Page images

man too.

But he has good authors on note is altogether changed. “When this his side: “I excuse myself with Peter young gallant is crossed in his love, he Godefridus, Valleriola, Ficinus, Langius, laments, and cries, and roars downright. Cadmus Milesius, who writ fourteen •The virgin 's gone and I am gone, books of love." Surely, he would be she's gone, she's gone, and what shall very critical who should ask more than I do? Where shall I find her? whom this.

shall I ask? what will become of me? The apology once made, with what I am weary of this life, sick, mad, and gusto he sets forth, how he luxuriates desperate.' in golden tidbits from love's delicate It becomes the sage, then, to be clear revels! “A little soft hand, pretty little of these toys. If he is to write about mouth, small, fine, long fingers, 't is that Love Melancholy, let him cure it. Let which Apollo did admire in Daphne.” him hold up a warning to the unwary. “Of all eyes (by the way) black are What is the use of days and nights spent most amiable, enticing, and fair.” “Oh, in toiling over learned authors, if the that pretty tone, her divine and lovely young and foolish are not to have the looks, her everything lovely, sweet, ami- benefit of one's experience? If only the able, and pretty, pretty, pretty.” Is it young and foolish would profit! If only not the mere ecstasy of amorous frenzy ? the unwary would beware! Still we Again, he gives us a very banquet, a rosy

must do our part. Let us remind them wreath of old, simple English names, a that beauty fades. It is a rather wellperfect old-fashioned garden : “Modest known fact, but youth is so prone to forMatilda, pretty, pleasing Peg, sweet, sing. get it. “Suppose thou beholdest her ing Susan, mincing, merry Moll, dainty, in a frosty morning, in cold weather, in dancing Doll, neat Nancy, jolly Jone, some passion or perturbation of mind, nimble Nell, kissing Kate, bouncing Bess weeping, chafing, etc., riveled and illwith black eyes, fair Phillis, with fine favored to behold. ... Let her use all white hands, fiddling Frank, tall Tib, helps art and nature can yield; be like slender Sib, etc.” Do you not hear their her, and her, and whom thou wilt, or all merry laughter, as he heard it in his dim

these in one; a little sickness, a fever, study, a dream of fair faces and bright small-pox, wound, scar, loss of an eye or forms twisting, and turning, and flash- limb, a violent passion, mars all in an ing back and forth under the harvest instant, disfigures all.” Then let us exmoon?

alt the charms of a bachelor's life. It Yet, after all, love is a tyrant and a has its weak points, as I feel, writing traitor, a meteor rushing with blind fury here alone in the dust and chill, with noamong the placid orbs of life. What is thing but books about me, no prattle of a man to make of these wild contrasts children, no merry chatter of busy woand tragical transitions ? At one mo But what then? It is quieter, ment the lover seems to be on the pin- after all. “Consider how contentedly, nacle of felicity,“ his soul sowced, im- quietly, neatly, plentifully, sweetly, and paradised, imprisoned in his lady; he how merrily he lives! He hath no man can do nothing, think of nothing but her; to care for but himself, none to please, she is his cynosure, Hesperus, and Ves no charge, none to control him, is tied to per, his morning and evening star, his no residence, no cure to serve, may go goddess, his mistress, his life, his soul, and come when, whither, live where he his everything ; dreaming, waking, she will, his own master, and do what he is always in his mouth ; his heart, eyes, list himself.” Nevertheless, it all sounds ears, and all his thoughts are full of her.” a little hollow, and as I sit here in the But then something goes wrong and the winter midnight with my old pipe, I


wonder if it inight not have been other as well, wet his pack likewise at the next wise.

water; but it was much the heavier, he I have made my quotations with very quite tired.” little skill, if the ingenious reader does Does he wish to paint the foul and not by this time feel that Burton was in horrible ? I know of nothing in Swift his way a great master of style. His or Zola more replete with the luxury skill and power as a writer, more than of hideousness than the unquotable deanything else, show that he was not a scription of the defects which infatuated mere pedant or Dryasdust. It is true, love will overlook, - a description which he himself disclaims any such futile pre- Keats tells a correspondent he would give occupation. He has not "amended the his favorite leg to have written. Here, style, which now flows remissly, as it as in so many passages I have quoted, was first conceived." His book is “ writ Burton piles up epithet after epithet, till with as small deliberation as I do or it seems as if the dictionary would be dinarily speak, without all affectation exhausted, a trick which, by the bye, of big words, fustian phrases, jingling he may have caught from Rabelais, and terms.” But the facts belie him, and one which would become very monotonous, shudders to think what must have been if it were not applied with such wonderhis idea of the big words he does not ful variety and fertility. use. A careful collation of the first edi Then, at his will, the magician can tion of the Anatomy with the last pub- turn with ease from the bitter to the lished in the author's lifetime not only sweet. When he touches love or beauty, shows a great number of additions and all his ruggedness is gone. His words alterations, but proves conclusively that become full of grace, of suave, vague these changes were made, in many cases, richness, of delicacy, of mystery, as in with a view to style and to style only the phrase which Southey quotes in The Take a single instance. In the first edi Doctor: "For peregrination charms our tion Burton wrote: “ If it be so that the senses with such unspeakable and sweet earth is a moon, then are we all lunatic variety that some count him unhappy within." Later he amplified this as fol- that never traveled, a kind of prisoner, lows, with obvious gain in the beauty of and pity his case, that from his cradle to the phrase : “If it be so that the earth his old age beholds the same still ; still, is a moon, then are we also giddy, ver still the same, the same.” Or, to take a tiginous, and lunatic within this sublu more elaborate picture, see this, which nary maze.”

