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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. 

No. OS' 














Copyright, 1902, by 
William Patten. 




TION ix 






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[The biography of Omar Khayyam prefixed to the third edition of 
the "Rubaiyat" (1873) and to the posthumous edition (1889) are 
the same as that printed in the second edition (1868) — save that 
the anecdote quoted from Nicolas * is omitted, and the following 
paragraph is substituted for the final one] — 

However, as there is some traditional presumption, and 
certainly the opinion of some learned men, in favour of 
Omar's being a Siifi — and even something of a Saint — 
those who please may so interpret his Wine and Cup- 
bearer. On the other hand, as there is far more historical 
certainty of his being a Philosopher, of scientific Insight 
and Ability far beyond that of the Age and Country he 
lived in; of such moderate worldly Ambition as becomes 
a Philosopher, and such moderate wants as rarely satisfy 
a Debauchee ; other readers may be content to believe with 
me that, while the Wine Omar celebrates is simply the 
Juice of the Grape, he bragged more than he drank of it, 
in very defiance perhaps of that Spiritual Wine which 
left its Votaries sunk in Hypocrisy or Disgust. 
*Vol. II. p. 16-17. 

[ 11 ] 



I Wake! For the Sun, who scatter'd into flight 
The Stars before him from the Field of Night, 

Drives Night along with them from Heav n, and 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 nods 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. 

[ 13 ] 


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 kindles in 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 hers 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 Naishapiir or Babylon, (s) 

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 Each Mom a thousand Roses brings, you say; 
Yes, but where leaves the Rose of Yesterday? 

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

* But still a Ruby gushes from the Vine. (Third edition.) 

[ 1* ] 



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

Let Zal and Rustum bluster as they will,* 
Or Hatim call 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 A Book of Verses underneath the Bough, (4) 

A Jug of Wine, a Loaf of Bread — 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 Credit go, 
Nor heed the rumble of a distant Drum! 

XIV 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." 

* Let Zal and Rustum thunder as they will. (Third edition.) 

[ 15 ] 

kSSon rubaiyat of 

XV And 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. 

XVI The Worldly Hope men set their Hearts upon (5) 
Turns Ashes — or it prospers; and anon, 

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

XVII Think, in this batter'd Caravanserai 

Whose Portals are alternate Night and Day, 
How Sultan after Sultan with his Pomp 
Abode his destined Hour, and went his way. 

XVIII They say the Lion and the Lizard keep 

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. 

XIX I sometimes think that never blows so red 
The Rose as where some buried Caesar bled ; 
That every Hyacinth the Garden wears 
Dropt in her Lap from some once lovely Head. 

* Lighting a little hour or two — was gone. (Third and Fourth 

[ 16 ] 



XX And this reviving Herb whose tender Green (6) 

Fledges the River-Lip on which we lean — 
Ah, lean upon it lightly! for who knows 
From what once lovely Lip it springs unseen ! 

XXI Ah, my Beloved, fill the Cup that clears 
To-DAY of past Regrets 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 hath 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 Ah, make the most of what we yet may spend, (7) 
Before we too into the Dust descend ; 

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

[ 17 ] 

kSSJ. rubaiyat of 

XXV 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." 

XXVI Why all the Saints and Sages who discuss'd 

Of the Two Worlds so wisely — they are thrust * 

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

XXVII 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 where in I went. 

XXVIII With them the seed of Wisdom did I sow, (s) 

And with mine 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." 

XXIX 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. 

* Of the Two V^orlds so learnedly are thrust. (Third edition.) 

[ 18 ] 



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

Oh, many a Cup of this forbidden Wine 
Must drown the memory of that insolence! 

XXXI Up from Earth's Centre through the Seventh Gate 
I rose, and on the Throne of Saturn sate, 

And many a Knot unravell'd by the Road; 
But not the Master-knot of Human Fate. 

XXXII There was the Door to which I found no Key; W 
There was the Veil through which I might not see : * 

Some little talk awhile of Me and Thee 
There was — and then no more of Thee and Me. 

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

Nor rolling Heaven, with all his Signs reveal'd 
And hidden by the sleeve of Night and Morn. 

XXXIV Then of the Thee in Me who works behind 
The Veil, I lifted up my hands to find 

A lamp amid the Darkness ; and I heard. 
As from Without — "The me within Thee blind!" 

* There was the Veil through which I could not see. (Third 

[ 19 ] 


XXXV Then to the Lip of this poor earthen Urn 
I lean'd, the Secret of my Life to learn: 

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

XXXVI I think the Vessel, that with fugitive (lo) 

Articulation answer'd, once did live. 

And drink; and Ah! the passive Lip I kiss'd, 
How many Kisses might it take — and give! 

XXXVII 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!" 

XXXVIII* And 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? 

XXXIX And not a drop that from our Cups we throw 
For Earth to drink of, but may steal below 

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

* XXXVIII Listen — a moment listen ! — Of the same 

Poor Earth from which that Human Whisper came 

The luckless Mould in which Mankind was cast 
They did compose^ and call'd him by the name. (Third 

[ 20 ] 



XL As then the Tulip for her morning sup (ii) 

Of Heav'nly Vintage from the soil looks up, 

Do you devoutly do the like, till Heav'n 
To Earth invert you — like an empty Cup. 

XLi Perplext no more with Human or Divine, 
To-morrow's tangle to the winds resign, 
And lose your fingers in the tresses of 
The Cypress-slender Minister of Wine. 

XLii And if the Wine you drink, the Lip you press. 
End in what All begins and ends in — Yes; 

Think that you are To-day what Yesterday 
You were — To-moerow you shall not be less. 

XLiii So when that Angel of the darker Drink * 
At last shall find you by the river-brink. 

And, offering his Cup, invite your Soul 
Forth to your Lips to quaff — you shall not shrink. 

XLiv Why, if the Soul can fiing the Dust aside, (12) 

And naked on the Air of Heaven ride. 

Were 't not a Shame — ^were 't not a Shame for him 
In this clay carcase crippled to abide? 

* So when the Angel of the darker Drink. (Third and Fourth 

[ 21 ] 

eSSon rubaiyat of 

XLV 'T is but a Tent where takes his one day's rest 
A Sultan to the realm of Death addrest ; 

The Sultan rises, and the dark Ferrash 
Strikes, and prepares it for another Guest. 

XLVi And fear not lest Existence closing your 

Account, and mine, should know the like no more; 

The Eternal Saki from that Bowl has pour'd 
Millions of Bubbles like us, and will pour. 

XLVii 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 the Sea's self should heed a pebble-cast.* 

XLViii A Moment's Halt — a momentary taste (is) 

Of Being from the Well amid the Waste — 

And Lol — the phantom Caravan has reach'd 
The Nothing it set out from — Oh, make haste! 

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

A Hair perhaps divides the False and True — 
And upon what, prithee, may life depend ?t 

* As the Sev'n Seas should heed a pebble-cast. (Third edition.) 
f And upon what, prithee, does Life depend.^ (Third and Fourth 

[ 22 ] 



L A Hair perhaps 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 ; 

LI 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; 

Lii A moment guess'd — then back behind the Fold (i4) 

Immerst of Darkness round the Drama roU'd 

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

ijii But if in vain, down on the stubborn floor 

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

You gaze To-day, while You are You — how then 
To-MORROw, You when shall be You no more? 

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

Better be jocund with the fruitful Grape 
That sadden after none, or bitter, Fruit. 

[ 23 ] 


Lv You know, my Friends, with what a brave Carouse 
I made a Second Marriage in my house ; 

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

LVi For "Is" and "Is-not" though with Rule and ljme,( 15) 
And "Up-and-down" by Logic I define, 

Of all that one should care to fathom, I 
Was never deep in anything but — Wine. 

LVii Ah, but my Computations, People say, 

Reduced the Year to better reckoning? — Nay, 

'Twas only striking from the Calendar 
Unborn To-morrow, and dead Yesterday. 

LVlii 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 't was — the Grape ! 

Lix 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 : 

[ 24 ] 


LX The mighty Mahmiid, Allah-breathing Lord, (i6) 

That all the misbelieving and black Horde 

Of Fears and Sorrows that infest the Soul 
Scatters before him with his whirlwind Sword. 

LXi 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? 

LXii I must abjure the Balm of Life, I must, 

Scared by some After-reckoning ta'en on trust. 
Or lured with Hope of some Diviner Drink, 
To fill the Cup — when crumbled into Dust! 

LXiii 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 has blown for ever dies. 

Lxiv Strange, is it not? that of the myriads who (17; 

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. 

[ 25 ] 


Lxv 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 comrades, and to Sleep return'd.* 

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

And by and by my Soul return'd to me, 
And answered "I Myself am Heav'n and Hell:" 

Lxvii Heav'n but the Vision of fulfiU'd Desire, 

And Hell the Shadow from a Soul on fire,t 

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

Lxviii We are no other than a moving row (is) 

Of Magic Shadow-shapes that come and go 

Round with the Sun-illumined Lantern held J 
In Midnight by the Master of the Show ; 

LXix But helpless Pieces of the Game He plays § 

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. 

* They told their fellows, and to Sleep return'd. (Third edition.) 
f And Hell the Shadow of a Soul on fire. (Third edition.) 
I Round with this Sun-illumin'd Lantern held. (Third edition.) 
§ Impotent Pieces of the Game He plays. (Third edition.) 

[ 26 ] 



Lxx The Ball no question makes of Ayes and Noes, 
But Here or There as strikes the Player goes; * 

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

Lxxi 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. 

Lxxii And that inverted Bowl they call the Sky, (loy 

Whereunder crawling coop'd we live and die. 
Lift not your hands to It for help — for It 
As impotently moves as you or I.f 

Lxxiii 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. 

Lxxiv 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. 

* But Right or Left as strikes the Player goes. (Third edition.) 
f As impotently rolls as you or I. {Third edition.) 

[ 27 ] 



Lxxv 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 predestined Plot of Dust and Soul 

Lxxvi The Vine had struck a fibre: which about (20) 

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. 

Lxxvii 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. 

Lxxviii What! out of senseless Nothing to provoke 
A conscious Something to resent the yoke 

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

Lxxix What! from his helpless Creature be repaid 

Pure Gold for what he lent him dross-allay' d — * 

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

* Pure Gold for what he lent us dross-allay'd. (Third edition.) 
t Sue for a Debt we never did contract. (Third and Fourth 

[ 28 ] 


Lxxx Oh Thou, who didst with pitfall and with gin (21) 
Beset the Road I was to wander in, 

Thou wilt not with Predestined Evil round 
Enmesh, and then impute my Fall to Sin! 

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

For all the Sin wherewith the Face of Man 
Is blacken'd — Man's forgiveness give — and take! 

Lxxxii As under cover of departing Day 

Slunk hunger-stricken Ramazan away, 

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

Lxxxiii Shapes of all Sorts and Sizes, great and small, (22) 
That stood along the floor and by the wall; 

And some loquacious Vessels were ; and some 
Listen'd perhaps, but never talk'd at all. 

Lxxxiv Said one among them — "Surely not in vain 

"My substance of the common Earth was ta'en 

"And to this Figure moulded, to be broke. 
Or trampled back to shapeless Earth again." 

[ 29 ] 


Lxxxv Then said a Second — "Ne'er a peevish Boy 

"Would break the Bowl from which he drank in joy ; 

"And He that with his hand the Vessel made 
Will surely not in after Wrath destroy." 

Lxxxvi After a momentary silence spake 

Some Vessel of a more ungainly Make; 

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

Lxxxvii Whereat some one of the loquacious Lot — (23) 
I think a Siifi pipkin — waxing hot — 

"All this of Pot and Potter— Tell me then, 
"Who is the Potter, pray, and who the Pot?" * 

Lxxxviii "Why," said another, "Some there are who tell 
"Of one who threatens he will toss to Hell 

"The luckless Pots he marr'd in making — Pish! 
"He 's a Good Fellow, and 't will all be well." 

Lxxxix "Well," murmur'd one, "Let whoso make or buy, 
"My Clay with long Oblivion is gone dry: 

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

*^"Who makes— Who sells— Who buys— Who is the Pot?" (Third 

[ 30 ] 


xc So while the Vessels one by one were speaking, 
The little Moon look'd in that all were seeking: 
And then they jogg'd each other, "Brother! Bro- 
"Now for the Porter's shoulder-knot a-creaking." 


xci Ah, with the Grape my fading Life provide. 
And wash the Body whence the Life has died, 

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

xcii That 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. 

xciii Indeed the Idols I have loved so long 

Have done my credit in this World much wrong:* 

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

Have done my credit in Men's eye much wrong. (Third edition.) 

[ 31 ] 


xciv Indeed, indeed, Repentance oft before (25) 

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. 

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

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

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

xcvi Yet Ah, that Spring should vanish with the Rose I 

That Youth's sweet-scented manuscript should close! 

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

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

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

xcviii Would but some winged Angel ere too late (26) 

Arrest the yet unfolded Roll of Fate, 

And make the stern Recorder otherwise 
Enregister, or quite obliterate! 

[ 32 ] 



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

c Yon rising Moon that looks for us again — 
How oft hereafter will she wax and wane ; 

How oft hereafter rising look for us 
Through this same Garden — and for one in vain! 

CI And when like her, oh Saki, you shall pass (27) 

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! 
* And in your blissful errand reach the spot. (Third edition.) 


[ SS ] 


(Stanza ii.) 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. 

(iv.) New Year. Beginning with the Vernal Equinox, it must be 
remembered; and (howsoever the old Solar Year is practically super- 
seded by the clumsy Lunar Year that dates from the Mohammedan 
Hijra) still commemorated by a Festival that is said to have been ap- 
pointed 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 forth 
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 Gardens were budding beautifully, and green 
Plants and Flowers springing up on 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 appeared I recognised some old Acquain- 
tances I had not seen for many a Year: among these, two varieties 
of the Thistle — a coarse species of Daisy, like the 'Horse-gowan' 
— red and white Clover — the Dock — the blue Corn-flower — and that 
vulgar Herb the Dandelion rearing its | yellow crest on the Banks of (29) 
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. 

"The White Hand of Moses." 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. 
(v.) 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. 
(vi.) Pehlevif 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 the fourth line refers to the Red Rose looking 
sickly, or to the Yellow Rose that ought to be Red; Red, White, and 

1 Two Years' Travel in Persia, &c., i. 165. 

[ 35 ] 



Yellow Roses all common in Persia. I think that Southey, in his 

Common-Place Book, quotes from some Spanish author about the 

Rose being White till 10 o'clock; "Rosa perfecta" at 2; and "perfecta 

incarnada" at 5. 

(x.) Rustum, the "Hercules" of Persia, and Zal his Father, whose 

exploits are among the most celebrated in the Shah-nama. Hatim 

Tai a well-known type of Oriental Generosity. 

(xiii.) A Drum — beaten outside a Palace. 

(xiv.) That is, the Rose's Golden Centre. 

(xviii.) Persepolis: called also Takht-i-Jamshyd — The Throne of 

Jamshyd, "King-Splendid," of the mythical Peshdddian Dynasty, 

and supposed (according to the Shah-nama) to have been founded 

(30) 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 those Towers are 
yet shown by the Peasantry; as also the Swamp in which Bahram 
sunk, like the Master of Ravenswood, while pursuing his Gur. 

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.'* 

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. 

Apropos of Omar's Red Roses in Stanza xix, I am reminded of an 
old English Superstition, that our Anemone Pulsatilla, or purple 
"Pasque Flower" (which grows plentifully about the Fleam Dyke, 
near Cambridge), grows only where Danish Blood has been spilt, 
(xxi.) A thousand years to each Planet, 
(xxxi.) Saturn, Lord of the Seventh Heaven. 

(31) (xxxn.) Me-and-Thee: some dividual Existence or Personality dis- 
tinct from the Whole. 

(xxxvn.) One of the Persian Poets — Attar, I think — has a pretty 
story about this. A thirsty Traveller dips his hand into a Spring of 
Water to drink from. By-and-by comes another who draws up and 

[ 36 ] 


drinks from an earthen Bowl, and then departs, leaving his Bowl be- 
hind him. The first Traveller takes it up for another draught; but is 
surprised to find that the same Water which had tasted sweet from his 
own hand tastes bitter from the earthen Bowl. But a Voice — from 
Heaven, I think — tells him the clay from which the Bowl is made 
was once Man; and, into whatever shape renewed, can never lose the 
bitter flavour of Mortality. 

(xxxix.) The custom of throwing a little Wine on the ground before 
drinking 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.^'* 

(xLiii.) According to one beautiful Oriental Legend, Azrael accom- 
plishes his mission by holding to the nostril an Apple from the Tree 
of Life. 

This and the two following stanzas would have been withdrawn, as (32) 
somewhat de trop, from the Text, but for advice which I least like 
to disregard. 

(li.) From Mah to Mahi; from Fish to Moon. 

(lvi.) a Jest, of course, at his Studies. A curious mathematical 
Quatrain of Omar's has been pointed out to me; the more curious be- 
cause almost exactly parallel'd by some Verses of Doctor Donne's, 
that are 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 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. 

[ 37 ] 



(lix.) The Seventy-two Religions supposed to divide the World, 

including Islamism, as some think: but others not. 

(lx.) Alluding to Sultan Mahmud's Conquest of India and its dark 


(83) (lxviii.) Fdnusi hhiydl, a Magic-lantern 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 

(lxx.) a very mysterious Line in the Original: 

O dfinad O ddnad O danad O 

breaking off something like our Wood-pigeon's Note, which she is said 
to take up just where she left off. 

(lxxv.) Parwin and Mushtari — ^the Pleiads and Jupiter. 
(lxxxvii.) This Relation of Pot and Potter to Man and his Maker 
figures far and wide in the Literature of the World, from the time of 
the Hebrew Prophets to the present; when it may finally take the 
name of "Pot theism," by which Mr. Carlyle ridiculed Sterling's 
"Pantheism." My Sheikh, whose knowledge flows in from all quar- 
ters, writes to me — 

"Apropos of old Omar's Pots, did I ever tell you the sentence I 
found in 'Bishop Pearson on the Creed' ? 'Thus we are wholly at the 
disposal of His will, and our present and future condition framed and 
ordered by His free, but wise and just, decrees. Hath not the potter 
power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto hon- 
our, and another unto dishonour'? (Rom. ix. 21.) And can that 
earth-artificer have a freer power over his brother potsherd (both 
being made of the same metal), than God hath over him, who, by the 
strange fecundity of His omnipotent power, first made the clay out 
of nothing, and then him out of that ?' " 

And again — from a very different quarter — "I had to refer the 
other day to Aristophanes, and came by chance on a curious Speaking- 
pot story in the Vespae, which I had quite forgotten. 

(84) ^iXoKXioiv. "Akove, [it) (f)evy*' ev Iivfidpei yvvrj nore 

aarea^' eXivov. 
Karriyopog. Tavr* eyw fiaprvpofiat 

$i. Ov'xjivo^ ovv e%a)v rtv' eneiiaprvpaTO' 

'ElO' 7] ItVpapLTLg elneVf el vol rav Kopav 
TTjv fjbapTVpiav ravTTjv edaaq^ ev rdx^i- 
^mdeofiov inpicjj vovv dv elxeg TrXelova. 

"The Pot calls a bystander to be a witness to his bad treatment. 
The woman says, 'If, by Proserpine, instead of all this 'testifying' 
(comp. Cuddie and his mother in 'Old Mortality!') you would buy 

[ 38 ] 


yourself a rivet, it would show more sense in you!' The Scholiast 
explains echinus as dyyog tl ek Kepdfiov." 

* One more illustration for the oddity's sake from the "Autobiog- 
raphy of a Cornish Rector,," by the late James Hamley Tregenna. 

"There was one old Fellow in our Company — he was so like a 
Figure in the 'Pilgrim's Progress' that Richard always called him 
the 'Allegory/ with a long white beard — a rare Appendage in those 
days — and a Face the colour of which seemed to have been baked in, 
like the Faces one used to see on Earthenware Jugs. In our Country- 
dialect Earthenware is called 'Glome ; so the Boys of the Village used 
to shout out after him — 'Go back to the Potter, old Clome-face, and 
get baked over again.* For the 'Allegory,' though shrewd enough in 
most things, had the reputation of being 'saift-baJced/ i. e. of weak 
intellect." * 

(xc.) At the Close of the Fasting Month, Ramazan (which makes 
the Musulman unhealthy and unamiable), the first Glimpse | of the (35) 
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 
Porter's Knot may be heard — toward the Cellar. Omar has else- 
where a pretty Quatrain about the same Moon — 

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

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

* These two paragraphs do not appear in the Third edition. The pagination in 
the margins is that of the Fourth edition. 


[ S9 ] 


AND absall;' third edition. 

To C, E, Norton. 

Woodbridge, May 18, '79, 
. . . Jdmi (Saldmdn) is cut down to two-thirds 
of his former proportion, and very much improved, I 
think. It is still in a wrong key: Verse of Miltonic 
Strain, unlike the simple Eastern; I remember trying 
that at first but could not succeed. So there is little but 
the Allegory itself (not a bad one), and now condensed 
into a very fair Bird's Eye view; quite enough for any 
Allegory, I think. . . . 

To E. B, Cowell. 

[June, 1879.'] 

I am sorry you took time and trouble in writing me a 
Letter after answering my Query about the Metre, I 
had not seen the Shahnameh for twenty years, and made 
sure of its being in the same metre as Saldmdn: so I 
was obliged to have the page cancelled in which I had so 
said, I know not when Quaritch comes out with the two 
Per see: of course, you will have a Copy sent to you. 
Some things in Saldmdn you won't like at all; but I 
believe that, on the whole, you will think it improved — 
after a while. And so, I bid Adieu to him and Omar: 
for I shall certainly not live to see another Edition. . . . 

[ ix ] 


ToW.A, Wright, 

Woodbridge, Tuesday, [1879]. 

• •••••• 

Here is a Copy for you of my two Persians — I was 
going to say J 'If you care to have them' — hut you would 
he ohliged to say that you would care: arid since you have 
all my Works, you shall e'en have this — if only to spew at 
Quaritch's Ornamentation; which leaves a pretty Booh, 
however, Omar remains as he was; hut Solomon (as 
Childs' men called him) is cut down ahout a Quarter, and 
all the hetter for it. 

To H, Schiltz Wilson, 

[i March, 1882,'] 

. . . Jdml tells of what everybody knows, under 
cover of a not very skilful Allegory. I have undoubtedly 
improved the whole by boiling it down to about a Quar- 
ter of its original size; and there are many pretty things 
in it, though the blank Verse is too Miltonic for Oriental 


• •••••• 

But some sioo or seven years ago that Sheikh of mine, 
Edward Cowell, who liked the Version better than any 
one else, wished it to he reprinted. So I took it in hand, 
boiled it down to three-fourths of what it originally was, 
and (as you see) clapt it on the hack of Omar, where I 
still believed it would hang somewhat of a dead weight; 
hut that was Quaritch's look-out, not mine, I have never 
heard of any notice taken of it, hut just now from you: 
and I believe that, say what you would, people would 
rather have the old Sinner alone. , . . 

[ X ] 






Drawn from Rosenzweig^ s 
''Biographische Notizen^^ of the Poet. 

NuRUDDiN Abdurrahman, Son of Maulana Nizamud- 
din Ahmed, and descended on the Mother's side from One 
of the Four great " Fathers " of Islam, was born a. h. 
817, A. D. 1414, in Jam, a httle Town of Khorasan, 
whither his Grandfather had removed from Desht of 
Ispahan and from which the Poet ultimately took hisTak- 
hallus, or Poetic name, Jami. This word also signifies 
"A Cup;" wherefore, he says, " Born in Jam, and dipt in 
the ''Jdm> " of Holy Lore, for a double reason I must be 
called Jami in the Book of Song." ^ He was celebrated 
afterwards in other Oriental Titles — " Lord of Poets " 
— " Elephant of Wisdom," &c., but latterly liked to call 
himself " The Ancient of Herat," where he mainly re- 
sided, and eventually died. 

When Five Years old he received the name of Niir- 
uddin — the " Light of Faith," and even so early | began {40) 
to show the Metal, and take the Stamp that distinguished 
him through Life. In 1419, a famous Sheikh, Khwajah 
Mohammed Parsa, then in the last Year of his Life, was 
being carried through Jam. " I was not then Five Years 

^ He elsewhere plays upon his name, imploring God that he may he 
accepted as a Cup to pass about that Spiritual Wine of which the Per- 
sian Mystical Poets make so much. 

[ 45 ] 

kSJSSS notice of jami's life. 

old," says Jami, " and my Father, who with his Friends 
went forth to salute him, had me carried on the Shoulders 
of one of the Family and set down before the Litter of the 
Sheikh, who gave a Nosegay into my hand. Sixty Years 
have passed, and methinks I now see before me the bright 
Image of the Holy Man, and feel the Blessing of his 
Aspect, from which I date my after Devotion to that 
Brotherhood in which I hope to be enrolled." 

So again, when Maulana Fakhruddin Loristani had 
alighted at his Mother's house — " I was then so little that 
he set me upon his Knee, and with his Fingers drawing 
the Letters of 'Ali ' and 'Omar ' in the Air, laughed with 
delight to hear me spell them. He also by his Goodness 
sowed in my Heart the Seed of his Devotion, which has 
grown to Increase within me — in which I hope to live, and 
in which to die. Oh God! Dervish let me live, and Der- 
vish die; and in the Company of the Dervish do Thou 
quicken me to life again! " 
(41) Jami first went to a School at Herat; and after | ward 
to one founded by the Great Timiir at Samarcand. There 
he not only outstript his Fellow-students in the very En- 
cyclopasdic Studies of Persian Education, but even puz- 
zled his Doctors in Logic, Astronomy, and Theology; 
who, however, with unresenting Gravity welcomed him — 
" Lo! a new Light added to our Galaxy! " — And among 
them in the wider Field of Samarcand he might have 
liked to remain, had not a Dream recalled him to Herat. 
A Vision of the Great Siifi Master there, Mohammed 
Saaduddm Kashghari, appeared to him in his Sleep, and 

[ 46 ] 


bade him return to One who would satisfy all Desire. 
Jami returned to Herat; he saw the Sheikh discoursing 
with his Disciples by the Door of the Great Mosque; day 
after day passed him by without daring to present him- 
self; but the Master's Eye was upon him; day by day 
drew him nearer and nearer — ^till at last the Sheikh an- 
nounces to those about him — " Lo! this Day have I taken 
a Falcon in my Snare!" 

