
being present in so many Crowds was a sort of prostitu- 
tion, especially of the Eye; and noticed the hackneyed 
look which even young and delicate Women soon ac- 
quired. In all of which we judged, both of us, rather 
from what we heard, and read, and saw of fine people 

[ 199 ] 


in their carriages, than from any personal knowledge; for 
neither of us were much in Great company. We were 
talking thus, when, on coming close to Chesterton Church, 
we saw Lexilogus passing through a turnstile on his way 
(63) towards us. In half a minute we had | met; and he ex- 
plained to us why he was so late : delayed by one of Aunt 
Martha's fits of Asthma; and he did not like to leave the 
house till it was over. She had now fallen into a quiet 

After shortly expressing our sympathy, we again 
turned back with him ; and I told him how, after all, Eu- 
phranor and I had played no Billiards, but had been 
arguing all the time about Digby and his Books. 

Lexilogus smiled, but made no remark, being naturally 
slow of Speech, and perhaps of Thought also. But the 
day was delightful, and we walked briskly along the 
road, conversing on many topics, till a little further on 
we got into the Fields. These were now in their Prime, 
(and that of the Year, Crabbe used to say, fell with the 
Mowing, ) crop-thick of Grass full charged * with Daisy, 
Clover, and Buttercup; and, as we went along, Euphra- 
nor quoted, 

"Embroidered was he as it were a Mede, 
All full of fresh Flowris, both white and rede," 

and instantly added, "What a lovely t picture was that, 
by the way, of a young Knight!" 

I agreed, and asked Lexilogus did he not think so 

* Dele "of Grass full charged.'* 
t Dele "lovely." 

[ 200 ] 


too? but he had never read Chaucer: so I begged Eu- 
phranor to repeat it to us; which he did, with an occa- 
sional pause in his Memory, and jog from mine, 

"With him there was his Sonn, a yonge Squire, 
A Lover, and a lusty Bachelire, 
With Lockis curie, as they were leid in press ; 
Of Twenty yere of age he was, I ghesse; 
Of his Stature he was of evin length, 
Wonderly deliver, and of grete Strength; 
And he had ben sometime in Chevauchie 
In Flandris, in Artois, and Picardie, 

And born him wel, as of so Htil space, (64) 

In hope to standin in his Lady's grace. 
Embroidered was he as it were a Mede, 
AU full of fresh Flowris, both white and rede ; 
Singing he was or floyting all the day ; 
He was as fresh as is the month of May : 
Short was his Goun with slevis long and wide. 
Well couth he set an Hors, and fair yride; 
And Songis he couth make, and weel endyte. 
Just, and eke daunce, and well portraye and write. 
So bote he lovid that by nighter tale 
He slept no more than doth the Nightingale. 
Curteys he was, lowly, and servisable. 
And karft before his Fadir at the table." 

"Chaucer, however," said Euphranor when he had fin- 
ished the passage, "allows his young Squire more Accom- 
plishments than you would trust him with, Doctor. See, 
he dances, draws, and even writes songs — quite a Petit- 

[ 201 ] 


"But also," I added, "is of grete Strength,' 'fair 
y-rides,' having already *born him well in Chevauchie.' 
Besides," continued I, (who had not yet subsided, I sup- 
pose, from the long roll of my former Sententiousness, ) 
"in those days, you know, there was scarce any Reading, 
which usurps so much of Knighthood now. Men left that 
to Clerk and Schoolman; contented, as we before agreed, 
to follow their bidding to Pilgrimage and Holy war. 
Some gentler Accomplishments were then needed to 
soften manners, just as rougher ones now to fortify ours." 

"As we may see among ourselves," said Euphranor 
"Music, you will say, only helps to mollyfy the rich, — 
pardon the vile pun, — but the Education people agree it 
is of excellent use among the Poor." 
(^^) "And who was it," said I, "that, when some one grum- 
bled at a Barrel-organ in the street, said prettily, one 
should tolerate, and even respect, the instrument that 
carried Orpheus down into dark alleys and cellars. It 
has struck me strangely to hear in one of our Yorkshire 
Scars all of a sudden some delicate Air of Modern Art 
breathing into the old Hills and almost as primitive In- 

Euphranor then observed, that in the days of Eliza- 
beth and the Stuarts the Lute and Viol were common 
Accomplishments of young Gentlemen: so, to be sure, 
were all Martial exercises. 

"And more than Exercises," added I ; ''jonng fellows 
going to serve as Soldiers abroad as part of their Educa- 
tion, if there were no Wars in hand at home. Sir Philip 

[ 202 ] 


Sidney might well be permitted a little Somieteering ; 
and one would not quarrel with a Midshipman practising 
his Flute in the Cock-pit now." 

"Even Pepys, Tailor as he was," Euphranor said, 
"takes Horse and rides to Huntingdon from London and 
back without conmient." 

"And without a sore bottom, I dare say," rejoined I. 
"People could only so travel in those days; and could 
hardly help being hardily brought up in all respects. 
There is a delightful little Horseback tour in Derbyshire, 
made and recorded by a Son of Sir Thomas Browne — 
Edward, and one friend, — I think; with all their wet 
jackets, stumbles, benightings, and weariness, so well 
compensated by the welcome Inn with its jovial Host at 
last. Travelling has lost its proper relish for the Young 
now, — there is no Fun, no Adventure, no Endurance. 
And look at old Chaucer himself," said 1 1, "how the fresh (66) 
air of the Kent hills, over which he rode Four hundred 
years ago, breathes in his Verses still. They have a per- 
fume like fine old hay, that will not lose its sweetness, 
having been cut and carried so fresh." 

"Lydgate too, I remember," said Euphranor, "tells 
lovingly of Chaucer's Good-humour and Generosity — I 
cannot now recollect the lines," he added, after pausing a 

^ The verses Euphranor could not remember are these : 

** For Chaucer that my Master was, and knew 
What did belong to writing Verse and Prose, 

Ne'er stumbled at small faults, nor yet did view 
With scornful eyes the works and books of those 

That in his time did write, nor yet would taunt 

At any man, to fear him or to daunt." 

[ 203 ] 

IdiSon euphranor, 

"A famous Man of Business too," said I, "employed 
by Princes at home and abroad. And ready to fight as 
to write; having, he says, when some City people had 
accused him of Untruth, 'prepared his body for Mars his 
doing, if any contraried his Saws.' " 

"A Poet after your own heart, Doctor, sound in Wind 
and Limb. In general, however, they are said to be a 
sickly, irritable, inactive, and solitary tribe." 

"The Great ones?" I asked, "who, I think, are the only 
ones worth naming — Homer, ^schylus, Shakspeare, for 

"We don't know much of them — of the two first, at any 
rate," said he. 

I asked if Homer did not go about Camp and Court 
singing his verses? To which Euphranor answered, the 
(67) stories of his Beggarhood were quite exploded by | those 
omniscient critics the Germans, whom he knew how much 
I reverenced; and I said, "About as much a Beggar, I 
suppose, as his own divine Demodocus at Alcinous' pal- 
ace, or as the Bards at a Celtic Banquet. Then as to 
^schylus, pray is his presence at Salamis only a Myth, 
as you call it?" 

Euphranor laughed, and believed we must admit this 
to be authentic, so clearly as the Trumpet that woke the 
Greeks to Battle on that morning still rung in his Verse. 
I then asked laughingly about Shakspeare's Poaching, 
which Euphranor said of course I should vindicate, how- 
ever discredited by German and English critics too. 

"Well," said I, "whether Shakspeare were a Poacher 

[ 204 ] 


or not, (and I firmly believe he was, in the days of his 
Knighthood, ) he, at least, was no dyspeptic Solitary, but, 
hke Chaucer, a good Man of Business, managing a Thea- 
tre so unlike modern Managers, who are not great Poets, 
that he made a sufficient fortune ; which when he got, de- 
siring no more, he retired from London and all his Glory, 
to dear old Stratford, the town of his Birth — the fields 
of his Knighthood — and Poaching — and there spent the 
rest of his life, an active Burgess of the town, esteemed 
by all the neighbouring Gentry, Aubrey tells us, for his 
pleasant Conversation." 

Shakspeare did not however, Euphranor thought, 
quite bear out my old Theory: his very sound Mind ap- 
pearing to have dwelt in a rather heavy Body, to judge 
by the figure on his Tomb. And he died young. 

Which Monument, a very clumsy one, however, only 
indicates that he grew plump at last, I said. But the 
only probable Pictures of him exhibit great Beauty of 
I Face, and every appearance of its growing on a well- (68) 
proportioned and well-developed Body. 

"Ward's Journal," said Euphranor, "says he died of a 
kind of Fever, I think, resulting from a Carousal with 
Ben Jonson, who came to visit him from London." 

"Not unlikely," said I; "he would, no doubt, pledge 
Ben handsomely, having no notion his own Life was at 
all necessary to the World. And, after all. Fifty-two 
(the age he died at) was not so Young in those days, 
when people drank Sack and Ale for breakfast, and were 
much less careful of their Health." 

[ 205 ] 

edSSon euphranor, 

"Without such good Doctors as now we have," added 
Euphranor, slily. "Well, who does not wish his clay- 
cottage had been built so strong, or patched so well, as 
to have stood out the Dictation of many more Imperial 
Manifestos to Posterity! However, Doctor, if you save 
your Theory one way with him, (I am not quite sure you 
have, though,) what will you say to Dante — and, if you 
will allow him of the front rank, Milton — both Morose, 
Solitary kind of fellows, I doubt." 

I replied, that supposing this were so, both lived in 
Times to try the temper of the Strongest and Best — 
Civil War — Neighbour opposed to Neighbour — Friend 
to Friend — even Kinsman to Kinsman — and, even after 
Might had carried the quarrel, Victor and Vanquisht 
having to settle down cheek by jowl again. Dante was 
forced by Banishment into Solitude, or to that worst 
pang, he says, of climbing another's stair for Eleemo- 
synary Bread — no wonder he put — into a Poetic Hell at 
least — those who had so reduced him. As to Milton, when 
(69) he had worn out his eyes 4n Liberty's De-| fence,' and 
when the Restoration made that Defence Treason, he was 
obliged to live in Seclusion, besides being compelled by 
Poverty. Certainly, if his own word were to be believed, 
he never bated a jot of Heart or Hope to the last: and, 
in my turn, I asked Euphranor from what myths he drew 
his conclusion about the Temper of these Two Men? 

Euphranor did not like the bitterness of Milton's 
Prose tracts, and fancied he was an awkward Husband. 
Something in his Portraits too — 

[ 206 ] 


"Ah, Lexilogus," said I, "Euphranor cannot forgive 
the Republicans, and their treatment of his Martyrs, 
Charles and Laud. Were, however, Shakspeare ever so 
fat, and Milton and Dante ever so surly, I should not 
give in. For who doubts that men, however nobly con- 
stituted, may ruin all by misuse; as Burns by Intemper- 
ance of all kinds, and Walter Scott by the forced re- 
demption of his own and his friend's credit? The Poetic 
spirit in itself is a fiery one, most apt to fret its Body to 
decay, made up of some dangerous elements, which, as 
you say, and as Wordsworth has hinted, may lead to 
Melancholy and Madness, unless aired by perpetual con- 
tact with Reality, Action, and wholesome Communion 
with men." 

"I suppose," said Euphranor, "you would knock about 
a young Apollo like the rest of us coarser Vessels." 

"To be sure I would." 

"And so break half the Tribe in Moulding." 

"And live the better with the other half," I replied. 
"Yes, decidedly, I would pass them all through such 
a Fire as only the true Poetic Metal should abide, and 
I that come forth all the purer and stronger. A great (70) 
gain both ways; and it has been said to be the mark of 
Genius that it never can be crushed; only Talent, which 
in Poetry assuredly we do not want to survive. I would 
forthwith set young Edwin on a rough Colt, and pit a 
Cockney and a Laker at a Wrestling match, and see if 
some external Bruises would not draw off that inner Sen- 
sibility which is the main stock of many so-called Poets." 

[ 207 ] 

IditTon euphranor, 

"And not of the True also?" said Euphranor. "It has 
also been said the Poet has more of the Woman than Man 
in him." 

"Which were it true," answered I, "what a final argu- 
ment for smothering the whole Tribe as early as possible, 
Great and Small, if they are not only to be Women them- 
selves, but afFeminate us also with their Incantations! 
But, mark you, I don't believe a word of this; I believe 
the true Poetic Sensibility to be wholly different from 
the Feminine ; no Tenderness of Nerves, but Susceptibil- 
ity of Imagination, or some essential difference which I, 
who am neither Poet nor Metaphysician, may not com- 

"Yet that Vision of Marcellus that moved Octavia to 
tears; and patient Grizel; and Juliet; and Cordelia; and 
the Baby Star in Andromache's Bosom, frighted at the 
Helmet of the Father he is so soon to lose — " 

"Yes," said I as he paused, "not to be found in any 
Laura Matilda, Male or Female." 

"But where the Woman must have been very strong" — 

"But not strong^^^; not running away in Elegiac 
Tears, but moulded into Form by yet stronger Imagin- 
(71) |ation and Understanding. They who tell of Andro- 
mache and Cordelia told of Achilles and Lady Macbeth ; 
and left it for us to weep, while they conjured up those 
Forms of common Passion which only they ennobled in 
reflecting back on us." 

And Euphranor recalled to me that passage in the 
Last Years of Scott's Life where the Strong Man, broken 

[ 208 ] 


not by Time but Over-work, could no longer repeat his 
so oft-repeated Chevy Chase without Tears, which even 
the Sighing of the Summer-wind, he says, would bring 
into his Eyes "not unpleasantly," as he Drove — no longer 
Rode — among his Woods by Tweedside: Bodily weak- 
ness, Lockhart finely says, having laid bare the delicacy 
of Organization whose finer Vibrations, — ^'Nerves you 
may call them, Doctor," — once kept under by a Strong 
Will, now "trembled to the Surface." 

"No longer able to Create a Jeanie Deans," said I, "but 
only feel for her like the rest of us — The Man of Genius 
degraded to the Man of Taste ! — Let us contemplate that 
no longer. And his Jerkin too one of those which Sterne 
goes on to say, (only you would not let him,) seemed 
Stout enough to resist any Rumple from within." 

"Oh that Jerkin," said Euphranor laughing, "return- 
ing on us as obstinately as ever my Clay Cottage did, 
and, I declare, far less ornamentally." 

"Why think, my dear Fellow," I went on laughing, 
"how, wrapt up in one of the stoutest, your Poet is en- 
abled, like my Ploughman, to face, conquer, and con- 
sort with Nature in all her himiours, Storm as well as 
Calm, and penetrate into all her Mysteries, Sea and 
I Land, Mountain and Valley, Day and Night : and bring (72) 
them back — in its Pockets — for us. Really the only 
Great Poet I had seen was of great Mould and Muscle; 
having used as a Boy, I was told, to be out upon the 
Hills Night after Night with Shepherd and Sheep, 
whose individual Faces and Voices he not only grew to 

[ 209 ] 

Idition euphranor, 

distinguish, but, both in Heaven above and Earth be- 
neath, many of those uncertain phenomena of Night — 
the sound of falling Weirs and creeping Brooks, and 
Copses muttering to themselves afar off, perhaps the 
yet more impossible Sea — all inaudible to the Ear of 
Day; and not only the *Consistory of the Nightly Stars,' 
and their gradual Dispersion by the Dawn, but also 
certain unsurmised Apparitions of the Northern Au- 
rora, by some shy Glimpses of which silverying some 
low-lying Horizon Cloud in their customary quarter of 
the Heavens, scarce any Winter — no, nor even Summer 
— Night, he said, was utterly unvisited. Then there is 
Wordsworth, whom You at least think a great Poet, and 
the Idleness of whose Youth, we read, was lamentably — 
promising — He, I am told, is still to be seen, at near 
Eighty, moving with the Shadow of the Cloud up Hel- 
vellyn. Whereas your young Cockney can only strain 
laboriously up Hampstead Hill, with an Umbrella, Cork 
soles, and a cold Muffin in his pocket, having promised 
Miss Briggs by the sacred Moon to be at home in Bid- 
borough Street before the dews fall. And even if the 
Daisies and Buttercups there were at this time of day 
sufficient Object for the Muses, yet cannot he make even 
his best of them: for has he not gone out prepared to be 
Poetical? Whereas Poetry is said to be an Instinct — an 
(73) Inspiration — a | Madness, (the Platonic Ion argues,) that 
will not come at call like a Laureate's Odes, but leap out 
of its own accord from unpremeditated Contact with Na- 
ture, (or, the recollection of such at least,) which alone 

[ 210 ] 



dashes Reality into his words. Just as those Physical 
Emergencies * we were talking of called out the Moral 
Instinct of Decision and Courage. In such a way one 
fancies Language itself began; so Adam named all 
Things as each presented itself before him, appealing to 
the divine organ of Speech within. Let any of your 
Esemplastic Scholars sit down in his Study and try to in- 
vent Words now; whereas one does see something of the 
faculty among the more Illiterate, — Sportsmen for in- 
stance, and the Brethren of the Ring, — where some new 
sudden Occasion somehow calls out a suitable Word from 
the unconscious Poet of the Field — ^the very name 'Slang,' 
we give to all such Vocabulary, being itself perhaps an 
instance of such felicitous Invention, and spontaneously 
sprung from some such Occasion." 

