Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (18071882). Complete Poetical Works. 1893.
III. Notes and Illustrations
Hymn of the Moravian Nuns of Bethlehem. [This poem was suggested by the following sentence in an article upon Pulaski in the North American Review, for April, 1825: The standard of his legion was formed of a piece of crimson silk embroidered by the Moravian Nuns of Bethlehem in Pennsylvania. The historic facts in regard to the banner appear to be that Pulaski ordered it of the Moravian sisters at Bethlehem, who helped to support their house by needlework. This banner is preserved in the cabinet of the Maryland Historical Society at Baltimore; it is twenty inches square and made to be carried on a lance. It is of double silk, now so much faded and discolored by time as to make it impossible to determine its original color. On both sides designs are embroidered with what was yellow silk, shaded with green, and deep silk fringe bordering. On both sides designs are embroidered with what was yellow silk, shaded with green, and deep silk fringe bordering. On one side are the letters U.S., and in a circle around them the words, Unitas Virtus Fortior; on the other side, in the centre, is embroidered an all-seeing eye and the words Non Alius Regit. Pulaski received a mortal wound at the siege of Savannah, and dying on one of the vessels of the fleet when he was on his way north, was buried at sea. It is said that Lafayette lay sick at Bethlehem, and that it was on a visit to his brother officer that Pulaski ordered the flag. Its size, in any event, would have precluded its use as a shroud.]
The Skeleton in Armor. [The historic groundwork upon which Mr. Longfellow built his legend is in two parts, the Newport tower and the Fall River skeleton. The passage from Rafn, to which Mr. Longfellow refers as affording a poet sufficient basis upon which to build, is as follows:
There is no mistaking in this instance the style in which the more ancient stone edifices of the North were constructed,the style which belongs to the Roman or Ante-Gothic architecture, and which, especially after the time of Charlemagne, diffused itself from Italy over the whole of the West and North of Europe, where it continued to predominate until the close of the twelfth century,that style which some authors have, from one of its most striking characteristics, called the round arch style, the same which in England is denominated Saxon and sometimes Norman architecture.
On the ancient structure in Newport there are no ornaments remaining which might possibly have served to guide us in assigning the probable date of its erection. That no vestige whatever is found of the pointed arch, nor any approximation to it, is indicative of an earlier rather than of a later period. From such characteristics as remain, however, we can scarcely form any other inference than one, in which I am persuaded that all who are familiar with Old-Northern architecture will concur, THAT THIS BUILDING WAS ERECTED AT A PERIOD DECIDEDLY NOT LATER THAN THE TWELFTH CENTURY. This remark applies, of course, to the original building only, and not to the alterations that it subsequently received; for there are several such alterations in the upper part of the building which cannot be mistaken, and which were most likely occasioned by its being adapted in modern times to various uses; for example, as the substructure of a windmill, and latterly as a hay magazine. To the same times may be referred the windows, the fire-place, and the apertures made above the columns. That this building could not have been erected for a windmill, is what an architect will easily discern.
Dr. Palfrey, in his History of New England, so cogently presented the reasons for believing this tower to have been constructed by Governor Arnold, that most students have since been disposed to accept this explanation; but there have not been wanting those who maintained other views, as witness an article by R. G. Hatfield in Scribners Monthly for March, 1879, in which the author maintains that the old mill at Newport ought to be called the Vinland Baptistery; and also an article by Mr. S. Edward Forbes who maintains that the structure had nothing in common with the Chesterton mill in Warwickshire, with which it is commonly compared.
With regard to the Fall River skeleton, which with its appurtenances was unfortunately burned before it could be satisfactorily examined by experts, the following description taken from The American Monthly Magazine for January, 1836, will give the reader as full an account as is now possible:
In digging down a hill near the village, a large mass of earth slid off, leaving in the bank and partially uncovered a human skull, which on examination was found to belong to a body buried in a sitting posture; the head being about one foot below what had been for many years the surface of the ground. The surrounding earth was carefully removed, and the body found to be enveloped in a covering of coarse bark of a dark color. Within this envelope were found the remains of another of coarse cloth, made of fine bark, and about the texture of a Manilla coffee bag. On the breast was a plate of brass, thirteen inches long, six broad at the upper end, and five in the lower. This plate appears to have been cast, and is from one eighth to three thirty-seconds of an inch in thickness. It is so much corroded that whether or not anything was engraved upon it has not yet been ascertained. It is oval in form, the edges being irregular, apparently made so by corrosion. Below the breastplate, and entirely encircling the body, was a belt composed of brass tubes, each four and a half inches in length, and three sixteenths of an inch in diameter, arranged longitudinally and close together, the length of the tube being the width of the belt. The tubes are of thin brass, cast upon hollow reeds, and were fastened together by pieces of sinew. Near the right knee was a quiver of arrows. The arrows are of brass, thin, flat, and triangular in shape, with a round hole cut through near the base. The shaft was fastened to the head by inserting the latter in an opening at the end of the wood and then tying with a sinew through the round hole, a mode of constructing the weapon never practised by the Indians, not even with their arrows of thin shell. Parts of the shaft still remain on some of them. When first discovered, the arrows were in a sort of quiver of bark, which fell to pieces when exposed to the air.
Abernuncio Satanas! Digo, Señora, respondió Sancho, lo que ten-go dicho, que de los azotes abernuncio. Abrenuncio, habeis de decir, Sancho, y no como decis, dijo el Duque.Don Quixote, Part II., ch. 35.
Asks if his money-bags would rise. ?Y volviéndome á un lado, ví á un Avariento, que estaba preguntando á otro, (que por haber sido embalsamado, y estar léxos sus tripas no hablaba, porque no habian llegado si habian de resucitar aquel dia todos los enterrados) si resucitarian unos bolsones suyos?El Sueño de las Calaveras.
The evil eye. In the Gitano language, casting the evil eye is called Querelar nasula, which simply means making sick, and which, according to the common superstition, is accomplished by casting an evil look at people, especially children, who, from the tenderness of their constitution, are supposed to be more easily blighted than those of a more mature age. After receiving the evil glance, they fall sick, and die in a few hours.
The Spaniards have very little to say respecting the evil eye, though the belief in it is very prevalent, especially in Andalusia, amongst the lower orders. A stags horn is considered a good safeguard, and on that account a small horn, tipped with silver, is frequently attached to the childrens necks by means of a cord braided from the hair of a black mares tail. Should the evil glance be cast, it is imagined that the horn receives it, and instantly snaps asunder. Such horns may be purchased in some of the silversmiths shops at Seville.Borrows Zincali, vol. i., ch. 9.
All the Foresters of Flanders. The title of Foresters was given to the early governors of Flanders, appointed by the kings of France. Lyderick du Bucq, in the days of Clotaire the Second, was the first of them; and Beaudoin Bras-de-Fer, who stole away the fair Judith, daughter of Charles the Bald, from the French court, and married her in Bruges, was the last. After him the title of Forester was changed to that of Count. Philippe dAlsace, Guy de Dampierre, and Louis de Crécy, coming later, in the order of time, were therefore rather Counts than Foresters. Philippe went twice to the Holy Land as a Crusader, and died of the plague at St. Jean-dAcre, shortly after the capture of the city by the Christians. Guy de Dampierre. died in the prison of Compiégne. Louis de Crécy was son and successor of Robert de Béthune, who strangled his wife, Yolande de Bourgogne, with the bridle of his horse, for having poisoned, at the age of eleven years, Charles, his son by his first wife, Blanche dAnjou.
Stately dames, like queens attended. When Philippe-le-Bel, king of France, visited Flanders with his queen, she was so astonished at the magnificence of the dames of Bruges, that she exclaimed: Je croyais être seule reine ici, mais il paraît que ceux de Flandre qui se trouvent dans nos prisons sont tous des princes, car leurs femmes sont habillées commedes princesses et des reines.