Under him Jami began his Siifi Noviciate, with such 
Devotion, both to Study and Master, that going, he tells 
us, but for one Summer Holiday into the Country, a 
single Line sufficed to " lure the Tassel-gentle back 
again; " 

"Lo ! here am I, and Thou look'st on the Rose !" 

By-and-by he withdrew, by due course of Sufi Instruc- (42) 
tion, into Solitude so long and profound, that on his re- 
turn to Men he had almost lost the Power of Converse 
with them. At last, when duly taught, and duly author- 
ised to teach as Siifi Doctor, he yet would not take upon 
himself so to do, though solicited by those who had seen 
such a Vision of him as had drawn himself to Herat ; and 
not till the Evening of his Life was he to be seen taking 
that place by the Mosque which his departed Master had 
been used to occupy before. 

Meanwhile he had become Poet, which no doubt winged 
his Reputation and Doctrine far and wide through a 
People so susceptible of poetic impulse. 

" A Thousand times," he says, " I have repented of 

[ 47 ] 


such Employment ; but I could no more shirk it than one 
can shirk what the Pen of Fate has written on his Fore- 
head " — " As Poet I have resounded through the World; 
Heaven filled itself with my Song, and the Bride of Time 
adorned her Ears and Neck with the Pearls of my Verse, 
whose coming Caravan the Persian Hafiz and Saadi came 
forth gladly to salute, and the Indian Khosrau and 
Hasan hailed as a Wonder of the World." " The Kings 
of India and Riim greet me by Letter ; the Lords of Irak 
(43) and Tabriz load me with Gifts; and what | shall I say of 
those of Khorasan, who drown me in an Ocean of Muni- 
ficence? " 

This, though Oriental, is scarcely bombast. Jami was 
honoured by Princes at home and abroad, at the very time 
they were cutting one another's Throats ; by his own Sul- 
tan Abii Said; by Hasan Beg of Mesopotamia — " Lord 
of Tabriz" — by whom Abu Said was defeated, dethroned, 
and slain; by Mohammed 11. of Turkey — " King of 
Rum " — who in his turn defeated Hasan ; and lastly by 
Husein Mirza Baikara, who somehow made away with 
the Prince whom Hasan had set up in Abii Said's Place 
at Herat. Such is the house that Jack builds in Persia. 

As Hasan Beg, however — ^the Usuncassan of old 
European Annals — is singularly connected with the pres- 
ent Poem, and with probably the most important event in 
Jami's Life, I will briefly follow the Steps that led to 
that as well as other Princely Intercourse. 

In A. H. 877, A. D. 1472, Jami set off on his Pilgrimage 
to Mecca, as every True Believer who could afford it was 

[ 48 ] 


expected once in his Life to do. He, and, on his Account, 
the Caravan he went with, were honourably and safely 
escorted through the interjacent Countries by order of 
their several | Potentates as far as Baghdad. There Jami (44) 
fell into trouble by the Treachery of a Follower whom 
he had reproved, and who misquoted his Verse into dis- 
paragement of Ali, the Darling Imam of Persia. This, 
getting wind at Baghdad, was there brought to solemn 
Tribunal. Jami came victoriously off, his Accuser was 
pilloried with a dockt Beard in Baghdad Market-place: 
but the Poet was so ill-pleased with the stupidity of those 
who had believed the Report, that, in an after Poem, he 
called for a Cup of Wine to seal up Lips of whose Utter- 
ance the Men of Baghdad were unworthy. 

After four months' stay there, during which he visited 
at Helleh the Tomb of AH's Son Husein, who had fallen 
at Kerbela, he set forth again — ^to Najaf, (where he 
says his Camel sprang forward at sight of All's own 
Tomb) — crossed the Desert in twenty-two days, contin- 
ually meditating on the Prophet's Glory, to Medina ; and 
so at last to Mecca^ where, as he sang in a Ghazal, he went 
through all Mohammedan Ceremony with a Mystical Un- 
derstanding of his Own. 

He then turned Homeward ; was entertained for forty- 
five days at Damascus, which he left the very Day before 
the Turkish Mohammed's Envoys came with 5000 Ducats 
to carry him to Constantinople. On j arriving at Amida, (45) 
the Capital of Mesopotamia, he found War broken out 
and in full Flame between that Sultan and Hasan Beg, 

[ 49 ] 


King of the Country, who caused Jami to be honourably 
escorted through the dangerous Roads to Tabriz; there 
received him in full Divan, and would fain have him abide 
at his Court awhile. Jami, however, was intent on Home, 
and once more seeing his aged Mother — for he was turned 
of Sixty — and at last reached Herat in the Month of 
Shaaban, 1473, after the Average Year's Absence. 

This is the Hasan, " in Name and Nature Handsome " 
(and so described by some Venetian Ambassadors of the 
Time), who was Father of Yakub Beg, to whom Jami 
dedicated the following Poem; and who, after the due 
murder of an Elder Brother, succeeded to the Throne ; till 
all the Dynasties of "Black and White Sheep " together 
were swept away a few years after by Ismail, Founder of 
the Sofi Dynasty in Persia. 

Arrived at home, Jami found Husein Mirza Baikara, 
last of the Timuridse, seated on the Throne there, and 
ready to receive him with open Arms. Nizamuddin Ali 
Shir, Husein's Vizir, a Poet too, had hailed in Verse the 
Poet's Advent from Damascus as " The Moon rising in 
(46) the West;" and | they both continued affectionately to 
honour him as long as he lived. 

Jami sickened of his mortal Illness on the 13th of 
Moharrem, 1492 — a Sunday. His Pulse began to fail 
on the following Friday, about the Hour of Morning 
Prayer, and stopped at the very moment when the Muez- 
zin began to call to Evening. He had lived Eighty-one 
Years. Sultan Husein undertook the pompous Burial 
of one whose Glory it was to have lived and died in Der- 

[ 50 ] 


vish Poverty; the Dignitaries of the Kingdom followed 
him to the Grave ; where twenty days afterward was re- 
cited in presence of the Sultan and his Court an Eulogy 
composed by the Vizir, who also laid the first Stone of 
a Monument to his Friend's Memory — the first Stone of 
" Tarbet'i Jami," in the Street of Meshhed, a principal 
Thoro'f are of the City of Herat. For, says Rosenzweig, 
it must be kept in mind that Jami was reverenced not only 
as a Poet and Philosopher, but as a Saint also; who not 
only might work a Miracle himself, but leave such a 
Power lingering about his Tomb. It was known that an 
Arab, who had falsely accused him of selling a Camel he 
knew to be unsound, died very shortly after, as Jami had 
predicted, and on the very selfsame spot where the Camel 
fell. And that libellous Rogue at Baghdad | — ^he, put- (47) 
ting his hand into his Horse's Ncse-bag to see if the beast 
had finisht his Corn, had his Forefinger bitten off by the 
same — from which " Verstiinmilung " he soon died — I 
suppose, as he ought, of Lock-jaw. 

The Persians, who are adepts at much elegant Inge- 
nuity, are fond of commemorating Events by some anal- 
ogous Word or Sentence whose Letters, cabalistically 
corresponding to certain Numbers, compose the Date re- 
quired. In Jami's case they have hit upon the word 
" Kas," a Cup, whose signification brings his own name 
to Memory, and whose relative letters make up his 81 
years. They have Tdrikhs also for remembering the Year 
of his Death: Rosenzweig gives some; but Ouseley the 
prettiest of all: — 

[ 51 ] 

eSSS? notice of jami's life. 

Dud az Khorasan bar amed — 

"The smoke" of Sighs "went up from Khorasan." 

No Biographer, says Rosenzweig cautiously, records 
of Jami's having more than one Wife (Granddaughter 
of his Master Sheikh) and Four Sons; which, however, 
are Five too many for the Doctrine of this Poem. Of 
the Sons, Three died Infant; and the Fourth (born to 
him in very old Age) , and for whom he wrote some Ele- 
mentary Tracts, and the more famous " Beharistan," lived 
(48) but a few years, and was | remembered by his Father in the 
Preface to his Khiradnama-i Iskander — Alexander's 
Wisdom-book — which perhaps had also been begun for 
the Boy's Instruction. He had likewise a nephew, one 
Maulana Abdullah, who was ambitious of following his 
Uncle's Footsteps in Poetry. Jami first dissuaded him; 
then, by way of trial whether he had a Talent as well as 
a Taste, bade him imitate Firdausi's Satire on Shah Mah- 
miid. The Nephew did so well, that Jami then encour- 
aged him to proceed; himself wrote the first Couplet of 
his First (and most celebrated) Poem — Laila and 
Majniin — 

This Book of which the Pen has now laid the Foundation, 
May the diploma of Acceptance one day befall it, — 

and Abdullah went on to write that and four other Poems 
which Persia continues to delight in to the present day, 
remembering their Author under his Takhallus of 
Hatifi — " The Voice from Heaven " — and Last of the 
classic Poets of Persia. 

[ 52 ] 


Of Jami's literary Offspring, Rosenzweig numbers 
forty-four. But Shir Khan Liidi in his " Memoirs of the 
Poets," says Ouseley, accounts him Author of Ninety- 
nine Volumes of Grammar, Poetry, and Theology, which, 
he says, " continue to be universally admired in all parts 
of the Eastern World, Iran, Tiiran, and Hindustan " — 
copied some of them into | precious Manuscripts, illumi- (49) 
nated with Gold and Painting, by the greatest Penmen 
and Artists of the time; one such — the " Beharistan" — 
said to have cost some thousands of pounds — autographed 
as their own by two Sovereign Descendants of Timur; 
and now reposited away from " the Drums and Tramp- 
lings " of Oriental Conquest in the tranquil seclusion of 
an English library. 

With us, his Name is almost wholly associated with 
his " Yiisuf and Zulaikha; " the " Beharistan " aforesaid: 
and this present " Salaman and Absal," which he tells us 
is like to be the last product of his Old Age. And these 
three Poems count for three of the brother Stars of that 
Constellation into which his seven best Mystical Poems 
are clustered under the name of " Heft Aurang " — 
those " Seven Thrones " to which we of the West and 
North give our characteristic name of " Great Bear " 
and " Charles's Wain." 

This particular Salaman Star, which thus conspicu- 
ously figures in Eastern eyes, but is reduced to one of 
very inferior magnitude as seen through this English 

[ 53 ] 


Version, — is one of many Allegories under which the 
(50) Persian Mystic symbolized an esoteric [doctrine which he 
dared not — and probably could not — more intelligibly 
reveal. As usual with such Poems in the story-loving 
East, the main Fable is intersected at every turn with 
some other subsidiary story, more or less illustrative of the 
matter in hand: many of these of a comic and grotesque 
Character mimicking the more serious, as may the Gra- 
cioso of the Spanish Drama. As for the metre of the 
Poem, it is the same as that adopted by Attar, Jelalud- 
din and other such Poets — and styled, as I have heard, the 
" Metre Royal " — although not having been used by 
Firdausi for his Shah-nameh. Thus it runs: 

a pace which, to those not used to it, seems to bring one 
up with too sudden a halt at the end of every line to 
promise easy travelling through an Epic. It may be 
represented in Monkish Latin Quantity: 

Dum Salaman verba Regis cogitat, 
Pectus illi de profundis aestuat; 

or by English accent in two lines that may also plead for 
us and our Allegory: 

Of Salaman and of Absal hear the Song; 
Little wants man here below, nor little long. 

[ 54 ] 



Oh Thou, whose Spirit through this universe. 
In which Thou dost involve thyself diffused. 
Shall so perchance irradiate human clay 
That men, suddenly dazzled, lose themselves 
In ecstasy before a mortal shrine 
Whose Light is but a Shade of the Divine; 
Not till thy Secret Beauty through the cheek 
Of Laila smite doth she inflame Majnun ; ^ 
And not till Thou have kindled Shirin's Eyes 
The hearts of those two Rivals swell with blood. 
For Lov'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 veiFd — but ever so (52) 

That none the veil from what it hides may know. 
How long wilt thou continue thus the World 
To cozen^ with the fantom of a veil 

* Well-known Types of Eastern Lovers, Shirin and her Suitors fig- 
ure in Sect. xx. 

^ The Persian Mystics also represent the Deity dicing with Human 
Destiny behind the Curtain. 

[ 55 ] 


From which thou only peepest? I would be 
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 lurkest under all the forms of Thought, 
Under the form of all Created things; 
Look where I may, still nothing I discern 
But Thee throughout this Universe, wherein 
Thyself Thou dost reflect, and through those eyes 
Of him whom Man thou madest, scrutinize. 
To thy Harim Dividuality 
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 "Me" and "Thee;" 
(53) If I — this Spirit that inspires me whence? 
If Thou — ^then what this sensual Impotence? 

From the solitary Desert 

Up to Baghdad came a simple 

[ 56 ] 



Arab; there amid the rout 
Grew bewildered of the countless 
People J hither J thither, runnings 
Coming, going, meeting, parting. 
Clamour, 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. 
Strung a gourd about his ankle. 
And, into a corner creeping, 
Baghdad and Himself and People 

Soon were blotted from his brain. 
But one that heard him and divined 
His purpose, slily crept behind; 
From the Sleeper's ankle clipping,* 

Round his own the pumpkin tied, (54) 

And laid him down to sleep beside. 
By and by the Arab waking 
Looks directly for his Signal — 
Sees it on another's Ankle — 
Cries aloud, "Oh Good-for-nothing 

*"Slipping." (Third edition.) 

[ 57 ] 


''Rascal to perplex me so! 

''That by you I am bewilder dj 

"Whether I be I or no! 

"If I — the Pumpkin why on You? 

"If You — then Where am I, and Who? 

And yet, how long, O Jami, stringing Verse, 
Pearl after pearl, on that old Harp of thine ? 
Year after year attuning some new Song, 
The breath of some old Story? ^ Life is gone. 
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 
I still keep tuning through the Night till Day! 
That Harp untuned by Time — ^the harper's hand 
Shaking with Age — ^how shall the harper's hand 
Repair its cunning, and the sweet old harp 
(55) Be modulated as of old? Methinks 

'Twere time to break and cast it in the fire ; 
The vain old harp, that, breathing from its strings 
No music more to charm the ears of men. 
May, from its scented ashes, as it burns. 
Breathe resignation to the Harper's soul. 
Now that his body looks to dissolution. 

^ "Yusuf and Zulaikhd/* "Laila and Majnun/' <^c. 

[ 58 ] 


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; 
I bow down to my root, and like a Child 
Yearn, as is likely, to my Mother Earth, 
Upon whose bosom I shall cease to 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! " — (56) 

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. 

Yea; but whose Shadow being Earthly Kings, 

Their Attributes, their Wrath and Favour, His, — 

Lo! in the meditation of His glory, 

^ First notice of Spectacles in Oriental Poetry, perhaps. 

^ The same Figure is found in Chaucer's "Pardoner's Tale," and, I 

think, in other Western poems of that era. 

^ Mohammed Saaduddin Kdshghari, spoken of in Notice of JdmVs 

life, p. ^6. 

["Jelaluddin — Author of the "Mesnavi." (Third edition.)] 

[ 59 ] 

eS?S salaman and absal. 

The Shah ^ whose subject upon Earth I am. 
As he of Heaven's, comes on me unaware, 
And suddenly arrests me for his due. 
Therefore for one last travel, and as brief 
As may become the feeble breath of Age, 
My weary pen once more drinks of the well. 
Whence, of the Mortal writing, I may read 
Anticipation of the Invisible. 

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

Tracing Letters in the Sand, 
"Oh distracted Lover! writing 
(57) ''What the Sword-wind of the Desert 

"Undeciphers so that no one 

"After you shall understand." 
Majnun answered — "I am writing 
"Only for myself, and only 
" ' Laila,'— //• for ever ' Laila ' 
"Writing, in that Word a Volume, 
"Over which for ever poring, 
"From her very Name I sip 
"In Fancy, till I drink, her Lip/' 

^ Yakub Beg : to whose protection J ami owed a Song of gratitude. 

[ 60 ] 



Part I. 

A Shah there was who ruled the reahn of Yiin/ 
And wore the Ring of Empire of Sikander; 
And in his reign A Sage^ of such report 
For Insight reaching quite beyond 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 the Prophet's sanction; till, so counsell'd. 
From Kaf to Kaf ^ reach'd his Dominion : 
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, secure from 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 gen- 
erally. Sikander is, of course, Alexander the Great. 
^ The Fabulous Mountain supposed by Asiatics to surround the World, 
binding the Horizon on all sides. 

[ 61 ] 


(59) The Shah that has not Wisdom in himself, 
Nor has a Wise one 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 f antom-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 your Justice my 

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

One night The Shah of Yiinan as he sate 
Contemplating his measureless extent 
Of Empire, and the glory wherewithal, 
(60) 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, 

[ 62 ] 


And, after him, his robe of Empire wear. 

And then he turned him to The Sage, and said: 

" O Darhng of the soul of Iflatun; ^ 

" To whom with all his school Aristo bows; 

" Yea, thou that an Eleventh to the Ten 

" Intelligences addest: Thou hast read 

" The yet unutter'd secret of my Heart, 

" Answer — Of all that man desires of God 

" Is any blessing greater 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 banquet-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." 

When the shrewd Sage had heard The Shah's discourse 
In commendation of a Son, he said: (^V 

" Thus much of a Good Son, whose wholesome growth 
" Approves the root he grew from. But for one 
" Kneaded of Evil — well, could one revoke 
" His generation, and as early pull 

^Iflatun, Plato; Aristo, Aristotle: both renowned in the East to this 
Day. For the Ten Intelligences, see Appendix. 

[ 63 ] 


" Him and his vices from the string of Time. 
" Like Noah's, pufF'd with insolence and pride, 
" Who, reckless of his Father's warning call, 
" Was by the voice of Allah from the door 
" Of refuge in his Father's Ark debarr'd, 
" And perish'd in the Deluge.^ And as none 

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

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

Sick at heart for want of Children, 
Ran before the Saint a Fellow, 
Catching at his garment, crying, 

''Master, hear and help me! Pray 

''That Allah from the barren clay 
"Raise me up a fresh young Cypress, 
"Who my longing eyes may lighten, 
"And not let me like a vapour 
(62) "Unremember'd pass away!' 

But the Dervish said — "Consider; 

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

"Understands our business best" 

^ See Note in Appendix I. 

[ 64 ] 


Still the man persisted — "Master^ 
"I shall perish in my longing: 
"Help, and set my prayer a-going! " 

Then the Dervish raised his hand — 

From the mystic Hunting-land 
Of Darkness to the Father's arms 

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

In his Nature planted grew. 
Took to drinking, dicing, 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; 

Neither counsel, threat, entreaty. 

Moved him — till the desperate Father 

Once more to the Dervish running, (63) 

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! " 
[ 65 ] 



But the Saint replied — "Remember 
''How that very Day I warnd you 
"Not with blind petition Allah 
"Trouble to your own confusion; 

"Unto whom remains no more 
"To pray for, save that He may pardon 

"What so rashly pray'd before/' 

* So much for the result ; 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 enslaved — 
' 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 foolish, faithless thing — 
' A very Kafir in rapacity ; 

* Robe her in all the rainbow-tinted woof 

* Of Susa, shot with rays of sunny Gold ; 

[ 66 ] 


" Deck her with jewel thick as Night with star; 
" Pamper her appetite with Houri fruit 
" Of Paradise, and fill her jewell'd cup 
" From the green-mantled Prophet's Wellbf Life — 
" One little twist of temper — all your cost 
" Goes all for nothing: and, as for yourself — 
" Look! On your bosom she may lie for years; 

" But, get you gone a 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, 

Sate SuLAYMAN and Balkis; ^ 

The Hearts of both were turnd to Truth, (66) 

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 

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

"Grows to Honour in mine Eyes" 
After this, Balkis a Secret 

^ Solomon and the Queen of Sheha, who, it appears, is no worse in one 
way than Solomon in another, unless in Oriental Eyes. 

[ 67 ] 


From her hidden bosom utter'dj 
Saying — ''Never night or morning 
''Comely Youth before me passes 
"Whom I look not after ^ longing'' — 

" If this, as wise Firdausi says, the curse 

" Of better women, what then of the worse? " 

The Sage his satire ended; and The Shah, 
Determined on his purpose, but the means 
Resigning to Supreme Intelligence, 
With Magic-mighty Wisdom his own Will 
CoUeagued, and wrought his own accomplishment. 
For Lo ! from Darkness came to Light A Child, 
Of carnal composition unattaint; 
(66) 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 whom dividing, and again in one 
Whole perfect Jewel re-uniting, those 
Twin Jewel-words Salamat and Asman,* 
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 — 

^ Salamat, Security from Evil; Asman, Heaven. 

[ 68 ] 


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, 

A Moon of beauty full; who thus elect 

Should in the garment of her bounty fold 

Salaman of auspicious augury. 

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 her Royal jewel 

Close in his golden cradle casketed: 

Opening and closing which her day's delight, 

To gaze upon his heart-inflaming cheek, — (67) 

Upon the Babe whom, if she could, she would 

Have cradled as the Baby of her eye.^ 

In rose and musk she wash'd him — to his lip 

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. 

And still as Morning came, and as he grew. 
Finer than any bridal-puppet, which 

^ Literally, Mardumak — the Mannikin, or Pupil, of the Eye, corre- 
sponding to the Image so frequently used by our old Poets, 

[ 69 ] 

eSSon salaman and absal. 

To prove another's love a woman sends/ 
She trick'd him up — with fresh Collyrium dew 
Touch'd his narcissus eyes — the musky locks 
Divided from his forehead — and embraced 
With gold and ruby girdle his fine waist. 

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 yet, till full fourteen his years. 
Fourteen-day full the beauty of his face, 
(68) 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 shook down splendour round him like a Sun. 

Soon as the Lord of Heav'n had sprung his horse 
Over 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 

^ See Appendix. 

^ The same Persian Word signifying Youth and Courage. 

[ 70 ] 


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, Salajvian bent him as a bow 

To Archery — from Masters of the craft 

Call'd for an unstrung bow — ^himself the cord (69) 

Fitted unhelpt,^ and nimbly with his hand 

Twanging made cry, and drew it to his ear; 

Then, fixing the three-feather'd fowl, discharged: 

And whether aiming at the fawn a-f oot. 

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, 
Summoned his Houri-faced musicians. 
And, when his brain grew warm with wine, the veil 
Flung off him of reserve ; taking a harp, 

^ See Appendix. 

^ Borvs being so gradually stiffened, according to the age and strength 
of the Archer, as at last to need five Hundred- weight of pressure to 
bendf says an old Translation of Chardin, who describes all the pro- 
cess 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, S^c. 

[ 71 ] 


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 aged eyes make weep. 
(70) 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. 

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 Parwm 
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 Penmen, as that Lovers, to despair. 

His Bounty like a Sea was fathomless 
That bubbled up with jewel, and flung pearl 

^ The Pleiades and the Great Bear. This is otherrvise prettily applied 
in the Anvdri Soheili — "When one grows poor, his Friends, heretofore 
compact as The Pleiades, disperse wide asunder as The Mourners." 

[ 72 ] 


Where'er it touch'd, but drew not back again; 

It was a Heav'n that rain'd on all below cri) 

Dirhems for drops — 

But here that inward Voice 
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; 
" O Fount of Light! — under an alien name 
" I shadow One upon whose head the Crown 
" Was and yet Is, and Shall be; whose Firman 
" The Kingdoms Sev'n of this World, and the Seas, 
" And the Sev'n Heavens, alike are subject to. 
" Good luck to him who under other Name 
" Instructed us that Glory to disguise 
" To which the Initiate scarce dare lift his eyes." 

Sate a Lover in a Garden 
All alone, apostrophizing 

^ 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. 

[ 73 ] 


(72) Many a flower and shrub about Mm, 

And the lights of Heav'n above, 
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" 

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. 
C73; But, for that flower upon the lofty stem 

Of Glory grew to which her hand fell short, 

[ 74 ] 


She now with woman's sorcery began 
To conjure as she might within her reach. 
The darkness of her eyes she darkened round 
With surma, to benight him in mid day, 
And over them adorn'd and arch'd the bows ^ 
To wound him there when lost: her musky locks 
Into so many snaky ringlets curl'd, 
In which Temptation nestled o'er the cheek 
Whose rose she kindled with vermilion dew. 
And then one subtle grain of musk laid there,^ 
The bird of that beloved heart to snare. 
Sometimes in passing with a laugh would break 
The pearl-enclosing ruby of her lips; 
Or, 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 anklets 
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, (74) 

Through which she knew the robber unaware 
Steals in, and takes the bosom by surprise. 

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

[ 75 ] 

eXon salaman and absal. 

Burning with her love Zulaikha 
Built a chamber, wall and ceiling 
Blank as an untarnisht mirror. 
Spotless as the heart of Yusur. 
Then she made a cunning painter 
Multiply her image round it; 
Not an inch, of wall or ceiling 
But re-echoing her beauty. 
Then amid them all in all her 
Glory sate she down, and sent for 

YusuF — she began a tale 

Of Love — and lifted up her veil. 
Bashfully beneath her burning 
Eyes he turnd away; but turning 
Wheresoever, still about him 
Saw Zulaikha, still Zulaikha, 
Still, without a veil, Zulaikha. 
(75) But a Voice as if from Canaan 

CalVd him; and a Hand from Darkness 

Touched; and ere a living Lip 
Through the mirage of bewilder' d 
Eyes seduced him, he recoiled, 

And let the skirt of danger slip. 

[ 76 ] 


Paet II. 

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 upon the wings of Day and Night 

Time rustles on, and Moons do wax and wane, 

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 bliss that coming Night fills up, 

"And Morn looks in to find an empty Cup ! " 

Once in Baghdad a poor Arab, 
After weary days of fasting, 
Into the Khalifah's banquet- 
Chamber, where, aloft in State 
Harun the Great at supper sate. 

Pushed and pushing, with the throng. 

