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

Part 9 out of 11


I have treated it [the revolution of 1830] as a power which might have
whims one should be in a position to resist. All or nearly all my
friends have taken office. I have still one or two who are hanging from
the greased pole. I am pleased to believe that they are caught by the
coat-tails, in spite of their efforts to come down. I might therefore
have had a share in the distribution of offices. Unluckily I have no
love for sinecures, and all compulsory labor has grown intolerable to
me, except perhaps that of a copying clerk. Slanderers have pretended
that I acted from virtue. Pshaw! I acted from laziness. That defect has
served me in place of merits; wherefore I recommend it to many of our
honest men. It exposes one, however, to curious reproaches. It is to
that placid indolence that severe critics have laid the distance I have
kept myself from those of my honorable friends who have attained power.
Giving too much honor to what they choose to call my fine intellect, and
forgetting too much how far it is from simple good sense to the science
of great affairs, these critics maintain that my counsels might have
enlightened more than one minister. If one believes them, I, crouching
behind our statesmen's velvet chairs, would have conjured down the
winds, dispelled the storms, and enabled France to swim in an ocean of
delights. We should all have had liberty to sell, or rather to give
away, but we are still rather ignorant of the price. Ah! my two or three
friends who take a song-writer for a magician, have you never heard,
then, that power is a bell which prevents those who set it ringing from
hearing anything else? Doubtless ministers sometimes consult those at
hand: consultation is a means of talking about one's self which is
rarely neglected. But it will not be enough even to consult in good
faith those who will advise in the same way. One must still act: that is
the duty of the position. The purest intentions, the most enlightened
patriotism, do not always confer it. Who has not seen high officials
leave a counselor with brave intentions, and an instant after return to
him, from I know not what fascination, with a perplexity that gave the
lie to the wisest resolutions? "Oh!" they say, "we will not be caught
there again! what drudgery!" The more shamefaced add, "I'd like to see
you in my place!" When a minister says that, be sure he has no longer a
head. There is indeed one of them, but only one, who, without having
lost his head, has often used this phrase with the utmost sincerity; he
has therefore never used it to a friend.



Few readers in the United States are unfamiliar with the lines,
"Westward the course of empire takes its way." It is vaguely remembered
that a certain Bishop Berkeley was the author of a treatise on
tar-water. There is moreover a general impression that this Bishop
Berkeley contended for the unreality of all things outside of his own
mind, and now and then some recall Byron's lines--

"When Bishop Berkeley said 'there was no matter,'
And proved it,--'twas no matter what he said."

This is the substance of the popular knowledge of one of the profoundest
thinkers of the early part of the eighteenth century,--the time of
Shaftesbury and Locke, of Addison and Steele, of Butler, Pope, and
Swift,--one of the most fascinating men of his day, and one of the best
of any age. Beside, or rather above, Byron's line should be placed
Pope's tribute:--

"To Berkeley, every virtue under Heaven."

[Illustration: GEORGE BERKELEY.]

Berkeley was born in Ireland, probably at Dysart Castle in the Valley of
the Nore, near Kilkenny, March 12, 1685. The family having but lately
come into Ireland, Berkeley always accounted himself an Englishman. At
Kilkenny School he met the poet Prior, who became his intimate friend,
his business representative, and his most regular correspondent for
life. Swift preceded him at this school and at Trinity College, Dublin,
whither Berkeley went March 21, 1700, being then fifteen years of age.
Here as at Kilkenny he took rank much beyond his years, and was soon
deep in philosophical speculations.

In Professor Fraser's edition of the 'Life and Works of Berkeley'
appears a 'Common-Place Book,' kept during the Trinity College terms,
and full of most remarkable memoranda for a youth of his years. In 1709,
while still at Trinity, he published an 'Essay toward a New Theory of
Vision,' which foreshadowed imperfectly his leading ideas. In the
following year he published a 'Treatise concerning the Principles of
Human Knowledge.' Two or three years later he went to London, where he
was received with unusual favor and quickly became intimate in the
literary circles of the day. He made friends everywhere, being
attractive in all ways, young, handsome, graceful, fascinating in
discourse, enthusiastic, and full of thought. Swift was especially
impressed by him, and did much to further his fortunes.

His philosophical conceptions he at this time popularized in 'Three
Dialogues between Hylas and Philonous,' a work rated by some critics as
at the head of its class.

Before going to London, Berkeley had been made a Fellow of Trinity, had
been appointed to various college offices, and had taken orders. He
remained away from Dublin for about eight years, on leave frequently
extended, writing in London, and traveling, teaching, and writing on the
Continent. On his return from his foreign travels in 1720 or 1721, he
found society completely demoralized by the collapse of the South Sea
bubble. He was much depressed by the conditions around him, and sought
to awaken the moral sense of the people by 'An Essay toward Preventing
the Ruin of Great Britain.' Returning to Dublin and resuming college
duties, he was shortly made Dean of Dromore, and then Dean of Derry.
Hardly had he received these dignified appointments when he began
planning to rid himself of them, being completely absorbed in a scheme
for a University in the Bermudas, which should educate scholars,
teachers, and ministers for the New World, to which his hope turned. To
this scheme he devoted himself for many years. A singular occurrence,
which released him from pecuniary cares, enabled him to give his time as
well as his heart to the work. Miss Vanhomrigh, the 'Vanessa' of Swift,
upon her mother's death, left London, and went to live in Ireland, to be
near her beloved Dean; and there she was informed of Swift's marriage to
'Stella.' The news killed her, but she revoked the will by which her
fortune was bequeathed to Swift, and left one-half of it, or about
L4,000, to Berkeley, whom she had met but once. He must have "kept an
atmosphere," as Bagehot says of Francis Horner.

Going to London on fire with his great scheme, prepared to resign his
deanery and cast in his lot with that of the proposed University,
Berkeley wasted years in the effort to secure a charter and grant from
the administration. His enthusiasm and his fascinating manners effected
much, and over and over again only the simplest formalities seemed
necessary to success. Only the will of Sir Robert Walpole stood in the
way, but Walpole's will sufficed. At last, in September, 1728, tired of
waiting at court, Berkeley, who had just married, sailed with three or
four friends, including the artist Smibert, for Rhode Island, intending
to await there the completion of his grant, and then proceed to Bermuda.
He bought a farm near Newport, and built a house which he called
Whitehall, in which he lived for about three years, leaving a tradition
of a benignant but retired and scholastic life. Among the friends who
were here drawn to him was the Rev. Samuel Johnson of Stratford,
afterward the first President of King's (now Columbia) College, with
whom he corresponded during the remainder of his life, and through whom
he was able to aid greatly the cause of education in America.

The Newport life was idyllic. Berkeley wrote home that the winters were
cooler than those of the South of Ireland, but not worse than he had
known in Italy. He brought over a good library, and read and wrote. The
principal work of this period, written in a romantic cleft in the rocks,
was 'Alciphron, or the Minute Philosopher,' in seven dialogues, directed
especially against atheism.

At length, through Lord Percival, Berkeley learned that Walpole would
not allow the parliamentary grant of, L20,000 for the Bermuda College,
and returned to England at the close of 1732. His Whitehall estate he
conveyed to Yale College for the maintenance of certain scholarships.
From England he sent over nearly a thousand volumes for the Yale
library, the best collection of books ever brought at one time to
America, being helped in the undertaking by some of the Bermuda
subscribers. A little later he sent a collection of books to Harvard
College also, and presented a valuable organ to Trinity Church
in Newport.

Shortly after his return, Berkeley was appointed Bishop of Cloyne, near
Cork in Ireland, and here he remained for about eighteen years. Although
a recluse, he wrote much, and he kept up his loving relations with old
friends who still survived. He had several children to educate, and he
cultivated music and painting. He attempted to establish manufactures,
and to cultivate habits of industry and refinement among the people. The
winter of 1739 was bitterly cold. This was followed by general want,
famine, and disease. Berkeley and his family lived simply and gave away
what they could save. Large numbers of the people died from an epidemic.
In America Berkeley's attention had been drawn to the medicinal virtues
of tar, and he experimented successfully with tar-water as a remedy.
Becoming more and more convinced of its value, he exploited his supposed
discovery with his usual ardor, writing letters and essays, and at
length 'A Chain of Philosophical Reflections and Enquiries concerning
the Virtues of Tar-water and divers other subjects connected together
and arising one from another.' This was called 'Siris' in a second
edition which was soon demanded. Beginning with the use of tar-water as
a remedy, the treatise gradually developed into the treatment of the
largest themes, and offered the ripest fruits of the Bishop's

Berkeley's system was neither consistent nor complete, but much of it
remains sound. In brief, he contended that matter has no independent
existence, but is an idea in the supreme mind, which is realized in
various forms by the human mind. Without mind nothing exists. Cause
cannot exist except as it rests in mind and will. All so-called physical
causes are merely cases of constant sequence of phenomena. Far from
denying the reality of phenomena, Berkeley insists upon it; but contends
that reality depends upon the supremacy of mind. Abstract matter does
not and cannot exist. The mind can only perceive qualities of objects,
and infers the existence of the objects from them; or as a modern writer
tersely puts it, "The only thing certain is mind. Matter is a doubtful
and uncertain inference of the human intellect."

The essay upon Tar-water attracted great attention. The good bishop
wrote much also for periodicals, mainly upon practical themes; and in
The Querist, an intermittent journal, considered many matters of ethical
and political importance to the country. Though a bishop of the
Established Church, he lived upon the most friendly terms with his Roman
Catholic neighbors, and his labors were highly appreciated by them.

But his life was waning. His friends had passed away, he had lost
several children, his health was broken. He desired to retire to Oxford
and spend the remainder of his life in scholarly seclusion. He asked to
exchange his bishopric for a canonry, but this could not be permitted.
He then begged to be allowed to resign his charge, but the king replied
that he might live where he pleased, but that he should die a bishop in
spite of himself. In August, 1752, Bishop Berkeley removed himself, his
wife, his daughter, and his goods to Oxford, where his son George was a
student; and here on the fourteenth of the following January, as he was
resting on his couch by the fireside at tea-time, his busy brain stopped
thinking, and his kind heart ceased to beat.


The Muse, disgusted at an age and clime
Barren of every glorious theme,
In distant lands now waits a better time,
Producing subjects worthy fame:

In happy climes, where from the genial sun
And virgin earth such scenes ensue,
The force of art by nature seems outdone,
And fancied beauties by the true;

In happy climes, the seat of innocence,
Where nature guides and virtue rules,
Where men shall not impose for truth and sense
The pedantry of courts and schools:

There shall be sung another golden age,
The rise of empire and of arts,
The good and great inspiring epic rage,
The wisest heads and noblest hearts.

Not such as Europe breeds in her decay;
Such as she bred when fresh and young,
When heavenly flame did animate her clay,
By future poets shall be sung.

Westward the course of empire takes its way;
The four first Acts already past,
A fifth shall close the Drama with the day;
Time's noblest offspring is the last.


From 'Siris'

The seeds of things seem to lie latent in the air, ready to appear and
produce their kind, whenever they light on a proper matrix. The
extremely small seeds of fern, mosses, mushrooms, and some other plants,
are concealed and wafted about in the air, every part whereof seems
replete with seeds of one kind or other. The whole atmosphere seems
alive. There is everywhere acid to corrode, and seed to engender. Iron
will rust, and mold will grow, in all places. Virgin earth becomes
fertile, crops of new plants ever and anon show themselves, all which
demonstrate the air to be a common seminary and receptacle of all
vivifying principles....