When the burgomasters of Ghent, Bruges, and Y pres went to Paris to pay homage to King John, in 1351, they were received with great pomp and distinction; but, being invited to a festival, they observed that their seats at table were not furnished with cushions; whereupon, to make known their displeasure at this want of regard to their dignity, they folded their richly embroidered cloaks and seated themselves upon them. On rising from table, they left their cloaks behind them, and, being informed of their apparent forgetfulness, Simon van Eertrycke, burgomaster of Bruges, replied, We Flemings are not in the habit of carrying away our cushions after dinner.
Knights who bore the Fleece of Gold. Philippe de Bourgogne, surnamed Le Bon, espoused Isabella of Portugal on the 10th of January, 1430; and on the same day instituted the famous order of the Fleece of Gold.
I beheld the gentle Mary. Marie de Valois, Duchess of Burgundy, was left by the death of her father, Charles le Téméraire, at the age of twenty, the richest heiress of Europe. She came to Bruges, as Countess of Flanders, in 1477, and in the same year was married by proxy to the Archduke Maximilian. According to the custom of the time, the Duke of Bavaria, Maximilians substitute, slept with the princess. They were both in complete dress, separated by a naked sword, and attended by four armed guards. Marie was adored by her subjects for her gentleness and her many other virtues.
Maximilian was son of the Emperor Frederick the Third, and is the same person mentioned afterwards in the poem of Nuremberg as the Kaiser Maximilian, and the hero of Pfinzings poem of Teuerdank. Having been imprisoned by the revolted burghers of Bruges, they refused to release him till he consented to kneel in the public square, and to swear on the Holy Evangelists and the body of Saint Donatus that he would not take vengeance upon them for their rebellion.
The bloody battle of the Spurs of Gold. This battle, the most memorable in Flemish history, was fought under the walls of Court-ray, on the 11th of July, 1302, between the French and the Flemings, the former commanded by Robert, Comte dArtois, and the latter by Guillaume de Juliers, and Jean, Comte de Namur. The French army was completely routed, with a loss of twenty thousand infantry and seven thousand cavalry; among whom were sixty-three princes, dukes, and counts, seven hundred lords-banneret, and eleven hundred noblemen. The flower of the French nobility perished on that day; to which history has given the name of the Journée des Eperons dOr, from the great number of golden spurs found on the field of battle. Seven hundred of them were hung up as a trophy in the church of Notre Dame de Courtray; and, as the cavaliers of that day wore but a single spur each, these vouched to God for the violent and bloody death of seven hundred of his creatures.
Saw the fight at Minnewater. When the inhabitants of Bruges were digging a canal at Minnewater, to bring the waters of the Lys from Deynze to their city, they were attacked and routed by the citizens of Ghent, whose commerce would have been much injured by the canal. They were led by Jean Lyons, captain of a military company at Ghent, called the Chaperons Blancs. He had great sway over the turbulent populace, who, in those prosperous times of the city, gained an easy livelihood by laboring two or three days in the week, and had the remaining four or five to devote to public affairs. The fight at Minnewater was followed by open rebellion against Louis de Maele, the Count of Flanders and Protector of Bruges. His superb château of Wondelghem was pillaged and burnt; and the insurgents forced the gates of Bruges, and entered in triumph, with Lyons mounted at their head. A few days afterwards he died suddenly, perhaps by poison.
Meanwhile the insurgents received a check at the village of Nevèle; and two hundred of them perished in the church, which was burned by the Counts orders. One of the chiefs, Jean de Lannoy, took refuge in the belfry. From the summit of the tower he held forth his purse filled with gold, and begged for deliverance. It was in vain. His enemies cried to him from below to save himself as best he might; and, half suffocated with smoke and flame, he threw himself from the tower and perished at their feet. Peace was soon afterwards established, and the Count retired to faithful Bruges.
The Golden Dragons nest. The Golden Dragon, taken from the church of St. Sophia, at Constantinople, in one of the Crusades, and placed on the belfry of Bruges, was afterwards transported to Ghent by Philip van Artevelde, and still adorns the belfry of that city.
The inscription on the alarm-bell at Ghent is, Mynen naem is Roland; als ik klep is er brand, and als ik luy is er victorie in het land. My name is Roland; when I toll there is fire, and when I ring there is victory in the land.
Sat the poet Melchior singing Kaiser Maximilians praise. Melchior Pfinzing was one of the most celebrated German poets of the sixteenth century. The hero of his Teuerdank was the reigning Emperor, Maximilian; and the poem was to the Germans of that day what the Orlando Furioso was to the Italians. Maximilian is mentioned before, in the Belfry of Bruges. See preceding page.
In the church of sainted Sebald sleeps enshrined his holy dust. The tomb of Saint Sebald, in the church which bears his name, is one of the richest works of art in Nuremberg. It is of bronze, and was cast by Peter Vischer and his sons, who labored upon it thirteen years. It is adorned with nearly one hundred figures, among which those of the Twelve Apostles are conspicuous for size and beauty.
In the church of sainted Lawrence stands a pix of sculpture rare. This pix, or tabernacle for the vessels of the sacrament, is by the hand of Adam Kraft. It is an exquisite piece of sculpture in white stone, and rises to the height of sixty-four feet. It stands in the choir, whose richly painted windows cover it with varied colors.
Wisest of the Twelve Wise Masters. The Twelve Wise Masters was the title of the original corporation of the Mastersingers. Hans Sachs, the cobbler of Nuremberg, though not one of the original Twelve, was the most renowned of the Mastersingers, as well as the most voluminous. He flourished in the sixteenth century; and left behind him thirty-four folio volumes of manuscript, containing two hundred and eight plays, one thousand and seven hundred comic tales, and between four and five thousand lyric poems.
As the old man, gray and dove-like. [In a letter to Freiligrath, written in the spring of 1844, Mr. Longfellow says: Here I send you a poem on Nuremberg . I trust I have not mistranslated wie ein Taub Jermas. It certainly stands for eine Taube or ein Tauber, and is dove and not deaf, though old Hans Sachs was deaf. But that Puschman describes afterwards when he says:
Dann sein Red und
Ihne abzugehn, etc.
Therefore dove-like it is and shall be, for F. says I would have it so at any rate! and at any rate I will.]
Who, unharmed, on his tusks once caught the bolts of the thunder. A delegation of warriors from the Delaware tribe having visited the governor of Virginia, during the Revolution, on matters of business, after these had been discussed and settled in council, the governor asked them some questions relative to their country, and, among others, what they knew or had heard of the animal whose bones were found at the Saltlicks on the Ohio. Their chief speaker immediately put himself into an attitude of oratory, and, with a pomp suited to what he conceived the elevation of his subject, informed him that it was a tradition handed down from their fathers, that in ancient times a herd of these tremendous animals came to the Big-bone licks, and began an universal destruction of the bear, deer, elks, buffaloes, and other animals which had been created for the use of the Indians: that the Great Man above, looking down and seeing this, was so enraged that he seized his lightning, descended on the earth, seated himself on a neighboring mountain, on a rock of which his seat and the print of his feet are still to be seen, and hurled his bolts among them till the whole were slaughtered, except the big bull, who, presenting his forehead to the shafts, shook them off as they fell; but missing one at length, it wounded him in the side; whereon, springing round, he bounded over the Ohio, over the Wabash, the Illinois, and finally over the great lakes, where he is living at this day.Jeffersons Notes on Virginia, Query VI.
Once some ancient Scald. [In commenting on this poem in his diary, Mr. Longfellow writes: What is said of the Scald refers, of course, only to some of the melodies, which may possibly be as old as the days of Hakon Jarl, or older. Hamlet and Yorick are only symbolical of any old king and his jester.]
Vogelweid the Minnesinger. Walter von der Vogelweid, or Bird-Meadow, was one of the principal Minnesingers of the thirteenth century. He triumphed over Hein-rich von Ofterdingen in that poetic contest at Wartburg Castle, known in literary history as the War of Wartburg.
