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"No doubt," said the husband with a smile, "the gentlemen were jesting: considering thy age, they might have held by general politeness." "Age! what age?" cried the Wife: "wilt thou always be talking of my age? How old am I then ?-General politeness! But I know what I know. Look round there what a face the walls have; look at the old stones, which I have not seen these hundred years; every film of gold have they licked away, thou couldst not think how fast; and still they kept assuring me that it tasted far beyond common gold. Once they had swept the walls, the fellows seemed to be in high spirits, and truly in that little while they had grown much broader and brighter. They now began to be impertinent again, they patted me, and called me their queen, they shook themselves, and a shower of gold pieces sprang from them! See how they are shining there under the bench! But ah! what misery! Poor Mops ate a coin or two; and look, he is lying in the chimney, dead. Poor Pug! O well-a-day! I did not see it till they were gone; else I had never promised to pay the Ferryman the debt they owe him."-"What do they owe him?" said the Man.-"Three Cabbages," replied the Wife," three Artichokes and three Onions: I engaged to go when it was day, and take them to the River."
"Thou mayest do them that civility," said
In Illuminated Ages, the Age of Miracles is said to cease; but it is only we that cease to see it, for we are still "refreshed by it."-D. T.
+ Poor old Practical Endeavour! Listen to many an Encyclopédie-Diderot, humanized Philosophe, didactic singer, march-of-intellect men, and other "impudent varlets" (that would never put their own finger to the work ;) and hear what "compliments" they uttered.D. T.
Meantime the fire on the hearth had burnt low; the old Man covered up the embers with a heap of ashes, and put the glittering gold pieces aside; so that his little Lamp now gleamed alone, in the fairest brightness. The walls again coated themselves with gold, and Mops changed into the prettiest onyx that could be imagined. The alternation of the brown and black in this precious stone made it the most curious piece of workmanship.
"Take thy basket," said the Man, "and put the onyx into it; then take the three Cabbages, the three Artichokes, and the three Onions; place them round little Mops, and carry them to the River. At noon the Snake will take thee over; visit the fair Lily, give her the onyx, she will make it alive by her touch, as by her touch she kills whatever is alive already. She will have a true companion in the little dog. Tell her not to mourn; her deliverance is near; the greatest misfortune she may look upon as the greatest happiness; for the time is at hand."
The old Woman filled her basket, and set out as soon as it was day. The rising sun shone clear from the other side of the River, which was glittering in the distance: the old Woman walked with slow steps, for the basket pressed upon her head, and it was not the onyx that so burdened her. Whatever lifeless thing she might be carrying, she did not feel the weight of it; on the other hand, in those cases the basket rose aloft, and hovered along above her head. But to carry any fresh herbage, or any little living animal, she found exceedingly laborious. She had travelled on for some time, in a sullen humour, when she halted suddenly in fright, for she had almost trod upon the Giant's shadow, which was stretching towards her across the plain. And now, lifting up her eyes, she saw the monster of a Giant himself, who had been bathing in the River, and was just come out, and she knew not how she should avoid him. The moment he perceived her, he began saluting her in sport, and the hands of his shadow soon caught hold of the basket; with dexterous ease they picked away from it a Cabbage, an Artichoke, and an Onion, and brought them to the Giant's mouth, who then went his way up the River, and let the Woman go in peace.
She considered whether it would not be bet. ter to return, and supply from her garden the pieces she had lost; and amid these doubt, she still kept walking on, so that in a little while she was at the bank of the River. She sat long waiting for the Ferryman, whom she perceived at last, steering over with a very
*Why so? Is it because with "lifeless things" (with inanimate machinery) all goes like clock-work, which it is, and "the basket hovers aloft ;” while with living things, (were it but the culture of forest-trees) poor Endeavour has more difficulty 1-D. T.-Or, is it chiefly because a Tale must be a Tale 1-O. Y.
↑ Very proper in the huge Loggerhead Superstition, to bathe himself in the element of TIME, and get refreshment thereby.-D. T.
singular traveller. A young, noble-looking, handsome man, whom she could not gaze upon enough, stepped out of the boat.