The eye by long use comes to see, even in the darkest cavern; and there
is no subject so obscure, but we may discern some glimpse of truth by
long poring on it. Truth is the cry of all, but the game of a few.
Certainly where it is the chief passion, it doth not give way to vulgar
cares and views; nor is it contented with a little ardor in the early
time of life; active, perhaps, to pursue, but not so fit to weigh and
revise. He that would make a real progress in knowledge, must dedicate
his age as well as youth, the later growth as well as first fruits, at
the altar of truth....

As the nerves are instruments of sensation, it follows that spasms in
the nerves may produce all symptoms, and therefore a disorder in the
nervous system shall imitate all distempers, and occasion, in
appearance, an asthma for instance, a pleurisy, or a fit of the stone.
Now, whatever is good for the nerves in general is good against all such
symptoms. But tar-water, as it includes in an eminent degree the virtues
of warm gums and resins, is of great use for comforting and
strengthening the nerves, curing twitches in the nervous fibres, cramps
also, and numbness in the limbs, removing anxieties and promoting sleep,
in all which cases I have known it very successful.

This safe and cheap medicine suits all circumstances and all
constitutions, operating easily, curing without disturbing, raising the
spirits without depressing them, a circumstance that deserves repeated
attention, especially in these climates, where strong liquors so fatally
and so frequently produce those very distresses they are designed to
remedy; and if I am not misinformed, even among the ladies themselves,
who are truly much to be pitied. Their condition of life makes them a
prey to imaginary woes, which never fail to grow up in minds unexercised
and unemployed. To get rid of these, it is said, there are who betake
themselves to distilled spirits. And it is not improbable they are led
gradually to the use of those poisons by a certain complaisant pharmacy,
too much used in the modern practice, palsy drops, poppy cordial, plague
water, and such-like, which being in truth nothing but drams disguised,
yet coming from the apothecaries, are considered only as medicines.

The soul of man was supposed by many ancient sages to be thrust into
the human body as into a prison, for punishment of past offenses. But
the worst prison is the body of an indolent epicure, whose blood is
inflamed by fermented liquors and high sauces, or rendered putrid,
sharp, and corrosive by a stagnation of the animal juices through sloth
and indolence; whose membranes are irritated by pungent salts; whose
mind is agitated by painful oscillations of the nervous system, and
whose nerves are mutually affected by the irregular passions of his
mind. This ferment in the animal economy darkens and confounds the
intellect. It produceth vain terrors and vain conceits, and stimulates
the soul with mad desires, which, not being natural, nothing in nature
can satisfy. No wonder, therefore, there are so many fine persons of
both sexes, shining themselves, and shone on by fortune, who are
inwardly miserable and sick of life.

The hardness of stubbed vulgar constitutions renders them insensible of
a thousand things that fret and gall those delicate people, who, as if
their skin was peeled off, feel to the quick everything that touches
them. The remedy for this exquisite and painful sensibility is commonly
sought from fermented, perhaps from distilled liquors, which render many
lives wretched that would otherwise have been only ridiculous. The
tender nerves and low spirits of such poor creatures would be much
relieved by the use of tar-water, which might prolong and cheer their
lives. I do therefore recommend to them the use of a cordial, not only
safe and innocent, but giving health and spirit as sure as other
cordials destroy them.

I do verily think there is not any other medicine whatsoever so
effectual to restore a crazy constitution and cheer a dreary mind, or so
likely to subvert that gloomy empire of the spleen which tyrannizeth
over the better sort (as they are called) of these free nations, and
maketh them, in spite of their liberty and property, more wretched
slaves than even the subjects of absolute power who breathe clear air in
a sunny climate, while men of low degree often enjoy a tranquillity and
content that no advantage of birth or fortune can equal. Such indeed was
the case while the rich alone could afford to be debauched; but when
even beggars became debauchees, the case was altered.

The public virtue and spirit of the British legislature never showed
itself more conspicuous in any act, than in that for suppressing the
immoderate use of distilled spirits among the people, whose strength
and numbers constitute the true wealth of a nation: though evasive arts
will, it is feared, prevail so long as distilled spirits of any kind are
allowed, the character of Englishmen in general being that of Brutus,
_Quicquid vult valde vult_ [whatever he desires he desires intensely].
But why should such a canker be tolerated in the vitals of a State,
under any pretense, or in any shape whatsoever? Better by far the whole
present set of distillers were pensioners of the public, and their trade
abolished by law; since all the benefit thereof put together would not
balance the hundredth part of its mischief.

This tar-water will also give charitable relief to the ladies, who often
want it more than the parish poor; being many of them never able to make
a good meal, and sitting pale and puny, and forbidden like ghosts, at
their own table, victims of vapors and indigestion.

Studious persons also, pent up in narrow holes, breathing bad air, and
stooping over their books, are much to be pitied. As they are debarred
the free use of air and exercise, this I will venture to recommend as
the best succedaneum to both; though it were to be wished that modern
scholars would, like the ancients, meditate and converse more in walks
and gardens and open air, which upon the whole would perhaps be no
hindrance to their learning, and a great advantage to their health. My
own sedentary course of life had long since thrown me into an ill habit,
attended with many ailments, particularly a nervous colic, which
rendered my life a burden, and the more so because my pains were
exasperated by exercise. But since the use of tar-water, I find, though
not a perfect recovery from my old and rooted illness, yet such a
gradual return of health and ease, that I esteem my having taken this
medicine the greatest of all temporal blessings, and am convinced that
under Providence I owe my life to it.



To the concert-goer the name Hector Berlioz calls up a series of vast
and magnificent whirlwinds of vocal and orchestral sonority, the
thoughts of scores that sound and look imposingly complex to the eyes
and ears of both the educated and uneducated in the composer's art. We
have a vision of close pages embodying the most unequivocal and drastic
of musical "realism." The full audacity and mastery of a certain sort of
genius are represented in his vast works. They bespeak, too, the
combative musician and reformer. Berlioz took the kingdom of music
by violence.

[Illustration: Hector Berlioz]

His _chef d'oeuvres_ do not all say to us as much as he meant them to
say, not as much as they all uttered twenty years ago. There is much
clay as well as gold in them. But such tremendous products of his energy
and intellect as the 'Requiem,' the 'Te Deum,' 'The Damnation of Faust,'
his best descriptive symphonies such as the 'Romeo and Juliet,' are yet
eloquent to the public and to the critical-minded. His best was so very
good that his worst--weighed as a matter of principle or execution,
regarded as music or "programme music"--can be excused.

Berlioz's actual biography is a long tale of storm and stress. Not only
was he slow in gaining appreciation while he lived; full comprehension
of his power was not granted him till after his energetic life was over.
Recognition in his own country is incomplete to day. He was born in
1803, near picturesque Grenoble, in the little town of Cote St. Andre,
the son of an excellent country doctor. Sent to Paris to study medicine,
he became a musician against his father's wish, and in lieu of the
allowance that his father promptly withdrew, the young man lived by
engaging in the chorus of the Gymnase, and by catching at every straw
for subsistence. He became a regular music-student of the Conservatory,
under the admirable Lesueur and Reicha; quitted the Conservatory in
disgust at its pedantry, in 1825; and lived and advanced in musical
study as best he could for a considerable time. His convictions in art
were founded largely on the rock of Gluck, Mozart, Beethoven, and
Weber; and however modern, and however widely his work departs from such
academic models, Berlioz never forswore a certain allegiance to these
great and serene masters. He returned to the Conservatory, studied hard,
gained the Prix de Rome, gradually took a prominent place among Parisian
composers, and was as enthusiastically the subject of a cult as was
Wagner. His concerts and the production of his operas encountered
shameful cabals. His strongest works were neglected or ill-served. To
their honor, German musicians understood him, Schumann and Liszt in
especial. Only in Germany to-day are his colossal operas heard. The
Italian Paganini showed a generous interest in his struggles. Russia and
Austria too admired him, while his compatriots hissed. His career was
one of endless work, disappointments, brief successes, battles, hopes,
and despairs. Personally, too, it was full of the happiness and
unhappiness of the artistic temperament.

It was between the two periods of his Conservatory life that he endured
his chief sentimental misfortune,--his falling in love with and finally
marrying Henrietta Smithson. Miss Smithson was a young English actress
playing Shakespearean roles in France with a passing success. She was
exquisitely lovely--Delaroche has painted her spirituelle beauty in his
'Ophelia.' The marriage was the typically unfortunate artist-match; and
she became a paralytic invalid for years. After her death, tours in
Germany and elsewhere, new works, new troubles, enthusiasms, and
disappointments filled up the remainder of the composer's days. He
returned to his beloved Dauphine, war-worn and almost as one who has
outlived life. In his provincial retreat he composed the huge operatic
duology 'The Trojans at Carthage,' and 'The Taking of Troy,' turning
once more to Virgil, his early literary love. Neither of them is often
heard now, any more than his amazing 'Benvenuto Cellini.' Their author
died in Dauphine in 1869, weary, disenchanted, but conscious that he
would be greater in the eyes of a coming generation than ever he had
been during his harassed life.

Berlioz's literary remains are valuable as criticisms, and their
personal matter is of brisk and varied charm. His intense feeling for
Shakespeare influenced his whole aesthetic life. He was extremely well
read. His most unchecked tendency to romanticism was balanced by a fine
feeling for the classics. He loved the greater Greek and Latin writers.
His Autobiography is a perfect picture of himself emotionally, and
exhibits his wide aesthetic nature. His Letters are equally faithful as
portraiture. He possessed a distinctively literary style. He tells us
how he fell in love--twice, thrice; records the disgraceful cabals and
intrigues against his professional success, and explains how a landscape
affected his nerves. He is excellent reading, apparently without taking
much pains to be so. Vivacity, wit, sincerity, are salient traits. In
his volume of musical essays entitled 'A Travers Chants' (an
untranslatable title which may be paraphrased 'Memoirs of Music and
Musicians') are superior appreciations of musicians and interpreters and
performances in opera-house and concert-hall, expressed with grace and
taste in the _feuilletonist's_ best manner. In the Journal des Debats,
year by year, he wrote himself down indisputably among the great French
critics; and he never misused his critical post to make it a lever for
his own advantage. His great treatise on Orchestration is a standard
work not displaced by Gevaert or more recent authorities. He was not
only a musical intelligence of enormous capacity: he offers perhaps as
typical an embodiment of the French artistic temperament as can be
pointed out.


From Berlioz's Autobiography

It appears, however,--so at least I am assured,--that the Italians do
occasionally listen. But at any rate, music to the Milanese, no less
than to the Neapolitans, Romans, Florentines, and Genoese, means nothing
but an air, a duet, or a trio, well sung. For anything beyond this they
feel simply aversion or indifference. Perhaps these antipathies are
mainly due to the wretched performance of their choruses and orchestras,
which effectually prevents their knowing anything good outside the
beaten track they have so long followed. Possibly, too, they may to a
certain extent understand the flights of men of genius, if these latter
are careful not to give too rude a shock to their rooted predilections.
The great success of 'Guillaume Tell' at Florence supports this opinion,
and even Spontini's sublime 'Vestale' obtained a series of brilliant
representations at Naples some twenty-five years ago. Moreover, in those
towns which are under the Austrian rule, you will see the people rush
after a military band, and listen with avidity to the beautiful German
melodies, so unlike their usual insipid cavatinas. Nevertheless, in
general it is impossible to disguise the fact that the Italians as a
nation really appreciate only the material effects of music, and
distinguish nothing but its exterior forms.

