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PHANTASIES:
A
FAERIE ROMANCE.
Phantasies from
their fount' all shapes deriving, habiliments can quickly dight. FLETCHEB'S Purple Island.
'

In

new

Es

lassen sich Erzahlungen ohne

Zusammenhang, jedoch mit


auch ohne alien Sinn und
Diese wahre

Association, wie Traume, denken ; Gedichte, die bloss wohlklin-

gend und

roll schoner

Worte

sind, aber

Zusammenhang, hochstens
Poesie

einzelne Strophen verstandlich, wie

Bruchstiicke aus den verschiedenartigsten Dingen.

kann hochstens einen

allegorischen Sinn

im G rossen, und
ist die

eine indirecte

Wirkung, wie Musik haben.

Darum

Natur

so rein poetisch, wie die Stube eines Zauberers, eines Physikers, * * eine eine Polter-und Vorrathskammer.

Kinderstube,

Ein Mahrchen

ist

wie ein Traumbild ohne Zusammenhang.

Ein Ensemble wunderbarer Dinge und Begebenheiten, z. B. eine Musikalische Phantasie, die harmonischen Folgen einer Aeolsharfe,
die

Natur

selbst.

*
alles

In

einem echten Mahrchen muss

wunderbar, geheim-

und zusammenhangend sein; alles belebt, jeder auf eine andere Art. Die ganze Natur muss wunderlich mit der ganzen
nissvoll

Geisterwelt gemischt sein

hier tritt die Zeit der Anarchie, der

Gesetzlosigkeit, Freiheit, der Naturstand der Natur, die Zeit

vor

der Welt

ein.

Die Welt des Mahrchens

ist die,

der Welt
ihr so

der Wahrheit durchaus entgegeugesetzte,

und eben darum

durchaus ahnlich,
ahnlich
ist.

wie

das Chaos der vollendeten

Schopfung

NOVALIS.

PHANTASIES:
Pp

awii[

Itomatttf

far

and

AUTHOR OF " WITHIN AND WITHOUT."

In good sooth,

my

masters, this

is

no door.

Yet

is it

little

window, that

looketh upon a great world.

LONDON:
SMITH, ELDER

AND

CO.,

65,

COENHILL.

1858.

The

rigid

of Translation

is

reserved ]

Annex

PHANTASIES,
i.

A spirit
*
*
-woods,

* *

*
*

The undulating

And rippling rivulet, Now deepening the dark


Were
all

and silent well, and evening gloom,


shades, for speech assuming, as if he and it ;

Held commune with him


that was.

SHELLEY'S Alastor.

awoke one morning with the usual perplexity of mind which accompanies the return of consciousness.
I

As
of

I lay

and looked through the eastern window


faint streak of peach-colour, dividing

my

room, a

a cloud that just rose above the low swell of the


horizon, announced the approach

of the sun.

As

my

thoughts, which a deep and apparently dreamless

sleep

had

dissolved,

began again

to

assume crystalline

forms, the

strange events of the foregoing night

presented themselves

anew

to

my

wondering conB

2038557

2
sciousness.

PHANTASTES:

The day

before had been

my

one-and-

twentieth birthday.

Among other ceremonies investlegal rights, the keys

ing

me

with

my

of an old
his private

secretary, in

which

my

father

had kept

As soon as papers, had been delivered up to me. I was left alone, I ordered lights in the chamber
where the secretary
been there for
death, the
stood, the first lights that

had

many

a year ;

for, since

my

father's

room had been

left

undisturbed.

But,

as if the darkness
to

be easily

had been too long an inmate to expelled, and had dyed with blackness
bat-like,
it

the walls to which,


tapers served but
ings,
ill

had clung, these

to light

up the gloomy hanginto

and seemed

to

throw yet darker shadows

the hollows of the deep-wrought cornice.


further portions of

All the
in

the

room lay shrouded

mystery whose deepest

folds

were gathered around

the dark oak cabinet which I

now approached with


and
curiosity. to turn

strange

mingling

of

reverence

Perhaps, like a geologist, I


to the light

was about

up

some of the buried


its

strata of the

human

world, with

fossil

remains charred by passion

and

petrified

my
to

father,

by tears. Perhaps I was to learn how whose personal history was unknown

me, had woven his web of story; how he had

A FAERIE ROMANCE.
found the world, and

how

the world

had

left

him.

Perhaps I was to find only the records of lands

and moneys, how gotten and how secured

coming

down from strange men, and through troublous times,


to

me who knew
To
solve

little

or nothing of

them

all.

my
fast

speculations,

and

to dispel the

awe
the

which was

gathering

around

me

as

if

dead were drawing near, I approached the secretary ;

and having found the key that fitted the upper portion, I opened it with some difficulty, drew near
it

a heavy high-backed chair, and sat


little

down

before

a multitude of
holes.

drawers and

slides

and pigeonin the

But the door of a

little

cupboard

centre especially attracted

my

interest, as if there
Its

lay the secret of this long hidden world.


I found.

key

One

of the rusty lunges cracked and broke


:

as I opened the door

it

revealed a

number

of small

pigeon-holes. These, however, being but shallow

comcup-

pared with the depth of those around the

little

board, the outer ones reaching to the back of the desk,


I

concluded that there must be some accessible space


;

behind

and found, indeed, that they were formed in

a separate framework, which admitted of the whole

being pulled out in one piece.

Behind, I found

sort of flexible portcullis

of small bars of

wood

B 2

PHANTASTES

laid close together horizontally.

After long search,


it,

and trying many ways to move


last

I discovered at
side.

a scarcely projecting point of steel on one

pressed this [repeatedly and hard with the point


till

of an old tool that was lying near,


yielded

at length it

inwards

and the
a

little

slide, flying

up

suddenly,

disclosed

chamber
little

empty,

except

that in one corner lay a


leaves,

heap of withered rose-

whose long-lived scent had long since departed ;


a small packet
of
papers,
tied

and, in another,

with a bit of ribbon, whose colour had gone with


the
rose-scent.

Almost fearing

to

touch

them,

they witnessed so mutely to the law of oblivion,


I

leaned back in
;

my

chair,

and regarded them

for a

moment

when suddenly
little

there stood on the thresh-

old of the

chamber, as though she had just


depth,

emerged from

its

a tiny woman-form, as

perfect in shape as if she


statuette roused to life

had been a small Greek

and motion.

Her

dress

was

of a kind that could never grow old-fashioned, because

was simply natural a robe plaited in a band around the neck, and confined by a belt about the
it
:

waist, descended to her feet.

It

was only afterwards,

however, that

took notice of her dress, although


so

my

surprise

was by no means of

overpowering

A FAERIE ROMANCE.

a degree as such an apparition might naturally be


expected to excite.
Seeing, however, as I suppose,

some

astonishment in

my

countenance, she came


said, in

forward within a yard of me, and

a voice that

strangely recalled a sensation of twilight, and reedy


river

banks, and a low wind, even in this deathly

room,

"Anodos, you never saw such a


before, did

little

creature

you ?
I

"

"

No," said

" and indeed

hardly believe I

do now."

" Ah

that

is

always the
first

way with you men


time
;

you

believe nothing the


to let

and

it

is foolish

enough you consider


to

mere

repetition convince you of what


I

in itself unbelievable.

am

not going

argue with you, however, but to grant you a

wish."

Here

I could not help interrupting her with the

foolish speech, of which,

however,

had no cause

to repent

"

How

can such a very


?

little

creature as

you

grant or refuse anything

"

"

Is that all

the philosophy

you have gained

in

one-and twenty years ?" said she.


but
size is nothing.
It is

"Form

is

much,

a mere matter of relation.

6
I suppose

PHAXTASTES:
your
six-foot lordship does not feel alto-

gether insignificant, though to others you do look


small beside your old Uncle Ralph,

who

rises
is

above
of so

you a great
little

half-foot at least.

But

size

consequence with me, that I

may

as

well

accommodate myself to your foolish prejudices." So saying, she leapt from the desk upon the floor ;

where she stood a

tall,

gracious lady, with pale

Her dark hair flowed face and large blue eyes. behind, wavy but uncurled, down to her waist, and
against
it

her form stood clear in


said she,

its

robe of white.

"

Now,"

"

you

will believe

me."

Overcome with the presence of a beauty which could now perceive, and drawn towards her by
attraction
irresistible

an

as

incomprehensible,

suppose I stretched out

my

arms towards her,

for

she drew back a step or two, and said :

"Foolish boy,
hurt you.

you could touch me, I should Besides, I was two hundred and thirtyif

seven years old,

last

Midsummer eve

and a man

must not
know." " But

fall

in

love with his grandmother, you

you " How do

are not

my grandmother,"
that ?
"

said

I.

you know

she retorted.

" I dare

say you

know something

of your great grandfathers

A FAERIE KOMANCE.
a good deal further back than that
;

but you

know

very
side.

little

about your great grandmothers on either


to the
point.

Now,

Your

little

sister

was

reading a fairy-tale to you last night." " She was."

"

When

she had finished, she said, as she closed


'

the book,

Is there a fairy-country, brother ?


*

'

You

replied with a sigh,


find the

suppose there

is, if

one could

way
;

into

it.'"

meant something quite different from what you seem to think." " Never mind what I seem to think. You shall
I

"

did

but

find the in

way

into

Fairy Land to-morrow.

Now

look

my

eyes."
I did so.

Eagerly

They

filled

me

with an unthat

known

longing.

remembered somehow

my

mother died when I was a baby. I looked deeper and deeper, till they spread around me like seas, and
till

I I

sank in their waters.

I forgot all the rest,

found myself at the window, whose gloomy

curtains

were withdrawn, and where


stars,

I stood gazing

on a whole heaven of
in the

small

and sparkling

moonlight.
in the

Below lay a

sea, still as death

and hoary

moon, sweeping
islands,

into

bays and

around capes

and

away, away, I

knew

8
not whither.

PHANTASTES:
Alas !
it

was no

sea,

but a low fog


is

burnished by the moon.


a sea somewhere
voice beside
"
!

"Surely there

such

said I to myself.

low sweet

me

replied

" In

Fairy Land, Anodos."

I turned, but

saw no one.

I closed the secretary,

and went

to

my own

room, and to bed.

All this I recalled as I lay with half-closed eyes.


I

was soon

to find the truth of the lady's promise,


I

that this

day

should discover the road into Fairy-

Land.

A FAEKIE ROMANCE.

II.

"

Wo

ist

blauen Wellen iiber uns


floss leise iiber

der Strom?" rief er mit Thranen. " Siehst du nicht seine " Er ? sah hinauf, und der blaue Strom

ihrem Haupte.
"
?

NOVALIS. Heinrich von Ofter" Seest thou not


!

dingen.
"

Where is

the stream?

cried he, with tears.

its

blue waves above us

"

He

looked up, and lo

the blue stream

was flowing gently over their heads.

WHILE

these strange

events were passing through

my

mind, I suddenly, as one awakes to the conscious-

ness that the sea has been

moaning by him

for hours,

or that the storm has been howling about his


all

window

became aware of the sound of running water near me ; and looking out of bed, I saw that a
night,

large green marble basin, in which I

was wont

to

wash, and which stood on a low pedestal of the same


material in a corner of
like a spring;

my
all

room, was overflowing

and that a stream of clear water was


the length of the room,

running over the carpet,


finding
still,

its

outlet I

knew

not where.
I

And, stranger

where

this carpet,

which

had myself designed


daisies,

to imitate a field of grass

and

bordered the

10
course of the
daisies

PHANTASTES:
little

stream,

the grass-blades and

seemed

to

wave

in a tiny breeze that followed

the water's flow; while under the rivulet they bent and

swayed with every motion of the changeful current, as if they were about to dissolve with it, and, forsaking their fixed form, become fluent as the waters.

My
front.

dressing-table

was an old-fashioned piece of


all

furniture of black oak, with drawers

down

the

These were elaborately carved in foliage, of which ivy formed the chief part. The nearer
this

end of
but

table

remained just as

it

had been,

on

the further
I

end a singular change had


to fix

commenced.
cluster

happened

my
;

eye on a
of
these

little

of

ivy -leaves.

The

first

was

evidently the

work

of the carver

the next looked

curious; the third was unmistakeable ivy; and just

beyond

it

a tendril of clematis had twined


gilt

itself

about the

handle of one of the drawers.

Hear-

ing next a slight motion above me, I looked up, and

saw that the branches and leaves designed upon the Not curtains of my bed were slightly in motion.

knowing what change might follow


it

next, I thought

high time to get up

and, springing from the bed,

my

bare feet alighted upon a cool green sward;


I dressed in all haste, I

and although

found myself

A FAEKIE EOMANCE.
completing
tree,

11

my

toilet

under the boughs of a great


in

whose top
sunrise with

waved

the

golden stream of

the

many

interchanging lights, and

with shadows of leaf and branch gliding over leaf

and branch,
to

as the cool

morning wind swung

it

and

fro, like

a sinking sea-wave.

After washing as well as I could in the clear


stream, I rose and looked around me.

The

tree

under which

seemed

to

have

lain all night,

was one

of the advanced guard of a dense forest, towards

which the rivulet

ran.

Faint traces of a footpath,

much overgrown

with grass and moss, and with here

and there a pimpernel even, were discernible along the right bank. " This," thought I, " must surely be
the path into Fairy Land, which the lady of last night

promised

should so soon find." I crossed the rivulet,


it,

and accompanied
bank, until
it

keeping the footpath on

its

right

led me, as I expected, into the wood.


it,

Here

I left

without any [good reason, and with


its

a vague feeling that I ought to have followed


course
:

took a more southerly direction.

12

PHANTASTES:

III.

Man

doth usurp

all space,

Stares thee, in rock, bush, river, in the face. Never yet thine eyes behold a tree ;

no sea thou secst in the sea, Tis but a disguised humanity.


'Tis

To

avoid thy fellow, vain thy plan All that interests a man, is man.

HENRY SUTTOX.

THE

trees,

which were

far apart

where

I entered,

giving free passage to the level rays of the sun,


closed rapidly as I advanced, so that ere long their

crowded stems barred the sunlight

out, forming as

it

were a thick grating between me and the East. I seemed to be advancing towards a second midnight.
In the midst of the intervening twilight, however,
before I entered

what appeared

to

be the darkest

portion of the forest, I saw a country maiden coming

towards

me from

its

very depths.

She did not seem

to observe

me, for she was apparently intent upon a


in her hand.

bunch of wild flowers which she carried


I could hardly see her face
;

for,

though she came

A FAERIE ROMANCE.
right towards me, she never looked up.

13'

But when

we

met, instead of passing, she turned and walked

alongside of
face

me

for a

few yards,

still

keeping her
flowers.

downwards, and busied with her


all

She

spoke rapidly, however,


if

the time, in a low tone, as

talking to herself, but evidently addressing the

purport of her words to me.

She seemed
foe.

afraid of

being observed by some lurking

"Trust the

Oak," said she; "trust the Oak, and the Elm, and the
great Beech.
is

Take
is

care of the Birch, for though she

honest, she

too

young not

to

be changeable.

But shun the Ash and


ogre

the Alder ; for the


his

Ash

is

an

you

will

know him by

thick

fingers;

and the Alder


if

will

smother you with her web of hair,


All this was

you

let

her near you at night"

uttered without pause or alteration of tone.

Then

she

turned suddenly and

left

me, walking

still

with the

same unchanging

gait.

I could not conjecture

what
it

she meant, but satisfied myself with thinking that

would be time enough to find out her meaning when there was need to make use of her warning and that the occasion would reveal the admonition. I
;

concluded from the flowers that she carried,


the forest could not be

that
it

everywhere so dense as
;

appeared from where

was now walking

and

was

14

PHANTASTES:
For soon
I

right in this conclusion.

came

to a

more

open part, and by and by crossed a wide grassy glade,

on which were several circles of brighter green.


even here
bird
I

But

was struck with the utter

stillness.

No

sang.

No

insect

hummed.

Not a

living

creature crossed

my way.

Yet somehow the whole

environment seemed only asleep, and to wear even


in sleep
all

an

air of expectation.

The

trees

seemed

they

to have an expression of conscious mystery, as if " We an' if we would." said to

themselves,

could,

They had
I

all

a meaning look about them.


that night
;

Then

remembered
their

is

the

fairies'

day, and the

moon

sun

and

I thought

Everything sleeps
it

and dreams now


different.

when the

night comes,
I,

will

be

At

the same time


felt

being a

man and
how
I

a child of the day,


should fare

some anxiety

as to

among the elves and other children of the night who wake when mortals dream, and find their common life in those wondrous hours that
flow noiselessly over the moveless death-like forms

of

men and women and

children, lying strewn

and

parted beneath the weight of the heavy waves of


night,

which flow on and beat them down, and

hold them drowned and senseless, until the ebbtide comes,

and the waves sink away, back

into the

A FAERIE ROMANCE.
ocean of the dark.
on.

15

But

I took courage

and went

Soon, however, I became again anxious, though


I

from another cause.

had eaten nothing that day,


feeling the

and
food.

for

an hour past had been


I

want of

So

grew

afraid lest I should find nothing to


necessities in this strange place
;

meet

my human
on.

but once more I comforted myself with hope and

went

Before noon,
rising

I fancied I

saw a thin blue smoke


trees in front of

amongst the stems of larger


I

me

and soon

came

to

an open spot of ground in

which stood a

little

cottage, so built that the stems


its

of four great trees formed

corners, while their


its

branches met and intertwined over


great cloud of leaves over
I
it,

roof,

heaping a

up towards the heavens.


dwelling in this

wondered

at
;

finding

human
it

neighbourhood

and yet

did not look altogether

human, though expect some sort of


round
open.

sufficiently so to

encourage

me

to

food.

Seeing no door, I went


I

to the other side,

and there
it,

found one, wide

A woman sat beside

preparing some vege-

tables for dinner.

As

This was homely and comforting. came near, she looked up, and seeing me,
surprise, but bent her
:

showed no

head again over

her work, and'said in a low tone

16

PHANTASTES:
" Did "

you

see

my

daughter ?
I.

"

I believe I

did," said

" Can you give

me

something to

eat, for I

am

very hungry."
;

" With

pleasure," she replied, in the same tone


till

" hut do not say anything more,


the house, for the

you come

into

Ash

is

watching us."

Having
cottage
;

said this, she rose

and led the way

into the

which, I

now

saw, was built of the stems of

small trees set closely together, and was furnished

with rough chairs and tables, from which even the

bark had not been removed.


shut the door and set a chair
:

As soon

as she

had

" You have


hard
at

fairy blood in you," said she, looking

me.

"
"
if it

How
You

do you know that ?

"

could not have got so far into this wood


;

were not so
it

and
in

am

trying to find out


I

some trace of
see
it."

your countenance.

think I

" " What do you see ? " Oh, never mind I may be mistaken in that." " " But how then do you come to live here ? " Because I too have fairy-blood in me."
:

Here

I,

in

my turn, looked hard at her;

and thought

I could perceive, notwithstanding the

coarseness of

A FAERIE ROMANCE.

