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says (we have not got a Fairfax-so must | host of heaven, and, following their irrestop to upset, meo Marte, this matter pressible instincts, they began to build the into the vernacular;-"help angels, make essay !"):

airy fabrics of visions and cover the universe with ingenious and beautiful mysteries. They imagined a god for the cope and clouds

“For, well thou knowest, the world more fondly of heaven, and he wielded the thunder from


To old Parnassus' consecrated spot;

And truths which graceful poetry adorns
Subdue in pleasing, and a spell is wrought
For the most subtle and fastidious thought.
So for the sickly child, by friendly wile,

The cup's deceptive edge with sweetness fraught, Lures to the bitter draught; the imp the while Drinks life and health from the judicious guile."

And not alone have the edges of the cup been touched in this way with honeyed fallacy, but the contents of it have been very, much, in all ages, "dashed and brewed" with the same emollient. Reality is not such a delightful thing, after all; the feigned and the phantasmal have always been considered the necessary complement of our condition here. Voltaire says, very pleasantly:

"On court, hélas! après la vérité;

Ah, croyez-moi, l'erreur a son merite."

If we take away, from the amount of what the world possesses, that which belongs and is due to the imagination merely,-which is not authentic, and could not be sworn to in a court of justice,-what will be left? Let us be Cornelius Agrippa or Albert de Groot for the nonce- -make a wafture of the hand, with "Hey, presto, begone!"-and what then? There is a sudden solitude in the world! The beautiful is vanished, and the hard, blank remnant of things is full of gaps and desert places, disastrous flaws and a strange silence. Nothing now, gentlemen, but facts in the world-facts and mathematical demonstration! But it is a very hard, cold world to live in; much worse, believe us, than it was before; and, in the opinion of that pale pessimist over the way there, that was bad enough in all conscience!

They who first found out the world and roamed about on it felt its naked materialism, its matter-of-fact aspects, to be too deficient and uninviting for their ideas. The unclothed reality of things was too cold and unlovely-beautiful as it was-for their perceptions. So they began to improve it, by informing it with a creation of their own. They looked to the elements and the infinite

the mountain summits; another, shaped after the most gracefully formed of men,"the Lord of life and poetry and light," was the Angel of the Sun, and his sister was the Goddess of the Moon

"Astarte, Queen of Heaven, with crescent horns, To whose bright image, nightly, by the moon, Sidonian virgins paid their vows and songs."

and in fire, to which some of the earliest They felt the presence of a god in the winds

altars were raised.

They saw a powerful divinity in the vastness and anger of the sea, and imagined a crowd of lesser deities for its caverns and depths. The forests were sacred to the universal Pan, his fauns, sylvans and satyrs; every oak had its Dryad, every river its Naïad or its Potamid; the Oreads presided over the meadows, and the Napea haunted the valleys. Impatient of mere reality, men in this way covered the earth and filled the air and sea with theories, phantasms, imaginations—

"The intelligible forms of ancient poets-
The fair humanities of old religion-
The power, and the beauty, and the majesty."

Apart from the mythologies, let us consider the effect of that abolition we have spoken of on the amount of what we know

on the circle of knowledge-of which, by the bye, Bacon asserts that poetry is the third part. Suppose we ignore the poetry, -as Plato would do, in his imaginary republic. The creations of these ancient makers and imaginative writers have filled up a space in the earlier ages of the world which, without them, would be a blank, and as much lost to the human mind as the preAdamite chaos is. Do away with them, and what a throng of splendid deeds, of heroic and beautiful figures,-demigods, champions, kings, heroes and heroines,-"fair women and brave men,"-moving in gorgeous panorama across the dark background of antiquity, shall be blotted out! What a dispossession it would be to abolish the Iliad. and the Odyssey! To be deprived of Hector, the kind-hearted and manly hero, and Priam

with his mighty sorrows, the beautiful Helen, | him as they pass; then the witty and adventurous Rosalind; and Desdemona,


"The gentle lady wedded to the Moor;"

and Portia, the beautiful, wise young judge:
and the passionate Juliet, with the southern
enchantress of an enchanted island! And
lightnings in her veins; and Miranda, the

a hundred others.