Indeed, I am much inclined to regard them as more inaccessible to the
poetical side of art, and to any conceptions at all above the common,
than any other European nation. To the Italians music is a sensual
pleasure, and nothing more. For this most beautiful form of expression
they have scarcely more respect than for the culinary art. In fact, they
like music which they can take in at first hearing, without reflection
or attention, just as they would do with a plate of macaroni.

Now, we French, mean and contemptible musicians as we are, although we
are no better than the Italians when we furiously applaud a trill or a
chromatic scale by the last new singer, and miss altogether the beauty
of some grand recitative or animated chorus, yet at least we can listen,
and if we do not take in a composer's ideas it is not our fault. Beyond
the Alps, on the contrary, people behave in a manner so humiliating both
to art and to artists, whenever any representation is going on, that I
confess I would as soon sell pepper and spice at a grocer's in the Rue
St. Denis as write an opera for the Italians--nay, I would _sooner_
do it.

Added to this, they are slaves to routine and to fanaticism to a degree
one hardly sees nowadays, even at the Academy. The slightest unforeseen
innovation, whether in melody, harmony, rhythm, or instrumentation, puts
them into a perfect fury; so much so, that the _dilettanti_ of Rome, on
the appearance of Rossini's 'Barbiere di Seviglia' (which is Italian
enough in all conscience), were ready to kill the young maestro for
having the insolence to do anything unlike Paisiello.

But what renders all hope of improvement quite chimerical, and tempts
one to believe that the musical feeling of the Italians is a mere
necessary result of their organization,--the opinion both of Gall and
Spurzheim,--is their love for all that is dancing, brilliant,
glittering, and gay, to the utter neglect of the various passions by
which the characters are animated, and the confusion of time and
place--in a word, of good sense itself. Their music is always laughing:
and if by chance the composer in the course of the drama permits himself
for one moment not to be absurd, he at once hastens back to his
prescribed style, his melodious roulades and _grupetti_, his trills and
contemptible frivolities, either for voice or orchestra; and these,
succeeding so abruptly to something true to life, have an unreal effect,
and give the _opera seria_ all the appearance of a parody or caricature.

I could quote plenty of examples from famous works; but speaking
generally of these artistic questions, is it not from Italy that we get
those stereotyped conventional forms adopted by so many French
composers, resisted by Cherubim and Spontini alone among the Italians,
though rejected entirely by the Germans? What well-organized person with
any sense of musical expression could listen to a quartet in which four
characters, animated by totally conflicting passions, should
successively employ the same melodious phrase to express such different
words as these: "O, toi que j'adore!" "Quelle terreur me glace!" "Mon
coeur bat de plaisir!" "La fureur me transporte!" To suppose that music
is a language so vague that the natural inflections of fury will serve
equally well for fear, joy, and love, only proves the absence of that
sense which to others makes the varieties of expression in music as
incontestable a reality as the existence of the sun.... I regard the
course taken by Italian composers as the inevitable result of the
instincts of the public, which react more or less on the composers


From the Autobiography

Now for another intrigue, still more cleverly contrived, the black
depths of which I hardly dare fathom. I incriminate no one; I simply
give the naked facts, without the smallest commentary, but with
scrupulous exactness. General Bernard having himself informed me that my
Requiem was to be performed on certain conditions, ... I was about to
begin my rehearsals when I was sent for by the Director of the

"You know," said he, "that Habeneck has been commissioned to conduct all
the great official musical festivals?" ("Come, good!" thought I: "here
is another tile for my devoted head.") "It is true that you are now in
the habit of conducting the performance of your works yourself; but
Habeneck is an old man" (another tile), "and I happen to know that he
will be deeply hurt if he does not preside at your Requiem. What terms
are you on with him?"

"What terms? We have quarreled. I hardly know why. For three years he
has not spoken to me. I am not aware of his motives, and indeed have not
cared to ask. He began by rudely refusing to conduct one of my concerts.
His behavior towards me has been as inexplicable as it is uncivil.
However, as I see plainly that he wishes on the present occasion to
figure at Marshal Damremont's ceremony, and as it would evidently be
agreeable to you, I consent to give up the baton to him, on condition
that I have at least one full rehearsal."

"Agreed," replied the Director; "I will let him know about it."

The rehearsals were accordingly conducted with great care. Habeneck
spoke to me as if our relations with each other had never been
interrupted, and all seemed likely to go well.

The day of the performance arrived, in the Church of the Invalides,
before all the princes, peers, and deputies, the French press, the
correspondents of foreign papers, and an immense crowd. It was
absolutely essential for me to have a great success; a moderate one
would have been fatal, and a failure would have annihilated me

Now listen attentively.

The various groups of instruments in the orchestra were tolerably widely
separated, especially the four brass bands introduced in the 'Tuba
mirum,' each of which occupied a corner of the entire orchestra. There
is no pause between the 'Dies Irae' and the 'Tuba mirum,' but the pace of
the latter movement is reduced to half what it was before. At this point
the whole of the brass enters, first all together, and then in passages,
answering and interrupting, each a third higher than the last. It is
obvious that it is of the greatest importance that the four beats of the
new _tempo_ should be distinctly marked, or else the terrible explosion,
which I had so carefully prepared with combinations and proportions
never attempted before or since, and which, rightly performed, gives
such a picture of the Last Judgment as I believe is destined to live,
would be a mere enormous and hideous confusion.

With my habitual mistrust, I had stationed myself behind Habeneck, and
turning my back on him, overlooked the group of kettle-drums, which he
could not see, when the moment approached for them to take part in the
general melee. There are perhaps one thousand bars in my Requiem.
Precisely in that of which I have just been speaking, when the movement
is retarded, and the wind instruments burst in with their terrible
flourish of trumpets; in fact, just in _the_ one bar where the
conductor's motion is absolutely indispensable, Habeneck _puts down his
baton, quietly takes out his snuff box_, and proceeds to take a pinch
of snuff. I always had my eye in his direction, and instantly turned
rapidly on one heel, and springing forward before him, I stretched out
my arm and marked the four great beats of the new movement. The
orchestras followed me, each in order. I conducted the piece to the end,
and the effect which I had longed for was produced. When, at the last
words of the chorus, Habeneck saw that the 'Tuba mirum' was saved, he
said, "What a cold perspiration I have been in! Without you we should
have been lost." "Yes, I know," I answered, looking fixedly at him. I
did not add another word.... Had he done it on purpose? ... Could it be
possible that this man had dared to join my enemy, the Director, and
Cherubini's friends, in plotting and attempting such rascality? I don't
wish to believe it ... but I cannot doubt it. God forgive me if I am
doing the man injustice!


From the Autobiography

Of all the ancient composers, Gluck has, I believe, the least to fear
from the incessant revolutions of art. He sacrificed nothing either to
the caprices of singers, the exigencies of fashion, or the inveterate
routine with which he had to contend on his arrival in France, after his
protracted struggles with the Italian theatres. Doubtless his conflicts
at Milan, Naples, and Parma, instead of weakening him, had increased his
strength by revealing its full extent to himself; for in spite of the
fanaticism then prevalent in our artistic customs, he broke these
miserable trammels and trod them underfoot with the greatest ease. True,
the clamor of the critics once succeeded in forcing him into a reply;
but it was the only indiscretion with which he had to reproach himself,
and thenceforth, as before, he went straight to his aim in silence. We
all know what that aim was; we also know that it was never given to any
man to succeed more fully. With less conviction or less firmness, it is
probable that, notwithstanding his natural genius, his degenerate works
would not have long survived those of his mediocre rivals now completely
forgotten. But truth of expression, purity of style, and grandeur of
form belong to all time. Gluck's fine passages will always be fine.
Victor Hugo is right: the heart never grows old.


From the Autobiography

You will not, my dear Demarest, expect an analysis from me of Bach's
great work: such a task would quite exceed my prescribed limits. Indeed,
the movement performed at the Conservatoire three years ago may be
considered the type of the author's style throughout the work. The
Germans profess an unlimited admiration for Bach's recitatives; but
their peculiar characteristic necessarily escaped me, as I did not
understand the language and was unable to appreciate their expression.
Whoever is familiar with our musical customs in Paris must witness, in
order to believe, the attention, respect, and even reverence with which
a German public listens to such a composition. Every one follows the
words on the book with his eyes; not a movement among the audience, not
a murmur of praise or blame, not a sound of applause; they are listening
to a solemn discourse, they are hearing the gospel sung, they are
attending divine service rather than a concert. And really such music
ought to be thus listened to. They adore Bach, and believe in him,
without supposing for a moment that his divinity could ever be called
into question. A heretic would horrify them, he is forbidden even to
speak of him. God is God and Bach is Bach. Some days after the
performance of Bach's _chef d'oeuvre_, the Singing Academy announced
Graun's 'Tod Jesu.' This is another sacred work, a holy book; the
worshipers of which are, however, mainly to be found in Berlin, whereas
the religion of Bach is professed throughout the north of Germany.


From the Autobiography

Dramatic art in the time of Shakespeare was more appreciated by the
masses than it is in our day by those nations which lay most claim to
possess a feeling for it. Music is essentially aristocratic; it is a
daughter of noble race, such as princes only can dower nowadays; it must
be able to live poor and unmated rather than form a _mesalliance_.


From the Autobiography

I have now come to the grand drama of my life; but I shall not relate
all its painful details. It is enough to say that an English company
came over to perform Shakespeare's plays, then entirely unknown in
France, at the Odeon. I was present at the first performance of
'Hamlet,' and there, in the part of Ophelia, I saw Miss Smithson, whom I
married five years afterward. I can only compare the effect produced by
her wonderful talent, or rather her dramatic genius, on my imagination
and heart, with the convulsion produced on my mind by the work of the
great poet whom she interpreted. It is impossible to say more.

This sudden and unexpected revelation of Shakespeare overwhelmed me. The
lightning-flash of his genius revealed the whole heaven of art to me,
illuminating its remotest depths in a single flash. I recognized the
meaning of real grandeur, real beauty, and real dramatic truth; and I
also realized the utter absurdity of the ideas circulated by Voltaire in
France about Shakespeare, and the pitiful pettiness of our old poetic
school, the offspring of pedagogues and _freres ignorantins_.

But the shock was too great, and it was a long while before I recovered
from it. I became possessed by an intense, overpowering sense of
sadness, that in my then sickly, nervous state produced a mental
condition adequately to describe which would take a great physiologist.
I could not sleep, I lost my spirits, my favorite studies became
distasteful to me, and I spent my time wandering aimlessly about Paris
and its environs. During that long period of suffering, I can only
recall four occasions on which I slept, and then it was the heavy,
death-like sleep produced by complete physical exhaustion. These were
one night when I had thrown myself down on some sheaves in a field near
Ville-Juif; one day in a meadow in the neighborhood of Sceaux; once on
the snow on the banks of the frozen Seine, near Neuilly; and lastly, on
a table in the Cafe du Cardinal at the corner of the Boulevard des
Italiens and the Rue Richelieu, where I slept for five hours, to the
terror of the _garcons_, who thought I was dead and were afraid to
come near me.

It was on my return from one of these wanderings, in which I must have
seemed like one seeking his soul, that my eyes fell on Moore's 'Irish
Melodies,' lying open on my table at the song beginning "When he who
adores thee." I seized my pen, and then and there wrote the music to
that heart-rending farewell, which is published at the end of my
collection of songs, 'Irlande,' under the title of 'Elegie.' This is the
only occasion on which I have been able to vent any strong feeling in
music while still under its influence. And I think that I have rarely
reached such intense truth of musical expression, combined with so much
realistic power of harmony.