The garrulous old Woman tried to lead him into conversation; but with his short answers he gave her small encouragement or information; so that in the end, notwithstanding the beauty of his eyes, she grew tired of speaking with him to no purpose, and took leave of him with these words: "You walk too slow for me, worthy sir; I must not lose a moment, for I have to pass the River on the green Snake, and carry this fine present from my husband to the fair Lily." So saying she stepped faster forward; but the fair Youth pushed on with equal speed, and hastened to keep up with her. "You are going to the fair Lily!" cried he; "then our roads are the same. But what present is this you are bringing her?"
"Sir," said the Woman, "it is hardly fair, after so briefly dismissing the questions I put to you, to inquire with such vivacity about my secrets. But if you like to barter, and tell me your adventures, I will not conceal from you how it stands with me and my presents." They soon made a bargain; the dame disclosed her circumstances to him; told the history of the Pug, and let him see the singular gift.
He lifted his natural curiosity from the basket, and took Mops, who seemed as if sleeping softly, into his arms. "Happy beast!" cried he; "thou wilt be touched by her hands, thou wilt be made alive by her; while the living are obliged to fly from her presence to escape
The old Woman did so; but what was her affright, when, on drawing out her hand, she found it black as coal! She loudly scolded the old Ferryman; declared that her hands had always been the fairest part of her; that in spite of her hard work, she had all along a mournful doom. Yet why say I mournful! contrived to keep these noble members white Is it not far sadder and more frightful to be inand dainty. She looked at the hand with in-jured by her look, than it would be to die by dignation, and exclaimed in a despairing tone: her hand? Behold me," said he to the Wo"Worse and worse! Look, it is vanishing man; "at my years, what a miserable fate entirely; it is grown far smaller than the have I to undergo. This mail which I have other." honourably borne in war, this purple which I sought to merit by a wise reign, Destiny has
"For the present it but seems so," said the old man; if you do not keep your word, how-left me; the one as a useless burden, the other ever, it may prove so in earnest. The hand as an empty ornament. Crown, and sceptre, will gradually diminish, and at length disap- and sword are gone; and I am as bare and pear altogether, though you have the use of it needy as any other son of earth; for so unas formerly. Every thing as usual you will blessed are her bright eyes, that they take from be able to perform with it, only nobody will every living creature they look on all its force, see it."-"I had rather that I could not use it, and those whom the touch of her hand does and no one could observe the want," cried not kill are changed to the state of shadows she; "but what of that, I will keep my word, wandering alive." and rid myself of this black skin, and all anxieties about it." Thereupon she hastily took up her basket, which mounted of itself over her head, and hovered free above her in the air, as she hurried after the Youth, who was walking softly and thoughtfully down the bank. His noble form and strange dress had made a deep impression on her.
Thus did he continue to bewail, nowise contenting the old Woman's curiosity, who wished for information not so much of his internal as of his external situation. She learned neither the name of his father, nor of his kingdom. He stroked the hard Mops, whom the subbeams and the bosom of the youth had warmed as if he had been living. He inquired narrowly about the man with the Lamp, about the influences of the sacred light, appearing to expect much good from it in his melancholy case.
His breast was covered with a glittering coat of mail; in whose wavings might be traced every motion of his fair body. From his shoulders hung a purple cloak; around his uncovered head flowed abundant brown hair in beautiful locks: his graceful face, and his well-formed feet were exposed to the scorching of the sun. With bare soles he walked composedly over the hot sand; and a deep ward sorrow seemed to blunt him against all external things.
What is it you bring?" cried the old man. "The greens which those two Will-o'-wisps owe you," said the Woman, pointing to her ware. As the Ferryman found only two of each sort he grew angry, and declared he would have none of them. The Woman earnestly entreated him to take them; told him that she could not now go home, and that her burden for the way which still remained was very heavy. He stood by his refusal, and assured her that it did not rest with him. "What belongs to me," said he "I must leave lying nine hours in a heap, touching none of it, till I have given the River its third." After much higgling, the old man at last replied: "There is still another way. If you like to pledge yourself to the River, and declare yourself its debtor, I will take the six pieces; but there is some risk in it."-"If I keep my word, I shall run no risk?"—"Not the smallest. Put your hand into the stream," continued he, "and promise that within four-and-twenty hours you will pay the debt."