"Impiger, iracundus, inexorabilis, acer"the splendid Achilles, the soldier-pilgrim Ulysses, and Agamemnon, king of men! Not alone would much be wanted in the want of these, but in the want of all they have suggested and given rise to in after times. The succeeding poets and dramatists of Greece and Rome drew light from Homer as Milton's stars did, in their golden urns, from the sun. They took his old imagina-speare, and possessing even a more general tions and figures as their models, and reproduced them in forms which the world would not willingly let die.

Coming to our own literature, we find that the fictions of our writers-trans-Atlantic and cis-Atlantic-are as favorably remembered and as much appreciated and cited, for the purposes of life and moral progress, as the facts of our historians. In our genial moments, when the mind desires to be pleased or invigorated, it will revert with a very general preference to what is imaginary in literature; and half the world give as much and as grave attention to the men and women of Shakspeare and Scott, Irving and Longfellow, as to those of Hume and Prescott. And how intimately and lovingly we give our interest to the words and actions of these poetical creations! To be sure, the historic annals have recorded and given names to some of them. But as the dramatists and romancers present them to us, they are bona fide brain-born affairs. And thus we believe in them with an ample faith. What a world of thought and life in the plays of Shakspeare! and what a pleasure to put his grand panorama in motion, either in quiet thought or delightful colloquy! There is the venerable Lear, driven into the stormy night, and talking the truest philosophy to the elements that so feelingly persuade him what he is; and Hamlet, so sententious in his antic disposition; the fair Ophelia, the prosy "old courtier of the King's," Polonius, and the many-vested clowns knocking the jowls of dead men about and propounding conundrums for pots of ale; then the immortal bed-presser and huge hill of flesh, first of liars and of favorites; and Mrs. Quickly, ancestress of Mrs. Malaprop; then Macbeth and the terrible hags of the heath, and his more terrible wife; then Richard, and the ghosts rising in his tent and cursing

Then there are the creations of Scott, coming nearest of any to those of Shak

popularity. Successive generations enjoy
them as a legacy, and the memory always
recalls them with pleasure. There is Cedric
the Saxon in his low-roofed hall; the swine-
herd; the Templar; the gorgeous tourna-
ment at Ashby; the storming of Torquil-
stone; the Black Knight, fighting as if
twenty men's strength were in his single
Friar Tuck: what an array of images, bring.
arm; the peerless Rebecca, Locksley, and
ing back so truly and vividly the old feudal
the feelings with which we first read Ivan-
character of things! We shall never forget
hoe. All our vague ideas of romance and
knightly doings were there put into a won-
learned the effect of that splendid book upon
the genius of Thierry and Victor Hugo, and
how its gramarye has absolutely revolu-
But the bugles are blowing, and we admire
tionized the character of modern history.
the picturesque bravery of Fergus MacIvor,
"All plaided and plumed in his tartan array;"

derful life and motion. We have since

and the noble Flora, and the delightful
Baron of Bradwardine. Balfour of Burley
slays the guardsman at Drumclog, and the
Covenanters preach and fight at the Brig of
Bothwell. Edgar and Lucy walk to the
haunted spring, and the last lord of Ravens-
wood disappears awfully into the "Kelpie's
Flow," with an effect unsurpassed in any
catastrophe of the Greek drama. Norna of
the Fitful Head speaks her wild rune of the
Reimkennar to the spirits of the north wind;
"bold Magnus, the son of the Jarl," Minna
Troil, the gallant Cleveland and Claude
Halcro feast, love, fight and rhyme in the
Udaller's charmed isle. Diana Vernon on
horseback clears a five-barred gate, Rob
Roy cries "Claymore!" and Baillie Nicol
Jarvie fights his Highlander with a hot
coulter, and goes up perilously into the


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These have all the distinctness of historical characters, and it is by an effort we draw the line of demarkation between both species.