From the 'Autobiography'

I have often wondered why theatrical managers everywhere have such a
marked predilection for what genuine artists, cultivated minds, and even
a certain section of the public itself persist in regarding as very poor
manufacture, short-lived productions, the handiwork of which is as
valueless as the raw material itself. Not as though platitudes always
succeeded better than good works; indeed, the contrary is often the
case. Neither is it that careful compositions entail more expense than
"shoddy." It is often just the other way. Perhaps it arises simply from
the fact that the good works demand the care, study, attention, and, in
certain cases, even the mind, talent, and inspiration of every one in
the theatre, from the manager down to the prompter. The others, on the
contrary, being made especially for lazy, mediocre, superficial,
ignorant, and silly people, naturally find a great many supporters.
Well! a manager likes, above everything, whatever brings him in amiable
speeches and satisfied looks from his underlings, he likes things that
require no learning and disturb no accepted ideas or habits, which
gently go with the stream of prejudice, and wound no self-love, because
they reveal no incapacity; in a word, things which do not take too long
to get up.



Born in 1091, at Fontaines, a castle of his father Tescelin, near Dijon,
France, and devotedly instructed by his pious and gentle mother Aleth,
Bernard of Clairvaux was from early childhood imbued with an active
religious enthusiasm. When the time came to choose his way of life,
instead of going into battle with his knighted brothers, he made them,
as well as his uncle the count of Touillon, join a band of thirty
companions, with whom he knelt in the rude chapel at Citeaux to beg the
tonsure from Abbot Stephen Harding. To rise at two o'clock in the
morning and chant the prayer-offices of the church until nine, to do
hard manual labor until two, when the sole meal of the day--composed of
vegetable food only--was taken, to labor again until nightfall and sing
the vespers until an early bedtime hour: such was the Cistercian's daily
observance of his vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience,--vows which
Bernard and his followers were to lay down only upon the cross of ashes
spread upon the hard cell floor to receive their outstretched,
dying bodies.

[Illustration: SAINT BERNARD]

Citeaux became famous from the coming of these new recruits. There was,
in those tough old days, a soldierly admiration for faithfulness to
discipline; and when Bernard was professed in 1114, Abbot Stephen was
obliged to enlarge the field of work. Bernard was sent in 1115 to build
a house and clear and cultivate a farm in a thickly wooded and
thief-infested glen to the north of Dijon, known as the Valley of
Wormwood. Here at the age of twenty-four, in a rude house built by their
own hands with timber cut from the land, the young abbot and his
companions lived like the sturdy pioneers of our Northwest, the earth
their floor and narrow wooden bunks in a low dark loft their beds. Of
course the stubborn forest gave way slowly, and grudgingly opened sunny
hillsides to the vine and wheat-sheaf. The name of the settlement was
changed to Clairvaux, but for many years the poor monks' only food was
barley bread, with broth made from boiled beech leaves. Here Tescelin
came in his old age to live under the rule of his sons; and Humbeline,
the wealthy and rank-proud daughter, one day left her gay retinue at the
door of their little abbey and went to join the nuns at Jouilly.

While Bernard was studying and planting at Clairvaux, the word of his
piety and worth went everywhere through the land, and he came to be
consulted not only by his Superior at Citeaux, but by villein and noble,
even to the august persons of Louis the Fat of France and Henry the
Norman of England. His gentleness and integrity became the chief
reliance of the royal house of France, and his sermons and letters began
to be quoted at council board and synod even as far as Rome. The
austerity and poverty of the Cistercians had caused some friends of the
monks of Cluny to fall under Bernard's zealous indignation. He wrote to
William of St. Thierry a famous letter, mildly termed an Apology; in
which, by the most insinuating and biting satire, the laxity and
indulgence which had weakened or effaced the power of monastic example
(from which arraignment the proud house of Cluny was deemed not to
escape scot-free) were lashed with uncompromising courage.

France and Burgundy, with the more or less helpful aid of the Norman
dukes in England, had been very loyal to the interests of the Papacy.
When the schism of Anacletus II. arose in 1130, Innocent II., driven
from Rome by the armed followers of Peter de Leon, found his way at once
to the side of Louis VI. There he found Bernard, and upon him he leaned
from that time until the latter had hewed a road for him back to Rome
through kings, prelates, statesmen, and intriguers, with the same
unflinching steadfastness with which he had cut a way to the sunlight
for his vines and vegetables in the Valley of Wormwood. Bernard it was
who persuaded Henry of England to side with Innocent, and it was he who
stayed the revival of the question of investitures and won the Emperor
to the Pope at Liege. At the Council of Rheims in October 1131, Bernard
was the central figure; and when the path was open for a return to
Italy, the restored Pope took the abbot with him, leaving in return a
rescript releasing Citeaux from tithes. Bernard stayed in Italy until
1135, and left Innocent secure in Rome.

After a short period of peace at Clairvaux, he had to hurry off again to
Italy on account of the defection of the influential monastery of Monte
Casino to Anacletus.

Not long after his last return from Italy, Bernard met Pierre Abelard.
This brilliant and unfortunate man had incurred the charge of heresy,
and at some time in the year 1139 Bernard was induced to meet and confer
with him. Nothing seems to have resulted from the conference, for
Abelard went in 1140 to the Bishop of Sens and demanded an opportunity
of being confronted with Bernard at an approaching synod. The abbot of
Clairvaux, although unwilling, was at last persuaded to accept the
challenge. Louis VII., King of France, Count Theobald of Champagne, and
the nobles of the realm assembled to witness the notable contest.
Abelard came with a brilliant following; but on the second day of the
synod, to the surprise of everybody, he abruptly closed the proceeding
by appealing to Rome. The works of Abelard were condemned, but his
appeal and person were respected, and Bernard prepared a strong
condemnatory letter to be sent to the Pope. As the great scholar was on
his way to Rome to follow his appeal, he stayed to rest at Cluny with
Peter the Venerable, who persuaded him to go to Bernard. When the two
great hearts met in the quiet of Clairvaux, all animosities were
resolved in peace; and Abelard, returning to Cluny, abandoned his appeal
and observed the rule of the house until his death, which he endured, as
Peter the Venerable wrote to Heloise, fully prepared and comforted, at
Chalons in 1142.

The infidels of the East having taken Edessa in 1146, the power of the
Christians in the Holy Land was broken; and Eugenius III., who had been
a monk of Clairvaux, appointed Bernard to preach a new crusade. He set
on foot a vast host under the personal leadership of Louis VII. and
Conrad the Emperor, accompanied by Queen Eleanor and many noble ladies
of both realms. The ill fortunes which attended this war brought to
Bernard the greatest bitterness of his life. So signal was the failure
of the Second Crusade, that but a pitiful remnant of the brilliant army
which had crossed the Bosphorus returned to Europe, and Bernard was
assailed with execration from hut and castle throughout the length of
Europe. His only answer was as gentle as his life: "Better that I be
blamed than God." He did not neglect, however, to point out that the
evil lives and excesses of those who attempted the Crusade were the real
causes of the failure of the Christian arms.

In Languedoc in 1147 he quelled a dangerous heresy, and silenced
Gilbert, bishop of Poitiers, at the Council of Rheims.

In 1148 Malachy, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of Ireland, who nine
years before had visited Clairvaux and formed a lasting friendship for
Bernard, came there again to die in the arms of his friend. It is
related that the two saints had exchanged habits upon the first visit,
and that Malachy wore that of Bernard on his death-bed. The funeral
sermon preached by Bernard upon the life and virtue of his Irish comrade
is reputed to be one of the finest extant. It seemed as if the Gael had
come to show the Goth the way of death. Bernard's health, early broken
by self-imposed austerity and penances, had never been robust, and it
had often seemed that nothing but the vigor of his will had kept him
from the grave. In the year 1153 he was stricken with a fatal illness.
Yet when the archbishop of Treves came to his bedside, imploring his aid
to put an end to an armed quarrel between the nobles and the people of
Metz, he went cheerfully but feebly to the field between the contending
parties, and by words which came with pain and in the merest whispers,
he persuaded the men who were already at each other's throats to forget
their enmities.

He died at Clairvaux on January 12th, 1153, and was buried, as he
wished, in the habit of Saint Malachy. In 1174 he was sainted, and his
life is honored in the liturgy of the church on the 20th of August.

The marks of Saint Bernard's character were sweetness and gentle
tolerance in the presence of honest opposition, and implacable vigor
against shams and evil-doing. His was the perfect type of well-regulated
individual judgment. His humility and love of poverty were true and
unalterable. In Italy he refused the mitres of Genoa and Milan in turn,
and in France successively declined the sees of Chalons, Langres, and
Rheims. He wrote and spoke with simplicity and directness, and with an
energy and force of conviction which came from absolute command of his
subject. He did not disdain to use a good-tempered jest as occasion
required, and his words afford some pleasant examples of naive puns. He
was a tireless letter-writer, and some of his best writings are in that
form. He devoted much labor to his sermons on the Canticle of Canticles,
the work remaining unfinished at his death. He wrote a long poem on the
Passion, one beautiful hymn of which is included in the Roman Breviary.


Jesu! the very thought of thee
With sweetness fills my breast,
But sweeter far thy face to see
And in thy presence rest.

Nor voice can sing nor heart can frame,
Nor can the memory find,
A sweeter sound than thy blest name,
O Savior of mankind!

O hope of every contrite heart!
O joy of all the meek!
To those who fall, how kind thou art,
How good to those who seek!

But what to those who find? Ah, this
Nor tongue nor pen can show.
The love of Jesus, what it is
None but his loved ones know.

Jesu! our only joy be thou,
As thou our prize wilt be!
Jesu! be thou our glory now
And through eternity!


From the Apology to the Abbot William of St. Thierry

There is no conversation concerning the Scriptures, none concerning the
salvation of souls; but small-talk, laughter, and idle words fill the
air. At dinner the palate and ears are equally tickled--the one with
dainties, the other with gossip and news, which together quite prevent
all moderation in feeding. In the mean time dish after dish is set on
the table; and to make up for the small privation of meat, a double
supply is provided of well-grown fish. When you have eaten enough of the
first, if you taste the second course, you will seem to yourself hardly
to have touched the former: such is the art of the cooks, that after
four or five dishes have been devoured, the first does not seem to be in
the way of the last, nor does satiety invade the appetite.... Who could
say, to speak of nothing else, in how many forms eggs are cooked and
worked up? with what care they are turned in and out, made hard or soft,
or chopped fine; now fried, now roasted, now stuffed; now they are
served mixed with other things, now by themselves. Even the external
appearance of the dishes is such that the eye, as well as the taste, is

Not only have we lost the spirit of the old monasteries, but even its
outward appearance. For this habit of ours, which of old was the sign of
humility, by the monks of our day is turned into a source of pride. We
can hardly find in a whole province wherewithal we condescend to be
clothed. The monk and the knight cut their garments, the one his cowl,
the other his cloak, from the same piece. No secular person, however
great, whether king or emperor, would be disgusted at our vestments if
they were only cut and fitted to his requirements. But, say you,
religion is in the heart, not in the garments? True; but you, when you
are about to buy a cowl, rush over the towns, visit the markets,
examine the fairs, dive into the houses of the merchants, turn over all
their goods, undo their bundles of cloth, feel it with your fingers,
hold it to your eyes or to the rays of the sun, and if anything coarse
or faded appears, you reject it. But if you are pleased with any object
of unusual beauty or brightness, you at once buy it, whatever the price.
I ask you, Does this come from the heart, or your simplicity?