Like imperial Charlemagne. Charlemagne may be called by preëminence the monarch of farmers. According to the German tradition, in seasons of great abundance, his spirit crosses the Rhine on a golden bridge at Bingen, and blesses the cornfields and the vineyards. During his lifetime, he did not disdain, says Montesquieu, to sell the eggs from the farmyards of his domains, and the superfluous vegetables of his gardens; while he distributed among his people the wealth of the Lombards and the immense treasures of the Huns.
List to a Tale of Love in Acadie, home of the happy. [In the earliest records Acadie is called Cadie; afterwards it was called Arcadia, Accadia, or LAcadie. The name is probably a French adaptation of a word common among the Micmac Indians, signifying place or region, and used as an affix to other words to indicate the place where various things, such as cranberries, eels, seals, were found in abundance. The French turned this Indian term into Cadie or Acadie; the English into Quoddy, in which form it remains when applied to the Quoddy Indians, to Quoddy Head, the last point of the United States next to Acadia, and in the compound Passamaquoddy, or Pollock-Ground.]
Lucky was he who found that stone in the nest of the swallow. [If the eyes of one of the young of a swallow be put out, the mother bird will bring from the sea-shore a little stone, which will immediately restore its sight; fortunate is the person who finds this little stone in the nest, for it is a miraculous remedy. Pluquet, Contes Populaires, quoted by Wright, Literature and Superstitions of England in the Middle Ages, I. 128.]
For he told them tales. [The stories of the Loup-garou, or were-wolf, and the Létiche, and the miraculous properties of spiders, clover, and horseshoes, may be found in Pluquet, Contes Populaires, who conjectures that the white fleet ermine fox gave rise to the story of the Létiche.]
On the Acadian coast, and the prairies of fair Opelousas. [Between the 1st of January and the 13th of May, 1765, about six hundred and fifty Acadians had arrived at New Orleans. The existence of a French population there attracted the exiles, and they were sent by the authorities to form settlements in Attakapas and Opelousas. They afterward established themselves on both sides of the Mississippi from the German Coast to Baton Rouge and even as high as Pointe Coupée. Hence the name of Acadian Coast, which a portion of the banks of the river still bears. See Gayarrés History of Louisiana, the French Dominion, vol. II.]
I wish to anticipate a criticism on this passage, by stating that sometimes, though not usually, vessels are launched fully sparred and rigged. I have availed myself of the exception as better suited to my purposes than the general rule; but the reader will see that it is neither a blunder nor a poetic license. On this subject a friend in Portland, Maine, writes me thus:
In this State, and also, I am told, in New York, ships are sometimes rigged upon the stocks, in order to save time, or to make a show. There was a fine large ship launched last summer at Ellsworth, fully sparred and rigged. Some years ago a ship was launched here, with her rigging, spars, sails, and cargo aboard. She sailed the next day andwas never heard of again! I hope this will not be the fate of your poem!
Sir Humphrey Gilbert sailed. When the wind abated and the vessels were near enough, the Admiral was seen constantly sitting in the stern, with a book in his hand. On the 9th of September he was seen for the last time, and was heard by the people of the Hind to say, We are as near heaven by sea as by land. In the following night, the lights of the ship suddenly disappeared. The people in he other vessel kept a good lookout for him during the remainder of the voyage. On the 22d of September they arrived, through much tempest and peril, at Falmouth. But nothing more was seen or heard of the Admiral.Belknaps American Biography, i. 203.
Witlaf, a king of the Saxons. [In an entry in Mr. Longfellows diary is the source from which the legend was derived. Here is the part of King Witlafs charter to the Abbey of Croyland relating to his drinking-horn, cited in Maitlands Dark Ages. I also offer to the refectory the horn of my table, that the elders of the monastery may drink out of it on the festivals of the Saints, and may sometimes amid their benedictions remember the soul of the donor, Witlaf.
In point of fact, Witlaf was one of the Angle kings of Mercia, who made a gallant stand against the Saxon invaders. It was while falling back before Egbert that Witlaf took sanctuary at Croyland, where he was for four months kept hidden by Siward, third Abbot of Croyland. At the end of three years Siwards influence procured the restoration of Witlaf, who became tributary to Egbert. In gratitude to the monks, Witlaf greatly added to the grants and privileges of the house.]
THE SONG OF HIAWATHA. This Indian Eddaif I may so call itis founded on a tradition, prevalent among the North American Indians, of a personage of miraculous birth, who was sent among them to clear their rivers, forests, and fishing-grounds, and to teach them the arts of peace. He was known among different tribes by the several names of Michabou, Chiabo, Manabozo, Tarenya-wagon and Hiawatha. Mr. Schoolcraft gives an account of him in his Algic Researches, vol. I. p. 134; and in his History, Condition, and Prospects of the Indian Tribes of the United States, Part III. p. 314, may be found the Iroquois form of the tradition, derived from the verbal narrations of an Onondaga chief.
Into this old tradition I have woven other curious Indian legends, drawn chiefly from the various and valuable writings of Mr. Schoolcraft, to whom the literary world is greatly indebted for his indefatigable zeal in rescuing from oblivion so much of the legendary lore of the Indians.
On the Mountains of the Prairie. Mr. Catlin, in his Letters and Notes on the Manners, Customs, and Condition of the North American Indians, Vol. II. p. 160, gives an interesting account of the Côteau des Prairies, and the Red Pipestone Quarry. He says:
Here (according to their traditions) happened the mysterious birth of the red pipe, which has blown its fumes of peace and war to the remotest corners of the continent; which has visited every warrior, and passed through its reddened stem the irrevocable oath of war and desolation. And here, also, the peace-breathing calumet was born, and fringed with the eagles quills, which has shed its thrilling fumes over the land, and soothed the fury of the relentless savage.
The Great Spirit at an ancient period here called the Indian nations together, and, standing on the precipice of the red pipe-stone rock, broke from its wall a piece, and made a huge pipe by turning it in his hand, which he smoked over them, and to the North, the South, the East, and the West, and told them that this stone was red,that it was their flesh,that they must use it for their pipes of peace,that it belonged to them all, and that the war-club and scalping-knife must not be raised on its ground. At the last whiff of his pipe his head went into a great cloud, and the whole surface of the rock for several miles was melted and glazed; two great ovens were opened beneath, and two women (guardian spirits of the place) entered them in a blaze of fire; and they are heard there yet (Tso-mec-cos-tee and Tso-me-cos-te-won-dee), answering to the invocations of the high-priests or medicine-men, who consult them when they are visitors to this sacred place.
Hark you, Bear! you are a coward. This anecdote is from Heckewelder. In his account of the Indian Nations, he describes an Indian hunter as addressing a bear in nearly these words. I was present, he says, at the delivery of this curious invective; when the hunter had despatched the bear, I asked him how he thought that poor animal could understand what he said to it. Oh, said he in answer, the bear understood me very well; did you not observe how ashamed he looked while I was upbraiding him?Transactions of the American Philosophical Society, vol. I. p. 240.
Sent the robin, the Opechee. [In his first edition, Mr. Longfellow printed, Sent the Opechee, the robin, but apparently was corrected in the pronunciation of the Indian Word. A similar change was made by him in the line, All the Wendigoes, the giants, which at first read, All the giants, the Wendigoes.]
Hush! the Naked Bear will hear thee! Heckewelder, in a letter published in the Transactions of the American Philosophical Society, vol. IV. p. 260, speaks of this tradition as prevalent among the Mohicans and Delawares. Their reports, he says, run thus: that among all animals that had been formerly in this country, this was the most ferocious; that it was much larger than the largest of the common bears, and remarkably long-bodied; all over (except a spot of hair on its back of a white color) naked .
The history of this animal used to be a subject of conversation among the Indians, especially when in the woods a-hunting. I have also heard them say to their children when crying: Hush! the naked bear will hear you, be upon you, and devour you.