Clachan of Aberfoil. Jeannie Deans stands | stocking, and a thousand other personages
in presence of Queen Caroline pleading for which everybody's memory will distinguish
her sister's life, and Argyle puts his hand to for itself, as every eye forms its proper rain-
his chin whenever the Queen or the Duchess bow.
of Suffolk are in danger of a random hit
from the unconscious advocate. Monkbarns
discovers a Roman prætorium, and Edie
Ochiltree comes up with: "Prætorium And many of these last, and not the least
here, prætorium there-I mind the bigging interesting of them, are in fact little better
o't!" The Knight of the Leopard and the than the fictions of poets, dramatists, and
disguised Soldan fight their picturesque romancers. The histories of the venerable
battle in the desert, and then feast together Bede, Geoffrey of Monmouth, Giraldus,
under the palms.
Richard Plantagenet Froissart, and so forth, are half imaginative.
leaps from his sick-bed in spite of the There are some of the outlines of the truth
Hakim, tears down the standard of Austria in them, but the filling up is mostly fiction:
from the mound at Acre, and hurls the giant" the truth is there, but dashed and brewed
Wallenrode from the top to the bottom of with lies." The history of Scotland from
it. Dominie Sampson exclaims, "Prodi- the reign of Fergus, and that of Ireland
gious!" Dandie Dinmont rears the family from the days of Heber and Heremon down
of Pepper and Mustard; Dirk Hatterick to the conquest of the country by Strong-
strangles Glossin, and shoots Charlotte Cush-bow, are just as fanciful as the metrical
man,-Meg Merrilies we should say; but romances of Scott and Moore. Then for
'tis all one, who recognizes young Bertram,
and dies hard. Hal o' the Wynd fights
"for his ain hand" on the Inch of Perth, in
the midst of the clans Chattan and Quhule.
Queen Elizabeth holds high revel in the hall
of Kenilworth, and Amy Robsart perishes
in the fatal trap at Cumnor. Tristran
l'Ermite hangs the trees around Plessis lez
Tours with Zingaris like acorns. Louis XI.
and Charles the Bold ride abreast in the
breach of the walls of Liege, and the head
of the savage De la Marck secures for the
young Scottish knight the hand of Isabel
Croye. The Highland widow mourns over
her son with a tragic truth and pathos un-
rivalled. The Last Minstrel sings a wild
epic of goblin gramarye-the Leaguer of
Branksome, the Lists, the Festival. Roderick
Dhu fights for life at Coilantogle Ford, and
Allan Bane flings to the dying chief in the
cell a picture of the battle of the Trosachs.
Constance perishes awfully in convent cell,
and Marmion dies like a courageous knight
on the field of Flodden:

the annals of Greece, Herodotus, who is called the father of history, sets down every thing that popular tradition and the lying priests of Egypt told him. People don't know whether to call the Cyropædia of Xenophon a romance or an authentic work. Plutarch applies the same stories sometimes to different persons, and, with the adn irable attractiveness of Hume in our own times, has got a good deal of his incorrectness. Taylor, in his Annotationes ad Lysiam, says of this venerable biographer: "Mendax ille Plutarchus, qui vitas oratorum, dolis et erroribus consutas, olim conscribbilavit." With regard to the history of Rome, "the mellifluous copiousness of Livy," says the elder D'Israeli, "conceals many a tale of wonder; the graver of Tacitus etches many a fatal stroke; and the secret history of Suetonius too often raises a suspicion of those whispers, quid rex in aurem reginæ dixerit, quid Juno fabulata sit cum Jove." Niebuhr has got into our old history of Rome, and laid about him like an iconoclast -like Leo the Isaurian come to judgment! He ruthlessly destroys a whole army of our ancient beliefs, and makes almost a solitude All these and more come thronging at the of the first ages of Rome, so very wonderful call of the imagination; and with them pass and picturesque in our schoolboy days. He before the reader or thinker's eyes the ex-makes a solitude, and calls it history! He travagant hero of him who "smiled Spain's demolishes the venerable Numitor and chivalry away," Dr. Primrose and his delight- Evander, Mars and Rhea Sylvia, Romulus ful family, Parson Adams, Sir Roger de and Remus; the wolf, too, "the thunderCoverley, Uncle Toby, Evangeline, Leather-stricken nurse of Rome," finds as little mercy

