Library Of The World's Best Literature, Ancient And Modern, Vol 4
Charles Dudley Warner

Part 8 out of 11

say nothing of my affliction to any one, not even to Lorchen. I confide
the secret to you alone, and entreat you some day to correspond with
Vering on the subject. If I continue in the same state, I shall come to
you in the ensuing spring, when you must engage a house for me somewhere
in the country, amid beautiful scenery, and I shall then become a rustic
for a year, which may perhaps effect a change. Resignation!--what a
miserable refuge! and yet it is my sole remaining one. You will forgive
my thus appealing to your kindly sympathies at a time when your own
position is sad enough.

Farewell, my kind, faithful Wegeler! Rest assured of the love and
friendship of your



Never was there a lovelier spring than this year; I say so, and feel it
too, because it was then I first knew you. You have yourself seen that
in society I am like a fish on the sand, which writhes and writhes, but
cannot get away till some benevolent Galatea casts it back into the
mighty ocean. I was indeed fairly stranded, dearest friend, when
surprised by you at a moment in which moroseness had entirely mastered
me; but how quickly it vanished at your aspect! I was at once conscious
that you came from another sphere than this absurd world, where, with
the best inclinations, I cannot open my ears. I am a wretched creature,
and yet I complain of others!! You will forgive this from the goodness
of heart that beams in your eyes, and the good sense manifested by your
ears; at least they understand how to flatter, by the mode in which they
listen. My ears are, alas! a partition-wall, through which I can with
difficulty hold any intercourse with my fellow-creatures. Otherwise
perhaps I might have felt more assured with you; but I was only
conscious of the full, intelligent glance from your eyes, which affected
me so deeply that never can I forget it. My dear friend! dearest
girl!--Art! who comprehends it? with whom can I discuss this mighty
goddess? How precious to me were the few days when we talked together,
or, I should rather say, corresponded! I have carefully preserved the
little notes with your clever, charming, most charming answers; so I
have to thank my defective hearing for the greater part of our fugitive
intercourse being written down. Since you left this I have had some
unhappy hours,--hours of the deepest gloom, when I could do nothing. I
wandered for three hours in the Schoenbrunn Allee after you left us, but
no _angel_ met me there to take possession of me as you did. Pray
forgive, my dear friend, this deviation from the original key, but I
must have such intervals as a relief to my heart. You have no doubt
written to Goethe about me? I would gladly bury my head in a sack, so
that I might neither see nor hear what goes on in the world, because I
shall meet you there no more; but I shall get a letter from you? Hope
sustains me, as it does half the world; through life she has been my
close companion, or what would have become of me? I send you 'Kennst Du
das Land,' written with my own hand, as a remembrance of the hour when I
first knew you....

If you mention me when you write to Goethe, strive to find words
expressive of my deep reverence and admiration. I am about to write to
him myself with regard to 'Egmont,' for which I have written some music
solely from my love for his poetry, which always delights me. Who can be
sufficiently grateful to a great poet,--the most precious jewel of
a nation!

Kings and princes can indeed create professors and
privy-councillors, and confer titles and decorations, but
they cannot make great men,--spirits that soar above the base
turmoil of this world. There their powers fail, and this it
is that forces them to respect us. When two persons like
Goethe and myself meet, these grandees cannot fail to
perceive what such as we consider great. Yesterday on our way
home we met the whole Imperial family; we saw them coming
some way off, when Goethe withdrew his arm from mine, in
order to stand aside; and say what I would, I could not
prevail on him to make another step in advance. I pressed
down my hat more firmly on my head, buttoned up my
great-coat, and crossing my arms behind me, I made my way
through the thickest portion of the crowd. Princes and
courtiers formed a lane for me; Archduke Rudolph took off his
hat, and the Empress bowed to me first. These great ones of
the earth _know me_. To my infinite amusement, I saw the
procession defile past Goethe, who stood aside with his hat
off, bowing profoundly. I afterwards took him sharply to task
for this; I gave him no quarter and upbraided him with all
his sins.



You grieve! dearest of all beings! I have just heard that the letters
must be sent off very early. Mondays and Thursdays are the only days
when the post goes to K---- from here. You grieve! Ah! where I am, there
you are ever with me: how earnestly shall I strive to pass my life with
you, and what a life will it be!!! Whereas now!! without you!! and
persecuted by the kindness of others, which I neither deserve nor try
to deserve! The servility of man towards his fellow-man pains me, and
when I regard myself as a component part of the universe, what am I,
what is he who is called the greatest?--and yet herein are displayed the
godlike feelings of humanity!--I weep in thinking that you will receive
no intelligence from me till probably Saturday. However dearly you may
love me, I love you more fondly still. Never conceal your feelings from
me. Good-night! As a patient at these baths, I must now go to rest. [A
few words are here effaced by Beethoven himself.] Oh, heavens! so near,
and yet so far! Is not our love a truly celestial mansion, but firm as
the vault of heaven itself?

JULY 7th.

Good morning!

Even before I rise, my thoughts throng to you, my immortal
beloved!--sometimes full of joy, and yet again sad, waiting to see
whether Fate will hear us. I must live either wholly with you, or not at
all. Indeed, I have resolved to wander far from you till the moment
arrives when I can fly into your arms, and feel that they are my home,
and send forth my soul in unison with yours into the realm of spirits.
Alas! it must be so! You will take courage, for you know my fidelity.
Never can another possess my heart--never, never! Oh, heavens! Why must
I fly from her I so fondly love? and yet my existence in W--was as
miserable as here. Your love made me the most happy and yet the most
unhappy of men. At my age, life requires a uniform equality; can this be
found in our mutual relations? My angel! I have this moment heard that
the post goes every day, so I must conclude that you may get this letter
the sooner. Be calm! for we can only attain our object of living
together by the calm contemplation of our existence. Continue to love
me. Yesterday, to-day, what longings for you, what tears for you! for
you! for you! my life! my all! Farewell! Oh, love me for ever, and never
doubt the faithful heart of your lover, L.

Ever thine.

Ever mine.

Ever each other's.


HEILIGENSTADT, Oct. 6th, 1802.

Oh! Ye who think or declare me to be hostile, morose, and
misanthropical, how unjust you are, and how little you know the secret
cause of what appears thus to you! My heart and mind were ever from
childhood prone to the most tender feelings of affection, and I was
always disposed to accomplish something great. But you must remember
that six years ago I was attacked by an incurable malady, aggravated by
unskillful physicians, deluded from year to year, too, by the hope of
relief, and at length forced to the conviction of a _lasting affliction_
(the cure of which may go on for years, and perhaps after all prove

Born with a passionate and excitable temperament, keenly susceptible to
the pleasures of society, I was yet obliged early in life to isolate
myself, and to pass my existence in solitude. If I at any time resolved
to surmount all this, oh! how cruelly was I again repelled by the
experience, sadder than ever, of my defective hearing!--and yet I found
it impossible to say to others: Speak louder, shout! for I am deaf!
Alas! how could I proclaim the deficiency of a sense which ought to have
been more perfect with me than with other men--a sense which I once
possessed in the highest perfection, to an extent indeed that few of my
profession ever enjoyed! Alas! I cannot do this! Forgive me therefore
when you see me withdraw from you with whom I would so gladly mingle. My
misfortune is doubly severe from causing me to be misunderstood. No
longer can I enjoy recreation in social intercourse, refined
conversation, or mutual outpourings of thought. Completely isolated, I
only enter society when compelled to do so. I must live like an exile.
In company I am assailed by the most painful apprehensions, from the
dread of being exposed to the risk of my condition being observed. It
was the same during the last six months I spent in the country. My
intelligent physician recommended me to spare my hearing as much as
possible, which was quite in accordance with my present disposition,
though sometimes, tempted by my natural inclination for society, I
allowed myself to be beguiled into it. But what humiliation when any one
beside me heard a flute in the far distance, while I heard _nothing_, or
when others heard _a shepherd singing_, and I still heard _nothing!_
Such things brought me to the verge of desperation, and well-nigh caused
me to put an end to my life. _Art! art_ alone, deterred me. Ah! how
could I possibly quit the world before bringing forth all that I felt it
was my vocation to produce? And thus I spared this miserable life--so
utterly miserable that any sudden change may reduce me at any moment
from my best condition into the worst. It is decreed that I must now
choose _Patience_ for my guide! This I have done. I hope the resolve
will not fail me, steadfastly to persevere till it may please the
inexorable Fates to cut the thread of my life. Perhaps I may get better,
perhaps not. I am prepared for either. Constrained to become a
philosopher in my twenty-eighth year! This is no slight trial, and more
severe on an artist than on any one else. God looks into my heart, he
searches it, and knows that love for man and feelings of benevolence
have their abode there! Oh! ye who may one day read this, think that you
have done me injustice; and let any one similarly afflicted be consoled
by finding one like himself, who, in defiance of all the obstacles of
nature, has done all in his power to be included in the ranks of
estimable artists and men. My brothers Carl and Johann, as soon as I am
no more, if Professor Schmidt be still alive, beg him in my name to
describe my malady, and to add these pages to the analysis of my
disease, that at least, so far as possible, the world may be reconciled
to me after my death. I also hereby declare you both heirs of my small
fortune (if so it may be called). Share it fairly, agree together and
assist each other. You know that anything you did to give me pain has
been long forgiven. I thank you, my brother Carl in particular, for the
attachment you have shown me of late. My wish is that you may enjoy a
happier life, and one more free from care than mine has been. Recommend
_Virtue_ to your children; that alone, and not wealth, can insure
happiness. I speak from experience. It was _Virtue_ alone which
sustained me in my misery; I have to thank her and Art for not having
ended my life by suicide. Farewell! Love each other. I gratefully thank
all my friends, especially Prince Lichnowsky and Professor Schmidt. I
wish one of you to keep Prince L--'s instruments; but I trust this will
give rise to no dissension between you. If you think it more beneficial,
however, you have only to dispose of them. How much I shall rejoice if I
can serve you even in the grave! So be it then! I joyfully hasten to
meet Death. If he comes before I have had the opportunity of developing
all my artistic powers, then, notwithstanding my cruel fate, he will
come too early for me, and I should wish for him at a more distant
period; but even then I shall be content, for his advent will release me
from a state of endless suffering. Come when he may, I shall meet him
with courage. Farewell! Do not quite forget me, even in death: I deserve
this from you, because during my life I so often thought of you, and
wished to make you happy. Amen!