Amended, I think, but might be a Tintoretto or a Spenser: oh, for the “big words, fustian phrases, “Witty Lucian, in that pathetical lovejingling terms ” !

passage or pleasant description of JupiYes, Burton was a master of style. ter's stealing of Europa and swimming He could bend language to his ends and from Phænicia to Crete, makes the sea do as he willed with it. If he is often calm, the winds hush, Neptune and Amrough, harsh, wanton in expression, it phitrite riding in their chariot to break is simply because, like Donne, he chose the waves before them, the Tritons danto be so. Does he wish to tell a plain cing round about with every one a torch ; story? Who can do it more lightly, sim- the sea-nymphs, half-naked, keeping time ply, briefly ? “ An ass and a mule went on dolphins' backs and singing Hymeladen over a brook, the one with salt, the næus ; Cupid nimbly tripping on the top other with wool; the mule's pack was wet of the waters ; and Venus herself coming by chance ; the salt melted, his burden after in a shell, strawing roses and flowthe lighter; and he thereby much eased. ers on their heads." He told the ass, who, thinking to speed I have dwelt thus long on Burton's

style because it is absolutely characteris- gesture of an etc. Take an often-quoted tic, and because it proves by its eminent passage in the introduction, in which he artistic qualities that he was not simply describes his own life as an observer and a compiler and quoter, but a thinking contemplator : “ Now come tidings of and feeling man, a strong, shrewd, pas- weddings, maskings, mummeries, entersionate temperament, gazing with in- tainments, jubilees, enibassies, tilts and tense interest out of his scholastic win tournaments, trophies, triumphs, revels, dows at the strange and moving spectacle sports, plays; then again, as in a newof life. In his fullness and abundance shifted scene, treasons, cheating tricks, he, more than any other English author, robberies, enormous villanies in all kinds, recalls Montaigne, whom he quotes so funerals, burials, death of princes, new frequently : he has less fluidity, more discoveries, expeditions, now comical, conventional prejudice, but also more sin then tragical matters ; to-day we hear of cerity, more robust moral force. Again, new lords and officers created, to-morhe in a certain sense resembles a greater row of some great men deposed, and than Montaigne, his own greatest con again of fresh honors conferred; one is temporary, Shakespeare, whom he also let loose, another imprisoned ; one par quotes enough to show that he knew and chaseth, another breaketh; he thrives, loved his writings, at any rate, if not his neighbor turns bankrupt ; now plenty, himself. Shakespeare's work is like a glo then again dearth and famine; one runs, rious piece of tapestry, a world of rich another rides, wrangles, laughs, weeps, and splendid hues, woven into a thou

etc.” sand shapes of curious life. Burton's So we may sum up The Anatomy of is like the reverse side of the same : all Melancholy in an etc. The general tone the bewildering wealth of color, but of the book, with its infinite multiplicity, rough, crude, misshapen, undigested. reminds one of nothing more than of the

One of the characteristic oddities of quaint blending of mirth, mystery, and Burton's style is his perpetual use of the spiritual awe so deliciously expressed in phrase etc. When his quick and fluent Stevenson's baby couplet, pen has heaped together all the nouns or “ The world is so full of a number of things, adjectives in heaven and in earth, and I'm sure we should all be as happy as kings." in the waters under the earth, he com Only Burton would have laid a mischievpletes the picture with the vast, vague ous and melancholy emphasis on should.

Gamaliel Bradford, Jr.


WHEN of this flurry thou shalt have thy fill,
The thing thou seekest, it will seek thee then :
The heavens repeat themselves in waters still
And in the faces of contented men.

John Vance Cheney.


The manner of my initiation was this. there, and that he lived on the Hill next There was living in the town of Wheat- to the Academy. Whereupon, Dr. Clagland an old man who knew everybody in gett remembered that he was on his way the county, for indeed he had helped a to that very house to see a lady there, good part of the inhabitants into this vale which was strange, for he was going in of tears, and, to speak truly, I fear had an opposite direction when the child met hastened the departure from it of not a him. However, they returned to the few. This was the celebrated Dr. John house, the child about seven, and the man Claggett, the greatest story-teller, the best nearly ten times as old. companion with whom to share a mint What talk went on behind the Vene julep, the welcome guest at every wed- tian blinds in the parlor the little boy ding, the friend of every child, the good – swinging on the gate until the reapphysician, whose presence was worth a pearance of his new friend