Amid such conversation, they descried from afar the majestic arch of the Bridge, which extended from the one bank to the other, glittering with the strangest colours in the splenin-dours of the sun. Both were astonished; for until now they had never seen this edifice so grand. "How!" cried the Prince! "was it not beautiful enough, as it stood before our eyes, piled out of jasper and agate? Shall we not fear to tread it, now that it appears combined in graceful complexity, of emerald
A dangerous thing to pledge yourself to the TimeRiver;-as many a National Debt, and the like, blackening, bewitching the "beautiful hand" of Endeavour, can witness.-D. T.-Heavens!-0. Y.
and chrysopras and chrysolite ?" Neither of them knew the alteration that had taken place upon the Snake: for it was indeed the Snake, who every day at noon curved herself over the River, and stood forth in the form of a bold-swelling bridge. The travellers stepped upon it with a reverential feeling, and passed over it in silence.
No sooner had they reached the other shore, than the bridge began to heave and stir; in a little while, it touched the surface of the water, and the green Snake in her proper form came gliding after the wanderers. They had scarcely thanked her for the privilege of crossing on her back, when they found that, besides them three, there must be other persons in the company, whom their eyes could not discern. They heard a hissing, which the Snake also answered with a hissing; they listened, and at length caught what follows: "We shall first look about us in the fair Lily's Park," said a pair of alternating voices; "and then request you at nightfall, so soon as we are anywise presentable, to introduce us to this paragon of beauty. At the shore of the great Lake, you will find us."-" Be it so," replied the Snake; and a hissing sound died away in the air.
Our three travellers now consulted in what order they should introduce themselves to the fair Lady; for however many people might be in her company, they were obliged to enter and depart singly, under pain of suffering very hard severities.
The Woman with the metamorphosed Pug in the basket first approached the garden, looking round for her Patroness; who was not difficult to find, being just engaged in singing to her harp. The finest tones proceeded from ner, first like circles on the surface of the still lake, then like a light breath they set the grass and the bushes in motion. In a green enclosure, under the shadow of a stately group of many diverse trees, was she seated; and again did she enchant the eyes, the ear, and the heart of the woman, who approached with rapture, and swore within herself that since she saw her last, the fair one had grown fairer than ever. With eager gladness from a distance she expressed her reverence and admiration for the lovely maiden. "What a happiness to see you, what a Heaven does your presence spread around you! How charmingly the harp is leaning on your bosom, how softly your arms surround it, how it seems as if longing to be near you, and how it sounds so meekly under the touch of your slim fingers! Thrice happy youth, to whom it were permitted to be there!"
So speaking she approached; the fair Lily raised her eyes: let her hands drop from the harp, and answered: "Trouble me not with untimely praise; I feel my misery but the more deeply. Look here, at my feet lies the poor Canary-bird, which used so beautifully to accompany my singing; it would sit upon my harp, and was trained not to touch me; but to
*If aught can overspan the Time-River, then what but Understanding, but Thought, in its moment of plenitude, in its favourable noon-moment 1-D. T.
day, while I, refreshed by sleep, was raising a peaceful morning hymn, and my little singer was pouring forth his harmonious tones more gaily than ever, a Hawk darts over my head; the poor little creature, in affright, takes refuge in my bosom, and I feel the last palpitations of its departing life. The plundering Hawk indeed was caught by my look, and fluttered fainting down into the water; but what can his punishment avail me? my darling is dead, and his grave will but increase the mournful bushes of my garden."