[_Written on the outside_.]

Thus, then, I take leave of you, and with sadness too. The fond hope I
brought with me here, of being to a certain degree cured, now utterly
forsakes me. As autumn leaves fall and wither, so are my hopes blighted.
Almost as I came, I depart. Even the lofty courage that so often
animated me in the lovely days of summer is gone forever. O Providence!
vouchsafe me one day of pure felicity! How long have I been estranged
from the glad echo of true joy! When! O my God! when shall I again feel
it in the temple of nature and of man?--never? Ah! that would be
too hard!

To be read and fulfilled after my death by my brothers Carl and Johann.


JANUARY 7th, 1820.

The welfare of my nephew is dearer to my heart than it can be to any one
else. I am myself childless, and have no relations except this boy, who
is full of talent, and I have good grounds to hope the best for him, if
properly trained.

* * * * *

My efforts and wishes have no other aim than to give the boy the best
possible education--his abilities justifying the brightest hopes--and to
fulfill the trust placed in my brotherly love by his father. The shoot
is still flexible; but if longer neglected it will become crooked and
outgrow the gardener's training hand, and upright bearing, intellect,
and character be destroyed for ever....

I know no duty more sacred than the education and training of a child.
The chief duties of a guardian consist in knowing how to appreciate what
is good, and in adopting a right course; then alone has proper attention
been devoted to the welfare of his ward, whereas in opposing what is
good he neglects his duty.

Indeed, keeping in view what is most for the benefit of the boy, I do
not object to the mother in so far sharing in the duties of a guardian,
that she may visit her son, and see him, and be apprised of all the
measures adopted for his education; but to intrust her with his sole
guardianship without a strict guardian by her side would cause the
irretrievable ruin of her son.

On these cogent grounds I reiterate my well-founded solicitation, and
feel the more confident of a favorable answer, as the welfare of my
nephew alone guides my steps in this affair.


I live in entire quiet and solitude; and even though occasional flashes
of light arouse me, still since you all left, I feel a hopeless void
which even my art, usually so faithful to me, has not yet triumphed
over. Your pianoforte is ordered, and you shall soon have it. What a
difference you must have discovered between the treatment of the Theme I
extemporized on the other evening, and the mode in which I have recently
written it out for you! You must explain this yourself, only do not find
the solution in the punch! How happy you are to get away so soon to the
country! I cannot enjoy this luxury till the 8th. I look forward to it
with the delight of a child. What happiness I shall feel in wandering
among groves and woods, and among trees and plants and rocks! No man on
earth can love the country as I do! Thickets, trees, and rocks supply
the echo man longs for!



Most high-born of men!

We beg you to confer some goose-quills on us; we will in return send you
a whole bunch of the same sort, that you may not be obliged to pluck out
your own. It is just possible that you may yet receive the Grand Cross
of the Order of the Violoncello. We remain your gracious and most
friendly of all friends, BEETHOVEN.


FEBRUARY 2d, 1812.

Most wonderful of men!

We beg that your servant will engage a person to fit up my apartment; as
he is acquainted with the lodgings, he can fix the proper price at once.
Do this soon, you Carnival scamp!!!!!!!

The inclosed note is at least a week old.


BADEN, May 6th, 1825.

The bell and bell-pulls, etc., etc., are on no account whatever to be
left in my former lodging. No proposal was ever made to these people to
take any of my things. Indisposition prevented my sending for it, and
the locksmith had not come during my stay to take down the bell;
otherwise it might have been at once removed and sent to me in town, as
they have no right whatever to retain it. Be this as it may, I am quite
determined not to leave the bell there, for I require one here, and
therefore intend to use the one in question for my purpose, as a similar
one would cost me twice as much as in Vienna, bell-pulls being the most
expensive things locksmiths have. If necessary, apply at once to the
police. The window in my room is precisely in the same state as when I
took possession, but I am willing to pay for it, and also for the one in
the kitchen, 2 florins 12 kreuzers, for the two. The key I will not pay
for, as I found none; on the contrary, the door was fastened or nailed
up when I came, and remained in the same condition till I left; there
never was a key, so of course neither I myself, nor those who preceded
me, could make use of one. Perhaps it is intended to make a collection,
in which case I am willing to put my hand in my pocket.



_My dear and much loved Stephan_:

May our temporary estrangement be for ever effaced by the portrait I now
send. I know that I have rent your heart. The emotion which you cannot
fail now to see in mine has sufficiently punished me for it. There was
no malice towards you in my heart, for then I should be no longer worthy
of your friendship. It was _passion_ both on _your_ part and on _mine_;
but mistrust was rife within me, for people had come between us,
unworthy both of _you_ and of _me_.

My portrait was long ago intended for you; you knew that it was destined
for some one--and to whom could I give it with such warmth of heart, as
to you, my faithful, good, and noble Stephan?

Forgive me for having grieved you, but I did not myself suffer less when
I no longer saw you near me. I then first keenly felt how dear you were,
and ever will be to my heart. Surely you will once more fly to my arms
as you formerly did.




Carl Michael Bellman was born in Stockholm on the 4th of February, 1740.
His father, son of a professor at Upsala University, held a government
office; of his mother he wrote that she was "fair as day, unspeakably
good, dressed prettily, was kind to everybody, of a refined nature, and
had an excellent voice." From her he undoubtedly inherited the warm,
genial heart which beats in every one of his songs. His father's house
was the rendezvous of many of the noted men of the day, among them the
poet Dalin, who was then at the zenith of his popularity. The boy's
unusual gifts were early recognized, and everything was done to give him
the best instruction, especially after an attack of fever, during which
he not only spoke in rhyme, but sang his first improvised songs in a
clear, true voice. The tutor who was then chosen taught him, "besides
the art of making verse," English, French, German, and Italian; and he
progressed far enough in these studies to translate several German hymns
and religious and philosophic essays, no doubt influenced in this choice
of subjects by the religious atmosphere of his home. Moreover, he taught
himself to play the zither, and very soon began to pick out his own
melodies as an accompaniment to his songs. The instrument he used had
been brought home from Italy by his grandfather, became his closest
companion throughout life, and is now kept at the Royal Academy of Arts
at Stockholm.

At eighteen he entered the University of Upsala, and while there wrote a
satirical poem, "The Moon," which he submitted to the criticism of
Dalin, who however made but a single correction. It was written in the
manner of Dalin, and he continued to be influenced by the latter until
his twenty-fifth year. At this time, and within the same year, his
father and mother died, and seeking among his friends the social
stimulus which his nature craved, he became a frequent guest at the inns
in the company of Hallman and Krexel, who were making their mark by
their poetic and dramatic writings. It was then that his peculiar talent
came to its own; he threw away all foreign influence and began to sing
his songs, born of the impression of the moment and full of the charm of
spontaneity. Some of them he jotted down quickly, most of them he sang
to the sound of his zither, often fashioning them to suit well-known
melodies, and again creating the melody with the words, for the greater
part set in a form of verse not previously used. And so inseparably
linked are words and melody, that it has not occurred to any one to set
any other music to Bellman's songs than what he originally chose. He
took all his characters out of the life he saw around him; and with the
appreciation of the man to whom the present is everything, he seized the
charm of the fleeting moment and expressed it with such simplicity and
truth, and deep feeling withal, that it stands forth immortally fresh
and young. A number of these songs have probably been lost; he had no
thirst for fame, and took no pains to circulate them, but they found
their way to the public in written copies and cheap prints, and his name
was soon known throughout the country.

This way of living and singing like the birds of the air was, however,
not very conducive to the satisfaction of material wants. He had made
two attempts to go into business, but the more he was seen at the inns,
the less he was seen at his business.

Fortunately for him, Gustavus III., who was himself a poet, became at
this time king of Sweden. He was an adherent of the French school of
poetry, and Bellman's muse could hardly be said to belong to this: but
with considerable talent as a dramatic writer, Gustavus appreciated the
dramatic quality in Bellman's songs; and when Bellman sent him a rhymed
petition, still kept, in which he wrote that "if his Majesty would not
most graciously give him an office, he would most obediently be obliged
to starve to death before Christmas," the king made him secretary of the
lottery, with the title of court secretary, and a yearly income of three
thousand dollars. Bellman promptly gave half of this to an assistant,
who did the work, and continued his troubadour life on the other half
with a superb disdain of future needs. His affairs so well in order, he
could afford to get married; and chose for his wife Lovisa Groenlund, a
girl of a bright intellect and strong character, of which she ultimately
had great need, the responsibilities of their married life being left
altogether to her.