Euphranor then read to us as we walked a delightful 
passage from his Godefridus, to this effect, that, if the 
Poet could not invent, neither could his Reader under- 
stand him, when he told of Ulysses and Diomed listening 
to the Crane clanging in the Marsh by night, without 
having experienced something of the kind. And so we 
went on, partly in Jest, partly in Earnest, drawing Phi- 
losophers of all kinds into the same net in which we had 
entangled the Poet and his Critic — How the Moralist 
who worked alone and dyspeptic in his closet was most 
apt to mismeasure Himianity, and be very angry when 
his System would not fit — ^how the | best Histories were (74) 
written by those who had been themselves Actors in them 

* For "Emergencies" read "accidents." 

[ 211 ] 


— Gibbon, one of the next best, recording how the Dis- 
cipline of the Hampshire MiUtia he served as Captain in 
— ^how odd he must have looked in the uniform! — cleared 
up his ideas as to the evolutions of a Roman Legion — 
And so on a great deal more, till I, suddenly observing 
how the Sun had declined from his Meridian, looked at 
my watch, and asked my companions did not they begin 
to feel Hungry, as I did? They agreed with me; and 
we turned homeward: and as Lexilogus had hitherto 
borne so little part in the Conversation, I began to ques- 
tion him about Herodotus and Strabo, (whose books I 
had seen lying open upon his table,) and drew from him 
some information about the courses of the Nile and the 
Danube, and the Geography of the Old World : till, all of 
a sudden, our conversation stepped * from Hymettus to 
the Hills of Yorkshire — our own old Hills — and the old 
Friends and Neighbours who dwelt among them. And 
as we were talking of old Places, and old People, and 
old Times, we suddenly heard the galloping of Horses 
behind us, (for we were now again in the main road,) 
and, looking back as they were just coming up, I recog- 
nised Phidippus for one of the riders, with two others 
whom I did not know. I held up my hand, and called 
out to him as he was passing ; and Phidippus, drawing up 
his Horse all snorting and agitated with her arrested 
course, wheeled back to us and held out his hand. 

I asked him what he was about, galloping along the 
(75) road; I thought Scientific Men were more tender of | their 

* For "stepped" read "skipt." 

[ 212 ] 


Horses' legs and feet. But the roads, he said, were quite 
soft with late rains; and they were only trying each 
other's speed for a mile. 

By this time his two Companions had pulled up some 
way forward, and were calling to him to come on; but he 
said, laughing, "they had quite enough of it," and ad- 
dressed himself with many a "Steady!" and "So! So!" 
to pacify Miss Middleton, as he called her, who still 
curvetted about,* and pulled at her Bridle; his friends 
shouting louder and louder — "Why the Devil he didn't 
come on?" 

He waved his hand, and shouted to them in return not 
to wait for him; and with a "Confound" and "Deuce 
take the Fellow," they set off away toward the town. On 
which Miss Middleton began to caper afresh, plunging, 
and blowing out a Peony nostril after her flying fellows, 
until, what with their dwindling in distance, and some 
expostulation addressed to her by her Master as to a frac- 
tious Child, she seemed to make up her mind to the In- 
dignity, and composed herself to go pretty quietly be- 
side us. 

I then asked him did he not remember Lexilogus, — 
(Euphranor he had already recognized,) — and Phidip- 
pus who really had not hitherto seen who it was, (Lexil- 
ogus looking down all the while,) called out heartily to 
him, and, wheeling his Mare suddenly behind us, took 
hold of his hand, and began to inquire about his family 
in Yorkshire. 

* For "curvetted about" read "plunged." 

[ 213 ] 


"One would suppose," said I, "you two fellows had not 
met for years." 

"It was true," Phidippus said, "they did not meet so 
(76) often as he really wished; but Lexilogus would not | come 
to his rooms, and he did not like to disturb Lexilogus at 
his Books." 

I then inquired about his own Reading, which, though 
not large, was not neglected, it seemed; and he said he 
had meant to ask one of us to beat something into his 
stupid head this sunmier in Yorkshire. 

Lexilogus, I knew, meant to stop at Cambridge all the 
long Vacation : but Euphranor said he should be at Home, 
for anything he then knew; and they could talk the mat- 
ter over when the time came. We then again fell to talk- 
ing of our County : and among other things I asked Phi- 
dippus if his Horse were Yorkshire, — of old famous for 
its Breed, as well as of Riders, — and how long he had 
her, and so on. 

Yorkshire she w^as, a present from his Mother, "and a 
great Pet," he said, bending down his head, which Miss 
Middleton answered by a dip of hers, shaking the Bit in 
her teeth, and breaking into a little Canter, which how- 
ever was easily suppressed. 

"Miss Middleton?" said I— "what, by Bay Middleton 
out of Coquette, by Tomboy out of High-Life Below- 
Stairs, right up to Mahomet and his Mares?" 

"Right," he answered laughing, "as far as Bay Mid- 
dleton is concerned." 

"But, Phidippus," said I, "she's as Black as a coal!" 

[ 214 ] 


"And so was her Dam, a Yorkshire Mare," he an- 
swered; which, I said, saved the credit of all parties. 
Might she perhaps be descended from our famous "York- 
shire Jenny," renowned in Newmarket Verse? But Phi- 
dippus had never heard of "Yorkshire Jenny" in Ballad 
or Calendar. And then I began to ask him some ques- 
tions as to his mode of Making up his mind | in some r77; 
of those Equestrian emergencies * Euphranor and I 
had talked of: all which Phidippus thought was only my 
usual Banter, — "he was no judge, — I must ask older 
hands, — he never made up his mind at all," — and so on; 
till suddenly he declared he must be off directly to get 
marked in Hall. But I told him we were all going to 
dine at Chesterton, now close at hand ; he must come too : 
all Yorkshiremen, except Lycion, whom he knew a little 
of. There was to be a Boat race, however, in the evening, 
which Phidippus said he must leave us to attend, if dine 
with us he did; for though not one of the Crew on this 
occasion, (not being one of the best,) he must yet see his 
boat (the Trinity) keep the head of the River. As to 
that, I said, we were all bound the same way, which in- 
deed Euphranor had proposed before; and so the whole 
affair was settled. 

On reaching the Inn, I begged Euphranor to order 
Dinner directly, while I and Lexilogus accompanied 
Phidippus to the stable. There, after giving his Mare 
in charge of the hostler with due directions as to her 
toilet and table, he took off her Saddle and Bridle him- 

* For "emergencies'* read "demands on it which." 

[ 215 ] 


self, and adjusted the head-stall. Then, followed out 
of the Stable by her flaming Eye and pointed Ears, he too 
pausing a moment on the Threshold to ask me, "was she 
not a Beauty?" (for he persisted in the delusion of my 
knowing more of Horses than I chose to confess,) we 
left the Stable and went into the House. 

There, having first washed hands and faces, we went 
up into the Billiard-room, where we found Euphranor 
and Lycion playing, — Lycion very lazily, like a man who 
(78) had already too much of it, but yet nothing better] to do. 
After a short while, the Girl came to tell us Dinner was 
ready; and, after that slight hesitation as to Precedence 
which Englishmen rarely forego on the least ceremo- 
nious occasions, — Lexilogus, in particular, pausing tim- 
idly at the door, and Phidippus pushing him gently and 
kindly before him, — we got down to the little Parlour, 
very airy and pleasant, with its window opening on the 
Bowling-green, the table laid with a clean white cloth, 
and upon that a good dish of smoking Beef -steaks, at 
which I, as master of the Feast, sat down to officiate. For 
some time the clatter of Knife and Fork, and the pour- 
ing of Ale, went on, mixed with some conversation among 
the young men about College matters : till Lycion began 
to tell us of a gay Ball he had lately been at, and of the 
Families there; among whom he mentioned three young 
Ladies from a neighbouring County, by far the hand- 
somest Women present, he said. 

"And very accomplished too, I am told," said Eu- 

[ 216 ] 


"O, as for that," replied Lycion, "they False very well, 
which is enough for me," — ^he hated "your accomplished 

"Well, there," said Euphranor, "I suppose the Doc- 
tor will agree with you." 

I said, certainly Valsing would be no great use to me 
personally — unless, as some Lady of equal size and 
greater Rank had said, I could meet with a concave 

"One knows so exactly," said Lycion, "what Accom- 
plishments the Doctor would choose, — a Woman 

'Well versed in the Arts (79) 

Of Pies, Puddings, and Tarts, 
And the lucrative skill of the Oven,' 

as one used to read somewhere, I remember." 

"Not forgetting," said I, "the being able to help in 
compounding a Pill or a Plaister; which I dare say your 
Great-grandmother knew something about, Lycion, for 
in those days, you know. Great ladies studied Simples. 
Well, so I am fitted, — as Lycion is to be with one who 
can Valse through life with him." 

" 'And follow so the ever-rolling Year 
With profitable labour to their graves,' " 

added Euphranor laughing. 

"I don't want to marry her," said Lycion testily. 

"Then Euphranor," said I, "advertises for a 'Strong- 
minded' Female, able to read Plato's Republic with him, 

[ 217 ] 


and Wordsworth, and Digby, and become a Mother of 
Heroes. As to Phidippus, there is no doubt — Diana 
Vernon — " 

But Phidippus disclaimed any sympathy with Sport- 
ing ladies. 

"Well, come," said I, passing round a bottle of Sherry 
I had just called for, "every man to his Taste, only all 
of you taking care to secure the Accomplishments of 
Health and Good-humour." 

"Ah! there it is, out at last!" cried Euphranor, clapping 
his hands; "I knew the Doctor would choose as Frederic 
did for his Grenadiers." 

"Well," said I, "you wouldn't breed from an ill-made, 
ill-conditioned Mare, would you, Phidippus?" 
(80) He smiled and asked me if I remembered Miss | Prince, 
a Governess his Mother had for his Sisters, and who 
really worked them so hard he was obliged to appeal in 
their behalf. 

I did not remember Miss Prince; but I asked what 
effect his Appeal had on his Mother. 

"O, I was a School-boy then, — she patted my head, and 
said Miss Prince knew best; she had perfect confidence 
in her. And then, you know, if one of them did not get 
on with her Music, there was no use suggesting she had 
perhaps no Talent, and had better not learn at all; the 
Master only concluded she must practise double at it." 

"Yes, that is the way," I answered. "Well?" 

Well, after a time, his Mother herself, he said, took 
notice the girls began to look pale and dispirited. "Why, 

[ 218 ] 


I assure you, Doctor, Miss Prince would scarce let 
them run alone, even in Play-hours, but followed them 
about with a Book, so that if they plucked a Daisy, they 
told me, out came a little Wordsworth from her reticule, 
for a Poem about it. Not a moment, she said, to be left 

"Better that Wordsworth had been tied about her neck, 
and she cast — Well," I went on, seeing Euphranor look 
grave, "I presume Miss Prince was not fitted for a Dam 
of Heroes, or Hunters." 

Poor thing, Phidippus said, she was an excellent 
woman — he used to be vexed with himself for getting out 
of patience with her. She worked hard for her Bread, 
and Duty, as she thought. 

"And besides, your remonstrances came to nothing," 
said I. 

"I don't know," answered he, laughing; "Though [I (si) 
was accused of making them romp, which I assure you I 
never meant, they used to tell me I had more power with 
her than any one else, even my Mother. I don't know 
how that was." 

Poor Governesses! so much to be pitied, and rever- 
enced, as Phidippus said, only not to be Governed by! 
Early divorced from their own Home and its Affections, 
and crammed themselves in order to cram others, they are 
most ignorant of the Nature of the very Childhood they 
are to rule. I was almost going to be Didactic about it 
all, but thinking I had preached quite enough for that 
day, I only filled up my Glass, passed the Bottle round, 

[ 219 ] 

StTon euphranor, 

told them to drink Miss Prince's health, and then, unless 
they would have more Wine, we might have a Game of 
Bowls, which Euphranor would tell us was the noble cus- 
tom of our Forefathers after dinner. 

"Not however till we have the Doctor's famous Ballad 
about Miss Middleton's possible Great-Great-Grandmo- 
ther," cried Euphranor, "by way of Pindaric close to this 
Heroic Entertainment — sung from the Chair, who prob- 
ably composed it — " 

" — As little as could sing it," I assured him. 

"Oh, I remember, it was the Jockey who rode her!" 

"Perhaps only his Helper," answered I; "such bad 
Grammar, and Rhyme, and altogether want of what your 
man — ^how do you call him — g.o.e.t.h.e? — 'Gewty,' will 
that do? — calls, I believe, Arf 

" — Who however said that, if not the simplest People, 
it was only those who could reduce their minds to the 
(82) simplest Impressions who could indite a Ballad at | all: 
the reason it becomes ever less possible as Thought com- 
plicates. Beside," added he smiling, "as we have agreed 
those best can Paint who Feel the most, Pindar's Jockey 
and Homer's Aj ax, against Pindar and Homer, any day." 

"Fair presumption, however," said I, "why my poor 
Lad should at least sing of his Mare better than Shen- 
stone of Strephon and Delia." 

"Who might yet be more at home with the China Shep- 
herds on his Mantel-piece than more modern Gentlemen 
with Codes in the River, or Regulus in the Tub," said 
Euphranor slily. "But come. Song, Song, from the 

[ 220 ] 


Chair!" he broke out, tapping his Glass on the Table and 
appealing to Phidippus, who, looking with a smile to me, 
gently echoed with his.* 

So with a prelusive "Well then," I began — 

"I'll sing you a Song, and a merry, merry Song" — 

" — By the way, Phidippus, what an odd notion of mer- 
riment is a Jockey's, if this Song be a sample. I think 
I have observed they have grave, taciturn faces, espe- 
cially when old, which they soon get to look. Is this from 
much Wasting, to carry little Flesh, and large — Respon- 

"Doctor, Doctor, leave your — faces, and begin!" inter- 
rupted Euphranor. "I must call the Chair to Order" — 

Thus admonished, with very slight interpolations, 
(which may be jumped by the ^Esthetic,) I repeated the 
poor Ballad which, dropt I know not how into my Child- 
ish ear, had, as so often happens, managed to crevice 
itself in some chink of a seemingly uncongenial [Mem- (83) 
ory,t and wave its almost worthless Verse over much that 
was — Obstetric — there — 


**I'll sing you a Song, and a merry, merry Song, 
Concerning our Yorkshire Jen; 
Who never yet ran with Horse or Mare 
That ever she cared for a pin. 

* For "gently echoed with his" read "did the same." 
t Dele from "and" to "—there—" 

[ 221 ] 



When first she came to Newmarket town, 
The Sportsmen all view'd her around; 

All the Cry was, 'Alas, poor Wench, 
Thou never can run this Ground 1' 


When they came to the Starting Post, 

The Mare look'd very smart ; 
And let them all say what they will. 

She never lost her Start — 

— which I don't quite understand, by the way: do you, 
Lycion?" — No answer. 


"When they got to the Two-mile Post, 
Poor Jenny was cast behind: 
She was cast behind, she was cast behind, 
All for to take her Wind — 


When they got to the Three-mile Post, 
The Mare looked very pale — 

(Phidippus!" — His knee moved under the table — ) 

"She laid down her ears on her bonny neck. 
And by them all did she sail ! 

VI. (Accelerando.) 
Come follow me, come follow me. 

All you who run so neat ; 
And ere that you catch me again 
I'll make you well to Sweat. 
[ 222 ] 


VII. (Grandioso.) (84) 

When she got to the Winning Post, 

The People all gave a Shout : 
And Jenny click'd up her Lily-white foot, 

And jump'd like any Buck. 

The Jockey said to her, 'This Race you have run. 

This Race for me you have got; 
You could Gallop it all over again. 

When the rest could hardly Trot!' " 

"They were Four-mile Heats in those days, you see, 
would pose your Modern Middletons, though Miss Jenny, 
laying back her Ears — away from catching the Wind, 
some think — and otherwise Homerically 'pale,' with the 
distended Vein and starting Sinew of that Three-mile 
Crisis, nevertheless on coming Triumphantly in, clicked 
up that Lily-white foot of hers, (of which one, I have 
heard say, is as good a Sign, as all four White are a bad, ) 
and could, as the Jockey thought, have gallop'd it all 
over again. Can't you see him, Phidippus, for once for- 
getful of his professional Stoicism, (but I don't think 
Jockeys were quite so Politic then,) bending forward to 
pat the bonny Neck that measured the Victory, as he 
rides her slowly back to the — Weighing-house, is it? fol- 
lowed by the Scarlet-coated Horsemen and shouting Peo- 
ple of those Days? — all silent and pass'd away for ever 
now, unless from the Memory of one pursy Doctor, who, 
were she but alive, would hardly know Jenny's Head 
from her Tail!" 

[ 223 ] 


Conticuere omnes. 