17

her features, and especially the heaviness of her eyebrows, a something unusual
grace, and yet
it

I could hardly call

it

was an expression that strangely


I

contrasted with the form of her features.


too that her hands

noticed

were delicately formed, though brown with work and exposure. " I should be " if I did not live she
ill,"

continued,

on the borders of the

fairies'

country, and
I

now and

then eat of their food.


that

And

you

are not quite free of the

see by your eyes same need; though,

from your education and the activity of your mind,

you have felt it less moved too from the


I

that

I.

You may be further resaid about

fairy race."

remembered what the lady had

my

grandmothers.

Here she placed some bread and some milk before


me, with a kindly apology
fare,

for the homeliness of the

with which, however, I was in no


I

humour
try to

to

quarrel.

now thought

it

time

to

get

some explanation of the strange words both of her daughter and herself. " What did you mean by speaking so about the

Ash?"
She rose and looked out of the
little

window.

My eyes

followed her

but as the window was too


c

18

PHANTASIES:

small to allow anything to be seen from where I

was

sitting, I rose

and looked over her shoulder.

had just time

to see, across the


forest,

open space, on the

edge of the denser

a single large ash-tree,

showed bluish, amidst the truer green of the other trees around it ; when she pushed me

whose

foliage

back with an expression of impatience and

terror,

and then almost shut out the

light from the window


it.

by setting up a " In
" there
is

large old book in

general," said she, recovering her composure,

no danger

in the daytime, for then


is

he

is

sound asleep ; but there

something unusual going

on in the woods; there must be some solemnity

among
less,

the fairies to-night, for

all

the trees are rest-

and although they cannot come awake, they see and hear in their sleep." " " But what is to be dreaded from him ?
danger
Instead of answering the question, she went again
to the
fairies

window and looked

out, saying she feared the


foul weather, for a

storm was brewing

would be interrupted by in the west


the sooner
it

"And
Ash

grows dark, the sooner the


she.

will be awake,"

added
she

I asked her

how

knew
woods.

that there

was any
:

unusual excitement

in the

She replied

A FAERIE ROMANCE.
" Besides the look of the
trees, the

19

dog there

is

unhappy

and the eyes and ears of the white rabbit

are redder than usual, and he frisks about as if he ex-

pected some fun.

If the cat
;

were

at

home, she would


the sparks

have her back up


out of her
tail

for the

young

fairies pull

with bramble thorns, and she knows


another way."
in like a

when they are coming. So do I, in At this instant, a grey cat rushed

demon,

and disappeared in a hole in the wall. " " said the woman." There, I told you "But what of the ash-tree?" said I, returning once more to the subject. Here, however, the young
!

woman, whom

had met in the morning, entered. A smile passed between the mother and daughter ; and then the latter began to help her mother in
I
little

household duties.
stay here
till

"

I should like to

the evening," I
if

said;

"and then go on my journey,


to

you

will

allow me."

" You are welcome

do as you please
all

only

it

might be better to stay


dangers of the wood then.

night, than risk the

Where

are

"Nay,

that I do not know," I replied;


all

you going?" "but I


I

wish to see

that

is

to

be seen, and therefore

should like to start just at sundown."


c 2

20

THANTASTES:

"You

are a bold youth, if

you have any idea


if

of what you are daring; but a rash one,

you

know nothing about


and
for
its

it;

and, excuse me, you do

not seem very well informed about the country

manners.

However, no one comes here but


either

some reason,

known
of

to

himself

or to

those
just as

who have charge


you wish."
I sat

him;

so

you

shall

do

Accordingly

down, and feeling rather

tired,

and disinclined
at

for further talk, I


still

asked leave to look

the old book which


it

screened the window.


directly,

The woman brought

to

me

but not before

taking another look towards the forest, and then

drawing a white blind over the window.


opposite to
it

I sat

down

by the

table,

on which I

laid the great

old volume, and read.


tales of

It contained

many wondrous
till

Fairy Land, and olden times, and the Knights


I read

of King Arthur's table.

on and on,
;

the

shades of the afternoon began to deepen

for in the

midst of the forest

it

gloomed

earlier than in the


:

open country.

At

length I came to this passage

"Here
Galahad
depths of
dight
all

it

chaunced, that upon their quest, Sir


in the

and Sir Percivale rencountered


a great forest.
in

Now

Sir Galahad,

was

harness of silver, clear and shining;

A FAERIE ROMANCE.
the which
is

21
full

a delight to look upon, but

hasty to

tarnish, and, withouten the labour of a ready squire,

uneath to be kept

fair

and

clean.

And

yet with-

outen squire or page, Sir Galahad's armour shone


like the

moon.

And

he rode a great white

rnare,

whose bases and other housings were black, but


all

besprent with fair

lilys

of silver sheen.

Whereas
tawny

Sir Percivale bestrode a red horse, with a

whose trappings were all to-smirched with mud and mire and his armour was wondrous
tail
; ;

mane and

rosty to behold, ne could he


it

by any

art furbish

again

so that as the sun in his going

down shone

twixt the bare trunks of the trees, full upon the

knights twain, the one did seem


light,

all

shining with
fire.

and the other


it

all

to

glow with ruddy

Now
after

came about

in this wise.

For

Sir Percivale,

his

escape from

the

demon

lady,

whenas

the cross on the handle of his


to

sword smote him


through the
a great wood
;

the heart,

and he

rove

himself
to

thigh,

and escaped away, he came

and, in nowise cured of his fault, yet

bemoaning the

same, the damosel of the alder-tree encountered him,


right fair to see
;

and with her

fair

words and

false

countenance she comforted him and beguiled him,


until

he followed her where she led him to a

"

22

PHANTASIES:
Here a low hurried cry from

my

hostess caused

me to

look up from the book, and I read no more. " " Look there " she said " look at his ; fingers
! !

Just as I had been reading in the book, the setting

sun was shining through a

cleft in

the clouds piled

up

in the west

and a shadow as of a large distorted

hand, with thick knobs and humps on the fingers,


so that
it

was much wider across the

fingers than

across the undivided part of the hand, passed slowly

over the

little

blind,

and then as slowly returned in

the opposite direction.

" He
"

is

almost awake, mother ; and greedier than

usual to-night."

Hush, child ; you need not make him more angry


is
;

with us than he

for

you do not know how soon


to oblige us

something

may happen

to

be in the

forest after nightfall."

" But
that

you are

you are

safe here ?

in the forest," said I "

" how

is it

"He

dares not come nearer than he

is

now,"
at the

she replied

"
;

for

corners of our cottage, would tear

any of those four oaks, him to

pieces:

they

are our friends.

But he

stands there

and

makes awful

faces at us sometimes,

and stretches
us

out his long arms and fingers, and

tries to kill

A FAERIE ROMANCE.
with fright;
of doing.
for,

23

indeed, that

is

his favourite

way

Pray, keep out of his

way

to-night."
"

" Shall I be able to see these beings ? " That I cannot tell not
yet,

said

I.

of the fairy nature there

is

in

knowing how much But we shall you.


fairies

soon see whether you can discern the

in

my

little

garden, and that will be some guide to us."


fairies too, as

" Are the trees


I asked.

well as the flowers ?

"

"

They are of the same


you
call fairies in

race," she replied ;

"

though

those

your country are


fairies.

chiefly the

young children of the flower

They
like

are very

fond of having fun with the thick people, as they call

you;
"

for, like

most children, they


else."

fun better

than anything

Why

do you have flowers so near you then ?


"

Do

they not annoy you ?

" Oh
cries

no, they are very amusing, with their


solemnities.

mimi-

of grown people, and mock

Some-

times they will act a whole play through before

my

eyes, with perfect composure and assurance, for they

are not afraid of me.

Only

as soon as they

have

done, they burst into


if it

peals of

tiny

laughter, as

was such a joke to have been serious over These I speak of, however, are the fairies anything.

24

PHANTASTES:

of the garden.

They
fields

are

more

staid

and educated
course they

than those of the

and woods.

Of

have near

relations

amongst the wild flowers, but


country
little

they patronize them, and treat them as


cousins,

who know

nothing of

life,

and very

of manners.

Now

and then, however, they are

compelled to envy the grace and simplicity of the


natural flowers."

" Do "
in
it

they live in the flowers?


tell,"

"

I said.
is

cannot

she replied.

" There

something

do not understand.

Sometimes they disappear


I

altogether, even

from me, though


to die

know they

are

near.

They seem

always with the flowers they


;

resemble, and by whose names they are called

but

whether they return whether


it

to life with the fresh flowers, or,


fairies, I

be new flowers, new


as

cannot

tell.

They have

many
their

sorts of dispositions as

men and

women, while

moods are yet more variable:


little

twenty different expressions will cross their


in half-a-minute.
I often

faces

amuse myself with watching

them, but I have never been able to make personal


acquaintance with any of them.
If I speak to one,

he or she looks up
heeding, gives a
the

in

my

face, as if I

were not worth

little

laugh, and runs away."

Here

woman

started, as if

suddenly recollecting herself,

A FAERIE ROMANCE.
and said
in a

25

low voice

to

her daughter, "

Make haste

go and watch him, and see in what direction he goes."


I

may

as well

mention here, that the conclusion I

arrived at from the observations I

was afterwards

able to make, was, that the flowers die because the


fairies

go away; not that the

fairies

disappear because

the flowers die.

The

flowers seem a sort of houses

for them, or outer bodies,


off Avhen

they please.

which they can put on or Just as you could form some

idea of the nature of a

man from

the kind of house

he

built, if

he followed his own


fairies, tell

without seeing the


is like,

taste, so you could, what any one of them

by looking at the flower till you feel that you understand it. For just what the flower says to you,
would the face and form of the
fairy say
;

only so

much more
express
clothes,

plainly as a face and


flower.

human

figure can

more than a
though

For the house or the


or the wearer,

like the inhabitant

cannot be wrought into an equal power of utterance.

Yet you would see a strange resemblance, almost


oneness, between the flower and the fairy, which

you
you.

could not describe, but which described

itself to

Whether

all

the flowers have fairies, I cannot deterI

mine, any more than

can be sure whether

all

men

and women have

souls.

26

PHANTASTES:
The woman and
I

continued the conversation for a


I

few minutes longer.

was much

interested

by the
at
it.

information she gave me, and astonished

the
It

language in which she was able to convey

seemed that intercourse with the fairies


education in
itself.

was no bad

But now

the daughter returned


in a

with the news, that the


south-westerly direction
to lie eastward, she

Ash had just gone away


;

and, as
I

my

course seemed

hoped

should be in no danger
I looked out

of meeting him

if I

departed at once.

of the
to

little

window, and there stood the


;

ash-tree,

my

eyes the same as before


better than I did,

but I believed that

they

knew
out

and prepared

to go.

I pulled

my

purse, but to

my

dismay there
smile begged

was

nothing in

it.

The woman with a

me

not to trouble myself, for


slightest use there
;

money was not


I

of the

and as
I

might meet with people

in

my

journeys
it

whom
I

could not recognise to be


to offer, for

fairies,

was well

had no money

nothing offended them so much.

"

They would

think," she added,

" that you were

making game of them; and that is their peculiar So we went together privilege with regard to us." into the little garden which sloped down towards a
lower part of the wood.

A FAERIE ROMANCE.
Here, to

27
life

my
still

great pleasure,
light

all

was

and

bustle.

There was
little
;

enough from the day

to see

and the pale half-moon, half-way

to the zenith,

was reviving every moment.

The whole garden was

like a carnival, with tiny, gaily decorated forms, in

groups, assemblies, processions, pairs or


stately on,

trios,

moving

running about wildly, or sauntering hither

and
as

thither.

From

the cups or bells of

tall flowers,

from balconies, some looked down on the masses

below,

now

bursting with laughter,

now grave

as

owls; but even in their deepest solemnity, seeming


only to be waiting for the arrival of the next laugh.

Some were launched on a


bottom, in boats chosen

little

marshy stream

at the

from the heaps

of last year's

leaves that lay about, curled

and withered.

These
ashore

soon sank with them; whereupon they

swam

and got

others.

Those who took fresh rose-leaves


;

for their boats floated the longest

but for these they

had

to fight;

for

the fairy of the rose-tree com-

plained bitterly that they were stealing her clothes,

and defended her property bravely. " You can't wear half you 've got," said some. " Never you mind I don't choose you to have
;

them

they are my property." " " All for the said one, good of the community
; !

28

PHANTASTES:
off

and ran

with a great hollow

leaf.

But the

rose-

fairy sprang after

him (what a beauty she was!


he ran, and recovered her

only too like a drawing-room young lady), knocked

him heels-over-head
great red
leaf.

as

But

in the

meantime twenty had

hurried off in different directions with others just as

good; and the


then, in
petals

little

creature sat

down and

cried,

and

a pet, sent a perfect pink snow-storm of


tree, leaping

from her

from branch to branch,


pulling.

and stamping and shaking and

At

last, after

another good cry, she chose the biggest she could


find,

and ran away laughing,


rest.

to

launch her boat

amongst the

But

my

attention

was

first

and chiefly attracted by

a group of fairies near the cottage,

who were

talking

together around what seemed a last dying primrose.

They

talked singing, and their talk


this
:

made

a song,

something like

" Sister Snowdrop died Before we were born." " She came like a bride In a snowy morn." "What's a bride?" "

What

is

snow

"

" Never tried." " Do not know."

A FAEKIE KOMANCE.
"

29
"

Who told you about her

" Little Primrose there

Cannot do without her."

"Oh, so sweetly fair " Never fear,


She will come, Primrose dear."
" Is she

"
!

dumb ? "

" She

'11

come by and by."


never see her."

"You will
" She went
Till

home to die, the new year."


!

"

Snowdrop

" " 'Tis no good

To
"I

invite her."
is

"Primrose

very rude,"

will bite her."

"Oh, you naughty Pocket

Look, she drops her head." " She deserved it, Eocket,

And
"

she was nearly dead."


off with

To your hammock
"

you

"
!

And

swing alone."

"

No

one will laugh with you." " No not one."

"

Now let us moan." " And cover her o'er."


is

" Primrose

gone."

" All but the flower."


" Here is a leaf." " Lay her upon it."

" Follow in grief." " Pocket has done

it."

30
"

PHANTASTES:
Deeper, poor creature Winter may come."
!

"

He

cannot reach her


"
!

is a hum." " She is buried, the beauty " Now she is done."

That

" That was the duty." " Now for the fan."

And

with a wild laugh they sprang away, most of


cottage.

them towards the

During the

latter part of

the song-talk, they had formed themselves into a


funeral procession, two of
rose,
stalk,

them bearing poor Primwhose death Pocket had hastened by biting her

upon one of her own great leaves. They bore her solemnly along some distance, and then buried
her under a
tree.

Although

I say her, I
its

saw nothing
long stalk.

but the withered primrose-flower on


Pocket,

who had been


consent,
for she

expelled from the


sulkily

company by

common

went

away towards her


she reached
I could

hammock,

was the

fairy of the calceolaria,

and looked rather wicked.

When

its

stem, she stopped and looked round.

not
:

help speaking to her, for I stood near her.

I said

"

Pocket,

how
"

could you be so naughty

"

"

am

never naughty," she


;

said, half-crossly, half-

defiantly

only

if

you come near


will

my hammock,

I will bite you,

and then you

go away."

A EAEEIE KOMANCE.
"

31
?

Why
;

did you bite poor Primrose


said

"

"Because she
drop
her, as if

we

should never see Snow-

we were

not good enough to look at


!

and she was, the proud thing

served

her

right!"

"

Oh, Pocket, Pocket,"

said I

but by

this

time the

party which had gone towards the house, rushed out

and screaming with laughter. Half of them were on the cat's back, and half held on by
again, shouting

her fur and

tail,

or ran beside her ;

till,

more coming
;

to their help, the furious cat

was held

fast

and they

proceeded

to pick the sparks out of

her with thorns


Indeed,

and

pins,

which they handled

like harpoons.

there were

more instruments

at

work about her than

there could have been sparks in her.


fellow

One

little
tail,

who

held on hard by the tip of the

with
of

his feet planted

on the ground
to

at

an angle
fast,

forty-five

degrees, helping

keep her

administered

a continuous flow

of admonitions to

Pussy.

"
is

Now, Pussy, be
for
all

patient.

You know

quite well

it

all

your good.

You

cannot be comfortable
and, indeed, I

with

those sparks in you;


believe"

am

charitably disposed to

(here he became
all

very pompous)

" that

they are the cause of

your

32

PHANTASTES:
;

bad temper
one
;

so

we must have them


shall

all

out, every

else

we

be

reduced

to

the

painful

necessity

of cutting your

claws, and pulling out


"
!

your eye-teeth.

Quiet

Pussy, quiet

But with a
the

perfect hurricane

of feline curses,

poor

animal broke loose, and dashed across

the garden and through the hedge, faster than even the fairies could follow.

" Never mind, never mind,


"

we
will

shall

find

her again; and by that time she

have
off

laid in a fresh stock of sparks.


set, after

Hooray

And

they

some new

mischief.

But

I will

not linger to enlarge

on the amusTheir
to the

ing displays of these frolicsome creatures.

manners and habits are now so well known


world,

having

been
it

witnesses, that
conceit, to

by eyewould be only indulging selfaccount in


full

so

often

described

add

my

to the rest.

cannot help wishing, however, that


see

my readers

could

them

for themselves.

Especially do I desire that


little,

they should see the fairy of the daisy; a

chubby, round-eyed
in his

child,

with such innocent trust

look

Even

the most mischievous of the

fairies

would not

tease him, although


all,

he did not
little

belong to their set at

but was quite a

country bumpkin.

He

wandered about alone, and

A FAERIE EOMANCE.
looked at everything, with his hands in his
pockets, and a white nightcap on, the darling!

33
little

He

was not

so beautiful as

many

other wild flowers I


in his looks

saw afterwards, but


and
little

so dear

and loving

confident ways.

34

PHANTASTES:

IV.

When

bale

is

att hyest, boote

is

nyest.

Ballad of Sir Aldingar.

BY

this time,

my
took

hostess

was quite anxious

that I

should be gone.
hospitality,

So, with

warm

thanks for their

my

leave,

and went

my way
Some

through the

little

garden towards the forest

of the garden flowers had wandered into the wood, and were growing here and there along the path,

but the trees soon became too thick and shadowy


for them.
I particularly noticed sides of the
set off

some

tall

lilies,

which grew on both

way, with large,

dazzlingly white flowers,


green.
It

by the universal

was now dark enough for me to see that every flower was shining with a light of its own. Indeed it was by this light that I saw them, an
internal, peculiar light, proceeding

from each, and

not reflected from a


the day-time.
itself,

common

source of light as in

This light sufficed only for the plant


to cast

and was not strong enough

any but

A FAERIE ROMANCE.
the faintest shadows around
it,

35

or to illuminate any
other

of the neighbouring objects with


faintest tinge of its
lilies

than the

own

individual hue.

From

the

above mentioned, from the campanulas, from

the foxgloves, and every bell-shaped flower, curious


little

figures shot

drew back.
their
shells;

up their heads, peeped at me, and They seemed to inhabit them, as snails
but
I

was sure some of them were


to the

intruders,
fairies,

gnomes or goblinwho inhabit the ground and earthy creeping

and belonged

plants.