Bellman was now at his best; about this time he wrote most of 'Fredman's
Songs' and 'Actions concerning the Chapter of Bacchus order.' both rich
in lyric gems; he was the favorite companion of the King, to whom his
devotion was boundless, and he was happy in his chosen friends whose
company inspired him. Nevertheless he was now, as ever, in need of
money. Atterbom tells that "One day the King met him on the street, so
poorly dressed that he instinctively exclaimed, 'My dear Bellman, how
poorly you are clad!' The poet answered with a bow, 'I can nevertheless
most obediently assure your Majesty that I am wearing my entire
wardrobe.'" His ready wit never left him. "How goes the world with you?"
asked the King once when they met; "you don't look to me as if you could
turn a single rhyme to-day." The poet bowed and replied on the spur of
the moment:--

"No scrip my purse doth hold;
My lyre's unstrung, alas!
But yet upon my glass
Stands Gustaf's name in gold."

Another time the King sent his men for him, with the order to bring him
in whatever condition they found him. "He was found not entirely free
from drink, and not very presentable, but was nevertheless carried off,
zither and all, to Haga Castle, where he drank some champagne, sang some
songs, drank a little more, and finally fell asleep. The King left him
so to go to his supper; and when he returned and found his guest still
sleeping, he remarked, 'I wonder what Bellman would say if I awoke him
now and asked him to give me a song.' The poet sat up, blinked with his
eyes, and said, 'Then Bellman would say,--listen;' whereupon he sang to
the tune of 'Malbrouck s'en va-t-en guerre':--

"'Oh, so heavily, heavily trailing,
The clouds over Haga are sailing,
And the stars their bright glances are veiling,
While woods in the gloom disappear.
Go, King, thy rest is dear,
Go, King, thy respite taking,
Rest softly, rest softly, then waking,
When dawn through the darkness is breaking,
Thy people with mild rule thou cheer!'

Then he fell into his former position again, and was carried home asleep
with a little gift in his hand."

The task of collecting, preserving, and publishing his works fell
entirely upon his friends; if it had depended on him, they would
probably never have been collected, much less published.

During the last fifteen years of his life, from 1780 to 1795, his health
grew very poor. In 1791 he was invited to be present at the distribution
of degrees at Upsala, and at the dinner he returned a toast with a song
born of the moment; but his voice had grown so weak from lung trouble
that only those nearest to him could hear him. To add to his sufferings,
he had to meet the great sorrow of his King's death at the hand of a
murderer, and his poem on the 'Death and Memory of the King' was not of
a nature to make friends for him at the new court. Thus it happened
that, poor and broken in health, he was put into the debtor's prison in
the very castle where he had been so happy a guest. Hallman and Krexel
and others of his best friends, as devoted to him as ever, were unable
to obtain his release; but he was at last bailed out by some one, who as
recompense asked him to sing one of his jolly songs, and in his poor
broken voice he sang. 'Drink out thy glass, see, Death awaits thee.'
Atterbom remarks about the man in question, "And maybe he did not find
that song so jolly after all."

While in prison he sent in a petition to the King,--somewhat different
from his first petition to Gustavus III.,--in which he asked permission
to live in the castle until his death. The following is one of
the verses:--

"Spring commands; the birds are singing,
Bees are swarming, fishes play;
Now and then the zephyrs stray,
Breath of life the poet bringing.
Lift my load of sorrow clinging,
Spare me one small nook, I pray."

Of his death Atterbom writes as follows:--

"He had been the favorite of the nation and the King, content
with the mere necessities of life, free from every care, not
even desiring the immortality of fame; moderate in everything
except in enthusiasm, he had enjoyed to the full what he
wanted,--friendship, wine, and music. Now he lived to see the
shadows fall over his life and genius. Feeling that his last
hour was not far off, he sent word to his nearest friends
that a meeting with them as in old times would be dear to
him. He came to meet them almost a shadow, but with his old
friendly smile; even in the toasts he took part, however
moderately, and then he announced that he would let them
'hear Bellman once more.' The spirit of song took possession
of him, more powerfully than ever, and all the rays of his
dying imagination were centred in an improvised good-by song.
Throughout an entire night, under continual inspiration, he
sang his happy life, his mild King's glory, his gratitude to
Providence, who let him be born among a noble people in this
beautiful Northern country,--finally he gave his grateful
good-by to every one present, in a separate strophe and
melody expressing the peculiar individuality of the one
addressed and his relation to the poet. His friends begged
him with tears to stop, and spare his already much weakened
lungs; but he replied, 'Let us die, as we have lived, in
music!'--emptied his last glass of champagne, and began at
dawn the last verse of his song."

After this he sang no more. A few days later he went to bed, lingered
for ten weeks, and died on the 11th of February, 1795, aged fifty-four
years. He was buried in Clara cemetery.

Bellman's critics have given themselves much trouble about his personal
character. Some have thought him little better than a coarse drunkard;
others again have made him out a cynic who sneered at the life he
depicted; again others have laid the weight on the note found in 'Drink
out thy glass,' and have seen only the underlying sad pathos of his
songs. His contemporaries agree that he was a man of great consideration
for form, and assert that if there are coarse passages in his songs it
is because they only could express what he depicted. All coarseness was
foreign to his nature; he was reserved and somewhat shy, and only in the
company of his chosen few did he open his heart.

His critics have, moreover, assiduously sought the moral of his works.
If any was intended, it may have been that of fighting sentimentality
and all false feeling; but it seems more in accordance with his entire
life that he sang out of the fullness of his heart, as a bird sings,
simply because it must sing.

[Illustration: Signature: OLGA FLINCH]


Ulla, mine Ulla, tell me, may I hand thee
Reddest of strawberries in milk or wine?
Or from the pond a lively fish? Command me!
Or, from the well, a bowl of water fine?
Doors are blown open, the wind gets the blaming.
Perfumes exhale from flower and tree.
Clouds fleck the sky and the sun rises flaming,
As you see!
Isn't it heavenly--the fish market? So?
"Heavenly, oh heavenly!"
"See the stately trees there, standing row on row,--
Fresh, green leaves show!
And that pretty bay
Sparkling there?" "Ah yes!"
"And, seen where sunbeams play,
The meadows' loveliness?
Are they not heavenly--those bright fields?--Confess!"--

Skal and good-noon, fair one in window leaning,
Hark how the city bells their peals prolong!
See how the dust the verdant turf is screening,
Where the calashes and the wagons throng!
Hand from the window--he's drowsy, the speaker,
In my saddle I nod, cousin mine--
Primo a crust, and secundo a beaker,
Hochlaender wine!
Isn't it heavenly--the fish-market? So?
"Heavenly, oh heavenly!"
"See the stately trees there, standing row on row,--
Fresh, green leaves show!
And that pretty bay
Sparkling there?" "Ah yes!"
"And, seen where sunbeams play,
The meadows' loveliness?
Are they not heavenly--those bright fields?--Confess!"--

Look, Ulla dear! To the stable they're taking
Whinnying, prancing, my good steed, I see.
Still in his stall-door he lifts his head, making
Efforts to look up to thee: just to thee!
Nature itself into flames will be bursting;
Keep those bright eyes in control!
Klang! at your casement my heart, too, is thirsting.
Klang! Your Skal!
Isn't it heavenly--the fish-market? So?
"Heavenly, oh heavenly!"
"See the stately trees there, standing row on row,--
Fresh, green leaves show!
And that pretty bay
Sparkling there?" "Ah yes!"
"And, seen where sunbeams play,
The meadows' loveliness?
Are they not heavenly--those bright fields?--Confess!"--


Little Carl, sleep soft and sweet:
Thou'lt soon enough be waking;
Soon enough ill days thou'lt meet,
Their bitterness partaking.
Earth's an isle with grief o'ercast;
Breathe our best, death comes at last,
We but dust forsaking.

Once, where flowed a peaceful brook
Through a rye-field's stubble,
Stood a little boy to look
At himself; his double.
Sweet the picture was to see;
All at once it ceased to be;
Vanished like a bubble!

And thus it is with life, my pet,
And thus the years go flying;
Live we wisely, gaily, yet
There's no escape from dying.
Little Carl on this must muse
When the blossoms bright he views
On spring's bosom lying.

Slumber, little friend so wee;
Joy thy joy is bringing.
Clipped from paper thou shalt see
A sleigh, and horses springing;
Then a house of cards so tall
We will build and see it fall,
And little songs be singing.

* * * * *


Up, Amarylis! Darling, awaken!
Through the still bracken
Soft airs swell;
Iris, all dightly,
Vestured so brightly,
Coloreth lightly
Wood and dell.

Amaryllis, thy sweet name pronouncing,
Thee in Neptune's cool embrace announcing.
Slumber's god the while his sway renouncing,
O'er your eyes sighs, and speech yields his spell.

Now comes the fishing! The net we fasten;
This minute hasten!
Follow me!
Don your skirt and jacket
And veil, or you'll lack it;
Pike and trout wait a racket;
Sails flap free.
Waken, Amaryllis, darling, waken!
Let me not by thy smile be forsaken:
Then by dolphins and fair sirens overtaken,
In our gay boat we'll sport in company.

Come now, your rods, lines, and nets with you taking!
The day is breaking;
Hasten thee nigh!
Sweet little treasure,
Think ill in no measure;
For thee 'twere no pleasure
Me to deny.
Let us to the little shallows wander,
Or beside the inlet over yonder,
Where the pledge-knot made our fond love fonder,
O'er which Thyrsis erst was moved to sigh.

Step in the boat, then--both of us singing,
Love his wand swinging
Over our fate.
AEol is moving,
But though wild proving,
In your arms loving
Comfort doth wait.
Blest, on angry waves of ocean riding,
By thee clasped, vain 'twere this dear thought hiding:
Death shall find me in thy pathway biding.
Sirens, sing ye, and my voice imitate!