did not moderate sickness. For he brought the learn till years after, but when the Doclatest news from the farthest borders of tor reappeared he heard, “No books nor the county ; he had stories new as well school, — give him to me and he 'll live, as old; he played practical jokes in, as it and I'll make a man of him." seemed, the presence of death itself, and drove pain off with hearty human laugh- Next morning at nine o'clock I stood ter. Perhaps the wit was rather too before the Doctor's house, - red brick, Elizabethan for the taste of to-day. Here with a high stoop built along the front. was one that the country people liked An alleyway, arched over, gave protecmore than the aroma of humor; they tion to a little brown mare, hitched to a wanted to taste it, and thought that a staple in the wall, and kept the rain from joke, like whiskey, improved with age. a buggy that was splashed to the top with Mother, and then daughter, had listened cakes of yellow mud that had dried and to it without shame. It is a wedding, made the whole vehicle almost invisible not complete without the Doctor. Two, at a distance, so near was it to the color three, perhaps more, glasses of apple-jack of the crossroads. In this vehicle I was have been drunk; it's time to break destined to ride for the next two years, up, but first the Doctor must salute the every day save Sunday, as the companbride. This he does, and adds, with a ion, the friend, and, as he said, the colmeaning look, “ I'll see you later,” an- league of the man who had the largest swered by a push and a “ La, Doctor! practice in the county. In that way I from the buxom bride, and a fatuous began to practise medicine. giggle from the embarrassed groom. I

The little brown mare, named Lucy, fear we were not a refined people, but turned to the right, and, passing through then, on the other hand, we were not the square, turned to the right again on divorced and married again the same the Sharpesburg pike, then to the left, day!

and stretched herself comfortably eastIt came to pass, then, that this man - ward on the Frederick road toward the now, as I say, growing old saw one blue mountains, shining like a long turday in the village street a child whom he quoise in the early winter sun. did not know. And as that was a most “Do you know where you are going ?” remarkable thing, he stopped him and said my new,



first friend. easily learned that he had not long been “ No, sir.”

“ Well, you are going to Jerusalem banks touched their outmost branches at across the river Jordan.”

midstream, and the old red brick flour Oh, the terror of that drive! It must mill shook with the whirl of the wheel, be death, or at least endless exile, that the yellow stream became white and affronted me. “ Jerusalem and Jor- creamy as it fell over the fall, and beyond dan" -I knew the names. Indeed, the mill lay Funkstown, a hamlet withthey represented all I knew of geo- out a comely building, and yet made graphy. They were far away, I knew. beautiful by stately silver poplars which Could I ever return? I think here I bordered the street, and gardens surshould have wept had I not been roused rounding every house. from my sad forebodings by Lucy's stop- “There ! This is Jerusalem, and that ping at the toll gate. A wonderful place, is the river Jordan, that we've crossed; that! What authority resided bere! and, yes, there they are, - in that winWhy, even the tow-headed boy sitting dow, bull's eyes, - two for a penny, on the fence could swing that bar to, and soon we shall be going home.” and all the traffic would cease. “ There Oh, how proud the child was that be wa'n't nobody dasen't go through when had not cried ! He laughed, too, with a the bar was swung in.” I did not know new sensation. He had become conscious that then, but I learned it later from of thought! This wise old man had the same tow-headed boy, when he be- taken a child, who needed rousing and came my

friend. The toll keeper was a an interest to make it seem worth while shoemaker, too, and well-mannered peo- to life to keep in its delicate frame, ple drove close to the step, so that he had and plunged it into the cold water of only to reach out a hand to take the fare. apprehension, and now it was tingling A woman came through the orchard, with the reaction of satisfaction. Like where she had been feeding hens, to have many puzzles, the explanation was simple. a chat with the old Doctor.

The Dunkers had a yearly baptism in • Why, my sakes, Doctor, where did the Antietam, hence the Antietam beyou get that child ? He ain't one o' came Jordan, and Funkstown, Jerusalem.

A parable, if you will, of the power of “No sir-ree,” was the emphatic an- faith. For, as the early Italian painters

“ This is a celebrated doctor from dressed the Magi and the Holy Family Virginia, and he 's going to practise med- in the gorgeous robes of Venice or Veicine with me from the Blue Ridge to rona, and saw no incongruity, so these the Connococheague, and to-day we are simple-minded peasants, — for they were bound 'cross the Jordan to Jerusalem."

little more,

in the illustration of the They all laughed, and I whispered pit- great experience, saw the insignificant eously to the woman,

stream changed to the river that cleansed “ Is it far?”

Naaman, and the mean little village into “No, honey, 't ain't no ways now. the city of the great King. And don't you mind the old Doctor. He This was the beginning of an educaain't happy 'less he's foolin' somebody.” tion, impossible in school, of course, but

Here the Doctor laughed, too, and most important. I mean the education clucked to Lucy, and we climbed the long of teasing. It is like teaching a puppy hill, from the top of which are seen, di- to jump by holding the dainty a little rectly below, the sluggish yellow waters higher than he can reach. It is a sort of the Antietam, spanned by a single arch of mental tickling, that may indeed beof blue limestone, the wooden covering come cruel, but is, in kindly hands, a of the bridge's wall painted bright red. delicious experience. And I think, in all The sycamore trees growing on the the pharmacopæia of that day there was

yourn, be he?”


« PreviousContinue »