From

the cups of

Arum

lilies,

creatures

with great heads and grotesque faces shot up like


Jack-in-the-box, and

made grimaces

at

me

or rose
cup,

slowly and

slily

over the edge of the

and

spouted water at me, slipping suddenly back, like


those of
little

soldier-crabs

that

inhabit
tall

the shells
thistles,

sea-snails.

Passing a

row of
little

saw them crowded with


every one from behind
as quickly
;

its

faces, which peeped flower, and drew back

and

heard them saying to each other,

evidently intending

me

to

hear, but the

speaker

always hiding behind his " Look at him


direction,

tuft,
!

when
at

looked in his
!

Look

him

He
"
!

has

begun a story without a beginning, and


have any end.

it

will never

He

he

he

Look

at

him
D

36

PHANTASTES:
But
as I

went further

into the

wood, * these sights O

and sounds became fewer, giving


of a different character.

way

to

others

little

forest

of wild

hyacinths was alive with exquisite creatures,

who

stood nearly motionless, with drooping necks, holding

each by the stem of her flower, and swaying gently

whenever a low breath of wind swung the crowded floral belfry. In like manner, though
with
it,

differing of course in

form and meaning, stood a


little

group of harebells, like


.till

angels waiting, ready,

they were wanted

to

go on some yet unknown

message.

In darker nooks, by the mossy roots of


little tufts

the trees, or in in a globe of


its

of grass, each dwelling


light,

own green

weaving a net-

work of grass and its shadows, glowed the glowworms. They were just like the glowworms of our own land, for they are fairies everywhere; worms
in the day,

and glowworms at night, when their own can appear, and they can be themselves to
others as well as themselves.

But they had

their

enemies here.

saw great strong-armed beetles, hurrying about with most unwieldy haste, awkward
I

For

as elephant-calves,

looking

apparently

for

glow-

worms
what

for the
it

moment

a beetle espied one, through

to

was a

forest of grass, or

an underwood

A FAERIE EOMANCE.
of moss,
it

37
it

pounced upon

it,

and bore

away, in
their

spite of its feeble resistance.

Wondering what

object could be, I watched one of the beetles, and

then I discovered a thing I could not account


it is

for.

But

no use trying

to

account for things in fairy


travels

land;

and one

who

there

soon learns to

forget the very idea of doing so, and takes every-

thing as

it

comes;

like

a child, who, being in a


is

chronic condition of wonder,

surprised at nothing.

What I saw was

this.

Everywhere, here and there


little,

over the ground, lay

dark-looking lumps of
else,

something more like earth than anything


about the size of a chestnut.
couples for these;

and

The

beetles

hunted in

them stayed
find a

to

and having found one, one of watch it, while the other hurried to

glowworm.

By

signals, I

presume, between
;

them, the

latter soon

found his companion again


its
it

they then took the


tail to

glowworm and held

luminous
shot

the dark earthy pallet; \vhen lo!

up

into the air like a sky-rocket,

seldom however reachtree.


fell

ing the height of the highest


rocket too,
it

Just like a
in a shower of

burst in the

air,

and

the most gorgeously coloured sparks of every variety


of hue; golden and red, and purple and green, and blue

and rosy

fires

crossed and intercrossed each other,

38
beneath
the

PHANTASTES:
shadowy heads, and
forest
trees.

between

the

columnar stems of the

They never
but

used the same glowworm twice, I observed;


let

him

go, apparently uninjured

by the use they

had made of him.


In other
parts,

the

whole of the immediately


inter-

surrounding foliage

was illuminated by the

woven dances
flies,

in the

air of splendidly coloured firethither, turned, twisted,

which sped hither and

crossed,

and re-crossed, entwining every complexity of intervolved motion. Here and there, whole mighty
trees

glowed with an emitted phosphorescent

light.

You

could trace the very course of the great roots in

the earth

by

the faint light that

every twig, and every vein on every


streak of pale
fire.

came through and leaf was a


;

All this time, as I went on through the wood,


I

was haunted with the


like

feeling that other shapes,

more
about

my own
a
little

in size and mien, were


distance

moving
of me.

at

on

all

sides

But
the

as yet I could discern

none of them, although


to

of

moon was high enough her rays down between

send a great
trees,

many

the

and these

rays were unusually bright, and sight-giving, not-

withstanding she

was only a half-moon.

I con-

A FAEKIE KOMANCE.
stantly Imagined, however, that forms
in
all

39
were
visible

directions

except that

to

which

my

gaze

was turned; and that they only became invisible, or resolved themselves into other woodland shapes,
the

moment

my

looks were directed towards them.

However

this

may have

been, except for this feeling

of presence, the woods seemed utterly bare of anything


like

human

companionship,

although

my

glance often fell

on some object which I fancied to


;

be a human form
deceived;
it, it

for I soon

found that
I fixed

was quite

as,

the

moment
it

my

regard on
tree,

showed plainly that

was a bush, or a

or a rock.

Soon a vague sense of discomfort possessed me.

With

variations of relief, this gradually increased

as if some evil thing were wandering about in

my

neighbourhood,
further
off,

sometimes
still

nearer

and

sometimes
feeling con-

but

approaching.
all

The

tinued and deepened, until

my

pleasure in the

shows of various kinds that everywhere betokened


the presence of the merry fairies, vanished by degrees,

and

left

me

full of

anxiety and fear, which I

was

unable to associate with any definite object whatever.

At
:

length the thought crossed


it

my
Ash

mind with
is

horror

" Can

be possible that the

looking

40
for

PHANTASTES:

me?
is

or that, in

his

nightly wanderings, his


I

path

gradually verging towards mine?"

com-

forted myself,

however, by remembering that he


another direction
it,
;

had

started

quite in
if

one that

would lead him,

he kept

far apart

from
I

me

especially as, for the last

two or three hours,


I

had

been diligently journeying eastward.

kept on

my way,
will

therefore, striving

by

direct effort of the

against

the

encroaching

fear;

and

to

this

end occupying
other

my

mind, as
I

much
far

as I could, with

thoughts.

was

so
if I

successful

that,

although I was conscious,


I should

yielded for a moment,


I

be almost overwhelmed with horror,

was

yet able to walk right on for

an hour or
Indeed, I

more.
left

What

I feared I could not

tell.

was

in a state of the vaguest uncertainty as

regarded

the nature of

my

enemy, and knew not the mode


for,

or object

of his attacks;

somehow or
in

other,

none of

my

questions

had succeeded

drawing

a definite answer from the dame in the cottage.

How

then to defend myself I


I

knew

not ;

nor even

by what sign
presence of
fear

might with certainty recognise the


foe
;

my

for as yet this

vague though
I

powerful
had.

was
to

all

the indication of danger


distress,

To add

my

the clouds in

the

A FAERIE ROMANCE.
west had risen nearly to the top of the
they and the each other.
skies,

41

and

moon were

travelling

slowly towards

Indeed, some of their advanced guard


her,

had already met

and she had begun

to

wade

through a filmy vapour that gradually deepened.

At

length she was for a

moment almost

entirely ob-

scured.

When
by

she shone out again, with a brilliancy

increased
before

the contrast, I saw plainly on the path


at this spot the trees

me

from around which

receded, leaving a small space of green sward

the

shadow of a large hand, with knotty


protuberances here and
there.

joints
I

and
re-

Especially
fear, the

marked, even in the midst of


points of the fingers.
I

my

bulbous
round,

looked hurriedly

all

but could see nothing from which such a shadow


should
fall.

Now, however,
in

that I

had a
to

direction,

however undetermined,

which

project

my

apprehension, the very sense of danger and need


of action overcame that stifling which
is

the worst

property of
if this

fear.

reflected in a
it

moment, that
useless to look

were indeed a shadow,


it

was

for the object that cast

in

any other direction than


I looked,

between the shadow and the moon.


peered, and intensified

and
I

my

vision, all to

no purpose.

could see nothing of that kind, not even an ash-tree in

42

PHANTASTES:
Still

the neighbourhood.

the shadow remained

not steady, but moving to and fro ; and once I saw


the
fingers close,

and grind themselves

close, like

the claws of a wild animal, as if in uncontrollable

longing for some anticipated prey.

There seemed

but one mode


this

left

of discovering the substance of

went forward boldly, though with an inward shudder which I would not heed, to the
shadow.
I

spot

where the shadow

lay,

threw myself on the

ground, laid

and turned
heavens
arose,
!

my my

head within the form of the hand,


eyes
I

towards
see ?

the moon.

Good

what did

wonder that ever I

and

that the very


I

shadow of the hand did


had frozen

not hold
brain.
I

me where

lay until fear

my

saw the strangest figure ; vague, shadowy, almost transparent, in the central parts, and gradually
deepening in substance towards the outside, until
it

ended in extremities capable of casting such a


as fell

shadow

from the hand through the awful

fingers of

which I now saw the moon.


in the attitude

The hand
to

was

uplifted

of a

paw about

strike its prey.

But

the face, which throbbed with

fluctuating
in

and pulsatory visibility not from changes the light it reflected, but from changes in its own

conditions of reflecting power, the alterations being

A FAERIE ROMANCE.
from within, not from without
do not know how
sensation.
to describe
it.

43
horrible.

it

was
It

caused a

new

Just as one cannot translate a horrible

odour, or a ghastly pain, or a fearful sound, into

words, so

cannot describe this


I
it,

new form

of awful

hideousness.
that
is

can only try

to describe

something
it;

not

but seems somewhat parallel to


suggested by
it.

or at least
\vhat I

is

It

reminded

me

of

had heard of vampires ;


corpse

for the face resembled


else I

that of a

more than anything

can

think of;

especially

when

can conceive such a

face in motion, but not suggesting

any

life

as the

source of the motion.

The

features

were rather

handsome than otherwise, except the mouth, which had scarcely a curve in it. The lips were of equal thickness; but the thickness was not at all remarkable,

even although they looked slightly swollen.


fixedly open, but

They seemed Of course I


the time
:

were not wide

apart.

did not remark these

lineaments at
I noted

was

too

horrified

for that.

them afterwards, when the form returned on

my
But

inward sight with a vividness too intense to admit


of

my

doubting the accuracy of the

reflex.

the most awful of the features were the eyes.

These
lighted

were

alive, yet

not with

life.

They seemed

44

PHANTASTES:

up with an infinite greed. A gnawing voracity, which devoured the devourer, seemed to be the indwelling and propelling power of the whole ghastly
apparition.
I lay for a

few moments simply imcloud, obscuring

bruted with terror;


the moon, delivered

when another

me from the

immediately paralys-

ing

effects of the

presence to the vision of the object


it

of horror, while
to the

added the force of imagination

power of

fear within

me

inasmuch

as,

know-

ing far worse cause for apprehension than before,


I

remained equally ignorant from what

had
:

to

defend myself, or

how
in

to take

might be upon
I sprang to

me

any precautions he the darkness any moment.


I

my feet,

and sped

knew not

whither,

only away from the spectre.

I thought

no longer

of the path, and often narrowly escaped dashing


self against

my-

a tree, in

my

headlong

flight of fear.

Great drops of rain began to patter on the leaves.

Thunder began
I

to mutter,

then growl in the distance.

ran on.

The

rain fell heavier.


it

At

length the thick


like

leaves could hold

up no longer ; and,

a second

firmament, they poured their torrents on the earth.


I

was soon drenched, but that was nothing.

came

to a small swollen stream that rushed through the

woods.

had a vague hope that

if I

crossed this

A FAERIE

EOMAXC::.

45
pursuer ; but I
it

stream, I should be in safety from

my

soon found that


I

my hope

was

as false as

was vague.

dashed across the stream, ascended a rising ground,

and reached a more open space, where stood only


great
trees.

Through them

directed

my

way,

holding eastward as nearly as I could guess, but not


at all certain that I

direction.

My

was not moving in an opposite mind was just reviving a little from its

extreme terror, when, suddenly, a flash of lightning, or


rather a cataract of successive flashes, behind

me,

seemed
far

to

throw on the ground in front of me, but


from the extent of the

more

faintly than before,

source of the light, the shadow of the same horrible

hand.

sprang forward, stung to yet wilder speed

but had not run

many

steps before

my

foot slipped,
at

and, vainly attempting to recover myself, I fell


the foot of one of the large trees.
I

Half-stunned,

yet raised myself,

back.

All

and almost involuntarily looked saw was the hand within three feet of
felt

my
soft

face.

But, at the same moment, I

two large

like

arms thrown round me from behind ; and a voice a woman's said " Do not fear the goblin he
:

dares not hurt you now."

With that,
fire,

the

hand was

suddenly withdrawn as from a


in the darkness

and disappeared

and the

rain.

Overcome with the

46

PHANTASTES:
and joy,
first

mingling of terror
almost insensible.

I lay for

some time
is

The

thing I remember

the

sound of a voice above


strangely reminding

me,

full

and

low,

and

me

of the sound of a gentle

wind amidst the leaves of a great tree. It murmured over and over again " I may love him, I may love
:

him
I

for
I

he

is

a man, and I

am

only a beech-tree."

was seated on the ground, leaning against a human form, and supported still by the arms
found

around me, which

knew

to

be those of a woman
size,

who

must be rather above the human


proportioned.
I turned

and largely

my head, but without moving


arms should untwine

otherwise, for I feared lest the

themselves
mine.

and

clear,

somewhat mournful eyes met

At

least that is

how they

impressed

me

but
sat

I could see very little of colour or outline as in the dark

we

and rainy shadow of the

tree.
its

The

face

seemed very lovely, and solemn from


with the aspect of one
waiting for something.

stillness;

who
I

is

quite

content, but

saw

my

conjecture from

her arms was correct:

she was above the

human

scale throughout, but not greatly.

"

Why do you call yourself a beech-tree ?"


I

I said.

" Because
musical,

am

one," she replied, in the


voice.

same low,

murmuring

A FAERIE ROMANCE.
" You are a woman," I returned. " Do you think so? Am I very like a woman
"

47

then?'*

You

are a very beautiful

woman.

Is it possible

you should not


"
I

know

it ?

am very glad you think so. I fancy I feel like woman sometimes. I do so to-night and always
the rain drips from

when

my

hair.

For there

is

an

old prophecy in our woods that one day


all

we

shall

be

men and women


it

like you.
?

Do you know
Shall I be very
it

anything about

in

your region
a

happy when

am

woman?

I fear not; for


feel like one.

is

always in nights like these that I


I long to be a
I

But

woman

for all that."

had

let

her talk on, for her voice was like a


I

solution of all musical sounds.

now

told

her that

I could hardly say whether women were happy or I knew one who had not been happy; and for not.

my part, I had often longed for Fairyland,


longed for the world of men.

as she

now

But then

neither of

us had lived long, and -perhaps people grew happier


as they

grew

older.

Only
felt

doubted

it.

I could not

help sighing.
still

She

the sigh, for her arms


I

were

round me.

She asked me how old


I.

was.

"

Twenty-one," said

"

Why, you baby

"
!

said she

and kissed

me

with

48

PHANTASTES:
There was a

the sweetest kiss of winds and odours.

cool faithfulness in the kiss that revived

my

heart

wonderfully.

I felt that I feared the dreadful

Ash

no more.

" What did the horrible Ash want with me? "
" I am not you
you,

I said.

quite sure, but I think he wants to

bury

at the foot of his tree.

But he

shall not touch

my

child."
all

" Are
te

the ash-trees as dreadful as he

"

Oh,

no.

They

are all disagreeable selfish creaif it

tures

(what horrid men they will make,


but
this

be

true

!)

one has a hole in his heart that nobody


;

knows of but one or two


fill

and he

is

always trying to

it

up, but he cannot.


for.

That must be what he


if

wanted you
If-

wonder

he will ever be a man.


him."

he

is,

hope they will

kill

"

How

kind of you to save

me

from him

"
!

"I
again.

will take care that

he

shall not

come near you


like

But there

are some in the


!

wood more

me, from whom,


if

alas

cannot protect you.

Only

you

see

any of them very beautiful, try to walk

round them."

"What
some of

then?"
tell

"I cannot

you more.

But now

must

tie

my

hair about you, and then the

Ash

will

A FAERIE KOMANCE.
not touch you.

49
You- men have

Here, cut some

off.

strange cutting things about you."

She shook her long hair

loose over

me, never

moving her arms. " I cannot cut your beautiful


shame."

hair.

It

would be a

" Not cut

my

hair
is

It

will

have grown long


this

enough before any


forest.

wanted again in

wild

Perhaps
I

it

may

never be of any use again

not

till

am

a woman."

And

she sighed.

As

gently as I could, I cut with a knife a long

tress of flowing,

dark

hair, she
I

hanging her beautiful


shuddered
pain,
is

head over me.

When

had

finished, she

and breathed deep, as one does when an acute


steadfastly endured without sign of
suffering,

at
it

length relaxed.

She then took the hair and

tied

round me, singing a strange sweet song, which


could not understand, * but which
like this
" I saw thee ne'er before;
I see thee

left in

me

a feeling o

But

love,

never more; and help, and pain, beautiful one,


till all

Have made thee mine,


I cannot

my years

are done."

put more of

it

into words.

She closed her


singing.

arms about

me

again,

and went on

The

50
rain in the leaves,

PHANTASTES:
and a
light
I

wind

that

had

arisen,

kept her song company.


of
still

was wrapt

in a trance

delight.

It told

me

the secret of the woods,

and the
if I

flowers,

and the

birds.

At one time

I felt as

was wandering in childhood through sunny spring forests, over carpets of primroses, anemones, and little
white starry things
finding
I

had almost

said, creatures,

and

new wonderful

flowers at every turn.

At

another, I lay half dreaming in the hot

summer noon,
on the

with a book of old tales beside me, beneath a great

beech

or, in

autumn, grew sad because

I trod

leaves that

had sheltered me, and received


;

their last

blessing in the sweet odours of decay

or, in a winter

evening, frozen-still,

looked up, as

went home

to

warm

fire-side,

through the netted boughs and twigs

to the cold,

her.

snowy moon, with her opal zone around At last I had fallen asleep ; for I know nothing
till

more

that passed,

found myself lying under a

superb beech-tree, in the clear light of the morning,


just before sunrise.

Around me was a girdle


!

of fresh

beech-leaves. Alas
fairy-land,

brought nothing with


memories.

me

out of
great

but memories
the beech
its

The

boughs of

hung drooping around me.


smooth stem, with
that swelled
its

At

my

head rose

great
uii-

sweeps of

curving

surface

like

A FAERIE EOMANCE.

51

developed limbs. The leaves and branches above kept

on the song which had sung

me

asleep

only now, to

my mind,

it

sounded like a farewell and a speedwell. I go


;

sat a long time, unwilling to

but

my

unfinished

story urged

me on.

must act and wander. With the

sun well

risen, I

rose/and put

my

arms as

far as

they

would reach around the beech-tree, and kissed it, and


said goodbye.

A trembling went through the leaves;


fell

a few of the last drops of the night's rain


off them, at

from

my

feet

and

as I

walked slowly away,


:

seemed

to

hear in a whisper once more the words


;

"I

may love him, I may love him and I am only a beech-tree."

for

he

is

man,

52

PHANTASTES:

V. And
she was smooth and
as if one gush

full,

Of life had washed her, or as if a sleep Lay on her eyelid, easier to sweep Than bee from daisy.
BEDDOES' Pygmalion.
Sche was as whyt as lylye yn May, that sneweth yn wynterys day.