"Good servant Mollberg, what's happened to thee,
Whom without coat and hatless I see?
Bloody thy mouth--and thou'rt lacking a tooth!
Where have you been, brother?--tell me the truth."
"At Rostock, good sir,
Did the trouble occur.
Over me and my harp
An argument sharp
Arose, touching my playing--pling plingeli plang;
And a bow-legged cobbler coming along
Struck me in the mouth--pling plingeli plang.

"I sat there and played--no carouse could one see--
The Polish Queen's Polka--G-major the key:
The best kind of people were gathered around,
And each drank his schoppen 'down to the ground.'
I don't know just how
Began freshly the row,
But some one from my head
Knocked my hat, and thus said:
'What is Poland to thee?'--Pling plingeli plang--
'Play us no polka!' Another one sang:
'Now silent be!'--Pling plingeli plang.

"Hear, my Maecenas, what still came to pass.
As I sat there in quiet, enjoying my glass,
On Poland's condition the silence I broke:
'Know ye, good people,' aloud thus I spoke,
'That all monarchs I
On this earth do defy
My harp to prevent
From giving song vent
Throughout all this land--pling plingeli plang!
Did only a single string to it hang,
I'd play a polka--pling plingeli plang!'

"There sat in the corner a sergeant old,
Two notaries and a dragoon bold,
Who cried 'Down with him! The cobbler is right!
Poland earns the meeds of her evil might!'
From behind the stove came
An old squint-eyed dame,
And flung at the harp
Glass broken and sharp;
But the cobbler--pling plingeli plang--
Made a terrible hole in my neck--that long!
There hast thou the story--pling plingeli plang.

"O righteous world! Now I ask of thee
If I suffered not wrongly?" "Why, certainly!"
"Was I not innocent?" "Bless you, most sure!"
"The harp rent asunder, my nose torn and sore,
Twas hard treatment, I trow!
Now no better I know
Than to go through the land
With my harp in my hand,
Play for Bacchus and Venus--kling klang--
With masters best that e'er played or sang;
Attend me, Apollo!--pling plingeli plang."


Drink out thy glass! See, on thy threshold, nightly,
Staying his sword, stands Death, awaiting thee.
Be not alarmed; the grave-door, opened slightly,
Closes again; a full year it may be
Ere thou art dragged, poor sufferer, to the grave.
Pick the octave!
Tune up the strings! Sing of life with glee!

Golden's the hue thy dull, wan cheeks are showing;
Shrunken's thy chest, and flat each shoulder-blade.
Give me thy hand! Each dark vein, larger growing,
Is, to my touch, as if in water laid.
Damp are these hands; stiff are these veins becoming.
Pick now, and strumming,
Empty thy bottle! Sing! drink unafraid.

. . . . .

Skal, then, my boy! Old Bacchus sends last greeting;
Freya's farewell receive thou, o'er thy bowl.
Fast in her praise thy thin blood flows, repeating
Its old-time force, as it was wont to roll.
Sing, read, forget; nay, think and weep while thinking.
Art thou for drinking
Another bottle? Thou art dead? No Skal!



Bentham, whose name rightly stands sponsor for the utilitarian theory of
morals in legislation, though not its originator, was a mighty and
unique figure in many ways. His childhood reminds us of that of his
disciple John Stuart Mill in its precocity; but fortunately for him,
life had more juice in it for young Bentham than it had for Mill. In his
maturity and old age he was widely recognized as a commanding authority,
notwithstanding some startling absurdities.

[Illustration: JEREMY BENTHAM]

He was born in London, February 15th, 1747-8; the child of an attorney
of ample means, who was proud of the youth, and did not hesitate to show
him off. In his fourth year he began the study of Latin, and a year
later was known in his father's circle as "the philosopher." At six or
seven he began the study of French. He was then sent to Westminster
school, where he must have had a rather uncomfortable time; for he was
small in body, sensitive and delicate, and not fond of boyish sports. He
had a much happier life at the houses of his grandmothers at Barking and
at Browning Hill, where much of his childhood was spent. His
reminiscences of these days, as related to his biographer, are full of
charm. He was a great reader and a great student; and going to Oxford
early, was only sixteen when he took his degree.

It must be confessed that he did not bear away with him a high
appreciation of the benefits which he owed to his alma mater. "Mendacity
and insincerity--- in these I found the effects, the sure and only sure
effects, of an English university education." He wrote a Latin ode on
the death of George II., which was much praised. In later years he
himself said of it, "It was a mediocre performance on a trumpery
subject, written by a miserable child."

On taking his degree he entered at Lincoln's Inn, but he never made a
success in the practice of the law. He hated litigation, and his mind
became immediately absorbed in the study and development of the
principles of legislation and jurisprudence, and this became the
business of his life. He had an intense antipathy to Blackstone, under
whom he had sat at Oxford; and in 1776 he published anonymously a severe
criticism of his work, under the title 'Fragments on Government, or a
Commentary on the Commentaries,' which was at first attributed to Lord
Mansfield, Lord Camden, and others. His identification as the author of
the 'Fragments' brought him into relations with Lord Shelburne, who
invited him to Bowood, where he made a long and happy visit, of which
bright and gossipy letters tell the story. Here he worked on his
'Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation,' in which he
developed his utilitarian theory, and here he fell in love with a young
lady who failed to respond to his wishes. Writing in 1827, he says:--

"I am alive, more than two months advanced in my eightieth
year, more lively than when you presented me in ceremony with
a flower in Green Lane. Since that day not a single one has
passed, not to speak of nights, in which you have not
engrossed more of my thoughts than I could have wished....
Embrace----; though it is for me, as it is by you, she will
not be severe, nor refuse her lips to me as she did her hand,
at a time perhaps not yet forgotten by her, any more than by

Bentham wrote voluminously on morals, on rewards and punishments, on the
poor laws, on education, on law reform, on the codification of laws, on
special legislative measures, on a vast variety of subjects. His style,
at first simple and direct, became turgid, involved, and obscure. He was
in the habit of beginning the same work independently many times, and
usually drove several horses abreast. He was very severe in his
strictures upon persons in authority, and upon current notions; and was
constantly being warned that if he should publish such or such a work he
would surely be prosecuted. Numerous books were therefore not published
until many years after they were written. His literary style became so
prolix and unintelligible that his disciples--Dumont, Mill, and
others--came to his rescue, and disentangled and prepared for the press
his innumerable pamphlets, full of suggestiveness and teeming with
projects of reform more or less completely realized since. His
publications include more than seventy titles, and he left a vast
accumulation of manuscript, much of which has never been read.

He had a wide circle of acquaintances, by whom he was held in high
honor, and his correspondence with the leading men of his time was
constant and important. In his later years he was a pugnacious writer,
but he was on intimate and jovial terms with his friends. In 1814 he
removed to Ford Abbey, near Chard, and there wrote 'Chrestomathea,' a
collection of papers on the principles of education, in which he laid
stress upon the value of instruction in science, as against the
excessive predominance of Greek and Latin. In 1823, in conjunction with
James Mill and others, he established the Westminster Review, but he did
not himself contribute largely to it. He continued, however, to the end
of his life to write on his favorite topics.

Robert Dale Owen, in his autobiography, gives the following description
of a visit to Bentham during the philosopher's later years:--

"I preserve a most agreeable recollection of that grand old
face, beaming with benignity and intelligence, and
occasionally with a touch of humor which I did not expect....
I do not remember to have met any one of his age
[seventy-eight] who seemed to have more complete possession
of his faculties, bodily and mental; and this surprised me
the more because I knew that in his childhood he had been a
feeble-limbed, frail boy.... I found him, having overpassed
by nearly a decade the allotted threescore years and ten,
with step as active and eye as bright and conversation as
vivacious as one expects in a hale man of fifty....

"I shall never forget my surprise when we were ushered by the
venerable philosopher into his dining-room. An apartment of
good size, it was occupied by a platform about two feet high,
and which filled the whole room, except a passageway some
three or four feet wide, which had been left so that one
could pass all round it. Upon this platform stood the
dinner-table and chairs, with room enough for the servants to
wait upon us. Around the head of the table was a huge screen,
to protect the old man, I suppose, against the draught from
the doors....

"When another half-hour had passed, he touched the bell
again. This time his order to the servant startled me:--

"'John, my night-cap!'

"I rose to go, and one or two others did the same; Neal sat
still. 'Ah!' said Bentham, as he drew a black silk night-cap
over his spare gray hair, 'you think that's a hint to go. Not
a bit of it. Sit down! I'll tell you when I am tired. I'm
going to _vibrate_ a little; that assists digestion, too.'

"And with that he descended into the trench-like passage, of
which I have spoken, and commenced walking briskly back and
forth, his head nearly on a level with ours, as we sat. Of
course we all turned toward him. For full half an hour, as he
walked, did he continue to pour forth such a witty and
eloquent invective against kings, priests, and their
retainers, as I have seldom listened to. Then he returned to
the head of the table and kept up the conversation, without
flagging, till midnight ere he dismissed us.

"His parting words to me were characteristic:--'God bless
you,--if there be such a being; and at all events, my young
friend, take care of yourself.'"

His weak childhood had been followed by a healthy and robust old age.
But he wore out at last, and died June 6, 1832, characteristically
leaving his body to be dissected for the benefit of science. The greater
part of his published writings were collected by Sir John Browning, his
executor, and issued in nine large volumes in 1843.