"And now will you have any more Wine?" said I, hold- 
ing up the reverst Decanter. 
(85) Phidippus, hastily finishing his glass, jumped up ; and 
the others following him with more or less alacrity, we 
all sallied forth on the Bowling-green. As soon as there, 
Lycion of course pulled out his "Eternal Cigars" (which 
he had eyed, I observed, with really good-himioured Res- 
ignation during the Ballad) and offered them all round, 
telling Phidippus he could recommend them as some of 
Pontet's best; but Phidippus did not Smoke, he said; 
which, together with his declining to bet on the Boat race, 
caused Lycion, I thought, to look on him with some in- 

And now Jack was rolled upon the Green; and I 
bowled after him first, pretty well ; then Euphranor, still 
better; then Lycion, with great Indifference, and indif- 
ferent Success; then Phidippus, who about rivalled me; 
and last of all, Lexilogus, whom Phidippus had been in- 
structing in the mystery of the Bias with little side-rolls 
along the turf, and who, he said, only wanted a little 
practice to play as well as the best of us. 

Meanwhile, the Shadows lengthened along the Grass, 
and, after several bouts of Play, Phidippus said he must 
be off to see his friends start. We should soon follow, I 
said; and Euphranor asked him to his rooms after the 
race. But Phidippus was engaged to sup with his Crew. 

"Where you will all be drunk," said I. 

"No — ^there," said he, "you are quite mistaken. Doc- 

[ 224 ] 



"Well, well," I said, "away, then, to your Race, and 
your Supper." 

" * Msxa acD^povo^ Y]Xt%t(OTOO,' " added Euphranor, 

" * Msxa,' Vith,' or 'after,' " said Phidippus, putting (86) 
on his gloves. 

"Well, go on, Sir," said I,— " ' Sco^povoc ?' " 

"A temperate — something or other — " 


" — Supper?" — ^he hesitated, smiling — "After a tem- 
perate supper?" 

"Go down. Sir; go down this instant!" I roared out 
to him as he ran from the Bowling-green. And in a few 
minutes we heard his Horse's feet shuffling over the 
threshold of the Stable, and directly afterwards breaking 
into a retreating canter outside the gate. 

Shortly after this, the rest of us agreed it was time to 
be gone. We walked along the Fields by the Church, 
(purposely to ask about the sick Lady by the way,) 
crossed the Ferry, and mingled with the Crowd upon the 
opposite Shore. Townsmen and Gownjsmen, with the 
tassell'd Fellow-commoner sprinkled here and there — 
Reading men and Sporting men — Fellows, and even 
Masters of Colleges, not indifferent to the prowess of 
their respective Crews — all these, conversing on all sorts 
of topics, from the Slang in Bell's Life to the last new 
German Revelation, and moving in ever-changing groups 
down the Shore of the River, at whose farthest visible 
bend was a little knot of Ladies gathered up on a green 
Knoll faced and illuminated by the beams of the setting 

[ 225 ] 


Sun. Beyond which point was at length heard some in- 
distinct shouting, which gradually increased, until "They 
are off — they are coming," suspended other Conversation 
among ourselves: and suddenly the head of the first Boat 
turned the corner; and then another close upon it; and 
(87) then a third ;| the Crews puUing with all their Might com- 
pacted in perfect Rhythm; and the Crowd upon the shore 
turning round to follow along with them, waving hats 
and caps, and Cheering, "Bravo, St. John's," "Go it. Trin- 
ity," — the high Crest and blowing Forelock of Phidip- 
pus's Mare, and he himself shouting Encouragement to 
his Crew, conspicuous over all — until, the Boats reaching 
us, we also were caught up in the returning tide of Spec- 
tators, and hurried back toward the Goal; where we ar- 
rived just in time to see the Ensign of Trinity lowered 
from its pride of place, and the Eagle of St. John's soar- 
ing there instead. Then, waiting a little while to hear 
how the Winner had won, and the Loser lost, and watch- 
ing Phidippus engaged in eager conversation with his 
defeated brethren, I took Euphranor and Lexilogus one 
under each arm, (Lycion having got into better com- 
pany elsewhere,) and walked home with them across the 
Meadow leading to the Town, whither the dusky troops 
of Gownsmen with all their confused Voices were evapo- 
rating, while Twilight gradually gathered over all, and 
the Nightingale began to be heard among the flowering 
Chestnuts of Jesus. 

[Note. — The alterations noted in the text are, in FitzGerald's auto- 
graph, in a copy inscribed on the fly-leaf, "Edward FitzGerald to 
Frederick Spalding. — February / 70." — in possession of Messrs. Dodd, 
Mead & Co., New York.] 

[ 226 ] 



[/ am indebted to John Oxenford, Esq., and Messrs. Smith and 
Elder, his Publishers, for permission to quote from his Translation 
the following Passages, not to be found in the earlier German Edition.^ 

"There is something more or less wrong among us old Europeans ; 
our relations are far too Artificial and Complicated; our Nutriment 
and Mode of life are without their proper Nature, and our Social In- 
tercourse is without proper Love and Goodwill. Every one is Pol- 
ished and Courteous; but no one has the Courage to be Hearty and 
True, so that an Honest man, with Natural views and feelings, stands 
in a very bad position. Often one cannot help wishing that one had 
been born upon one of the South Sea Islands, a so-called Savage, so 
as to have thoroughly enjoyed Human existence in all its purity, with- 
out any adulteration. 

"If in a depressed mood one reflects deeply upon the wretchedness 
of our Age, it often occurs to one that the world is gradually ap- 
proaching the Last day. And the Evil accumulates from Generation 
to Generation ! For it is not enough that we have to suffer for the sins 
of our Fathers; but we hand down to Posterity these inherited vices 
increased by our own.*' 

"Similar thoughts often occur to me," answered I, "but if, at such 
a time, I see a Regiment of German Dragoons ride by me, and ob- 
serve the Beauty and Power of these | Young People, I again derive (90) 
some consolation, and say to myself, that the Durability of Mankind 
is after all not in such a desperate plight." 

"Our Country people," returned Goethe, "have certainly kept up 
their Strength, and will I hope long be able not only to furnish 
us with good Horsemen, but also to secure us from total Decay and 
Destruction. The Rural population may be regarded as a Magazine, 
from which the Forces of Declining Mankind are always recruited 
and refreshed. But just go into our great Towns, and you will feel 
quite differently." ^ 

1 While Christopher North understood the Breed of Cocknies to be on the 
Increase, "the Females marriageable long before, and prolific long after, the 
Season usually allowed to our Species — the period of Gestation shorter too, 
varying from Four to Five Months; " Sir A. Carlisle declares his Conviction that 
" the Destroying influence of Large Cities and Manufactories more than counter- 

[ 227 ] 


"The Scotch Highlanders under the Duke of Wellington,'* rejoined 
Goethe, "were doubtless Heroes of another description." 

"I saw them in Brussels a Year before the Battle of Waterloo," 
returned I. "They were, indeed, line Men; all strong, fresh, and ac- 
tive, as if just from the Hand of their Maker. They all carried their 
heads so Freely and Gallantly, and stepped so lightly along with their 
strong Bare legs, that it seemed as if there were no Original Sin, and 
no Ancestral Failing, as far as they were concerned." ^ 
(91) "There is something peculiar in this," said Goethe. "Whether it 
lies in the Race, in the Soil, in the Free Political Constitution, or in 
the healthy tone of Education, — certainly the English in general ap- 
pear to have certain Advantages over many others. Here in Weimar 
we see only a few of them, and, probably, by no means the best; but 
what Fine, Handsome people they are! And however Young they 
come here, they feel themselves by no means strange or embarrassed in 
this Foreign Atmosphere; on the contrary, their Deportment in So- 
ciety is as full of Confidence, and as easy, as if they were Lords 
everywhere, and the whole World belonged to them. This it is which 
pleases our Women, and by which they make such havoc in the hearts 
of our Young Ladies. As a German Father of a Family, who is con- 
cerned for the tranquillity of his Household; I often feel a slight 
shudder, when my Daughter-in-law announces to me the expected ar- 
rival of some fresh young Islander. I already see in my Mind's eye 
the Tears which will one day flow when he takes his Departure. They 
are dangerous young people; but this very quality of being Danger- 
ous is their Virtue." 

"Still I would not assert," answered I, "that the Young English- 
men in Weimar are more Clever, more Intelligent, better informed, 
or more excellent at Heart than other people." 

"The secret does not lie in these things, my good friend," returned 
Goethe. "Neither does it lie in Birth or Riches ; it lies in the Courage 
which they have to be that for which Nature has made them. There 
is nothing vitiated or spoilt about them; there is nothing half way or 
crooked; but such as they are, they are thoroughly Complete Men. 
That they are also sometimes complete Fools, I allow with all my 
heart; but that is still something, and has still always some weight 
in the scale of Nature." 

balances the alleged Increase of British Population, while they give rise to a 
Degenerate, Enfeebled, and Demoralized Race. I believe," he sayS, "that no 
Persons, Town-bred in both the Male and Female lines, ever extend their Chil- 
dren to the Fourth Generation." 

1 See a fine passage in Haydon's Life, where he describes seeing, among the 
half Savage AUies in Paris, the English Officer's *' Boy's Face and Broad Shoul- 
ders," which latter, with those of his Men, occupied, as is well known, a larger 
ground in the Reviews there than any equal Number of any other Country's 

[ 228 ] 



"You know that scarcely a day passes in which I am not visited by (92) 
some travelling Foreigner. But if I were to say that I took great 
pleasure in the Personal Appearance especially of young learned Ger- 
mans from a certain North-eastern quarter, I should tell a falsehood. 

"Short-sighted, Pale, Narrow-chested, Young without Youth; that 
is a picture of most of them as they appear to me. And if I enter 
into a conversation with any of them, I immediately observe that the 
things in which one of us takes Pleasure seem to them Vain and Triv- 
ial, that they are entirely absorbed in The Idea, and that only the 
highest Problems of Speculation are fitted to interest them. Of sound 
Senses or Delight in the Sensual there is no trace; all Youthful feel- 
ing and all Youthful pleasure are driven out of them, and that irre- 
coverably; for if a man is not Young in his Twentieth year, how can 
he be so in his Fortieth .f*" — Goethe sighed and was silent. 

"In our own dear Weimar I need only look out at the window to 
discover how matters stand with us. Lately, when the Snow was lying 
upon the ground, and my Neighbour's Children were trying their 
little Sledges in the Street, the Police was immediately at hand, and 
I saw the poor little things fly as quickly as they could. Now, when 
the Spring Sun tempts them from the houses, and they would like to 
play with their Companions before the door, I see them always con- 
strained, as if they were not safe, and feared the approach of some 
Despot of the Police. Not a Boy may crack a whip, or sing, or shout; 
the Police is immediately at hand to forbid it. This has the effect 
with us all of taming Youth prematurely, and of driving out all Origi- 
nality and Wildness, so that in the end nothing remains but the Philis- 

"If we could only alter the Germans after the model of the Eng- 
lish, if we could only have less Philosophy and more| Power of Action, (93) 
less Theory and more Practice, we might obtain a good share of 

"Thus, for instance, I cannot approve the requisition, in the studies 
of future Statesmen, of so much Theoretically-learned Knowledge, by 
which Young people are ruined before their time, both in Mind and 
Body. When they enter into Practical service, they possess, indeed, 
an immense stock of Philosophical and Learned matters; but in the 
narrow circle of their calling this cannot be Practically applied, and 
must therefore be forgotten as Useless. On the other hand, what they 
most needed they have lost ; they are deficient in the necessary Mental 
and Bodily Energy which is quite indispensable, when one would enter 
properly into Practical life. And then, are not Love and Benevolence 

[ 229 ] 


also needed in the life of a Statesman_, in the management of Men? 
And how can any one feel and exercise Benevolence towards another, 
when he is ill at ease with himself? 

"But all these people are in a dreadful bad case. The Third part 
of the Learned men and Statesmen^ shackled to the Desk, are ruined 
in Body, and consigned to the Demon of Hypochondria. 

"In the mean time," continued Goethe, smiling, "let us remain in a 
state of hopeful Expectation as to the condition of us Germans a Cen- 
tury hence, and whether we shall then have advanced so far as to be 
no longer Savants and Philosophers, but Men." 

"Does this Productiveness of Genius," said I, "lie merely in the 
Mind of an important Man, or does it also lie in the Body?" 

"The Body has, at least," said Goethe, "the greatest Influence upon 
it. There was indeed a time when in Germany a Genius was always 
thought of as Short, Weak, or Hunch-backed; but commend me to a 
Genius who has a well-proportioned Body." 

"When it was said of Napoleon that he was a Man of Granite, this 
applied particularly to his Body." 
(94) "Whilst we read Shakspeare we receive the impression of a man 
thoroughly Strong and Healthy, both in Mind and Body." 

What should be expected of German Youth, when Richter himself, 
from whose Levana many Wise things shall be quoted, tells us of an 
Anthology he made of his Pupils' "Bon Mots," to encourage them in 
the Practice of Wit — with such samples as follow? 

A Boy of Twelve, oldest and Cleverest of all, said, "Man is mim- 
icked by Four things — An Echo, a Shadow, an Ape, and a Looking- 
Glass." "Windpipes, Spaniards, and Ants, expel all that is alien to 
them." "The Greeks in the Trojan Horse were a Living Transfigu- 
ration of Souls," &c. 

The Younger Brother, Ten-and-a-Half-Old, said, "God is the only 
Perpetuum mobile" His Sister, of Seven, "Every Night we are 
seized with Apoplexy, but in the Morning are well again." "The 
Spartans wore Red in Battle to prevent Blood — as some Italians Black 
to prevent Fleas — ^being seen," &c. 

A Five-year-old Boy says to his Four-year-old Sister, "God has 
made all Things; so if one offers him Anything, he has made it." 
Whereupon the Four-year-old, "He makes Nothing." To which the 
Sage of Five, "He makes Nothing because he has made it." 

When Richter was writing his Book, Four-year-old had grown to 
Five, and to this increase of Philosophy; "Number has a One and 
Begins: what Begins must End," and showing a Stick asks, "Whether 

[ 230 ] 


that did not end on all Sides?" An Argument that might have been 
handled much to that Child's Edification. 

Seven-year-old maintained that "If the Soul in the Brain had, with 
another set of Legs, Arms, &c., another Head, that Head must have 
another Soul; which Soul again another Head," &c. 

" The little Fleas, you'll hardly guess, (95) 

Have little Fleas that bite 'em; 
Those little Fleas have others less. 
And so ad Infinitum ! '' 

Sometimes, says Richter, there were several Fathers and Mothers to 
the same Thought: all jumping at once: and then all "justly claimed" 
the Parentage in the Anthology. 

Niebuhr tells us his Boy Marcus already contemplated a New Tense 
to the Verb! Lucky for his Schoolfellows — and, reckoning on their 
righteous Vengeance, for Himself — that he did not Accomplish it. 


Savages, Hunters, Soldiers — all such develope their Powers to the 
Full in the Fresh Air. All who have lived to a Century and Half 
were Beggars; indeed should one only wish for old Age, and Health 
all the while, no better Exercise than Begging. Nevertheless a Mo- 
ther believes that her Child set at an Open Window half an hour a 
Day will inhale from the Town (itself only a larger Room filled with 
Street instead of House Breath) as much pure Air as will ventilate 
Three and Twenty Hours and a half of Foul! Will no one remind 
her of the Three wretched Autumn days she travelled with that same 
Child in an open Carriage with no further Injury than — coming 
hither ! Will no Chemist, by showing her the Bad Airs that can be 
seen, teach her the Value of the only Element that cannot? 

A Orown-up Man pursued all Day by some moveable Pulpit and 
Confessional would lose all Moral Freedom and Activity. How much 
more a Child entangled every Step with "Stop !" "Go on !" — his whole 
Day crammed too with Lesson upon Lesson, — Seed upon Seed, of 
which no Living Harvest comes ! The Watch stops while you wind 
it ; and to be for ever winding up your Child ! — 

The Jesuit Laws limit Study to Two Hours. And We force Chil- (96) 
dren to Attend so long as their Elders can Teach! 

Attention is surely not what Bonnet calls her, the Mother of Genius, 
but her Daughter — whence born but of the Wedlock made in Heaven 
between the Object and the Desire for it? Imagine Swift at a Mu- 
sical — Mozart at a Philosophical — Lecture; RafFaelle at a Political 
Club — Frederic the Great at a "Cour d' Amour !" — each a grown Man 

[ 231 ] 

StTon appendix. 

Genius too in his own way, and not ignorant of others. And 
you expect Children in Years and Understanding to Attend on Sub- 
jects as foreign perhaps to their Genius ! their Senses more open to 
every External Influence,, — ^the Hum of the Market without, the 
Bough waving over the School-room window, the very Stripe of Sun- 
shine on the Floor — still more to the delicious consciousness of some 
coming Holiday! — For, attach Reward and Punishment to the Exer- 
cise of a Child's Attention, do you not at once direct it to another 

Repetition, one Main Spring of Attention, is also its Clog. Give 
a Child the same Writing-Copy through a whole Page, each Line will 
be worse written than the preceding. Change the Copy — even then 
the First Line will be the Best. 

To write up the Ten Commandments on the Wall is precisely the 
best way to prevent their being seen. 