Got before a perfume-breathing 

[ 77 ] 



Pasty, like the lip of Shirin 

Luscious, or the Poet's song. 
Soon as seen, the famisht clown 
Seizes up and swallows down. 
Then his mouth undaunted wiping — 
"Oh Khalifah, hear me swear, 
''While I breathe the dust of Baghdad, 
''Ne'er at any other Table 
"Than at Thine to sup or dine.'* 
Grimly laugh' d Harun, and answered: 
"Fool! who think' st to arbitrate 
"What is in the hands of Fate — 
"Take, and thrust him from the Gate! " 

While a full Year was counted by the Moon, 
Salaman and Absal rejoiced together. 
And neither Shah nor Sage his face beheld. 
They question'd those about him, and from them 
Heard something: then himself to presence summon'd, 
And all the truth was told. Then Sage and Shah 
Struck out with hand and foot in his redress. 
(78) 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. 

[ 78 ] 


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. 

And first The Shah:— " Salaman, Oh my Soul, 

" 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 devour'd, 

" Till, by the seasonable breath of God, 

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

" Oh, do not wound me with a dagger thron; 

" Let not 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 (79) 

" 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, challenge Zal or Rustam to the Field, 

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


[ 79 ] 

eSSon salaman and absal. 

" And smite the warriors' neck; not, flying them, 

" Beneath a woman's foot submit thine own. 

" O wipe the woman's henna from thy hand, 

" Withdraw thee from the minion ^ who from thee 

" Dominion draws, and draws me with thee down; 

" Years have I held my head aloft, and all 

" For Thee — Oh shame if thou prepare my Fall! " 

When before Shiruyeh's dagger 

Kai Khusrau,^ his Father, fell. 

He declared this Parable — 
(80) "Wretch! — There was a branch that waooing 

"Wanton o'er the root he drank from, 
"At a draught the living water 

"Drained wherewith himself to crown; 
"Died the root — and with him died 

"The branch — and barren was brought down! " 

The Shah ceased counsel, and The Sage began. 
" O last new vintage of the Vine of Life 

^ "Shah/* and "Shahid" (A Mistress). 

^ Khusrau Parviz (Chosroe The Victorious), Son of NosHfRVAN The 
Great; slain, after Thirty Years of prosperous Reign, hy his Son 
Shiruyeh, who, according to some, was in love with his Father's mis- 
tress SHiRiN. See further on one of the most dramatic Tragedies in 
Persian history. 

[ 80 ] 


* Planted in Paradise ; Oh Master-stroke, 

* And all-concluding flourish of the Pen 

' KuN fa-yakun;^ Thyself prime Archetype, 

' And ultimate Accomplishment of Man ! 

' The Almighty hand, that out of common earth 

' Thy mortal outward to the perfect form 

' Of Beauty moulded, in the fleeting dust 

' Inscribed Himself, and in thy bosom set 

' 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, (8i) 

' Or form of carnal beauty f ore-possest, 

' Be made incapable of the Divine. 

' Supreme is thine Original degree, 

' Thy Star upon the top of Heaven ; but Lust 

' Will bring it down, down even to the Dustl " 

Quoth a Muezzin to the crested 
Cock — "Oh Prophet of the Morning, 

"Never Prophet like to you 
"Prophesied of Dawn, nor Muezzin 
"With so shrill a voice of warning 

^ "Be ! AND IT IS." — The famous Word of Creation stolen from Gene- 
sis by the Kurdn. 

I 81 ] 


"Woke the sleeper to confession 
"Crying, *La allah illa 'llah, 

"Muhammad rasuluhu.' ^ 
"One, methinks, so rarely 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; hut by my foolish 
(82) "Lust to this uncleanly living 

"With my sorry mates about me 

"Thus am fallen. Otherwise, 
"I were prophesying Dawn 

"Before the gates of Paradise, 

fy 2 

Of all the Lover's sorrows, next to that 

Of Love by Love forbidden, is the voice 

Of Friendship turning harsh in Love's reproof, 

And overmuch of Counsel — whereby Love 

Grows stubborn, and recoiling unsupprest 

Within, devours the heart within the breast. 

^ "There is no God but God; Muhammad is his Prophet.'* 
^ J ami, as, may he, other Saintly Doctors, kept soberly to one Wife. 
But wherefore, under the Law of Muhammad, should the Cock be 
selected (as I suppose he is) for a "Caution/' because of his indul- 
gence in Polygamy, however unusual among Birds? 

[ 82 ] 


Sala:ivian 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. (83) 

How bear it? — By the hand of Hatred dealt, 

Easy to meet — and deal with, blow for blow; 

But from Love's hand which one must not requite, 

And cannot yield to — what resource but Flight? 

Resolv'd on which, he victuall'd and equipped 

A Camel, and one night he led it forth. 

And mounted — ^he with Absal at his side. 

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 
In the prison of Egypt darkened. 
Nightly from her spacious Palace- 

Chamber, and its rich array ^ 
Stole ZuLAiKHA like a fantom 
To the dark and narrow dungeon 

Where her buried Treasure lay. 

[ 83 ] 

eSSSon salaman and absal. 

Then to those about her wond'ring— 
"Were my Palace,'' she replied, 
"Wider than Horizon-wide, 
"It were narrower than an Ant's eye, 
(84) "Were my Treasure not inside: 

"And an Ant's eye, if hut there 
"My lover. Heaven's horizon were," 

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 a great Sea that reaching like a floor 
Of rolling Firmament below the Sky's 
From Kaf to Kaf, to Gau and Mahi ^ down 
Descended, and its Stars were living eyes. 
The Face of it was as it were a range 
Of moving Mountains; or a countless host 
Of Camels trooping tumultuously up. 
Host over host, and foaming at the lip. 
Within, innumerable glittering things 

^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; and Mahi on Air; and Air on 
what? on Nothing; Nothing on Nothing, all is Nothing. — Enough." 
Attar; quoted in De Sacy's Pendnamah, xxxv. 

[ 84 ] 


Sharp as cut Jewels, to the sharpest eye 

Scarce visible, hither and thither slipping, (85) 

As silver scissors slice a blue brocade ; 

But should the Dragon coil'd in the abyss ^ 

Emerge to light, his starry counter-sign 

Would shrink into the depth of Heav'n aghast. 

Salaman eyed the moving wilderness 

On which he thought, once launcht, no foot, nor eye 

Should ever follow; forthwith he devised 

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 saiFd their vessel for a Moon, 
And marr'd their beauty with the wind o' the Sea, 
Suddenly in mid sea reveal'd itself (se) 

^ The Sidereal Dragon, whose Head, according to the Paurdnic (or 
poetic) astronomers of the East, devoured the Sun and Moon in 
Eclipse. "But we know," said Rdmachandra to Sir W. Jones, "that 
the supposed Head and Tail of the Dragon mean only the Nodes, or 
points formed hy intersections of the Ecliptic and the Moons Orbit." 
Sir W. Jones' Works, vol. iv., p. 74- 

[ 85 ] 


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; 
Some, as the Pheasant and the Dove adorn'd 
With crown and collar, over whom, alone, 
The jeweird Peacock like a Sultan shone; 
While the Musicians, and among them Chief 
The Nightingale, sang hidden in the trees 
Which, arm in arm, from fingers quivering 
With any breath of air, fruit of all kind 
Down scattered in profusion to their feet. 
Where fountains of sweet water ran between. 
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 sate down, 
Absal and He together side by side 
Together like the Lily and the Rose, 
(87) Together like the Soul and Body, one. 
Under its trees in one another's arms 

^ Note in Appendix, 

[ 86 ] 


They slept — they drank its fountains hand in hand — 
Paraded with the Peacock — raced the Partridge — 
Chased the green Parrot for his stolen fruit. 
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! 

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

"Like a thing about to die? " 
Wamik answered — "Meditating 
''Flight with Azrd ^ to the Desert: 
"There by so remote a Fountain 

''That, whichever way one travelVd, 
"League on league , one yet should never (ss) 

"See the face of Man; for ever 
"There to gaze on my Beloved; 
"Gaze, till Gazing out of Gazing 

^ The supposed guardian of buried treasure. 

^ Wamik and Azrd (Lover and Virgin) two typical Lovers. 

[ 87 ] 


''Grew to Being Her I gaze on, 
"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/' 

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 Sage, 
Pursuit set everywhere afoot: but none 
Could trace the footstep of the flying Deer. 
Then from his secret Art the Sage-Vizyr 
A Magic Mirror made; a Mirror like 
The bosom of All-wise Intelligence 
(89) 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 

[ 88 ] 


Of Lovers, in this other Paradise 

So far from human eyes in the mid sea. 

And yet within the magic glass so near 

As with a finger one might touch them, isled. 

The Shah beheld them; and compassion touch'd 

His eyes and anger died upon 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 Lords of Wrath have perish'd by the blow 
Themselves had aim'd at others long ago. 
Draw not in haste the sword, which Fate, may be, 
Will sheathe, hereafter to be drawn on Thee. 

Farhad, who the shapeless mountain (oo) 

Into human likeness moulded^ 
Under Shirin's eyes as slavish 
Potters' earth himself became, 

1 KpaTTjpa fioKpov ^6ovfjg Km SaKpvuv 
Kipvovreg i^kwLVov axpi^ £f fdOifv. 

From Theodorus Prodromas, as quoted by Sir W. Jones. 

^ A pebble flung into a Cup being a signal for a company to break up, 

[ 89 ] 

eSSon salaman and absal. 

Then the secret fire of jealous 
Frenzy, catching and devouring 
Kai Khusrau, broke into flame. 

With that ancient Hag of Darkness 
Plotting, at the midnight Banquet 
Farhad's golden cup he poison d. 

And in Shirin's eyes alone 
Reign'd — But Fate that Fate revenges. 
Arms Shiruyeh with the dagger 
That at once from Shirin tore. 

And hurVd him lifeless from his throne} 

(91) But as the days went on, and still The Shah 
Beheld his Son how in the Woman lost, 
And still the Crown that should adorn his head, 
And still the Throne that waited for his foot. 
Both trampled under 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, 

^ One story is that Khusrau had promised that if Farhdd cut through 
a Mountain, and brought a Stream through, Shirin would he his. 
Farhdd rvas 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 Farhdd threw himself headlong from 
the Rock. The Sculpture at Beysitun (or Besitun), where Rawlinson 
has deciphered Darius and Xerxes, was traditionally called Farhad's. 

[ 90 ] 


And, quite to shatter that rebellious lust. 

Upon Salaman all his Will^ with all ^ 

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

And Lo! Salaman to his Mistress turn'd. 

But could not reach her — ^look'd and look'd again, 

And palpitated tow'rd her — ^but in vain! 

Oh Misery! As to the Bankrupt's eyes 

The Gold he may not finger! or the Well 

To him who sees a-thirst, and cannot reach. 

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

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 

To lift him from the pit in which he lay: 

Timidly tow'rd his Father's eyes his own 

He lifted, pardon-pleading, crime-confest, (92) 

And drew once more to that forsaken Throne, 

As the stray bird one day will find her nest. 

One was asking of a Teacher ^ 
"How a Father his reputed 

"Son for his should recognise? " 
Said the Master, "By the stripling, 
"As he grows to manhood, growing 

^He Mesmerises him! — See also further on this Power of the Will. 

[ 91 ] 

eSSon salaman and absal. 

''Like to Ms reputed Father, 
"Good or Evil, Fool or Wise. 

"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 1/ 

(93) Yet Ah 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 worse, is yet behind — 

Love's back-blow of Revenge for having fled! 

Salaman bow'd his forehead to the dust 
Before his Father ; to his Father's hand 
Fast — but yet fast, 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 loathe his Life and long for Death. 

[ 92 ] 


And, as from him She would not be divorced. 

With Her he fled again : he fled — but now 

To no such Island centred in the sea 

As lull'd 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 

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 devised, (94) 

Gathered, and built ; and, firing with a Torch, 

Into the central flame Absal and He 

Sprung hand in hand exulting. But the Sage 

In secret all had ordered; and the Flame, 

Directed by his self-fulfilling Will, 

Devouring Her to ashes, left untouched 

Salaman — all the baser metal burn'd, 

And to itself the authentic Gold return'd. 

[ 93 ] 


Part III. 

From the Beginning such has been the Fate 
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, full 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 sunshine in the long arrear 
Of darkness 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 
Surviv'd, and, like a living Soul from which 
The Body falls, strange, naked, and alone. 
Then rose his cry to Heaven — his eyelashes 
(96) Wept blood — his sighs stood like a smoke in Heaven, 
And Morning rent her garment at his anguish. 

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

[ 9* ] 


And when Night came, that drew the pen across 
The written woes of Day for all but him, 
Crouch'd in a 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. 

And so the Wise One found him where he sate 
Bow'd down alone in darkness ; and once more 
Made the long-silent voice of Reason soimd 
In the deserted Palace of his 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; 
Yea, wrought by Miracle in his behalf. 
For when old Love returned to Memory, 
And broke in passion from his lips, The Sage, 
Under whose waxing Will Existence rose 
From Nothing, and, relaxing, waned again. 
Raising a Fantom Image of Absal, 

Set it awhile before Salaman's eyes, (97) 

Till, having sow'd the seed of comfort there, 

[ 95 ] 


It went again down to Annihilation. 

But ever, as the Fantom past away. 

The Sage would tell of a Celestial Love ; 

"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 her distorted image in the stream 

"Of fleeting Matter; and all Eloquence, 

" And Soul-enchaining harmonies of Song, 

" A far-off echo of that Harp in Heav'n 

" Which Dervish-dances to her harmony." 

Salaman listen'd, and inclined — again 
Entreated, inclination ever grew; 
Until The Sage 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 blotting Absal's Image from his breast. 
There reign'd instead. Celestial Beauty seen, 
(98) He left the Earthly; and, once come to know 
Eternal Love, the Mortal he let go. 

^ "ZuHRAH." The Planetary and Celestial Venus. 
2 "MaanV The Mystical pass-word of the Sufis, to express the tran- 
scendental Nerv Birth of the Soul. 

[ 96 ] 


The Crown of Empire how supreme a lot! 
The Sultan's Throne how lofty! Yea, but not 
For All — None but the Heaven-ward foot may dare 
To mount — The head that touches Heaven to wear! 

When the Beloved 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 

From all the quarters of his World-wide realm 

Summon'd all those who under Him the ring 

Of Empire wore. King, Counsellor, Amir; 

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, (99) 

And in the ears of all, his Jewel-word 

With the Diamond of Wisdom cut, and said: — 

[ 97 ] 


edS™ salaman and absal. 

'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, 

' The voice of Intellect Divine within 

' Interpreter ; and considering To-day 

' To-MORROw's Seed-field, ere That come to bear, 

* Sow with the harvest of Eternity. 

* And, as 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 Subject's cost, 

' Awhile shall make thee strong; but in the end 

* Shall bow thy neck beneath thy People's hate, 
' And lead thee with the Robber down to Hell. 

One sees J ami taking advantage of his Allegorical Shah to read a 
lesson to the Living — whose ears Advice, unlike Praise, scarce ever 
reached, unless obliquely and by Fable. The Warning (and doubtless 
with good reason) is principally aimed at the Minister, 

t 98 ] 


* Thou art a Shepherd, and thy Flock the People, 
' To help and save, not ravage and destroy; 

' 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 Vizyrs — 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 

* By usury wrung from the People's purse, 

' Feeding their Master, and themselves (with 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 — 

* Their sweet Access a salve to wounded Hearts; (loi) 
' Their Wrath a sword against Iniquity, 

* But at thy bidding only to be drawn ; 

' Whose Ministers they are, to bring thee in 
' Report of Good or Evil through the Realm : 
" Which to confirm with thine immediate Eye, 

* And least of all, remember — least of all, 

* Suffering Accuser also to be Judge, 
"By surest steps up-builds Prosperity." 

[ 99 ] 

eS?5on salaman and absal. 

Meaning of The Story. 

Under the leaf of many a Fable lies 

The Truth for those who look for it; of this 

If thou wouldst look behind and find the Fruit, 

(To which the Wiser hand hath 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 Sage? 

And what Salaman not of Woman born? 

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 Sea? And what that Fiery Pile? 

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 Word that Lover wrote along the sand.^ 

(108) The incomparable Creator, when this World 
He did create, created first of all 

^ The Story is of Generals^ though enacted by Particulars. 
^ See page 60. 

I 100 ] 


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 
Distributer of Evil and of Good, 

Of Joy and Sorrow. Himself apart from Matter, (io4) 
In Essence and in Energy — He yet 
Hath fashion'd all that is — Material Form, 
And Spiritual, all from Him — by Him 
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, 

^ *' These Ten Intelligences are only another Form of the Gnostic 
DcBmones. The Gnostics held that Matter and Spirit could have no 
Intercourse — they were, as it rvere, incommensurate. Horv, then, 
granting this premise, was Creation possible? Their answer was a 
kind of gradual Elimination. God, the 'Actus Purus,' created an 
Aeon; this Aeon created a Second; and so on, until the Tenth Aeon 
was sufficiently Material (as the Ten were in a continually descending 
Series) to affect Matter, and so cause the Creation by giving to Mat- 
ter the Spiritual Form. 

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

"ThereareTen Intelligences, and Nine Heavenly Spheres, of which 
the Ninth is the Uppermost Heaven, appropriated to the First Intel- 
ligence; 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.'* E. B. C. — v. 

[ 101 ] 


Therefore all those who comprehend aright, 
That Higher in The Sage will recognise. 
HIS the Prime Spirit that, spontaneously- 
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 Sense-adoring Body, 

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

Although the Body's very Life it be. 

Doth yet imbibe the knowledge and delight 

Of things of Sense ; and these in such a bond 

United as God only can divide, 

As Lovers in this Tale are signified. 

(105) And what the Flood on which they sail'd, with those 
Fantastic creatures peopled; and that Isle 
In which their Paradise awhile they made, 
And thought, for ever? — That false Paradise 
Amid the fluctuating Waters found 
Of Sensual passion, in whose bosom lies 
A world of Being from the light of God 
Deep as in unsubsiding Deluge drown'd. 

[ 102 ] 


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. 

Fled once again — what meant that second Flight 

Into the Desert, and that Pile of Fire 

On which he fain his Passion with Himself (loe) 

Would immolate? — That was the Discipline 

To which the living Man himself devotes. 

Till all the Sensual dross be scorcht away, 

And, to its pure integrity return'd. 

His Soul alone survives. But forasmuch 

As from a darling Passion so divorced 

The wound will open and will bleed anew. 

Therefore The Sage would ever and anon 

[ 103 ] 


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 possest, 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 — ^Whence, 

Throne over Throne surmounting, he shall reign 

One with the Last and First Intelligence. 

(107) 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 Simimary I close, 
And set my Seal — 

[ 104 ] 


"To thy Harim Dividuality 
*'No entrance finds " ^c. (p. 56.) 

This Stiff Identification with Deity (further illustrated in the 
Story of Salaman's first flight) is shadowed in a Parable of Jelalud- 
din^ of which here is an outline. "One knocked at the Beloved's 
Door; and a Voice asked from within, 'Who is there?' and he an- 
swered, '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." 

"0 darling of the soul of Iflatun 

"To whom with all his school Aristo hows.** (p. QS.) 

Some Traveller in the East — Professor Eastwick, I think — tells 
us that in endeavouring to explain to an Eastern Cook the nature of 
an Irish Stew, the man said he knew well enough about "Aristo." 
" Iflatun' might almost as well have been taken for "Vol-au-vent." 

"Like Noah*Sj puff*d with Insolence and Pride/* SfC. (p. 64.) 

In the Kuran God engages to save Noah and his Family, — mean- 
ing all who believed in the Warning. One of Noah's Sons | (Canaan (109) 
or Ham, 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, 'O Earth, swallow up thy waters, and Thou, O Heaven, withhold 

[ 105 ] 


thy Rain!' And immediately the Water abated, and the Decree was 
fulfilled, and the Ark rested on the Mountain Al Judi; and it was 
said, 'Away with the ungodly People!' And Noah called upon his 
Lord, and said, *0 Lord, verily my Son is of my Family, and thy 
Promise is True; for Thou art the most just of those who exercise 
J udgment.' God answered, 'O 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. 

*'Finer than any Bridal-puppet, which 

"To prove another's Love a Woman sends " S^c, (p. 69-) 

In Atkinson's version of the "Kitabi Kulsum Naneh " [c. xii.] 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 
(110) two Dolls — Bride and Bridegroom, | I suppose — being used on such 
occasions; the test of Affection being whether the one sent were re- 
turned with or without its Fellow. 

"The Royal Game of Chugdn." (p. 71.) 

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.) We may 
call it "Horse-hockey," as heretofore played by young Englishmen 
in the Maidan of Calcutta, and other Indian cities, I believe, and now 
in England itself under the name of Polo. 

The Frontispiece to 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 Hi j rah, 1549 of Christ; 
the MS. is in my own Collection. This Delineation exhibits two 
Horsemen contending for the Ball ; their short Jackets seem peculiarly 
adapted to this Sport; we see the MiL, or Goals; Servants attend 
on Foot, holding Chugans in readiness for other Persons who may 

IMS. Ouseley 20. 

[ 106 ] 



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 
I from other Miniatures in the same Book) this Bearded Figure is de- (HI) 
signed to represent Hafiz himself," &c. 

The Persian legend at the Top Corner is the Verse from Hafiz 
which the Drawing illustrates: 

Shahsuvara khiish bemeid^n amedy giiy bezann. 

The Muezzin's Cry. (p. 82.) 

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: 

Allah Akbqr, Allah Akbar ; 
Allah Akbar, Allah Akbar ; 
Ishhad M allah ilia 'llah ; 
Ishhad la allah ilia 'llah ; 
Ishhad la allah ilM 'llah ; ^ 
Ishhad Muhammad rasuliihu ; 
Ishhad Muhammad rasuliihu ; 
Ishhad Muhammad rasuliihu ; 
Haya 'ala 's-saMt, Hayd 'aid 's-saMt, 
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 better than Sleep." 

[A more accurate account will be found in Lane's Modern Egyp- 

The Garden of Iram. (p. 86.) (112) 

"Here Iram-Garden seem'd in secresy 
*'Blowing the rosebud of its Revelation.** 

"Mahomet," says Sir W. Jones, "in the Chapter of 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- 

[ 107 ] 


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." 

The Ten Intelligences, (p. 101.) 

A curious parallel to this doctrine is quoted by Mr. Morley (Criti- 
cal Miscellanies, Series II., p. 318), from so anti-gnostic a Doctor as 
Paley, in Ch. III. of his Natural Theology. 

"As we have said, therefore, God prescribes limits to his power, 
that he may let in the exercise, and thereby exhibit demonstrations, of 
his wisdom. For then — i. e., such laws and limitations being laid 
down, it is as though some Being should have fixed certain rules ; and, 
if we may so speak, provided certain materials ; and, afterwards, have 
committed to some other Being, out of these materials, and in subor- 
dination jto these rules, the task of drawing forth a Creation; a sup- 
position which evidently leaves room, and induces indeed a necessity, 
for contrivance. Nay, there may be many such Agents, and many 
ranks of these. We do not advance this as a doctrine either of phi- 
losophy or religion; but we say that the subject may be safely repre- 
sented under this view; because the Deity, acting himself by general 
laws, will have the same consequence upon our reasoning, as if he had 
prescribed these laws to another." 

[Note. The pagination in the margins is that of the Third edi- 
tion, 1879.] 

[ 108 ] 


To C, E. Norton, 

Woodhridge, August 5, 1881, 
. . . It has all made me think of a very little Dia- 
logue I once wrote on the matter, thirty years ago and 
more, which I really think of putting into shape again: 
and, if I do, will send it to you, by way of picture of what 
our Cambridge was in what I think were better days than 
now, . . . 

To Hallam Tennyson, 

Woodbridge, May 28, ]^1882\ 
My dear Hallam: 

I believe I ought to be ashamed of reviving the little 

thing which accompanies this Letter, My excuse must be 

that I have often been askt for a copy when I had no 

more to give; and a visit to Cambridge last summer, to 

the old familiar places, if not faces, made me take it up 

once more and turn it into what you now see, I should 

certainly not send a copy to you, or yours, but for what 

relates to your Father in it. He did not object, so far 

as I know, to what I said of him, though not by name, in 

[ xi ] 


a former 'Edition; hut there is more of him in this, though 
still not by name, nor, as you see, intended for Publica- 
tion. All of this you can read to him, if you please, at 
pp, 25 and 66. I do not ask him to say that he approves 
of what is said, or meant to be said, in his honour; and I 
only ask you to tell me if he disapproves of its going any 
further. I owed you a letter in return for the kind one 
you sent me; and, if I do not hear from you to the con- 
trary, I shall take silence, if not for consent, at least not 
for prohibition. I really did, and do, wish my first, which 
is also my last, little work to record, for a few years at 
least, my love and admiration of that dear old Fellow, 
my old Friend. 

To R. C. Trench. 

July 3, 1861. 

. . . What your Mother says of the Dresden Ma- 
donna reminds me of what Tennyson once said: that the 
Attitude of The Child was that of a Man: but perhaps 
not the less right for all that. As to the Countenance, he 
said that scarce any Mans Face could look so grave and 
rapt as a Baby's could at times. He once said of his own 
Child's, 'He was a whole hour this morning worshipping 
the Sunshine playing on the Bedpost.' * 

To C. E. Norton. 

Woodbridge, June 9, '82. 
I told you, I think, but I scarce know when, that I 
would send you a very little Tract of mine written forty 

* See page 140. 

[ '^li ] 


years ago; and reformed into its present shape in conse- 
quence of copies being askt for when I had none to give. 
So a few days at Cambridge last Summer, among the 
old places, though not faces, set me off, 'Et voild qui est 
fait/ and posted to you along with this Letter, together 
with a Copy for Professor Goodwin, The first and last 
of my little works: and I do think a pretty specimen of 
'chiselVd Cherry-stone' Having which opinion myself, 
I more than ever deprecate any word of praise from any 
to whom I send it. Nay, I even assume beforehand that 
you will like it too: and Professor Goodwin also (so do 
not let him write): as my little tribute to my own old 
Cambridge sent to you in your new, I think I shall send 
it to Mr, Lowell too. So you see that I need no compli- 
ment, no, nor even acknowledgment of it. • . . 

[ xiii ] 



^ ^ag-^afi €onbtxs:&mn at Cambrilifit. 
' 'tis forty tears since. 