From 'An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation'

Nature has placed mankind under the governance of two sovereign masters,
_pain_ and _pleasure_. It is for them alone to point out what we ought
to do, as well as to determine what we shall do. On the one hand the
standard of right and wrong, on the other the chain of causes and
effects, are fastened to their throne. They govern us in all we do, in
all we say, in all we think; every effort we can make to throw off our
subjection will serve but to demonstrate and confirm it. In words a man
may pretend to abjure their empire; but in reality he will remain
subject to it all the while. The _principle of utility_ recognizes this
subjection, and assumes it for the foundation of that system, the object
of which is to rear the fabric of felicity by the hands of reason and of
law. Systems which attempt to question it deal in sounds instead of
sense, in caprice instead of reason, in darkness instead of light.

But enough of metaphor and declamation: it is not by such means that
moral science is to be improved.

The principle of utility is the foundation of the present work; it will
be proper, therefore, at the outset to give an explicit and determinate
account of what is meant by it. By the principle of utility is meant
that principle which approves or disapproves of every action whatsoever,
according to the tendency which it appears to have to augment or
diminish the happiness of the party whose interest is in question; or,
what is the same thing in other words, to promote or to oppose that
happiness. I say of every action whatsoever; and therefore not only of
every action of a private individual, but of every measure of

By utility is meant that property in any object whereby it tends to
produce benefit, advantage, pleasure, good, or happiness (all this in
the present case comes to the same thing), or (what comes again to the
same thing) to prevent the happening of mischief, pain, evil, or
unhappiness to the party whose interest is considered: if that party be
the community in general, then the happiness of the community; if a
particular individual, then the happiness of that individual.

The interest of the community is one of the most general expressions
that can occur in the phraseology of morals: no wonder that the meaning
of it is often lost. When it has a meaning, it is this: The community
is a fictitious _body_, composed of the individual persons who are
considered as constituting, as it were, its _members_. The interest of
the community, then, is what? The sum of the interests of the several
members who compose it.

It is vain to talk of the interest of the community, without
understanding what is the interest of the individual. A thing is said to
promote the interest, or to be _for_ the interest, of an individual,
when it tends to add to the sum total of his pleasures: or, what comes
to the same thing, to diminish the sum total of his pains.

An action, then, may be said to be conformable to the principle of
utility, or for shortness' sake to utility (meaning with respect to the
community at large), when the tendency it has to augment the happiness
of the community is greater than any it has to diminish it.

A measure of government (which is but a particular kind of action,
performed by a particular person or persons) may be said to be
conformable to or dictated by the principle of utility, when in like
manner the tendency which it has to augment the happiness of the
community is greater than any which it has to diminish it.

When an action, or in particular a measure of government, is supposed by
a man to be conformable to the principle of utility, it may be
convenient for the purposes of discourse to imagine a kind of law or
dictate called a law or dictate of utility, and to speak of the action
in question as being conformable to such law or dictate.

A man may be said to be a partisan of the principle of utility, when the
approbation or disapprobation he annexes to any action, or to any
measure, is determined by and proportioned to the tendency which he
conceives it to have to augment or to diminish the happiness of the
community; or in other words, to its conformity or unconformity to the
laws or dictates of utility.

Of an action that is conformable to the principle of utility, one may
always say either that it is one that ought to be done, or at least that
it is not one that ought not to be done. One may say also that it is
right it should be done, at least that it is not wrong it should be
done; that it is a right action, at least that it is not a wrong action.
When thus interpreted, the words _ought_, and _right_ and _wrong_, and
others of that stamp, have a meaning; when otherwise, they have none.


During my visits to Barking, I used to be my grandmother's bedfellow.
The dinner hour being as early as two o'clock, she had a regular supper,
which was served up in her own sleeping-room; and immediately after
finishing it, she went to bed. Of her supper I was not permitted to
partake, nor was the privation a matter of much regret. I had what I
preferred--a portion of gooseberry pie; hers was a scrag of mutton,
boiled with parsley and butter. I do not remember any variety.

My amusements consisted in building houses with old cards, and sometimes
playing at 'Beat the knave out of doors' with my grandmother. My time of
going to bed was perhaps an hour before hers; but by way of preparation,
I never failed to receive her blessing. Previous to the ceremony, I
underwent a catechetical examination, of which one of the questions was,
"Who were the children that were saved in the fiery furnace?" Answer,
"Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego." But as the examination frequently got
no farther, the word Abednego got associated in my mind with very
agreeable ideas, and it ran through my ears like "Shadrach, Meshach, and
To-bed-we-go," in a sort of pleasant confusion, which is not yet
removed. As I grew in years, I became a fit receptacle for some of my
grandmother's communications, among which the state of her family and
the days of her youth were most prominent.

There hung on the wall, perpetually in view, a sampler, the produce of
the industry and ingenuity of her mother or her grandmother, of which
the subject-matter was the most important of all theologico-human
incidents, the fall of man in Paradise. There was Adam--there was
Eve--and there was the serpent. In these there was much to interest and
amuse me. One thing alone puzzled me; it was the forbidden fruit. The
size was enormous. It was larger than that species of the genus
_Orangeum_ which goes by the name of "the forbidden fruit" in some of
our West India settlements. Its size was not less than that of the outer
shell of a cocoanut. All the rest of the objects were as usual in
_plano_; this was in _alto_, indeed in _altissimo rilievo._ What to make
of it, at a time when my mind was unable to distinguish fictions from
realities, I knew not. The recollection is strong in me of the mystery
it seemed to be. My grandmother promised me the sampler after her death
as a legacy, and the promise was no small gratification; but the
promise, with many other promises of jewels and gold coins, was
productive of nothing but disappointment. Her death took place when I
was at Oxford. My father went down; and without consulting me, or giving
the slightest intimation of his intention, let the house, and sold to
the tenant almost everything that was in it. It was doing as he was wont
to do, notwithstanding his undoubted affection for me. In the same way
he sold the estate he had given to me as a provision on the occasion of
his second marriage. In the mass went some music-books which I had
borrowed of Mrs. Browne. Not long after, she desired them to be
returned. I stood before her like a defenseless culprit, conscious of my
inability to make restitution; and at the same time, such was my state
of mental weakness that I knew not what to say for apology or defense.

My grandmother's mother was a matron, I was told, of high respectability
and corresponding piety; well-informed and strong-minded. She was
distinguished, however; for while other matrons of her age and quality
had seen many a ghost, she had seen but _one_. She was in this
particular on a level with the learned lecturer, afterwards judge, the
commentator Blackstone. But she was heretical, and her belief bordered
on Unitarianism. And by the way, this subject of ghosts has been among
the torments of my life. Even now, when sixty or seventy years have
passed over my head since my boyhood received the impression which my
grandmother gave it, though my judgment is wholly free, my imagination
is not wholly so. My infirmity was not unknown to the servants. It was a
permanent source of amusement to ply me with horrible phantoms in all
imaginable shapes. Under the pagan dispensation, every object a man
could set his eyes on had been the seat of some pleasant adventure. At
Barking, in the almost solitude of which so large a portion of my life
was passed, every spot that could be made by any means to answer the
purpose was the abode of some spectre or group of spectres. So dexterous
was the invention of those who worked upon my apprehensions, that they
managed to transform a real into a fictitious being. His name was
_Palethorp_; and Palethorp, in my vocabulary, was synonymous with
hobgoblin. The origin of these horrors was this:--

My father's house was a short half-mile distant from the principal part
of the town, from that part where was situated the mansion of the lord
of the manor, Sir Crisp Gascoigne. One morning the coachman and the
footman took a conjunct walk to a public-house kept by a man of the name
Palethorp; they took me with them: it was before I was breeched. They
called for a pot of beer; took each of them a sip, and handed the pot to
me. On their requisition, I took another; and when about to depart, the
amount was called for. The two servants paid their quota, and I was
called on for mine. _Nemo dat quod non habet_--this maxim, to my no
small vexation, I was compelled to exemplify. Mr. Palethorp, the
landlord, had a visage harsh and ill-favored, and he insisted on my
discharging my debt. At this very early age, without having put in for
my share of the gifts of fortune, I found myself in the state of an
insolvent debtor. The demand harassed me so mercilessly that I could
hold out no longer: the door being open, I took to my heels; and as the
way was too plain to be missed, I ran home as fast as they could carry
me. The scene of the terrors of Mr. Palethorp's name and visitation, in
pursuit of me, was the country-house at Barking; but neither was the
town-house free from them; for in those terrors, the servants possessed
an instrument by which it was in their power at any time to get rid of
my presence. Level with the kitchen--level with the landing-place in
which the staircase took its commencement--were the usual offices. When
my company became troublesome, a sure and continually repeated means of
exonerating themselves from it was for the footman to repair to the
adjoining subterraneous apartments, invest his shoulders with some
strong covering, and concealing his countenance, stalk in with a hollow,
menacing, and inarticulate tone. Lest that should not be sufficient, the
servants had, stuck by the fireplace, the portraiture of a hobgoblin, to
which they had given the name of Palethorp. For some years I was in the
condition of poor Dr. Priestley, on whose bodily frame another name, too
awful to be mentioned, used to produce a sensation more than mental.


SUNDAY, 12 o'clock.

Where shall I begin?--Let me see--The first place, by common right, to
the ladies. The ideas I brought with me respecting the female part of
this family are turned quite topsy-turvy, and unfortunately they are not
yet cleared up. I had expected to find in Lady Shelburne a Lady Louisa
Fitzpatrick, sister of an Earl of Ossory, whom I remember at school;
instead of her, I find a lady who has for her sister a Miss Caroline
V-----: is not this the maid of honor, the sister to Lady G-----? the
lady who was fond of Lord C------, and of whom he was fond? and whom he
quitted for an heiress and a pair of horns? Be they who they may, the
one is loveliest of matrons, the other of virgins: they have both of
them more than I could wish of reserve, but it is a reserve of modesty
rather than of pride.