Where the Falls of Minnehaha, etc. The scenery about Fort Snelling is rich in beauty. The Falls of St. Anthony are familiar to travellers, and to readers of Indian sketches. Between the fort and these falls are the Little Falls, forty feet in height, on a stream that empties into the Mississippi. The Indians called them Mine-hah-hah, or laughing waters.Mrs. Eastmans Dacotah, or Legends of the Sioux, Introd. p. ii.
Sand Hills of the Nagow Wudjoo. A description of the Grand Sable, or great sand-dunes of Lake Superior, is given in Foster and Whitneys Report on the Geology of the Lake Superior Land District, Part II. p. 131.
The Grand Sable possesses a scenic interest little inferior to that of the Pictured Rocks. The explorer passes abruptly from a coast of consolidated sand to one of loose materials; and although in the one case the cliffs are less precipitous, yet in the other they attain a higher altitude. He sees before him a long reach of coast, resembling a vast sand-bank, more than three hundred and fifty feet in height, without a trace of vegetation. Ascending to the top, rounded hillocks of blown sand are observed, with occasional clumps of trees, standing out like oases in the desert.
Sing the mysteries of Mondamin. The Indians hold the maize, or Indian corn, in great veneration. They esteem it so important and divine a grain, says Schoolcraft, that their story-tellers invented various tales, in which this idea is symbolized under the form of a special gift from the Great Spirit. The Odjibwa-Algonquins, who call it Mon-da-min, that is, this Spirits grain or berry, have a pretty story of the kind, in which the stalk in full tassel is represented as descending from the sky, under the guise of a handsome youth, in answer to the prayers of a young man at his fast of virility, or coming to manhood.
It is well known that corn-planting and corn-gathering, at least among all the still uncolonized tribes, are left entirely to the females and children, and a few superannuated old men. It is not generally known, perhaps, that this labor is not compulsory, and that it is assumed by the females as a just equivalent, in their view, for the onerous and continuous labor of the other sex, in providing meats, and skins for clothing, by the chase, and in defending their villages against their enemies, and keeping intruders off their territories. A good Indian housewife deems this a part of her prerogative, and prides herself to have a store of corn to exercise her hospitality, or duly honor her husbands hospitality in the entertainment of the lodge guests.Oneóta, p. 82.
Thus the fields shall be more fruitful. A singular proof of this belief, in both sexes, of the mysterious influence of the steps of a woman on the vegetable and insect creation, is found in an ancient custom, which was related to me, respecting corn-planting. It was the practice of the hunters wife, when the field of corn had been planted, to choose the first dark or overclouded evening to perform a secret circuit, sans habillement, around the field. For this purpose she slipped out of the lodge in the evening, unobserved, to some obscure nook, where she completely disrobed. Then, taking her matchecota, or principal garment, in one hand, she dragged it around the field. This was thought to insure a prolific crop, and to prevent the assaults of insects and worms upon the grain. It was supposed they could not creep over the charmed line.Oneóta. p. 83.
With his prisoner-string he bound him. These cords, says Mr. Tanner, are made of the bark of the elm-tree, by boiling and then immersing it in cold water . The leader of a war party commonly carries several fastened about his waist, and if, in the course of the fight, any one of his young men takes a prisoner, it is his duty to bring him immediately to the chief, to be tied, and the latter is responsible for his safe keeping.Narrative of Captivity and Adventures, p. 412.
If one of the young female huskers finds a red ear of corn, it is typical of a brave admirer, and is regarded as a fitting present to some young warrior. But if the ear be crooked, and tapering to a point, no matter what color, the whole circle is set in a roar, and wa-ge-min is the word shouted aloud. It is the symbol of a thief in the cornfield. It is considered as the image of an old man stooping as he enters the lot. Had the chisel of Praxiteles been employed to produce this image, it could not more vividly bring to the minds of the merry group the idea of a pilferer of their favorite mondámin .
The literal meaning of the term is, a mass, or crooked ear of grain; but the ear of corn so called is a conventional type of a little old man pilfering ears of corn in a cornfield. It is in this manner that a single word or term, in these curious languages, becomes the fruitful parent of many ideas. And we can thus perceive why it is that the word wagemin is alone competent to excite merriment in the husking circle.
This term is taken as a basis of the cereal chorus, or corn song, as sung by the Northern Algonquin tribes. It is coupled with the phrase Paimosaid,a permutative form of the Indian substantive, made from the verb pim-o-sa, to walk. Its literal meaning is, he who walks, or the walker; but the ideas conveyed by it are, he who walks by night to pilfer corn. It offers, therefore, a kind of parallelism in expression to the preceding term.Oneóta, p. 254.
Pugasaing, with thirteen pieces. This Game of the Bowl is the principal game of hazard among the Northern tribes of Indians. Mr. Schoolcraft gives a particular account of it in Oneóta, p. 85. This game, he says, is very fascinating to some portions of the Indians. They stake at it their ornaments, weapons, clothing, canoes, horses, everything in fact they possess; and have been known, it is said, to set up their wives and children, and even to forfeit their own liberty. Of such desperate stakes I have seen no examples, nor do I think the game itself in common use. It is rather confined to certain persons, who hold the relative rank of gamblers in Indian society,men who are not noted as hunters or warriors, or steady providers for their families. Among these are persons who bear the term of Ienadizze-wug, that is, wanderers about the country, braggadocios, or fops. It can hardly be classed with the popular games of amusement, by which skill and dexterity are acquired. I have generally found the chiefs and graver men of the tribes, who encouraged the young men to play ball, and are sure to be present at the customary sports, to witness, and sanction, and applaud them, speak lightly and disparagingly of this game of hazard. Yet it cannot be denied that some of the chiefs, distinguished in war and the chase, at the West, can be referred to as lending their example to its fascinating power.
To the Pictured Rocks of sandstone. The reader will find a long description of the Pictured Rocks in Foster and Whitneys Report on the Geology of the Lake Superior Land District, Part II. p. 124. From this I make the following extract:
The Pictured Rocks may be described, in general terms, as a series of sandstone bluffs extending along the shore of Lake Superior for about five miles, and rising, in most places, vertically from the water, without any beach at the base, to a height varying from fifty to nearly two hundred feet. Were they simply a line of cliffs, they might not, so far as relates to height or extent, be worthy of a rank among great natural curiosities, although such an assemblage of rocky strata, washed by the waves of the great lake, would not, under any circumstances, be destitute of grandeur. To the voyager, coasting along their base in his frail canoe, they would, at all times, be an object of dread; the recoil of the surf, the rock-bound coast, affording for miles no place of refuge,the lowering sky, the rising wind,all these would excite his apprehension, and induce him to ply a vigorous oar until the dreaded wall was passed. But in the Pictured Rocks there are two features which communicate to the scenery a wonderful and almost unique character. These are, first, the curious manner in which the cliffs have been excavated and worn away by the action of the lake, which for centuries has dashed an ocean-like surf against their base; and, second, the equally curious manner in which large portions of the surface have been colored by bands of brilliant hues.
It is from the latter circumstance that the name, by which these cliffs are known to the American traveller, is derived; while that applied to them by the French voyageurs (Les Portails) is derived from the former, and by far the most striking peculiarity.
The term Pictured Rocks has been in use for a great length of time; but when it was first applied we have been unable to discover. It would seem that the first travellers were more impressed with the novel and striking distribution of colors on the surface than with the astonishing variety of form into which the cliffs themselves have been worn .
Our voyageurs had many legends to relate of the pranks of the Menni-bojou in these caverns, and, in answer to our inquiries, seemed disposed to fabricate stories without end of the achievements of this Indian deity.
She is alone in the world. [Mr. Molines, and his wife, his sone and his servant, dyed the first winter. Only his daughter Priscila survived and married with John Alden, who are both living and have 11 children.Bradford: History of Plymouth Plantation.]