"Take courage, fairest Lily!" cried the Woman, wiping off a tear, which the story of the hapless maiden had called into her eyes; "compose yourself; my old man bids me tell you to moderate your lamenting, to look upon the greatest misfortune as a forerunner of the greatest happiness, for the time is at hand; and truly," continued she, "the world is going strangely on of late. Do but look at my hand, how black it is! As I live and breathe, it is grown far smaller: I must hasten, before it vanish altogether! Why did I engage to do the Will-o'-wisps a service, why did I meet the Giant's shadow, and dip my hand in the River! Could you not afford me a single cabbage, an artichoke, and an onion? I would give them to the River, and my hand were white as ever, so that I could almost show it with one of yours.
"Cabbages and onions thou mayest still find; but artichokes thou wilt search for in vain. No plant in my garden bears either flowers or fruit; but every twig that I break, and plant upon the grave of a favourite, grows green straightway, and shoots up in fair boughs. All these groups, these bushes, these groves my hard destiny has so raised around me. These pines stretching out like parasols, these obelisks of cypresses, these colossal oaks and beeches, were all little twigs planted by my hand, as mournful memorials in a soil that otherwise is barren."*
To this speech the old Woman had paid little heed; she was looking at her hand, which, in presence of the fair Lily, seemed every moment growing blacker and smaller. She was about to snatch her basket and hasten off, when she noticed that the best part of her errand had been forgotten. She lifted out the onyx Pug, and set him down, not far from the fair one, in the grass. "My husband," said she, "sends you this memorial; you know that you can make a jewel live by touching it. This pretty faithful dog will certainly afford you much enjoyment; and my grief at losing him is brightened only by the thought that he will be in your possession."
The fair Lily viewed the dainty creature with a pleased, and as it seemed, with an astonished look. Many signs combine," said she, "that breathe some hope into me: but ah! is it not a natural deception which makes us fancy, when misfortunes crowd upon us, that a better day is near?
* In SUPERNATURALISM, truly, what is there either of flower or of fruit? Nothing that will (altogether) content the greedy Time-River. Stupendous, funereal sacred-groves, "in a soil that otherwise is barren!"D. T.
"What can these many signs avail me,
My Singer's Death, thy coal-black Hand?
"From human joys removed for ever,
With sorrows compassed round I sit :
Is there a Bridge? Alas, not yet!"
The good old dame had listened with impatience to this singing, which the fair Lily accompanied with her harp, in a way that would have charmed any other. She was on the point of taking leave, when the arrival of the green Snake again detained her. The Snake had caught the last lines of the song, and on this matter forthwith began to speak comfort to the fair Lily.
"The Prophecy of the Bridge is fulfilled!" cried the Snake: "you may ask this worthy dame how royally the arch looks now. What formerly was untransparent jasper, or agate, allowing but a gleam of light to pass about its edges, is now become transparent precious stone. No beryl is so clear, no emerald so beautiful of hue."
"I wish you joy of it," said Lily; "but you will pardon me if I regard the prophecy as yet unaccomplished. The lofty arch of your bridge can still but admit foot-passengers; and it is promised us that horses and carriages and travellers of every sort shall, at the same moment, cross this bridge in both directions. Is there not something said, too, about pillars, which are to arise of themselves from the
waters of the River?
The old Woman still kept her eyes fixed on her hand; she here interrupted their dialogue, and was taking leave. "Wait a moment," said the fair Lily, "and carry my little bird with you. Bid the Lamp change it into topaz; I will enliven it by my touch; with your good Mops it shall form my dearest pastime: but hasten, hasten; for, at sunset, intolerable putrefaction will fasten on the hapless bird,
and tear asunder the fair combination of its form for ever."
"It is yet resting in the depths of the Earth," said the Snake; "I have seen the Kings and Conversed with them."
had been sitting, and put the silvery cushion under her arm. A third then made her appearance, with a large parasol worked with pearls; and looked whether Lily would require her in walking. These three maidens were beyond expression beautiful; and yet their beauty but exalted that of Lily, for it was plain to every one that they could never be compared to her.