Or snow

Romance of Sir Launfal.

WALKED

on, in the fresh

morning

air, as if

new-born.
a cloud

The only thing

that

damped

my pleasure, was

of something between sorrow and delight, that crossed

my mind with my last night's


she
is

the frequently returning thought of


hostess.

" But then," thought


it
;

"
I,

if

sorry, I could not help

and she has


as this,
is

all

the

pleasures she ever had.

Such a day

surely
life
it

a joy to her, as
will perhaps

much

at least as to

me.

And

her

be the richer, for holding now within


of

the

memory

what came, but could not

stay.

And

if ever she is a woman, who knows but we may meet somewhere ? there is plenty of room for meeting

A FAERIE ROMANCE.
in the universe."

53

Comforting myself thus, yet with


if I

a vague compunction, as
her, I

ought not to have


little to

left

went

on.

There was

distinguish the

woods to-day from those of


that
all

my own

land

except

the

wild

things, rabbits, birds, squirrels,

mice, and the numberless other inhabitants, were

very tame

that

is,

they did not run away from me,


as
I

but gazed at

me

passed,

frequently coming
closely.

nearer, as if to examine
this

me more

Whether

came from

utter ignorance, or from familiarity

with the

human appearance
tell.

of beings

who never
look-

hurt them, I could not

As

I stood once,

ing up to the splendid flower of a parasite, which

hung from
little feet
its

the branch of a tree over

my
at

head, a
its

large white rabbit cantered slowly up, put one of

on one of mine, and looked up

me

with

red eyes, just as I had been looking up at the


I

flower above me.

stooped and stroked


lift
it,

it;

but

when
with

I
its

attempted to

it

banged the ground


off

hind

feet,

and scampered
to look at

at a great

rate, turning,

however,

me, several times


too,

before I lost sight of

it.

Now

and then,

a dim

human figure would appear and disappear,


distance, amongst the trees,

at

some
sleep-

walker.

moving But no one ever came near me.

like

54
This day
I

PHANTASTES:
found plenty of food in the forest
I

strange nuts and fruits I had never seen before.


hesitated to eat
live
also.

them

but argued

that, if I

could
food

on the
I

air of fairy-land, I

could live on

its

found

my

reasoning correct,
;

and the result

was

better than I

had hoped

for

it

not only satisfied

my

hunger, but operated in such a

senses, that I

was brought

into far

way upon my more complete


The human

relationship with the things around me.

forms appeared
tangibly visible,
better
arose.

much more
if I

dense and defined ; more


so.

may

say

seemed

to

know

which direction
I

to

choose

when any doubt


I

began
in

to feel

in

some degree what the


though
could not

birds

meant
it

their

songs,

express

in words,

any more than you can some

landscapes.

At

times, to

my

surprise, I found
if it

my-

self listening attentively,

and as

were no unusual

thing with me, to a conversation between two squirrels or

monkeys.

The

subjects

were not very

inte-

resting, except as associated with the individual life

and

necessities of the

little

creatures

where the

best nuts were to be found in the neighbourhood,

and who could crack them


laid

best, or

who had most


only they

up

for the winter,

and such

like;

never said where the store was.

There was no great

A FAERIE ROMANCE.
difference in kind

55

between their talk and our ordinary

human

conversation.
at all,

Some

of the creatures I never


so,

heard speak

and believe they never do

except

under the impulse of some great excitement. The mice


talked
;

but the hedgehogs seemed very phlegmatic


I

and though

several times,
in

met a couple of moles above ground they never said a word to each other
There were no wild beasts
in the

my
;

hearing.

forest
cat.

at least, I did not see

one larger than a wild


I

There were plenty of snakes, however, and


all

do not think they were


bit

harmless

but none ever

me.
after

Soon

mid-day,

arrived at a bare rocky

hill,

of no great size, but very steep ; and, having no trees


scarcely even a bush

upon

it,

entirely exposed to the

heat of the sun.

Over

this

my way

seemed

to lie,

and

immediately began the ascent.

On

reaching

the top, hot and weary, I looked around me, and saw
that the forest
still

stretched as far as the sight could

reach on every side of me. I observed that the trees,


in the direction

which

was about

to descend, did not

come

so near the foot of the hill as

on the other

side,

and was especially regretting the unexpected postpone-

ment of more

shelter,

because

this side of the hill

seemed

difficult to

descend than the other had been to

56
climb,

PHANTASTES
when

my

eye caught the appearance of a

natural path, winding

dbwn through broken rocks


I

and along the course of a tiny stream, which

hoped
it,

would lead

me more

easily to the foot

I tried
;

and found the descent not


theless,

at all laborious

nevertired,

when

I reached the bottom, I

was very

and exhausted with the seemed

heat.

But just where the path


overgrown

to end, rose a great rock, quite

with shrubs and creeping plants, some of them in


full

and splendid blossom

these almost concealed an

opening in the rock, into which the path appeared to


lead.

entered, thirsting for the shade

which

it

promised.
cell, all

What was my

delight to find a rocky

the angles rounded

away with

rich moss,

and

every ledge and projection

crowded with

lovely

ferns, the variety of whose forms, and groupings,

and shades wrought in

me

like a

poem

for

such a

harmony could not exist, except they all consented to some one end A little well of the clearest water
!

filled
felt

a mossy hollow in one corner.

I drank,
life

and

as if I

knew what

the elixir of

must be;

then threw myself on a mossy

mound

that lay like a

couch along the inner end.


reverie for
;

Here

I lay in a delicious

some time during which all lovely forms, and colours, and sounds seemed to use my brain as a

A FAERIE ROMANCE.
common
hall,

57

where they could come and go, unbidI

den and unexcused.

had never imagined that such

capacity for simple happiness lay in me, as was now-

awakened by this assembly of forms and spiritual sensations, which yet were far too vague to admit of
being translated into any shape

common

to

my own
I should

and another mind.


suppose, though
it

had

lain for

an hour,

may

have been far longer, when,

the harmonious tumult in


relaxed, I

my

mind having somewhat

became aware

that

my

eyes were fixed on

a strange, time-worn bas-relief on the rock opposite


to

me.

This, after some pondering, I concluded to

represent Pygmalion, as he awaited the quickening


of his statue.
figure to

The

sculptor sat

more

rigid than the

which

his eyes
its

were turned.

That seemed

about to step from

pedestal and embrace the

man,

who
"

waited rather than expected.

A lovely story," I

said to myself.

" This cave,


to

now, with the bushes cut away from the entrance


let

the light in, might be such a place as he

would

choose, withdrawn from the notice of men,


his block of marble,

to set

up

and mould

into a visible

body

the thought already clothed with form in the unseen


hall of the sculptor's brain.

And, indeed,

if I

mis-

take not," I said, starting up, as a sudden ray of light

58
arrived at that

PHANTASTES:

moment through

a crevice in the roof,

and lighted up a small portion of the rock, bare of " this vegetation, very rock is marble, white enough and delicate enough for any statue, even if destined
to

become an

ideal

woman

in

the arms of

the

sculptor."

and removed the moss from a part of the block on which I had been lying when, to
I took

my knife

my

surprise, I

found

it

more like

alabaster than ordi-

nary marble, and


fact, it

soft to

the edge of the knife.

In

was

alabaster.

By

an inexplicable, though
of impulse, I went on
;

by no means unusual kind


soon saw that
throughout.
I

removing the moss from the surface of the stone


it

and

was

polished, or at least smooth,

continued

my

labour; and after clearfeet, I

ing a space of about a couple of square


served what caused

ob-

me

to prosecute the

work with

more

interest

and care than

before.

sunlight had

now reached
when

the spot I

For the ray of had cleared, and


its

under

its

lustre the alabaster revealed

usual slight

transparency

polished, except
;

where

my

knife

had scratched the surface

and

I observed that the

transparency seemed to have a definite limit, and to end upon an opaque body like the more solid, white
marble.
I

was

careful to scratch no more.

And first,

A FAERIE ROMANCE.

59

a vague anticipation gave "way to a startling sense of


possibility
;

then, as I proceeded, one revelation after

another produced

the entrancing conviction, that


visible
I

under the crust of alabaster, lay a dimly


in marble, but

form

whether of man or

woman

could not

yet

tell.

worked on
;

as rapidly as the necessary


I

care would permit

and when

had uncovered the

whole mass, and, rising from


a
little

my

knees, had retreated

way, so that the

effect of the

whole might

fall

on me, I saw before


though
at the

me

with sufficient plainness


indistinct-

same time with considerable


from the limited amount of

ness, arising

light the

place admitted, as well as from the nature of the


object itself

a block of pure alabaster enclosing the

form, apparently in marble, of a reposing woman.

She lay on one

side,

with her hand under her cheek,


;

and her face towards me

but her hair had fallen

partly over her face, so that I could not see the expression of the whole.

What

I did see, appeared to

me

perfectly lovely ;

more near the


soul,

face that
I

had been
had seen

born with

me

in

my

than anything

before in nature or
rest of the

art.

The

actual outlines of the

form were so

indistinct, that the

more than

semi-opacity of the alabaster seemed insufficient to

account for the fact

and

I conjectured that a light

robe

added

its

obscurity.

Numberless

histories

60
passed through

PHAXTASTES:

my

mind of change of substance from


me.
thought of the Prince of

enchantment and other causes, and of imprisonments


such as
this before I

the Enchanted City, half marble and half a living

man
in

of Ariel

of Niobe

of the Sleeping Beauty

the

Wood;

of the bleeding trees;

and many
of the pre-

other histories.

Even my adventure
the

ceding evening with

lady of

the beech-tree

contributed to arouse the wild hope, that

means

life

might be given

to this

form

also,

by some and that,

breaking from her alabaster tomb, she might glorify

my

" " For," I argued, eyes with her presence.


this

who

can tell but

cave

may be
it

the

home

of Marble, and

this, essential

Marble

that spirit of marble which,

present throughout, makes


into

capable of being moulded

any form?
to
:

Then

if

she should awake!


kiss

But

how

awake her?

awoke the Sleeping

Beauty

a kiss cannot reach her through the incrustI kneeled,


slept

ing alabaster."
pale coffin;

however, and kissed the


on.

but she

I bethought

me

of Orpheus, and the following stones;

that trees

should follow his music seemed nothing surprising

now.

Might not a song awake

this form, that the

glory of motion might for a time displace the loveliness of rest?

Sweet sounds can go where


I sat

kisses

may

not enter.

and thought.

A FAERIE ROMANCE.
Now, although always
entered the fairy-forest.
true sense of sound
;

61

delighting in music, I had


I

never been gifted with the power of song, until


I

had a voice, and

had a

but when

I tried to sing, the

one would not content the other, and so


silent.

remained

This morning, however, I had found myself,

ere I was aware, rejoicing in

# song

but whether

it

was before or
forest, I

after I

had eaten of the


I

fruits of the

could not satisfy myself.

concluded

it

was

after,

however; and that the increased impulse


felt,

to sing I

now

of the

little

well,

was in part owing to having drunk which shone like a brilliant eye in a
I sat

corner of the cave.

down on
it

the ground

by

the " antenatal tomb," leaned upon

with

my

face

towards the head of the figure within, and sang

the

words and tones coming together, and inseparably connected, as if word and tone formed one thing or,
;

as if each

word could be uttered only

in that tone,
it,

and was incapable of distinction from


idea,
this
:

except in

by an acute

analysis.

I sang

something like

but the words are only a dull representation of

a state whose very elevation precluded the possibility


of remembrance
really
;

and in which

presume the words


state

employed were as far above these, as that


it
:

transcended this wherein I recal

PILLSTASTISC

Mat

of

thrown

As

I sang, I looked earnestly at the

face

so

vaguely revealed before me.


it

I fancied, yet believed


veil

to

be bat fancy, thai through, the dim

of

the aZahorter,

anr a motion of the head


I

as if

caused by a .sinking sigh.

gazed more r-amtatlj,


fancy.

and concluded that

it

was but
:

Nevertheless

I could not help gfngfng again

And can give

thee op, I

ween

Or.

if

neefiar

jwtowi

To

A FAERIE ROMANCE.
" Sweeter dreams are in the forest
;

63

Round thee storms would never rave And when need of rest is sorest,
Glide thou then into thy cave.

"

Or,

if still

thou choosest rather


its spell

Marble, be

on

me

Let thy slumber round me gather, Let another dream with thee ! "

Again

paused, and gazed through the stony


if,

shroud, as

by very

force of penetrative sight, I


face\

would

clear

every lineament of the lovely

And now
then
its

I thought the

hand that had


a
little

lain

under

the cheek, had


I

slipped

downward.
first

But

could not be sure that I had at

observed

position accurately.

So

sang again; for the

longing had grown into a passionate need of seeing

her alive
"

Or art thou Death, O woman ? for since Have set me singing by thy side,
Life hath forsook the upper sky,

And
"Yea, I

all

the outer world hath died.

am

dead
all

for

thou hast drawn


thee.

My life
Awake

downward unto
!

Dead moon of love


!

let

twilight

dawn;
flee.

and

let

the darkness

" Cold lady of the lovely stone

Awake And thou

or I shall perish here

be never more alone,

My form

and

I for

ages near.

64

PHANTASTES
" But words are vain
;

reject

them
:

all

They Hear thou the depths from which they

utter but a feeble part

call,

The
>

voiceless longing of

my heart."
Like a

There arose a

slightly crashing sound.


is

sudden apparition that comes and

gone, a white

form, veiled in a light rohe of whiteness, burst

upwards from the

stone,

stood, glided

forth,

and

gleamed away towards the woods.


tp the

For

I followed

mouth of

the cave, as soon as the

amazement

and concentration of delight permitted the nerves


of motion again to act;

and saw the white form


little

amidst the trees, as

it

crossed a

glade on the

edge of the forest where the sunlight


to gather with intenser radiance

fell full,

seeming

on the one object


its

that floated rather than flitted through

lake of

beams.

gazed
!

after
It

her in a kind of despair;


to follow, yet

found, freed, lost


follow I must.

seemed useless

marked the

direction she took;


to

and without once looking round


cave, I hastened towards the forest

the forsaken

A FAERIE ROMANCE.

65

VI.
Aoh, hiite sich doch ein Mensch, wenn seine erfullten Wiinsche auf ihn herad regnen, und er so iiber alle Maasse frohlich ist
!

FOUQUE, Der Zauberring.

Ah,

let

man

beware,

when

his

wishes, fulfilled,

rain

down

upon him, and

his happiness is

unbounded.

Thy

red

lips, like

worms,

Travel over

my

cheek.

MOTHERWELL (?)

BUT

as

crossed the space between the foot of


forest,

the hill

and the

a vision of another kind


to

delayed

my

steps.

Through an opening
like

the

westward flowed,
setting

a stream, the rays of the

sun, and overflowed with a ruddy splendour

the open place where I was.

And

riding

as

it

were down

this

stream towards me, came a horse-

man

in

what appeared red armour.

From

frontlet

to tail, the horse likewise


I
felt

shone red in the sun-set.

must have seen the knight before; but as he drew riear, I could recall no feature of
as if I

his

countenance.

Ere he came up

to

me, how-

ever, I

remembered the legend of

Sir Percival

66

PHANTASTES

in the rusty armour, in

which I had
:

left
it

unfinished

the old book in the cottage

was of Sir

Percival that he reminded me.


for

And no wonder;
I

when he came close up


to

to

me,

saw

that,

from

crest

heel, the whole surface

of his

armour

was covered with a


shone,

light rust.

The

golden spurs

but the iron greaves glowed in the sun-

light
wrist,

The morning
glittered

star,

which hung from


its

his

and

glowed with

silver

and
but

bronze.

His whole appearance was


answer to

terrible;
It

his face did not

this appearance.

was

sad, even to gloominess

and something of shame ; Yet it was noble and hi^h, seemed to cover it. O ~ though thus beclouded and the form looked lofty, although the head drooped, and the whole frame was
;

bowed

as with

an inward

grief.

The

horse seemed
spirit-

to share in his master's dejection,


less

and walked

and slow.

I noticed, too, that the white

plume
''

on

his

helmet was discoloured and drooping.

He

has fallen in a joust with spears," I said to myself ;


''

yet

it

becomes not a noble knight

to

be conquered

in spirit because his

body hath

fallen."

He

appeared

not to observe me, for he was riding past without


looking up, and started into a warlike attitude the

moment

the first sound of

my

voice reached him.

A FAERIE ROMANCE.
Then
a flush, as of shame, covered
all

67
of his face

that the lifted beaver disclosed.

He

returned

my
But

greeting with distant courtesy, and passed on.

suddenly, he reined up, sat a

moment

still,

and then

turning his horse, rode back to where I stood looking


after him.

"

am

ashamed," he
;

said,
it

"

to

appear a knight,

and

in

such a guise

but

behoves

me

to tell

you

to

take warning from me, lest the same

evil, in his

kind,

overtake the singer that has befallen the knight.

Hast thou ever read the story of Sir Percival and " the (here he shuddered, that his armour rang) " Maiden of the Alder-tree ?"
" In part,
I have," said I

"
;

for yesterday, at the

entrance of this forest, I found in a cottage the

volume wherein " Then take

it is

recorded."

heed," he rejoined
it

"
;

for, see

my
it

armour

put

off;

and as

it

befel to him, so has

befallen to me.

I that

was proud
"

am humble now.
Never," he

Yet

is

she terribly beautiful

beware.

added, raising his head,


bished, but

shall this

armour be fur-

by

the blows of knightly encounter, until

the last speck has disappeared from every spot where the battle-axe and sword of evil-doers, or noble foes,

might

fall

when

I shall again

lift

my

head, and say

F 2

68
to

PHANTASTES.
,

my

squire,

Do
"

thy duty once more, and make

this

armour

shine.'

Before I could inquire further, he had struck


spurs into his horse and galloped away, shrouded

from

my

voice in the noise of his armour.

For

called after him, anxious to


fearful enchantress
;

know more about


he heard

this not.

but in vain

me

"

Yet," I said to myself,


I shall

"

have now been often

warned ; surely

be well on

my

guard

and

am

fully resolved I shall not be ensnared


beautiful.

by any
went on
its

beauty, however

Doubtless, some one

man may
into the

escape, and I shall be he."


still

So

wood,

hoping

to find, in

some one of

mysterious recesses,

my

lost

lady of the marble.


loveliest twilight.

The
Great
flight,

sunny afternoon died into the


bats began to
flit

about with their


its

own noiseless

seemingly purposeless, because

objects are unseen.


all

The monotonous music

of the owl issued from

un-

expected quarters in the half-darkness around me.

The glow-worm was alight here and there, burning out


into the great universe.
all

The night-hawk heightened


with his oft-recurring,

the

harmony and

stillness

discordant jar.

Numberless unknown sounds came


;

out of the
kind,

unknown dusk

but

all

were of twilighta

oppressing the heart as with

condensed

A FAERIE ROMANCE.

69

atmosphere of dreamy undefined love and longing.