Gathering still, as he went, the Mayflowers blooming around him. [The Mayflower is the well-known Epigæa repens, sometimes also called the Trailing Arbutus. The name Mayflower was familiar in England, as the application of it to the historic vessel shows, but it was applied by the English, and still is, to the hawthorn. Its use here in connection with Epigæa repens, dates from a very early day, some claiming that the first Pilgrims so used it, in affectionate memory of the vessel and its English flower association.]
After the Puritan way, and the laudable custom of Holland. [May 12 was the first marriage in this place, which, according to the laudable custome of the Low-Cuntries, in which they had lived, was thought most requisite to be performed by the magistrate, as being a civill thing, upon which many questions aboute inheritances doe depende, with other things most proper to their cognizans, and most consonante to the scripturs, Ruth 4, and no wher found in the gospell to be layed on the ministers as a part of their office.Bradford: History of Plymouth Plantation, p. 101.
In Mathers Magnalia Christi. [The passage in Mather upon which the poem is based is found in Book I. chapter vi., and is in the form of a letter to Mather from the Rev. James Pierpont, Pastor of New Haven.]
OLIVER BASSELIN. Oliver Basselin, the Père joyeux du Vaudeville, flourished in the fifteenth century, and gave to his convivial songs the name of his native valleys, in which he sang them Vaux-de-Vire. This name was afterwards corrupted into the modern Vaudeville.
VICTOR GALBRAITH. Victor Galbraith was a bugler in a company of volunteer cavalry; and was shot in Mexico for some breach of discipline. It is a common superstition among soldiers, that no balls will kill them unless their names are written on them. The old proverb says: Every bullet has its billet.
I remember the sea-fight far away. This was the engagement between the Enterprise and Boxer off the harbor of Portland, in which both captains were slain. They were buried side by side in the cemetery on Mountjoy. [The fight took place in 1813. The Enterprise was an American brig, the Boxer an English one. The fight, which could be seen from the shore, lasted for three quarters of an hour, when the Enterprise came into the harbor, bringing her captive with her.]
The palm, the lily, and the spear. At Pisa the church of San Francisco contains a chapel dedicated lately to Santa Filomena; over the altar is a picture, by Sabatelli, representing the Saint as a beautiful, nymph-like figure, floating down from heaven, attended by two angels bearing the lily, palm, and javelin, and beneath, in the foreground, the sick and maimed, who are healed by her intercession.Mrs. Jameson, Sacred and Legendary Art, II. 298.
Sandalphon, the Angel of Prayer. [Rabbi Eliezer hath said: There is an Angel who standeth on earth and reacheth with his head to the door of Heaven. It is taught in the Mishna that he is called Sandalphon.
The holy and blessed God creates every day a multitude of angels in heaven, who, after they have sung a hymn before Him, do perish . Except Michael and Gabriel and Sandalphon and their equals, who remain in their glory wherewith they were invested in the six days creation.
On another pane appears the Majors name, Wm. Molineux Jr. Esq., and the date, June 24, 1774. The allusion is to Hawthornes tale, My Kinsman, Major Molineux. Hawthorne, writing to Mr. Longfellow after the publication of the Tales, says, It gratifies my mind to find my own name shining in your verse,even as if I had been gazing up at the moon and detected my own features in its profile.]
The midnight ride of Paul Revere. [It is possible that Mr. Longfellow derived the story from Paul Reveres account of the incident in a letter to Dr. Jeremy Belknap, printed in Mass. Hist. Coll. V. Mr. Frothingham, in his Siege of Boston, pp. 5759, gives the story mainly according to a memorandum of Richard Devens, Reveres friend and associate. The publication of Mr. Longfellows poem called out a protracted discussion both as to the church from which the signals were hung, and as to the friend who hung the lanterns. The subject is discussed and authorities cited in Memorial History of Boston, III. 101.]
THE FALCON OF SER FEDERIGO. [The story is found in the Decameron, Fifth day, ninth tale. As Boccaccio, however, was not the first to tell it, so Mr. Longfellow is not the only one after him to repeat it. So remote a source as Pantschatantra (Benfey, II. 247) contains it, and La Fontaine includes it in his Contes et Nouvelles under the title of Le Faucon. Tennyson has treated the subject dramatically in The Falcon. See also Delisle de la Drévetière, who turned Boccaccios story into a comedy in three acts.]
THE LEGEND OF RABBI BEN LEVI. [Varnhagen refers to three several sources of this legend in the books Col Bo, Ben Sira, and Ketuboth, but it is most likely that Mr. Longfellow was indebted for the story to his friend Emmanuel Vitalis Scherb.]
KING ROBERT OF SICILY. [This story is one of very wide distribution. It is given in Gesta Romanorum as the story of Jovinian. Frere in his Old Deccan Days, or Hindoo Fairy Legends current in Southern India, recites it in the form of The Wanderings of Vicram Maharajah. Varnhagen pursues the legend through a great variety of forms. Leigh Hunt, among moderns, has told the story in A Jar of Honey from Mt. Hybla, from which source Mr. Longfellow seems to have drawn. Dante refers to the King in Paradiso, Canto VIII.]
THE BIRDS OF KILLINGWORTH. [Killingworth in Connecticut was named from the English town Kenilworth in Warwickshire, and had the same orthography in the early records, but was afterwards corrupted into its present form. Sixty or seventy years ago, according to Mr. Henry Hull, writing from personal recollection, the men of the northern part of the town did yearly in the spring choose two leaders, and then the two sides were formed: the side that got beaten should pay the bills. Their special game was the hawk, the owl, the crow, the blackbird, and any other bird supposed to be mischievous to the corn. Some years each side would bring them in by the bushel. This was followed up for only a few years, for the birds began to grow scarce. The story, based upon such a slight suggestion, was Mr. Longfellows own invention.]
LADY WENTWORTH. [The incidents of this tale are recounted by C. W. Brewster, Rambles about Portsmouth, I. 101. After the publication of Mr. Longfellows poem, Mr. Thomas Wentworth Higginson wrote to one of Mr. Longfellows kinsmen a version of the story sent him by Mrs. Mary Anne Williams, who had the story from her grandmother, née Mary Wentworth, who was niece to Governor Wentworth, and a child at the time of the incident. I have seen Mr. Longfellows poem, writes Mrs. Williams, but I should think he would be afraid some of the old fellows would appear to him for making it appear that any others than the family were present to witness what they considered a great degradation. Only the brothers and brothers in law were present, and Mr. Brown; and the bride, who had been his housekeeper for seven years, was then 35, and attired in a calico dress and a white apron. The family stood in wholesome awe of the sturdy old governor, so treated Patty with civility, but it was hard work for the stately old dames, and she was dropped after his death. Governor Wentworth was born July 24, 1696, and his marriage was on March 15, 1760.]
CHARLEMAGNE. [In his diary, under date of May 12, 1872, Mr. Longfellow writes: Wrote a short poem on Charlemagne from a story in an old chronicle, De Factis Caroli Magni, quoted by Cantù, Storia degli Italiani, II. 122. I first heard it from Charles Perkins, in one of his lectures.]
ELIZABETH. [As intimated in the Interlude which follows, the tale of Elizabeth was founded on a prose tale by Mrs. Lydia Maria Child, entitled The Youthful Emigrant, which fell under Mr. Longfellows eye in a Portland paper. Besides this he had recourse to A Call to the Unfaithful Professors of Truth, by John Estaugh, with Preface by his widow. E. E.s Testimony concerning her husband J. E. Several expressions in the poem are derived from this little book.]
[This use of the phrase Morituri Salutamus agrees with the treatment of Gérôme in his painting, beneath which he wrote the words, Ave Cæsar, Imperator, Morituri te Salutant. The reference to a gladiatorial combat, however, is doubted by some scholars, who quote Suetonius and Dion Cassius as using the phrase in connection with the great sea-fight exhibition given by the Emperor on Lacus Fucinus. The combatants were condemned criminals, and they were to fight until one of the parties was killed, unless saved by the interposition of the Emperor.]