"Charge, Chester, charge; on, Stanley, on,'
Were the last words of Marmion,"

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as the rest all seem to make themselves | Col. Kirke down to us from James the

air, into which they vanish! Then the Tarquins, their insolence and expulsion; Lars Porsenna

"Lars Porsenna of Clusium

By the nine gods he swore,
That the great house of Tarquin
Should suffer wrong no more;"

the siege of Rome, Cocles at the bridge, and Scævola at the flaming altar, are all inventions of Ennius, Fabius Pictor, Nævius, and others! This portion of the annals, says the German critic, should not be termed history, but simply the "Lay of the Tarquins," to take its place along with the Lay of the Nibelungen." "Livy's pictored page" (if we may be permitted to make a critical emendation of Byron's phrase, in the spirit of Warburton's Notes on Shakspeare) is, as we have already suggested, considered to be as fallible as it is brilliant. Thus we have a vast amount of what is called history utterly confounded with the professed creations of fanciful minds; and there seems, after all, to be no very perceptible difference between Homer's Agamemnon or Ajax and the Cecrops and Codrus of Herodotus; between Virgil's Æneas or Dido and the Numa or Clelia of Fabius Pictor: they are all equally distinct or indistinct. Scott's King Richard singing of the Jolly Brown Bowl," and exchanging a buffet with the Clerk of Copmanhirst, seems as firm on the canvas and as true as Alfred burning the cakes in the hovel, or Knute rebuking his flatterers from a chair upon the strand of the channel. And even as regards the more modern and authentic annals of history, we scarcely think they have paid much more respect to the actual facts of the world. Sir Robert Walpole used to say to his friends, "Don't read history; that must be false." And Sir Walter Raleigh, looking from the window of his prison in the Tower of London, and witnessing a quarrel in the court-yard, and the after-testimony of the by-standers concerning it, was tempted, it is said, to throw his History of the World into the fire, in despair of ever being able to gather any thing like truth from conflicting authorities. And, certainly, the differences of writers of history, their doubts concerning motives, and their disagreements concerning facts, tend to give us very unsettled ideas of history in general. Historians have sent

Second's reign with a black and bloody renown. But he was not half so black as he was painted by the angry Whigs of that and the succeeding times. The story of the poor girl whose husband he hanged before her eyes, after she had too dearly purchased his life, on Kirke's own terms, is said by Ritson to be an impudent, bare-faced lie. Richard the Third enjoys a very bad character, though it is not unlikely the young princes were not murdered in the Tower, and that Perkin Warbeck was the true prince after all. The historians of those Tudor times underlie the strongest suspicions for a crowd of falsehoods calculated to secare Henry VII. and his family on the throne. Then there are Jack Cade and Wat Tyler: they have been receiving cruel wrong at the hands of the historians. They dared, in an age when the rights of the people were but imperfectly understood, and the influence of the feudal system still in its strength, to take up arms and go to war with their king and his nobles, for liberty! Their sufferings and provocations were undeniable, and their spirit was certainly heroic-kindred to that which animated Melethal, Furst and Stauffacher, at the Brunnens of Grutli. (Pray Heaven we may have put these immortal consonants to. gether correctly!) The Swiss peasants were successful, and are therefore held in everlasting honor. But the Englishmen failed, and are hung up as scarecrows and ludibria on the field of history! Wat Tyler and Jack Cade were incited by the same blood which boiled in the face of tyrants at Naseby, Marston, Dunbar, Worcester and elsewhere, which warmed the hearts of the first colonists on Plymouth Rock, and flowed so freely at Lexington and Bunker Hill. We should begin to honor these poor English heroes, in spite of history and-alas! that we should say it-in spite of Shakspeare! It is remarkable to find this myriad-minded man, so full of the finer humanities of our nature, yet incapable of sympathizing with the cause and feelings of the mass of the lower classes: we do not say people, because there was no such thing in his days. But Shakspeare was, after all, a man of his era; and as little dreamed of the democratic evangels of our times as he did of the Daguerreotype and the Electric Telegraph.