The odours

of night arose, and bathed

me

in that
if

luxurious mournfulness peculiar to them, as


plants

the

whence they
tears.

floated

had been watered with

bygone

Earth drew

me

towards her bosom


kiss her.
to

I felt as if I could fall I

down and

I forgot

was

in

Fairy Land, and seemed

be walking in a

perfect night of our

own

old nursing earth.


uplifting

Great
multitu-

stems rose about me,


dinous roof above
leaves

a thick

me

of branches, and twigs, and


insect

the bird and


its

world
its

uplifted

over

mine, with

own

landscapes,

own

thickets,

and paths, and glades, and dwellings ; its own birdGreat boughs crossed ways and insect-delights.

my

path; great roots based the tree-columns, and


lift

mightily clasped the earth, strong to


to uphold.
forest
It

and strong

seemed an
pleasures.

old, old forest, perfect in

ways and

And when,

in the midst

of this ecstasy, I remembered that under some close

canopy of

leaves,

by some

giant stem, or in some


leafy well, sat the lady of

mossy cave, or beside some


the marble,

whom my

songs had called forth into the


it

outer world, waiting (might

npt be

?) to

meet and
veil

thank

her deliverer in a twilight

which would

her confusion, the whole night became one dream-

70
realm
of joy,

PHANTASTES
the
central

form of which was


unbeheld.
to

everywhere present,

although

Then,

remembering how my
"

songs seemed

have called

her from the marble, piercing through the pearly

shroud of alabaster

Why," thought

I,

" should not

my voice reach her now, through


inwraps her."
neously that
it

the ebon night that

My voice
Not a sound

burst into song so sponta-

seemed involuntarily.
But, echoing in me,

Vibrates

all

around
on thee,
!

With a

blind delight,

Till it breaks

Queen of Night
Every Seems
tree,

O'ershadowingwith glcom,
to cover thee

Secret, dark, love-still'd,

In a holy room
Silence-filled,

Let no moon Creep up the heaven to-night. I in darksome noon


"Walking hopefully, Seek my shrouded light

Grope

for thee

Darker grow

The borders of the dark Through the branches glow


!

From

the roof above,

Star and diamond-spark,

Light for

love.

A FAERIE ROMANCE.
Scarcely had the last sounds floated

71

away from

the

hearing of

my own

ears,

when
It

heard instead a low

delicious laugh O near

me.

was not the laugh O of

one who would not be heard, but the laugh of one

who

has just received something long and patiently


a laugh that ends in a low musical moan.

desired
I

started, and, turning sideways,

saw a dim white

figure seated beside an intertwining thicket of smaller


trees

and underwood.

"

It is

my white

lady!"
;

I said,

and flung myself on


through the gather-

the ground beside her

striving,

ing darkness, to get a glimpse of the form which had

broken

its

marble prison at

my

call.

"

It is

your white lady," said the sweetest voice, in

reply, sending a thrill of speechless delight through

a heart which

all

the love charms of the preceding

day and evening had been tempering for this culminating hour. Yet, if I would have confessed it, there

was something
although
it

either in

the sound of the voice,


itself,

seemed sweetness

or else in this

yielding which awaited no gradation of gentle approaches, that did not vibrate harmoniously with the

beat of

my

inward music.

And

likewise,

when,

taking her hand in mine, I drew closer to her, looking for the beauty of her face, which, indeed, I found

72

PHANTASTES

too plenteously, a cold shiver ran through

me

but
it

"

it is the marble," I said to myself,

and heeded

not.

She withdrew her hand from mine, and


would scarce allow
strange,
after

after that

me

to touch her.

It

seemed

the

fulness

of her
to

first

greeting,
her.

that she could not trust

me

come

close to

Though her words were


herself

those of a lover, she kept

withdrawn
us.

as if a mile of space interposed

between "

Why did you run away from me when you woke


"
I said. I ?" she returned.
I

in the cave ?

" Did
of

" That was very unkind


better."

me
"
I

but

did not

know

wish

I could see you.

The

night

is

very dark."
is

" So
there."

it is.

Come

to

my

grotto.

There

light

" " Have you another cave, then ? " Come and see."

But she did

not,

move

until I rose first,

and then hand


to

she was on her feet before I could offer


help her.

my

She came

close to

my

side,

and conducted

me

through the wood.

But once

or twice, when, in-

voluntarily almost, I

was about to put


the

my arm around
gloom, she

her as

we walked on through

warm

A FAERIE ROMANCE.

73

sprang away several paces, always keeping her face


full

towards me, and then stood looking at me,

slightly stooping, in the attitude of one

who

fears

some half-seen enemy.


and walk
happened.

It

was

too dark to discern

the expression of her face.


close beside
I

Then she would return


again, as
;

me

if

nothing had

thought

this strange

but, besides that I

had almost,

as I said before, given

up the attempt

to

account for appearances in fairy land, I judged that

would be very unfair to expect from one who had slept so long and had been so suddenly awakened, a
it

behaviour correspondent to what


ingly look
for.

might unreflect-

knew

not what she might have been


it

dreaming about.

Besides,

was

possible that, while

her words were free, her sense of touch might be


exquisitely delicate.

At

length, after walking a long

way

in the woods,

we

arrived at another thicket, through

the inter-

texture of which was glimmering a pale rosy light.

" Push aside the branches," she

said,

" and make

room

for us to enter."

I did as she told

me.

" Go

in,"

she said; " I will follow you."

I did as she desired,

and found myself

in a little

cave, not very unlike the marble cave.

It

was

fes-

74

PHANTASTES:
all

tooned and draperied with


cling to shady rocks.

kinds of green that

In the furthest corner, halfit

hidden in leaves, through which


lovely shadows

glowed, mingling

between them,
earthen lamp.

burned a

bright
glided

rosy flame on a

little

The lady
still

round by the wall from behind me,


face towards me,

keeping her

and seated herself

in the furthest cor-

ner, with her back to the lamp, which she hid completely from

my

view.

I then

saw indeed a form of


Almost
it

perfect loveliness before me.

seemed

as if
it

the light of the rose-lamp shone through her (for

could not be reflected from her); such a delicate

shade of pink seemed to shadow what in

itself

must

be a marbly whiteness of hue.

I discovered afterit I

wards, however, that there was one thing in

did

not like; which was, that the white part of the eye was
tinged with the same slight roseate hue as the rest of

the form.
features
;

It

is

strange that I cannot recall her

but they, as well as her somewhat girlish

figure, left

on

me

simply and only the impression of


I lay

intense loveliness.

down

at

her

feet,

and gazed

up

into her face as I lay.

She began, and

told

me

a strange

tale,

which, like-

wise, I cannot recollect; but which, at every turn

and every pause, somehow or other fixed

my

eyes

A FAERIE ROMANCE.

75

and thoughts upon her extreme beauty; seeming


always to culminate in something that had a relation,
revealed or hidden, but always operative, with her

own

loveliness.

lay

entranced.

It

was a

tale

which brings back a feeling as of snows and tempests ; torrents and water-sprites ; lovers parted for
long,

and meeting

at last

with a gorgeous summer


I listened
till
till

night to close up the whole.

she and

were blended with the


whole
history.

tale

she and I were the


at last in this

And we had met

same

cave of greenery, while the summer night hung

round us heavy with love, and the odours that crept


through the silence from the sleeping woods were
the only signs of an outer world that invaded our
solitude.

What

followed I cannot clearly remember.

The succeeding horror almost obliterated it. I woke as a grey dawn stole into the cave. The damsel had
disappeared
;

but in the shrubbery

at the

mouth of
It

the cave, stood a strange horrible object.


like

looked

an open

part for

up on one end; only that the the head and neck was defined from the
coffin set
it

shoulder-part. In fact

was a rough representation of


if

the

human frame,

only hollow, as
tree.

made

of decaying

bark torn from a


slightly

had arms, which were only seamed, down from the shoulder-blade by
It

76

PHANTASTES

the elbow, as if the bark had healed again from the

cut of a knife.

But the arms moved, and


were
tearing asunder
tiling

the hands

and
tress

fingers

long silky
it

of

hair.

The

turned round

had

for a face

and front those of

my

enchantress, but

now

of a

pale greenish hue in the light

of

the

morning, and with dead lustreless eyes.

In the
I

horror of the moment, another fear invaded me.

put

my

hand

to

my

waist,

and found indeed that

my
as

girdle of beech-leaves

was gone.
it

Hair again in her

hands, she was tearing

fiercely.

Once more,

she turned, she laughed a low laugh, but


scorn and derision
;

now

full

of

and then she

said, as if to

a com-

panion with
slept,
still,

whom
is
;

she had been talking while I

" There he
petrified

you can take him now." I lay with dismay and fear ; for I now saw
was the
!

another figure beside her, which, although vague and


indistinct, I yet recognised

but too well.

It

Ash-tree.

My beauty was the

Maid

of the Alder

and she was giving me, spoiled of my only availing The Ash defence, into the hands of my awful foe.
bent his Gorgon-head, and entered the cave.
not
stir.

I could

He drew

near me.

His ghoul-eyes and

his ghastly face fascinated me.

He came

stooping,

with the hideous hand outstretched, like a beast of

A FAERIE ROMANCE.
prey.
I

77

had given myself up

to

a death of unfa-

thomable horror, when, suddenly, and just as he was

on the point of seizing me, the

dull,

heavy blow of

an axe echoed through the wood, followed by others


in quick repetition.

The Ash shuddered and groaned,

withdrew the outstretched hand, retreated backwards


to the

mouth

of the cave, then turned and disaptrees.

peared amongst the


looked at
beautifully

The

other walking Death

me

once, with a careless dislike on her

moulded features; then, heedless any

more

to

conceal her hollow deformity, turned her

frightful

back and likewise vanished amid the green


I lay

obscurity without.

and wept.

The Maid of

the Alder-tree had befooled


spite of
all

me

nearly slain

me

in

the warnings I had received from those

who knew my

danger.

78

PHANTASTES

VII.

Fight on,

A little line hurt, but yett not slaine


He but
downe and bleede awhile, And then lie rise and fight againe.
lye

my men,

Sir

Andrew

sayes,
;

BALLAD of Sir Andrew Barton.

BUT

I could not remain

where I was any longer,


to
ine,

though the daylight was hateful

and the

thought of the great, innocent, bold sunrise unendurable.

Here there was no well

to cool

my

face,

smarting with th$ bitterness of

my own

tears.

Nor

would

have washed in the well of that grotto, had it


I rose,

flowed clear as the rivers of Paradise.


feebly
left

and
I

the sepulchral cave.


still

I took

my way

knew

not whither, but


birds

towards the sunrise.


for

The

were singing ; but not

me.

All the

creatures spoke a language of their own, with which


I

had nothing

to do,

and
I

to

which

I cared not to find

the key any more.


distressed

walked

listlessly along.

What
folly

me most

more even than

my own

was the perplexing question

How

can beauty and

A PAEKIE ROMANCE.
ugliness dwell so near ?

79
altered

Even with her

com-

plexion and her face of dislike ; disenchanted of the


belief that clung

around her; known for a living,


faithless, deluding, traitorous; I
all this,

walking sepulchre,
felt,

notwithstanding
this I

that she

was

beautiful.

Upon
make

pondered with undiminished perplexity,

though not without some gain.


surmises as to the

Then
of

began to
;

mode

my

deliverance

and concluded that some hero, wandering in search of adventure, had heard how the forest was infested ;
and, knowing
in person,
in
it

was

useless to attack the evil thing

had

assailed with his battle-axe the

body

which he dwelt, and on which he was dependent " for his power of mischief in the wood. Very
I

likely,"

thought, "the
evil

repentant

knight,

who

warned me of the
busy

which has befallen me, was

retrieving his lost honour, while I

was sinking

into the

same sorrow with himself; and, hearing of the dangerous and mysterious being, arrived at liis

tree in time to save


roots,

me from
I

being dragged to

its

and buried

like carrion, to nourish

him

for yet

deeper insatiableness."
conjecture was
fared
correct.

found afterwards that


I

my

wondered how he had

when

his

blows recalled the Ash himself, and

that too I learned afterwards.

80
I

PHANTASTES:
walked on the whole day, with intervals of
I
rest,

but without food ; for

could not have eaten, had any

been offered

me

till,

in the afternoon, I
forest,

seemed to
at length

approach the outskirts of the


arrived at a farm-house.
in

and

An

unspeakable joy arose

my

heart at beholding an abode of

human

beings

once more, and I hastened up to the door, and knocked.

kind-looking, matronly

woman,

still

handsome, made her appearance; who,

as soon as she

saw me,

said kindly,
!

"

Ah,

my

poor boy, you have


in
it

come from the wood


I should

Were you

last night?

"

have

ill

endured, the day before, to be

called boy

but now the motherly kindness of the


to

word went

my

heart; and, like a boy indeed, I

burst into tears.


leading

She soothed

me right

gently

and,

me

into a

room, made me lie down on a settle,

while she went to find

me some

refreshment.
eat.

She She
I

soon returned with food, but I could not


almost compelled

me

to

swallow some wine, when

revived sufficiently to be able to answer some of her


questions.
I told

her the whole story.


she said ; " but you are

"

It is just as I feared,"

now

for the night


ful creatures.

beyond the reach of any It is no wonder they could delude a

of these dread-

child like you.

But

must beg you, when

my

hus-

A FAERIE ROMANCE.
band comes
for
in,

81

not to say a word about these things

he thinks

me

even half crazy for believing any-

thing of the sort.

But

must believe
his,

my

senses, as

he cannot believe beyond


intimations

of this kind.

which give him no think he could spend

the whole of Midsummer-eve in the

wood and come

back with the report that he saw nothing worse than


himself.

Indeed, good man, he would hardly find


if

anything better than himself,


senses given him."

he had seven more

" But
tiful

tell

me how

it is

that she could be so beau-

without any heart at

all

without any place even

for a heart to live in."

"

cannot quite

tell,"

she said; " but I

am sure

she

would not look


to

so beautiful if she did not take

means

make

herself look

more

beautiful than she

is.

And

you know, you began by being in love with her before you saw her beauty, mistaking her for the
then,

lady of the marble


think.
is this
:

another kind altogether, I should

But the
that,

chief thing that

makes her beautiful

although she loves no man, she loves

the love of any

man

and when she

finds one in her

power, her desire to bewitch him and gain his love,


(not for the sake of his love either, but that she
.be conscious

may

anew of her own beauty, through the a

82

PHANTASTES:
with

admiration he manifests) makes her very lovely

a
is

self-destructive beauty,

though

for

it is

that

which

constantly wearing her

away within, till,

at last, the

decay will reach her face, and her whole front, when all
the lovely

mask

of nothing will

fall to pieces,

and she
she met

be vanished
in the
his

for ever.

So a wise man,
ago,

whom

wood some years

and who,

I think, for all

wisdom, fared no better than you, told me, when,

like you, to

he spent the next night here, and recounted

me
I

his adventures."
solution,

thanked her very warmly for her


partial;

though

it

was but

wondering much that

in her, as in

the

woman

met on

my
me

first

entering the forest,

there should be such superiority to her apparent condition.

Here she
was
too

left

to take

some

rest

though,

indeed, I

much

agitated to rest in

any other

way

than by simply ceasing to move.

In half an hour, I heard a heavy step approach

and enter the house.


huskiness
laughter,

A
to
:

jolly voice,

whose

slight

appeared
called out

proceed

from

overmuch
is
!

"
is

Betsy, the pigs' trough

quite empty, and that

a pity. Let them

swill, lass
!

They 're
Gluttony

of no use but to get fat


is

Ha

ha

ha

not forbidden in their commandments.


"
!

Ha

ha

ha

The very

voice, kind

and

jovial,

A FAERIE ROMANCE.
seemed
all

83

to disrobe the

room of the strange look which


to disenchant
it

new

places

wear

out of the
It

realm of the ideal into that of the actual.


to look as if I

began
it

had known every corner of


after,

for

twenty years

and when, soon

the

dame came

and fetched

me

to partake of their early supper, the

grasp of his great hand, and the harvest-moon of his


benevolent face, which was needed to light up the
rotundity of the globe beneath
reaction in me, that, for a
it,

produced such a
I could hardly

moment,

believe that there


all I

was a Fairy Land;


I left

and that

had passed through since

home, had not

been the wandering dream of

a diseased imagination,

operating on a too mobile frame, not merely causing

me

indeed to travel, but peopling for

me

with vague
steps

phantoms the regions through which

had led me.


a
little girl

But the next moment,

my actual my eye fell

upon

who was

with a

little

chimney corner, book open on her knee, from which she


to fix great inquiring

sitting in the

had apparently just looked up


eyes upon me.
I believed in

Fairy Land again.

She
I

went on with her reading,

as soon as she
I

saw that

observed her looking at me.

went near, and peep-

ing over her shoulder, saw that she

w as reading The
r

History of Graciosa and Percinet.

G 2

84

PHANTASTES:
"

Very improving book,

sir,"

farmer, with a good-humoured laugh.


the very hottest corner of Fairy

remarked the old " WQ are in


! !

Land here. Ha ha
"

Stormy night, last night, sir." " " Was indeed ? I


it,

rejoined.

It

was not
"

so

with me.

A lovelier night I never saw."


!

" Indeed

Where were you


it

last

night ?
lost

"
"

I spent

in the forest

had

my

way."

Ah

then, perhaps,

you

will be able to convince


is

my good woman,

that there
;

nothing very remarkthe truth,


I
it

able about the forest

for, to tell

bears

but a bad name in these parts.

dare say you saw


?

nothing worse than yourself there

"

inward reply ; but, for an " audible one, I contented myself with saying, Why,
I

"

hope I did," was

my

I certainly did see

some appearances
is

I could

hardly

account for
in an

but that

nothing

to

be wondered at

unknown wild

forest,

and with the uncertain

light of the

moon
!

alone to go by."
like a sensible

"

Very true

you speak

man,

sir.

We

have but few sensible


credit

folks
it,

round about

us.

Now, you would hardly


every fairy-tale that
account for it
everything
else."

but my wife believes


written.
I

ever was
is

cannot
in

She

a most sensible

woman

A FAERIE ROMANCE.
"But
should not that

85
treat her belief

make you

with something of respect, though you cannot share


in
it

"

yourself?
Yes, that
is

"

all

very well in theory ; but when

you come
it is

to live

every day in the midst of absurdity,

far less easy to

behave respectfully

to

it.
*

Why,
White

my
"

wife actually believes the story of the

Cat.'
I

You know
read
all

it,

I dare say."

these tales

when a

child,

and know

that one especially well."

"

But, father," interposed the

little

girl

in the

chimney-corner,
is

you know quite well that mother descended from that very princess who was changed
the wicked fairy into a white cat.

"

by

Mother has
to believe

told

me

so a

many

times,

and you ought

everything she says."

can easily believe that," rejoined the farmer, with another fit of laughter ; " for, the other night, a
I

"

mouse came gnawing and scratching beneath the Your mother floor, and would not let us go to sleep.
sprang out of bed, and going as near
it

as she could,

mewed

so infernally like a great cat, that the noise


I believe

ceased instantly.
the fright, for

the poor

mouse died of
it

we have never heard

again.

Ha

ha! ha!"