Body is the Anchor-ground of Courage, the Mail-Armour of the 
Soul; therefore to be hardened into Steel by Heat and Cold. Not for 
Long life's sake, (Invalids, Nuns, and Court Ladies reach that,) but 
as a Strong-hold of Cheerfulness, Activity, and Courage. 

The Weak must Lie: hate the Net of Sin as they may, a Frown 
drives them in. 

Always let Singleness of Purpose rule a Boy. He wanted to Do, 
or Have, such a thing; make him Take or Do it. And never Com- 
mand Twice. 

Children's Gravity is rarely as Innocent as their Fun. 
(97) Boys close upon Manhood often appear most Heartless,! Mischiev- 
ous and Destructive; just as Night is coldest close to Dawn. But the 
Sun rises and warms the World; Vigour dawns into Love; the Teas- 
ing Lad into an Affectionate Young Man. 

If even Travelled Men return with full Heads and Empty Hearts, 
having gone through the World as in a Country Dance, presenting 
the Hand indifferently to all — how much more, and more unnaturally, 
the Travelled Child ! whose Affections are only cherished by long and 
close living with the same People in the same Places, Houses, and 
Play-grounds ; nay, with the same Furniture about them. 

There is one Remark very general and very pitiable in the History 
of the Learned — that so many Admirable Men have so many Years 
determined to get up earlier of a Morning without much Result — 
unless it be visible at the Last Day. 

'Oif^oi (j)iXoao(l)Elg — rovg 6e <j)ilo(y6(l)ovg aet 
'Ev Tolg Idyoiq (ppovovvrag evpinKO) jiovov 
'Ev ToloL (J' Ipyotg ovrag avoijrovg Spa. 

An Emigrant Gentleman visiting England for a while was Wonder- 
struck at the Indolence of the Middle Classes, especially at such 

[ 232 ] 



places as Sidmouth; People lounging about, throwing Stones into the 
Sea, and carrying about Three Volumes of Novels from the Circu- 
lating Library. "It seemed to me as if they were all Mad. In Can- 
ada every one is seen at work — hacking away at something or other, 
awkwardly perhaps, but still at Work." Then the fretful movements of 
the Children in an opposite house Genteelly confined to a Nursery that 
reflected all their imprisoned Energies back on Themselves, and look- 
ing to him like "caged Birds beating their Breasts against the Wires !" 
Whereas he had just left in Canada his own little Boy of Three Years 
old feeding the Poultry out of doors, and even then able to distin- 
guish one kind of Grain from another in the Field; his | little Sister (98) 
with her little Batch of Bread ready for the Oven, when Baking was 
going forward — "Both of them insensibly acquiring the most indis- 
pensable of the Arts of Life** — while Richter's Children of the same 
Age were cultivating Wit for the Anthology ! 

Instructions how to throw Boys' Minds into a Fever, that shall work 
itself off in Bodily Sweat — quoted in the Athenaeum (864), from 
the Seventh Annual Report of our Massachusetts Board of Educa- 
tion, by Horace Mann, Esq., Boston, 1844. 

A Scotch School. (Proximus ardet.) 

**I entirely despair of exciting in any other person, by a descrip- 
tion, the vivid impressions of Mental Activity or celerity which the 
daily operations of these Schools produced on my mind — actual Ob- 
servation can alone give anything approaching to the true idea. I do 
not exaggerate when I say, that the most active and lively Schools I 
have ever seen in the United States must be regarded almost as Dor- 
mitories, if compared with the fervid life of the Scotch Schools : and, 
by the side of theirs, our Pupils would seem to be Hybernating Ani- 
mals, just emerging from their Torpid state, and as yet but half-con- 
scious of the possession of Life and Faculties. It is certainly within 
bounds to say, that there were Five times as many Questions put, and 
Answers given, in the same space of time, as I ever heard put or 
given in any School in our own country. But a few preliminary ob- 
servations are necessary to make any description of a Scotch School 
intelligible. In the numerous Scotch Schools which I saw, the custom 
of Place- taking prevailed not merely in Spelling, but in Geography, 
Arithmetic, Reading, Defining, &c. Nor did this consist solely in the 
passing up of the one giving a Right answer above the one giving a 
Wrong; but, if a Scholar made a very Bright an-|swer,he was promoted (99) 
at once to the Top of the Class — if he made a very Stupid one, he was 
sentenced no less summarily to the Bottom. Periodically Prizes are 
given, and the fact of having been 'Dux* (that is, at the Head of the 

[ 233 ] 


Class) the greatest number of times, is the principal ground on which 
the Prizes are awarded. In some Schools, an auxiliary stimulus is 
applied. The fact of having passed up so many places (say ten or 
twelve) entitles the pupil to a Ticket; and a given number of these 
tickets is equivalent to being 'Dux' once. When this sharper goad to 
Emulation is to be applied, the spectator will see the Teacher fill his 
hand with small bits of pasteboard, and, as the Recitation goes on, 
the Competition grows keen, and places are rapidly lost and won, the 
Teacher is seen occasionally to give one of these Tickets to a Pupil 
as a counter, or token, that he has passed up above so many of his 
fellows; that is, he may have passed up above four at one time, six 
at another, two at another — and if Twelve is the number which en- 
titles to a Ticket, One will be given without any stopping or speak- 
ing — for the Teacher and Pupil appear to have kept a Silent reckon- 
ing, and when the latter extends his Hand, the former gives a Ticket 
without any suspension of the lesson. This gives the greatest inten- 
sity to Competition, and at such times the Children have a look of al- 
most Maniacal eagerness and anxiety." 

"A Boy errs, giving, perhaps, a wrong Gender, or saying that the 
word is derived from a Greek Verb, when, in fact, it is derived from 
a Greek Noun of the same family. Twenty Boys leap forward into 
the area — as though the house were on Fire, or a Mine or Ambush 
had been sprung upon them — and shout out the True answer, in a 
voice that could be heard forty rods. And so the Recitation pro- 
ceeds for an hour. To an unaccustomed spectator, on entering one 
of these rooms, all seems Uproar, Turbulence, and the Contention 
of angry voices ; the Teacher traversing the space before his Class in 
a state of high Excitement, the Pupils springing from their seats, 
(100) darting to the Middle of | the floor, and sometimes, with extended 
arms, forming a Circle around him, two, three, or four deep — every 
Finger quivering from the intensity of their Emotions, until some 
more sagacious Mind, outstripping its rivals, solves the difficulty — 
when all are in their seats again, as though by magic, and ready for 
another Encounter of wits. I have seen a School kept for two hours 
in succession in this state of intense Mental activity, with nothing 
more than an alteration of subjects during the time, or, perhaps, 
the relaxation of Singing. At the end of the Recitation, both Teacher 
and Pupils would glow with heat, and be covered with perspiration, 
as though they had been contending in the Race or the Ring. It 
would be utterly impossible for the Children to bear such fiery ex- 
citement if the Physical exercise were not as violent as the Mental 
is intense.'* 

Here is "an exact account of a Religious lesson which I saw and 

"Teacher. — What sort of Death was denounced against our first 
Parents for Disobedience? 

[ 234 ] 



"First Pupil — Temporal Death ! 

"2". — No. — (and pointing instantaneously to the Second) — 

"Second P.— To Die ! 

"The Teacher points to the Third, crying, 'Come away!' and then 
to the Fourth. A dozen Pupils leap on the floor, a dozen hands are 
held out, all quivering with eagerness. 

"Fourth P.— Spiritual Death ! 

"T. — Go up. Dux — (that is, to the Head of the Class)." 

And so of the following, from the Westminster Catechism, which, 
with all the proofs, is committed to Memory. 

"Teacher. What is the Misery of that Estate whereinto Man fell.^ 

"Pupil. All Mankind by their Fall lost Communion with God, &c. 

"T. What sort of a place is Hell.?* 

"P. A place of Devils. 

"T. How does the Bible describe it? 

"First P. (Hesitates.) 

"T. Next?— Next?— (101) 

"Fifth P. A lake of Fire and Brimstone. 

"T. Take 'em down Four ! 

"And thus on these awful themes, a Belief and Contemplation of 
which should turn the eyes into a fountain of Tears, and make the 
heart intermit its beatings, there is the same Ambition for Intellectual 
superiority as on a question in the Multiplication table. There is no 
more apparent Solemnity in the one case than the other." 

Were one to preach a Sermon on Health, as really were worth 
doing, Walter Scott ought to be the Text. Theories are demon- 
strably True in the way of Logic; and then in the way of Practice 
they prove True, or Not true. But here is the Grand Experiment — 
Do they turn out well? What boots it that a Man's Creed is the 
Wisest, that his System of Principles is the superfinest, if when set 
to work the Life of him does nothing but jar, and fret itself into 
Holes: They are Untrue in that, were it in nothing else, these Prin- 
ciples of his; openly convicted of Untruth — fit only, shall we say, to 
be rejected as Coimterfeits and flung to the Dogs? We say not that: 
but we do say that Ill-health of Body or Mind is Defeat — is Battle in 
a Good or Bad Cause with Bad success: that Health alone is Victory. 
Let all men if they can contrive it manage to be Healthy. — Carlyle. 

And how Healthy — in Body at least? 

Porro ne in Corpore quidem Valetudinem Medici probant quae a 
nimia Anxietate contingat; parum est iEgrum non esse; Fortem et 
L(ETUM ET Alacrem volo. Propc abest ab Infirmitate in quo sola 
Salus laudatur. — Tacitus, Dial. c. 23. 

[ ^S5 ■] 


To E, B, Cowell 


. . . As to Sophocles, I will not give up my old Titan, 
Is there not an infusion of Xenophon in Sophocles, as 
compared to Mschylus, — a dilution? Sophocles is doubt- 
less the better artist, the more complete; but are we to 
expect anything but glimpses and ruins of the divinest? 
Sophocles is a pure Greek temple; but AEschylus is a 
rugged mountain, lashed by seas, and riven by thunder- 
bolts: and which is the most wonderful, and appalling? 
Or if one will have AEschylus too a work of man, I say he 
is like a Gothic Cathedral, which the Germans say did 
arise from the genius of man aspiring to the immeasur- 
able, and reaching after the infinite in complexity and 
gloom, according as Christianity elevated and widened 
men's minds. A dozen lines of JEschylus have a more 
Almighty power on me than all Sophocles' plays; though 
I would perhaps rather save Sophocles as the consumma- 
tion of Greek art, than Mschylus' twelve lines, if it came 
to a choice which must be lost. Besides these Mschyluses 
trouble us with their grandeur and gloom; but Sophocles 
is always soothing, complete, and satisfactory. 

To E. B, Cowell 

London, May 7, 1857. 
. . . I think I want to turn his \_JEschylus'] Tril- 
ogy into what shall be readable English Verse; a thing 

[ xiii ] 


I have always thought of, hut was frightened at the 
Chorus, So I am now; I can't think them so fine as Peo- 
ple talk of: they are terribly maimed; and all such Lyrics 
require a better Poet than I am to set forth in English, 
But the better Poets won't do it; and I cannot find one 
readable translation, I shall (if I make one) make a very 
free one; not for Scholars, but for those who are ignorant 
of Greek, and who (so far as I have seen) have never been 
induced to learn it by any Translations yet made of these 
Plays, I think I shall become a bore, of the Bowring 
order, by all this Translation: but it amuses me without 
any labour, and I really think I have the faculty of mak- 
ing some things readable which others have hitherto left 
unreadable. But don't be alarmed with the anticipation 
of another sudden volume of Translations; for I only 
sketch out the matter, then put it away; and coming on it 
one day with fresh eyes trim it up with some natural im- 
pulse that I think gives a natural air to all, . . . 

To Mrs, W. H, Thompson. 

• •••••• 

I was rather taken aback by the Master's having dis- 
covered my last — yes, and bond-fide my last — translation 
in the volume I sent to your Library, I thought it would 
slip in unobserved, and I should have given all my little 
contributions to my old College, without after-reckoning. 
Had I known you as the wife of any but the 'quondam' 
Greek Professor, I should very likely have sent it to you: 

[ xiv ] 


since it was meant for those who might wish for some in- 
sight into a Play which I must think they can scarcely 
have been tempted into before by any previous Transla- 
tion, It remains to be much better done; but if Women 
of Sense and Taste, and Men of Sense and Taste (who 
don't know Greek) can read and be interested in such a 
glimpse as I give them of the Original, they must be con- 
tent, and not look the Horse too close in the mouth, till 
a better comes to hand, , , , 

To E, B, Cowell 

Woodbridge: Tuesday, 

[28 Dec 1869] 
. . . As to Agamemnon, I bound up a Copy of him 
in the other Translations I sent to Trinity Library — not 
very wisely, I doubt; but I thought the Book would just 
be put up on its shelf, and I had given all I was asked for, 
or ever could be asked for. The Master, however, wrote 
me that it came to his Eyes, and I dare say he thought I 
had best have let Mschylus alone. My Version was not 
intended for those who know the Original; but, by hook 
or by crook, to interest some who do not. The Shape I 
have wrought the Play into is good, I think: the Dialogue 
good also: but the Choruses (though well contrived for 
the progress of the Story) are very false to Mschylus; 
and anyhow want the hand of a Poet, Mine, as I said, 
are only a sort of 'Entr'acte' Music, which would be bet- 
ter supplied by Music itself. . . . 

[ XV ] 


To W. F. Pollock. 

. . . / think you have seen, or had, all the things 
but the last, which is the most impudent of all. It was, 
however, not meant for Scholars: mainly for Mrs, Kem- 
hle: hut as I can't read myself, nor expect others of my 
age to read a long MS, I had it printed by a cheap friend 
(to the bane of other Friends), and here it is. You will 
see by the notice that JEschylus is left 'nowhere,' and 
why; a modest proviso. Still I think the Story is well 
compacted: the Dialogue good, (with one single little 
originality; of riding into Rhyme as Passion grows) and 
the Choruses (mostly 'rof quoad Poetry) still serving to 
carry on the subject of the Story in the way of Inter-act, 
Try one or two Women with a dose of it one day; not 
Lady Pollock, who knows better, . . . 

To C, E, Norton. 

Little Grange, Woodbridge, Suffolk. 

(Post Mark Dec 8) Dec 9, 75. 
Mr. Carlyle's Niece has sent me a Card from you, ask- 
ing for a Copy of an Agamemnon: taken — I must not 
say, translated — from JEschylus, It was not meant for 
Greek Scholars, like yourself, but for those who do not 
know the original, which it very much misrepresents. I 
think it is my friend Mrs. Kemble who has made it a little 

[ xvi ] 


known on your wide Continent, As you have taken the 
trouble to enquire for it all across the Atlantic, beside 
giving me reason before to confide in your friendly recep- 
tion of it, I post you one along with this letter. I can 
fancy you might find some to be interested in it who do 
not know the original: more interested than in more faith- 
ful Translations of more ability. . . . 

[ xvii ] 



— ►^^i.— 

a Cragetig, 


[I do not like to put this version — or per-version — of 
^sehylus into the few friendly hands it is destined for, 
without some apology, to him as well as to them. Per- 
haps the best apology, so far as they are concerned, would 
be my simple assurance that this is the very last Use- 
majeste I ever shall — or can — commit of the kind. 

I suppose that a literal version of this play, if possible, 
would scarce be intelligible. Even were the dialogue al- 
ways clear, the lyric Choruses, which make up so large a 
part, are so dark and abrupt in themselves, and therefore 
so much the more mangled and tormented by copyist and 
commentator, that the most conscientious translator must 
not only jump at a meaning, but must bridge over a 
chasm; especially if he determine to complete the an- 
tiphony of Strophe and Antistrophe in English verse. 

Thus, encumbered with forms which sometimes, I 
think, hang heavy on ^schylus himself;^ struggling 
with indistinct meanings, obscure allusions, and even with 
puns which some have tried to reproduce in English ; this 
grand play, which to the scholar and the poet, lives, 
breathes, and moves in the dead language, has hitherto 
seemed to me to drag and stifle under conscientious trans- 
lation into the living; that is to say, to have lost that 

^ For instance, the long antiphonal dialogue of the Chorus debating 
what to do — or whether do anything — after hearing their master twice 
cry out (in pure Iambics also) that he is murdered. 

[ 241 ] 

which I think the drama can least afford to lose all the 
world over. And so it was that, hopeless of succeeding 
where as good versifiers, and better scholars, seem to me 
to have failed, I came first to break the bounds of Greek 
Tragedy; then to swerve from the Master's footsteps; 
and so, one license drawing on another to make all of a 
(6) piece, arrived I at the present anomalous conclusion. If it 
has succeeded in shaping itself into a distinct, consistent 
and animated Whole, through which the reader can follow 
without halting,^ and not without some progressive inter- 
est from beginning to end, I shall at any rate not have 
extinguished the Spirit under whatsoever misrepresenta- 
tions of the Letter; and that remains unimpeachable by 
any treason of mine, inviolate by any but transcriber's 
errors, in its own imperishable Greek, and undepraved 
by any wilful alloy of the translator's in more than one 
English version. 