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 coming up my staircase, two or 
three steps at a time it seemed to me ; then, directly after, 
a smart rapping at the door; and, before I could say, 
" Come in," Euphranor 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 shin- 
ing — breeze blowing — ^hedges and trees in full leaf. — He 
had been to Chesterton, (he said,) and pulFd back with 
a man who now left him in the lurch ; and 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 get- 
ting a whole Eight-oar to himself 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 
with him, whether for a row, or a walk in the fields, or a 
game of Billiards at Chesterton — whatever I liked — only 
go I must." After a little more banter, about some 
possible Patients, I got up; [closed some very weary medi- (2) 
cal Treatise I was reading; on with coat and hat; and in 
three minutes we had run downstairs, out into the open 
air; where both of us calling out together " What a day! " 
it was, we struck out briskly for the old Wooden Bridge, 
where Euphranor said his boat was lying. 

[ 113 ] 

.:f5i?^. EUPHRANOR. 


" By-the-by," 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 taken from 
them; and Euphranor, who was quite good-humour'd, 
and wish'd Lexilogus all well (for we were all three 
Yorkshiremen, whose families lived no great distance 
asunder), easily consented. So, without more ado, we 
turn'd into Trinity Great gate, and round by the right 
up a staircase to the attic where Lexilogus kept. 

The door was sported, as they say, but I knew he must 
be within; 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 Lexilo- 
gus' thin, pale, and spectacled face appear'd at the half- 
open'd door. He was always glad to see me, I believe, 
howsoever I disturb'd him; and he smiled as he laid his 
hand in mine, rather than return'd its pressure: working 
hard, as he was, poor fellow, for a Fellowship that should 
repay all the expense of sending him to College. 

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? 

" Oh — long ago — directly after morning Chapel." 
(8) I then told him he must put his books away, and come 
out on the river with Euphranor and myself. 

" He could not possibly," he thought; — " not so early, 

[ 114^ ] 


at least — preparing for some Examination, or course of 
Lectures " 

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

I then told him (what I then suddenly remember'd) 
that, beside other reasons, his old Aunt, a Cambridge 
tradesman's widow whom I attended, and whom Lexilo- 
gus help'd to support out of his own little savings, wanted 
to see him on some business. He should go with us to 
Chesterton, where she lodged ; visit her while Euphranor 
and I play'd 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 

He supposed " we should be back in good time " ; about 
which I would make no condition; and he then resign'd 
himself to Destiny. While he was busy changing and 
brushing his clothes, Euphranor, who had walk'd some- 
what impatiently about the room, looking now at the 
books, and now through the window at some white pigeons 
wheeling about in the clear sky, went up to the mantel- 
piece and call'd 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 birthday; and coming up to me, brush in hand, asked 
if I recognised the views represented on them? 

" Quite well, quite well," I said—" the old Church— 

[ 115 ] 



the Yew tree — the Parsonage — one cannot mistake 

" And were they not beautifully done? " 
(4) And I answer'd 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 
had guided her hand. 

At last, after a little hesitation as to whether he should 
wear cap and gown, (which I decided he should, for this 
time only, not,) Lexilogus was ready: and calling out 
on the staircase to some invisible Bed-maker, that his 
books should not be meddled with, we ran downstairs, 
crossed the Great Court — through the Screens, as they 
are call'd, perpetually travers'd by Gyp, Cook, Bed- 
maker, and redolent of perpetual Dinner; — and so, 
through the cloisters of Neville's Court, out upon the 
open green before the Library. The sun shone broad on 
the new-shaven expanse of grass, while holiday-seeming 
people saunter'd along the River-side, and under the 
trees, now flourishing in freshest green — the Chestnut 
especially in full fan, and leaning down his white cones 
over the sluggish current, which seem'd indeed fitter for 
the slow merchandise of coal, than to wash the walls and 
flow through the groves of Academe. 

We now consider'd that we had miss'd our proper point 
of embarkation; but this was easily set right at a slight 
expense of College propriety. Euphranor calling out to 
some one who had his boat in charge along with others 
by the wooden bridge, we descended the grassy slope, 

[ 116 ] 



stepp'd in, with due caution on the part of Lexilogus and 
myself, and settled the order of our voyage. Euphranor 
and I were to pull, and Lexilogus (as I at first proposed) 
to steer. But seeing he was somewhat shy of meddling 
in the matter, I agreed to take all the blame of my own 
awkwardness on myself. 

"And just take care of this, will you, Lexilogus? " said 
I Euphranor, handing him a book which fell out of the (s) 
pocket of the coat he was taking off. 

" Oh, books, books! " I exclaimed. " I thought we were 
to steer clear of them, at any rate. Now we shall have 
Lexilogus reading all the way, instead of looking about 
him, and inhaling the fresh air unalloy'd. What is it — 
Greek, Algebra, German, or what? " 

" None of these, however," Euphranor said, " but only 
Digby's Godef ridus " ; and then asking me whether I was 
ready, and I calling out, " Ay, ay. Sir," our oars plash'd 
in the water. Safe through the main arch of Trinity 
bridge, we shot past the Library, I exerting myself so 
strenuously (as bad rowers are apt to do), that I almost 
drove the boat upon a very unobtrusive angle of the 
College buildings. This danger past, however, we got 
on better; Euphranor often looking behind him to anti- 
cipate 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 the first Protestant edi- 
tion of it, now very rare." 

[ 117 ] 



" But not so good as the enlarged Catholic," said 
Euphranor, " of which this Godefridus is part." 

" Perhaps not," I replied; " but then, on the other hand, 
not so Catholic ; which you and Lexilogus will agree with 
me is much in its favour." 

Which I said slyly, because of Euphranor's 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- 
(6) And then Euphranor ask'd me, " Did I not remember 
Digby himself at College? — perhaps know him? " 

"Not that" I answer'd, but remember'd him very well. 
" A grand, swarthy Fellow, who might have stept out of 
the canvas of some knightly portrait in his Father's hall 
— perhaps the living image of one sleeping under some 
cross-legg'd Effigies in the Church." 

" And, Hare says, really the Knight at heart that he 
represented in his Books." 

" At least," I answered, " he pull'd a very good stroke 
on the river, where I am now labouring so awkwardly." 

In which and other such talk, interrupted by the little 
accidents of our voyage, we had threaded our way through 
the closely-packt barges at Magdalen ; through the Locks ; 
and so for a pull of three or four miles down the river and 
back again to the Ferry; where we surrender'd our boat, 
and footed it over the fields to Chesterton, at whose 
Church we came just as its quiet chimes were preluding 

[ 118 ] 


Twelve o'clock. Close by was the humble house whither 
Lexilogus was bound. I look'd in for a moment at the 
old lady, and left him with her, privately desiring him 
to join us as soon as he could at the Three Tuns Inn, 
which I preferred to any younger rival, because of the 
many pleasant hours I had spent there in my own College 
days, some twenty years ago. 

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 foimd, 
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 call'd out. 

He nodded to us both — waiting, he said, till some men (7) 
had finished a pool of billiards upstairs — a great bore — 
for it was only just begun! and one of the fellows " a man 
I particularly detest." 

" 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 very often in hot weather; he did not see the 
use," he said, " of perspiring to no purpose." 

" Just so," replied I, " though Euphranor has not 
turn'd a hair, you see, owing to the good condition he is 
in. But here comes our liquor; and * Sweet is Pleasure 
after Pain,' at any rate." 

We then sat down in one of those little arbours cut into 

[ 119 ] 


the Lilac bushes round the Bowling-green; and while 
Euphranor and I were quaffing each a glass of Home- 
brew'd, Lycion took up the volume of Digby, which 
Euphranor had laid on the table. 

" Ah, Lycion," said Euphranor, putting down his 
glass, " there is one would have put you up to a longer 
and stronger pull than we have had to-day? " 

" Chivalry " said Lycion, glancing carelessly over 

the leaves; " Don't you remember," — addressing me — 
" what an absurd thing that Eglinton Tournament was? 
What a complete failure! There was the Queen of 
Beauty on her throne — Lady Seymour — who alone of all 
the whole affair was not a sham — and the Heralds, and 
the Knights in full Armour on their horses — they had 
been practising for months, I believe — ^but unluckily, at 
the very moment of Onset, the rain began, and the 
Knights threw down their lances, and put up their um- 

I laugh'd, and said I remembered something like it 

(8) I had occurred, though not to that umbrella-point, which 

I thought was a theatrical, 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 
a sham, as Lycion says. As Digby himself tells us," he 
went on, taking the Book, and rapidly turning over the 
leaves — "Here it is" — and he read: " * The error that 
leads men to doubt of this first proposition ' — that is, you 

[ 120 ] 


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, and steel Panoply, and Coat arms, and 
Aristocratic institutions, are essential to Chivalry; 
whereas, these are, in fact, only accidental attendants 
upon it, subject to the influence of Time, which changes 
all such things.' " 

" I suppose," said Lycion, " your man — whatever his 
name is — would carry us back to the days of King Arthur, 
and the Seven Champions, whenever they were — ^that one 
used to read about when a Child? I thought Don Quix- 
ote had put an end to all that long ago." 

" Well, he, at any rate," said Euphranor, " did not 
depend on fine Accoutrement for his Chivalry." 

" Nay," said I, " but did he not believe in his rusty 
armour — perhaps even the paste-board Visor he fitted to 
it — as impregnable as the Cause " 

" And some old Barber's bason as the Helmet of Mam- 
brino," interposed Lycion 

" And his poor Rocinante not to be surpass'd by the 
Bavieca of the Cid; believed in all this, I say, as really 
as in the Windmills and Wine-skins being the Giants and 
Sorcerers he was to annihilate? " 

" To be sure he did," said Lycion; " but Euphranor's (o) 
Round-table men — many of them great rascals, I believe 
— knew a real Dragon, or Giant — when they met him — 
better than Don Quixote." 

" Perhaps, however," said I, who saw Euphranor's col- 

[ 121 ] 



our rising, "he and Digby would tell us that all such 
Giants and Dragons may be taken for Symbols of certain 
Forms of Evil which his Knights went about to encoun- 
ter and exterminate." 

" Of course," said Euphranor, with an indignant snort, 
" every Child knows that: then as now to be met with and 
put down in whatsoever shapes they appear as long as 
Tyranny and Oppression exist." 

" Till finally extinguisht, as they crop up, by Euphra- 
nor and his Successors," said Lycion. 

" Does not Carlyle somewhere talk to us of a * Chivalry 
of Labour '? " said I; " that henceforward not 'Arms and 
the Man,' but ' Tools and the Man,' are to furnish the 
Epic of the world." 

" Oh, well," said Lycion, " if the ' Table-Round ' turn 
into a Tailor's Board — ^Charge, Chester, charge!' say 
I — only not exorbitantly for the Coat you provide for 
us — which indeed, like true Knights, I believe you should 
provide for us gratis." 

" Yes, my dear fellow," said I, laughing, " but then 
You must not sit idle, smoking your cigar, in the midst 
of it; but, as your Ancestors led on mail'd troops at Agin- 
court, so must you put yourself, shears in hand, at the 
head of this Host, and become what Carlyle calls 'a Cap- 
tain of Industry,' a Master-tailor, leading on a host of 
Journeymen to fresh fields and conquests new." 

" Besides," said Euphranor, who did not like Carlyle, 

(10) I nor relish this sudden descent of his hobby, " surely 

Chivalry will never want a good Cause to maintain, 

[ 122 ] 


whether private or public. As Tennyson says, King 
Arthur, who was carried away wounded to the island 
valley of Avilion, returns to us in the shape of a ' modern 
Gentleman ' ;* and, the greater his Power and oppor- 
tunity, the more demanded of him." 

" Which you must bear in mind, Lycion," said I, " if 
ever you come to legislate for us in yoiu* Father's Bor- 

" Or out of it, also," said Euphranor, " with something 
other than the Doctor's Shears at your side; as in case 
of any National call to Arms." 

To this Lycion, however, only tum'd his cigar in his 
mouth by way of reply, and look'd somewhat supercili- 
ously at his Antagonist. And I, who had been looking 
into the leaves of the Book that Euphranor had left open, 

" Here we are, as usual, discussing without having yet 
agreed on the terms we are using. Euphranor has told 
us, on the word of his Hero, what Chivalry is not: let him 
read us what it is that we are talking about." 

I then handed him the Book to read to us, while Lycion, 
lying down on the grass, with his hat over his eyes, com- 
posed himself to inattention. And Euphranor read: 

" ' Chivalry is only a name for that general Spirit or 
state of mind, which disposes men to Heroic and Generous 
actions ; and keeps them conversant with all that is Beauti- 

* '*Who may he challenged, even in these later days, to no mock Tour- 
nament, Lycion, in his Country's defence, and with something other 
than the Doctor's shears at his side." — The sentence finishes thus, and 
the two subsequent paragraphs are omitted in final edition. 

[ 123 ] 



f ul and Sublime in the Intellectual and Moral world. It 
will be found that, in the absence of conservative prin- 
ciples, this Spirit more generally prevails in Youth than 
in the later periods of men's lives: and, as the Heroic is 
always the earliest age in the history of nations, so Youth, 
the first period of human life, may be considered as the 
(11) 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 imaginations, 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 'Cnihthade,' 
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 Rowland to the dark tower came," 

an excellent expression, no doubt; for every Boy and 
Youth is, in his mind and sentiments, a Knight, and essen- 
tially a Son of Chivalry. Nature is fine in him. Noth- 
ing but the circumstance of a singular and most degrad- 
ing system of Education can ever totally destroy the 
action of this general law. Therefore, as 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 with- 
ered for ever; so long must there have been, and must 

[ 124 ] 



there continue to be, the spirit of noble Chivalry. To 
understand 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 
Demipho 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 this 
Old world. Amyntas beheld and dreaded the insolence 
of the Persians ; but not so Alexander, the son of Amyn- 
tas, aT£|v£OC xs scbv, itac xaxcbv dxaQT]^ (says Herodotus) (12) 
o6Sa(id)C S'cc xaxe/siv oUc, 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] (jLYjxcdaaQac x' ip^o[X£V 00 (xsv ioXTca 
BooXfic, ehai Svscap, oaov x' eiuc xdpxsi )(£tp(bv. 

* If Jason be unwilling to attempt it, I and the rest will 
undertake the enterprise; for what more can we suffer 
than death? ' And then instantly rose up Telamon and 
Idas, and the sons of Tyndarus, and (Enides, although 

— 068s Tcsp Saoov siravGcocovxac iobXooc, 

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 

[ 125 ] 


Bachelor 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 " 

Here Lycion, who had endured the reading with an 
occasional yawn, said he wish'd " those fellows upstairs 
would finish their pool." 

" And see again," continued I, taking the book from 
Euphranor's hands — " after telling us that Chivalry is 
mainly but another name for Youth, Digby proceeds to 
define more particularly what that 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 
(13) I Virtuous age of Greece. When Demosthenes is desir- 
ous of expressing any great and generous sentiment, he 
uses the term vsavcxov cpp6vY](ia' — and by the way," added 
I, looking up parenthetically from the book, " the Per- 
sians, I am told, employ the same word for Youth and 
Courage — ' and it is the saying of Plautus, 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 earnestly desire andarequickly 

[ 126 ] 



appeased; their wishes are intense, without comprehend- 
ing 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 indignant when they suffer injustice; 
they love Honour, but still more Victory; for Youth 
desires superiority, and victory 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 Innocent, from not having 
beheld much wickedness; and they are credulous, from 
having been seldom deceived ; and Sanguine in hope, for, 
like persons who are drunk with wine, they are inflamed 
by nature, and from their having 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 Courage, being passionate 
I and hasty, of which tempers it is the nature of one not (u) 
to fear, and of the other to inspire confidence; and they 
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 unacquainted with Necessity; 
they prefer Honour to Advantage, Virtue to Expedi- 
ency; for they live by Affection rather than by Reason, 
and Reason is concerned with Expediency, but AfFec- 

[ 127 ] 


tion 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 sup- 
pose every man suffers wrongfully." ' So that Lycion, 
you see," said I, looking up from the book, and tapping 
on the top of his hat, " is, in virtue of his eighteen Simi- 
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 pretending 
to be careless, indolent, and worldly, he is really bursting 
with suppressed Energy, Generosity, and Devotion." 

" I did not try to understand your English any more 
than your Greek," said Lycion; " but if I can't help being 
the very fine Fellow whom I think you were reading 
about, why, I want to know what is the use of writing 
books about it for my edification." 
(15) " O yes, my dear fellow," said I, " it is like giving you 
an Inventory of your goods, which else you lose, or even 
fling away, in your march to Manhood — which you are 
so eager to reach. Only to repent when gotten there ; for 
I see Digby goes on — ' What is termed Entering the 

[ 128 ] 


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 Tcoxjxov yoocoaa, Xcirooa' dvSpox'^ta xat t^^t^v.'" 

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

" But why * frivolous '? " said Lycion. 

" Ay, why ' frivolous '? " echoed I, " when entering on 
the Field where Euphranor tells us, their Knightly service 
may be call'd into action." 

" Perhaps," said Euphranor, " entering before suffi- 
ciently equipp'd for that part of their calling." 

" Well," said Lycion, " the Laws of England deter- 
mine otherwise, and that is enough for me, and, I suppose, 
for her, whatever your ancient or modern pedants say to 
the contrary." 

" You mean," said I, " in settling Twenty-one as the 
Age of * Discretion,' sufficient to manage, not your own 
affairs only, but those of the Nation also? " 

The hat nodded. 

" Not yet, perhaps, accepted for a Parliamentary 
Knight complete," said I, " so much as Squire to some 
more experienced, if not more valiant. Leader. Only 
providing that Neoptolemus do not fall into the hands 
of a too politic I Ulysses, and under him lose that generous (i6) 

[ 129 ] 


Moral, whose Inventory is otherwise apt to get lost among 
the benches of St. Stephen's — in spite of preliminary 

" Aristotle's Master, I think," added Euphranor, with 
some mock gravity, " would not allow any to become 
Judges in his Republic till near to middle life, lest ac- 
quaintance with Wrong should harden them into a dis- 
trust of Humanity: and acquaintance with Diplomacy is 
said to be little less dangerous." 

" Though, by-the-way," interposed I, " was not Plato's 
Master accused of perplexing those simple Affections 
and Impulses of Youth by his Dialectic, and making 
premature Sophists of the Etonians of Athens? " 

"By Aristophanes, you mean," said Euphranor, with 
no mock gravity now; "whose gross caricature help'd 
Anytus and Co. to that Accusation which ended in the 
murder of the best and wisest Man of all Antiquity." 

" Well, perhaps," said I, " he had been sufficiently 
punish'd by that termagant Wife of his — whom, by-the- 
way, he may have taught to argue with him instead of to 
obey. Just as that Son of poor old Strepsiades, in what 
you call the Aristophanic Caricature, is taught to rebel 
against parental authority, instead of doing as he was 
bidden; as he would himself have the Horses to do that 
he was spending so much of his Father's money upon: 
and as we would have our own Horses, Dogs, and Chil- 
dren, — and young Knights." 

" You have got your Heroes into fine company, Eu- 
phranor," said Lycion, who, while seeming inattentive to 

[ 130 ] 


all that went against him, was quick enough to catch at 
any turn in his favour. 

" Why, let me see," said I, taking up the book again, 
and I running my eye over the passage — " yes, — 'Ardent (i7) 
of desire/ — *^ Tractable/ — some of them at least — ' With- 
out comprehending much ' — 'Ambitious ' — ' Despisers of 
Riches^ — ' Warm friends and hearty Companions ' — re- 
ally 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 associa- 
tion in the Heroic Enterprises of Men, — Kl mas Hidalgo 
BrutOj Calderon calls him. He was sometimes buried, I 
think, along with our heroic Ancestors — just as some 
favourite wife was buried along with her husband in the 
East. So the Muse sings of those who believe their faith- 
ful Dog will accompany them to the World of Spirits — 
as even some wise and good Christian men have thought 
it not impossible he may, not only because of his Moral, 
but " 

" Well," said Euphranor, " we need not trouble our- 
selves about carrying the question quite so far." 

" Oh, do not drop your poor kinsman just when you 
are going into good Company," said Lycion. 

" By-the-way, Lycion," said I, " has not your Parlia- 
ment a * Whipper-in' of its more dilatory members — or 
of those often of the younger ones, I think, who may be 
diverting themselves with some stray scent elsewhere? " 

To this he only replied with a long whiff from his 
Cigar; but Euphranor said: 

[ isi ] 


" Well, come, Lycion, let us take the Doctor at his 
word, and turn it against himself. For if you and 
I, in virtue of our Youth, are so inspired with all this 
Moral that he talks of — why, we — or, rather, you — 
are wanted in Parliament, not only to follow like Dog and 
Horse, as he pretends, but also to take the lead ; so as the 
(18) [Generous counsel, the vsavixbv 9p6v7j(xa, of Youth, may 
vivify and ennoble the cold Politic of Age." 

" Well, I remember hearing of a young Senator," said 
I, "who, in my younger days, was celebrated for his 
faculty of Cock-crowing by way of waking up his more 
drowsy Seniors, I suppose, about the small hours of the 
morning — or, perhaps, in token of Victory over an unex- 
pected Minority." 

" No, no," said Euphranor, laughing, " I mean seri- 
ously; 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, I suppose, 
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 assist- 
ance? " 

Euphranor was not clear about his. 

" Besides," said I, " does not this very vsavcxov cpp6vY)(xa 
of yours result from that vsavtxbv condition — l6o^, do you 
call it? — of Body, in which Youth as assuredly profits as 

[ 132 ] 


in the Moral, and which assuredly flows, as from a Foun- 
tain of * Jouvence that rises and runs in the open ' Field 
rather than in the Hall of St. Stephen's, where indeed it 
is rather likely to get clogg'd, if not altogether dried up? 
As, for instance. Animal Spirit j Animal Courage j San- 
guine Temper, and so forth — all which, by the way, says 
Aristotle, inflame Youth not at all like Reasonable peo- 
ple, but *^ like persons drunk with wine ^ — all which, for 
better or worse, is fermented by Cricket from good Roast 
Beef into pure Blood, Muscle — and Moral." 

" Chivalry refined into patent Essence of Beef 1 " said 
Euphranor, only half -amused. 

" I hope you like the taste of it," said Lycion, under (i9) 
his hat. 

" Well, at any rate," said I, laughing, " those young 
Argonauts needed a good stock of it to work a much 
heavier craft than we have been pulling to-day, when the 
wind f ail'd them. And yet, with all their animal Inebria- 
tion — whencesoever derived — so tractable in their Moral 
as to submit at once to their Politic Leader — Argus, was 
it not?" 

" ' The Nestor of the Party,' Digby calls him," said 
Euphranor, " good, old, garrulous Nestor, whom, some- 
how, I think one seems to feel more at home with than any 
of the Homeric Heroes." 

" Aye, he was entitled to crow in the Grecian Parlia- 
ment, fine ' Old Cock ' as he was, about the gallant ex- 
ploits of his Youth, being at threescore so active in Body 
as in Spirit, that Agamemnon declares, I think, that Troy 

[ 133 ] 


would soon come down had he but a few more such Gen- 
erals. Ah yes, Euphranor! could one by so full Appren- 
ticeship of Youth become 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, so 
that — 

*Ev'n while the vital Heat 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 remotest Age — then indeed your 
Senate would need no other Youth than its Elders to 
vivify their counsel, or could admit the Young without 
danger of corrupting them by ignoble Policy. 

" Well, come," said Euphranor gaily, after my rather 
(20) I sententious peroration, " Lycion need not be condemn'd 
to enter Parliament — or even ' The World ' — unless he 
pleases, for some twenty years to come, if he will follow 
P5i:hagoras, who, you know. Doctor, devotes 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 anyone 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 
Elysian Cricket-field of Youth before pent up in that 

[ 1S4 ] 


Close Borough of your Father's! And Euphranor, 
whom we thought fast sHpping 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 enter'd the World, but made my bread by bring- 
ing others into it these fifteen years, have myself only 
just ceased to be a Boy! " 

What reply Lycion might have deign'd to all this, I 
know not; for just now one of his friends 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 Trap-ball, and I retorting that we 
could carry it forward into Life with us, he carelessly 
nodded to us both, and with an ''Au Revoir" lounged 
with his Cigar into the house. 

Then Euphranor and I took each a draught of the 
good liquor which Lycion had declined to share with us; 
and, on setting down his tumbler, he said: 

" Ah! you should have heard our friend Skythrops com- 
menting on that Inventory of Youth, as you call it, 
which he happened to open upon in my rooms the other 

" Perhaps the book is rather apt to open there of its 
jown accord," said I. " Well — and what did old Sky- (21) 
throps say? " 

" Oh, you may anticipate — * the same old Heathen 
talk,' he said — * very well for a Pagan to write, and a 
Papist to quote — ' and, according to you, Doctor, for 

[ 1S5 ] 


Horse and Dog to participate in, and for Bullock to 

" But I had been mainly bantering Lycion," I said ; 
" as Euphranor also, I supposed with his Pythagorean 
disposition of Life. Lycion would not much have cared 
had I derived them from the angels. As for that Ani- 
mal condition to which I had partly referr'd them, we 
Doctors were of old notorious on that score, not choosing 
your Moralist and Philosopher to carry off all the fee. 
But ' The Cobbler to his Last ' — or, the Tailor to his 
Goose, if I might be call'd in, as only I profess'd, to 
accommodate the outer Man with what Sterne calls his 
Jerkin, leaving its Lining to your Philosopher and 

"Sterne!" ejaculated Euphranor; "just like him — 
Soul and Body all of a piece." 

" Nay, nay," said I, laughing; " your Lining is often 
of a finer material, you know." 

" And often of a coarser, as in Sterne's own case, I 

" Well, then, I would turn Mason, or Bricklayer," I 
said ; " and confine myself to the House of Clay, in which, 
as the Poets tell us, the Soul is Tenant — * The Body's 
Guest ' — as Sir Walter Raleigh calls him ; would that 

" Better, at any rate, than Jerkin and Lining." 