The quadrupeds, whom you know I love next, consist of a child of a year
old, a tiger, a spaniel formerly attached to Lady Shelburne--at present
to my Lord--besides four plebeian cats who are taken no notice of,
horses, etc., and a wild boar who is sent off on a matrimonial
expedition to the farm. The four first I have commenced a friendship
with, especially the first of all, to whom I am body-coachman
extraordinary _en titre d'office_: Henry, (for that is his name) [the
present Lord Lansdowne] for such an animal, has the most thinking
countenance I ever saw; being very clean, I can keep him without disgust
and even with pleasure, especially after having been rewarded, as I have
just now, for my attention to him, by a pair of the sweetest smiles
imaginable from his mamma and aunt. As Providence hath ordered it, they
both play on the harpsichord and at chess. I am flattered with the hopes
of engaging with them, before long, either in war or harmony: not
to-day--because, whether you know it or not, it is Sunday; I know it,
having been paying my devotions--our church, the hall--our minister, a
sleek young parson, the curate of the parish--our saints, a naked
Mercury, an Apollo in the same dress, and a Venus de' Medicis--our
congregation, the two ladies, Captain Blankett, and your humble servant,
upon the carpet by the minister--below, the domestics, _superioris et
inferioris ordinis_. Among the former I was concerned to see poor
Mathews, the librarian, who, I could not help thinking, had as good a
title to be upon the carpet as myself.

Of Lord Fitzmaurice I know nothing, but from his bust and letters: the
first bespeaks him a handsome youth, the latter an ingenious one. He is
not sixteen, and already he writes better than his father. He is under
the care of a Mr. Jervis, a dissenting minister, who has had charge of
him since he was six years old. He has never been at any public school
of education. He has now for a considerable time been traveling about
the kingdom, that he may know something of his own country before he
goes to others, and be out of the way of adulation.

I am interrupted--adieu! _le reste a l'ordinaire prochain_.


It was using me very ill, that it was, to get upon stilts as you did,
and resolve not to be angry with me, after all the pains I had taken to
make you so. You have been angry, let me tell you, with people as little
worth it before now; and your being so niggardly of it in my instance,
may be added to the account of your injustice. I see you go upon the old
Christian principle of heaping coals of fire upon people's heads, which
is the highest refinement upon vengeance. I see, moreover, that
according to your system of cosmogony, the difference is but accidental
between the race of kings and that of the first Baron of Lixmore: that
ex-lawyers come like other men from Adam, and ex-ministers from somebody
who started up out of the ground before him, in some more elevated part
of the country.

To lower these pretensions, it would be serving you right, if I were to
tell you that I was not half so angry as I appeared to be; that,
therefore, according to the countryman's rule, you have not so much the
advantage over me as you may think you have: that the real object of
what anger I really felt was rather the situation in which I found
myself than you or anybody; but that, as none but a madman would go to
quarrel with a nonentity called a situation, it was necessary for me to
look out for somebody who, somehow or other, was connected with it.




Beranger, like Hugo, has commemorated the date of his birth, but their
verses are very different. Hugo's poem is lofty in style, beginning--

"Ce siecle avait deux ans! Rome remplacait Sparte,
Deja Napoleon percait sous Bonaparte,
Et du premier consul deja, par maint endroit,
Le front de l'empereur brisait le masque etroit."

(This century was two years old; Rome displaced Sparta,
Napoleon already was visible in Bonaparte,
And the narrow mask of the First Consul, in many places,
Was already pierced by the forehead of the Emperor.)

Beranger's verses have less force, but are charming in their

"Dans ce Paris plein d'or et de misere,
En l'an du Christ mil sept cent quatre-vingt,
Chez un tailleur, mon pauvre et vieux grand-pere,
Moi, nouveau-ne, sachais ce qui m'advint."

(In this Paris full of gold and misery,
In the year of Christ one thousand seven hundred and eighty,
At the house of a tailor, my grandfather poor and old,
I, a new-born child, knew what happened to me.)

Authors of the eighteenth and the nineteenth centuries are more
subjective in their writings than those of the seventeenth, whose
characters can rarely be known from their works. A glance at the life
and surroundings of Beranger will show their influence on his genius.

Beranger's mother was abandoned by her husband shortly after her
marriage, and her child was born at the house of her father, the old
tailor referred to in the song 'The Tailor and the Fairy.' She troubled
herself little about the boy, and he was forsaken in his childhood.
Beranger tells us that he does not know how he learned to read. In the
beginning of the year 1789 he was sent to a school in the Faubourg
Saint-Antoine, and there, mounted on the roof of a house, he saw the
capture of the Bastille on the 14th of July. This event made a great
impression on him, and may have laid the foundations of his republican
principles. When he was nine and a half his father sent him to one of
his sisters, an innkeeper at Peronne, that town in the north of France
famous for the interview in 1468 between Louis XI. and Charles the Bold,
when the fox put himself in the power of the lion, as related so vividly
in 'Quentin Durward.'

Beranger's aunt was very kind to him. At Peronne he went to a free
primary school founded by Ballue de Bellenglise, where the students
governed themselves, electing their mayor, their judges, and their
justices of the peace. Beranger was president of a republican club of
boys, and was called upon several times to address members of the
Convention who passed through Peronne. His aunt was an ardent
republican, and he was deeply moved by the invasion of France in 1792.
He heard with delight of the capture of Toulon in 1793 and of
Bonaparte's exploits, conceiving a great admiration for the
extraordinary man who was just beginning his military career. At the age
of fifteen Beranger returned to Paris, where his father had established
a kind of banking house. The boy had previously followed different
trades, and had been for two years with a publishing house as a
printer's apprentice. There he learned spelling and the rules of French
prosody. He began to write verse when he was twelve or thirteen, but he
had a strange idea of prosody. In order to get lines of the same length
he wrote his words between two parallel lines traced from the top to the
bottom of the page. His system of versification seemed to be correct
when applied to the Alexandrine verse of Racine; but when he saw the
fables of La Fontaine, in which the lines are very irregular, he began
to distrust his prosody.

[Illustration: P.J. DE BERANGER]

Beranger became a skillful financier, and was very useful to his father
in his business. When the banker failed the young man was thrown into
great distress. He now had ample opportunity to become familiar with the
garret, of which he has sung so well. In 1804 he applied for help to
Lucien Bonaparte, and received from Napoleon's brother his own fee as
member of the Institute. He obtained shortly afterwards a position in a
bureau of the University. Having a weak constitution and defective
sight, he avoided the conscription. He was however all his life a true
patriot, with republican instincts; and he says that he never liked
Voltaire, because that celebrated writer unjustly preferred foreigners
and vilified Joan of Arc, "the true patriotic divinity, who from my
childhood was the object of my worship." He had approved of the
eighteenth of Brumaire: for "my soul," says he, "has always vibrated
with that of the people as when I was nineteen years old;" and the great
majority of the French people in 1799 wished to see Bonaparte assume
power and govern with a firm hand. In 1813 Beranger wrote 'The King of
Yvetot,' a pleasing and amusing satire on Napoleon's reign. What a
contrast between the despotic emperor and ruthless warrior, and the
simple king whose crown is a nightcap and whose chief delight is his
bottle of wine! The song circulated widely in manuscript form, and the
author soon became popular. He made the acquaintance of Desaugiers and
became a member of the Caveau. Concerning this joyous literary society
M. Anatole France says, in his 'Vie Litteraire,' that the first Caveau
was founded in 1729 by Gallet, Piron, Crebillon _fils_, Colle, and
Panard. They used to meet at Laudelle the tavern-keeper's. The second
Caveau was inaugurated in 1759 by Marmontel, Suard, Lanoue, and Brissy,
and lasted until the Revolution. In 1806 Armand Gouffe and Capelle
established the modern Caveau, of which Desaugiers was president. The
members met at Balaine's restaurant. In 1834 the society was reorganized
at Champlanc's restaurant. The members wrote and published songs and
sang them after dinner. "The Caveau," says M. France, "is the French
Academy of song," and as such has some dignity. The same is true of the
Lice, while the Chat Noir is most _fin de siecle_.

To understand Beranger's songs and to excuse them somewhat, we must
remember that the French always delighted in witty songs and tales, and
pardoned the immorality of the works on account of the wit and humor.
This is what is called _l'esprit gaulois_, and is seen principally in
old French poetry, in the fabliaux, the farces, and 'Le Roman de
Renart.' Moliere had much of this, as also had La Fontaine and Voltaire,
and Beranger's wildest songs appear mild and innocent when compared with
those of the Chat Noir. In his joyous songs he continues the traditions
of the farces and fabliaux of the Middle Ages, and in his political
songs he uses wit and satire just as in the _sottises_ of the time of
Louis XII.

Beranger's first volume of songs appeared at the beginning of the second
Restoration; and although it was hostile to the Bourbons, the author was
not prosecuted. In 1821, when his second volume was published, he
resigned his position as clerk at the University, and was brought to
trial for having written immoral and seditious songs. He was condemned,
after exciting scenes in court, to three months' imprisonment and a fine
of five hundred francs, and in 1828 to nine months' imprisonment and a
fine of ten thousand francs, which was paid by public subscription.