Here lies the gentle humorist. [Washington Irving. It is interesting to note the influence which this writer had upon Mr. Longfellow, as shown not only in his early prose, but in his direct testimony. In presenting the resolutions upon the death of Irving at a meeting of the Massachusetts Historical Society, December 5, 1859, Mr. Longfellow said: Every reader has his first book; I mean to say, one book among all others which in early youth first fascinates his imagination, and at once excites and satisfies the desires of his mind. To me, this first book was the Sketch-Book of Washington Irving. I was a school-boy when it was published, and read each succeeding number with ever increasing wonder and delight, spell-bound by its pleasant humor, its melancholy tenderness, its atmosphere of revery,nay, even by its gray-brown covers, the shaded letters of its titles, and the fair clear type, which seemed an outward symbol of its style. How many delightful books the same author has given us, written before and since,volumes of history and of fiction; most of which illustrate his native land, and some of which illuminate it and make the Hudson, I will not say as classic, but as romantic as the Rhine! Yet still the charm of the Sketch-Book remains unbroken; the old fascination remains about it; and whenever I open its pages, I open also that mysterious door which leads back into the haunted chambers of youth. ]
PARKER CLEAVELAND. [A distinguished naturalist who was senior professor at Bowdoin College, where Mr. Longfellow was first a student and afterward an instructor. The father of the poet was an intimate friend of Professor Cleaveland, and when the son went to Brunswick he found in the older man one of his most cherished associates. When he went back to give his poem, Morituri Salutamus, he made his stay at the Cleaveland mansion, with the daughter of the deceased professor.]
Poet! I come to touch thy lance with mine. When any came to take the government of the Hundred or Wapentake in a day and place appointed, as they were accustomed to meete, all the better sort met him with lances, and he alighting from his horse, all rise up to him, and he setting or holding his lance upright, all the rest come with their lances, according to the auncient custome in confirming league and pub-like peace and obedience, and touch his lance or weapon, and thereof called Wapentake, for the Saxon or old English Wapun is weapon, and tac, tactus, a touching, thereby this meeting called Wapentake, or touching of weapon, because that by that signe and ceremonie of touching weapon or the lance, they were sworne and confederate.Master Lamberd in Minshew.
To THE AUTHOR of THE VILLAGE BLACKSMITH, This chair, made from the wood of the spreading chestnut-tree, is presented as An expression of grateful regard and veneration by The children of Cambridge, Who with their friends join in best wishes and congratulations on This Anniversary. February 27, 1879.
In 1880, when the city of Cambridge celebrated the two hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the founding of the town, December 28th, there was a childrens festival at Sanders Theatre in the morning, and the chair stood on the platform in full view of the thousand children assembled. Mr. George Riddle read the poem; then, to the surprise of all, the poet himself came forward and made this little speech:
My dear young Friends,I do not rise to make an address to you, but to excuse myself from making one. I know the proverb says that he who excuses himself accuses himself, and I am willing on this occasion to accuse myself, for I feel very much as I suppose some of you do when you are suddenly called upon in your class-room, and are obliged to say that you are not prepared. I am glad to see your faces and to hear your voices. I am glad to have this opportunity of thanking you in prose, as I have already done in verse, for the beautiful present you made me some two years ago. Perhaps some of you have forgotten it, but I have not; and I am afraidyes, I am afraidthat fifty years hence, when you celebrate the three hundredth anniversary of this occasion, this day and all that belongs to it will have passed from your memory: for an English philosopher has said that the ideas as well as children of our youth often die before us, and our minds represent to us those tombs to which we are approaching, where though the brass and marble remain, yet the inscriptions are effaced by time, and the imagery moulders away.]
THE GOLDEN LEGEND. The old Legenda Aurea, or Golden Legend, was originally written in Latin, in the thirteenth century, by Jacobus de Voragine, a Dominican friar, who afterwards became Arch-bishop of Genoa, and died in 1292.
He called his book simply Legends of the Saints. The epithet of Golden was given it by his admirers; for, as Wynkin de Worde says, Like as passeth gold in value all other metals, so this Legend exceedeth all other books. But Edward Leigh, in much distress of mind, calls it a book written by a man of a leaden heart for the basenesse of the errours, that are without wit or reason, and of a brazen forehead, for his impudent boldnesse in reporting things so fabulous and incredible.
This work, the great text-book of the legendary lore of the Middle Ages, was translated into French in the fourteenth century by Jean de Vignay, and in the fifteenth into English by William Caxton. It has lately been made more accessible by a new French translation: La Legende Dorée, traduite du Latin, par M. G. B. Paris, 1850. There is a copy of the original, with the Gesta Longobardorum appended, in the Harvard College Library, Cambridge, printed at Strasburg, 1496. The title-page is wanting; and the volume begins with the Tabula Legendorum.
I have called this poem the Golden Legend, because the story upon which it is founded seems to me to surpass all other legends in beauty and significance. It exhibits, amid the corruptions of the Middle Ages, the virtue of disinterestedness and self-sacrifice, and the power of Faith, Hope, and Charity, sufficient for all the exigencies of life and death. The story is told, and perhaps invented, by Hartmann von der Aue, a Minnesinger of the twelfth century. The original may be found in Mailáths Altdeutsche Gedichte, with a modern German version. There is another in Marbachs Volksbücher, No. 32.
Let the bells be blessed, as the trumpets of the Church militant, by which the people are assembled to hear the word of God; the clergy to announce his mercy by day, and his truth in their nocturnal vigils: that by their sound the faithful may be invited to prayers, and that the spirit of devotion in them may be increased. The fathers have also maintained that demons, affrighted by the sound of bells calling Christians to prayers, would flee away; and when they fled, the persons of the faithful would be secure: that the destruction of lightnings and whirlwinds would be averted, and the spirits of the storm defeated.Edinburgh Encyclopædia, Art. Bells.
EVENING SONG. [Mr. Bent, in his annotated edition of The Golden Legend, remarks that this is modelled upon the choral songs which the Reformed Church of Germany adopted from existing popular chorals, which had long been in use in the social and public observances of the German people.]
To come back to my text! In giving this sermon of Friar Cuthbert as a specimen of the Risus Paschales, or street-preaching of the monks at Easter, I have exaggerated nothing. This very anecdote, offensive as it is, comes from a discourse of Father Barletta, a Dominican friar of the fifteenth century, whose fame as a popular preacher was so great that it gave rise to the proverb,
Qui nescit Barlettare.
Among the abuses introduced in this century, says Tiraboschi, was that of exciting from the pulpit the laughter of the hearers; as if that were the same thing as converting them. We have examples of this, not only in Italy, but also in France, where the sermons of Menot and Maillard, and of others, who would make a better appearance on the stage than in the pulpit, are still celebrated for such follies.
If the reader is curious to see how far the freedom of speech was carried in these popular sermons, he is referred to Scheibles Kloster, vol. I., where he will find extracts from Abraham a Sancta Clara, Sebastian Frank, and others; and in particular an anonymous discourse called Der Gräuel der Verwüstung, The Abomination of Desolation, preached at Ottakring, a village west of Vienna, November 25, 1782, in which the license of language is carried to its utmost limit.
See also Prédicatoriana, ou Révélations singulières et amusantes sur les Prédicateurs; par G. P. Philomneste. (Menin.) This work contains extracts from the popular sermons of St. Vincent Ferrier, Barletta, Menot, Maillard, Marini, Raulin, Valladier, De Besse, Camus, Père André, Bening, and the most eloquent of all, Jacques Brydaine.