But here the same difficulty presented itself. For, how- 
ever essentially distinct the Tenant from his Lodging, his 
Health, as we of the material Faculty believed, in some 

[ 136 ] 


I measure depended on the salubrity of the House, in (22) 
which he is not merely a Guest, but a Prisoner, and from 
which I knew Euphranor thought he was forbidden to 
escape by any violent self -extrication. Dryden indeed 
tells us of — 

"A fiery Soul that, working out its way. 
Fretted the pigmy Body to decay. 
And o'er-informed this Tenement of Clay." — 

" But that was the Soul of an Achitophel," Euphranor 
argued, " whose collapse, whether beginning from within 
or without, was of less than little moment to the world. 
But the truly grand Soul possesses himself in peace, or, 
if he suffer from self -neglect, or over-exertion in striving 
after the good of others — ^why, that same Dryden — or 
Waller, it may be — says that such an one becomes, not 
weaker, but stronger, by that Bodily decay, whether of 
Infirmity, or of Old Age, which lets in new light through 
the chinks of dilapidation — if not, as my loftier Words- 
worth has it, some rays of that Original Glory which he 
brought with him to be darken'd in the Body at Birth." 

" But then," I said, " if your crazy Cottage won't fall 
to pieces at once, but, after the manner of creaking gates, 
go creaking — or, as the Sailors say of their boats, * com- 
plaining ' on — ^making the Tenant, and most likely all 
his Neighbours, complain also, and perpetually calling on 
the Tenant for repairs, and this when he wants to be about 
other more important Business of his own? To think 
how much time — and patience — a Divine Soul has to 

[ 137 ] 



waste over some little bit of Cheese, perhaps, that, owing 
to bad drainage, will stick in the stomach of an otherwise 
Seraphic Doctor." 

Euphranor laughed a little; and I went on; "Better 
(28) I surely, for all sakes, to build up for her — as far as we 
may — for we cannot yet ensure the foundation — a spa- 
cious, airy, and wholesome Tenement becoming so Divine 
a Tenant, of so strong a foundation and masonry as to 
resist the wear and tear of Elements without, and herself 
within. Yes; and a handsome house withal — unless in- 
deed you think the handsome Soul will fashion that about 
herself from within — like a shell — ^which, so far as her 
Top-storey, where she is supposed chiefly to reside, I think 
may be the case." 

" Ah," said Euphranor, " one of the most beautiful of 
all human 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. But did not he accompany Alcibiades, not only 
because of his Spiritual, but also of his Physical Beauty, 
in which, as in the Phidian statues, the Divine Original 
of Man was supposed to reflect Himself, and which has 
been accepted as such by Christian Art, and indeed by 
all Peoples who are furthest removed from that of the 
Beast? " 

" Even of Dog and Horse? " said Euphranor, smiling. 

" Even my sturdy old Philosopher Montaigne — who, 

[ 138 ] 


bjT' the way, declares that he rates * La Beaute a deux 
doigts de la Bonte . . . non seulement aux hommes qui 
me servent, mais aux betes aussi' — quotes your Aristotle, 
saying that we owe a sort of Homage to those who resem- 
ble the Statues of the Gods as to the Statues themselves. 
And thus Socrates may have felt about Alcibiades, who, 
in those earlier and better days when Socrates knew him, 
might almost be taken as a counterpart of the Picture of 
Youth, with all its Virtues and defects, which Aristotle 
has drawn for us." 

" Or, what do you say. Doctor, to Aristotle's own Pupil, (24) 
Alexander, who turned out a yet more astonishing Phe- 
nomenon? — I wonder. Doctor, what you, with all your 
theories, would have done had such an ' Enfant terrible ' 
as either of them been put into your hands." 

" Well, at any rate, I should have the advantage of 
first laying hold of him on coming into the World, which 
was not the case with Aristotle, or with the Doctors of 
his time, was it? " 

Euphranor thought not. 

" However, I know not yet whether I have ever had 
an Infant Hero of any kind to deal with ; none, certainly, 
who gave any indication of any such * clouds of glory ' as 
your Wordsworth tells of, even when just arrived from 
their several homes — in Alexander's case, of a somewhat 
sulphureous nature, according to Skythrops, I doubt. 
No, nor of any young Wordsworth neither under our 
diviner auspices." 

"Nay, but," said Euphranor, "he tells us that our 

[ 139 ] 


Birth is but a ' Sleep and a forgetting ' of something 
which must take some waking-time to develope." 

" But which, if I remember aright, is to begin to darken 
* with shades of the Prison-house,' as Wordsworth calls it, 
that begin to close about ' the growing Boy.' But I am 
too much of a Philistine, as you Germans have it, to com- 
prehend the Transcendental. All I know is, that I have 
not yet detected any signs of the * Heaven that lies about 
our Infancy,' nor for some while after — no, not even 
peeping through those windows through which the Soul 
is said more immediately to look, but as yet with no more 
speculation in them than those of the poor whelp of the 
Dog we talked of — in spite of a nine days' start of him." 
(25) " Nevertheless," said Euphranor, " I have heard tell of 
another Poet's saying that he knew of no human outlook 
so solemn as that from an Infant's Eyes ; and how it was 
from those of his own he learn'd that those of the Divine 
Child in Raffaelle's Sistine Madonna were not over- 
charged with expression, as he had previously thought 
they might be." 

" I think," said I, " you must have heard of that from 
me, who certainly did hear something like it from the 
Poet himself, who used to let fall — not lay down — ^the 
word that settled the question, sesthetic or other, which 
others hammer'd after in vain. Yes; that was on occa- 
sion, I think, of his having watch'd his Child one mornmg 
*" worshipping the Sunbeam on the Bed-post ' — I suppose 
the worship of Wonder, such as I have heard grown-up 
Children tell of at first sight of the Alps, or Niagara; 

[ 140 ] 


or such stay-at-home Islanders as ourselves at first 
sight of the Sea, from such a height as Flamborough 

" Some farther-seeing Wonder than dog or kitten are 
conscious of, at any rate," said Euphranor. 

" Ah, who knows? I have seen both of them watch- 
ing that very Sunbeam too — the Kitten perhaps play- 
ing with it, to be sure. If but the Philosopher or Poet 
could live in the Child's or kitten's Brain for a while! 
The Bed-post Sun-worship, however, was of a Child of 
several months — and RafFaelle's — a full year old, would 
you say? " 

" Nay, you know about such matters better than I," said 
Euphranor, laughing. 

" Well, however it may be with young Wordsworth, 
RafFaelle's child certainly was * drawing Clouds of Glory ' 
from His Home, and we may suppose him conscious of it 
— lyes, and of his Mission to dispense that glory to the (26) 
World. And I remember how the same Poet also noticed 
the Attitude of the Child, which might otherwise seem 
somewhat too magisterial for his age." 

Euphranor knew the Picture by Engraving only; but 
he observed how the Divine Mother's eyes also were di- 
lated, not as with Human Mother's Love, but as with 
awe and Wonder at the Infant she was presenting to the 
World, as if silently saying, " Behold your King! " 

" Why," said I, " do not some of you believe the 
' Clouds of Glory ' to have been drawn directly from 
herself? " 

[ 141 ] 


" ISTonsense, nonsense, Doctor — ^you know better, as did 
Raffaelle also, I believe, in spite of the Pope." 

" Well, well," said I, " your Wordsworth Boy has also 
his Divine Mission to fulfil in confessing that of Raf- 
faelle's. But, however it may be with that Mother and 
Child, does not one — of your Germans, I think — say that, 
with us mortals, it is from the Mother's eyes that Religion 
dawns into the Child's Soul? — ^the Religion of Love, at 
first, I suppose, in gratitude for the flowing breast and 
feeding hand below." 

" Perhaps — in some degree," said Euphranor. " As 
you were saying of that Sun-worshipper, one cannot 
fathom* how far the Child may see into the Mother's eyes 
any more than all that is to be read in them." 

" To be developed between them thereafter, I suppose," 
said I, " when the Mother's lips interpret the Revelation 
of her Eyes, and lead up from her Love to the perception 
of some Invisible Parent of all." 

" Ah," said Euphranor, " how well I remember learn- 
ing to repeat after her, every morning and night, * Our 
Father which art in Heaven.' " 
(27) " In your little white Surplice, like Sir Joshua's little 
Samuel — on whom the light is dawning direct from 
Heaven, I think — ^from Him to whom you were half- 
articulately praying to * make me a dood Boy ' to them. 
And, by-and-by. Watts and Jane Taylor's, of the Star 
Daisy in the grass, and the Stars in Heaven. 

Tor ever singing as they shine, 
The Hand that made us is Divine.' " 
[ 142 ] 


" Ah," said Euphranor, " and beautiful some of those 
early things of Watts and Jane Taylor are. They run 
in my head still." 

" As why should they not? " said I, " you being yet in 
your Childhood, you know. Why, I, who have left it 
some way behind me, to be sure, am constantly reminded 
of them in the nurseries I am so often call'd into from 
which they are not yet banisht by more aesthetic verse. As 
also, I must say, of some yet more early, and profane, 
such as ' Rock-a-bye Baby on the Tree-top,' with that 
catastrophe which never f ail'd to ' bring the House down ' 
along with the Bough which is, — Mother's Arms. Then 
there was ' Little Bopeep whose stray flock came back to 
her of themselves, carrying their tails behind them ' — and 
* Little Boy Blue ' who was less fortunate. Ah, what 
a pretty little picture he makes ' under the haycock ' — 
like one of your Greek Idylls, I think, and quite ' suitable 
to this present Month of May,' as old Izaak says. Let 
me hear if you remember it. Sir." 

And Euphranor, like a good boy, repeated the verses.* 

" And then," said I, " the echoes of those old London (28) 
Bells whose Ancestors once recall'd Whittington back to 
be their Lord Mayor: and now communicating from 
their several Steeples as to how the account with St. 
Clement's was to be paid — which, by-the-by, I remember 

* " Little Boy Blue, come blow your horn ; 

The Cow's in the meadow^ the Sheep in the com. 
Is this the way you mind your Sheep, 
Under the haycock fast asleep f " 

*'The 'meadow/ *' said I, by way of annotation, "being, you know, 
of grass reserved for meadowing, or mowing.** 

[ 143 ] 



being thus summarily settled by an old College Friend 
of mine — 

'Confound you all! 
Said the Great Bell of Paul' ; 

only, I am afraid, with something more Athanasian than 
'Confound ' — ^though he was not then a Dignitary of the 
Church. Then that Tragedy of 'Cock Robin '—the Fly 
that saw it with that little Eye of his — and the Owl with 
his spade and ^ShowV — proper old word that too — and 
the Bull who the Bell could pull — and — but I doubt 
whether you will approve of the Rook reading the Burial 
Service, nor do I like bringing the Lark, only for a 
rhyme's sake, down from Heaven, to make the responses. 
And all this illustrated by appropriate ' Gays,' — as they 
call them in Suffolk — and recited, if not intoned, accord- 
ing to the different Characters." 

" Plato's ' Music of Education,' I suppose," said Eu- 

" Yes," said I, warming with my subject; " and then, 
beside the True Histories of Dog and Horse whose 
example is to be followed. Fables that treat of others. 
Lions, Eagles, Asses, Foxes, Cocks, and other feather'd 
or four-footed Creatures, who, as in Cock Robin's case, 
(29) I talk as well as act, but with a Moral — ^more or less com- 
mendable — provided the Moral be dropt. Then as your 
punning friend Plato, you told me, says that Thaimias — 
Wonder — is Father of Iris, who directly communicates 
between Heaven and Earth — as in the case of that Bed- 

[ 144 ] 



post-kissing Apollo — you, being a pious man, doubtless 
had your Giants, Genii, Enchanters, Fairies, Ogres, 
Witches, Ghosts " 

But Euphranor was decidedly against admitting any 
Ghost into the Nursery, and even Witches, remembering 
little Lamb's childish terror at Her of Endor. 

" Oh, but," said I, " She was a real Witch, you know, 
though represented by Stackhouse; who need not figure 
among the Musicians, to be sure. You, however, as Ly- 
cion says, have your Giants and Dragons to play with — ^by 
way of Symbol, if you please — and you must not grudge 
your younger Brethren in Arms that redoubtable Jack 
who slew the Giants whom you are to slay over again, and 
who for that very purpose climb'd up a Bean-stalk some 
way at least to Heaven — an Allegory that, as Sir Thomas 
Browne says, * admits of a wide solution.' " 

"Ah," said my companion, "I remember how you used 
to climb up the Poplar in our garden by way of Bean- 
stalk, looking out upon us now and then, till lost among 
the branches. You could not do that now. Doctor." 

"No more than I could up Jack's own Bean-stalk. I 
was a thin slip of a Knight then, not long turned of 
Twenty, I suppose — almost more like a Giant than a 
Jack to the rest of you — but children do not mind such 
disproportions. No — I could better play one of the three 
Bears growling for his mess of porridge now. But, in 
default of my transcendental illustration of Jack, he and 
his like are well | represented in such Effigies as your friend (so) 
Plato never dream'd of in his philosophy, though Phidias 

[ 145 ] 


and Praxiteles may have sketcht for their Children what 
now is multiplied by Engraving into every Nursery." 

"Not to mention Printing, to read about what is repre- 
sented," said Euphranor. 

"I do not know what to say about that/' said I. "Does 
not your Philosopher repudiate any but Oral instruction?" 

"Notwithstanding all which, I am afraid we must learn 
to read," said Euphranor, "in these degenerate days." 

"Well, if needs must," said I, "you may learn in the 
most musical way of all. Do you not remember the prac- 
tice of our Forefathers? 

*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.' 

"Oh, how I used to wish," said Euphranor, "there had 
been any such royal road to Grammar which one had to 
stumble over some years after." 

" Well," said I, " but there is now, I believe, a Comic 
Grammar — as well as a Comic History of Rome — and of 

"Say no more of all that, pray, Doctor. The old Tro- 
pria quae maribus' was better Music, uncouth as it was, and 
almost as puzzling as an Oracle. I am sure it is only now 
— when I try — that I understand the meaning of the rule 
I then repeated mechanically — like a Parrot you would 

"Sufficiently intelligible, however," said I, "to be 

[ 146 ] 


mechanically applied in distinguishing the different parts 
I of Speech, and how related to one another; how a verb (3i) 
governs an accusative, and an adjective agrees with a 
noun ; to all which you are guided by certain terminations 
of 2iSj a J urrij and dOj das, dat, and so on; till you are 
able to put the scattered words together, and so ford 
through a sentence. And the old uncouth Music, as you 
call it, nevertheless served to fix those rules in the 

" But all that is changed now! " said Euphranor; 
" Nominative and Accusative are turned into Subjective, 
Objective, and what not." 

" Darkening the unintelligible to Boys," said I, " what- 
ever it may afterwards to men. * Floreat Etona ! ' say I, 
with her old Lily, and * Propria quae maribus,' always pro- 
viding there be not too much of it — even could it be con- 
strued, like the Alphabet, into Ginger-bread." 

" Well," said Euphranor, " I think you took pretty 
good care that we should not suffer an indigestion of the 
latter, when you were among us at home. Doctor. What 
with mounting that Bean-stalk yourself, and clearing us 
out of the Schoolroom into the Garden, wet or dry, re- 
gardless of Aunt's screaming from the window for us to 
come in, when a Cloud was coming up in the Sky " 

" Or a little dew lying on the Grass." 

" Why, I believe you would have a Child's shoes made 
with holes in them on purpose to let in water, as Locke 
recommends," said Euphranor, laughing. 

" I wouldn't keep him within for having none, whole 

[ 147 ] 


shoes, or whole clothes — ^no, nor any — only the Police 
would interfere." 

" But the Child catches cold." 
" Put him to bed and dose him." 

" But he dies." 
(82) " Then, as a sensible woman said, ' is provided for.' 
Your own Plato, I think, says it is better the weakly ones 
should die at once ; and the Spartans, I think, kill'd them 

" Come, come. Doctor," said Euphranor. " I really 
think you gave us colds on purpose to be called in to 
cure them." 

" No, no ; that was before I was a Doctor, you know. 
But I doubt that I was the Lord of Mis-rule sometimes, 
though, by the way, I am certain that I sometimes recom- 
mended a remedy, not when you were sick, but when you 
were sorry — without a cause — I mean, obstinate, or self- 
willed against the little Discipline you had to submit to." 

Euphranor looked comically at me. 

" Yes," said I, " you know — a slap on that part where 
the Rod is to be applied in after years — and which I had, 
not long before, suffered myself." 

'' That is almost out of date now, along with other Spar- 
tan severities even in Criminal cases," said Euphranor. 

" Yes, and the more the pity in both cases. How much 
better in the Child's than being shut up, or additionally 
tasked — ^revenging a temporary wrong with a lasting in- 
jury. And, as for your public Criminal — ^my wonder is 
that even modern squeamishness does not see that a public 

[ 148 ] 


application of the Rod or Lash on the bare back in the 
Marketplace would be more likely to daunt the Culprit, 
and all Beholders, from future Misdemeanour than 
months of imprisonment, well-boarded, lodged, and cared 
for, at the Country's cost." 

" Nevertheless," said Euphranor, " I do not remember 
your Advice being taken in our case, much as I, for one, 
may have deserved it." 

" No," said I ; " your Father was gone, you know, and (ss) 
your Mother too tender-hearted — indulgent, I might 

" Which, with all your Spartan discipline, I know you 
think the better extreme," said Euphranor. 

"Oh, far the better!" said I—" letting the Truth 
come to the surface — the ugliest Truth better than the 
fairest Falsehood which Fear naturally brings with it, and 
all the better for determining outwardly, as we Doctors 
say, than repressed to rankle within. Why, even with- 
out fear of spank or Rod, you remember how your 
Wordsworth's little Harry was taught the practice of 
Lying, who, simply being teased with well-meaning ques- 
tions as to why he liked one place better than another, 
caught at a Weather-cock for a reason why. Your 
mother was wiser than that. I dare say she did not 
bother you about the meaning of the Catechism she 
taught you, provided you generally understood that 
you were to keep your hands from picking and steal- 
ing, and your tongue from evil-speaking, lying, and 
slandering. She did not insist, as Skythrops would 

[ 149 ] 


have had you, on your owning yourselves Children of 
the Devil." 

"No, no!" 

" I should not even wonder if, staunch Churchwoman 
as she was, she did not condemn you to go more than once 
of a Sunday to Church — perhaps not to be shut up for 
two hours' morning Service in a Pew, without being al- 
lowed to go to sleep there ; nor tease you about Text and 
Sermon afterward. For, if she had, you would not, I 
believe, have been the determined Churchman you are." 

" Ah, I remember so well," said Euphranor, " her tell- 
(34) ing|a stricter neighbour of ours that, for all she saw, the 
Child generally grew up with clean opposite inclinations 
and ways of thinking, from the Parent." 

" Yes," said I, " that is the way from Parent to Child, 
and from Generation to Generation; and so the World 
goes round." 

" And we — Brothers and Sister, I mean " — said Eu- 
phranor, " now catch ourselves constantly saying how 
right she was in the few things we ever thought her mis- 
taken 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 

" However, even she began in time to find ' the Boys 
too much for her,' as she said — for which you. Doctor, as 
you say, are partly accountable; besides, we should have 
our livelihood to earn, unlike your born Heroes; and 
must begin to work sooner rather than later. Our Friend 

[ 150 ] 



Skythrops' ipse had already warned her of our innate, 
and steadily growing, Depravity, and, when I was seven 
or eight years old, came to propose taking me under his 
wing, at what he called his ' Seminary for young Gentle- 

men.' " 

" I see him," said I, " coming up the shrubbery walk 
in a white tie, and with a face of determined asperity — 
the edge of the Axe now turned toward the Criminal. 
Aye, I was gone away to Edinburgh by that time ; indeed 
I think he waited till I was well out of the way. Well, 
what did he say? " 

" Oh, he explained his scheme, whatever it was " 

" And — oh, I can tell you — ^some eight or ten hours 
a day of Grammar and Arithmetic, Globes, History, and 
as I Dickens says, ^General Christianity'; and, by way of (35) 
Recreation, two hours' daily walk with himself and his 
sallow Pupils, two and two along the Highroad, improved 
with a running commentary by Skythrops — with perhaps 
a little gymnastic gallows in his gravel Play-ground, 
without room or time for any generous exercise. Your 
mother, I hope, gave him a biscuit and a glass of Sherry, 
and, with all due thanks, let him go back the way he came." 
" His Plan does not please you. Doctor? " 
" And if it did — and it only wanted reversing — he 
would not. No Boy with any Blood in his veins can 
profit from a Teacher trying to graft from dead wood 
upon the living sapling. Even the poor Women's ^Pre- 
paratory Establishments ^ for ' Young Gentlemen ' are 
better; however narrow their notions and routine, they 

[ 151 ] 


do not at heart dislike a little of the Devil in the other 
sex, however intolerant of him in their own." 

" Well, we were committed to neither," said Euphra- 
nor, " but to a nice young Fellow who came to be Curate 
in the Parish, and who taught us at home, little but well 
— among other things — a little Cricket." 

"Bravo!" said I. 

" Then Uncle James, you know, hearing that I was 
rather of a studious turn — ' serious,' he called it — ^took 
it into his head that one of his Brother's family should be 
a Parson, and so undertook to pay my way at Westmin- 
ster, which he thought an aristocratic School, and handy 
for him in the City. In which, perhaps, you do not dis- 
agree with him. Doctor? " 

" No," said I ; " though not bred up at any of them my- 
self, I must confess I love the great ancient. Royal, aye, 
and aristocratic Foundations — Eton with her ' Henry's 
(36) I holy Shade ' — why, Gray's verses were enough to endear 
it to me — and under the walls of his Royal Castle, all 
reflected in the water of old Father Thames, as he glides 
down the valley; and Winchester with her William of 
Wykeham entomb'd in the Cathedral he built beside his 
School " 

" And Westminster, if you please. Doctor, under the 
Shadow of its glorious old Abbey, where Kings are 
crown'd and buried, and with Eton's own River flowing 
beside it in ampler proportions." 

" Though not so sweet," said I. " However, excepting 
that fouler water — and fouler air — and some other less 

[ 152 ] 


wholesome associations inseparable from such a City, I am 
quite ready to pray for your Westminster among those 
other ' Royal and Religious Foundations ' whom the 
Preacher invites us to pray for at St. Mary's. But with 
Eton we began, you know, looking with Charles Lamb 
and his Friend at the fine Lads there playing; and there 
I will leave them to enjoy it while they may, * strangers 
yet to Pain ' — and Parliament — to sublime their Beef- 
steak into Chivalry in that famous Cricket-field of theirs 
by the side of old Father Thames murmuring of so many 
Generations of chivalric Ancestors." 

" We must call down Lycion to return thanks for that 
compliment," said Euphranor; "he is an Eton man, as 
were his Fathers before him, you know, and, I think, 
proud, as your Etonians are, of his School, in spite of his 
affected Indifference." 

" Do you know what sort of a Lad he was while there? " 
said I. 

" Oh, always the Gentleman." 

" Perhaps somewhat too much so for a Boy." 

" No, no, I do no mean that — I mean essentially hon- 
our- 1 able, truthful, and not deficient in courage, I believe, (37) 
whenever it was called for; but indolent, and perhaps 
fonder too of the last new Novel, and the Cigar and 
Easy-chair, to exert himself in the way you like." 

" Preparing for the Club, Opera, Opera-glass, 'De- 
jeuner dansant/ etcetera, if not for active service in 
Parliament. Eton should provide for those indolent 
Children of hers." 

[ 153 ] 


" Well, she has provided her field, and old Father 
Thames, as you say, and Boys are supposed to take pretty 
good care of themselves in making use of them." 

" Not always, however, as we see in Lycion's case, nor 
of others, who, if they do not ' sacrifice the Living Man 
to the Dead Languages,' dissipate him among the Fine 
Arts, Music, Poetry, Painting, and the like, in the inter- 
val. Why, did not those very Greeks of whom you make 
so much — and, as I believe, your modern Germans — make 
Gymnastic a necessary part of their education? " 

" But you would not have Eton Boys compelled to 
climb and tumble like monkeys over gymnastic poles and 
gallows as we saw with Skythrops' * Young Gentle- 

" Perhaps not; but what do you say now to some good 
Military Drill, with March, Counter-march, Encounter, 
Bivouac ' Wacht am Rhein ' — Encampment — that is, by 
Father Thames — and such-like Exercises for which Eton 
has ample room, and which no less a Man — although a 
Poet — than John Milton, enjoin'd as the proper prepara- 
tion for War, and, J say, carrying along with them a sense 
of Order, Self-restraint, and Mutual Dependence, no less 
necessary in all the relations of Peace? " 

" We might all of us have been the better for that, I 
suppose," said Euphranor. 
(38) " And only think," said I, "if — as in some German 
School — Fellenberg's, I think — there were, beside the 
Playground, a piece of Arable to work in — perhaps at 
a daily wage of provender according to the work done — 

[ 154 ] 


what illumination might some young Lycion receive, as 
to the condition of the Poor, * unquenchable by logic and 
statistics/ says Carlyle, ' when he comes, as Duke of 
Logwood, to legislate in Parliament.' " 

" Better Log than Brute, however," answer'd Euphra- 
nor. " You must beware. Doctor, lest with all your 
Ploughing and other Beef -compelling Accomplishments 
you do not sink the Man in the Animal, as was much the 
case with our * Hereditary Rulers ' of some hundred years 

" *My]8£V ayav,' " said I; "let us but lay in— when only 
laid in it can be — such a store of that same well-concocted 
stuff as shall last us all Life's journey through, with all 
its ups and downs. Nothing, say the Himters, that Blood 
and Bone won't get over." 

" Be there a good Rider to guide him! " said Euphra- 
nor ; " and that^ in Man's case, I take it is — if not yet 
the Reason we talked of — a Moral such as no Beast that 
breathes is conscious of. You talk of this Animal virtue, 
and that — why, for instance, is there not a moral, as dis- 
tinguisht from an animal Courage, to face, not only the 
sudden danger of the field, but something far-off com- 
ing, far foreseen, and far more terrible — Cranmer's for 
instance " 

" Which," said I, " had all but failed — all the more 
honour for triumphing at last! But Hugh Latimer, 
I think, had wrought along with his Father's hinds in 
Leicestershire. Anyhow, there is no harm in having two 
I strings to your Bow, whichever of them be the strongest. (39) 

I 155 ] 


The immortal Soul obliged, as she is, to take the Field 
of Mortality, would not be the worse for being mounted 
on a good Animal, though I must not say with the Hunt- 
ers, till the Rider seems ' part of his horse.' As to your 
Reason — ^he is apt to crane a little too much over the ' 
hedge, as they say, till, by too long considering the 
^How/ he comes to question the 'Whyf and, the longer 
looking, the less liking, shirks it altogether, or by his 
Indecision brings Horse and Rider into the Ditch. Ham- 
let lets us into the secret — luckily for us enacting the very 
moral he descants on — ^when he reflects on his own imbe- 
cility of action : 

« ' Whether it be 
Bestial oblivion, or some craven scruple 
Of thinking too precisely on the Event, 
A thought which, quarter'd, hath but one part Wisdom, 
And ever three parts Coward — I do not know 
Why yet I live to say, "This thing^s to do," 
Sith I have Cause, and Will, and Strength, and Means, 
To do't.' 