To re-create the Tragedy, body and soul, into English, 
and make the Poet free of the language which reigns 
over that half of the world never dreamt of in his philos- 
ophy, must still be reserved for some Poet, of congenial 

^ / wish the reader who knows Beethoven would supply — or supplant 
— my earlier lyric Choruses from some of his many works, which 
seem to breathe Mschylus in their language, as Michael Angelo, per- 
haps, in another. For Cassandra's ejaculations we must resort, I 
doubt, to a later German music. 

As for my Lyric Choruses — / wish the reader who does not know the 
Original (and this Version is scarcely for those who do) would but 
take the Subject, and supply, or supplant, my descant upon it from 
some such music as he may find in Beethoven, who breathes Mschylus 
in his language as I cannot in mine. 
[This second note is pasted over the first in my copy. Ed.'\ 

[ 242 ] 

genius; whether by Translation, Paraphrase, or Meta- 
phrase, to use Dryden's definition, whose Alexander's 
Feast, and some fragments of whose Plays, indicate that 
he, perhaps, might have rendered such a service to iEschy- 
lus and to us. Or, to go further back in our own Drama, 
one thinks what Marlowe might have done; himself a 
translator from the Greek; something akin to ^schylus 
in his genius; still more in his grandiose, and sometimes 
auihadostomous verse ; of which some lines relating to this 
very play fall but little short of ^schylus or Greek, and 
which I will shame my own by quoting before they 
appear: — 

"Is this the face that launched a thousand ships. 
And burnt the topless towers of Ilium? 
Sweet Helen, make me immortal with a kiss!"] 

[ 243 ] 


Agamemnon, King of Argos, 

Clytemnestra, his Queen, 

iEoiSTHUs, his Nephew. 

Cassandra, Daughter of King Priam. 


Chorus of ancient Councillors. 

The scene is at Argos. 


[Agamemnon's Palace: a Warder on the Battlements,^ 


[Once more, once more, and once again once more] 
I crave the Gods' compassion, and release 
From this inexorable watch, that now 
For one whole year, close as a couching dog, 
On Agamemnon's housetop have I kept. 
Contemplating the muster of the stars 
And those transplendent Dynasties of Heav'n * 
That, as alternately they rise and fall. 
Draw Warmth and Winter over mortal man. 
Thus, and thus long, I say, at the behest 
Of the man-minded Woman who here rules. 
Here have I watch'd till yonder moimtain-top 
Shall kindle with a signal-light from Troy. 
And watch'd in vain, coucht on the barren stone, 
Night after night, night after night, alone, 
Ev'n by a wandering dream unvisited, 

^ The commentators generally understand these Xa[i7rp6oc Sovaota? 
to mean Sun and Moon. Blomfield, I believe, admits they may be the 
Constellations by which the seasons rvere anciently marked, as in the 
case of the Pleiades further on in the Play. The Moon, I suppose, 
had no part to play in such a computation; and, as for the Sun, the 
beacon-fire surely implies a night-watch. 

[ 245 ] 


(10) To which the terror of my post denies 

The customary pass of closing eyes. 

From which, when haply nodding, I would scare 

Forbidden sleep, or charm long night away 

With some old ballad of the good old times. 

The foolish song falls presently to tears. 

Remembering the glories of this House, 

Where all is not as all was wont to be, — 

No, nor as should — Alas, these royal walls, 

Had they but tongue (as ears and eyes, men say) 

Would tell strange stories! — But, for fear they should. 

Mine shall be mute as they are. Only this — 

And this no treason surely — might I but. 

But once more might I, see my lord again 

Safe home! But once more look upon his face! 

But once more take his hand in mine ! — 


The word scarce from my lips — Have the gods heard. 

Or am I dreaming wide awake — as wide 

Awake I am— The Light! The Light! The Light! 

On Arachnaeum's yet unanswering height! 

Oh more to me than all the stars of night ! 

More than the Morning-star! — ^more than the Sun 

Who breaks my nightly watch, this rising one 

Which tells me that my year-long night is done ! 

When, shaking off the collar of my watch, 

[ 246 ] 


I first to Clytemnestra shall report 
Such news, as if, indeed, a lucky cast 
For her and Argos, sure a Main to me! 
But grant the Gods, to all! A master-cast. 
More than compensating all losses past; 
And lighting up our altars with a fire 
Of Victory that never shall expire! 

[ Ea^it Warder, Daylight gradually dawns, 
and enter slowly Chorus, 

Chorus. (h) 

Another rising of the sun 

That rolls another year away. 
Sees us through the portal dun 


That dividco the night and day 
Like to phantoms from the crypt 
Of Morpheus or of Hades slipt. 

Through the sleeping city creeping. 
Murmuring an ancient song 
Of unvindicated wrong. 
Ten year told as ten year long 
Since to revenge the great abuse 

To Themis done by Priam's son. 
The Brother-Princes, that, co-heir 
Of Athens, share his royal chair, 

[ 247 ] 


And from the authentic hand of Zeus 
His delegated sceptre bear, 

Startled Greece with such a cry 
For Vengeance as a plunder'd pair 
Of eagles over their aerial lair 
Screaming, to whirlpool lash the waves of air. 


The Robber, blinded in his own conceit. 

Must needs think Retribution deaf and blind. 

Fool ! not to know what tongue was in the wind. 
When Tellus shudder'd under flying feet, 

When stricken Ocean under alien wings; 
And Phoebus watching from his sovereign height. 
And the ten thousand eyes of Night ; 
And, were no other eye nor ear of man 
Or God awake, yet universal Pan, 

For ever watching at the heart of things. 
And Zeus, the Warden of domestic Right, 

And the perennial majesty of Kings, 
(12) Let loose the Fury who, though late 

Retarded in the leash of Fate, 

Once loos'd, after the sinner springs ; 
Over Ocean's heights and hollows. 
Into cave and forest follows, 

[ 248 ] 

AGAMEMNON. ^^^-^^ 


Into fastest-guarded town, 
Close on the Sinner's heel insists. 
And, turn or baffle as he lists. 

Drags him inexorably down. 


Therefore to revenge the debt 

To violated Justice due, 
Armed Hellas hand in hand 

The iron net of Ares drew 
Over water, over land. 
Over such a tract of years ; 


Draught of blood abroad, a»4 tears 

At home, and unexhausted yet: 
All the manhood Greece could muster. 

And her hollow ships enclose ; 
All that Troy from her capacious 

Bosom pouring forth oppose; 
By the ships, beneath the wall. 

And about the sandy plain. 
Armour-glancing files advancing. 

Fighting, flying, slaying, slain: 
And among them, and above them, 
Crested Heroes, twain by twain, 

Lance to lance, and thrust to thrust, 

[ 249 ] 


Front-erect, and, in a moment. 

One or other roU'd in dust. 
Till the better blood of Argos 

Soaking in the Trojan sand. 
In her silent half -dispeopled 

Cities, more than half-unmann'd, 
(13) Little more of Man to meet 

Than the beardless child, or hoary 
Spectre of his second childhood. 

Tottering on triple feet, 
Like the idle waifs and strays 
Blown together from the ways 

Up and down the windy street. 


But things are as they are; and Fate the Cause 
To Fate the Event determinately draws; 
And vain are Prayer and Sacrifice to tire 
The thankless Power whose altar knows no fire. 

For, before the Navy flush'd 

Wing from shore, or lifted oar 
Into foam the purple brush'd ; 
While about the altar hush'd 

[ 250 ] 



Throng'd the ranks of Greece thick-fold, 
Ancient Chalcas in the bleeding 
Volume of the Future reading 

Evil things foresaw, foretold: 
That, to revenge some old disgrace 

Befall'n her sylvan train. 
Some dumb familiar of the Chase 

By Menelaus slain. 
The Goddess Artemis would vex 
The fleet of Greece with storms and checks: 

That Troy should not be reach'd at all. 

Or, ever reach'd, should never fall — 
Unless at such a loss and cost 
As counterpoises Won and Lost. 


The Elder of the Royal Twain 
Listen'd in silence, daring not arraign 

111 omen, or rebuke the raven lips: (U) 

Then taking up the tangled skein 

Of Fate, he pointed to the ships ; 
He sprang aboard: he gave the sign; 

And blazing in his golden arms ahead. 
Draws the long Navy in a glittering line 

After him like a meteor o'er the main. 

[ 251 ] 



So from Argos forth: and so 

O'er the rolling waters they. 
Till in the roaring To-and-fro 

Of roek-lockt Aulis brought to stay: 
There the Goddess had them fast: 
With a bitter northern blast 

Blew ahead and block'd the way: 
Day by day delay; to ship 

And tackle damage and decay; 
Day by day to Prince and People 

Indignation and dismay. 
"All the while that in the ribb'd 
"Bosom of their vessels cribb'd, 
"Tower-crowned Troy above the waters 
"Yonder, quaffing from the horn 
"Of Plenty, laughing them to scorn" — 

So would one to other say; 
And Man and Chief in rage and grief 

Fretted and consumed away. 


Then to Sacrifice anew: 

And again within the bleeding 
Volume of the Future reading, 

[ 252 ] 



Once again the summon'd Seer 

Evil, Evil, still fore-drew; 
Day by day, delay, decay 

To ship and tackle, chief and crew: 
And but one way — one only way to appease (15) 

The Goddess, and the wind of wrath subdue; 
One way of cure so worse than the disease. 

As, but to hear propound. 
The Princes struck their sceptres to the ground. 


After a death-deep pause, 
The Lord of man and armament his voice 
Lifted into the silence — "Terrible Choice! 
"To base imprisonment of wind and flood, 

"Whether consign and sacrifice the band 
"Of heroes gathered in my name and cause; 
"Or thence redeem them by a daughter's blood — 

"A daughter's blood shed by a father's hand; 
"Shed by a father's hand, and to atone 

"The guilt of One — who, could the God endure 

"Oblation on her altar so impure, 
"Should wipe out her transgression with her own." 

[ ^ss ] 


But, breaking on that iron multitude, 
The Father's cry no kindred echo woke: 

And in the sullen silence that ensued 
An unrelenting iron answer spoke. 


At last his neck to that unnatural yoke 
He bowed: his hand to that unnatural stroke: 
With growing purpose, obstinate as the wind 
That block'd his fleet, so block'd his better mind. 
And drove him from his better conscience blind. 
For thus it fares with men ; the seed 
Of Evil, sown by seeming Need, 
Grows, self-inf atuation-nurst. 
From evil Thought to evil Deed, 
Incomprehensible at first. 
And to the end of Life accurst. 

(16) XII. 

And thus, the blood of that one innocent 

Weigh'd light against one great accomplishment. 

At last — at last — in the meridian blaze 

Of Day, with all the Gods in Heaven agaze. 

And armed Greece below — he came to dare — 

After due preparation, pomp, and prayer, 
[ 254 ] 


He came — ^the wretched father — came to dare — 

Himself — with sacrificial knife in hand, — 

Before the sacrificial altar stand, 
To which — ^her sweet lips, sweetly wont to sing 

Before him in the banquet-chamber, gagg'd. 
Lest one ill word should mar the impious thing; 
Her saffron scarf about her fluttering. 

Dumb as an all-but-speaking picture, dragg'd 
Through the remorseless soldiery — 

But soft! 

While I tell the more than oft- 
Told Story, best in silence found. 

Incense-breathing fires aloft 
Up into the rising fire. 
Into which the stars expire. 

Of Morning mingle ; and a sound 
As of Rumour at the heel 

Of some great tidings gathers ground ; 
And from portals that disclose 
Before a fragrant air that blows 
Them open, what great matter. Sirs, 
Thus early Clytemnestra stirs, 
Hither through the palace gate 
Torch in hand, and step elate. 
Advancing, with the kindled Eyes 
As of triumphant Sacrifice? 

[ 255 ] 


Clytemnestra: Chorus. 

Oh, Clytemnestra, my obeisance 
Salutes your coming footstep, as her right 
(17) Who rightly occupies the fellow-chair 
Of that now ten years widow'd of its Lord. 
But — be it at your pleasure ask'd, as answered- 
Fain would I know, 
What great occasion, almost ere Night's self 

Rekindles into Morning from the Sun, 
Has woke your Altar up? 

Oh, never Night, 

Night that is Mother of all Good, men say. 
Conceived a fairer issue than To-day! 
Prepare your ear. Old man, for tidings such 
As youthful Hope would scarce anticipate. 


I have prepared them for such news as such 
Preamble argues. 


What if you be told — 
Oh mighty sum in one small figure cast! — 
That ten-year-toiFd-for Troy is ours at last? 

[ 256 ] 



"If told!" — Once more! — the word has slipt these ears 
With many a rmnom* baffled heretofore. 


Once more then; and with unconditional 

Assurance having hit the mark indeed 

That Rumour aimed at — Troy, with all the towers 

Our fiery vengeance leaves aloft, is our's. 

Now speak I plainly? 


Oh! to make the tears 
That waited to bear witness in the eye 
Start, to convict our incredulity! 

Clytemnestra. (is) 

Oh blest conviction that enriches you 
That lose the cause with all the victory. 

Ev'n so. But how yourself convinced before? 

By no less sure a witness than the God. 

[ 257 ] 


What, in a dream? 


I am not apt to trust 
The vacillating witnesses of Sleep. 


Aye — but as surely undeluded by 

The waking Will, that what we strongly would 

Imagines strongly? 

, Clytemnestra. 
Like a doating girl. 


Oh, Clytemnestra, pardon mere Old Age 
That, after so long starving upon Hope, 
But slowly brooks his own Accomplishment. 
The Ten-year war is done then! Troy is taken! 
The Gods have told you, and the Gods tell true — 
But — ^how? and when? 


Ev'n with the very birth 
Of the good Night which mothers this best Day. 

[ 258 ] 



To-day! To-night! but of Night's work in Troy 
Who should inform the scarcely-open'd ear 
Of Mom in Argos? 


Hephaistos, the Lame God, 
And spriteliest of mortal messengers; 
Who, springing from the bed of burning Troy, 
Hither, by fore-devis'd Intelligence 
Agreed upon between my Lord and me. 
Posted from dedicated Height to Height 
The reach of land and sea that lies between. 
And, first to catch him and begin the game. 
Mount Ida fired her forest-pine, and, waving 
Handed him on to the Hermaean steep 
Of Lemnos ; Lemnos to the summit of 


Zeus- dodioatod Athos lifted; whence. 
As by the giant taken, so despatcht. 
The Torch of Conquest, traversing the wide 
^gsean with a sunbeam-stretching stride. 
Struck up the drowsy watchers on Makistos. 
Who, flashing back the challenge, flash'd it on 
To those who watch'd on the Messapian height. 
With whose quick-kindling heather heap'd and fired 

[ 259 ] 


The meteor-bearded messenger ref resht. 

Clearing Asopus at a bound, struck fire 

From old Kithseron; and, so little tired 

As waxing even wanton with the sport. 

Over the sleeping water of Gorgopis 

Sprung to the Rock of Corinth ; thence to the cliffs 

Which stare down the Saronic Gulf, that now 

Began to shiver in the creeping Dawn; 

Whence, for a moment on the neighbouring top 

Of Arachngeum lighting, one last bound 

Brought him to Agamemnon's battlements. 

By such gigantic strides in such a Race 

Where First and Last alike are Conquerors, 

Posted the travelling Fire, whose Father-light 

Ida conceived of burning Troy to-night. 

(20) Chorus. 

Woman, your words man-metal ring, and strike 
Ev'n from the tuneless fibre of Old Age 
Such martial unison as from the lips 
Shall break into full Pasan by and by. 


Aye, think — think — think, old man, and in your soul. 
As if 'twere mirror'd in your outward eye, 

[ 260 ] 


Imagine what wild work a-doing there — 
In Troy — to-night — to-day — this moment — how 
Harmoniously as in one vessel meet 
Esil and Oil, meet Trimnph and Despair, 
Sluiced by the sword along the reeking street. 
On which the Gods look down from burning air. 
Slain, slaying — dying, dead — about the dead 
Fighting to die themselves — maidens and wives 
Lockt by the locks, with their barbarian young, 
And torn away to slavery and shame 
By hands all reeking with their Champion's blood. 
Until, with execution weary, we 
Fling down our slaughter-satiated swords, 
To gorge ourselves on the unfinisht feasts 
Of poor old Priam and his sons ; and then, 
RoU'd on rich couches never spread for us, 
Ev'n now our sleep-besotted foreheads turn 
Up to the very Sun that rises here. 
Such is the lawful game of those who win 
Upon so just a quarrel — so long fought: 
Provided always that, with jealous care, 
Retaliation wreaking upon those 
Who our insulted Gods upon them drew. 
We push not Riot to their Altar-foot ; 
Remembering, on whichever mortal side 

Engaged, the Gods are Gods in heav'n and earth, (21) 

[ 261 ] 


And not to be insulted unaveng'd. 

This let us take to heart, and keep in sight; 

Lest, having run victoriously thus far. 

And turn'd the very pillar of our race. 

Before we reach the long'd-for goal of Home 

Nemesis overtake, or trip us up ; 

Some ere safe shipp'd : or, launcht upon the foam. 