THE NATIVITY: A Miracle-Play. A singular chapter in the history of the Middle Ages is that which gives account of the early Christian Drama, the Mysteries, Moralities, and Miracle-Plays, which were at first performed in churches, and afterwards in the streets, on fixed or movable stages. For the most part, the Mysteries were founded on the historic portions of the Old and New Testaments, and the Miracle-Plays on the lives of Saints; a distinction not always observed, however, for in Mr. Wrights Early Mysteries and other Latin Poems of the Twelfth and Thirteenth Centuries, the Resurrection of Lazarus is called a Miracle, and not a Mystery. The Moralities were plays in which the Virtues and Vices were personified.
The earliest religious play which has been preserved is the Christos Paschon of Gregory Nazianzen, written in Greek, in the fourth century. Next to this come the remarkable Latin plays of Roswitha, the Nun of Gandersheim, in the tenth century, which, though crude and wanting in artistic construction, are marked by a good deal of dramatic power and interest. A handsome edition of these plays, with a French translation, has been lately published, entitled Théâtre de Rotsvitha, Religieuse allemande du Xe Siècle. Par Charles Magnin. Paris, 1845.
The most important collections of English Mysteries and Miracle-Plays are those known as the Townley, the Chester, and the Coventry Plays. The first of these collections has been published by the Surtees Society, and the other two by the Shakespeare Society. In his Introduction to the Coventry Mysteries, the editor, Mr. Halliwell, quotes the following passage from Dugdales Antiquities of Warwickshire:
Before the suppression of the monasteries, this city was very famous for the pageants, that were played therein, upon Corpus-Christi day; which, occasioning very great confluence of people thither, from far and near, was of no small benefit thereto; which pageants being acted with mighty state and reverence by the friars of this house had theaters for the severall scenes, very large and high, placed upon wheels, and drawn to all the eminent parts of the city, for the better advantage of spectators: and containd the story of the New Testament, composed into old English Rithme, as appeareth by an ancient MS. intituled Ludus Corporis Christi, or Ludus Conventriæ. I have been told by some old people, who in their younger years were eyewitnesses of these pageants so acted, that the yearly confluence of people to see that shew was extraordinary great, and yielded no small advantage to this city.
The representation of religious plays has not yet been wholly discontinued by the Roman Church. At Ober-Ammergau, in the Tyrol, a grand spectacle of this kind is exhibited once in ten years. A very graphic description of that which took place in the year 1850 is given by Miss Anna Mary Howitt, in her Art-Student in Munich, vol. I., chap. 4.
In 1852 there was a representation of this kind by Germans in Boston: and I have now before me the copy of a play-bill, announcing the performance, on June 10, 1852, in Cincinnati, of the Great Biblico-Historical Drama, the Life of Jesus Christ, with the characters and the names of the performers.
Here the Angel Gabriel shall leave Paradise. [A stage of three stories was often erected, the topmost representing Paradise (hence in Germany this word is used for the upper gallery of a theatre, anglicé, the Gods); on the middle stage was the Earth; below were the Jaws of Hell, sometimes represented by the opening and shutting of the mouth of an enormous dragon. Goethe introduces the Jaws of Hell to the stage machinery of Faust (V. 6).S. A. Bent.]
The Scriptorium. A most interesting volume might be written on the Calligraphers and Chrysographers, the transcribers and illuminators of manuscripts in the Middle Ages. These men were for the most part monks, who labored, sometimes for pleasure and sometimes for penance, in multiplying copies of the classics and the Scriptures.
Of all bodily labors which are proper for us, says Cassiodorus, the old Calabrian monk, that of copying books has always been more to my taste than any other. The more so, as in this exercise the mind is instructed by the reading of the Holy Scriptures, and it is a kind of homily to the others, whom these books may reach. It is preaching with the hand, by converting the fingers into tongues; it is publishing to men in silence the words of salvation; in fine, it is fighting against the demon with pen and ink. As many words as a transcriber writes, so many wounds the demon receives. In a word, a recluse, seated in his chair to copy books, travels into different provinces without moving from the spot, and the labor of his hands is felt even where he is not.
Nearly every monastery was provided with its Scriptorium. Nicolas de Clairvaux, St. Bernards secretary, in one of his letters describes his cell, which he calls Scriptoriolum, where he copied books. And Mabillon, in his Etudes Monastiques, says that in his time were still to be seen at Citeaux many of those little cells, where the transcribers and bookbinders worked.
Silvestres Paléographie Universelle contains a vast number of fac-similes of the most beautiful illuminated manuscripts of all ages and all countries; and Montfaucon, in his Palægraphia Græca, gives the names of over three hundred calligraphers. He also gives an account of the books they copied, and the colophons with which, as with a satisfactory flourish of the pen, they closed their long-continued labors. Many of these are very curious; expressing joy, humility, remorse; entreating the readers prayers and pardon for the writers sins; and sometimes pronouncing a malediction on any one who should steal the book. A few of these I subjoin:
The hand that has written this book shall decay, alas! and become dust, and go down to the grave, the corrupter of all bodies. But all ye who are of the portion of Christ, pray that I may obtain the pardon of my sins. Again and again I beseech you with tears, brothers and fathers, accept my miserable supplication, O holy choir! I am called John, woe is me! I am called Hiereus, or Sacerdos, in name only, not in unction.
Whoever shall carry away this book, without permission of the Pope, may he incur the malediction of the Holy Trinity, of the Holy Mother of God, of Saint John the Baptist, of the one hundred and eighteen holy Nicene Fathers, and of all the Saints; the fate of Sodom and Gomorrah; and the halter of Judas! Anathema, amen.
This last colophon Montfaucon does not suffer to pass without reproof. Other calligraphers, he remarks, demand only the prayers of their readers, and the pardon of their sins; but these glory in their wantonness.
Drink down to your peg! One of the canons of Archbishop Anselm, promulgated at the beginning of the twelfth century, ordains that priests go not to drinking-bouts, nor drink to pegs. In the times of the hard-drinking Danes, King Edgar ordained that pins or nails should be fastened into the drinking-cups or horns at stated distances, and whosoever should drink beyond those marks at one draught should be obnoxious to a severe punishment.
Sharpe, in his History of the Kings of England, says: Our ancestors were formerly famous for compotation; their liquor was ale, and one method of amusing themselves in this way was with the peg-tankard. I had lately one of them in my hand. It had on the inside a row of eight pins, one above another, from top to bottom. It held two quarts, and was a noble piece of plate, so that there was a gill of ale, half a pint Wincester measure, between each peg. The law was, that every person that drank was to empty the space between pin and pin, so that the pins were so many measures to make the company all drink alike, and to swallow the same quantity of liquor. This was a pretty sure method of making all the company drunk, especially if it be considered that the rule was, that whoever drank short of his pin, or beyond it, was obliged to drink again, and even as deep as to the next pin.
The convent of St. Gildas de Rhuys. Abelard, in a letter to his friend Philintus, gives a sad picture of this monastery. I live, he says, in a barbarous country, the language of which I do not understand; I have no conversation but with the rudest people. my walks are on the inacessible shore of a sea, which is perpetually stormy. my monks are only known by their dissoluteness, and living without any rule or order. could you see the abby, Philintus, you would not call it one. the doors and walls are without any ornament, except the heads of wild boars and hinds feet, which are nailed up against them, and the hides of frightful animals. the cells are hung with the skins of deer. the monks have not so much as a bell to wake them, the cocks and dogs supply that defect. in short, they pass their whole days in hunting; would to heaven that were their greatest fault! or that their pleasure terminated there! I endeavor in vain to recall them to their duty; they all combine against me, and I only expose myself to continual vexations and dangers. I imagine I see every moment a naked sword hang over my head. sometimes they surround me, and load me with infinite abuses; sometimes they abandon me, and I am left alone to my own tormenting thoughts. I make it my endeavor to merit by my sufferings, and to appease an angry God. sometimes I grieve for the loss of the house of the Paraclete, and wish to see it again. ah Philintus, does not the love of Heloise still burn in my heart? I have not yet triumphed over that unhappy passion. in the midst of my retirement I sigh, I weep, I pine, I speak the dear name Heloise, and am pleased to hear the sound.Letters of the Celebrated Abelard and Heloise. Translated by Mr. John Hughes. Glasgow, 1751.