Not in his case surely ''oblivion/ with such reminders, 
supernatural and other, as he had: nor as in our case, 
with the Ditch before our Eyes: nor want of Courage, 
which was his Royal inheritance; but the Willj which he 
reckon'd on as surely as on Strength and Means — was 
he so sure of that? He had previously told us how * The 
native hue of Resolution ' — ^how like that glow upon the 
cheek of healthy Youth! — 

[ 156 ] 


' The native hue of Resolution, 
Is sickled o'er with the pale cast of Thought, 
And Enterprises of great pith and moment 
With this regard, their currents turn awry, 
And lose the name of Action.' 

He had, he tells his College Friends, forgone his ^Cus- (40) 
torn of Exercises ' — among others, perhaps, his Cricket, 
at Wittenberg too soon, and taken to reasoning about ' To 
be, or not to be ' — otherwise he would surely have bowl'd 
his wicked uncle down at once." 

"Though not without calling 'Playl' I hope," said 
Euphranor, laughing. 

" At any rate, not while his Adversary's back was 
turned, and so far prepared, inasmuch as he was engaged 
in repentant Prayer. And that is the reason Hamlet 
gives for not then despatching him, lest, being so em- 
ployed, he should escape the future punishment of his 
crime. An odd motive for the youthful Moral to have 
reasoned itself into." 

" His Father had been cut off unprepared, and per- 
haps, according to the Moral of those days, could only 
be avenged by such a plenary Expiation." 

" Perhaps ; or, perhaps — and Shakespeare himself may 
not have known exactly why — Hamlet only made it an 
excuse for delaying what he had to do, as delay he does, 
till vengeance seems beyond his reach when he suffers 
himself to be sent out of the country. For you know 
the Habit of Resolving without Doing, as in the Closet, 

[ 157 ] 


gradually snaps the connexion between them, and the case 
becomes chronically hopeless." 

Euphranor said that I had stolen that fine Moral of 
mine from a Volume of " Newman's Sermons " which 
he had lent me, as I agreed with him was probably the 
case; and then he said: 

" Well, Bowling down a King is, I suppose, a ticklish 
Business, and the Bowler may miss his aim by being too 
long about taking it: but, in Cricket proper, I have most 
(41) wonder'd at the Batter who has to decide | whether to block, 
strike, or tip, in that twinkling of an eye between the 
ball's delivery, and its arrival at his wicket." 

" Yes," said I, " and the Boxer who puts in a blow 
with one hand at the same moment of warding one off 
with the other." 

" * Gladiatorem in arena,' " said Euphranor. 

" Yes ; what is called Presence of mind/ where there 
is not time to 'make it upf And all the more necessary 
and remarkable in proportion to the Danger involved. 
As when the Hunter's horse falling with him in full cry, 
he braces himself, between saddle and ground, to pitch 
clear of his horse — as Fielding tells us that brave old Par- 
son Adams did, when probably thinking less of his horse 
than of those Sermons he carried in his saddle-bags." 

" Ah! " said Euphranor, " Parson Adams was so far 
a lucky man to have a Horse at all, which we poor fellows 
now can hardly afford. I remember how I used to envy 
those who — for the fun, if for nothing else — followed 
brave old Sedgwick across country, thorough brier, thor- 

[ 158 ] 


ough mire. Ah ! that was a Lecture after your own heart. 
Doctor; something more than peripatetic, and from one 
with plenty of the Boy in him when over Seventy, I 

" Well, there again," said I, " your great Schools might 
condescend to take another hint from abroad where some 
one — Fellenberg again, I think — had a Riding-house in 
his much poorer School, where you might learn not only 
to sit your horse if ever able to provide one for yourself, 
but also to saddle, bridle, rub him down, with the V55- 
s^ss ' which I fancy was heard on the morning of Agin- 
court — if, by the way, one horse was left in all the host." 

" Well, come," said Euphranor, " the Gladiator, at any 
I rate, is gone — and the Boxer after him — and the Hunter, i^2) 
I think, going after both; perhaps the very Horse he 
rides gradually to be put away by Steam into some 
jMuseum among the extinct Species that Man has no 
longer room or business for." 

" Nevertheless," said I. " War is not gone with the 
Gladiator, and cannon and rifle yet leave room for hand- 
to-hand conflict, as may one day — which God forbid! — 
come to proof in our own sea-girt Island. If safe from 
abroad, some Ruffian may still assault you in some shady 
lane — nay, in your own parlour — at home, when you have 
nothing but your own strong arm, and ready soul to direct 
it. Accidents will 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 

[ 159 ] 


snoring in the garret, than helplessly looking on — or turn- 
ing away? 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? 
And I do maintain," I continued, " having now gotten 
* the bit between my teeth' — ^maintain against all Comers 
that, independent of any bodily action on their part, these, 
and the like Accomplishments, as you call them, do carry 
with them, and, I will say, with the Soul incorporate, that 
habitual Instinct of Courage, Resolution, and Decision, 
which, together with the Good Himaour which good 
animal Condition goes so far to ensure, do, I say, prepare 
and arm the Man not only against the greater, but against 
those minor Trials of Life which are so far harder to 
(43) encounter I because of perpetually cropping up; and thus 
do cause him to radiate, if through a narrow circle, yet, 
through that, imperceptibly to the whole world, a happier 
atmosphere about him than could be inspired by Closet- 
loads of Poetry, Metaphysic, and Divinity. No doubt 
there is danger, as you say, of the Animal overpowering 
the Rational, as, I maintain, equally so of the reverse; 
no doubt the high-mettled Colt will be likeliest to run 
riot, as may my Lad, inflamed with Aristotle's ' Wine of 
Youth,' into excesses which even the virtuous Berkeley 
says are the more curable as lying in the Passions; 
whereas, says he, ' the dry Rogue who sets up for Judg- 
ment is incorrigible.' But, whatever be the result. Vigour, 

[ 160 ] 



of Body, as of Spirit, one must have, subject like all good 
things to the worst corruption — Strength itself, even of 
Evil, being a kind of Virtus which Time, if not good 
Counsel, is pretty sure to moderate; whereas Weakness 
is the one radical and Incurable Evil, increasing with 
every year of Life. — Which fine Moral, or to that effect, 
you will also find somewhere in those Sermons, whose 
Authority I know you cannot doubt." 

" And thus," said Euphranor, " after this long tirade, 
you turn out the young Knight from Cricket on the 

" Nay," said I, " did I not tell you from the first I 
would not meddle with your Digby any more than your 
Wordsworth? I have only been talking of ordinary man- 
kind so as to provide for Locke's 'totus, teres/ and— ex- 
cept in the matter of waistband — *^ rotundus ^ man, suffi- 
ciently accoutred for the campaign of ordinary Life. And 
yet, on second thought, I do not see why he should not 
do very fairly well for one of the * Table-round,' if King 
I Arthur himself is to be looked for, and found, as the Poet (^) 
says, in the * Modern Gentleman,' whose ' stateliest port ' 
will not be due to the Reading-desk, or Easy-chair. At 
any rate, he will be sufficiently qualified, not only to shoot 
the Pheasant and hunt the Fox, but even to sit on the 
Bench of Magistrates — or even of Parliament — not un- 
provided with a quotation or two from Horace or Virgil." 

Euphranor could not deny that, laughing. 

" Or if obliged, poor fellow — Younger son, perhaps — 
to do something to earn him Bread — or Claret — for his 

[ 161 ] 



Old Age, if not prematurely knocked on the head — 
whether not well-qualified for 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 Law, 
in which I would rather trust myself with Tom than 
Bhfil," added I. " Well, what else? Surgery? which is 
said to need ' the Lion's Heart.' " 

" 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 which his Rank usually opens to him ; 
or perhaps even, if he had what you call a Genius in any 
direction, might, amid all his Beef -compelling Exercises, 
light upon something, as Pan a-hunting, and, as it were 
(45) ' unaware,' says Bacon, discover'd that Ceres whom] 
the more seriously-searching Gods had looked for in 

" Not for the sake of Rent, I hope," said Euphranor, 

" Or even a turn for looking into Digby and Aristotle, 
as into a Mirror — could he but distinguish his own face 
in it." 

Euphranor, upon whose face no sign of any such self- 

[ 162 ] 


consciousness appeared, sat for a little while silent, and 
then said: 

" Do you remember that fine passage in Aristophanes' 
Clouds — lying libel as it is — between the Ahaio^ and 
"ASiTtoc Aoyoc ? " 

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 Mapa9(ovo[xdxcoc ''AvSpac for the Warm Bath, the 
Dance, and the Law Court; he suddenly turns to the 
Young Man who stands hesitating between them, and in 
those Verses, musical — 

'AXX' ooy Xi7uap6c ye xac siavQvjc — " 

" Come, my good fellow," said I, " you must inter- 
pret." And Euphranor, looking down, in undertone 

"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 : 
No splitter of straws, no dab at the Laws, making black seem 

white so cunning; 
But scamp'ring down out o' the town, and over the green Meadow 

Race, wrestle, and play with your fellows so gay, like so many (46) 

Birds of a feather, 

[ 163 ] 


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 stopp'd, " I am 
sure there is something more of it, now you recall the 
passage to me — about broad shoulders and " 

But this was all he had cared to remember. 

I then asked him who was the translator; to which he 
replied with a shy smile, 'twas more a paraphrase than a 
translation, and I might criticise it as I liked. To which 
I had not much to object, I said — perhaps the trees " di- 
shevelling their tresses " a little Cockney; which he agreed 
it was.* And then, turning off, observed how the degra- 
dation which Aristophanes satirized in the Athenian youth 
went on and on, so that, when Rome came to help Greece 
against Philip of Macedon, the Athenians, says Livy, 
could contribute little to the common cause but declama- 
tion and despatches — * quibus solum valent.' 

"Aye," said I, " and to think that when Livy was so 
writing of Athens, his own Rome was just beginning to 
go downhill in the same way and for the same causes : 

'Nescit equo rudis 
/ Haerere ingenuus puer, 

Venarique timet, ludere doctior 

■'*' On a subsequent reference to the original. We expanded the last 
line into the following Couplet — whether for better or worse: 

Until with a cool reed drawn from the pool of a neighbouring Water- 
nymph crown' d, you 

Lie atretcht at your ease in the shade of the trees that whisper above 
and around you. [Note added in final addition.] 

[ 164 ] 


Grseco seu jubeas trocho, 

Seu malis vetita legibus alea : ' * 

unlike those early times, when Heroic Father begot 
and bred Heroic Son; Generation following Generation, 
crown'd with Laurel and with Oak; under a system of 
I Education, the same Livy says, handed down, as it were (47) 
an Art, from the very foundation of Rome, and filling 
her Parliament with Generals, each equal, he rhetorically 
declares, to Alexander. — But come, my dear fellow," said 
I, jumping up, " here have I been holding forth like a 
little Socrates, while the day is passing over our heads. 
We have forgotten poor Lexilogus, who (I should not 
wonder) may have stolen away, like your fox, to Cam- 

Euphranor, who seemed to linger yet awhile, never- 
theless foUow'd my example. On looking at my watch 
I saw we could not take anything like the walk we had 
proposed and yet be at home by their College dinner ;t 
so as it was I who had wasted the day, I would stand 
the expense, I said, of dinner at the Inn ; after which we 
could all return at our ease to Cambridge in the Even- 
ing. As we were leaving the Bowling-green, I called 
up to Lycion, who thereupon appeared at the Billiard- 
room window with his coat off, and asked him if he had 
nearly finish'd his Game? By way of answer, he asked 
us if we had done with our Ogres and Giants? whom, on 
the contrary, I said, we were now running away from 

* When, says Horace, the Boy of gentle blood, adept enough at feats 
of trivial dexterity, had no seat on the Horse, nor courage to follow 
the Hounds — [Substituted for the Latin in final edition.] 
f Then at S.SO p. m. 

[ 165 ] 



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 with his Billiards, would he dine with us on our return? 
" Not walk with us," 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 into the 

Then Euphranor and I, leaving the necessary orders 
within, return'd a little way to look for Lexilogus, whom 
(48) we I soon saw, like a man of honour as he was, coming on 
his way to meet us. In less than a minute we had met; 
and he apologized for having been delay' d by one of 
Aunt Martha's asthma-fits, during which he had not liked 
to leave her. 

After a brief condolence, we all three turn'd back; 
and I told him how, after all, Euphranor and I had play'd 
no Billiards, but had been arguing all the time about 
Digby and his books. 

Lexilogus smiled, but made no remark, being natu- 
rally little given to Speech. But the day was delightful, 
and we walk'd briskly along the road, conversing on many 
topics, till a little further on we got into the fields. These 
— for it had been a warm May — ^were now almost in their 
Prime, (and that of the Year, Crabbe used to say, fell 
with the mowing,) crop-thick with Daisy, Clover, and 
Buttercup; and, as we went along, Euphranor, whose 
thoughts still ran on what we had been talking about, 
quoted from Chaucer whom we had lately been looking 
at together: 

[ 166 ] 


"Embrouded was he as it were a Mede, 
AUe ful of fresshe Floures, white and rede," 

and added, " What a picture was that, by the way, of a 
young Knight! " 

I had half -forgotten the passage, and Lexilogus had 
never read Chaucer: so I begg'd Euphranor to repeat 
it; which he did, with an occasional pause in his Mem- 
ory, and jog from mine. 

' With him ther was his Sone, a yonge Squier, 
A Lover, and a lusty Bacheler, 
With Lockes cruU, as they were laide in presse; 
Of Twenty yere of age he was, I gesse; 
Of his Stature he was of even lengthe, (49) 

And wonderly deliver, and grete of Strengthe; 
And he hadde be somtime in Chevachie, 
In Flaundres, in Artois, and in Picardie, 
And borne him wel, as of so litel space. 
In hope to stonden in his Ladies grace. 
Embrouded was he as it were a Mede, 
Alle ful of fresshe Floures, white and rede; 
Singing he was, or floyting alle the day; 
He was as fresshe as is the moneth of May: 
Short was his Goune with sieves long and wide, 
Wel coude he sitte on Hors, and fay re ride. 
He coude Songes make, and well endite. 
Juste, and eke dance, and wel pourtraie and write. 
So hote he loved that by nightertale 
He slep no more than doth the Nightingale. 
Curteis he was, lowly, and servisable. 
And carf before his Fader at the table.' 
[ 167 ] 


" Chaucer, however," said Euphranor, when he had 
finished the passage, " credited his young Squire with 
other Accomplishments than you would trust him with, 
Doctor. See, he dances, draws, and even indites songs 
— somewhat of a Dilettante, after all." 

" But also," I added, " is * grete of Strengthe,' ' coude 
fayre ride,' having already * borne him wel in Chevachie.' 
Besides," continued I, (who had not yet subsided^ I sup- 
pose, from the long swell of my former sententiousness, ) 
" in those days, you know, there was scarce any Reading, 
which now, for better or worse, occupies so much of our 
time; Men left that to Clerk and Schoolman; contented, 
as we before agreed, to follow their bidding to Pilgrim- 
age and Holy war. Some of those gentler Accomplish- 
ments may then have been needed to soften manners, 
just as rougher ones to strengthen ours. And, long after 
that. Sir Philip Sidney might well indulge in a little Son- 
(50) |neteering, amid all those public services which ended at 
Zutf en ; as later on, in the Stuart days, Lord Dorset troll 
oiF — '' To all you Ladies now on Land/ from the Fleet 
that was just going into Action off the coast of Holland." 

" Even Master Samuel Pepys," said Euphranor, laugh- 
ing, " might sit with a good grace down to practise his 
^Beauty retire/ after riding to Huntingdon and back, 
as might Parson Adams have done many years after." 

" They were both prefigured among those Canterbury 
Pilgrims so many years before," said I. " Only think 
of it! Some nine-and-twenty, I think, 'by aventure 
yfalle in feleweship,' High and Low, Rich and Poor, 

[ 168 ] 



Saint and Sinner, Cleric and Lay, Knight, Ploughman, 
Prioress, Wife of Bath, Shipman, hunting Abbot-like 
Monk, Poor Parson — (Adams' Progenitor) — ^Webster 
(Pepys') — on rough-riding ' Stot ' or ambling Palfrey, 
marshall'd by mine Host of the Tabard to the music of 
the Miller's Bag-pipes, on their sacred errand to St. 
Thomas'; and one among them taking note of all in 
Verse still fresh as the air of those Kentish hills they 
travelled over on that April morning four hundred years 

" Lydgate too, I remember," said Euphranor, " tells 
of Chaucer's good-humour'd encouragement of his Bro- 
ther-poets — I cannot now recollect the lines," he added, 
after pausing a little.* 

" A famous Man of Business too," said I, " employ'd (5i) 
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. Mind and Body. In general, however, they 
are said to be a sickly, irritable, inactive, and solitary 


" Not our 'Canterbury Pilgrim ' for one," said I; " no, 

* 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.'* 

[ 169 ] 


nor his successor, William Shakespeare, who, after a 
somewhat roving Knighthood in the country, became 
a Player, Play-wright, and Play-manager in London, 
where, after managing (as not all managers do) to make 
a sufficient fortune, he returned home again to settle in 
his native Stratford — whither by the way he had made 
occasional Pilgrimages before — on horseback, of course — 
putting up — for the night — at the Angel of Oxford — 
about which some stories are told " 

"As fabulous as probably those of his poaching in 
earlier days," said Euphranor. 

" Well, however that may be — and I constantly believe 
in the poaching part of the Story — to Stratford he finally 
retired, where he built a house, and planted Mulberries, 
and kept company with John-a-Combe, and the neigh- 
bouring Knights and Squires — except perhaps the Lucys 
— as merrily as with the Wits of London; all the while 
supplying his own little 'Globe ' — and, from it, ' the Great 
globe itself,' with certain manuscripts, in which (say his 
Fellow-players and first Editors) Head and hand went 
so easily together as scarce to leave a blot on the pages 
they traveird over." 

" Somewhat resembling Sir Walter Scott's, I think," 
said Euphranor, " in that love for Country home, and 
(52) Country I neighbour — aye, and somewhat also in that easy 
intercourse between Head and hand in composition which 
those who knew them tell of — however unequal in the 
result. Do you remember Lockhart's saying how glibly 

[ 170 ] 



Sir Walter's pen was heard to canter over the paper, be- 
fore ' Atra Cura ' saddled herself behind him? " 

"Ah, yes," said I; "'Magician of the North' they 
call'd him in my own boyish days; and such he is to me 
now; though maybe not an Archi-magus like him of 
Stratford, to set me down in Rome, Athens, Egypt, with 
their Heroes, Heroines, and Conmioners, moving and 
talking as living men and women about me, howsoever 
' larger than human ' through the breath of Imagination 
in which he has clothed them." 

" Somebody — your Carlyle, I believe," said Euphra- 
nor, " lays it down that Sir Walter's Characters are in 
general fashioned from without to within — ^the reverse 
of Shakespeare's way — and Nature's." 

" What," said I, " according to old Sartor's theory, 
beginning from the over-coat of temporary Circumstance, 
through the temporary Tailor's * Just-au-corps,' till arriv- 
ing at such centre of Humanity as may lie within the 
bodily jerkin we talk'd of? " 

" Something of that sort, I suppose," said Euphranor; 
" but an you love me. Doctor, no more of that odious old 
jerkin, whether Sterne's or Carlyle's." 

" Well," said I, " if the Sartor's charge hold good, it 
must lie against the Heroes and Heroines of the later, 
half -historical, Romances; in which, nevertheless, are 
scenes where our Elizabeth, and James, and Lewis of 
France figure, that seem to me as good in Character and 
Circumstance as any in that Henry the Eighth, which 

[ 171 ] 

/b™k euphranor. 

(53) has always till quite | lately been accepted for Shake- 
speare's. But Sartor's self will hardly maintain his charge 
against the Deanses, Dumbiedykes, Ochiltrees, Baillies, 
and others of the bona-fide Scotch Novels, with the likes 
of whom Scott fell ' in f eleweship ' from a Boy, riding 
about the country — ' born to be a trooper,' he said of 
himself; no, nor with the Bradwardines, Bothwells, 
Maccombicks, Macbriars, and others, Highlander, Low- 
lander, Royalist, Roundhead, Churchman or Covenanter, 
whom he animated with the true Scottish blood which 
ran in himself as well as in those he lived among, and so 
peopled those stories which are become Household His- 
tory to us. I declare that I scarce know whether 
Macbeth's blasted heath would move me more than 
did the first sight of the Lammermoor Hills when I 
rounded the Scottish coast on first going to Edinburgh; 
or of that ancient ' Heart of Mid-Lothian ' when I got 
there. But the domestic Tragedy naturally comes more 
nearly home to the bosom of your Philistine." 

" Sir Walter's stately neighbour across the Tweed," 
said Euphranor, " took no great account of his Novels, 
and none at all of his Verse — though, by the way, he did 
call him 'Great Minstrel of the Border ' after revisiting 
Yarrow in his company; perhaps he meant it only of 
the Minstrelsy which Scott collected, you know." 

" Wordsworth? " said I — " a man of the Milton rather 
than of the Chaucer and Shakespeare type — without 
humour, like the rest of his Brethren of the Lake." 

" Not but he loves Chaucer as much as you can, Doc- 

[ 172 ] 


tor, for those fresh touches of Nature, and tenderness of 
Heart — insomuch that he has re-cast the Jew of Lincoln's 
Story into a form more available for modem readers." 

" And successfully? " 

"Ask Lexilogus — Ah! I forget that he never read (54) 
Chaucer; but I know that he loves Wordsworth next to 
his own Cowper." 

Lexilogus believed that he liked the Poem in question, 
but he was not so familiar with it as with many other of 
Wordsworth's pieces. 

" Ah, you and I, Euphranor," said I, " must one day 
teach Lexilogus the original before he is become too great 
a Don to heed such matters." 

Lexilogus smiled, and Euphranor said that before that 
time came Lexilogus and he would teach me in return to 
love Wordsworth more than I did — or pretended to do. 
Not only the Poet, but the Man, he said, who loved his 
Home as well as Shakespeare and Scott loved theirs — 
aye, and his Country Neighbours too, though perhaps in 
a sedater way; and, as so many of his Poems show, as 
sensible as Sir Walter of the sterling virtues of the Moun- 
taineers and Dalesmen he lived among, though, maybe, 
not of their humour. 

" Was he not also pretty exact in his office of stamp- 
distributor among them? " asked I. 

" Come, you must not quarrel, Doctor, with the Busi- 
ness which, as with Chaucer and Shakespeare, may have 
kept the Poetic Element in due proportion with the rest 
— including, by the way, such a store of your Animal, 

[ 173 ] 


laid in from constant climbing the mountain, and skating 
on the lake, that he may still be seen, I am told, at near 
upon Eighty, travelling with the shadow of the cloud up 

" Bravo, Old Man of the Mountains! " said I. " But, 
nevertheless, it would not have been amiss with him 
had he been sent earlier, and further, from his moun- 
tain-mother's lap, and had some of his — conceit, I 
(55) I must not call it — Pride, then — ^taken out of him by a 
freer intercourse with men." 

" I suppose," said Euphranor, again laughing, " you 
would knock a young Apollo about like the rest of us 
common pottery? " 

" I think I should send young Wordsworth to that 
Military Drill of ours, and see if some rough-riding 
would not draw some of that dangerous Sensibility 
which ' young Edwin ' is apt to mistake for poetical 

" Gray had more than that in him, I know," said Eu- 
phranor; "but I doubt what might have become of his 
poetry had such been the discipline of his Eton day." 

" Perhaps something better — perhaps nothing at all — 
and he the happier man." 

" But not yoUj Doctor — for the loss of his Elegy — 
with all your talk." 

"No; I am always remembering, and always forget- 
ting it; remembering, I mean, the several stanzas, and 
forgetting how they link together; partly, perhaps, be- 
cause of each being so severally elaborated. Neither 

[ 174 ] 


Yeomanry Drill — ^nor daily Plough — drove the Muse out 
of Burns." 

" Nor the Melancholy neither, for that matter," said 
Euphranor. " Those ' Banks and braes ' of his could 
not bestow on him even the ' momentary joy ' which those 
Eton fields ' beloved in vain ' breathed into the heart of 

" Are you not forgetting," said I, " that Burns was 
not then singing of himself, but of some forsaken dam- 
sel, as appears by the second stanza, which few, by the 
way, care to remember? As unremember'd it may have 
been," I continued, after a pause, " by the only living — 
and like to live — Poet I had known, when, so many years 
after, he found himself beside that * bonnie Doon ' and — 
whether it I were from recollection of poor Burns, or of (66) 
' the days that are no more ' which haunt us all, I know 
not — I think he did not know — but, he somehow ' broke,' 
as he told me, * broke into a passion of tears ' — Of tears 
which, during a pretty long and intimate intercourse, I 
had never seen glisten in his eye but once, when reading 
Virgil — * dear old Virgil,' as he call'd him — ^together : and 
then of the burning of Troy in the Second ^neid — 
whether moved by the catastrophe's self, or the majesty of 
the Verse it is told in — or, as before, scarce knowing why. 
For, as King Arthur shall bear witness, no young Edwin 
he, though, as a great Poet, comprehending all the softer 
stops of human Emotion in that Diapason* where the In- 
tellectual, no less than what is call'd the Poetical, faculty 

* 'Register* for 'Diapason' in final edition. 