Ere touch'd the threshold of their native shore ; 

Yea, or that reach'd, the threshold of the door 

Of their own home; from whatsoever corner 

The jealous Power is ever on the watch 

To compass arrogant Prosperity. 

These are a woman's words ; for men to take. 

Or drop for disregarded, if they will; 

Enough for me, if having won the stake, 

I pray the Gods with us to keep it still. 

[Ea^it Clytemnestra. 


Oh, sacred Night, 

From whose unfathomable breast 

Creative Order formed and saw 

Chaos emerging into Law: 
And now, committed with Eternal Right, 
Who didst with star-entangled net invest 

[ 262 ] 


So close the guilty City as she slept. 
That when the bloody fisher came to draw, 
Not one of all the guilty fry through crept. 


Oh, Nemesis, 
Night's daughter! in whose bosoming abyss 
Secretly sitting by the Sinner's sleeve, 
Thou didst with self -confusion counterweave 
His plot; and when the fool his arrow sped. 

Thine after-shot didst only not dismiss 
Till certain not to miss the guilty head. 

III.^ (22) 

Oh, Sovereign Zeus 
Who, since the Titan dynasty went down 
Before thy coming, didst the single crown 
Of universal Deity concentrate 
On thy sole head ; and in the name of Fate 
Dost all begin, continue, terminate. 


Some think the Godhead, couching at his ease 
Deep in the purple Heav'ns, serenely sees 

^ This strophe is cancelled in some copies. Ed. 

[ 263 ] 


Insult the altar of Eternal Right. 

Fools ! For though Fortune seem to misrequitej 

And Retribution for awhile forget ; 

Sooner or later she reclaims the debt 
With usury that triples the amount 
Of Nemesis with running Time's account. 


For soon or late sardonic Fate 

With Man against himself conspires; 
Puts on the mask of his desires: 

Up the steps of Time elate 

Leads him blinded with his pride. 
And gathering as he goes along 
The fuel of his suicide: 
Until having topt the pyre 
Which Destiny permits no higher. 
Ambition sets himself on fire; 
In conflagration like the crime 
Conspicuous through the world and time, 
Down amidst his brazen walls 
The accumulated Idol falls 
To shapeless ashes ; Demigod 
Under the vulgar hoof down-trod, 
Whose neck he trod on; not an eye 

[ 264 ] 


To weep his fall, nor lip to sigh 

For him a prayer; or, if there were, (23) 

No God to listen, or reply. 


And as the son his father's guilt may rue ; 
And, by retort of justice, what the son 
Has sinn'd, may back upon the father run; 

So may the many help to pay the due 
Of guilt, remotely implicate with one. 

And as the tree 'neath which a felon cowers. 
With all its branch is blasted by the bolt 
Of Justice launch'd from heav'n at his revolt; 

Thus with old Priam, with his royal line. 
Kindred and people ; yea, the very towers 

They crouch'd in, built by masonry divine. 


Like a dream through sleep she glided 

Through the silent city gate. 
By a guilty Hermes guided 
On the feather'd feet of Theft; 
Leaving between those she left 
And those she fled to lighted discord, 

Unextinguishable hate ; 

Leaving him whom least she should, 

[ 265 ] 


Menelaus brave and good, 
Unbelieving in the mutter'd 
Rumour, in the worse than utter'd 

Omen of the wailing maidens. 
Of the shaken hoary head: 
Of deserted board and bed. 

For the phantom of the lost one 
Haunts him in the wonted places; 
Listening, looking, as he paces 

For a footstep on the floor, 

For a presence at the door; 
As he gazes in the faces 
(24) Of the marble mute Colossi, 

Each upon his marble throne ; 
Yearning gazes with his burning 

Eyes into those eyes of stone, 

Till the light dies from his own. 
But the silence of the chambers. 

And the shaken hoary head. 
And the voices of the mourning 
Women, and of ocean wailing, 
Over which with unavailing 
Arms he reaches, as to hail 
The phantom of a flying sail — 

All but answer. Fled! fled! fled! 

False! dishonour'd! worse than dead! 

[ 266 ] 



At last the sun goes down along the bay, 

And with him drags detested Day. 

He sleeps ; and, dream-like as she fled, beside 

His pillow. Dream indeed, behold ! the Bride 

Once more in more than bridal beauty stands; 

But, ever as he reaches forth his hands, 

Shps from them back into the viewless deep. 

On those soft silent wings that walk the ways of sleep. 


Not beside thee in the chamber, 

Menelaus, any more ; 
But with him she fled with, pillow'd 
On the summer sof tly-billow'd 
Ocean, into dimple wreathing 

Underneath a breeze of amber 
Air that, as from Eros breathing, 

Fiird the sail and flew before ; 
Floating on the summer seas 
Like some sweet Effigies 
Of Eirene's self, or sweeter 

Aphrodite, sweeter still : (26) 

With the Shepherd, from whose luckless 

Hand upon the Phrygian hill 

[ 267 ] 


Of the three Immortals She 

The fatal prize of Beauty bore. 
Floating with him o'er the foam 
She rose from, to the shepherd's home 

On the Ionian shore. 

Down from the City to the water-side 
Old Priam, with his princely retinue. 
By many a wondering Phrygian foUow'd, drew 

To welcome and bear in the Goddess-bride, 
Whom some propitious wind of Fortune blew 

From whence they knew not o'er the waters wide. 

Among the Trojan people to abide 

A pledge of Love and Peace for ever — Yes ; 

As he who drawing from the leopardess 

Her suckling cub, and, fascinated by 

The creature's velvet grace and lustrous eye. 

Takes home, for all to fondle and caress. 

And be the very darling of the house 

It makes a den of blood of by and by. 


For that wind that amber blew 

Tempest in its bosom drew ; 

Soon began to hiss and roar; 
[ 268 ] 


And the sweet Effigies 

That amber breeze and summer seas 

Had wafted to the Ionian shore, 

By swift metamorphosis 
Turn'd into some hideous, hated, 
Fury of Revenge, and fated 

Hierophant of Nemesis; 
Who, growing with the day and hour, ^^^^ 

Grasp'd the wall, and topp'd the tower. 
And, when the time came, by her throat 
The victim City seized and smote. 


But now to be resolv'd, whether indeed 
Those fires of Night spoke truly, or mistold 
To cheat a doating woman; for. Behold, 
Advancing from the shore with solemn speed, 

A Herald from the Fleet, his footsteps roU'd 
In dust. Haste's thirsty consort, but his brow 
Check-shadow'd with the nodding Olive-bough; 
Who shall interpret us the speechless sign 
Of the f ork'd tongue that preys upon the pine. 

Herald: Chorus. 

Oh, Fatherland of Argos, back to whom 

After ten years do I indeed return 

[ 269 ] 


Under the dawn of this auspicious day! 
Of all the parted anchors of lost Hope 
That this, depended least on, yet should hold; 
Amid so many men to me so dear 
About me dying, that myself exempt 
Return to live what yet of life remains 
Among my own; among my own at last 
To share the last communion of the Dead! 
Oh, welcome, welcome, welcome once again 
My own dear Country, and the light she draws 
From the benignant Heav'ns, and all the Gods 
Who guard her; Zeus Protector first of all; 
And Phoebus, by this all-restoring dawn 
Who heals the wounds his arrows deal so fast 
Beside Scamander; and not last nor least 
Among the Powers engaged upon our side, 
Hermes, the Herald's Patron, and his Pride; 
(27) Who, having brought me safely through the war, 
Now brings me back to tell the victory 
Into my own beloved country's ear ; 
Who, all the more by us, the more away. 
Beloved, will greet with Welcome no less dear 
This remnant of the unremorseful spear. 
And, oh, you kingly Colimans and Colossi, 
You Tribunes that affront the rising sun. 
If ever, now your marble foreheads gild 

[ 270 ] 


With the resplendent beam of rising day 
To welcome back your so long absent Lord; 
Who by Zeus' self directed to the spot 
Of Vengeance, and the special instrument 
Of Retribution put into his hands, 
Has undermined, uprooted, and destroyed. 
Till scarce one stone upon another stands. 
The famous Citadel, that, deeply cast 
For crime, has all the forfeit paid at last. 


Oh hail and welcome. Herald of good news! 
Welcome and hail ! and doubt not thy return 
As dear to us as thee. 


To me so dear, 
After so long despaired of, that, for fear 
Life's after-draught the present should belie, 
One might implore the Gods ev'n now to die ! 


Oh, your soul hunger'd after home! 

[ 271 ] 




So sore. 
That sudden satisfaction of once more 
Return weeps out its surfeit at my eyes. 

(^8) Chorus. 

And our's, you see, contagiously, no less 

The same long grief, and sudden joy, confess. 


What! Argos for her missing children yearned 
As they for her, then? 


Aye ; perhaps and more. 
Already pining with an inward sore. 

How so? 


Nay, Silence, that has best endured 
The pain, may best dismiss the memory. 


Ev'n so. For who, unless the God himself. 

Expects to live his life without a flaw? 

[ 272 ] 


Why, once begin to open that account, 

Might not we tell for ten good years to come 

All that we suifer'd in the ten gone by? 

Not the mere course and casualty of war, 

Alarum, March, Battle, and such hard knocks 

As foe with foe expects to give and take ; 

But all the complement of miseries 

That go to swell a long campaign's account. 

Cramm'd close aboard the ships, hard bed, hard board ; 

And worse perhaps encamp'd or foraging 

Ashore in winter ; if not from the walls. 

Pelted from Heav'n with rain and sleet, to couch 

Between the falling dews and rising damps 

That elf 'd the locks, and set the body fast 

With cramp and ague ; or to mend the matter (29) 

Good mother Ida from her winter top 

Flinging us down a coverlet of snow. 

Or worst perhaps in Summer, toiling in 

The bloody harvest-field of torrid sand. 

When not an air stirr'd the fierce Asian noon. 

And ev'n the sea sleep-sicken'd in his bed. 

But why lament the Past, as past it is? 

If idle for the Dead who feel no more. 

Idler for us to whom this blissful Dawn 

Shines doubly bright against the stormy Past; 

Who, after such predicament and toil, 

[ 273 ] 



Boast, once more standing on our mother soil, 

That Zeus, who sent us to revenge the crime 
Upon the guilty people, now recalls 
To hang their trophies on our temple walls 
For monumental heir-looms to all time. 


Oh, but Old age, however slow to learn. 
Not slow to learn, nor after you repeat. 
Lesson so welcome, Herald of the Fleet! 
But here is Clytemnestra ; be you first 
To bless her ears, as mine, with news so sweet. 

Clytemnestra: Herald: Chorus. 

I sang my Song of Triumph ere he came. 

Alone I sang it while the City slept. 

And these wise Senators, with winking eyes, 

Look'd grave, and weigh'd mistrustfully my word. 

As the light coinage of a woman's brain. 

And so they went their way. But not the less 

From those false fires, I lit my altar up. 

And, woman-wise, held on my song, until 

The City taking up the note from me. 

Scarce knowing why, about that altar flock'd, 

Where, like the Priest of Victory, I stood, 

[ 274 ] 


Torch-handed, drenching in triumphant wine (so) 

The flame that from the smouldering incense rose. 
Now what more needs ? This Herald of the Day- 
Adds but another witness to the night ; 
And I will hear no more from other lips. 
Till from my husband Agamemnon all. 
Whom with all honour I prepare to meet. 
Oh, to a loyal woman what so sweet 

As once more wide the gate of welcome fling 
To the lov'd Husband whom the Gods once more 

After long travail home triumphant bring; 
Where he shall find her, as he left before, 
Fixt like a trusty watchdog at the door. 
Tractable him-ward, but inveterate 
Against the doubtful stranger at the gate; 

And not a seal within the house but still 
Inviolate, under a woman's trust 
Incapable of taint as gold of rust. 

lE^vit Clytemnestra. 

Heeald: Chorus. 
A boast not misbeseeming a true woman. 


For then no boast at all. But she says well; 

And Time interprets all. Enough for us 

[ 275 ] 


To praise the Gods for Agamemnon's safe. 
And more than safe return. And Menelaus, 
The other half of Argos — What of him? 


Those that I most would gladden with good news, 

And on a day like this — with fair but false 

I dare not. 


What, must fair then needs be false? 

(31) Herald. 

Old man, the Gods grant somewhat, and withhold. 
As seems them good: a time there is for Praise, 
A time for Supplication: nor is it well 
To twit the celebration of their largess. 
Reminding them of something yet denied. 


Yet, till we know how much denied or granted. 
We know not how the balance to adjust 
Of Supplication or of Praise. 


The Herald who returns with downcast eyes. 

And leafless brow prophetic of Reverse, 

[ 276 ] 


Let him at once — at once let him, I say, 
Lay the whole burden of Ill-tidings down 
In the mid market-place. But why should one 
Returning with the garland on his brow 
Be stopt to name the single missing leaf 
Of which the Gods have stinted us? 



The putting of a fearful question by 

Is but to ill conjecture worse reply ! 

You bring not back then — do not leave behind — 

What Menelaus was? 


The Gods forbid! 
Safe shipp'd with all the host. 


Well but— how then? 

Surely no tempest — 

Herald. (32) 

Ay ! by that one word 
Hitting the centre of a boundless sorrow! 


Well, but if peradventure from the fleet 
Parted — not lost? 

[ 277 ] 



None but the eye of Day, 
Now woke, knows all the havoc of the night. 
For right it was; all safe aboard — sail set. 
And oars all beating home ; when suddenly, 
As if those old antagonists had sworn 
New strife between themselves for our destruction. 
The sea, that tamely let us mount its back, 
Began to roar and plunge under a lash 
Of tempest from the thundering heavens so fierce 
As, falling on our fluttering navy, some 
Scatter'd, or whirl'd away like flakes of foam ; 
Or, huddling wave on wave, so ship on ship 
Like fighting eagles on each other fell. 
And beak, and wing, and claws, entangled, tore 
To pieces one another, or dragg'd down. 
So when at last the tardy-rising Sun 
Survey'd, and show'd, the havoc night had done. 
We, whom some God — or Fortune's self, I think — 
Seizing the helm, had steer'd as man could not. 
Beheld the waste ^Egaean wilderness 
Strown with the shatter'd forest of the fleet. 
Trunk, branch, and foliage ; and yet worse, I ween. 
The flower of Argos floating dead between. 

Then we, scarce trusting in our own escape, 

[ 278 ] 


And saving such as yet had life to save, 

Along the heaving wilderness of wave 

Went ruminating, who of those we miss'd 

Might yet survive, who sunk; the saved, no doubt, (ss) 

As sadly speculating after us. 

Of whom, if Menelaus ; and the Sun, 

(A prayer which all the Gods in Heav'n fulfil!) 

Behold him on the water breathing still; 

Doubt not that Zeus, under whose special showers 

And suns the royal growth of Atreus' towers. 

Will not let perish stem, and branch, and fruit. 

By loss of one corroborating root. 


Oh, Helen, Helen, Helen! oh, fair name 
And fatal, of the fatal-fairest dame 

That ever blest or blinded human eyes! 
Of mortal women Queen beyond compare, 

As she whom the foam lifted to the skies 
Is Queen of all who breathe immortal air! 

Whoever, and from whatsoever wells 

Of Divination, drew the syllables 
By which we name thee ; who shall ever dare 
In after-time the fatal name to wear. 
Or would, to be so fatal, be so fair! 

[ 279 ] 


Whose dowry was a Husband's shame ; 

Whose nuptial torch was Troy in flame; 

Whose bridal Chorus, groans and cries; 

Whose banquet, brave men's obsequies; 

Whose Hymenasal retinue, 

The winged dogs of War that flew 

Over lands and over seas, 

Following the tainted breeze. 

Till, Scamander reed among. 

Their fiery breath and bloody tongue 

The fatal quarry found and slew; 

And, having done the work to which 

The god himself halloo'd them, back 

Return a maim'd and scatter'd pack. 

(34) II. 

And He for whose especial cause 
Zeus his winged instrument 

With the lightning in his claws 
From the throne of thunder sent: 

He for whom the sword was drawn ; 

Mountain ashes fell'd and sawn; 
And the armed host of Hellas 

Cramm'd within them, to discharge 

On the shore to bleed at large ; 

[ 280 ] 


He, in mid accomplishment 

Of Justice, from his glory rent! 

What ten years had hardly won, 

In a single night undone; 

And on earth what saved and gain'd. 

By the raven sea distrain'd. 


Such is the sorrow of this royal house; 

But none in all the City but forlorn 
Under its own peculiar sorrow bows. 
For the stern God, who, deaf to himaan love, 

Grudges the least abridgment of the tale 
Of human blood once pledg'd to him, above 
The centre of the murder-dealing crowd 

Suspends in air his sanguinary scale; 
And for the blooming Hero gone a-field 

Homeward remits a beggarly return 
Of empty helmet, fallen sword and shield. 

And some light ashes in a little urn. 


Then wild and high goes up the cry 
To heav'n, "So true! so brave! so fair! 
"The young colt of the flowing hair 

[ 281 ] 


"And flaming eye, and now — look there! 
(35) "Ashes and arms!" or, "Left behind 
"Unburied, in the sun and wind 
"To wither, or become the feast 
"Of bird obscene, or unclean beast; 
"The good, the brave, without a grave — 
"All to redeem her from the shame 
"To which she sold herself and name!" — 
For such insinuation in the dark 
About the City travels like a spark; 

Till the pent tempest into lightning breaks. 
And takes the topmost pinnacle for mark. 