86

PHANTASTES:

The

son,

an

ill-looking youth,

who had

entered
;

during the conversation, joined in his father's laugh

but his laugh was very different from the old man's:
it

was polluted with a


that, as soon as
it

sneer.

watched him, and

saw

was
evil

over, he looked scared,

as if he dreaded
his
till

some

consequences to follow
stood near, waiting
at

presumption.

The woman

we

should seat ourselves


it

the
air,

table,

and

listening to

all
it

with an amused

which had

something in
to

of the look with which one listens

the sententious
sat

remarks of a pompous

child.

We

down

to supper,

and

I ate heartily.

My

bygone

distresses

began already

to look far off.

"In what
old man.

direction are

you going?" asked the

"

Eastward,"
definite

I replied

nor could I have given a

more

answer.

"Does

the forest extend

much

further in that direction?"


!

" Oh
far.
it all

for miles

and miles

do not know how

For although I have lived on the borders of my life, I have been too busy to make journeys
it.

of discovery into
discover.
It
is

Nor do

I see

what
till

could

only trees and trees,


the way,
if

one

is

sick of them.

By

you follow the

east-

ward track from

here,

you

will pass close to

what

A FAERIE ROMANCE.
the
that

87

children say

is

the very house of the ogre


visited,

Hop-o'-my-Thumb

and ate

his

little

daughters with the crowns of gold."

"Oh,

father!

ate his little daughters!

No; he
;

only changed their gold crowns for nightcaps

and
;

the great long-toothed ogre killed them in mistake

but

do not think even he ate them, for you know


his

they were "

own

little

ogresses."
all

Well, well, child

you know

about

it

a great
has, of

deal better than I do.

However, the house

course, in such a foolish neighbourhood as this, a

bad

enough name ; and


living
in
it,

must confess there


long

is

woman

with teeth

enough and white

enough

too for the lineal descendant of the greatest


I think

ogre that ever was made.


not go near her."

you had

better

In such talk as this the night wore on.

"When

supper was finished, which lasted some time,


hostess conducted

my

me

to

my

chamber.

"

If

said,

you had not had enough of it already," she "I would have put you in another room,
forest;

which looks towards the

and where you


its

would most
inhabitants.

likely

have seen something more of

For they frequently pass the window, and even enter the room sometimes. Strange crea-

88

PIIANTASTES

tures spend whole nights in

it,

at certain seasons
it.

of the year.

am

used to
girl,

it,

and do not mind


sleeps in
it

No more
But

does

my little

who

always.

this room looks southward towards the open country, and they never show themselves here ; at least I never saw any."

was somewhat sorry not

to gather

any experience
of

that I

might have, of the


but the
effect

inhabitants

Fairy

Land;
and of

of

the

farmer's

my own

later adventurers,

company, was such, that I


in

chose rather

an undisturbed
which, with

night
their

my more

human

quarters;

clean white

curtains and white linen, were very inviting to

my

weariness.

In the morning,

awoke
sleep.

refreshed, after a pro-

found

and dreamless
I

The sun was

high,

when

looked out of the window, shining over a

wide, undulating, cultivated country.


den-vegetables were growing beneath

Various gar-

my

window.

Everything was radiant with clear sunlight.


dew-drops were sparkling
in a near-by field
their busiest;

The

the cows

were eating
;

as if they

had not

been at

it all

day yesterday

the maids were sing-

ing at their work as they passed to and fro between


the out-houses
:

I did not believe in

Fairy Land.

A FAERIE ROMANCE.

89

went down, and found the family already at breakfast. But before I entered the room where they
sat,

the

little

girl

came

to

me, and looked up in


to

my
to

face, as

though she wanted

say something

me.

I stooped towards her; she

put her arms

round

my
:

neck, and her mouth to

my

ear,

and

whispered

"
all

A white

lady has been

flitting

about the house

night."

"No
slept ?

whispering behind doors!" cried the farmer;

and we entered together.

"

Well,

how have you


well."

No am

bogies, eh ?

" I slept

" Not
"
I

one, thank

you
it.

uncommonly

glad to hear

Come and

breakfast."

After breakfast, the farmer and his son went out ;

and
if

was
"

left

alone with the mother and daughter.

When

looked out of the window this morning,"


almost certain that Fairy

I said,
all

I felt

Land was
I

a delusion of

my

brain

but whenever

come

near you or your

little

daughter, I feel differently.

Yet
to

could persuade myself, after my last adventures,


to

go back, and have nothing more "

do with such

strange beings."

How

will

you go back?"
I

said the

woman.

"

Nay, that

do not know."

90

PHANTASTES:
that, for those

" Because I have heard, Fairy Land, there


is

who

enter

no way of going back.


it

They

must go on, and go through the least know."

How,

do not in

"That

is

quite the impression on

Something compels me to go on, as was onward; but I feel less inclined


to continue

my own mind. if my only path


this

morning

my

adventures."
see

" Will She

you come and

my

little

child's

room ?

sleeps in the one I told

you

of,

looking towards

the forest."

"Willingly," I

said.
little girl

So we went together, the


to

running before

open the door for

us.

old-fashioned furniture,

was a large room, full of that seemed to have once


It

belonged to some great house.


built with a

The window was


with lozenge-shaped

low arch, and

filled

panes.
stone.

The

wall was very thick, and built of solid

I could see that part of the house

had been

erected against the remains of some old castle or

abbey, or other great building;

the fallen stones

of which had probably served to complete it


as soon as I looked

But

out of the window, a gush of

wonderment and longing flowed over


the tide of a great sea.

my

soul like

Fairy Land lay before me,

A FAERIE ROMANCE.
and drew me towards
it

91

with an

irresistible attraction.

The

trees

bathed their great heads in the waves

of the morning, while their roots were planted deep


in

gloom; save where on the borders the sunshine

broke against their stems, or swept in long streams

through their avenues, washing with brighter hue


all

the leaves over which

it

flowed; revealing the


fallen pine-

rich

brown of the decayed leaves and


and the

cones,

delicate greens of the long grasses

and tiny

forests of
it

moss that covered the channel

over which
I

passed in motionless rivers of light.

turned hurriedly to bid

my hostess
at

farewell with-

out further delay.

She smiled

my

haste, but

with an anxious look.

"You had
ogre, I think.

better not go near the house of the

My son
to

will
first

show you

into another

path, which will join the

beyond it"

Not wishing

be headstrong or too confident

any more,

agreed;

and having taken leave of

my

kind entertainers, went into the wood, accom-

panied by the youth.

went along; but he led

we

struck upon a path.


*

He scarcely spoke as we me through the trees till He told me to follow it,


left

and, with a muttered

good morning,'

me.

92

PHANTASTES

VIII.
Ich bin ein Theil des Theils, der anfangs alles war.

GOETHE.
I

am

a part of the part, which at

first

Mephistophdes in Faust. was the whole.

MY
I

spirits rose as I

went deeper

into the forest

but

I could

not regain

my

former elasticity of mind.


life

found cheerfulness to be like

itself

not to

be created by any argument.


that the best

Afterwards

I learned,

way

thoughts,

is

to

manage some kinds of dare them to do their worst


to
at

painful
;

to let
;

them

lie

and gnaw
find

your heart

till

they are tired


life

and you
cannot

you

still

have a residue of

they
till

kill.

So, better

and worse,

went

on,

came

to a little clearing in the forest

In the middle

of this clearing stood a long, low hut, built with one

end against a single


spire to the building.

tall

cypress,

which rose

like

A vague misgiving crossed my


but
I

mind when

saw

it

must needs go

closer,

and

look through a

little

half-open door, near the opposite

end from the cypress. Window I saw none. On peeping in, and looking towards the further end, I saw a lamp

A FAERIE ROMANCE.

93

burning, with a dim, reddish flame, and the head of

a woman, bent downwards, as


I

if

reading by

its

light.

could see nothing more for a few moments.

At

length, as
place, I

my

eyes got used to the dimness of the

saw that the part of the rude building near


used for household purposes
;

me was
rough

for several

utensils

lay here and there, and a bed stood in


irresistible attraction

the corner.
enter.

An

caused

me

to

The woman never

raised her face, the upper


;

part of which alone I could see distinctly

but, as

soon as I stepped within the threshold, she began to


read aloud, in a low and not altogether unpleasing
voice,

from an ancient

little

volume which she held

open with one hand on the table upon which stood


the lamp.

What

she read was something like this :

"
will

So, then, as darkness


it

had no beginning, neither


So, then,
is it

ever have an end.

eternal.

The
the

negation of aught

else, is its affirmation.

Where

light cannot come, there abideth the darkness.


light doth but hollow a mine out of the

The

infinite

extension of the darkness.

And

ever upon the steps


;

of the light treadeth the darkness


fountains and wells amidst
nels of
its
it,

yea, springeth in

from the secret chan-

mighty

sea.

Truly,

man

is

but a passing
rest

flame,

moving unquietly amid the surrounding

94
of night ; without which he yet could not be, and

whereof he

is

in part

compounded."
on, she

As
a

drew nearer, and she read

moved

little to

turn a leaf of the dark old volume, and I


slightly forbidding.

saw that her face was sallow and

Her

forehead was high, and her black eyes repress-

edly quiet.

But she took no


if

notice of me.

This end

of the cottage,

cottage

it

could be called, was

destitute of furniture, except the table with the lamp,

and the chair on which the woman

sat.

In one

corner was a door, apparently of a cupboard in the


wall, but

which might lead

to a

room beyond.

Still

the irresistible desire which had


building, urged

made me

enter the

me

what was beyond hand on the rude


but without
lifting

it

must open that door, and see I approached, and laid my

latch.

Then

the

woman

spoke,
:

her head or looking at

me

" You

had

better not open that door."

This was uttered

quite quietly; and she went on with her reading,

partly in silence, partly

aloud;
for

but both

modes

seemed equally intended

herself alone.

The

prohibition, however, only increased

my

desire to

see; and as she took no further notice, I gently

opened the door to

its

full

width, and looked

in.

At

first,

saw

nothing worthy of attention.

It

A FAERIE ROMANCE.
seemed a common
closet,

95

with shelves on each hand,


little

on which stood various

necessaries

for

the

humble uses of a

cottage.

In one corner stood one

or two brooms, in another a hatchet and other com-

mon
I

tools;

showing that

it

was

in use every

hour

of the day for household purposes.

But, as I looked,
at the back,
;

saw that there were no shelves

and

that an

empty space went

in further

its
r

termination
or curtain,

appearing to be a faintly

glimmering w all

somewhat

less,

however, than the width and height


But, as I continued
faintly-

of the doorway where I stood.


looking, for

a few seconds, towards this

luminous

limit,

my

eyes came into true relation with

their object.

All at once, with such a shiver as

when one

is

suddenly conscious of the presence of

another in a room where he has, for hours, considered


himself alone, I saw that the seemingly luminous

extremity was a sky, as of night, beheld through


the long perspective
of a

narrow, dark passage,


I could not tell.

through what, or built of what,


I gazed, I clearly discerned

As

two or three

stars glim-

mering

faintly in the distant blue.


it

But, suddenly,
far distance

and

as if

had been running

fast

from a

for this

very point, and had turned the corner withits

out abating

swiftness, a dark figure sped into

and

96

PHANTASTES

along the passage from

the blue opening at the

remote end.

I started

back and shuddered, but kept


it.

looking, for I could not help

On

and on

it

came,
till,

with a speedy approach but delayed arrival


last,

at
it

through the
to

many

gradations of approach,

seemed

up

to

come within the sphere of myself, rushed me, and passed me into the cottage. All I
of
its

could

tell

appearance was, that


Its

it

seemed

to

be

a dark
less,
it

human

figure.

motion was entirely noisegliding,

and might be called a

were

it

not that

appeared that of a runner, but with ghostly feet

had moved back yet a


" Where
"

little to let

him pass me, and

looked round after him instantly. I could not" see him.


is

he

I said, in

some alarm,

to the

woman, who
"

still

sat reading.
floor,

There, on the

behind you," she

said, point-

ing with her


eyes.

arm

half-outstretched, but not lifting her

I turned

and looked, but saw nothing.

Then

with a feeling that there was yet something behind

me,
the

I looked

round over

my

shoulder

and

there,
size of
it

on
a

ground, lay a black


It

shadow, the

man.

was

so dark, that I could see

in the
it,

dim

light of

the lamp, which

shone

full

upon

apparently without thinning at


hue.

all

the intensity of

its

A FAERIE ROMANCE.
"
I told you," said the

97
better

woman,

"

you had

not look into that closet."

"What
horror.

is

it?" I said, with a growing sense of

"

It is

only your shadow that has found you,"

she replied.

"

Everybody's shadow
for

is

ranging up

and down
it

looking

him.
in

believe

you

call

by

a different

name

your world: yours has


is

found you, as every person's

almost certain to
especially
I dare say
after

do who

looks

into

that
forest,

closet,

meeting one in the

whom

you
and

have met."
Here, for the
looked
full at
;

first
:

time, she lifted her head,

me

her mouth was full of long, white,


I

shining teeth the ogre.

and

knew

that I

was

in the house of
left

I could not speak,

but turned and


heels.

the

house, with the shadow at


of valet to

my

"

nice sort

have," I

said to myself bitterly, as I

stepped into the sunshine, and, looking


shoulder, saw that
it

over

my

lay yet blacker in the full

blaze of the sunlight.

Indeed, only

when

I stood

between

it

and the sun, was the blackness

at all

diminished. I

was

so

bewildered
its

stunned

both

by

the event itself and


all

suddenness, that I could


it

not at

realize to

myself what

would be

to

98

PHANTASTES:

have such a constant and strange attendance; but with a dim conviction that my present dislike would
soon grow to loathing, I took
the wood.

my

dreary

way through

A FAERIE EOMANCE.

99

IX.

O Lady we
!

receive but

what we

give,

And
Ours

in our
is

life

alone does nature live :


!

her wedding garment, ours her shroud


*
itself

Ah

from the soul

must issue

forth,

A light, a glory, a fair luminous cloud,


Enveloping the Earth

And from

the, soul itself

must there be sent


and element

A sweet and potent voice, of its own birth,


Of all sweet sounds the
life
!

COLERIDGE.

FROU

this

time, until
I

arrived at the palace of

Fairy Land,

can attempt no consecutive account of


Everything, hence-

my

wanderings and adventures.

forward, existed for


dant.

me

in its relation to

my

atten-

What

influence he exercised

into contact with which I was brought,

upon everything may be


instances.
lie

understood from

a few

detached

To

begin with this very day on which

first

joined

me
in

after I

had walked

heartlessly along for

two or
to rest

three hours, I was very weary, and lay

down

a most delightful part of the forest, carpeted

H 2

100
with wild-flowers.
dull repose,

PHANTASTES:
I

lay for half an hour in a


to

and then got up


spot

pursue
I

my
lain

way.

The

flowers on the

where

had

were

crushed to the earth ; but I saw that they would soon lift their heads and rejoice again in the sun and
air.

Not

so those

on which

my

shadow had

lain.

The very outline of it could be


lifeless grass,

traced in the withered

and the scorched and shrivelled flowers


there, dead,

which stood
rection.

and hopeless of any resur-

I shuddered,

and hastened away with sad

forebodings.

In a few days,
of
its

had reason

to

dread an extension
it

baleful influences from the fact, that

was no

longer confined to one position in regard to myself.


Hitherto,

when
evil

seized with an irresistible desire to

look on

my

demon (which longing would unac-

countably seize

me

at

any moment, returning

at

longer or shorter intervals, sometimes every minute),


I

had

to turn

my

head backwards, and look over


position, as

my

shoulder;
retain
I

in

which

long as I could

But one day, having it, come out on a clear grassy hill, which commanded a glorious prospect, though of what I cannot now tell,
fascinated.

was

my

shadow moved round, and came


presently, a

in front of

me.

And,

new

manifestation increased

my

A FAERIE ROMANCE.
distress.
all sides

101

For

it

began

to coruscate,

and shoot out on


These rays of

a radiation of dim shadow.

gloom issued from the central shadow as from a black sun, lengthening and shortening with continual
change.
earth, or

But wherever a ray struck, that part of sea, or sky, became void, and desert, and
heart.

sad to
its

my

On

this,

the

first

development of

new power, one ray

shot out beyond the rest,


until
it

seeming to lengthen

infinitely,

smote th

great sun on the face, which withered and darkened

beneath the blow.

turned away and went on.


its

The shadow

retreated to
it

former position; and


in all
its

when

looked again,

had drawn

spears

of darkness, and followed like a dog at

my

heels.

Once, as

I passed

by a cottage, there came out a


the tube through which the same

lovely fairy child, with^ two wondrous toys, one in

each hand.

The one was

the fairy-gifted poet looks

when he beholds

thing everywhere
looks

the other that through which he


into

when he combines

new forms

of loveliness
choice has

those images of beauty which his

own

gathered from

all

regions wherein he has travelled.

Round
rays.

the child's head

As

looked at

was an aureole of emanating him in wonder and delight,

round crept from behind

me

the something dark, and

1 02

PHANT ASTES

the child stood in

my

shadow.

Straightway he was

a common-place boy, with a rough broad-brimmed


straw hat, through which brim the sun shone from
behind.
glass

The

toys he carried were a multiplying


I sighed

and a kaleidoscope.

and departed.

One

evening, as a great silent flood of western

gold flowed through an avenue in the woods,


the stream, just as

down

when

saw him

first,

came the

sad knight, riding on his chestnut steed.

But
I

his

armour did not shine half


first.

so red as

when

saw him

Many

a blow of mighty sword and axe, turned


strength of
his

aside

by the

mail,

and glancing
its

adown the

surface,

had swept from


steel

path the

fretted rust,

and the glorious


with
the

had answered
of

the

kindly blow

thanks

returning

light.

These streaks and spots made


like

his

armour

look

the floor of

forest

in

the sunlight.

was higher than before, for the contracting wrinkles were nearly gone; and the sadness that remained on his face was the sadness
forehead of a

His

dewy summer
He,

twilight, not that of a frosty


too,

autumn morn.
as I, but

had met the Alder-maiden

he had plunged into the torrent of mighty

deeds, and the stain was nearly washed away.

No

shadow followed him.

He

had not entered the dark

A FAEEIE KOMANCE.
house
;

103

he had not had time to open the closet door.


in ?
I said to myself. Must " But I could not some day ?
"

" Will he ever look


his

"

shadow

find

him

answer

my own

questions.

two days, and I began to love him. It was plain that he suspected my in some story degree and I saw him once or twice
travelled together for
;

We

looking curiously and anxiously at my attendant gloom, which all this time had remained very

obsequiously behind
nation,

me; but

offered

no explaneglect

and he asked none.

Shame

at

my
;

of his warning, and a horror which shrunk from

even alluding

to

its

cause, kept

me

silent

till,

on

the evening of the second day, some noble words

from

my

companion roused

all

my

heart;

and I
telling

was

at the point of falling

on his neck, and

him the whole


advice,
for

story;
that
I

seeking, if not for helpful

of

was

hopeless,

yet for the

comfort of sympathy

when round
and
I

slid the

shadow

and inwrapt

my
and

friend.;

could not trust him.


light of his

The

glory of his
cold
;

brow vanished ; the


I held

eye

grew
ing

my

peace.

The next morn-

we

parted.