[ 175 ] 


predominated. As all who knew him know, a Man at 
all points, Euphranor — like your Digby, of grand pro- 
portion and feature, significant of that inward Chivalry, 
becoming his ancient and honourable race ; when himself 
a * Yonge Squier,' like him in Chaucer *grete of strengthe,' 
that could hurl the crow-bar further than any of the neigh- 
bouring clowns, whose humours, as well as of their bet- 
ters, — Knight, Squire, Landlord and Land-tenant, — ^he 
took quiet note of, like Chaucer himself. Like your 
Wordsworth on the Mountain, he too, when a Lad, abroad 
on the Wold; sometimes of a night with the Shepherd; 
watching not only the Sheep* on the greensward, whom 
individually he knew, but also 

*The fleecy Star that bears 
Andromeda far off Atlantic seas' 

along with those other Zodiacal constellations which Aries, 
I think, leads over the field of Heaven. He then ob- 
served also some of those uncertain phenomena of Night : 
(57) unsur-jmised apparitions of the Northern Aurora, by 
some shy glimpses of which no winter — no, nor even sum- 
mer — night, he said, was utterly unvisited; and those 
strange voices, whether of creeping brook, or copses mut- 
tering to themselves far off — perhaps the yet more im- 
possible Sea — ^together with * other sounds we know 
not whence they come,' says Crabbe, but all inaudible to 
the ear of Day. He was not then, I suppose, unless the 
Word spontaneously came upon him, thinking how to 

* Tlock' for 'Sheep/ in final edition. 

[ 176 ] 


turn what he saw and heard into Verse ; a premeditation 
that is very likely to defeat itself.* For is not what we 
call Poetry said to be an Inspiration, which, if not kin- 
dling at the sudden collision, or recollection, of Reality, 
will yet less be quicken'd by anticipation, howsoever it 
may be controll'd by afterthought? " 

Something to this effect I said, though, were it but for 
lack of walking breath, at no so long-winded a flight t of 
eloquence. And then Euphranor, whose lungs were in 
so much better order than mine, though I had left him so 
little opportunity for using them, took up where I left 
off, and partly read, and partly told us of a delightful 
passage from his .Godef ridus, 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 hav- 
ing experienced something of the sort. And so we went 
on, partly in jest, partly in earnest, drawing Philosophers 
of all kinds into the same net in which we had entangled 
the Poet and his Critic — How the Moralist who worked 
alone in his closet was apt to mismeasure Humanity, and 
be very angry when the cloth he cut out for him would 
not fit — how the best Histories were written by those who 
themselves had been actors in them — Gibbon, one of the 
next best, 1 1 believe, recording how the discipline of the (58) 

* "Previously breathing, as it were, upon the mirror which is to re- 
ceive the Image that most assuredly flashes Reality into words." — 
Paragraph so ends in final edition, 
t 'Stretch' for 'flight,' in final edition. 

[ 177 ] 


Hampshire Militia he served as Captain in — ^how odd he 
must have looked in the uniform! — enlighten'd him as to 
the evolutions of a Roman Legion — -And so on a great 
deal more; till, suddenly observing how the sun had de- 
clined from his meridian, I look'd at my watch, and ask'd 
my companions did not they begin to feel hungry, like 
myself ? They agreed with me ; and we turn'd homeward : 
and as Lexilogus had hitherto borne so little part in the 
conversation, I began to question 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 
skipt from Olympus, I think, to the hills of Yorkshire 
— our own old hills — and the old friends and neighbours 
who dwelt among them. And as we were thus talking, 
we heard the galloping of Horses behind us, (for we were 
now again upon the main road,) and, looking back as 
they were just coming up, I recognised Phidippus for 
one of the riders, with two others whom I did not know. 
I held up my hand, and call'd out to him as he was pass- 
ing; and Phidippus, drawing up his Horse all snorting 
and agitated with her arrested course, wheel'd back and 
came along-side of us. 

I ask'd him what he was about, galloping along the 
road; I thought scientific men were more tender of their 
horses' legs and feet. But the roads, he said, were quite 
soft with the late rains; and they were only trying each 
other's speed for a mile or so. 

By this time his two companions had pulled up some 

[ 178 ] 


way forward, and were calling him to come on; but he 
said, laughing, " they had quite enough of it," and ad- 
[dress'd himself with many a " Steady! " and " So! So! " (59) 
to pacify Miss Middleton, as he called her, who still 
caper'd, plung'd, and snatch'd at her bridle; his friends 
shouting louder and louder — " Why the Devil he didn't 
come on? " 

He waved his hand to them in return; and with a 
" Confound " and " Deuce take the Fellow," they set off 
away toward the town. On which Miss Middleton began 
afresh, plunging, and blowing out a peony nostril after 
her flying fellows; until, what with their dwindling in 
distance, and some expostulation address'd to her by her 
Master as to a fractious Child, she seem'd to make up 
her mind to the indignity, and composed herself to go 
pretty quietly beside us. 

I then asked him did he not remember Lexilogus, — 
(Euphranor he had already recognised,) — and Phidip- 
pus, who really had not hitherto seen who it was, (Lexil- 
ogus looking shyly down all the while, ) call'd 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. 

" One would suppose," said I, " you two fellows had 
not met for years." 

" It was true," Phidippus said, " they did not meet as 
often as he wish'd; but Lexilogus would not come to his 
rooms, and he did not like to disturb Lexilogus at his 
books; and so the time went on." 

I then inquired about his own reading, which, though 

[ 179 ] 


not much, was not utterly neglected, it seemed; and he 
said he had meant to ask one of us to beat something into 
his stupid head this summer 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- 
(60) ter|over when the time came. We then again fell to talk- 
ing of our County; and among other things I asked 
Phidippus if his horse were Yorkshire, — of old famous 
for its breed, as well as of Riders, — and how long he had 
her, and so forth. 

Yorkshire she was, a present from his Father, " and 
a great pet," he said, bending down his head, which Miss 
Middleton answered by a dip of hers, shaking the bit in 
her mouth, and breaking into a little canter, which how- 
ever was easily suppress'd. 

"Miss Middleton?" said I—" what, by Bay Middle- 
ton 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 was concerned." 

" But, Phidippus," said I, " she's as black as a 

"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 
Phidippus had never heard of " Yorkshire Jenny," nor 
of the Ballad, which I promised to acquaint him with, if 

[ 180 ] 



he would stop on his way back, and dine with us at Ches- 
terton, where his Mare might have her Dinner too — all 
of us Yorkshiremen except Lycion, whom he knew a little 
of. There was to be a Boat-race, however, in the even- 
ing, 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 own Trinity boat keep the head of the River. As 
to that, I said, we were all bound the same way, which 
indeed Euphranor had proposed before ; and so the whole 
affair was settled. 

As we went along, I began questioning him concerning 
I some of those Equestrian difficulties which Euphranor (6i) 
and I had been talking of: all which Phidippus thought 
was only my usual banter — " he was no Judge — I must 
ask older hands," and so forth — ^until we reach'd the Inn, 
when I begg'd Euphranor to order dinner at once, while 
I and Lexilogus accompanied Phidippus to the Stable. 
There, after giving his mare in charge to the hostler with 
due directions as to her toilet and table, he took off her 
saddle and bridle himself, 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 the matter than I 
chose to confess, ) we crossed over into the house. 

There, having wash'd our hands and faces, we went 
up into the Billiard-room, where we found Euphranor and 
Lycion playing, — Lycion very lazily, like a man who had 

[ 181 ] 


already too much of it, but yet nothing better to do. 
After a short while, the girl came to tell us all was ready ; 
and, after that slight hesitation as to precedence which 
Englishmen rarely forget on the least ceremonious occa- 
sions, — Lexilogus, in particular, pausing timidly at the 
door, and Euphranor pushing him gently forward, — ^we 
got down to the little Parlour, very airy and pleasant, 
with its windows opening on the bowling-green, the 
table laid with a clean white cloth, and upon that a dish 
of smoking beef -steak, at which I, as master of the Feast, 
and, as Euphranor slyly intimated, otherwise entitled, sat 
down to officiate. For some time the clatter of knife and 
fork, and the pouring of ale, went on, mix'd with some 
conversation among the young men about College mat- 
ters: till Lycion began to tell us of a gay Ball he 
(62) had lately been at, and of the Families | there; among 
whom he named three young Ladies from a neighbour- 
ing County, by far the handsomest women present, he 

" And very accomplish'd, too, I am told," said Euphra- 

" Oh, as for that," replied Lycion, " they Valse very 
well." He hated " your accomplished women," he said. 

" 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 

[ 182 ] 


" One knows so exactly," said Lycion, " what the Doc- 
tor would choose, — a woman 

'Well versed in the Arts 
Of Pies, Puddings, and Tarts,' 

as one used to read of 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 False 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, " will advertise for a 
* Strong-minded ' Female, able to read Plato with him, 
and Wordsworth, and Digby, and become a Mother of 
Heroes. As to Phidippus there is no doubt — ^Diana 
Vernon — " 

But Phidippus disclaimed any taste for Sporting 

" Well, come," said I, passing round a bottle of sherry (63) 
I had just call'd for, " every man to his liking, only all 
of you taking care to secure the accomplishments of 
Health and Good-humour." 

" Ah, there it is, out at last! " cried Euphranor, clap- 

[ 183 ] 


ping his hands ; " I knew the Doctor would choose for 
us as Frederic for his Grenadiers." 

" So you may accommodate me," said I, " with a motto 
from another old Song whenever my time comes ; 

*Give Isaac the Nymph who no beauty can boast, 
But Health and Good-humour to make her his toast.' 

Well, every man to his fancy — Here's to mine! — And 
when we have finish 'd the bottle, which seems about equal 
to one more errand round the table, we will adjourn, if 
you like, to the Bowling-green, which Euphranor will 
tell us was the goodly custom of our Forefathers, and I 
can recommend as a very wholesome after-dinner exer- 

" Not, however, till we have the Doctor's famous Ballad 
about Miss Middleton's possible Great-Great-Grand- 
mother," cried Euphranor, " by way of Pindaric close to 
this Heroic entertainment, sung from the Chair, who 
probably 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. — 'Gewtyf will 
that do? — calls, I believe, Art" 

"Who nevertheless maintained,"*said Euphranor, "that 
the Ballad was scarcely possible but to those who simply 
saw with their Eyes, heard with their Ears — and, I really 

* *Once declares' for 'maintained,* in final edition. 

[ 184 ] 



I think he said, fought with their fists, — I suppose also felt (64) 
with their hearts — without any notion of 'Art ' — although 
Goethe himself, Schiller, and Riickert, and other of your 
aesthetic Germans, Doctor, have latterly done best in that 
line, I believe." 

" Better than Cowper's * Royal George,' " said I, 
" where every word of the narrative iells^ as from a Sea- 
man's lips? " 

" That is something before our time. Doctor." 

" Better then than some of Campbell's which f oUow'd 
it? or some of Sir Walter's? or * The Lord of Burleigh,' 
which is later than all? But enough that my poor Jock 
may chance to sing of his Mare as well as Shenstone of 
his Strephon and Delia." 

" Or more modern Bards of Codes in the Tiber, or 
Regulus in the Tub," said Euphranor. — "But come! 
Song from the Chair I " he call'd out, tapping his glass 
on the table, which Phidippus echoed with his. 

So with a prelusive " Well then," I began — 

" Til sing you a Song, and a merry, merry Song* — 

By the way, Phidippus, what an odd notion of merri- 
ment is a Jockey's, if this Song be a sample. I think I 
have observed they have grave, taciturn faces, especially 
when old, which they soon get to look. Is this from 
much wasting, to carry little Flesh — and large — Respon- 
sibility? " 

"Doctor, Doctor, leave your — faces, and begin!" in- 
terrupted Euphranor. " I must call the Chair to Order." 

[ 185 ] 



Thus admonish'd, with some slight interpolations, (to 
be jump'd by the ^Esthetic,) I repeated the poor Ballad 
which, dropt I know not how nor when into my ear, had 
managed, as others we had talk'd of, to chink itself in 
some corner of a memory that should have been occupied 
with other professional jargon than a " Jockey's." 


''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. 


When first she came to Newmarket town, 
The Sportsmen aU 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. 
[ 186 ] 



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. (A ccelerando, ) 

*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.' 

vn. (Grandioso.) (66) 

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, 

[ 187 ] 


some think — and otherwise 'palef with the distended vein 
and starting sinew of that Three-mile crisis, nevertheless, 
on coming triumphantly in, click'd 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 forgetful of his professional 
stoicism, (but I don't think Jockeys were quite so politic 
then,) bending forward to pat the bonny Neck that mea- 
sured the Victory, as he rides her slowly back to the — 
Weighing-house, is it? — foUow'd by the scarlet-coated 
Horsemen and shouting People 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 — ^And now will 
you have any more wine? " said I, holding up the empty 

Phidippus, hastily finishing his glass, jump'd up; and, 
the others following him with more or less alacrity, we 
all sallied forth on the Bowling-green. As soon as there, 
(67) |Lycion of course puU'd out his Cigar-case, (which he 
had eyed, I saw, with really good-humoured resignation 
during the Ballad,) and oiFer'd it all round, telling 
• Phidippus he could recommend the contents 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 bowl'd 

[ 188 ] 


after him first, pretty well; then Euphranor still better; 
then Lycion, with great indifference and indifferent suc- 
cess; then Phidippus, who about rivalFd me; and last of 
all, Lexilogus, whom Phidippus had been instructing in 
the mystery of the bias with some 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 lengthen'd along the grass, and 
after several bouts of play, Phidippus, who had to ride 
round by Cambridge, said he must be off in time 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. Doctor." 

" Well, well," I said, " away, then, to your race and 
your supper." 

" ' Msia acorppovoc 7]Xat(OT:oo,' " added Euphranor, 

" Msxd, 'with,' or *after,' " said Phidippus, putting on 
his gloves. 

" Well, go on. Sir," said I, " Scbcppovoc? " 

" A temperate — something or other — " 


" Supper?" — he hesitated, smiling — " * After a temper- (68) 
ate supper? ' " 

" Go down. Sir; go down this instant!" I roar'd out 
to him as he ran from the bowling-green. And in a few 
minutes we heard his mare's feet shuffling over the stable 

[ 189 ] 



threshold, and directly afterwards breaking into a retreat- 
ing canter beyond. 

Shortly after this, the rest of us agreed it was time to 
be gone. We walk'd along the fields by the Church, 
(purposely to ask about the sick Lady by the way,) 
cross'd the Ferry, and mingled with the crowd upon the 
opposite shore; Townsmen and Gownsmen, with the tas- 
sell'd Fellow-commoner sprinkled here and there — Read- 
ing men and Sporting men — Fellows, and even Masters 
of Colleges, not indifferent to the prowess of their re- 
spective Crews — all these, conversing on all sorts of topics, 
from the slang in BelFs Life to the last new German 
Revelation, and moving in ever-changing groups down 
the shore of the river, at whose farther bend was a little 
knot of Ladies gathered up on a green knoll faced and 
illuminated by the beams of the setting sun. Beyond 
which point was at length heard some indistinct shouting, 
which gradually increased, until " They are off — ^they 
are coming! " suspended other conversation among our- 
selves ; and suddenly the head of the first boat turn'd the 
corner ; and then another close upon it ; and then a third ; 
the crews pulling with all their might compacted into per- 
fect rhythm; and the crowd on shore turning round to 
follow along with them, waving hats and caps, and cheer- 
ing, " Bravo, St. John's! " " Go it. Trinity! "—the high 
crest and blowing forelock of Phidippus's mare, and he 
himself shouting encouragement to his crew, conspicuous 
over all — until, the boats reaching us, we also were caught 
(69) up in I the returning tide of spectators, and hurried back 

[ 190 ] 


toward the goal; where we arrived just in time to see the 
Ensign of Trinity lowered from its pride of place, and 
the Eagle of St. John's soaring there instead. Then, 
waiting a little while to hear how the winner had won, 
and the loser lost, and watching Phidippus engaged in 
eager conversation with his defeated brethren, I took 
Euphranor and Lexilogus imder either arm (Lycion 
having got into better company elsewhere,) and walk'd 
home with them across the meadow leading to the town, 
whither the dusky troops of Gownsmen with all their con- 
fused voices seem'd as it were evaporating in the twilight, 
while a Nightingale began to be heard among the flower- 
ing Chestnuts of Jesus. 


[ m 1 


To Fanny Kemble. 

ILowestoft, April, 1876,'] 
. . . Quaritch has begun to print Agamemnon 
now — so leisurely that I fancy he wishes to wait till the 
old Persian is exhausted, and so join the two, I certainly 
am in no hurry; for I fully believe we shall only get 
abused for the Greek in proportion as we were praised 
for the Persian — in England, I mean: for you have made 
America more favourable. 

To Fanny Kemble. 

Woodbridge: July 31, 1876, 
. , . I shall send you Quaritch' s Reprint of 'Aga- 
memnon': which is just done after many blunders. The 
revises were not sent me, as I desired: so several things 
are left as I meant not: but 'enfin here it is at last so fine 
that I am ashamed of it. For, whatever the merit of it 
may be, it can't come near all this fine Paper, Margin, 
etc, which Quaritch will have as counting on only a few 
buyers, who will buy — in America almost wholly, I think 
— And, as this is wholly due to you, I send you the Re- 
print, however little different to what you had before. 

[ XV ] 


To Mrs, Cowell 

12 Marine Terrace, Lowestoft, March 11, '77. 
, . . // the Pall Mall Critic knew Greek, I am 
rather surprised he should have vouchsafed even so much 
praise as the words you quoted. But I certainly have 
found that those few whom I meant it for, not Greek 
scholars, have been more interested in it than I ex- 
pected, ... 

To Fanny Kemble, 

[June, 1877.] 

I think I never told you — what is the fact, however — 
that I had wished to dedicate Agamemnon to you, but 
thought I could not do so without my own name ap- 
pended. Whereas, I could, very simply, as I saw after- 
wards when too late. If ever he is reprinted I shall (un- 
less you forbid) do as I desired to do: for, if for no other 
reason, he would probably never have been published but 
for you. Perhaps, he had better [have'] remained in pri- 
vate Life so far as England is concerned. 

To C. E, Norton, 

Woodbridge, August 21, '77, 
. . . Which leads me to say that some one sent me 
a number of your American ' Nation ' with a Review of 
my redoubtable Agamemnon: written by a superior 

[ xvi ] 


hand, and, I think, quite discriminating in its distribu- 
tion of Blame and Praise: though I will not say the 
Praise was not more than deserved; but it was where de- 
served, I think. 

To C. E. Norton. 

Woodbridge, Dec. 15, '78. 
. . . Agamemnon haunted me, until I laid his 
Ghost so far as I myself was concerned. By the way, I 
see that Dr. Kennedy, Professor of Greek at our Cam- 
bridge, has published a Translation of Agamemnon in 
'rhythmic English' So, at any rate, I have been the 
cause of waking up two great men (Browning and Ken- 
nedy) and a minor Third (I forget his name)* to the 
Trial, if it were only for the purpose of extinguishing 
my rash attempt. • • • 

"Now for a word on FitzGerald's principles of transla- 
'' tion. The unhappy translator is always being impaled 
" on the horns of a dilemma. If he translates literally, 
" he produces stuffs no mortal can read. ...If, on 
" the other hand, he makes a good and readable thing of 
" it, then arise all the people who know the original, and 
" begin to peck at it like domestic fowl. If one steers a 
" middle course, one pleases nobody. FitzGerald boldly 
'' adopted the principle that what is wanted in a transla- 
* Lord Carnarvon. 

[ xvii ] 


tion is this : To give people who don't know the original 
a sort of idea of the effect it produces on people who 
do. For this end we must throw all attempt at a literal 
translation to the wind. We must soak ourselves in the 
spirit of an author^ and reproduce that spirit in as good 
poetic style as we may he master of. So, not only with 
Omar J hut with his other translations too, he omits whole 
passages, puts in hits of his own, modifies and arranges 
everything, and makes — a poem. It is interesting to 
compare Paley's translation of the Agamemnon of 
JEschylus with FitzGerald's from this point of view, 
Paley assures us himself, in his Preface (and I suppose 
he ought to know), that his is readable and tolerably 
literal, and then offers us such gems as: ' You are some 
' crazy-headed person, or possessed by some god '; or, 
again, 'And my inward parts do not vainly bode — the 
'heart that whirls in eddies against the midriff, while 
' it 'justly looks for a fulfilment of its fears,' Really, if 
Mschylus is that sort of thing, why do we rise up early 
and so late take rest that we may proceed B.A, in Arts? 
Now listen to another bit from FitzGerald, about 
Helen's flight from Menelaus: — 

"Not beside thee in the chamber, 
Menelaus, any more; 
But with him she fled with, pillowed. 
On the summer softly-hillow^d 
Ocean, into dimple wreathing 
Underneath a breeze of amber 
[ xviii ] 


Air that, as from Eros breathing, 
FilVd the sail and flew before; 
Floating on the summer seas 
Like some sweet Effigies 
Of Eirene^s self, or sweeter 
Aphrodite, sweeter still: 
With the Shepherd, from whose luckless 
Hand upon the Phrygian hill. 
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." 

'' There is hardly a word, hardly a single word of all that 
" in 2Eschylus. But which of the two gives one the im- 
" pression that ^schylus gives — Paley or FitzGerald? " 

[From a Paper read before the Literary Society of University Col- 
lege, London, on January 24th, 1896, by Arthur Piatt, Professor 
of Greek.] 

[ ^^ ] 









This Version — or Per-version — of JEschylus was originally 
printed to be given away among Friends,, who either knew noth- 
ing of the Original, or would be disposed to excuse the liberties 
taken with it by an unworthy hand.* 

* The second edition (1876) reads **a less worthy hand:'* and has the follow- 
ing two additional paragraphs : 

Such as it is, however, others, whom I do not know, have asked for copies 
when I had no more copies to give. So Mr. Quaritch ventures on pub- 
hshing it on his own account, at the risk of facing much less indulgent 

I can add little more to the Apology prefixed to the private edition. 


At J. the Choruses in this Tragedy call for a more lyrical 
Interpreter than myself. But even I might have done 
better with the first, by mingling fragments of the so 
oft-told Story, with such dark and ill-ominous presage as 
would accumulate as Time went on. 

So much for the matter. As for the manner; I think 
that some such form as Tennyson has originated in his 
version of the Battle of Brunanburh might well be 
adopted in this case, as in many other of ^schylus' 
Choruses — such as in the Persae, the Seven against 
Thebes, and the Eumenides — the question being whether 
such a trochaic gallop may not over-ride the Iambic Blank 
Verse Dialogue that follows it. 

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 mean-|ing, but must bridge over a (iv) 
chasm; especially if he determine to complete the an- 
tiphony of Strophe and Antistrophe in English verse. 

Thus, encumbered with forms which sometimes, I 

[ m ] 


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 
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, seemed to me 
to have failed, I came first to break the bounds of Greek 
Tragedy; then to swerve from the Master's footsteps; 
(v) and so, one j license drawing on another to make all of a 
piece, arrived 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 accelerating interest 
from beginning to end, he will perhaps excuse my ac- 
, knowledged transgressions,* and will not disdain the 
Jade that has carried him so far so well till he find him- 
self mounted on a Thorough-bred whose thunder-clothed 
neck and long-resounding pace shall better keep up 
with the Original. 

For to re-create the Tragedy, body and soul, into Eng- 
lish, and make the Poet free of the language which reigns 

^ 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. 
* In the edition of 1 876 this sentence ends thus, — unless as well or 
better satisfied by some more faithful Interpreter, or by one more en- 
titled than myself to make free with the Original. 

[ 198 ] 



over that half of the world never dreamt of in his philos- 
ophy, must be reserved — especially the Lyric part — for 
some Poet, worthy of that name, and of congenial 
Genius with the Greek. Would that every one such would (vi) 
devote himself to one such work! whether by Translation, 
Paraphrase, or Metaphrase, 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 iEschylus 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; some- 
thing akin to ^schylus in his genius; still more in his 
grandiose, and sometimes authadostomous verse ; of which 
some lines relating to this very play fall so little short of 
Greek, that I shall but shame my own by quoting them 
before hand; 

"Is this the face that launch'd a thousand ships, 
And burnt the topless towers of Ilium? 
Sweet Helen, make me immortal with a kiss!" 

[ 199 ] 


Agamemnon, King of Argos, 

Clytemnestra, his Queen, 

^GiSTHUS, Ms Cousin. 

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 Djniasties 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 (2) 

Of the man-minded Woman who here rules. 

Here have I watch'd till yonder mountain-top 

Shall kindle with a signal-light from Troy. 

And watch'd in vain, couch'd on the barren stone. 

Night after night, night after night, alone, 

Ev'n by a wandering dream unvisited, 

^ The commentators generally understand these XapLTCpoo? Sovaaia? 
to mean Sun and Moon. Blomfield, I believe, admits they may he the 
Constellations by which the seasons were 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. 

[ 201 ] 

?r^l^n^ AGAMEMNON. 


To which the terror of my post denies 

The customary passage of closed 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! — 

(s) The words 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! 
Long look'd for, long despair'd of, on the 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, 

[ 202 ] 


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! 

[ Eivit Warder. Daylight gradually dawns, 
and enter slowly Chorus. 


Another rising of the sun 

That rolls another year away, 
Sees us through the portal dun 

Dividing night and day 
Like to phantoms from the crypt (4) 

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, 

[ 203 ] 


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; 
{B) Was there no Phcebus to denounce the flight 

From Heav'n? Nor those ten thousand Eyes of 

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 sanctity of Kings, 
Let loose the Fury who, though late 
Retarded in the leash of Fate, 

Once loosed, after the Sinner springs; 
Over Ocean's heights and hollows. 
Into cave and forest follows, 

[ 204 ] 


Into fastest guarded town, 
Close on the Sinner's heel insists. 
And, turn or baffle as he lists. 

Dogs him inexorably down. 


Therefore to revenge the debt 

To violated Justice due. 
Armed Hellas hand in hand 

The iron toils of Ares drew 
Over water, over land. 

Over such a tract of years ; (e) 

Draught of blood abroad, of 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 file advancing. 

Fighting, flying, slaying, slain: 
And among them, and above them, 
Crested Heroes, twain by twain. 

Lance to lance, and thrust to thrust, 

[ 205 ] 


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 unmanned. 
Little more of man to meet 
Than the helpless child, or hoary 
Spectre of his second childhood, 

Tottering on triple feet, 
(7) Like the idle waifs and strays 

Blown together from the ways 

Up and down the windy street. 


But thus it is ; All bides the destined Hour 
And Man, albeit with Justice at his side. 

Fights in the dark against a secret Power 
Not to be conquer'd — and how pacified? 