But avaunt all evil omen! 
Perish many, so the State 
They die for live inviolate; 
Which, were all her mortal leafage 
In the blast of Ares scatter'd. 
So herself at heart unshatter'd, 
In due season she retrieves 
All her wasted wealth of leaves. 
And age on age shall spread and rise 
To cover earth and breathe the skies. 
While the rival at her side 

[ 282 ] 


AVho the wrath of Heav'n defied, 
By the lashing blast, or flashing 
Bolt of Heav'n comes thunder-crashing. 
Top and lop, and trunk and bough, 
Down, for ever down. And now. 
He to whom the Zeus of Vengeance 

Did commit the bolt of Fate — 
Agamemnon — ^how shall I, 
With a Psean not too high 
For mortal glory, to provoke 
From the Gods a counter-stroke; 
Nor below desert so lofty 

Suitably felicitate? 
Such as chasten'd Age for due (36) 

May give, and Manhood take for true. 
For, as many men comply 
From founts no deeper than the eye 

With other's sorrows ; many more. 
With a Welcome from the lips. 
That far the halting heart outstrips. 

Fortune's Idol fall before. 
Son of Atreus, I premise, 

When at first the means and manhood 
Of the Cities thou didst stake 
For a wanton woman's sake, 

I might grudge the sacrifice ; 

[ 283 ] 


But, the warfare once begun. 
Hardly fought and hardly won. 
Now from Glory's overflowing 
Horn of Welcome all her glowing 

Honours, and with uninvidious 
Hand, before your advent throwing, 
I salute, and bid thee welcome. 
Son of Atreus, Agamemnon, 
Zeus' revenging Right-hand, Lord 

Of taken Troy and righted Greece; 
Bid thee from the roving throne 

Of War the reeking steed release; 
Leave the laurel'd ship to ride 
Anchor'd in her country's side. 
And resume the throne and helm 
Of thy long-abandon'd realm: 
What about the State or Throne 
Of good or evil since has grown. 

Alter, cancel, or complete; 
And to well or evil-doer, 

Evenhanded Justice mete. 

[ 284 ] 


Enter Agamemnon in his chariot, Cassandra cs?; 

follovnng in another. 

at his side . 

Agamemnon: Chorus, etc. 


First, as first due, my Country I salute, 

And all her tutelary gods ; all those 

Who, having sent me forth, now bring me back, 

After full retribution wrought on those 

Who retribution owed us, and the Gods 

In full consistory determined; each. 

With scarce a swerving eye to Mercy's side, 

Dropping his vote into the urn of blood. 

Caught and consuming in whose fiery wrath. 

The stately City, from her panting ashes 

Into the face of the revolting heavens 

E'en now fat gusts of opulence puffs up. 

For which, I say, the Gods alone be thank'd ; 

By whose connivance round about the wall 

We drew the belt of Ares, and laid bare 

The flank of Ilium to the Lion-horse, 

Who sprung by night over the city wall. 

And foal'd his iron progeny within. 

About the setting of the Pleiades. 

Thus much by way of prelude to the Gods. 

[ 285 ] 


For you, oh white-hair'd senators of Argos, 
Your measur'd Welcome I receive for just; 
Aware on what a tickle base of fortune 
The monument of human Glory stands; 
And, for humane congratulation, knowing 
How, smile as may the mask, the man behind 
Frets at the fortune that degrades his own. 
This, having heard of from the wise, myself. 
From long experience in the ways of men. 
Can vouch for — what a shadow of a shade 
Is human loyalty; and, as a proof, 
(38) Of all the Host that filFd the Grecian ship. 
And pour'd at large along the field of Troy, 
One only Chief — and he, too, like yourself. 
At first with little stomach for the cause — 
The wise Odysseus — once in harness, he 
With all his might pulFd in the yoke with me. 
Through envy, obloquy, and opposition : 
And in Odysseus' honour, live or dead — 
For yet we know not which — shall this be said. 
Of this enough. For other things of moment 
To which you point, or human or divine. 
We shall forthwith consider and adjudge 
In seasonable session; what is well. 
Or in our absence well deserving, well 
Establish and requite; what not, redress 

[ 286 ] 


With salutary caution; or, if need, 
With the sharp edge of Justice ; and to health 
Restore, and right, our ailing Commonwealth. 
Now, first of all, by my own altar-hearth 
To thank the Gods for my return, and pray 
That Victory, which thus far by my side 
Has flown with us, with us may still abide. 

Enter Clytemnestra from the Palace, 

Clytemnestra: Agamemnon: Chorus, etc. 


You Men of Argos, 

Men of Myceneo , count it not a shame 

If a fond wife, and one whom riper years 

From Youth's becoming bashf ulness excuse, 

Dares own her love before the face of men; 

Nor leaving it for others to enhance. 

Simply declares the wretched widowhood 

Which these ten years she has endured, since first 

Her husband Agamemnon went to Troy. 

'Tis no light matter, let me tell you, Sirs, (39) 

A woman left in charge of house and home — 

And when that house and home a Kingdom — and 

She left alone to rule it — and ten years! 

Beside dissent and discontent at home, 

Storm'd from abroad with contrary reports, 

[ 287 ] 


Now fair, now foul; but still as time wore on 

Growing more desperate; as dangerous 

Unto the widow'd kingdom as herself. 

Why, had my husband there but half the wounds 

Fame stabb'd him with, he were before me now, 

Not the whole man we see him, but a body 

Gash'd into network; aye, or, had he died 

But half as often as Report gave out. 

He would have needed thrice the cloak of earth 

To cover him that triple Geryon 

Lies buried under in the world below. 

Thus, back and forward baffled, and at last 

So desperate — that, if I be here alive 

To tell the tale, no thanks to me for that. 

Whose hands had twisted round my neck the noose 

Which others loosen'd — ^my Orestes too. 

In whose expanding manhood day by day 

My Husband I perused — and, by the way. 

Whom wonder not, my Lord, not seeing here; 

My simple mother-love, and jealousy 

Of civil treason — ever, as you know, 

Most apt to kindle, when the lord away — 

Having bestow'd him, out of danger's reach, 

With Strophius of Phocis, wholly yours 

Bound by the generous usages of war. 

That make the once-won foe so fast a friend. 

[ 288 ] 


Thus, widow'd of my son as of his sire, 

No wonder if I wept — not drops, but showers. 

The ten years' night through which I watch'd in vain 

The star that was to bring him back to me ; 

Or, if I slept, so thin a sleep as scared 

Ev'n at the slight alarum of the gnat; (^o) 

And yet more thick with visionary terrors 

Than thrice the waking while had occupied. 

Well, I have borne all this: all this have borne. 

Without a grudge against the wanderer, 

Whose now return makes more than rich amends 

For all his wretched absence — ^Agamemnon, 

My Lord and Husband ; Lord of Argos ; Troy's 

Conf ounder ; Mainstay of the realm of Greece ; 

And Master-column of the house of Atreus — 

Oh, wonder not that I accimiulate 

All honour and endearment on his head! 

If to his country, how much more to me, 

Welcome, as land to sailors long at sea, 

Or water in the desert; whose return 

Is fire to the forsaken winter-hearth; 

Whose presence, like the rooted Household Tree 

That, winter-dead so long, puts forth anew 

To shield us from the Dogstar, what time Zeus 

Wrings the tart vintage into blissful juice. 

Down from the chariot thou standest in, 

[ 289 ] 


Crown'd with the flaming towers of Troy, descend, 

And to this palace, rich indeed with thee, 

But beggar-poor without, return! And ye. 

My women, carpet all the way before. 

From the triumphal carriage to the door. 

With all the gold and purple in the chest 

Stor'd these ten years; and to what purpose stor'd. 
Unless to strow the footsteps of their Lord 
Returning to his unexpected rest! 


Daughter of Leda, Mistress of my house. 
Beware lest loving Welcome of thy Lord, 
Measuring itself by his protracted absence. 
Exceed the bound of rightful compliment. 
And better left to other lips than thine. 
(41) Address me not, address me not, I say 
With dust-adoring adulation, meeter 
For some barbarian Despot from his slave; 
Nor with invidious Purple strew my way. 
Fit only for the footstep of a God 
Lighting from heav'n to earth. Let whoso will 
Trample their glories underfoot, not I. 
Woman, I charge you, honour me no more 
Than as the man I am ; if honour-worth. 

Needing no other trapping but the fame 

[ 290 ] 


Of the good deed I clothe myself withal; 
And knowing that, of all their gifts to man, 
No greater gift than Self -sobriety 
The Gods vouchsafe him in the race of life: 
Which, after thus far running, if I reach 
The goal in peace, it shall be well for me. 


Why, how think you old Priam would have walk'd 
Had he retum'd to Troy your conqueror. 
As you to Hellas his? 


What then? Perhaps 
Voluptuary Asiatic-like, 
On gold and purple. 


Well, and grudging this. 
When all that out before your footstep flows 
Ebbs back into the treasury again; 
Think how much more, had Fate the tables tum'd, 
Irrevocably from those coffers gone. 
For those barbarian feet to walk upon, 
To buy your ransom back? 

[ 291 ] 



(42) Agamemnon. 

Enough, enough! 
I know my reason. 


What! the jealous God? 
Or, peradventure, yet more envious Man? 

And that of no small moment. 


No; the one 
Sure proof of having won what others strive for. 

No matter — strife but ill becomes a woman. 


And frank submission to her simple wish 
How well becomes the Soldier in his strength? 

And I must then submit? 

[ 292 ] 



Aye, Agamemnon, 
I prithee let me have my way for once. 


But not till I have put these sandals off, 

That, slave-like, too officiously would pander 

Between the purple and my dainty feet. 

For fear, for fear indeed, some Jealous eye 

From heav n above, or earth below, should strike 

The Man who walks the earth Immortal-like. 

So much for that. For this same royal maid, (43) 

Cassandra, daughter of King Priamus; 

And whom, as flower of all the spoil of Troy, 

The host of Hellas dedicates to me; 

Entreat her gently; knowing well that none 

But submit hardly to a foreign yoke; 

And those of Royal blood most hardly broke. 

That if I sin thus trampling underfoot 

A woof like that in which the Heav ns are dyed. 
The jealous God may less resent his crime. 

Who mingles human mercy with his pride. 


The Sea there is, and shall the sea be dried? 
Fount inexhaustibler of purple grain 

[ 293 ] 


Than all the wardrobes of the World could drain; 
And Earth there is, whose dusky closets hide 

The precious metal wherewith not in vain 
The Gods themselves this Royal house provide; 
For what occasion worthier, or more meet. 
Than now to carpet the victorious feet 
Of Him who, thus far having done their will, 
Shall now their last About-to-be fulfil. 

[Agamemnon descends from his chariot, and goes with 
Clytemnestra into the house, Cassandra remaining 
where she was.^ 


About the nations runs a saw, 

That Over-good ill-fortune breeds; 

And true that by the mortal law, 
Fortune her spoilt children feeds 
To surfeit, such as sows the seeds 

Of Insolence, that, as it grows, 

The flower of Self -repentance blows. 
(44) And true that Virtue often leaves 

The marble walls and roofs of kings, 

And underneath the poor man's eaves 

On smoky rafter folds her wings. 
[ 294 ] 



Thus the famous City, flown 
With insolence, and overgrown. 
Is humbled : all her splendour blown 
To smoke: her glory laid in dust; 
Who shall say by doom unjust? 
But should He to whom the wrong 
Was done, and Zeus himself made strong 
To do the vengeance he decreed — 
At last returning with the meed 

He wrought for — should the jealous eye 

That blights full-blown prosperity 
Pursue him — then indeed, indeed, 
Man should hoot and scare aloof 
Good-fortune lighting on the roof; 
Yea, even Virtue's self forsake 
If Glory f oUow'd in the wake ; 
Seeing bravest, best, and wisest 

But the playthings of a day, 
Which a shadow can trip over. 

And a breath can puff away. 

Clytemnestba (re-entering). 

Yet for a moment let me look on her — 

This, then, is Priam's daughter — 

[ m ] 


Cassandra, and a Prophetess, whom Zeus 
Has giv'n into my hands to minister 
Among my slaves. Didst thou prophecy that? 
Well — some more famous have so f all'n before — 
Ev'n Herakles, the son of Zeus, they say 
Was sold, and bow'd his shoulder to the yoke. 

(45) Chorus. 

And, if needs must a captive, better far 
Of some old house that affluent Time himself 
Has taught the measure of prosperity. 
Than drunk with sudden superfluity. 


Ev'n so. You hear? Therefore at once descend 
From that triumphal chariot — ^And yet 
She keeps her station still, her laurel on, 
Disdaining to make answer. 


Nay, perhaps. 
Like some stray swallow blown across the sea, 
Interpreting no twitter but her own. 


But, if barbarian, still interpreting 

The universal language of the hand. 

[ 296 ] 



Which yet again she does not seem to see. 

Staring before her with wide-open eyes 

As in a trance. 


Aye, aye, a prophetess — 
Wench of Apollo once, and now — the King's! 
A time will come for her. See you to it: 

A greater business now is on my hands: 
For lo ! the fire of Sacrifice is lit. 

And the grand victim by the altar stands. 

[Ea^it Clytemnestra. 

Chorus (continuing). (46) 

Still a mutter'd and half -blind 

Superstition haunts mankind. 
That by some divine decree 

Yet by mortal undivin'd 

Mortal Fortune must not over- 
Leap the bound he cannot see; 

For that even wisest labour 
Lofty-building, builds to fall, 

Evermore a jealous neighbour 
Undermining floor and wall. 

So that on the smoothest water 

[ 297 ] 


Sailing, in a cloudless sky, 
The wary merchant overboard 
Flings something of his precious hoard 

To pacify the jealous eye, 
That will not suffer man to swell 
Over human measure. Well, 
As the Gods have order'd we 
Must take — I know not — ^let it be. 
But, by rule of retribution. 

Hidden, too, from human eyes. 
Fortune in her revolution. 

If she fall, shall fall to rise; 
And the hand of Zeus dispenses 

Even measure in the main: 
One short harvest recompenses 

With a glut of golden grain; 
So but men in patience wait 

Fortune's counter-revolution 
Axled on eternal Fate; 
And the Sisters three that twine. 
Cut not short, the vital line ; 
For indeed the purple seed 
Of life once shed — 

(47) Cassandra. 

Phoebus Apollo! 

[ 298 ] 



The lips at last unlocking. 


Phoebus! Phoebus! 


Well, what of Phoebus, maiden? though a name 
'Tis but disparagement to call upon 
In misery. 


Apollo! Apollo! Again! 
Oh, the burning arrow through the brain! 
Phoebus Apollo! Apollo! 


Possess'd indeed — whether by — 


Phoebus! Phoebus! 
Thorough trampled ashes, blood, and fiery rain, 
Over water seething, and behind the breathing 

[ 299 ] 


Warhorse in the darkness — till you rose again — 
Took the helm — took the rein — 


As one that half asleep at dawn recalls 
A night of Horror! 


Hither, whither, Phoebus? And with whom. 
Leading me, lighting me — 

(48) Chorus. 

I can answer that — 


Down to what slaughter-house! 
Foh! the smell of carnage through the door 
Scares me from it — drags me tow'rd it — 
Phoebus! Apollo! Apollo! 


One of the dismal prophet-pack, it seems, 
That hunt the trail of blood. But here at fault — 
This is no den of slaughter, but the house 
Of Agamemnon. 

[ 300 ] 




Down upon the towers 
Phantoms of two mangled Children hover — and a f am- 

ish'd man, 
At an empty table glaring, seizes and devours! 


Thyestes and his children! Strange enough 

For any maiden from abroad to know. 

Or, knowing — 


And look! in the chamber below 
The terrible Woman, listening, watching, 
Under a mask, preparing the blow 
In the fold of her robe — 


Nay, but again at fault: 

For in the tragic story of this House — 

Unless, indeed, the fatal Helen — 

No woman — 

Cassandra. ^^g^ 

No Woman — Tisiphone! Daughter 
Of Tartarus — love-grinning Woman above, 
Dragon-tail'd under — honey-tongued, Harpy-claw'd, 

[ 301 ] 


Into the glittering meshes of slaughter 

She wheedles, entices, him into the poisonous 

Fold of the serpent — 


Peace, mad woman, peace! 
Whose stony lips once open vomit out 
Such uncouth horrors. 


I tell you the lioness 
Slaughters the Lion asleep; and lifting 
Her blood-dripping fangs buried deep in his mane. 
Glaring about her insatiable, bellowing 
Bounds hither — Phoebus, Apollo, Apollo, Apollo! 
Whither have you led me, under night alive with fire. 
Through the trampled ashes of the city of my sire. 
From my slaughtered kinsmen, fallen throne, insulted 

Slave-like to be butcher'd led the daughter of a Royal 

line ! 


And so returning, like a nightingale 
Returning to the passionate note of woe 
By which the silence first was broken! 