But

the most dreadful thing of


to
feel

all

was, that I

now began

something like satisfaction in

104

PHANTASIES:
I

the presence of the shadow.

began

to

be rather

vain of

my

attendant,

saying to myself;

"In

land like

this,

with so

many

illusions

everywhere,

I need his aid to disenchant the things around me.

He

does

away with

all

appearances, and shows

me

things in their true colour and form.

And

am

not one to be fooled with the vanities of the

common
is

crowd.

I will not see

beauty where there

none.
if I

I will dare to behold things as they are.


live in a waste

And

instead of a paradise, I will live


I
live."

knowing where
exercise

But of

this

a certain

of his power which soon followed quite

cured me, turning

my

feeling

towards him once


It

more

into loathing

and

distrust.
little

was thus

One

bright noon, a

maiden joined

me,

coming through the


angles to

wood

in

a direction at right

my

path.
as

dancing, happy

She came along singing and a child, though she seemed


In her hands

almost a woman.
in another

now

in one,

now

she carried a small globe, bright and

clear as the purest crystal.

This seemed at once

her plaything and her greatest treasure.

At one

moment, you would have thought her utterly careless of it, and at another, overwhelmed with anxiety
for its safety.

But

I believe she

was taking care

A FAERIE ROMANCE.
of
it

105

all

the time, perhaps not least

when

least

occupied

about

it.

She stopped

by me

with a

smile, and bade


voice.
I felt a

me good day me more

with the sweetest


for

wonderful liking to the child

she produced on

the impression of a child,

though
talked a

my

understanding told

me
I

differently.

We

little,

and then walked on together in the


asked her about

direction I

had been pursuing.

the globe she carried, but getting no definite answer,


I held out
said,

my

hand
"

to take

it.

She drew back, and

but smiling almost invitingly the while, "


;

You

must not touch it " Or if you do,


touched
arose in
it

then, after a moment's pause


it

must

be

very

gently."

with a finger.

slight vibratory

motion

it,

accompanied, or perhaps manifested,


I touched
it
it

by

a faint sweet sound.

again, and the

sound increased.
tiny torrent of
globe.

I touched

the third time: a

We

harmony rolled out of the little She would not let me touch it any more. travelled on together all that day. She left
twilight

me when
she met
evening.

came on

but next day, at noon,


till

me

as before,

and again we travelled

The

third

day she came once more


together.

at

noon, and

we walked on

Now, though
things connected

we had

talked about a great

many

106
with.

PHANTASTES
Fairy Land, and the
life

she had led hitherto, I

had never been able

to learn

anything about the globe.


on, the
It

This day, however, as

we went

shadow

glided round and inwrapt the maiden.

could not
the globe,

change her.

But

my

desire to

know about

which in
inward

his

light,

gloom began to waver as with an and to shoot out flashes of manyirresistible.


it.

coloured flame, grew

I put
It

out both
to

my
as

hands and laid hold of


before.

began

sound
till

The sound

rapidly increased,

it

grew a low tempest of harmony, and the globe trembled, and quivered, and throbbed between my
hands.
I had not the heart to pull
it it

away from

the maiden, though I held


to take it

in spite of her attempts


to say, in spite of

from

me

yes, I
last,

shame
tears.

her prayers, and, at

her

The music went

on growing in intensity and complication of tones, and the globe vibrated and heaved; till at last it
burst in our hands, and a

black

vapour
if

broke

upwards from out of

it;

then turned, as

blown

sideways, and enveloped the maiden, hiding even

the shadow in

its

blackness.

She held

fast

the

fragments, which I abandoned, and fled from


into the
forest

me

in

the direction whence


child,

come, wailing like a

she had " You have and crying,

A FAEEIE KOMAXCE.
broken
is

107
niy globe

my
!

globe
" I

my

globe

is

broken
in

broken

folio-wed

her,

the

hope
her

of
far,

comforting

her;

but
cold

had

not

pursued

before a sudden

gust of

wind bowed

the

tree-tops above us,

and swept through

their stems

around us; a great cloud overspread the day, and

fierce

tempest came on, in which I lost sight of

her.

It lies

heavy on

my

heart to this hour.

At
be

night, ere I fall asleep, often, whatever I

may
globe

thinking about,
out,

suddenly hear her voice, crying

"You
I

have broken

my

globe;

my

is

broken ; ah,

my

"

globe

Here

will

mention one more strange thing;


peculiarity

but whether

this

was owing

to

my

shadow
I

at to

all,

am

not able to assure myself.


inhabitants

came

a village, the
at
first

of

which
from
rather

could
the

not

sight

be

distinguished
land.

dwellers

in

our

own

They

avoided than

sought

my
I

company, though
addressed them.
I

they

were very pleasant when


at last I observed, that

But

whenever
one

came within
them, which

certain

distance

of any

of

distance, however, varied with different individuals,

the

whole

appearance
this

of

the

person

began

to

change;

and

change increased in degree as

108
I

PHANTASTES:

approached.

When

receded

to

the former

distance, the former appearance

was

restored.

The

nature of the change was grotesque, following no


fixed rule.

The

nearest resemblance to

it

that I

know,

is

the distortion produced in your counteit

nance when you look at


cave or convex surface
spoon.

as reflected in a con-

say, either side of a bright


I first

Of

this

phenomenon

became aware

in

rather a ludicrous way.

My

host's

daughter was
herself

a very pleasant pretty


agreeable to

girl,

who made

more

me

than most of those about me.

For
less

some days

my

companion-shadow

had

been

obtrusive than usual;

and such was the reaction

of spirits occasioned

by

the simple mitigation of

torment, that, although I had cause enough besides


to

be gloomy,

I felt light
is,

and comparatively happy.

My

impression

that she

was quite aware of the

law of appearances that existed between the people


of the place and myself, and had resolved to amuse
herself
at

my
and

expense;

for

one

evening,

after

some

jesting

raillery, she,

somehow
kiss

or other,

provoked

me

to

attempt

to

her.

But she

was well defended from any

assault

of the kind.

Her countenance became,


hideous;
the
pretty

of a

sudden,

absurdly

mouth was

elongated

and

A FAERIE ROMANCE.
otherwise
of
six

109

amplified

sufficiently
kisses.

to

have allowed
back
in

simultaneous

started
into

bewildered dismay;
fit

she

burst

the

merriest
I

of laughter,

and ran from the room.

soon

found that the

same

undefinable law of
all

change
;

operated between

me and
was

the other villagers

and

that, to feel I

in pleasant

company,

it

was

absolutely necessary for

me

to discover

and observe
each

the right focal distance between myself and

one with
pleasantly

whom

had

to do.

This done,
I

all

went

enough.

Whether, when

happened

to neglect this precaution, I

presented to

them an

equally ridiculous appearance, I did not ascertain;

but I presume that the alteration was common


the

to

approximating

parties.

was

likewise unable
to

to determine

whether

was a necessary party


under the

the production of this strange transformation, or

whether

it

took place

as

well,

given

circumstances, between the inhabitants themselves.

110

PHANTASTES:

X.
From Eden's bowers the full-fed rivers flow, To guide the outcasts to the land of woe Our Earth one little toiling streamlet yields, To guide the wanderers to the happy fields.
:

AFTER leaving

this village,

where

had rested

for

nearly a week, I travelled through a desert region


of dry sand and glittering rocks, peopled principally
their

by

goblin-fairies.

When

first

entered

domains, and, indeed, whenever I


tribe

fell in

with

another

of them, they began mocking

me

with offered handfuls of gold and jewels, making


hideous grimaces at me, and performing the most
antic

homage,

as

if

they
to

thought

expected
like

reverence,

and

meant

humour

me

maniac.

But

ever, as

soon as one cast his eyes


face,

on the shadow behind me, he made a wry


partly of
pity,

partly of

contempt,

and

looked

ashamed,

as if he

had been caught doing some-

thing inhuman;

then, throwing
all

down
made

his handful

of gold, and ceasing


aside to let

his

grimaces, he stood
signs to his

me

pass in peace, and

A FAERIE ROMANCE.
companions to do the
like.

Ill
inclination to

had no

observe them much, for the shadow was in


heart as well as at

my
day

my

heels.
till

walked

listlessly

and almost hopelessly along,


at a small

I arrived one

spring;

which, bursting cool from the


rock,
I

heart

of

sun-heated

flowed

somewhat

southwards from the direction


I

drank of

this

had been taking. spring, and found myself wonder-

fully
little

refreshed.

A
it

kind of love to the cheerful

stream arose in

my

heart.

It

was born

in

a desert;
flow,

but

seemed

to say to

itself,
till

"I
I

will

and

sing,

and lave
I

my

banks,

make

my

desert a paradise."
it,

thought I could not do


it

better than follow

and see what


I

made
over

of

it.

So down with the stream


lands,

went,

rocky

burning
far,

with

sunbeams.

But

the rivulet

flowed not

before a few blades of grass appeared

on

its

banks, and then, here and there, a stunted bush.


it

Sometimes

disappeared altogether under ground;


distance, as near as I
it

and

after I

had wandered some

could guess, in the direction

seemed

to take, I

would suddenly hear

it

again, singing, sometimes far

away
which

to
it

my

right or

left,

amongst new rocks, over


watery melodies.
it

made new
its

cataracts of

The verdure on

banks increased as

flowed;

112

PHAXTASTES:
it;

other streams joined


days' travel, I

and

at

last,

after

many
river,

found myself, one gorgeous summer

evening, resting

by

the

side

of

broad

with

,a

glorious horse-chestnut tree towering above


its

me, and dropping


red
all

blossoms, milk-white and rosy-

about me.

As
7

I sat, a

gush of joy sprang


at

forth

in

Through
in

my my

heart,

and overflowed

my

eyes.

tears, the whole landscape glimmered


I
felt

such bewitching loveliness, that

as if I

were entering Fairy Land for the first time, and some loving hand were waiting to cool my head,
and a loving word
to

warm my
So
air,

heart.

Roses,

wild roses, everywhere!

plentiful

were they,

they not only perfumed the

they seemed to
colour
floated

dye

it

faint

rose-hue.
scent,

The

abroad

with

the

and clomb, and spread,

until the

whole west blushed and glowed with the

gathered incense of roses.

And my
Could
I

heart fainted

with longing in

my

bosom.
as I

but see the

saw once the indwelling Spirit of the Earth, woman of the beech-tree, and my beauty of the
pale marble, I should be content.

Content!

Oh,

how

gladly would I Yea, I would cease

die of the light of her eyes!


to be, if that

would bring

me

one word of love from the one mouth.

The

twilight

A FAERIE ROMANCE.
sank around, and infolded
as I

113
I slept
till

me

with sleep.
I did not

had not

slept for months.

awake

late in the

morning

when, refreshed in body and

mind, I rose as from the death that wipes out the


sadness of
life,

and then
I

dies

itself

in the

new

morrow.

Again

followed

the

stream;

now
it

climbing a steep rocky bank that

hemmed

in;

now wading through long grasses and wild flowers in its path; now through meadows; 'and anon
through woods
lip of

that

crowded down

to

the very

the water.
length, in a nook of the river,
foliage,

At

weight of overhanging
as a soul in

gloomy with the and still and deep

which the torrent eddies of pain have


great
gulf,

hollowed
violence,

and

then,

subsiding

in

have
I

left it full
little

of a motionless, fathomless

sorrow

saw a

boat lying.

So

still

was the
It

water here, that the boat needed no fastening.


lay as
in a
if

some one had just stepped ashore, and would


return.

moment

But

as there

were no

signs of
;

presence, and no track through the thick bushes

and, moreover, as I was in Fairy Land, where one

does very

much

as

he

pleases, I forced

my way
it,

to

the brink, stepped into the boat, pushed

with the

help of the tree-branches, out into the stream, lay


I

114

PHANTASTES:
in the bottom,

down

and

let

my

boat and
I

me

float

whither the stream would carry us.


lose

seemed to

myself in the great flow of sky above me,


its

unbroken in

infinitude, except

when, now and

then, coming nearer the


river,

shore at a bend in the


its

mighty head silently above mine, and glide away back into the past, never more to fling its shadow over me. I fell
asleep in this cradle, in

a tree would sweep

which mother Nature was


and while
I
slept,

rocking her weary child;

the

sun

slept not, but went round his arched way.

When
on

awoke, he
silent

slept in the waters,

and

went
moon.

my

path beneath a round

silver}-

And

a pale

moon looked up from the floor of the great


reflections lovelier

blue cave that lay in the abysmal silence beneath.

Why are all


the reality ?

than what
it

we

call

not so grand or so strong,

may

be,

but always lovelier ?

Fair as

is

the gliding sloop on

the shining sea, the wavering, trembling, unresting


sail

below,

is

fairer

still.

Yea, the reflecting ocean

itself

reflected
its

in the mirror, has a wondrousness


I

about

waters that somewhat vanishes when All mirrors are magic mirrors.
is

turn

towards

itself.

The

commonest room
the glass.

a room in a poem

when

turn to

(And

this

reminds me, while

I write, of

A FAERIE ROMANCE.

115

strange story which I read in the fairy palace, and of

which
place).

I will try to

make

a feeble memorial in

its

In whatever

way

it

may

be accounted

for,

of

one thing we
cheat;

may

be sure, that

this feeling is

no

for there is

no cheating in nature and the

simple unsought feelings of the soul.

There must

be a truth involved in

it,

though we

may

but in

part lay hold of the meaning. of


past

Even
;

the memories
past
in
delights,

pain

are

beautiful

and
clefts

though

beheld

only

through

the

grey

clouds of sorrow, are lovely as Fairy Land.

But

how have
the
soul,

wandered
as

into the deeper fairy-land of

while

yet I only float towards the


!

fairy palace of
lovelier

Fairy Land

The moon, which

is

the

memory

or reflex of

the down-gone sun,

the

joyous day seen in the faint mirror of

the

brooding night, had rapt me away.


I sat

up
;

in the boat.

Gigantic forest trees were


like a silver snake, twisted

about

me

through which,

and twined the great


I

river.

The

little

waves, when
with a plash

moved

in the boat,

heaved and

fell

as of molten silver, breaking the


into

image of the moon

a thousand morsels, fusing again into one, as


still

the ripples of laughter die into the

face of joy.
;

The

sleeping woods, in undefined massiveness


I

the

116

PHANTASTES:
its

water that flowed in

sleep; and, above


all,

all,

the

enchantress moon, which had cast them


pale eye, into the
soul,

with her
into

charmed slumber, sank


had died

my
and

and

I felt

as if I

in a dream,

should never more awake.

From
crossed
trees

this I

was partly aroused by a glimmering


left,

of white, that, through the trees on the

vaguely

my

vision,

as I gazed upwards.

But the
moment,

again hid the object;

and

at the

some strange melodious bird took up its song, and sang, not an ordinary bird-song, with constant repetitions of the

same melody, but what sounded like a continuous strain, in which one thought was ex-

pressed, deepening in intensity as evolved in progress.


It

sounded like a welcome already overshadowed

with the coming farewell.

As

in all sweetest music,

a tinge of sadness was in every note.

Nor do we

know how much

of the pleasures even of life

we owe

to the intermingled sorrows.

Joy cannot unfold the


truth

deepest truths, deepest joy.

although

deepest

must be

Cometh white-robed Sorrow, stooping


flingeth

and wan, and


enter.

wide the doors she


for

may

not

Almost we linger with Sorrow

very love.

As

the song concluded, the stream bore

my

little

boat with

gentle

sweep round a bend of the

A FAERIE ROMANCE.
river
;

117

and

lo

on a broad lawn, which rose from

the water's edge with a long green slope to a clear


elevation from

which the

trees receded

on

all sides,

stood a

stately
it

palace glimmering ghostly in the

moonshine:

seemed

to

be built throughout of
reflection

the whitest marble.

There was no

of
;

moonlight from windows


so

there seemed to be none


glitter;

there

was no cold

only, as

said, a

ghostly shimmer.
the shine, from

Numberless shadows tempered

column and
galleries

balcony and tower.

For everywhere
buildings
;

ran along the face of the

wings were extended in many directions ;

and numberless openings, through which the moon-

beams vanished

into the interior,

and^which served
their

both for doors and windows, had

separate

balconies in front, communicating with a

common
course, I
in the

gallery that rose on

its

own

pillars.

Of

did not discover

all this

from the
I

river,

and

moonlight.
I did not

But, though

was there

for

many

days,

succeed in mastering the inner topography


it.

of the building, so extensive and complicated was

Here

I wished to land, but the boat

had no oars

on board.
for a seat,

However,

found that a plank, serving


I

was unfastened, and with that

brought

the boat to the bank, and scrambled on shore.

Deep

118
soft turf

PHA3f TASTES:
sank beneath

my

feet, as

went up the
it,

ascent towards the palace.

When

I reached

saw that

it

stood on a great platform of marble, with


stairs of

an ascent, by broad

the same,

all

round

it.

Arrived on the platform,

found

there was an

extensive outlook over the forest, which, however,

was rather veiled than revealed by the moonlight.


Entering by a wide gateway, but without gates, into

an inner court, surrounded on


marble
pillars

all sides

supporting galleries

by great above, I saw a

large fountain of porphyry in the middle, throwing

up a

lofty

column of water, which

fell,

with a noise

as of the fusion of all sweet sounds, into a basin

beneath;

overflowing

which,

it

ran

in

a single

channel towards the interior of the building.

Al-

though the moon was by

this

time so low in the


fell

west, that not a ray of her light

into the court,


;

over the height of the surrounding buildings

yet

was the court


|

lighted

sun of other lands.


water, just as
it

by a second reflex from the For the top of the column of


fall,

spread to

caught the moon-

beams
night

and

like a great pale lamp,

hung high
it

in the

air,

threw a dim memory of light (as

were)

over the court below.

This court was paved in


to

diamonds of white and red marble. According

my

A
custom since

FAERIE EOMAXCE.

119

I entered I first

Fairy Land, of taking for a


found moving in any direc-

guide whatever

tion, I followed the

stream from the basin of the


to a great
it

fountain.

It led

me

open door, beneath


ran through a low
here, I found
pillars,

the ascending steps of which


arch,

and

disappeared.
hall,

Entering

myself in a great

surrounded with white

and paved with black and white. This I could see by the moonlight, which, from the other side,
streamed through open windows into the
height I could not distinctly see.
entered, I
hall.

Its

As
to

soon as I

had the

feeling so

common

me

in the

woods, that there were others there besides myself,

though I could see no one, and heard no sound to


indicate a presence.

Since

my

visit to

the Church

of Darkness,

my~ power But

of seeing the fairies of the


it

higher orders had gradually diminished, until


almost ceased.

had

I could frequently believe in

their presence while


I

unable to see them.

Still,

had company, and doubtless of a safe although kind, it seemed rather dreary to spend the night in
an empty marble
as the
hall,

however beautiful

especially
it

moon was near

the going down, and

would

soon be dark.

So I began at the place where I entered, and walked round the hall, looking for

120

PHANTASTES:
to

some door or passage that might lead me


hospitable chamber.

a more

As

walked, I was deliciously

haunted with the feeling that behind some one of the


seemingly innumerable
pillars,

one

who

loved

me
fol-

was waiting
lowing

for

me.