For, before the Navy flush'd 
Wing from shore, or lifted oar 

To foam the purple brush'd; 

While about the altar hush'd 

Throng'd the ranks of Greece thick-fold, 

[ 206 ] 


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 (s) 

The fleet of Greece with storms and checks: 

That Troy should not be reach'd at all. 
Or — as the Gods themselves divide 
In Heav'n to either mortal side — 

rf ever reach'd, should never fall — 
Unless at such a loss and cost 
As counterpoises Won and Lost. 


The Elder of the Royal Twain 
Listcn'd in silence, daring not arraign 

111 omen, or rebuke the raven lips : 
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. 

[ 207 ] 



So from Argos forth: and so 

O'er the roUing waters they, 
Till in the roaring To-and-fro 

Of rock-lockt Aulis brought to stay: 
(9) 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-crown'd 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, 

[ 208 ] 



Once again the summon'd Seer 

Evil, Evil, still fore-drew. 
Day by day, delay, decay Cio; 

To ship and tackle, chief and crew: 
And but one way — one only way to appease 
The Goddess, and the wind of wrath subdue; 
One way of cure so worse than the disease, 

As, but to hear propound. 
The Atreidse 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 

"Propitiation by the Life impure, 
"Should wash out her transgression with her own." 

[ 209 1 


(W X. 

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 bow'd: his hand to that unnatural stroke: 
With growing purpose, obstinate as the wind 
That block'd his fleet, so block'd his better mind. 
To all the Father's heart within him 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. 


And thus, the blood of that one innocent 
Weigh'd light against one great accomplishment, 
(12) 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, 
[ 210 ] 


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 tiding gathers groimd; 

And from portals that disclose 

Before a fragrant air that blows 

Them open, what great matter. Sirs, (is) 

Thus early Clytemnestra stirs. 

Hither through the palace gate 

Torch in hand, and step-elate, 

Advancing, with the kindled Eyes 

As of triumphant Sacrifice? 
[ 211 ] 


[Enter Clytemnestra. 

Oh, Clytemnestra, my obeisance 

Salutes your coming footstep, as her right 

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 — 

What great occasion, almost ere Night's self 

Rekindles into Morning from the Sun, 

Has woke your Altar-fire to Sacrifice? 


Oh, never yet did Night — 
Night of all Good the Mother, as men say, 
Conceive a fairer issue than To-day! 
Prepare your ear. Old man, for tidings such 
As youthful hope would scarce anticipate. 

(14) Chorus. 

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-toil'd-for Troy is ours at last? 

[ 212 ] 



"If told!" — Once more! — the word escaped our ears. 
With many a baffled rumour heretofore 
Slipp'd down the wind of wasted Expectation. 


Once more then; and with unconditional 
Assurance having hit the mark indeed 
That Rumour aimed at — Troy, with all the towers 
Our burning vengeance leaves aloft, is ours. 
Now speak I plainly? 


Oh! to make the tears 
That waited to bear witness in the eye 
Start, to convict our incredulity! 

Clytemnestra. (15) 

Oh, blest conviction that enriches you 
That lose the cause with all the victory! 

Ev'n so. But how yourself convinced before? 

[ 213 ] 


By no less sure a witness than the God. 

What, in a dream? 


I am not apt to trust 
The vacillating witnesses of Sleep. 


Ay — but as surely undeluded by 

The waking Will, that what we strongly would 


Ay, like a doating girl. 

(16) Chorus. 

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? 

[ 214 ] 



Ev'n with the very birth 
Of the good Night which mothers this best Day. 


To-day! To-night! but of Night's work in Troy 
Who should inform the scarce awaken'd ear 
Of Morn 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. (9) 

And, first to catch him and begin the game. 

Did Ida fire her forest-pine, and, waving 

Handed him on to that Hermaean steep 

Of Lemnos; Lemnos to the summit of 

Zeus-consecrated Athos lifted; whence, 

As by the giant taken, so despatch'd. 

The Torch of Conquest, traversing the wide 

iEgsean with a sunbeam-stretching stride, 

[ 215 ] 


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 
The meteor-bearded messenger refresh'd. 
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 Arachnseum lighting, one last bound 
Brought him to Agamemnon's battlements. 
(10) 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. 


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 Pgean by and by. 

[ 216 ] 



Aye, think — think — think, old man, and in your soul, 

As if 'twere mirror'd in your outward eye. 

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 Triumph 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, (ii) 

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 unfinish'd 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 

[ 217 ] 



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, 
And not to be insulted unavenged. 
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 ; 
(12) Some ere safe shipp'd: or, launch'd 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 disregarded drop them, as they will; 
Enough for me, if having won the stake, 
I pray the Gods with us to keep it still. 

[EiVit Clytemnestra. 


Oh, sacred Night, 
From whose unfathomable breast 
Creative Order formed and saw 

[ 218 ] 


Chaos emerging into Law: 
And now, committed with Eternal Right, 
Who didst with star-entangled net invest 

So close the guilty City as she slept. 
That when the deadly fisher came to draw. 
Not one of all the guilty fry through crept. 

n. (13) 

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. 


Some think the Godhead, couching at his ease 
Deep in the purple Heav'ns, serenely sees 

Insult the altar of Eternal Right. 

Fools ! For though Fortune seem to misrequite, 

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. 
[ 219 ] 



For soon or late sardonic Fate 

With Man against himself conspires; 
Puts on the mask of his desires: 
Up the steps of Time elate 
(W Leads him blinded with his pride, 

And gathering as he goes along 
The fuel of his suicide : 
Until having topp'd 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 
To weep his fall, nor lip to sigh 
For him a prayer; or, if there were. 
No God to listen, or reply. 


And as the son his father's guilt may rue; 
And, by retort of justice, what the son 

[ 220 ] 


Has sinn'd, to ruin on 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, (is) 

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, 
Menelaus brave and good. 
Scarce believing 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. 
[ 221 ] 


For the phantom of the lost one 
Haunts him in the wonted places; 
(16) Hall and Chamber, where he paces 

Hither, Thither, listening, looking, 

Phantom-like himself alone; 
Till he comes to loathe the faces 
Of the marble mute Colossi, 
Godlike forms, and half -divine, 
Founders of the Royal line. 
Who with all unf alter'd Quiet 
Witness all and make no sign. 
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! 


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 ! his Bride 

[ 222 ] 


Once more in more than bridal beauty stands; (i7) 

But, ever as he reaches forth his hands, 

Slips 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 : 
With the Shepherd, from whose luckless 

Hand upon the Phrygian hill 
Of the three Immortals, She 

The fatal prize of Beauty bore, (W 

Floating with him o'er the foam 
She rose from, to the Shepherd's home 
On the Ionian shore. 

[ 223 ] 



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 Joy for ever — Yes; 
As one who drawing from the leopardess 
Her suckling cub, and, fascinated by 
The little Savage of the lustrous eye, 
Bears 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 the wind, that amber blew, 

Tempest in its bosom drew, 
(19) Soon began to hiss and roar; 

And the sweet Effigies 

That amber breeze and summer seas 
Had wafted to the Ionian shore, 
By swift metamorphosis 

[ 224 ] 


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 its throat 
The victim City seized, and smote. 


But now to be resolved, 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 rolFd 
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 fork'd tongue that preys upon the pine. 

Herald. (20) 

Oh, Fatherland of Argos, back to whom 
After ten years do I indeed return 
Under the dawn of this auspicious day! 
Of all the parted anchors of lost Hope 

[ 225 ] 


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 blest 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 Phcebus, by this all-restoring dawn 

Who heals the wounds his arrows dealt so fast 

Beside Scamander; and not last nor least 

Among the Powers engaged upon our side, 

Hermes, the Herald's Patron, and his Pride ; 

Who, having brought me safely through the war, 

NTow brings me back to tell the victory 

Into my own beloved country's ear; 

(21) 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 Temples, Palaces, and throned 

Colossi, that affront the rising sun. 

If ever yet, your marble foreheads now 

Bathe in the splendour of returning Day 

To welcome back your so long absent Lord; 

[ 226 ] 


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, (22) 

One might implore the Gods ev'n now to die! 

Oh, your soul hunger 'd after home! 


So sore, 

That sudden satisfaction of once more 

Return weeps out its surfeit at my eyes. 

[ 227 ] 



And ours, you see, contagiously, no less 

The same long grief, and sudden joy, confess. 


What! Argos for her missing children yearn'd 
As they for her, then? 


Ay ; perhaps and more. 
Already pining with an inward sore. 

(28) Herald. 

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? 
Why, once begin to open that account. 
Might not we tell for ten good years to come 
Of all we suffer'd in the ten gone by? 

[ 228 ] 


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 : 
Or worse perhaps while foraging ashore 
In winter time; when if not from the walls. 
Pelted from Heav'n by Day, to couch by Night 
Between the falling dews and rising damps (24) 

That elf 'd the locks, and set the body fast 
With cramp and ague ; or, to mend the matter, 
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. 
Boast, once more standing on our mother soil. 

That Zeus, who sent us to revenge the crime 
Upon the guilty people, now recalls 

[ 229 ] 

m1^?n^ AGAMEMNON. 


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, 
(25) Lesson so welcome, Herald of the Fleet! 
But here is Clytemnestra ; be you first 
To bless her ears, as mine, with news so sweet, 


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. 

Torch-handed, drenching in triumphant wine 

The flame that from the smouldering incense rose. 

Now what more needs? This Herald of the Day 

[ 230 ] 



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. (26) 

Oh, to a loyal woman what so sweet 

As once more wide the gate of welcome fling 
To the loved Husband whom the Gods once more 

After long travail home triumphant bring; 
Where he shall find her, as he left before, 
Fix'd 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. 

lEa^it Clytemnestra. 

A boast not misbeseeming a true woman. 


For then no boast at all. But she says well; 
And Time interprets all. Enough for us 
To praise the Gods for Agamemnon's safe, 
And more than safe return. And Menelaus, 
The other half of Argos— What of him? 

[ 231 ] 



{27) 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? 


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 they withhold. 


Yet till we know how much withheld or granted. 
We know not how the balance to adjust 
Of Supplication or of Praise. 


The Herald who returns with downcast eyes, 
(28) And leafless brow prophetic of Reverse, 
Let him at once — at once let him, I say. 
Lay the whole burden of Ill-tidings down 

[ 232 ] 


In the mid market-place. But why should one 
Returning with the garland on his brow 
Be stopp'd to name the single missing leaf 
Of which the Gods have stinted us I 



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 I 
Safe shipp'd with all the host. 


Well but— how then? 
Surely no tempest — 

Herald. (W 

Ay! by that one word 
Hitting the centre of a boundless sorrow ! 


Well, but if peradventure from the fleet 
Parted — not lost? 

[ 233 ] 



None but the eye of Day, 
Now woke, knows all the havoc of the Night. 
For Night 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 his 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, 
(80) 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 ^gsean 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, 

[ 234 ] 


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 lost; the saved, no doubt, 
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. 

Chorus. (si) 

Oh, Helen, Helen, Helen I 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 inmiortal 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! 

[ 235 ] 


Whose dowry was a Husband's shame; 
Whose nuptial torch was Troy in jflame; 
Whose bridal Chorus, groans and cries; 
Whose banquet, brave men's obsequies; 
Whose Hymenaeal 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; 
(S2) And, having done the work to which 
The God himself halloo'd them, back 
Return a maim'd and scatter'd pack. 


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 ; 

[ 236 ] 


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 ravin 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. (33) 

For the stern God who, deaf to human love. 

Grudges the least abridgment of the tale 
Of human blood once pledged 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 

[ 237 ] 


"And flaming eye, and now — look there! 
"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 her self and name!" — 
(34) 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 scattered, 
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 

[ 238 ] 


Who 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 — (35) 

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 
May give, and Manhood take for true. 
For, as many men comply 
From founts no deeper than the eye 

With others' sorrows; many more, 
With a Welcome from the lips. 
That far the halting heart outstrips, 

Fortime'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 ; 

[ 239 ] 


But, the warfare once begun, 
Hardly fought and hardly won, 
Now from Glory's overflowing 
Horn of Welcome all her glowing 
(36) 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 laurell'd ship to ride 
Anchor'd in her country's side, 
And resume the royal 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. 

Even-handed Justice mete. 

[ 240 ] 


Enter Agamemnon in his chariot, Cassandra (^7) 

following in another, 


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 nostril of revolted Heav'n* 

Gusts of expiring 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,^ (38) 

*" Into the face of the revolted heavens." (Edition of 1876.) 

^ Those who know the Greek will scarce accuse me of over-alliteration 

in this line, which runs in the original thus, 

Spodos propempei pionas ploutou pnoas. 
^ Dr. Donaldson tells us in his Varronianus (says Paley), that the 
Lion was the symbol of the Atreidce; and Pausanias writes that part 
of the ancient walls of Mycence was yet standing in his day, and 
Lions on the gate. Wordsworth (Athens and Attica) says the Lion 
was often set up to commemorate a victory. 

[ 241 ] 


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. 
For you, oh white-hair'd senators of Argos, 
Your measured 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, 
Of all the Host that fiU'd the Grecian ship, 
(39) 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 which enough. For other things of moment 

'^ "About the setting of the Pleiades" is about the end of Autumn. 

[ 242 ] 



To which you point, or human or divine, 
We shall forthwith consider and adjudge 
In seasonable council; what is well. 
Or in our absence well deserving, well 
Establish and requite ; what not, redress 
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 Clytemnestea from the Palace. (4o) 


Oh Men of Argos, count it not a shame 

If a fond wife, and one whom riper years 

From Youth's becoming bashfulness 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, 

A woman left in charge of house and home — 

[ 243 ] 


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. 
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; ay, or, had he died 
(41) 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 — 

[ 244 ] 


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. 

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 ; (42) 

Or, if I slept, a sleep so thin as scared 

Even at the slight incursion of the gnat ; 

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 ungrateful 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 accumulate 

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 

[ 245 ] 


That, winter-dead so long, anew puts forth 
To shield us from the Dogstar, what time Zeus 
Wrings the tart vintage into blissful juice. 
Down from the chariot thou standest in, 
Crown'd with the flaming towers of Troy, descend, 
(43) 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 

Stored these ten years ; and to what purpose stored. 
Unless to strew the footsteps of their Lord 
Returning to his unexpected rest! 


Daughter of Leda, Mistress of my house. 

Beware lest loving Welcome of your Lord, 

Measuring itself by his protracted absence. 

Exceed the bound of rightful compliment. 

And better left to other lips than yours. 

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 

[ 246 ] 



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 (44) 

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 returned 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 footsteps flows 
Ebbs back into the treasury again; 

[ 247 ] 


Think how much more, had Fate the tables turn'd, 
(45) Irrevocably from those coffers gone, 
For those barbarian feet to walk upon, 
To buy your ransom back? 


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 would. 

No matter — Strife but ill becomes a woman. 


And frank submission to her simple wish 

How well becomes the Soldier in his strength! 

[ 248 ] 



And I must then submit? 


Aye, Agamemnon, 
Deny me not this first Desire on this 
First Morning of your long-desired Return. 


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, 
Cassandra, daughter of King Priamus, 
Whom, as the 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 brook. 
That if I sin thus trampling underfoot 

[ 249 ] 


A woof in which the Heav'ns themselves are dyed, 
(4:1) 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 
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,^ 


About the nations runs a saw, 
That Over-good ill-fortune breeds; 

And true that, by the mortal law, 
(48) Fortune her spoilt children feeds 

To surfeit, such as sows the seeds 

Of Insolence, that, as it grows. 

The flower of Self -repentance blows. 

[ 250 ] 


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. 


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 (49) 

Good-fortune lighting on the roof; 
Yea, even Virtue's self forsake 
If Glory f ollow'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. 

[ 251 ] 


Clytemnestra (re-entering). 

Yet for a moment let me look on her — 
This, then, is Priam's daughter — 
Cassandra, and a Prophetess, whom Zeus 
Has giv'n into my hands to minister 
Among my slaves. Didst thou prophesy 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. 


And, if needs must a captive, better far 
Of some old house that affluent Time himself 
(50) 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 seas. 
Interpreting no twitter but her own. 

[ 252 ] 




But, if barbarian, still interpreting 
The universal language of the hand. 


Which yet again she does not seem to see. 
Staring before her with wide-open eyes 
As in a trance. 


Ay, ay, a prophetess — 
Phoebus Apollo's minion once — ^Whose now? 
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. 


Chorus (continuing). 

Still a muttered and half -blind 

Superstition haunts mankind. 
That, by some divine decree 

Yet by mortal undivined 

Mortal Fortune must not over- 
Leap the bound he cannot see; 

[ 253 ] 


For that even wisest labour 

Lofty-building, builds to fall, 
Evermore a jealous neighbour 

Undermining floor and wall. 
So that on the smoothest water 

Sailing, in a cloudless sky. 
The wary merchant overboard 
Flings something of his precious hoard 
(52) 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, 

[ ^54i ] 

AGAMEMNON. ^^o'i. 

Cut not short the vital line; 
For indeed the purple seed 
Of life once shed — 

Phoebus Apollo! 

Chorus. (58) 

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! 
Phcebus Apollo! Apollo! 


Possessed indeed — whether by — 

[ 255 ] 

^^'f^^ AGAMEMNON. 



Phoebus! Phoebus! 
Thorough trampled ashes, blood, and fiery rain, 
(54) Over water seething, and behind the breathing 
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 — 


I can answer that — 


Down to what slaughter-house? 

Fob! the smell of carnage through the door 

Scares me from it — drags me tow'rd it — 

Phoebus! Apollo! Apollo! 

[ ^56 ] 


Chorus. (^^) 

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 Agamenmon. 


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 1 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 — 

Chorus. (56) 

Nay, but again at fault: 

For in the tragic story of this House — 

[ 257 ] 



Unless, indeed, the fatal Helen — 

No woman — 


No Woman — Tisiphone! Daughter 
Of Tartarus — love-grinning Woman above, 
Dragon-tail'd under — honey-tongued, Harpy-claw'd, 
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 

(57) 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 


[ 258 ] 



And so returning, like a nightingale 
Returning to the passionate note of woe 
By which the silence first was broken! 


A nightingale, a nightingale, indeed. 
That, as she "Itys! Itys! Itys!" so 
I "Helen! Helen! Helen!" having sung 
Amid my people, now to those who flung 
And trampled on the nest, and slew the young. 
Keep crying "Blood! blood! blood!" and none will heed! (58) 
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? 
There let the fatal Leaves 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 

[ 259 ] 


With those who would not listen, now descends 
To that dark kingdom where his empire ends. 


Strange that Apollo should the laurel wreath 
Of Prophecy he crown'd your head withal 
Himself disgrace. But something have we heard 
Of some divine revenge for slighted love. 

(59) Cassandra. 

Ay — and as if in malice to attest 

With one expiring beam of Second-sight 
Wherewith his victim he has cursed and blest, 

Ere quench'd 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 call'd — and rightly call'd me — bloodhound ; ye 
That like old lagging dogs in self -despite 
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 

[ 260 ] 


Whose dread antiphony forswears the lyre, 
Who now are chaunting of that grim carouse 
Of blood with which the children fed their Sire, 
Shall never from their dreadful chorus stop 
Till all be counter-pledged to the last drop. 


Hinting at what indeed has long been done. 

And widely spoken, no Apollo needs; (60) 

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. 

[ 261 ] 


Murder! But the Gods- 

(61) Cassandra. 

Who even now are their accomplices. 

Woman! Accomplices — With whom? — 


The Gods! 

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 eyeball through the gloom 
He stalks about of Hades up to Day, 
Shall rouse the whelp of exile far away, 
(62) His only authentic offspring, ere the grim 
Wolf crept between his Lioness and him; 

[ 262 ] 


Who with one stroke of Retribution, her 
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 
Released, when Nemesis has gorged 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 ope the portal at a single blow. 


And the raving voice, that rose 

Out of silence into speech 

Over-shooting human reach. 
Back to silence foams and blows. 

Leaving all my bosom heaving — 
Wrath and raving all, one knows; 
Prophet-seeming, but if ever (68) 

Of the Prophet-God possest. 

By the Prophet's self conf est 
God-abandon'd — woman's shrill 

[ 263 ] 


Anguish into tempest rising, 
Louder as less listen'd. 

Spite of Reason, spite of Will, 
What unwelcome, what unholy. 
Vapour of Foreboding, 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 fall — 
Some one crying — Listen further — 
Hark again then, crying "Murder! " 
Some one — who then? Agamemnon? 
Agamemnon? — Hark again! 
Murder! murder! murder! murder! 
Help within there! Help without there! 
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 tabulatis'* — the scene drawing — *'conspici- 
tur Clytemnestra in conclavi stans ad corpus Agamemnonis" 

[ 264 ] 


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 enmesh'd, he never should break through? 

The blow now struck was not the random blow 

Of sudden passion, but with slow device 

Prepared, and levelled with the hand of time. 

I say it who devised it; I who did; 

And now stand here to face the consequence. 

Ay, in a deadlier web than 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 (65) 

And last libation from the deadly mace 

I pledged the crowning draught to Hades due, 

The subterranean Saviour — of the Dead 1 ^ 

At which bt spouted up the Ghost in such 

A burst of purple as, bespatter'd with. 

No less did I rejoice than the green ear 

^ At certain Ceremonies, the Third and crowning Libation rvas to 
Zeus Soter; and thus ironically to Pluto. 

[ 265 ] 


Rejoices in the largess of the skies 
That fleeting Iris follows as it flies. 


Oh woman, woman, woman! 

By what accursed root or weed 

Of Earth, or Sea, or Hell, inflamed, 

Darest 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. 
(66) 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 charged so deep a bowl of blood, 
Himself is forced to drink it to the dregs. 


Woman, what blood but that of Troy, which Zeus 

Foredoom'd for expiation by his hand 

[ 266 ] 


For whom the penalty was pledged? And now. 

Over his murder'd body, Thou 

Talk of Hbation !— Thou ! Thou ! Thou I 

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 — 


Ay, ay, to me how lightly you adjudge 

Exile or death, and never had a word 

Of counter-condemnation for Him there ; (67) 

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 cursed the city with that crime 

You hail with acclamation ; but on me, 

Who only do the work you should have done. 

You turn the axe of condemnation. Well; 

Threaten you me, 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 — 

[ 267 ] 


Then, by the Godhead that for me decides. 
Another lesson you shall learn, though late. 


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, hearl 
By this dead Husband, and the reconciled 
Avenging Fury of my slaughter'd child, 
I swear I will not reign the slave of 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 
Dishonoured mine : and this last laurelFd wench, 
Prophetic messmate of the rower's bench. 
Thus far in triumph his, with him along 
Shall go, together chaunting one death-song, 

[ 268 ] 


To Hades — fitting garnish for the feast 
Which Fate's avenging hand through mine hath drest.* 


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 long to Trojan sword (69) 

Devoted, and to storm abroad, 

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, call'd or no, 

Comes quick; nor spend your ebbing breath on me, 
Nor Helena: who but as arrows be 

Shot by the hidden hand behind 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; 
* " Has drest." (Edition of 1876.) 

[ 269 ] 


And still as each new victim falls, 
And gorged with kingly gore, 

Down on the bleeding carcase flings. 
And croaks for "More, more, morel" 

(70) Clytemnestra. 

Ay, 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 
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 I 

Who, after ten years toil'd; 

After barbarian lance and sword 

Encounter'd, fought, and foil'd; 
[ 270 ] 



Returning with the just award 

Of Glory, thus inglorious by 

Thine own domestic Altar die. 
Fast in the spider meshes coil'd (7i) 

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. 
Is 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 

Conmiit the mangled form of Majesty, 

And pour the due libation o'er the mound 1 

[ 271 ] 


C^^) Clytemnestra. 

This hand, that struck the guilty life away, 
The guiltless carcase in the dust shall lay 
With due solemnities: and if with no 
Mock tears, or howling counterfeit of woe, 
On this side earth ; perhaps the innocent thing, 
Whom with paternal love he sent before. 
Meeting him by the melancholy shore, 
Her arms about him with a kiss shall fling. 
And lead him to his shadowy throne below. 

Alas! alas! the fatal rent 
Which through the house of Atreus went, 
Gapes again; a purple 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! 

(73) Clytemnestra. 

Ev'n I ; who by this last grand victim hope 
The Pyramid of Vengeance so to cope, 

[ 272 ] 


That — and methinks I hear him in the deep 

Beneath us growhng tow'rd his rest — the stern 

Alastor to some other roof may turn, 
Leaving us here at last in peace to keep 
What of hf e's harvest yet remains to reap. 


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, 
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 awhile permitting (74) 

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. 

[ 273 ] 

^^r'n^n^ AGAMEMNON. 


iEoiSTHUs: Clytemnestra: Chorus. 

All hail, thou daybreak of my just revenge! 
In which, as waking from injurious sleep, 
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, wrought by false Suspicion to fix'd Hate,^ 
From Argos out his younger brother 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 
(75) Of his own country than to breathe its air 
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, 

Who, first suspecting falsely^ and anon 
Detesting him his false stispicion wronged, &c. 

[ 274 ] 


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 

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 Nemesis — (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. C^^^ 

Ay, 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 forced on mine. 

* Unspecting. (Edition of 1876.) 

[ 275 ] 



^gisthus, only things of baser breed 
Insult the fallen; fall'n 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 
With this slain King, but flowing in a son. 
Who saved by such an exile as your own 
For such a counter-retribution — 



You then, the nether benchers of the realm. 
Dare open tongue on those who rule the helm? 
(-77; 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 stirr'd. 
The spurrer need beware the spurr'd; 

As thou of me ; whose single word 

[ 276 ] 


Shall rouse the City — yea, the very 
Stones you walk upon, in thunder 

Gathering o'er your head, to bury 
Thee and thine Adultress under! 


Raven, that with croaking jaws 
Unorphean, undivine, 

After you no City draws ; 
And if any vengeance, mine 

Upon your wither'd shoulders— 

Chorus. (78) 

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! , 

[ 277 ] 


And if Nemesis be sated with the blood already spilt, 

Even so let us, nor carry lawful Justice into Guilt. 

Sheathe your sword; dismiss your spears; and you, Old 
men, your howling cease. 

And, ere ill blood come to running, each unto his home in 
(79) Recognizing what is done for done indeed, as done it is. 

And husbanding your scanty breath to pray that nothing 
more amiss. 

Farewell. Meanwhile, you and I, ^gisthus, shall de- 

When the storm is blowing under, how to settle House 
and State. 

[ 278 ]