A pleasing cheerfulness spread over the fair Lily's face: ""Tis the second time," said she, "that I have heard these happy words to-day when will the day come for me to hear them
She rose, and immediately there came a lovely maiden from the grove, and took away her harp. Another followed her, and folded up the fine-carved ivory stool, on which the fair one
Meanwhile the fair one had been looking, with a satisfied aspect, at the strange onyx Mops. She bent down, and touched him, and that instant he started up. Gaily he looked around, ran hither and thither, and at last, in his kindest manner, hastened to salute his benefactress. She took him in her arms, and pressed him to her. "Cold as thou art," cried she," and though but a half-life works in thee, thou art welcome to me; tenderly will I love thee, prettily will I play with thee, softly caress thee, and firmly press thee to my bosom." She then let him go, chased him from her, called him back, and played so daintily with him, and ran about so gayly and so innocently with him on the grass, that with new rapture you viewed and participated in her joy, as a little while ago her sorrow had attuned every heart to sympathy.
Blame not the unhappy bird!" replied the Youth; “rather blame thyself and thy destiny; and leave me to keep beside me the companion of my wo."
Meanwhile Mops ceased not teasing the fair Lily; and she replied to her transparent
The old Woman laid the little corpse, wrap-favourite, with friendly gestures. She clapped ped in soft leaves, into her basket, and hastèned away. "However it may be," said the Snake, recommencing their interrupted dialogue," the Temple is built."
"But it is not at the River," said the fair
her hands to scare him off; then ran, to entice him after her. She tried to get him when he fled, and she chased him away when he attempted to press near her. The Youth looked on in silence, with increasing anger; but at last, when she took the odious beast, which seemed to him unutterably ugly, on her arm, pressed it to her white bosom, and kissed its black snout with her heavenly lips, his patience altogether failed him, and full of despe
“But when will they arise?" inquired Lily.ration he exclaimed: "Must I, who by a baleThe Snake replied: "I heard resounding in the Temple these deep words, The time is at hand."
ful fate exist beside thee, perhaps to the end, in an absent presence, who by thee have lost my all, my very self, must I see before my eyes, that so unnatural a monster can charm thee into gladness, can awaken thy attachment, and enjoy thy embrace? Shall I any longer keep wandering to and fro, measuring my dreary course to that side of the River and to
This cheerfulness, these graceful sports were interrupted by the entrance of the woful Youth. He stepped forward, in his former guise and aspect; save that the heat of the day appeared to have fatigued him still more, and in the presence of his mistress he grew paler every moment. He bore upon his hand a Hawk, which was sitting quiet as a dove, with its body shrunk and its wings drooping.
"It is not kind in thee," cried Lily to him, "to bring that hateful thing before my eyes, the monster, which to-day has killed my little singer."
Who are these three? Faith, H: pe, and Charity, or
others of that kin?-D. T.-Faith, Hope, and Fiddlestick!-O. Y.
this? No, there is still a spark of the old heroic spirit sleeping in my bosom, let it start this instant into its expiring flame! If stones may rest in thy bosom, let me be changed to stone; if thy touch kills, I will die by thy hands."
So saying he made a violent movement; the Hawk flew from his finger, but he himself rushed towards the fair one; she held out her hands to keep him off, and touched him only the sooner. Consciousness forsook him; and she felt with horror the beloved burden lying on her bosom. With a shriek she started back, and the gentle youth sank lifeless from her arms upon the ground.
The misery had happened! The sweet Lily stood motionless, gazing on the corpse. Her heart seemed to pause in her bosom; and her eyes were without tears. In vain did Mops try to gain from her any kindly gesture; with her friend, the world for her was all dead as the grave. Her silent despair did not look round for help; she knew not of any help.
The Woman hurried off at her quickes On the other hand, the Snake bestirred her- pace, and the Snake seemed expecting as im self the more actively; she seemed to meditate patiently as Lily the return of the Flames deliverance; and in fact her strange move-Alas! the beam of the sinking Sun was already ments served at last to keep away, for a little, gilding only the highest summits of the trees the immediate consequences of the mischief. in the thicket, and long shadows were stretchWith her limber body, she formed a wide cir-ing over lake and meadow; the Snake hitched cle round the corpse, and seizing the end of up and down impatiently, and Lily dissolved her tail between her teeth, she lay quite still.in tears.