No doubt he contributed to the Revolution of July, 1830; but although he
was a republican, he favored the monarchy of Louis Philippe, saying that
"it was a plank to cross over the gutter, a preparation for the
republic." The king wished to see him and thank him, but Beranger
replied that "he was too old to make new acquaintances." He was invited
to apply for a seat in the French Academy, and refused that honor as he
had refused political honors and positions. He said that he "wished to
be nothing"; and when in 1848 he was elected to the Constitutional
Assembly, he resigned his seat almost immediately. He has been accused
of affectation, and of exaggeration in his disinterestedness; but he was
naturally timid in public, and preferred to exert an influence over his
countrymen by his songs rather than by his voice in public assemblies.

Beranger was kind and generous, and ever ready to help all who applied
to him. He had a pension given to Rouget de l'Isle, the famous author of
the 'Marseillaise,' who was reduced to poverty, and in 1835 he took into
his house his good aunt from Peronne, and gave hospitality also to his
friend Mlle. Judith Frere. In 1834 he sold all his works to his
publisher, Perrotin, for an annuity of eight hundred francs, which was
increased to four thousand by the publisher. On this small income
Beranger lived content till his death on July 16th, 1857. The government
of Napoleon III. took charge of his funeral, which was solemnized with
great pomp. Although Beranger was essentially the poet of the middle
classes, and was extremely popular, care was taken to exclude the people
from the funeral procession. While he never denied that he was the
grandson of a tailor, he signed _de_ Beranger, to be distinguished from
other writers of the same name. The _de_, however, had always been
claimed by his father, who had left him nothing but that pretense
of nobility.

For forty years, from 1815 to his death, Beranger was perhaps the most
popular French writer of his time, and he was ranked amongst the
greatest French poets. There has been a reaction against that
enthusiasm, and he is now severely judged by the critics. They say that
he lacked inspiration, and was vulgar, bombastic, and grandiloquent.
Little attention is paid to him, therefore, in general histories of
French literature. But if he is not entitled to stand on the high
pedestal given to him by his contemporaries, we yet cannot deny genius
to the man who for more than a generation swayed the hearts of the
people at his will, and exerted on his countrymen and on his epoch an
immense influence.

Many of his songs are coarse and even immoral; but his muse was often
inspired by patriotic subjects, and in his poems on Napoleon he sings of
the exploits of the great general defending French soil from foreign
invasion, or he delights in the victories of the Emperor as reflecting
glory upon France. Victor Hugo shared this feeling when he wrote his
inspiring verses in praise of the conqueror. Both poets, Beranger and
Hugo, contributed to create the Napoleonic legend which facilitated the
election of Louis Napoleon to the presidency in 1848, and brought about
the Second Empire. What is more touching than 'The Reminiscences of the
People'? Are we not inclined to cry out, like the little children
listening to the old grandmother who speaks of Napoleon: "He spoke to
you, grandmother! He sat down there, grandmother! You have yet his
glass, grandmother!" The whole song is poetic, natural, and simple.
Francois Coppee, the great poet, said of it: "Ah! if I had only written
'The Reminiscences of the People,' I should not feel concerned about the
judgment of posterity."

Other works of Beranger's are on serious subjects, as 'Mary Stuart's
Farewell to France,' 'The Holy Alliance,' 'The Swallows,' and 'The Old
Banner,' All his songs have a charm. His wit is not of the highest
order, and he lacks the _finesse_ of La Fontaine, but he is often quaint
and always amusing in his songs devoted to love and Lisette, to youth
and to wine. He is not one of the greatest French lyric poets, and
cannot be compared with Lamartine, Hugo, Musset, and Vigny; nevertheless
he has much originality, and is without doubt the greatest song-writer
that France has produced. He elevated the song and made it both a poem
and a drama, full of action and interest.

Beranger wrote slowly and with great care, and many of his songs cost
him much labor. He was filled with compassion for the weak, for the poor
and unfortunate; he loved humanity, and above all he dearly loved
France. Posterity will do him justice and will preserve at least a great
part of his work. M. Ernest Legouve in his interesting work, 'La Lecture
en Action,' relates that one day, while walking with Beranger in the
Bois de Boulogne, the latter stopped in the middle of an alley, and
taking hold of M. Legouve's hand, said with emotion, "My dear friend, my
ambition would be that one hundred of my lines should remain." M.
Legouve adds, "There will remain more than that," and his words have
been confirmed. If we read aloud, if we sing them, we too shall share
the enthusiasm of our fathers, who were carried away by the pathos, the
grandeur, the wit, the inexpressible charm of the unrivaled

[Illustration: Signature: ALCEE FORTIER]



To see is to have. Come, hurry anew!
Life on the wing
Is a rapturous thing.
To see is to have. Come, hurry anew!
For to see the world is to conquer it too.

* * * * *

So naught do we own, from pride left free,
From statutes vain,
From heavy chain;
So naught do we own, from pride left free,--
Cradle nor house nor coffin have we.

But credit our jollity none the less,
Noble or priest, or
Servant or master;
But credit our jollity none the less.--
Liberty always means happiness.



In the midst of our laughter and singing,
'Mid the clink of our glasses so gay,
What gad-fly is over us winging,
That returns when we drive him away?
'Tis some god. Yes, I have a suspicion
Of our happiness jealous, he's come:
Let us drive him away to perdition,
That he bore us no more with his hum.

Transformed to a gad-fly unseemly,
I am certain that we must have here
Old Reason, the grumbler, extremely
Annoyed by our joy and our cheer.
He tells us in tones of monition
Of the clouds and the tempests to come:
Let us drive him away to perdition,
That he bore us no more with his hum.

It is Reason who comes to me, quaffing,
And says, "It is time to retire:
At your age one stops drinking and laughing,
Stops loving, nor sings with such fire;"--
An alarm that sounds ever its mission
When the sweetest of flames overcome:
Let us drive him away to perdition,
That he bore us no more with his hum.

It is Reason! Look out there for Lizzie!
His dart is a menace alway.
He has touched her, she swoons--she is dizzy:
Come, Cupid, and drive him away.
Pursue him; compel his submission,
Until under your strokes he succumb.
Let us drive him away to perdition,
That he bore us no more with his hum.

Hurrah, Victory! See, he is drowning
In the wine that Lizzetta has poured.
Come, the head of Joy let us be crowning,
That again he may reign at our board.
He was threatened just now with dismission,
And a fly made us all rather glum:
But we've sent him away to perdition;
He will bore us no more with his hum.

Translation of Walter Learned.



Let's learn to temper our desires,
Not harshly to constrain;
And since excess makes pleasure less,
Why, so much more refrain.
Small table--cozy corner--here
We well may be beguiled;
Our worthy host old wine can boast:
Drink, drink--but draw it mild!

He who would many an evil shun
Will find my plan the best--
To trim the sail as shifts the gale,
And half-seas over rest.
Enjoyment is an art--disgust
Is bred of joy run wild;
Too deep a drain upsets the brain:
Drink, drink--but draw it mild!

Our indigence--let's cheer it up;
'Tis nonsense to repine;
To give to Hope the fullest scope
Needs but one draught of wine.
And oh! be temperate, to enjoy,
Ye on whom Fate hath smiled;
If deep the bowl, your thirst control:
Drink, drink--but draw it mild!

What, Phyllis, dost thou fear? at this
My lesson dost thou scoff?
Or would'st thou say, light draughts betray
The toper falling off?
Keen taste, eyes keen--whate'er be seen
Of joy in thine, fair child,
Love's philtre use, but don't abuse:
Drink, drink--but draw it mild!

Yes, without hurrying, let us roam
From feast to feast of gladness;
And reach old age, if not quite sage,
With method in our madness!
Our health is sound, good wines abound;
Friends, these are riches piled.
To use with thrift the twofold gift:
Drink, drink--but draw it mild!

Translation of William Young.


There was a king of Yvetot,
Of whom renown hath little said,
Who let all thoughts of glory go,
And dawdled half his days a-bed;
And every night, as night came round,
By Jenny with a nightcap crowned,
Slept very sound:
Sing ho, ho, ho! and he, he, he!
That's the kind of king for me.

And every day it came to pass,
That four lusty meals made he;
And step by step, upon an ass,
Rode abroad, his realms to see;
And wherever he did stir,
What think you was his escort, sir?
Why, an old cur.
Sing ho, ho, ho! and he, he, he!
That's the kind of king for me.

If e'er he went into excess,
'Twas from a somewhat lively thirst;
But he who would his subjects bless,
Odd's fish!--must wet his whistle first;
And so from every cask they got,
Our king did to himself allot
At least a pot.
Sing ho, ho, ho! and he, he, he!
That's the kind of king for me.

To all the ladies of the land
A courteous king, and kind, was he--
The reason why, you'll understand,
They named him Pater Patriae.
Each year he called his fighting men,
And marched a league from home, and then
Marched back again.
Sing ho, ho, ho! and he, he, he!
That's the kind of king for me.

Neither by force nor false pretense,
He sought to make his kingdom great,
And made (O princes, learn from hence)
"Live and let live" his rule of state.
'Twas only when he came to die,
That his people who stood by
Were known to cry.
Sing ho, ho, ho! and he, he, he!
That's the kind of king for me.

The portrait of this best of kings
Is extant still, upon a sign
That on a village tavern swings,
Famed in the country for good wine.
The people in their Sunday trim,
Filling their glasses to the brim,
Look up to him,
Singing "ha, ha, ha!" and "he, he, he!
That's the sort of king for me."

Version of W.M. Thackeray.