I wonder that our abbots allow these things, unless it arises from the
fact that no one is apt to blame any error with confidence if he cannot
trust in his own freedom from the same; and it is a right human quality
to forgive without much anger those self-indulgences in others for which
we ourselves have the strongest inclination. How is the light of the
world overshadowed! Those whose lives should have been the way of life
to us, by the example they give of pride, become blind leaders of the
blind. What a specimen of humility is that, to march with such pomp and
retinue, to be surrounded with such an escort of hairy men, so that one
abbot has about him people enough for two bishops. I lie not when I say,
I have seen an abbot with sixty horses after him, and even more. Would
you not think, as you see them pass, that they were not fathers of
monasteries, but lords of castles--not shepherds of souls, but princes
of provinces? Then there is the baggage, containing table-cloths, and
cups and basins, and candlesticks, and well-filled wallets--not with the
coverlets, but the ornaments of the beds. My lord abbot can never go
more than four leagues from his home without taking all his furniture
with him, as if he were going to the wars, or about to cross a desert
where necessaries cannot be had. Is it quite impossible to wash one's
hands in, and drink from, the same vessel? Will not your candle burn
anywhere but in that gold or silver candlestick of yours, which you
carry with you? Is sleep impossible except upon a variegated mattress,
or under a foreign coverlet? Could not one servant harness the mule,
wait at dinner, and make the bed? If such a multitude of men and horses
is indispensable, why not at least carry with us our necessaries, and
thus avoid the severe burden we are to our hosts?...

[Illustration: _MONASTIC LUXURY._
Photogravure from a Painting by Edward Gruetzner.]

By the sight of wonderful and costly vanities men are prompted to give,
rather than to pray. Some beautiful picture of a saint is exhibited--and
the brighter the colors the greater the holiness attributed to it: men
run, eager to kiss; they are invited to give, and the beautiful is
more admired than the sacred is revered. In the churches are suspended,
not _coronae_, but wheels studded with gems and surrounded by lights,
which are scarcely brighter than the precious stones which are near
them. Instead of candlesticks, we behold great trees of brass fashioned
with wonderful skill, and glittering as much through their jewels as
their lights. What do you suppose is the object of all this? The
repentance of the contrite, or the admiration of the gazers? O vanity of
vanities! but not more vain than foolish. The church's walls are
resplendent, but the poor are not there.... The curious find wherewith
to amuse themselves; the wretched find no stay for them in their misery.
Why at least do we not reverence the images of the saints, with which
the very pavement we walk on is covered? Often an angel's mouth is spit
into, and the face of some saint trodden on by passers-by.... But if we
cannot do without the images, why can we not spare the brilliant colors?
What has all this to do with monks, with professors of poverty, with men
of spiritual minds?

Again, in the cloisters, what is the meaning of those ridiculous
monsters, of that deformed beauty, that beautiful deformity, before the
very eyes of the brethren when reading? What are disgusting monkeys
there for, or satyrs, or ferocious lions, or monstrous centaurs, or
spotted tigers, or fighting soldiers, or huntsmen sounding the bugle?
You may see there one head with many bodies, or one body with numerous
heads. Here is a quadruped with a serpent's tail; there is a fish with a
beast's head; there a creature, in front a horse, behind a goat; another
has horns at one end, and a horse's tail at the other. In fact, such an
endless variety of forms appears everywhere, that it is more pleasant to
read in the stonework than in books, and to spend the day in admiring
these oddities than in meditating on the law of God. Good God! if we are
not ashamed of these absurdities, why do we not grieve at the cost
of them?


"As the tents of Kedar, as the curtains of Solomon."--Sol. Song i. 5

Perhaps both members of the comparison--viz., "As the tents of Kedar, as
the curtains of Solomon"--refer only to the first words, "I am black."
It may be, however, that the simile is extended to both clauses, and
each is compared with each. The former sense is the more simple, the
latter the more obscure. Let us try both, beginning with the latter,
which seems the more difficult. There is no difficulty, however, in the
first comparison, "I am black as the tents of Kedar," but only in the
last. For Kedar, which is interpreted to mean "darkness" or "gloom," may
be compared with blackness justly enough; but the curtains of Solomon
are not so easily likened to beauty. Moreover, who does not see that
"tents" fit harmoniously with the comparison? For what is the meaning of
"tents" except our bodies, in which we sojourn for a time? Nor have we
an abiding city, but we seek one to come. In our bodies, as under tents,
we carry on warfare. Truly, we are violent to take the kingdom. Indeed,
the life of man here on earth is a warfare; and as long as we do battle
in this body, we are absent from the Lord,--i.e., from the light. For
the Lord is light; and so far as any one is not in Him, so far he is in
darkness, i.e., in Kedar. Let each one then acknowledge the sorrowful
exclamation as his own:--"Woe is me that my sojourn is prolonged! I have
dwelt with those who dwell in Kedar. My soul hath long sojourned in a
strange land." Therefore this habitation of the body is not the mansion
of the citizen, nor the house of the native, but either the soldier's
tent or the traveler's inn. This body, I say, is a tent, and a tent of
Kedar, because, by its interference, it prevents the soul from beholding
the infinite light, nor does it allow her to see the light at all,
except through a glass darkly, and not face to face.

Do you not see whence blackness comes to the Church--whence a certain
rust cleaves to even the fairest souls? Doubtless it comes from the
tents of Kedar, from the practice of laborious warfare, from the long
continuance of a painful sojourn, from the straits of our grievous
exile, from our feeble, cumbersome bodies; for the corruptible body
presseth down the soul, and the earthly tabernacle weigheth down the
mind that museth upon many things. Therefore the souls' desire to be
loosed, that being freed from the body they may fly into the embraces of
Christ. Wherefore one of the miserable ones said, groaning, "O wretched
man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death!" For a
soul of this kind knoweth that, while in the tents of Kedar, she cannot
be entirely free from spot or wrinkle, nor from stains of blackness, and
wishes to go forth and to put them off. And here we have the reason why
the spouse calls herself black as the tents of Kedar. But now, how is
she beautiful as the curtains of Solomon? Behind these curtains I feel
that an indescribable holiness and sublimity are veiled, which I dare
not presume to touch, save at the command of Him who shrouded and sealed
the mystery. For I have read, He that is a searcher of Majesty shall be
overwhelmed with the glory. I pass on therefore. It will devolve on you,
meanwhile, to obtain grace by your prayers, that we may the more
readily, because more confidently, recur to a subject which needs
attentive minds; and it may be that the pious knocker at the door will
discover what the bold explorer seeks in vain.


Twelfth Century


Little is known concerning the monk Bernard, sometimes called Bernard of
Morlay and sometimes Bernard of Cluny. The former name is probably
derived from the place of his origin, the latter from the fact that in
the introduction to his poem 'De Contemptu Mundi' he describes himself
as a brother of the monks of Cluny. He lived in the twelfth century, a
period of much learning in the church; and that he was himself a man of
broad scholarship and brilliant abilities, the Latin poem, his only
surviving work, abundantly testifies.

This poem, divided into three books, consists in all of about three
thousand lines. It is introduced by a short address in prose to Father
Peter, the abbot of the monastery, in which the author describes the
peculiar operations of his mind in undertaking and accomplishing his
marvelous poem. He believes and asserts, "not arrogantly, but in all
humility and therefore boldly," that he had divine aid. "Unless the
spirit of wisdom and understanding had been with me and filled me, I had
never been able to construct so long a work in such a difficult metre."

This metre is peculiar. In technical terms each line consists of three
parts: the first part including two dactyls, the second part two
dactyls, the third part one dactyl and one trochee. The final trochee, a
long and a short syllable, rhymes with the following or preceding line.
There is also a rhyme, in each line, of the second dactyl with the
fourth. This will be made plain to the ordinary reader by quoting the
first two lines of the poem, divided into feet:--

Hora no | vissima | tempora | pessima | sunt, vigi | lemus;
Ecce mi | naciter | imminet | arbiter | ille su | premus.

The adoption of such a metre would seem to be a clog on flexibility and
force of expression. But in this poem it is not so. The author rejoices
in absolute freedom of diction. The rhythm and rhyme alike lend
themselves to the uses, now of bitter satire and revilings, now of
overpowering hope and exultant joy.

The title scarcely gives an idea of the subject-matter of the poem. The
old Benedictine, living for the time in his cell, had nevertheless known
the world of his day, had lived in it and been of it. To him it seemed
an evil world, full of crimes, of moils, of deceits, of abominations;
the Church seemed corrupt, venal, shameless, and Rome the centre and the
soul of this accursed world. Pondering on these conditions, the monk
turned his weary gaze toward the celestial country, the country of
purity and peace, and to the King on his throne, the centre and source
of eternal beatitude. The contrast, on which he dwelt for a long time,
filled him on the one hand with burning indignation, on the other with
entrancing visions and longings.

At last he broke out into magnificent poetry. It is not possible to
translate him into any other language than the Latin in which he wrote,
and preserve any of the grandeur and beauty which result from the union
of ardent thought with almost miraculous music of language. Dr. Neale
aptly speaks of the majestic sweetness which invests Bernard's poem. The
expression applies specially to those passages, abounding in all parts
of the poem, in which he describes the glory and the peace of the better
country. Many of these have been translated or closely imitated by Dr.
Neale, with such excellent effect that several hymns which are very
popular in churches of various denominations have been constructed from
Dr. Neale's translations. Other portions of the poem, especially those
in which the vices and crimes of the Rome of that time are denounced and
lashed with unsparing severity, have never been translated, and are not
likely ever to be, because of the impossibility of preserving in English
the peculiar force of the metre; and translation without this would be
of small value. The fire of the descriptions of heaven is increased by
the contrast in which they stand with descriptions of Rome in the
twelfth century. Here, for example, is a passage addressed to Rome:--

"Fas mihi dicere, fas mihi scribere 'Roma fuisti,'
Obruta moenibus, obruta moribus, occubuisti.
Urbs ruis inclita, tam modo subdita, quam prius alta:
Quo prius altior, tam modo pressior, et labefacta.
Fas mihi scribere, fas mihi dicere 'Roma, peristi.'
Sunt tua moenia vociferantia 'Roma ruisti.'"

And here is one addressed to the City of God:--

"O sine luxibus, O sine luctibus, O sine lite,
Splendida curia, florida patria, patria vitae.
Urbs Syon inclita, patria condita littore tuto,
Te peto, te colo, te flagro, te volo, canto, saluto."

While no translation exists of this remarkable work, nor indeed can be
made to reproduce the power and melody of the original, yet a very good
idea of its spirit may be had from the work of Dr. J. Mason Neale, who
made from selected portions this English poem, which is very much more
than what he modestly called it, "a close imitation." Dr. Neale has made
no attempt to reproduce the metre of the original.