Then, no man can be sure of the lesser

details of the annals, though he may put | published facts in a new light, says, with faith in some of the great facts. We are a great deal of candor: "We are all in the not indisposed to admit, on oath, if neces- wrong." Indeed, Hume is among those to sary, that there was such a man as Julius whom we are indebted for the imaginative Cæsar; though whether he ever said, coloring of history. He brought a host of "Quid times? vehis Cæsarem!" to the Tory prejudices to his task, and a cordial boatman; or "Et tu, Brute?" when the re- dislike of the tone and tendencies of Whigpublicans set upon him in the Capitol, is a gery. In this respect our philosophic hismatter on which our beliefs are not so de- torian bore a resemblance to Sir Walter cided. Most of these picturesque proper- Scott-the Tory of a latter generation. It ties of character and of fact-so to speak-would be needless to go on and give more are generally furnished by the fancies and instances of the discoloration or falsifying of after-thoughts of the narrators for effect, or historic facts which the annalists are guilty fabricated wilfully for a purpose. We need of. Like the poets, not go very far back in history to discover -"they are such liars, the truth of this. In the great naval enAnd take all colors, like the hands of dyers;" gagement, when the French fleet was beaten by that under Lord Howe, the historians of as any body who has read history with Volthe time set forth that the ship "Vengeur" taire, or witnessed it, like Raleigh or Walbeing terribly shattered by the cannonade, pole, can testify for himself. and sinking, her flag still flew, and her defenders went down with her, crying, "Vive la République !" to the last. The French writers did their best to glorify this instance of devoted patriotism; and it was thus transmitted. Carlyle, in his History of the French Revolution, makes quite a cartoon of it with his own vigorous and picturesque pencil. But lo! an English naval officer who was in the battle, seeing one of his own country's writers taking the story, came out in the Times, just after Carlyle's book, and showed that the poor devils who manned the "Vengeur," instead of dying with "Long live the Republic" in their mouths, leaped overboard and tried to save their lives as well as they could-small blame to them!-and that some hundreds of them were saved in the British boats. The message carried from the dying Desaix to Bonaparte at Marengo, was a fabrication of the latter. The story of the Duke of Wellington lying in the hollow-square of the Guards at Waterloo, and jumping up with, "Up, Guards, and at them!" is another of the heroic figments to be classed with those wonderfully fine sayings of the great men of antiquity on grand and critical occasions. And we are concerned to be under the impression that "A little more grape, Capt. Bragg," must be ranked in the same category.

All history, in fact, is more or less fiction. Hume, in one of his letters to Robertson, alluding to the publiction of Murdin's State Papers, which showed several of Hume's

Imagination, after all, seems to be the complement of the creation, of facts and things-whenever the mind busies itself with these last-the strictly mathematical excepted. If we contemplate nature, it enhances whatever we behold. The mountains, rivers, forests, and the elements that surround them, would be but blank conditions of matter if the mind did not fling its own divinity over them. Nature was thus endowed from the beginning, when men heard voices in the winds, and saw supernatural inhabitants in the uncertain shades of the hills and forests. Beings of an ethereal nature walked the earth

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Meeting on hill, in dale, forest or mead,
By paved fountain or by rushy brook,
Or on the beached margent of the ocean;"

or were of the number of those who, with

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Took in, by lot, 'twixt high and nether Jove,
Imperial rule of all the sea-girt isles."

And the modern lovers of nature, though
they no longer recognize the mythologic
people of the ancient beliefs in her pictu-
resque wildernesses, clothe her manifestations
with the attributes of a great supernal
power; and in the towering of her peaks,
the murmur of her forests and seas, the roar
of her storms, the singing of her nightly
stars, find revelations or prophecies of an-
other condition of existence above and be-
yond this. In this respect the modern
poetry of nature has a nobler scope and

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