Were it not for my magic garters and staff. The method of making the Magic Garters and the Magic Staff is thus laid down in Les Secrets Merveilleux du Petit Albert, a French translation of Alberti Parvi Lucii Libellus de Mirabilibus Natur Arcanis:
Gather some of the herb called motherwort, when the sun is entering the first degree of the sign of Capricorn; let it dry a little in the shade, and make some garters of the skin of a young hare; that is to say, having cut the skin of the hare into strips two inches wide, double them, sew the before-mentioned herb between, and wear them on your legs. No horse can long keep up with a man on foot, who is furnished with these garters.Page 128.
Gather, on the morrow of All-Saints, a strong branch of willow, of which you will make a staff, fashioned to your liking. Hollow it out, by removing the pith from within, after having furnished the lower end with an iron ferule. Put into the bottom of the staff the two eyes of a young wolf, the tongue and heart of a dog, three green lizards, and the hearts of three swallows. These must all be dried in the sun, between two papers, having been first sprinkled with pulverized saltpetre. Besides all these, put into the staff seven leaves of vervain, gathered on the eve of St. John the Baptist, with a stone of divers colors, which you will find in the nest of the lapwing, and stop the end of the staff with a pomel of box, or of any other material you please, and be assured that this staff will guarantee you from the perils and mishaps which too often befall travellers, either from robbers, wild beasts, mad dogs, or venomous animals. It will also procure you the good-will of those with whom you lodge. Page 130.
The School of Salerno. For a history of the celebrated schools of Salerno and Monte-Cassino, the reader is referred to Sir Alexander Crokes Introduction to the Regimen Sanitatis Salernitanum; and to Kurt Sprengels Geschichte der Arzneikunde, i. 463, or Jourdans French translation of it, Histoire de la Médecine, ii. 354.
He must spell Baker. A local expression for doing anything difficult. In the old spelling-books, Baker was the first word of two syllables, and when a child came to it he thought he had a hard task before him.
[The reader will notice in The Divine Tragedy the ease with which Mr. Longfellow adjusted the Scriptural phraseology to the demands of blank verse. So here, he has been able to use without change the words found in Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, Book XII. Chapter V. in Whistons translation. The text of the Memorial is slightly condensed, but otherwise is almost a transcript from Whiston.]
THE DUNGEONS IN THE CITADEL. [This powerful scene is a dramatization of II. Maccabees, chapter 7, with the effective change by which the mother is shown apart from the sons, and the torture is made inferential.]
The real portrait of Giulia Gonzaga is supposed to exist in two different collections. In the National Gallery, we have the likeness of a lady in the character of St. Agatha, as symbolized by a nimbus and pincers. Natural pose and posture and dignified mien indicate rank. The treatment is free and bold, but the colors are not blended with the care which Sebastian would surely have bestowed in such a case. In the Staedel Museum at Frankfort, the person represented is of a noble and elegant carriage, seated, in rich attire, and holding a fan made of feathers. A pretty landscape is seen through an opening, and a rich green hanging falls behind the figure. The handling curiously reminds us of Bronzino. It is well known that the likeness of Giulia was sent to Francis the First in Paris, and was registered in Lépiciés catalogue. The canvas of the National Gallery was purchased from the Borghese palace, the panel at Frankfort from the heirlooms of the late King of Holland. A third female portrait by Del Piombo deserves to be recorded in connection with this inquiry,that of Lord Radnor at Longford Castle, in which a lady with a crimson mantle and pearl head-dress stands in profile, resting her hands on the back of a chair. On a shawl which falls from the chair we read, Sunt laquei veneris cave. The shape is slender as that of Vittoria Colonna in the Santangelo palace at Naples, but the color is too brown in light and too red in shadow to yield a pleasing effect, and were it proved that this is really Giulia Gonzaga the picture would not deserve Vasaris eulogy.Crowe and Cavalcaselle: History of Painting in North Italy.]
SAN SILVESTRO. [A miniature painter, Francesco d Ollanda, was sent to Italy between 1530 and 1540 by the King of Portugal, and wrote an account of his experience. In this account he describes two Sundays which he spent with Michael Angelo and Vittoria Colonna at San Silvestro. His narrative, which given by Grimm in his Life of Michael Angelo, II. 293-305, furnished Mr. Longfellow the material from which to construct this scene.]
[Vittoria Colonna was born in 1490, betrothed to the Marquis de Pescara in 1495, and married to him in 1509. Pescara was killed in fighting against the French under the walls of Ravenna in 1512. It is not known when or where Vittoria Colonna first met Michael Angelo, but all authorities agree that it must have been about the year 1536, when he was over sixty years of age. She did not escape the espionage of the Inquisition, but was compelled in 1541 to fly to the convent at Viterbo. Three years later, she went to the convent of Benedictines of St. Anne in Rome, and just before her death, in 1547, she was taken to the house of Giuliano Cesarini, the husband of Giulia Colonna, her only relative in Rome. It was after she fled to the convent that she began to write sonnets to and receive them from Michael Angelo, whose love for her was not capable of being concealed. Hartford, in his Life of Michael Angelo Buonarotti, includes a life also of Vittoria Colonna.]
COPLAS DE MANRIQUE. This poem of Manrique is a great favorite in Spain. No less than four poetic Glosses, or running commentaries, upon it have been published, no one of which, however, possesses great poetic merit. That of the Carthusian monk, Rodrigo de Valdepeñas, is the best. It is known as the Glosa del Cartujo. There is also a prose Commentary by Luis de Aranda.
THE CHILDREN OF THE LORDS SUPPER. There is one poem in this volume to which a few introductory remarks may be useful.1 It is The Children of the Lords Supper, from the Swedish of Bishop Tegnér, a poem which enjoys no inconsiderable reputation in the North of Europe, and for its beauty and simplicity merits the attention of English readers. It is an Idyl, descriptive of scenes in a Swedish village, and belongs to the same class of poems as the Luise of Voss and the Hermann und Dorothea of Goethe. But the Swedish poet has been guided by a surer taste than his German predecessors. His tone is pure and elevated, and he rarely, if ever, mistakes what is trivial for what is simple. [From this point, Mr. Longfellow proceeded with a description of rural life in Sweden which may be found in his paper Frithiofs Saga in vol. I. of his prose works, Riverside Edition.]
Nils Juel gave heed to the tempests roar. Nils Juel was a celebrated Danish Admiral, and Peder Wessel a Vice Admiral, who for his great prowess received the popular title of Tordenskiold, or Thundershield. In childhood he was a tailors apprentice, and rose to his high rank before the age of twenty-eight, when he was killed in a duel.
The blind girl of Castèl-Cuillè. Jasmin, the author of this beautiful poem, is to the South of France what Burns is to the South of Scotland,the representative of the heart of the people,one of those happy bards who are born with their mouths full of birds (la bouco pleno d aouzelous). He has written his own biography in a poetic form, and the simple narrative of his poverty, his struggles, and his triumphs is very touching. He still lives at Agen, on the Garonne; and long may he live there to delight his native land with native songs!
[When first printing this note, Mr. Longfellow added a long description of Jasmin and his way of life from Louisa Stuart Costellos Béarn and the Pyrenees. In more recent days Miss H. W. Preston has written sympathetically on the same subject. See The Atlantic Monthly, January, February, 1876.]
A Christmas Carol. [A description of Christmas in Burgundy from M. Fertiaults Coup d il sur les Noels en Bourgogne, to the Paris edition of Les Noels Bourguignons de Bernard de la Mennoye (Gui Barôzai), 1842, was quoted by Mr. Longfellow when first printing this poem.]