[ILLUSTRATION: signature: W.T. Prince]


Brief life is here our portion,
Brief sorrow, short-lived care:
The Life that knows no ending,
The tearless Life, is _there_:
O happy retribution,
Short toil, eternal rest!
For mortals and for sinners
A mansion with the Blest!
That we should look, poor wanderers,
To have our home on high!
That worms should seek for dwellings
Beyond the starry sky!
And now we fight the battle,
And then we wear the Crown
Of full and everlasting
And passionless renown:
Then glory, yet unheard of,
Shall shed abroad its ray;
Resolving all enigmas,
An endless Sabbath-day.
Then, then, from his oppressors
The Hebrew shall go free,
And celebrate in triumph
The year of Jubilee:
And the sun-lit land that recks not
Of tempest or of fight
Shall fold within its bosom
Each happy Israelite.
'Midst power that knows no limit,
And wisdom free from bound,
The Beatific Vision
Shall glad the Saints around;
And peace, for war is needless,
And rest, for storm is past,
And goal from finished labor,
And anchorage at last.
There God, my King and Portion,
In fullness of His Grace,
Shall we behold forever,
And worship face to face;
There Jacob into Israel,
From earthlier self estranged,
And Leah into Rachel
Forever shall be changed;
There all the halls of Syon
For aye shall be complete:
And in the land of Beauty
All things of beauty meet.
To thee, O dear, dear country!
Mine eyes their vigils keep;
For very love, beholding
Thy happy name, they weep:
The mention of Thy glory
Is unction to the breast,
And medicine in sickness,
And love, and life, and rest.
O one, O onely mansion!
O Paradise of joy!
Where tears are ever banished,
And smiles have no alloy:
Beside thy living waters
All plants are, great and small;
The cedar of the forest,
The hyssop of the wall;
With jaspers glow thy bulwarks,
Thy streets with emeralds blaze;
The sardius and the topaz
Unite in thee their rays;
Thine ageless walls are bonded
With amethyst unpriced;
Thy saints build up its fabric,
And the Corner-stone is CHRIST.
Thou hast no shore, fair Ocean!
Thou hast no time, bright Day!
Dear fountain of refreshment
To pilgrims far away!
Upon the Rock of Ages
They raise thy holy Tower.
Thine is the Victor's laurel,
And thine the golden dower.
Thou feel'st in mystic rapture,
O Bride that know'st no guile,
The Prince's sweetest kisses,
The Prince's loveliest smile.
Unfading lilies, bracelets
Of living pearl, thine own;
The Lamb is ever near thee,
The Bridegroom thine alone;
And all thine endless leisure
In sweetest accents sings
The ills that were thy merit,
The joys that are thy King's.
Jerusalem the golden!
With milk and honey blest,
Beneath thy contemplation
Sink heart and voice opprest;
I know not, oh, I know not
What social joys are there,
What radiancy of glory,
What light beyond compare;
And when I fain would sing them,
My spirit fails and faints,
And vainly would it image
The assembly of the Saints.
They stand, those halls of Syon,
All jubilant with song,
And bright with many an Angel,
And many a Martyr throng;
The Prince is ever in them,
The light is aye serene;
The Pastures of the Blessed
Are decked in glorious sheen;
There is the Throne of David,
And there, from toil released,
The shout of them that triumph,
The song of them that feast;
And they, beneath their Leader,
Who conquered in the fight,
For ever and for ever
Are clad in robes of white.
Jerusalem the glorious!
The glory of the elect,
O dear and future vision
That eager hearts expect:
Ev'n now by faith I see thee,
Ev'n here thy walls discern;
To thee my thoughts are kindled
And strive and pant and yearn:
Jerusalem the onely,
That look'st from Heav'n below,
In thee is all my glory,
In me is all my woe:
And though my body may not,
My spirit seeks thee fain;
Till flesh and earth return me
To earth and flesh again.
O Land that seest no sorrow!
O State that fear'st no strife!
O princely bowers! O Land of flowers!
O realm and Home of Life!


(Fifteenth Century)

About the year 1475 one William Caxton, a prosperous English wool
merchant of good standing and repute, began printing books. The art
which he introduced into his native country was quickly taken up by
others; first, it seems, by certain monks at St. Albans, and shortly
afterward by Wynkyn de Worde, who had been an apprentice to Caxton. In
1486 the press at St. Albans issued two books printed in English, of
which one was entitled 'The Boke of St. Albans.' Of this volume only
three perfect copies are known to exist. It is a compilation of
treatises on hawking, on hunting, and on heraldry, and contained but
little evidence as to their authorship. Ten years later Wynkyn de Worde
reprinted the work with additions, under the following elaborate title,
in the fashion of the time:--'Treatyse perteynynge to Hawkynge,
Huntynge, and Fysshynge with an Angle; also a right noble Treatyse on
the Lynage of Coote Armeris; ending with a Treatyse which specyfyeth of
Blasyng of Armys.'

[Illustration: JULIANA BERNERS]

The authorship of this volume, one of the earliest books printed in the
English language, has generally been ascribed to a certain (or
uncertain) Juliana Berners, Bernes, or Barnes, who lived in the early
part of the fifteenth century, and who is reputed to have been prioress
of the Nunnery of Sopwell,--long since in ruins,--near St. Albans, and
close to the little river Ver, which still conceals in its quiet pools
the speckled trout. If this attribution be correct, Dame Berners was the
first woman to write a book in English. Although the question of the
authorship is by no means settled, yet it is clear that the printer
believed the treatise on hunting to have been written by this lady, and
the critics now generally assign a portion at least of the volume to
her. In the sixteenth century the book became very popular, and was
reprinted many times.

Of the several treatises it contains, that on fishing has the greatest
interest, an interest increased by the fact that it probably suggested
'The Compleat Angler' of Izaak Walton, which appeared one hundred and
sixty years later.



Salomon in his parablys sayth that a glad spyryte makyth a flourynge
aege, that is a fayre aege and a longe. And syth it is soo: I aske this
questyon, whiche ben the meanes and the causes that enduce a man in to a
mery spyryte: Truly to my beste dyscrecon it seemeth good dysportes and
honest gamys in whom a man Joyeth without any repentaunce after.

Thenne folowyth it yt gode dysportes and honest games ben cause of
mannys fayr aege and longe life. And therefore now woll I chose of foure
good disportes and honest gamys, that is to wyte: of huntynge: hawkynge:
fysshynge: and foulynge. The best to my symple dyscrecon whyche is
fysshynge: called Anglynge wyth a rodde: and a lyne and an hoke. And
thereof to treate as my symple wytte may suffyce: both for the said
reason of Salomon and also for the reason that phisyk makyth in this
wyse. _Si tibi deficiant medici tibi fiant: hec tria mens leta labor et
moderata dieta_. Ye shall vnderstonde that this is for to saye, Yf a man
lacke leche or medicyne he shall make thre thynges his leche and
medicyne: and he shall nede neuer no moo. The fyrste of theym is a mery
thought. The seconde is labour not outrageo. The thyrd is dyete

Here folowyth the order made to all those whiche shall haue the
vnderstondynge of this forsayd treatyse & vse it for theyr pleasures.

Ye that can angle & take fysshe to your pleasures as this forsayd
treatyse techyth & shewyth you: I charge & requyre you in the name of
alle noble men that ye fysshe not in noo poore mannes seuerall water: as
his ponde: stewe: or other necessary thynges to kepe fysshe in wythout
his lycence & good wyll. Nor that ye vse not to breke noo mannys gynnys
lyenge in theyr weares & in other places dve vuto theym. Ne to take the
fysshe awaye that is taken in theym. For after a fysshe is taken in a
mannys gynne yf the gynne be layed in the comyn waters: or elles in
suche waters as he hireth, it is his owne propre goodes. And yf ye take
it awaye ye robbe hym: whyche is a ryght shamfull dede to ony noble man
to do yt that theuys & brybours done: whyche are punysshed for theyr
evyll dedes by the necke & other wyse whan they maye be aspyed & taken.
And also yf ye do in lyke manere as this treatise shewyth you: ye shal
haue no nede to take of other menys: whiles ye shal haue ynough of your
owne takyng yf ye lyste to labour therfore. Whyche shall be to you a
very pleasure to se the fayr bryght shynynge scalyd fysshes dysceyved by
your crafty meanes & drawen vpon londe. Also that ye breke noo mannys
heggys in goynge abowte your dysportes: ne opyn noo mannes gates but
that ye shytte theym agayn. Also ye shall not vse this forsayd crafty
dysporte for no covety senes to thencreasynge & sparynge of your money
oonly, but pryncypally for your solace & to cause the helthe of your
body, and specyally of your soule. For whanne ye purpoos to goo on your
disportes in fysshyng ye woll not desyre gretly many persones wyth you,
whiche myghte lette you of your game. And thenne ye maye serue God
deuowtly in sayenge affectuously youre custumable prayer. And thus
doynge ye shall eschewe & voyde many vices, as ydylnes whyche is
pryncypall cause to enduce man to many other vyces, as it is ryght
well knowen.

Also ye shall not be to rauenous in takyng of your sayd game as to moche
at one tyme: whyche ye maye lyghtly doo, yf ye doo in euery poynt as
this present treatyse shewyth you in euery poynt, whyche lyghtly be
occasyon to dystroye your owne dysportes & other mennys also. As whan ye
haue a suffycyent mese ye sholde coveyte nomore as at that tyme. Also ye
shall besye yourselfe to nouryssh the game in all that ye maye: & to
dystroye all such thynges as ben devourers of it. And all those that
done after this rule shall haue the blessynge of god & saynt Petyr,
whyche be theym graunte that wyth his precyous blood vs boughte.

And for by cause that this present treatyse sholde not come to the
hondys of eche ydle persone whyche wolde desire it yf it were enpryntyd
allone by itself & put in a lytyll plaunflet therfore I have compylyd it
in a greter volume of dyverse bokys concernynge to gentyll & noble men
to the entent that the forsayd ydle persones whyche sholde have but
lytyll mesure in the sayd dysporte of fyshyng sholde not by this meane
utterly dystroye it.


Reprinted by Thomas White, Crane Court




Walter Besant, born in Portsmouth, England, in 1838, did not begin his
career as a novelist till he was thirty years old. His preparation for
the works that possess so certain a maturity of execution, with as
certain an ideal of performance, was made at King's College, London, and
afterwards at Christ's College, Cambridge, where he took mathematical
honors. Abandoning his idea of entering the Church, he taught for seven
years in the Royal College of Mauritius. Ill health compelled his return
to England, and he then took up literature as a profession. His first
novel he had the courage to burn when the first publisher to whom he
showed it refused it.

But the succeeding years brought forth 'Studies in Early French Poetry,'
a delicate and scholarly series of essays; an edition of Rabelais, of
whom he is the biographer and disciple, and, with Professor Palmer, a
'History of Jerusalem,' a work for which he had equipped himself when
secretary of the Palestine Exploration Fund.

[Illustration: WALTER BESANT]

Mr. Besant was also a student in another special field. He knew his
Dickens as no other undergraduate in the University knew that branch of
polite literature, and passed an examination on the 'Pickwick Papers'
which the author declared that he himself would have failed in. By these
processes Mr. Besant fitted himself mentally and socially for the task
of story-telling. The relations of a man of letters to the rest of the
world are comprehensively revealed in the long list of his novels.

From the beginning he was one who comes with a tale "which holdeth
children from play and old men from the chimney corner"; nor is the
charm lessened by the sense of a living and kindly voice addressing the
hearer. His novels are easy reading, and do not contain an obscure
sentence. As art is an expression of the artist's mind, and not a rigid
ecclesiastical canon, it may be expressed in as many formulas as there
are artists. Therefore, while to few readers life casts the rosy
reflection that we have learned to call Besantine, one would not wish it
to disappear nor to be discredited.