Ere long one of Lily's fair waiting-maids appeared; brought the ivory folding-stool, and with friendly beckoning constrained her mistress to sit down on it. Soon afterwards there came a second; she had in her hand a firecoloured veil, with which she rather decorated than concealed the fair Lily's head. The third handed her the harp, and scarcely had she drawn the gorgeous instrument towards her, and struck some tones from its strings, when the first maid returned with a clear round mirror; took her station opposite the fair one; caught her looks in the glass, and threw back to her the loveliest image that was to be found in nature. Sorrow heightened her beauty, the veil her charms, the harp her grace; and deeply as you wished to see her mournful situation altered, not less deeply did you wish to keep her image, as she now looked, for ever present with you.
With a still look at the mirror, she touched the harp; now melting tones proceeded from the strings, now her pain seemed to mount, and the music in strong notes responded to her wo; sometimes she opened her lips to sing, but her voice failed her; and ere long her sorrow melted into tears, two maidens caught her helpfully in their arms, the harp sank from her bosom, scarcely could the quick servant snatch the instrument and carry it aside.
"Who gets us the Man with the Lamp, be
fore the sun set?" hissed the Snake, faintly, but audibly: the maids looked at one another, and Lily's tears fell faster. At this moment came the Woman with the Basket, panting and altogether breathless. "I am lost and maimed for life!" cried she; "see how my hand is almost vanished; neither Ferryman nor Giant would take me over, because I am the River's debtor; in vain did I promise hundreds of Cabbages and hundreds of Onions; they will take no more than three; and no Artichoke is now to be found in all this quarter."
Does not man's soul rest by Faith, and look in the mirror of Faith? Does not Hope "decorate rather than conceal?" Is not Charity (Love) the beginning of music ?-Behold, too, how the Serpent, in this great hour, has made herself a Serpent-of-Eternity; and (even as genuine THOUGHT, in our age, has to do for so much) preserves the seeming-dead within her folds, that suspended animation issue not in noisome, horrible, irrevocable dissolution!-D. T.
"Forget your own care," said the Snake, "and try to bring help here; perhaps it may come to yourself also. Haste with your utmost speed to seek the Will-o'-wisps; it is too light for you to see them, but perhaps you will hear them laughing and hopping to and fro If they be speedy, they may cross upon the Giant's shadow, and seek the Man with the Lamp and send him to us."
In this extreme need, the Snake kept look ing round on all sides; for she was afraid every moment that the Sun would set, and corruption penetrate the magic circle, and the fair youth immediately moulder away. A last she noticed sailing high in the air, with purple-red feathers, the Prince's Hawk, whose breast was catching the last beams of the Sun. She shook herself for joy at this good omeni nor was she deceived; for shortly afterwards the Man with the Lamp was seen gliding towards them across the Lake, fast and smoothly, as if he had been travelling on skates.
The Snake did not change her posture; but Lily rose and called to him: "What good spirit sends thee, at the moment when we were desiring thee, and needing thee, so much?"
"The spirit of my Lamp," replied the Man, "has impelled me, and the Hawk has conducted me. My Lamp sparkles when I am needed, and I just look about me in the sky for a signal; some bird or meteor points to the quarter towards which I am to turn. Be calm, fairest Maiden! whether I can help I know not; an individual helps not, but he who combines himself with many at the proper hour. We will postpone the evil, and keep hoping. Hold thy circle fast," continued he, turning to the Snake; then set himself upon a hillock beside her, and illuminated the dead body. “Bring the little Bird* hither too, and lay it in the circle!" The maidens took the little corpse from the basket, which the old Woman had left standing, and did as he directed.
*What are the Hawk and this Canary-bird, whien here prove so destructive to one another? Ministering servants, implements, of these two di ided Halves of the Human Soul; name them I will not more is not wrilten-D. T.