Rap! rap!--Is that my lass--
Rap! rap!--is rapping there?
It is Fortune. Let her pass!
I'll not open the door to her.
Rap! rap!--

All of my friends are making gay
My little room, with lips wine-wet:
We only wait for you, Lisette!
Fortune! you may go your way.
Rap! rap!--

If we might credit half her boast,
What wonders gold has in its gift!
Well, we have twenty bottles left
And still some credit with our host.
Rap! rap!--

Her pearls, and rubies too, she quotes,
And mantles more than sumptuous:
Lord! but the purple's naught to us,--
We're just now taking off our coats.
Rap! rap!--

She treats us as the rawest youths,
With talk of genius and of fame:
Thank calumny, alas, for shame!
Our faith is spoiled in laurel growths.
Rap! rap!--

Far from our pleasures, we care not
Her highest heavens to attain;
She fills her big balloons in vain
Till we have swamped our little boat.
Rap! rap!--

Yet all our neighbors crowd to be
Within her ring of promises,
Ah! surely, friends! our mistresses
Will cheat us more agreeably.
Rap! rap!--



Ay, many a day the straw-thatched cot
Shall echo with his glory!
The humblest shed, these fifty years,
Shall know no other story.
There shall the idle villagers
To some old dame resort,
And beg her with those good old tales
To make their evenings short.
"What though they say he did us harm?
Our love this cannot dim;
Come, granny, talk of him to us;
Come, granny, talk of him."

"Well, children--with a train of kings,
Once he passed by this spot;
'Twas long ago; I had but just
Begun to boil the pot.
On foot he climbed the hill, whereon
I watched him on his way:
He wore a small three-cornered hat;
His overcoat was gray.
I was half frightened till he said
'Good day, my dear!' to me."
"O granny, granny, did he speak?
What, granny! you and he?"

"Next year, as I, poor soul, by chance
Through Paris strolled one day,
I saw him taking, with his court,
To Notre Dame his way.
The crowd were charmed with such a show;
Their hearts were filled with pride:
'What splendid weather for the fete!
Heaven favors him!' they cried.
Softly he smiled, for God had given
To his fond arms a boy."
"Oh, how much joy you must have felt!
O granny, how much joy!"

"But when at length our poor Champagne
By foes was overrun,
He seemed alone to hold his ground;
Nor dangers would he shun.
One night--as might be now--I heard
A knock--the door unbarred--
And saw--good God! 'twas he, himself,
With but a scanty guard.
'Oh, what a war is this!' he cried,
Taking this very chair."
"What! granny, granny, there he sat?
What! granny, he sat there?"

"'I'm hungry,' said he: quick I served
Thin wine and hard brown bread;
He dried his clothes, and by the fire
In sleep dropped down his head.
Waking, he saw my tears--'Cheer up,
Good dame!' says he, 'I go
'Neath Paris' walls to strike for France
One last avenging blow.'
He went; but on the cup he used
Such value did I set--
It has been treasured."--"What! till now?
You have it, granny, yet?"

"Here 'tis: but 'twas the hero's fate
To ruin to be led;
He whom a Pope had crowned, alas!
In a lone isle lies dead.
'Twas long denied: 'No, no,' said they,
'Soon shall he reappear!
O'er ocean comes he, and the foe
Shall find his master here.'
Ah, what a bitter pang I felt,
When forced to own 'twas true!"
"Poor granny! Heaven for this will look--
Will kindly look on you."

Translation of William Young.



Here in this gutter let me die:
Weary and sick and old, I've done.
"He's drunk," will say the passers-by:
All right, I want no pity--none.
I see the heads that turn away,
While others glance and toss me sous:
"Off to your junket! go!" I say:
Old tramp,--to die I need no help from you.

Yes, of old age I'm dying now:
Of hunger people never die.
I hoped some almshouse might allow
A shelter when my end was nigh;
But all retreats are overflowed,
Such crowds are suffering and forlorn.
My nurse, alas! has been the road:
Old tramp,--here let me die where I was born.

When young, it used to be my prayer
To craftsmen, "Let me learn your trade."
"Clear out--we've got no work to spare;
Go beg," was all reply they made.
You rich, who bade me work, I've fed
With relish on the bones you threw;
Made of your straw an easy bed:
Old tramp,--I have no curse to vent on you.

Poor wretch, I had the choice to steal;
But no, I'd rather beg my bread.
At most I thieved a wayside meal
Of apples ripening overhead.
Yet twenty times have I been thrown
In prison--'twas the King's decree;
Robbed of the only thing I own:
Old tramp,--at least the sun belongs to me.

The poor man--is a country his?
What are to me your corn and wine,
Your glory and your industries,
Your orators? They are not mine.
And when a foreign foe waxed fat
Within your undefended walls,
I shed my tears, poor fool, at that:
Old tramp,--his hand was open to my calls.

Why, like the hateful bug you kill,
Did you not crush me when you could?

Or better, teach me ways and skill
To labor for the common good?

The ugly grub an ant may end,
If sheltered from the cold and fed.

You might have had me for a friend:
Old tramp,--I die your enemy instead.

Translated for the 'World's Best Literature.'



Wherefore these flowers? floral applause?
Ah, no, these blossoms came to say
That I am growing old, because
I number fifty years to-day.
O rapid, ever-fleeting day!
O moments lost, I know not how!
O wrinkled cheek and hair grown gray!
Alas, for I am fifty now!

Sad age, when we pursue no more--
Fruit dies upon the withering tree:
Hark! some one rapped upon my door.
Nay, open not. 'Tis not for me--
Or else the doctor calls. Not yet
Must I expect his studious bow.
Once I'd have called, "Come in, Lizzette"--
Alas, for I am fifty now!

In age what aches and pains abound.
The torturing gout racks us awhile;
Blindness, a prison dark, profound;
Or deafness that provokes a smile.
Then Reason's lamp grows faint and dim
With flickering ray. Children, allow
Old Age the honor due to him--
Alas, for I am fifty now!

Ah, heaven! the voice of Death I know,
Who rubs his hands in joyous mood;
The sexton knocks and I must go--
Farewell, my friends the human brood!
Below are famine, plague, and strife;
Above, new heavens my soul endow:
Since God remains, begin, new life!
Alas, for I am fifty now!

But no, 'tis you, sweetheart, whose youth,
Tempting my soul with dainty ways,
Shall hide from it the sombre truth,
This incubus of evil days.
Springtime is yours, and flowers; come then,
Scatter your roses on my brow,
And let me dream of youth again--
Alas, for I am fifty now!

Translation of Walter Learned.


With pensive eyes the little room I view,
Where in my youth I weathered it so long,
With a wild mistress, a stanch friend or two,
And a light heart still breaking into song;
Making a mock of life, and all its cares,
Rich in the glory of my rising sun:
Lightly I vaulted up four pair of stairs,
In the brave days when I was twenty-one.

Yes; 'tis a garret--let him know't who will---
There was my bed--full hard it was and small;
My table there--and I decipher still
Half a lame couplet charcoaled on the wall.
Ye joys, that Time hath swept with him away,
Come to mine eyes, ye dreams of love and fun:
For you I pawned my watch how many a day,
In the brave days when I was twenty-one!

And see my little Jessy, first of all;
She comes with pouting lips and sparkling eyes:
Behold, how roguishly she pins her shawl
Across the narrow casement, curtain-wise:
Now by the bed her petticoat glides down,
And when did women look the worse in none?
I have heard since who paid for many a gown,
In the brave days when I was twenty-one.

One jolly evening, when my friends and I
Made happy music with our songs and cheers,
A shout of triumph mounted up thus high,
And distant cannon opened on our ears;
We rise,--we join in the triumphant strain,--
Napoleon conquers--Austerlitz is won--
Tyrants shall never tread us down again,
In the brave days when I was twenty-one.

Let us begone--the place is sad and strange--
How far, far off, these happy times appear!
All that I have to live I'd gladly change
For one such month as I have wasted here--
To draw long dreams of beauty, love, and power,
From founts of hope that never will outrun,
And drink all life's quintessence in an hour:
Give me the days when I was twenty-one.

Version of W.M. Thackeray.



What! whilst I'm well, beforehand you design,
At vast expense, for me to build a shrine?
Friends, 'tis absurd! to no such outlay go;
Leave to the great the pomp and pride of woe.
Take what for marble or for brass would pay--
For a dead beggar garb by far too gay--
And buy life-stirring wine on my behalf:
The money for my tomb right gayly let us quaff!

A mausoleum worthy of my thanks
At least would cost you twenty thousand francs:
Come, for six months, rich vale and balmy sky,
As gay recluses, be it ours to try.
Concerts and balls, where Beauty's self invites,
Shall furnish us our castle of delights;
I'll run the risk of finding life too sweet:
The money for my tomb right gayly let us eat!

But old I grow, and Lizzy's youthful yet:
Costly attire, then, she expects to get;
For to long fast a show of wealth resigns--
Bear witness Longchamps, where all Paris shines!
You to my fair one something surely owe;
A Cashmere shawl she's looking for, I know:
'Twere well for life on such a faithful breast
The money for my tomb right gayly to invest!

No box of state, good friends, would I engage,
For mine own use, where spectres tread the stage:
What poor wan man with haggard eyes is this?
Soon must he die--ah, let him taste of bliss!
The veteran first should the raised curtain see--
There in the pit to keep a place for me,
(Tired of his wallet, long he cannot live)--
The money for my tomb to him let's gayly give!

What doth it boot me, that some learned eye
May spell my name on gravestone, by and by?
As to the flowers they promise for my bier,
I'd rather, living, scent their perfume here.
And thou, posterity!--that ne'er mayst be--
Waste not thy torch in seeking signs of me!
Like a wise man, I deemed that I was bound
The money for my tomb to scatter gayly round!

Translation of William Young.


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