It was in the year 1869 that Walter Besant, by a happy chance, made the
acquaintance of James Rice, the editor of Once a Week, and became a
contributor to that magazine. In 1871 that literary partnership between
them began, which is interesting in the history of collaboration. Mr.
Rice had been a barrister, and added legal lore to Mr. Besant's varied
and accurate literary equipment. The brilliant series of novels that
followed includes 'Ready-Money Morti-boy,' 'My Little Girl,' 'With Harp
and Crown,' 'The Golden Butterfly,' 'The Seamy Side,' and 'The Chaplain
of the Fleet.' The latter story, that of an innocent young country girl
left to the guardianship of her uncle, chaplain of the Fleet prison, by
the death of her father, is delicately and surprisingly original. The
influence of Dickens is felt in the structure of the story, and the
faithful, almost photographic fidelity to locality betrays in whose
footsteps the authors have followed; but the chaplain, though he belongs
to a family whose features are familiar to the readers of 'Little
Dorrit' and 'Great Expectations,' has not existed until he appears in
these pages,--pompous, clever, and without principle, but not lacking in
natural affection. The young girl whose guileless belief in everybody
forces the worst people to assume the characters her purity and
innocence endows them with, is to the foul prison what Picciola was to
Charney. Nor will the moralist find fault with the author whose kind
heart teaches him to include misfortune in his catalogue of virtues.

Mr. Rice died in 1882, and 'All Sorts and Conditions of Men,' Mr.
Besant's first independent novel, appeared the same year. It is a novel
with a purpose, and accomplished its purpose because an artist's hand
was necessary to paint the picture of East London that met with such a
response as the People's Palace. The appeal to philanthropy was a new
one. It was a plea for a little more of the pleasures and graces of life
for the two million of people who inhabit the east end of the great
city. It is not a picture of life in the lowest phases, where the scenes
are as dramatic as in the highest social world, but a story of human
life; the nobility, the meanness, the pathos of it in hopelessly
commonplace surroundings, where the fight is not a hand-to-hand struggle
with bitter poverty or crime, but with dullness and monotony. The
characters in 'All Sorts and Conditions of Men' are possibly more
typical than real, but one hesitates to question either characters or
situation. The "impossible story" has become true, and the vision that
the enthusiastic young hero and heroine dream has materialized into a
lovely reality.

'The Children of Gibeon' (1884) and 'The World Went Very Well Then'
(1885) are written with the same philanthropic purpose; but if Sir
Walter Besant were not first of all a story-teller, the possessor of a
living voice that holds one spellbound till he has finished his tale,
the reader would be more sensible of the wide knowledge of the novelist,
and his familiarity with life in its varied forms.

Here are about thirty novels, displaying an intimate knowledge of many
crafts, trades, and professions, the ways of landsman and voyager, of
country and town, of the new world and the old, of modern charlatanism
as shown in 'Herr Paulus,' of the "woman question" among London Jews as
in the 'Rebel Queen,' and the suggestion of the repose and sufficiency
of life's simple needs as told in 'Call Her Mine' and 'Celia's Arbor.'

In the 'Ivory Gate' the hero is the victim of a remarkable
hallucination; in the story of 'The Inner House' the plummet of
suggestion plunges into depths not sounded before, and the soul's
regeneration is unfolded in the loveliest of parables.

The range of Sir Walter Besant reaches from the somewhat
conventionalized 'Dorothy Forster' to 'St. Katharine's Tower,' where
deep tragedy approaches the melodramatic, or from the fascination of
'The Master Craftsman' to the 'Wapping Idyll' of the heaps of miser's
treasure. There is largeness of stroke in this list, and a wide
prospect. His humor is of the cheerful outdoor kind, and the laugh is at
foibles rather than weakness. He pays little attention to fashion in
literature, except to give a good-natured nod to a passing fad.

It would be difficult to classify him under any school. His stories are
not analytical, nor is one conscious of that painstaking fidelity to art
which is no longer classed among the minor virtues. When he fights, it
is with wrong and oppression and the cheerless monotony of the lives of
the poor; but he fights classes rather than individuals, although
certain characters like Fielding the plagiarist, in 'Armorel of
Lyonesse,' are studied from life. The village of bankrupts in 'All in a
Garden Fair' is a whimsical conceit, like the disguise of Angela in 'All
Sorts and Conditions of Men,' and the double identity of Edmund Gray in
'The Ivory Gate.' In reading Besant we are constantly reminded that
humanity is wider than the world; and though its simplest facts are its
greatest, there is both interest and edification in eccentricities.

In 1895 he was made a baronet, and is president of the Society of
Authors, of whom he has been a gallant champion against the publishers.


From Sir Walter Besant's 'London': Harper and Brothers

The London house, either in Saxon or Norman time, presented no kind of
resemblance to the Roman villa. It had no cloisters, no hypocaust, no
suite or sequence of rooms. This unlikeness is another proof, if any
were wanting, that the continuity of tenure had been wholly broken. If
the Saxons went into London, as has been suggested, peaceably, and left
the people to carry on their old life and their trade in their own way,
the Roman and British architecture--no new thing, but a style grown up
in course of years and found fitted to the climate--would certainly have
remained. That, however, was not the case. The Englishman developed his
house from the patriarchal idea.

First, there was the common hall; in this the household lived, fed,
transacted business, and made their cheer in the evenings. It was built
of timber, and to keep out the cold draughts it was afterwards lined
with tapestry. At first they used simple cloths, which in great houses
were embroidered and painted; _perches_ of various kinds were affixed to
the walls, whereon the weapons, the musical instruments, the cloaks,
etc., were hung up. The lord and lady sat on a high seat; not, I am
inclined to think, on a dais at the end of the hall, which would have
been cold for them, but on a great chair near the fire, which was
burning in the middle of the hall. This fashion long continued. I have
myself seen a college hall warmed by a fire in a brazier burning under
the lantern of the hall. The furniture consisted of benches; the table
was laid on trestles, spread with a white cloth, and removed after
dinner; the hall was open to all who came, on condition that the guest
should leave his weapons at the door.

The floor was covered with reeds, which made a clean, soft, and warm
carpet, on which the company could, if they pleased, lie round the fire.
They had carpets or rugs also, but reeds were commonly used. The
traveler who chances to find himself at the ancient and most interesting
town of Kingston-on-Hull, which very few English people, and still fewer
Americans, have the curiosity to explore, should visit the Trinity
House. There, among many interesting things, he will find a hall where
reeds are still spread, but no longer so thickly as to form a complete
carpet. I believe this to be the last survival of the reed carpet.

The times of meals were: the breakfast at about nine; the "noon-meat,"
or dinner, at twelve; and the "even-meat," or supper, probably at a
movable time, depending on the length of the day. When lighting was
costly and candles were scarce, the hours of sleep would be naturally
longer in winter than in the summer.

In their manner of living the Saxons were fond of vegetables, especially
of the leek, onion, and garlic. Beans they also had (these were
introduced probably at the time when they commenced intercourse with the
outer world), pease, radishes, turnips, parsley, mint, sage, cress, rue,
and other herbs. They had nearly all our modern fruits, though many show
by their names, which are Latin or Norman, a later introduction. They
made use of butter, honey, and cheese. They drank ale and mead. The
latter is still made, but in small quantities, in Somerset and Hereford
shires. The Normans brought over the custom of drinking wine.

In the earliest times the whole family slept in the common hall. The
first improvement was the erection of the solar, or upper chamber. This
was above the hall, or a portion of it, or over the kitchen and buttery
attached to the hall. The arrangement may be still observed in many of
the old colleges of Oxford or Cambridge. The solar was first the
sleeping-room of the lord and lady; though afterward it served not only
this purpose, but also for an ante-chamber to the dormitory of the
daughters and the maid-servants. The men of the household still slept in
the hall below. Later on, bed recesses were contrived in the wall, as
one may find in Northumberland at the present day. The bed was commonly,
but not for the ladies of the house, merely a big bag stuffed with
straw. A sheet wrapped round the body formed the only night-dress. But
there were also pillows, blankets, and coverlets. The early English bed
was quite as luxurious as any that followed after, until the invention
of the spring mattress gave a new and hitherto unhoped-for joy to the
hours of night.

The second step in advance was the ladies' bower, a room or suite of
rooms set apart for the ladies of the house and their women. For the
first time, as soon as this room was added, the women could follow their
own vocations of embroidery, spinning, and needlework of all kinds,
apart from the rough and noisy talk of the men.

The main features, therefore, of every great house, whether in town or
country, from the seventh to the twelfth century, were the hall, the
solar built over the kitchen and buttery, and the ladies' bower.

There was also the garden. In all times the English have been fond of
gardens. Bacon thought it not beneath his dignity to order the
arrangement of a garden. Long before Bacon, a writer of the twelfth
century describes a garden as it should be. "It should be adorned on
this side with roses, lilies, and the marigold; on that side with
parsley, cost, fennel, southernwood, coriander, sage, savery, hyssop,
mint, vine, dettany, pellitory, lettuce, cresses, and the peony. Let
there be beds enriched with onions, leeks, garlic, melons, and
scallions. The garden is also enriched by the cucumber, the soporiferous
poppy, and the daffodil, and the acanthus. Nor let pot herbs be wanting,
as beet-root, sorrel, and mallow. It is useful also to the gardener to
have anise, mustard, and wormwood.... A noble garden will give you
medlars, quinces, the pear main, peaches, pears of St. Regle,
pomegranates, citrons, oranges, almonds, dates, and figs." The latter
fruits were perhaps attempted, but one doubts their arriving at
ripeness. Perhaps the writer sets down what he hoped would be some
day achieved.

The indoor amusements of the time were very much like our own. We have a
little music in the evening; so did our forefathers. We sometimes have a
little dancing; so did they, but the dancing was done for them. We go to
the theatres to see the mime; in their days the mime made his theatre in
the great man's hall. He played the fiddle and the harp; he sang songs,
he brought his daughter, who walked on her hands and executed
astonishing capers; the gleeman, minstrel, or jongleur was already as
disreputable as when we find him later on with his _ribauderie_. Again,
we play chess; so did our ancestors. We gamble with dice; so did they.
We feast and drink together; so did they. We pass the time in talk; so
did they. In a word, as Alphonse Karr put it, the more we change, the
more we remain the same.

Out-of-doors, as Fitz-Stephen shows, the young men skated, wrestled,
played ball, practiced archery, held water tournaments, baited bull and
bear, fought cocks, and rode races. They were also mustered sometimes
for service in the field, and went forth cheerfully, being specially
upheld by the reassuring consciousness that London was always on the
winning side.

The growth of the city government belongs to the history of London.
Suffice it here to say that the people in all times enjoyed a freedom
far above that possessed by any other city of Europe. The history of
municipal London is a history of continual struggle to maintain this
freedom against all attacks, and to extend it and to make it
impregnable. Already the people are proud, turbulent, and confident in
their own strength. They refuse to own any other lord but the king
himself; there is no Earl of London. They freely hold their free and
open meetings, their folk-motes,--in the open space outside the
northwest corner of St. Paul's Churchyard. That they lived roughly,
enduring cold, sleeping in small houses in narrow courts; that they
suffered much from the long darkness of winter; that they were always in
danger of fevers, agues, "putrid" throats, plagues, fires by night, and
civil wars; that they were ignorant of letters,--three schools only for
the whole of London,--all this may very well be understood. But these
things do not make men and women wretched. They were not always
suffering from preventable disease; they were not always hauling their
goods out of the flames; they were not always fighting. The first and
most simple elements of human happiness are three; to wit, that a man
should be in bodily health, that he should be free, that he should enjoy
the produce of his own labor. All these things the Londoner possessed
under the Norman kings nearly as much as in these days they can be
possessed. His city has always been one of the healthiest in the world;
whatever freedom could be attained he enjoyed; and in that rich trading
town all men who worked lived in plenty.