[ 302 ] 



A nightingale, a nightingale, indeed. 
That, as she "Itys! Itys! Itys!" so 
I "Helen I Helen! Helen!" having sung 
Amid my people, now to those who flung 
And trampled on the nest, and slew the young (50) 

Keep crying "Blood! blood! blood!" and none will heed! 
Now what for me is this prophetic weed. 
And what for me is this immortal crown. 
Who like a wild swan from Scamander's reed 
Chaunting her death-song float Cocytus-down? 
Here let them like myself to perish lie! 
To perish, or enrich some other brow 
With that all-fatal gift of Prophecy 
They palpitated under Him, who now, 
Checking his flaming chariot in mid sky. 
With divine irony sees disadorn 
The wretch his love has made the people's scorn. 
The raving quean, the mountebank, the scold. 
Who, wrapt up in the ruin she foretold 
With those who would not listen, now descends 
To that dark kingdom where his empire ends. 

[ 80S ] 



Strange that Apollo should the laurel wreath 
Of Prophecy he erown'd your head withal 
Himself disgrace. But something have we heard 
Of some divine revenge for slighted love. 


Aye — and as if in malice to attest 

With one expiring beam of Second-sight 
Wherewith his victim he has curs'd and blest, 
Ere quencht for ever in descending night; 
As from behind a veil no longer peeps 
The Bride of Truth, nor from their hidden deeps 
Darkle the waves of Prophecy, but run 
Clear from the very fountain of the Sun. 
Ye caird — and rightly call'd me — bloodhound ; ye 
That like old lagging dogs in self -despite 
(51) Must follow up the scent with me ; with me, 
Who having smelt the blood about this house 
Already spilt, now bark of more to be. 
For, though you hear them not, the infernal Choir 
Whose dread antiphony forswears the lyre. 
Who now are chaunting of that grim carouse 
Of blood with which the Children fed their Sire, 

[ S04 ] 


Shall never from their dreadful chorus stop 
Till all be counter-pledg'd to the last drop. 


Hinting at what indeed has long been done, 
And widely spoken, no Apollo needs; 
And for what else you aim at — still in dark 
And mystic language — 


Nay, then, in the speech. 
She that reproved me was so glib to teach — 
Before yon Sun a hand's-breadth in the skies 
He moves in shall have moved, those age-sick eyes 
Shall open wide on Agamemnon slain 
Before your very feet. Now, speak I plain? 

Blasphemer, hush! 


Aye, hush the mouth you may. 
But not the murder. 

Murder! But the Gods — 

[ 305 ] 




The Gods! 

Who now abet the bloody work within! 

(52) Chorus. 

Woman! — The Gods! — Abet with whom? — 


With Her, 
Who brandishing aloft the axe of doom, 

That just has laid one victim at her feet. 
Looks round her for that other, without whom 

The banquet of revenge were incomplete. 

Yet ere I fall will I prelude the strain 

Of Triumph, that in full I shall repeat 

When, looking from the twilight Underland, 

I welcome Her as she descends amain, 

Gash'd like myself, but by a dearer hand. 

For that old murder'd Lion with me slain. 

Rolling an awful eyebrow through the gloom 

He stalks about of Hades up to Day, 

Shall rouse the whelp of exile far away. 

His only authentic offspring, ere the grim 

Wolf crept between his Lioness and him; 

Who, with one stroke of Retribution, her 

[ 306 ] 


Who did the deed, and her adulterer, 
Shall drive to hell; and then, himself pursued 
By the wing'd Furies of his Mother's blood. 
Shall drag about the yoke of Madness, till 
Releast, when Nemesis has gorg'd her fill. 
By that same God, in whose prophetic ray 
Viewing To-morrow mirror'd as To-day, 
And that this House of Atreus the same wine 
Themselves must drink they brew'd for me and mine; 
I close my lips for ever with one prayer. 
That the dark Warder of the World below 


Would open the portal at a single blow. 

Chorus. (53) 

And the raving voice, that rose 

Out of silence into speech 

Out-ascending human reach. 
Back to silence foams and blows. 

Leaving all my bosom heaving — 
Wrath and raving all, one knows ; 
Prophet-seeming, but if ever 

Of the Prophet-God possest. 

By the Prophet's self conf est 

God-abandon'd — woman's shrill 

Anguish into tempest rising, 
[ 307 ] 


Louder as less listened. 

Spite of Reason, spite of Will, 
What unwelcome, what unholy 
Vapour of prognostic, slowly 
Rising from the central soul's 
Recesses, all in darkness rolls? 
What! shall Age's torpid ashes 
Kindle at the random spark 
Of a raving maiden? Hark! 
What was that behind the wall? 
A heavy blow — a groan — a f all^— 
Some one crying — Listen further — 
Hark again then, crying "Murder!" — 
Some one — who then? Agamemnon! 
Agamemnon ? — Hark again ! 
Murder! murder! murder! murder! 
Help without there ! Rouse the people ! 
Break the doors in! — 


{Appearing from within, where lies Agamemnon dead. ) ^ 

Spare your pain. 
Look! I who but just now before you all 

^ Hermann says, "Tractis tahulatis" — the scene drawing — "conspici- 
tur Clytemnestra in conclavi stans ad corpus Agamemnonis." 

[ 308 ] 


Boasted of loyal wedlock unashamed, 
Now unashamed dare boast the contrary. 
Why, how else should one compass the defeat 
Of him who underhand contrives one's own. 
Unless by such a snare of circumstance 
As, once enmesht, he never should break through? 
The blow now struck was not the random blow 
Of sudden passion, but with slow device 
Prepared, and levelFd with the hand of time. 
I say it who devised it; I who did; 
And now stand here to face the consequence. 

Aye, in a deadlier web than of the loom 

Ay e » in the fatal m e shes of that loom 

In whose blood-purple he divined his doom. 

And fear'd to walk upon, but walk'd at last. 

Entangling him inextricably fast, 

I smote him, and he bellow'd ; and again 

I smote, and with a groan his knees gave way; 

And, as he fell before me, with a third 

And last libation from the deadly mace 

I crown'd the cup of complement to Hades, 

The subterranean Saviour — of the Dead! 

At which he spouted up the Ghost in such 

A burst of purple as, bespatter'd with. 

No less did I rejoice than the green ear 

Rejoices in the largess of the skies 

That fleeting Iris follows as it flies. 

[ 309 ] 



Oh woman, woman, woman! 
By what accursed root or weed 
(55) Of Earth, or Sea, or Hell, inflamed, 
Dar'st stand before us unashamed 
And, daring do, dare glory in the deed! 


Oh, I that dream'd the fall of Troy, as you 

Belike of Troy's destroyer. Dream or not. 

Here lies your King — ^my Husband — Agamemnon, 

Slain by this right hand's righteous handicraft. 

Like you, or like it not, alike to me; 

To me alike whether or not you share 

In making due libation over this 

Great Sacrifice — if ever due, from him 

Who, having charg'd so deep a bowl of blood. 

Himself is f orc'd to drain it to the dregs. 


Woman, what bowl of blood but that of Troy, 
Which the just God himself prepared and filled. 
And gave him to administer? And now, 
Over his murder'd body, Thou 
Talk of libation 1— Thou ! Thou I Thou ! 

[ 310 ] 


But mark! Not thine of sacred wine 
Over his head, but ours on thine 
Of curse, and groan, and torn-up stone, 
To slay or storm thee from the gate. 
The City's curse, the People's hate, 
Execrate, exterminate — 


Aye, aye, to me how lightly you adjudge 

Exile or death, and never had a word 

Of counter-condemnation for Him there — 

Who, when the field throve with the proper flock 

For Sacrifice, forsooth let be the beast. 

And with his own hand his own innocent 

Blood, and the darling passion of my womb — 

Her slew — to lull a peevish wind of Thrace 

And him who curs'd the city with that crime (56) 

You hail with acclamation ; but on me 

Who only do the work you should have done. 

You turn the edged axe of condemnation. 

Well; threaten you, I take the challenge up; 

Here stand we face to face; win Thou the game. 

And take the stake you aim at; but if I — 

Then, by the Godhead that for me decides. 

Another lesson you shall learn, though late. 

[ sn ] 



Man-mettled evermore, and now 
Manslaughter-madden'd ! Shameless brow! 
But do you think us deaf and blind 

Not to know, and long ago. 
What Passion under all the prate 
Of holy Justice made thee hate 
Where Love was due, and love where — 


Nay, then, hear! 
By this dead Husband, and the reconciled 
Avenging Fury of my slaughter'd child, 
I swear I will not walk the house in fear 
While he that holds me, as I hold him, dear, 
Kindles his fire upon this hearth : my fast 
Shield for the time to come, as of the past. 
Yonder lies he that in the honey'd arms 
Of his Chryseides under Troy walls 
Dishonour'd mine : and this last laurell'd wench. 
This prophet-messmate of the rower's bench, 


Thus far in glory his, with him along 

Shall go, together chaunting one death-song, 

To Hades — fitting garnish for the feast 

Of blood which these avenging hands have drest. 

[ 312 ] 


Chorus. (67) 

Woe, woe, woe, woe! 
That death as sudden as the blow 
That laid Thee low would me lay low 
Where low thou liest, my sovereign Lord! 
Who ten years to Trojan sword 
Devoted, and to storm aboard, 

In one ill woman's cause accurst, 
Liest slain before thy palace door 

By one accursedest and worst! 


Call not on Death, old man, that calFd or no. 

Comes quick; nor spend your ebbing breath on me, 
Nor Helena : who but as arrows be 

Shot by the hidden hand that holds the bow. 


Alas, alas! The Curse I know 

That round the House of Atreus clings; 

About the roof, about the walls. 
Shrouds it with his sable wings ; 

And still as each new victim falls, 

Ungorg'd with kingly gore, 
[ 313 ] 


Down on the bleeding carcase flings, 
And croaks for "More, more, morel" 


Aye, now, indeed, you harp on likelier strings. 
Not I, nor Helen, but that terrible 
Alastor of old Tantalus in Hell; 
Who, one sole actor in the scene begun 
By him, and carried down from sire to son. 

The mask of Victim and Avenger shifts: 
And, for a last catastrophe, that grim 

Guest of the abominable banquet lifts 
(68) His head from Hell, and in my person cries 
For one full-grown sufficient sacrifice. 

Requital of the feast prepared for him 
Of his own flesh and blood — And there it lies. 


Oh, Agamemnon! Oh, my Lord! 

Who, after ten years toil'd; 
After barbarian lance and sword 

Encounter'd, fought, and foiFd; 
Returning with the just award 

Of Glory, thus inglorious by 

Thine own domestic Altar die, 

[ 314 ] 



Fast in the spider-meshes coil'd 
Of Treason most abhorr'd! 


And by what retribution more complete, 

Than, having in the meshes of deceit 

Enticed my child, and slain her like a fawn 

Upon the altar; to that altar drawn 

Himself, like an unconscious beast, full-fed ^ 

With Conquest, and the garland on his head. 

Was slain; and now, gone down among the Ghost, 

Of taken Troy indeed may make the most. 

But not one unrequited murder boast. 


Oh, Agamemnon, dead, dead, dead, dead, dead! 

What hand, what pious hand shall wash the wound 
Through which the sacred spirit ebb'd and fled ! 

With reverend care compose, and to the ground 
Commit the mangled form of Majesty, 

And pour the due libation o'er the mound! 


This hand, that struck the guilty life away. 
The guiltless carcase in the dust shall lay (59) 

With due solemnities: and if with no 
Mock tears, or howling counterfeit of woe, 

[ 815 ] 


On this side earth; perhaps the innocent maid. 
Whom with paternal love he sent before, 
Meeting him by the melancholy shore, 
Her arms about him with a kiss shall throw. 
And lead him to his throne among the Shade. 


Alas! alas! the fatal rent 

Which through the house of Atreus went, 


Gapes again ; a bloody rain 
Sweats the marble floor, and falls 
From the tottering roof and walls. 
The Daemon heaving under; gone 
The master-prop they rested on; 
And the storm once more awake 

Of Nemesis; of Nemesis 
Whose fury who shall slake! 


Ev'n I ; who by this last grand victim hope 

The tower of Retribution so to cope, 

That — and methinks I hear him in the deep 

Beneath us growling tow'rd his rest — the stern 

Alastor to some other roof may turn, 

Leaving us here at last in peace to keep 

What of life's harvest yet remains to reap. 

[ 316 ] 



Thou to talk of reaping Peace 

Who sowest Murder! Woman, cease! 

And, despite that iron face — 

Iron as the bloody mace 

Thou bearest — boasting as if Vengeance 

Centred in that hand alone; 
Know that Fury pledg'd to Fury, (eo) 

Vengeance owes himself the debts 
He makes, and while he serves thee, whets 

His knife upon another stone, 
Against thyself, and him with thee 
Colleaguing, as you boast to be. 
The tools of Fate. But Fate is Zeus; 
Zeus — who for a while permitting 

Sin to prosper in his name. 
Shall vindicate his own abuse ; 
And having brought his secret thought 

To light, shall break and fling to shame 
The baser tools with which he wrought. 

iEoiSTHus: Clytemnestra: Chorus. 

All hail, thou daybreak of my just revenge! 
In which, as waking from injurious sleep, 

[ 317 ] 


Methinks I recognize the Gods enthroned 
In the bright conclave of eternal Justice, 
Revindicate the wrongs of man to man! 
For see this man — so dear to me now dead^ — 
Caught in the very meshes of the snare 
By which his father Atreus netted mine. 
For that same Atreus surely, was it not? 
Who, when the question came of, Whose the throne? 
His younger brother out from Argos drove, 
My sire — Thyestes — drove him like a wolf. 
Keeping his cubs — save one — to better purpose. 
For when at last the home-heartbroken man 
Crept humbly back again, craving no more 
Of his own country than to walk its soil 
In liberty, and of her fruits as much 
As not to starve withal — the savage King, 
With damnable alacrity of hate. 
And reconciliation of revenge. 
Bade him, all smiles, to supper — such a supper, 
Where the prime dainty was — ^my brother's flesh, 
(61) So maim'd and dipt of human likelihood, 
That the unsuspecting Father, light of heart. 
And quick of appetite, at once fell to. 
And ate — ate — what, with savage irony 
As soon as eaten, told — ^the wretched man 
Disgorging with a shriek, down to the ground 

[ 318 ] 


The table with its curst utensil dashed, 
And, grinding into pieces with his heel. 
Cried, loud enough for Heav'n and Hell to hear, 
"Thus perish all the race of Pleisthenes !" 
And now behold! the son of that same Atreus 
By me the son of that Thyestes slain 
Whom the kind brother, sparing from the cook, 
Had with his victim pack'd to banishment ; 
Where Xemesis — (so sinners from some nook. 
Whence least they think assailable, assailed) — 
Rear'd me from infancy till fully grown. 
To claim in full my father's bloody due. 
Aye, I it was — none other — far away 
Who spun the thread, which gathering day by day 
Mesh after mesh, inch upon inch, at last 
Reach'd him, and wound about him, as he lay, 
And in the supper of his smoking Troy 
Devour'd his own destruction — scarce condign 
Return for that his Father f orc'd on mine. 


iEgisthus, only creatures of base breed 
Insult the fallen ; f alFn too, as you boast. 
By one who plann'd but dared not do the deed. 
This is your hour of triumph. But take heed ; 
The blood of Atreus is not all outrun 

[ 319 ] 


With this slain King, but flowing in a son, 
Who, saved by such an exile as your own 
For such a counter-retribution — 

(62) ^Egisthus. 


You then, the nether benchers of the realm. 
Dare open tongue on those who rule the helm? 
Take heed yourselves; for, old and dull of wit. 
And harden'd as your mouth against the bit. 
Be wise in time ; kick not against the spurs ; 
Remembering Princes are shrewd taskmasters. 


Beware thyself, bewaring me ; 
Remembering that, too sharply stirred, 
The spurrer need beware the spurred; 
As thou of me; whose single word 
Shall rouse the City — yea, the very 

Stones you walk upon, in thunder 
Gathering o'er your head, to bury 

Thee and thine accomplice under! 


Raven, that with croaking jaws 
Unorphean, undivine, 

[ 320 ] 


After you no City draws ; 

And if any vengeance, mine 
Upon your withered shoulders — 


Who daring not to strike the blow 
Thy worse than woman-craft designed. 
To worse than woman — 


Soldiers, ho! 


Softly, good iEgisthus, softly; let the sword that has so 

Drunk of righteous Retribution now within the scabbard 

sleep ; 
And if Nemesis be sated with the blood already spilt, 
Even so let us, nor carry lawful Justice into guilt. 
Sheath your sword; dismiss your spears; and you. Old 

men, your howling cease, 
And, ere ill blood come to running, each unto his home in 

Recognizing what is done for done indeed, as done it is, 

[ 321 ] 


And husbanding your scanty breath to pray that nothing 
more amiss. 

Farewell. Meanwhile, you and I, ^gisthus, shall de- 

When the storm is blowing over, how to settle House and 

[Note. — The alterations in the text are found in FitzGerald's auto- 
graph in all copies of this edition known to me. Ed.] 

[ S22 ] 





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