The households, the way of living, the occupations of the women, can be
clearly made out in every detail from the Anglo-Saxon literature. The
women in the country made the garments, carded the wool, sheared the
sheep, washed the things, beat the flax, ground the corn, sat at the
spinning-wheel, and prepared the food. In the towns they had no shearing
to do, but all the rest of their duty fell to their province. The
English women excelled in embroidery. "English" work meant the best kind
of work. They worked church vestments with gold and pearls and precious
stones. "Orfrey," or embroidery in gold, was a special art. Of course
they are accused by the ecclesiastics of an overweening desire to wear
finery; they certainly curled their hair, and, one is sorry to read,
they painted, and thereby spoiled their pretty cheeks. If the man was
the hlaf-ord [lord],--the owner or winner of the loaf,--the wife was the
hlaf-dig [lady], its distributor; the servants and the retainers were
hlaf-oetas, or eaters of it. When nunneries began to be founded, the
Saxon ladies in great numbers forsook the world for the cloister. And
here they began to learn Latin, and became able at least to carry on
correspondence--specimens of which still exist--in that language. Every
nunnery possessed a school for girls. They were taught to read and to
write their own language and Latin, perhaps also rhetoric and
embroidery. As the pious Sisters were fond of putting on violet
chemises, tunics, and vests of delicate tissue, embroidered with silver
and gold, and scarlet shoes, there was probably not much mortification
of the flesh in the nunneries of the later Saxon times.

This for the better class. We cannot suppose that the daughters of the
craftsmen became scholars of the nunnery. Theirs were the lower
walks--to spin the linen and to make the bread and carry on the


From 'The Rebel Queen': Harper and Brothers

"D'un jour interieur je me sens eclaire,
Et j'entends une voix qui me dit d'esperer."--LAMARTINE.

"Are you ready, Francesca?"

Nelly ran lightly down the narrow stairs, dressed for Sabbath and
Synagogue. She was dainty and pretty at all times in the matter of
dress, but especially on a summer day, which affords opportunity for
bright color and bright drapery and an ethereal appearance. This morning
she was full of color and light. When, however, she found herself
confronted with Francesca's simple gray dress, so closely fitting, so
faultless, and her black-lace hat with its single rose for color,
Nelly's artistic sense caused her heart to sink like lead. It is not for
nothing that one learns and teaches the banjo; one Art leads to another;
she who knows music can feel for dress. "Oh!" she cried, clasping her
hands. "That's what we can never do!"


"That fit! Look at me! Yet they call me clever. Clara gives me the new
fashions and I copy them, and the girls in our street copy me--poor
things!--and the dressmaker comes to talk things over and to learn from
me. I make everything for myself. And they call me clever! But I can't
get near it; and if I can't nobody can."...

A large detached structure of red brick stood east and west, with a flat
facade and round windows that bore out the truth of the
date--1700--carved upon the front. A word or two in that square
character--that tongue which presents so few attractions to most of us
compared with other tongues--probably corroborated the internal evidence
of the facade and the windows.

"This is the synagogue," said Nelly. She entered, and turning to the
right, led the way up-stairs to a gallery running along the whole side
of the building. On the other side was another gallery. In front of both
was a tolerably wide grill, through which the congregation below could
be seen perfectly.

"This is the women's gallery," whispered Nell--there were not many women
present. "We'll sit in the front. Presently they will sing. They sing
beautifully. Now they're reading prayers and the Law. They've got to
read the whole Law through once a week, you know." Francesca looked
curiously through the grill. When one is in a perfectly strange place,
the first observations made are of small and unimportant things. She
observed that there was a circular inclosure at the east end, as if for
an altar; but there was no altar: two doors indicated a cupboard in the
wall. There were six tall wax-lights burning round the inclosure,
although the morning was fine and bright. At the west end a high screen
kept the congregation from the disturbance of those who entered or went
out. Within the screen was a company of men and boys, all with their
hats and caps on their heads; they looked like the choir. In front of
the choir was a platform railed round. Three chairs were placed at the
back of the platform. There was a table covered with red velvet, on
which lay the book of the Law, a ponderous roll of parchment provided
with silver staves or handles. Before this desk or table stood the
Reader. He was a tall and handsome man, with black hair and full black
beard, about forty years of age. He wore a gown and large Geneva bands,
like a Presbyterian minister; on his head he had a kind of biretta. Four
tall wax candles were placed round the front of the platform. The chairs
were occupied by two or three elders. A younger man stood at the desk
beside the Reader. The service was already begun--it was, in fact,
half over.

Francesca observed next that all the men wore a kind of broad scarf,
made of some white stuff about eight feet long and four feet broad.
Bands of black or blue were worked in the ends, which were also provided
with fringes. "It is the Talleth," Nelly whispered. Even the boys wore
this white robe, the effect of which would have been very good but for
the modern hat, tall or pot, which spoiled all. Such a robe wants a
turban above it, not an English hat. The seats were ranged along the
synagogue east and west. The place was not full, but there were a good
many worshipers. The service was chanted by the Reader. It was a kind of
chant quite new and strange to Francesca. Like many young persons
brought up with no other religion than they can pick up for themselves,
she was curious and somewhat learned in the matter of ecclesiastical
music and ritual, which she approached, owing to her education, with
unbiased mind. She knew masses and anthems and hymns and chants of all
kinds; never had she heard anything of this kind before. It was not
congregational, or Gregorian; nor was it repeated by the choir from
side to side; nor was it a monotone with a drop at the end; nor was it a
florid, tuneful chant such as one may hear in some Anglican services.
This Reader, with a rich, strong voice, a baritone of great power, took
nearly the whole of the service--it must have been extremely
fatiguing--upon himself, chanting it from beginning to end. No doubt, as
he rendered the reading and the prayers, so they had been given by his
ancestors in Spain and Portugal generation after generation, back into
the times when they came over in Phoenician ships to the Carthaginian
colonies, even before the dispersion of the Ten Tribes. It was a
traditional chant of antiquity beyond record--not a monotonous chant.
Francesca knew nothing of the words; she grew tired of trying to make
out whereabouts on the page the Reader might be in the book lent her,
which had Hebrew on one side and English on the other. Besides, the man
attracted her--by his voice, by his energy, by his appearance. She
closed her book and surrendered herself to the influence of the voice
and the emotions which it expressed.

There was no music to help him. From time to time the men in the
congregation lifted up their voices--not seemingly in response, but as
if moved to sudden passion and crying out with one accord. This helped
him a little, otherwise he was without any assistance.

A great Voice. The man sometimes leaned over the Roll of the Law,
sometimes he stood upright, always his great Voice went up and down and
rolled along the roof and echoed along the benches of the women's
gallery. Now the Voice sounded a note of rejoicing; now, but less often,
a note of sadness; now it was a sharp and sudden cry of triumph. Then
the people shouted with him--it was as if they clashed sword on shield
and yelled for victory; now it was a note of defiance, as when men go
forth to fight an enemy; now it sank to a murmur, as of one who consoles
and soothes and promises things to come; now it was a note of rapture,
as if the Promised Land was already recovered.

Was all that in the Voice? Did the congregation, all sitting wrapped in
their white robes, feel these emotions as the Voice thundered and
rolled? I know not. Such was the effect produced upon one who heard this
Voice for the first time. At first it seemed loud, even barbaric; there
was lacking something which the listener and stranger had learned to
associate with worship. What was it? Reverence? But she presently found
reverence In plenty, only of a kind that differed from that of Christian
worship. Then the listener made another discovery. In this ancient
service she missed the note of humiliation. There was no Litany at a
Faldstool. There was no kneeling in abasement; there was no appearance
of penitence, sorrow, or the confession of sins. The Voice was as the
Voice of a Captain exhorting his soldiers to fight. The service was
warlike, the service of a people whose trust in their God is so great
that they do not need to call perpetually upon Him for the help and
forgiveness of which they are assured. Yes, yes--she thought--this is
the service of a race of warriors; they are fighting men: the Lord is
their God; He is leading them to battle: as for little sins, and
backslidings, and penitences, they belong to the Day of Atonement--which
comes once a year. For all the other days in the year, battle and
victory occupy all the mind. The service of a great fighting people; a
service full of joy, full of faith, full of assurance, full of hope and
confidence--such assurance as few Christians can understand, and of
faith to which few Christians can attain. Perhaps Francesca was wrong;
but these were her first impressions, and these are mostly true.

In the body of the synagogue men came late. Under one gallery was a
school of boys, in the charge of a graybeard, who, book in hand,
followed the service with one eye, while he admonished perpetually the
boys to keep still and to listen. The boys grew restless; it was tedious
to them--the Voice which expressed so much to the stranger who knew no
Hebrew at all was tedious to the children; they were allowed to get up
and run into the court outside and then to come back again; nobody
heeded their going in and out. One little boy of three, wrapped, like
the rest, in a white Talleth, ran up and down the side aisle without
being heeded--even by the splendid Beadle with the gold-laced hat, which
looked so truly wonderful above the Oriental Talleth. The boys in the
choir got up and went in and out just as they pleased. Nobody minded.
The congregation, mostly well-to-do men with silk hats, sat in their
places, book in hand, and paid no attention.

Under the opposite gallery sat two or three rows of worshipers, who
reminded Francesca of Browning's poem of St. John's Day at Rome. For
they nudged and jostled each other; they whispered things; they even
laughed over the things they whispered. But they were clad like those in
the open part in the Talleth, and they sat book in hand, and from time
to time they raised their voices with the congregation. They showed no
reverence except that they did not talk or laugh loudly. They were like
the children, their neighbors,--just as restless, just as uninterested,
just as perfunctory. Well, they were clearly the poorer and the more
ignorant part of the community. They came here and sat through the
service because they were ordered so to do; because, like Passover, and
the Feast of Tabernacles, and the Fast of Atonement, it was the Law of
their People.

The women in the gallery sat or stood. They neither knelt nor sang
aloud; they only sat when it was proper to sit, or stood when it was
proper to stand. They were like the women, the village women, in a
Spanish or Italian church, for whom everything is done. Francesca, for
the moment, felt humiliated that she should be compelled to sit apart
from the congregation, railed off in the women's gallery, to have her
religion done for her, without a voice of her own in it at all. So, I
have heard, indignation sometimes fills the bosom of certain ladies when
they reflect upon the fact that they are excluded from the choir, and
forbidden even to play the organ in their own parish church.

The chanting ceased; the Reader sat down. Then the Choir began. They
sang a hymn--a Hebrew hymn--the rhythm and metre were not English; the
music was like nothing that can be heard in a Christian Church. "It is
the music," said Nelly, "to which the Israelites crossed the Red Sea:" a
bold statement, but--why not? If the music is not of Western origin and
character, who can disprove such an assertion? After the hymn the
prayers and reading went on again.

There came at last--it is a long service, such as we poor weak-kneed
Anglicans could not endure--the end. There was a great bustle and
ceremony on the platform; they rolled up the Roll of the Law; they
wrapped it in a purple velvet cloth; they hung over it a silver
breastplate set with twelve jewels for the Twelve Tribes--in memory of
the Urim and Thummim. Francesca saw that the upper ends of the staves
were adorned with silver pomegranates and with silver bells, and they


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