Then

thought she was


;

me

from

pillar to pillar as I

no arms came out of the


sigh assured

faint

went along but moonlight, and no

me

of her presence.

At
I.

length I came to an open corridor, into which


so, I. left

turned; notwithstanding that, in doing


.

the light behind.

Along

this I

walked with outtill,

stretched hands, groping

my way;

arriving at

another corridor, which seemed to strike off at right


angles to that in which I was, I saw at the end a
faintly

glimmering

light, too 'pale

even 'for moonshine,

resembling rather a stray phosphorescence. However,

where everything was white, a little" light went a So I walked on to the end, and a long great way.
corridor
it

was.
it

found that
letters

came up to the light, I proceeded from what looked like silver


I.

When
-of

upon a door

ebony; and, to
itself,

my

surprise

ev.en in the

home

of

wonder

the letters formed-

the words, The' Chamber of


I

ir

Anodos.

"Although
I

had as yet no right

to the

honours of a knight,

ventured to conclude that the chamber was indeed

A FAEEIE ROMANCE.
.

121

intended for

me

and, opening the door without

hesitation, I entered.

Any

doubt as to whether I
dispelled.

was

right in so doing,

was soon

What

to

my
me.

dark eyes seemed a blaze of

light, burst upon

fire

of large pieces of some sweet-scented


silver,

wood, supported by dogs of

was burning on

the hearth, and a bright lamp stood on a table, hi the

midst of a plentiful meal, apparently awaiting


arrival.

my

But what surprised me more than


room was
the
in every respect a
little

all,

was,

that the

copy of

my
was

own room,

room whence the

stream from
Tliere

my
I

basin had led

me

into Fairy

Land.

the very carpet of grass and moss and daisies, which

had myself designed; the curtains of pale blue


fell

silk, that

like

a cataract over the windows;

the old-fashioned bed, with the chintz furniture, on

which

had

I said to

from boyhood. "Now I shall sleep," " myself. My shadow dares not' come here."
slept
to the table,

I sat

down

and began

to help

myself

to

the good things before


I found, as in

me with

confidence.

And now
true the

many
for I

instances before,

how

fairy tales are

was waited on, all the time of my


I h.ad scarcely to

meal, by

invisible hands.

do more
it

than look towards anything I wanted,

when

was

brought me, just as

if it

had come

to

me

of

itself.

122

PHANTASTES:
chosen,
;

My glass was kept filled with the wine I had


when a
wine
fresh glass

until I looked towards another bottle or decanter

was

substituted, and the other


I

supplied.

When

had

eaten

and drunk
I entered

more

heartily

and joyfully than ever since

Fairy Land, the whole was removed by several attendants, of

whom some were

male and some female,

as I thought I could distinguish from the

way

the

dishes were lifted from the table, and the motion

with which they were carried out of the room.

As

soon as they were

all

taken away, I heard


;

a sound as of the shutting of a door


that I

and knew
the
all
fire,

was

left

alone.

sat

long
it

by

meditating, and wondering

how

would

end

and when
myself to
that,

at length, wearied with thinking, I betook

my own
I

old bed,
in

when

awoke

was half with a hope the morning, I should awake


it

not only in
also
;

my own
and

room, but in

and that I should walk out


soil
;

my own castle upon my own


after all,

native

find that Fairy

Land was,

only a vision of the night.

The sound

of the falling

waters of the fountain floated

me

into oblivion.

A FAERIE ROMANCE.

123

XL
,

A wilderness of building, sinking far


And
self-withdrawn into a wondrous depth,

Far sinking into splendour without end! Fabric it seemed of diamond and of gold,

With

alabaster domes,

and

silver spires,

And blazing terrace upon


Uplifted.

terrace, high

WORDSWORTH.
a sleep, which, although dreamless,
it

BUT when,
yet
left

after

behind

a sense of past blessedness, I

awoke
the

in the full
still

morning,

I
;

found, indeed, that

room was

my own
side

but that

it

looked

abroad upon an unknown landscape of forest and


hill

and dale on the one

and on the other, upon

the marble court, with the great fountain, the crest

of which

now

flashed glorious in the sun,


faint

and cast
shadows
marble

on the pavement beneath, a shower of

from the waters that


basin below.

fell

from

it

into the

Agreeably

to all authentic accounts of the treat-

ment

of travellers in Fairy Land, I found

by

my

bedside a complete suit of fresh clothing, just such


as I

was

in the habit of

wearing ;

for,

though varied

124
sufficiently

PHANTASTES:
from the one removed,
it

was yet
I

in

complete

accordance with
this,

my
out.

tastes.

dressed
palace
partly

myself in

and went

The whole

shone like silver in the sun.


dull

The marble was

and partly polished


in

and every pinnacle, dome,


or cone, or cusp of

and turret ended


silver.

ball,

It

was

like frost-work,

and too dazzling,


I will not

in the sun, for earthly eyes like mine.

attempt to describe the environs, save by saying, that


all

the pleasures to be found in the most varied and

artistic

arrangement of wood and river, lawn and


hill

wild forest, garden and shrubbery, rocky

and

luxurious vale; in living creatures wild and tame,


in gorgeous birds, scattered fountains,
little

streams,

and reedy lakes

all

were here.

Some

parts of the

palace itself I shall have occasion to describe

more

minutely.

For

this

whole

morning, I
;

never
till

thought of

my demon
which
to

shadow

and

not

the weariness

supervened

my

brought it again round to see if it memory, did I look


delight
it

on

was behind me:


its

was scarcely discernible. But presence, however faintly revealed, sent a pang
heart, for the

to

my

pain of which, not

all

the

beauties

around

me

could

compensate.

It

was

A FAERIE ROMANCE.
followed, however,

125

by

the comforting reflection that,

peradventure, I might here find the magic word


of power to banish the

demon and

set

me

free,

so that I should no longer be a

man

beside myself.
I,

The Queen
here
:

of Fairy Land, thought

must dwell
to

surely

she will

put

forth

her power

deliver

me, and

send

me

singing

through

the
land.

further gates of her country back to

my own

" Shadow of me!"

I said;

"which

art not

me, but

which representest thyself to me as me; here I may find a shadow of light which will devour thee,
the shadow of darkness
!

Here

may

find a blessing

which
to

will fall

on thee as a curse, and damn thee

the blackness whence thou hast emerged unI said this, stretched
at
;

bidden."

length on the

slope of the

lawn above the river

and

as the

hope
lio-ht o

arose within me, the sun


fleecy cloud that

came

forth

from a

swept across his face; and

hill

and dale, and the great river winding on through the still mysterious forest, flashed back his rays as
with a
silent
;

shout of joy;

all

nature lived and

grew warm beneath me ; a magnificent dragon-fly went past me like an arrow from a bow, and a whole concert of birds burst
glowed
the very earth
into choral song.

126

PHAKTASTES:
heat of the sun soon became too intense even

The

for passive

support

I therefore rose,

and sought

the shelter of one of the arcades.

Wandering along

from one
steps led

to another of these,

wherever

my

heedless
at

me, and wondering everywhere

the

simple magnificence of the building, I arrived at

another hall, the roof of which was of a pale blue,

spangled

with

constellations

of

silver

stars,

and

supported by porphyry pillars of a paler red than


ordinary.
silver

In this house (I

may remark
to
it

in passing),

seemed everywhere preferred


air,

gold

and

such was the purity of the

that

showed no-

where signs of

tarnishing.

The whole

of the floor of
pillars,

this hall, except

a narrow path behind the

paved with black, was hollowed into a huge basin,

many feet deep, and


and radiant water.

filled

with the purest, most liquid


sides of the

The

basin were
all

white marble, and the bottom was paved with

kinds of refulgent stones, of every shape and hue.

In their arrangement, you would have supposed,


at first sight, that

there

was no

design, for they


careless

seemed
playful

to

lie
;

as if cast there

from
most

and

hands
;

but
I

was

harmonious

confusion

and as

looked at the play of their


the waters were in motion,

colours, especially

when

A FAERIE ROMANCE.
I

127
pebble

came

at last

to feel as if not one little

could be displaced, without injuring the effect of


the whole.

Beneath

this

floor of the water, lay

the reflection of the blue inverted roof, fretted with


its

silver stars, like

a second deeper

sea,

clasping

and upholding the

first.

This fairy bath was pro-

bably fed from the fountain in the court.

Led by
sense

an
the

irresistible desire, I

undressed, and plunged into

water.
its

It

clothed

me

as with

new

and

object both in one.

The waters

lay so

close to

me, they seemed

to enter

and revive

my

heart*

I rose to the surface,

shook the water from


a rainbow, amid the

my

hair,

and

swam

as

in

coruscations of the
agitation caused by

gems below seen through the

my

motion.

Then, with open


surface.

eyes, I dived,

and swam beneath the

And

here was a

new wonder.

For the

basin, thus beheld,

appeared to extend on

all sides like

a sea, with here

and there groups as of ocean rocks, hollowed by ceaseless billows into wondrous caves and grotesque
pinnacles.
all

Around

the caves
corals

grew sea-weeds of
;

hues, and the

glowed between

while

saw the glimmer of what seemed to be creatures of human form at home in the waters.
far off, I

I thought I

had been enchanted

and that when

PHANTASTES
rose to
land,
tlie

surface, I should find

myself miles from


;

but swimming alone upon a heaving sea I saw above when my eyes emerged from the waters,

me
in
to

the blue spangled vault, and the red pillars


I dived again,

around.

and found myself once more I then arose, and swam the heart of a great sea. the edge, where I got out easily, for the water

reached the very brim, and, as I drew near, washed


in

tiny

waves over the black marble border.


and went
I

dressed,

out, deeply refreshed.


to discern faint, gracious forms,

And now
here

began

and there throughout the building.

Some
Others
if

walked together in earnest conversation.


strayed alone.

Some

stood in groups, as

look-

ing at and talking about a picture or

a statue.
plainly

None

of

them heeded me.

Nor were they

visible to

my

eyes.

Sometimes a group, or single


entirely out of the realm of

individual,

would fade

my

vision as I gazed.

"When evening came, and the moon


round of a horizon-sea when the began
to see

arose, clear as the

sun hangs over

it

in the west, I

them

all

more

when they came between me and the moon and yet more especially, when I myself
plainly; especially
;

was

in the shade.

But, even then, I sometimes saw

only the passing wave of a white robe ; or a lovely

arm

A FAERIE ROMANCE.
or neck gleamed by in the moonshine
feet
;

129
or white

went walking alone over the moony sward. Nor, I grieve to say, did I ever come much nearer
to

these

glorious

beings,

or

ever look upon the

Queen

of the Fairies herself.

My

destiny ordered

otherwise.

In this palace of marble and

silver,
;

and fountains
waited upon
desir-

and moonshine,
constantly in
able,

I spent

many days

my own

room with everything


in the fairy bath.

and bathing daily


little

All this

time I was
I

troubled with

my demon
if

shadow.

had a vague
;

feeling that
it

he was somewhere about


the hope that I

the palace

but

seemed as

should in this place be finally freed from his hated


presence,

had
I

sufficed to banish
I shall

him

for a time.

How

and where

found him,

soon have to relate.


arrival,
all

The
library

third

day

after
;

my

found the
the time
I

of the palace
I

and here,

remained,

spent most of the middle of the day.

For

it

was, not to mention far greater attractions,

a luxurious retreat from the noontide sun.


the
the

mornings
lovely

and afternoons,

During wandered about


lost

neighbourhood, or

lay,

in

deli-

cious day-dreams, beneath

some mighty

tree

on the

open lawn.

My

evenings were by and by spent

130

PHANTASTES:

in a part of the palace, the account of which, and

of

my
The

adventures in connection with


little.

it,

must

yet postpone for a


library

the

roof,

was a mighty hall, lighted from which was formed of something like
over in a single piece, and stained

glass, vaulted

throughout with a great mysterious picture in gor-

geous colouring.

The

walls were lined from floor


;

to roof with books

and books

most of them in

ancient bindings, but some in strange

new

fashions
to

which

had never

seen,
ill

and which, were I


describe.

make

the attempt, I could

All around the

walls, in front of the books, ran galleries in rows,

communicating

by

stairs.

These

galleries
all

were

built of all kinds of coloured stones;

sorts of
lapis

marble and granite, with porphyry, jasper,


lazuli,

agate, and various

others,

were ranged in
Although

wonderful melody of successive colours.

the material, then, of which these galleries and stairs

were

built,

rendered necessary a certain degree of

massiveness in the construction, yet such was the


size of the place, that

they seemed to run along the


parts of the library,

walls like cords.

Over some
silk

descended curtains of
of which I ever saw

of various

dyes,

none

lifted

while I was there; and

A FAEKIE KOMANCE.
I felt

131
in

somehow

that

it

would be presumptuous

me

to venture to look within them.


;

But the use


after

of the other books seemed free

and day

day

came

to the library,

threw myself on one of the many

sumptuous eastern
on the
that
floor,

carpets,

which lay here and there


;

and read, and read, until weary

if

can be] designated as weariness, which was


;

rather the faintness of rapturous delight

or until,

sometimes, the failing of the light invited

me

to

go

abroad, in the hope that a cool gentle breeze might

have arisen

to

bathe, with

an

airy invigorating

bath, the limbs which the glow of the burning spirit

within had withered no less than the glow of the


blazing sun without.

One

peculiarity of these books, or at least most

of those I looked into, I must

make

a somewhat

vain attempt to describe.


If,

for instance,

opened, I

was a book of metaphysics had scarcely read two pages before


it

I I

seemed
truth,

to

myself to be pondering over discovered


the
intellectual

and constructing
to

machine
to

whereby
fellow

communicate

the

discovery

my
was
I

men.
it

With some

books, however, of this


if

nature,

seemed

rather as

the

process
;

removed yet a great way further back

and

was

K 2

132
trying to
find

PHAXTASTES:
the root

of a

manifestation,

the

spiritual truth

to

whence a material vision sprang ; or combine two propositions, both apparently true,
once or in different remembered moods,

either at

and

to find the point in lines

which

their invisibly con-

verging

would unite

in one, revealing a truth


;

higher than either and differing from both


so far

though
that

from being opposed

to either, that

it

was
if

whence each derived


book was one of
veller.

its life

and power.

Or

the

travels, I

found myself the tra-

New

lands, fresh experiences, novel customs,


I walked, I discovered, I fought,

rose around me.


I

suffered, I rejoiced
I

in

my

success.
therein.

Was

it

historv? p

was the chief actor


;

I suffered

my own
With a
whole

blame
fiction

I
it

was glad in was the same.

my own

praise.

Mine was

the

story.

For

I took the place of the character

who was most


until,

like myself,

and

his story

was mine

grown weary with the

life

of years condensed

in

an hour,' or arrived at
the

my

death-bed, or the end

of

volume,
~

would awake, with


.

a sudden

bewilderment, to the consciousness of


life,

my

present

recognising the walls and roof around me, and


If the

finding I joyed or sorrowed only in a book.

book was a poem, the words disappeared, or took

A FAERIE ROMANCE.
the subordinate position

133
to

of an

accompaniment

the succession of forms and images that rose and


vanished with a soundless rhythm, and a hidden

rhyme.
In one, with a mystical
I
title,

which

cannot recall,

read of a world that

is

not like ours.

The wondrous

account, in such a feeble, fragmentary


sible to

way

as

is

pos-

me,

I
all

would willingly impart.


a poem, I cannot
tell
;

Whether or
but, from the
it,

not

it

was

impulse I

felt,

when

I first

contemplated writing

to break into rhyme, to which impulse

I shall give
it

way

if it

comes upon

me

again, I think

must have

been, partly at least, in verse.

134

PHANTASTES:

XII.
Chained
is

the Spring.

The night-wind bold


;

Blows over the hard earth Time is not more confused and cold, Nor keeps more wintry mirtli.
Yet blow, and
roll the world about; Blow, Time blow, winter's "Wind ! Through chinks of Time, heaven peepeth out, And Spring the frost behind. G. E. M.

THEY who

believe in the influences of the stars over

the fates of men, are, in feeling at least, nearer the


truth than they
related to

who regard the heavenly bodies as them merely by a common obedience to an


All that

external law.

man

sees has to do with

man.

Worlds cannot be without an intermundane


ship.

relation-

The community

of the centre of

all

creation

suggests an interradiating connexion and dependence

of the parts. Else a grander idea


that
is

is

conceivable than
blank, which

which

is

already imbodied.
life,

The

only a forgotten

lying behind the consciousis

ness,

and the misty splendour, which


life,

an undeve-

loped

lying before
of

it,

may be

full

of mysterious

revelations

other connexions with


'of

the

worlds

around

us, than those

science and poetry.

No

FAEEIE BOMANCE.

135

shining belt or gleaming moon, no red and green

glory in a self-encircling twin-star, but

lias

a relation
it

with the hidden things of a man's soul, and,


be, with the secret history of his

may

body

as well.

They

are portions of the living house wherein he abides. Through the realms of the monarch Sun Creeps a world, whose course had begun, On a weary path with a weary pace,
Before the Earth sprang forth on her race: But many a time the Earth had sped

Around

the path she still must tread, Ere the elder planet, on leaden wing, Once circled the court of the planet's king.

There, in that lonely and distant star,

The seasons are not as our seasons are But many a year hath Autumn to dress The trees in their matron loveliness
; ;

As

long hath old Winter in triumph to go O'er beauties dead in his vaults below ; And many a year the Spring doth wear

Combing the

icicles

from her

hair;

And Summer,

dear Summer, hath years of June, "With large white clouds, and cool showers at noon ; And a beauty that grows to a weight like grief,
Till a burst of tears is the heart's relief.

Children, born

when Winter

is

king,

never rejoice in the hoping Spring; Though their own heart-buds are bursting with joy, And the child hath grown to the girl or boy ; But may die with cold and icy hours

May

Watching them ever in place of flowers. And some who awake from their primal

When the

sighs of

Summer through

sleep, forests creep,

Live, and love, and are loved again; Seek for pleasure, and find its pain ;

Sink to their last, their forsaken sleeping, With the same sweet odours around them creeping.

136

PHANTASTES:
the children, there, are not born as the chil-

Now
arrive

dren are born in worlds nearer to the sun.

For they

no one knows how.

A maiden, walking alone,


is

hears a cry : for even there a cry

the

first

utter-

ance; and searching about, she findeth, under an

overhanging
or, it

rock, or within a

clump of bushes,

may

be, betwixt

grey stones on the side of


unexpected

hill,

or in any other sheltered and


little

spot, a

child.

This she taketh tenderly, and


joy,
calling
out,

beareth

home
if so

with

"Mother,

mother"

be that her mother lives

"I have

have found a child !" got a baby hold gathers round to see ; " Where
I
it

All the houseis it ?

Wliat

is

like?

Where did you find


abounding.

it?"

and such-like

questions,

And

thereupon she relates


;

the whole story of the discovery


stances,

for

by the circum-

such as season of the year, time of the day,

condition of the air, and such like, and, especially,

the peculiar and never-repeated aspect of the heavens

and earth at the time, and the nature of the place of


shelter

wherein

it

is

found,

is

determined, or at least
child thus discovered.

indicated, the nature of the

Therefore, at certain seasons, and in certain states of

the weather, according, in part, to their


the

own

fancy,

young women go

out to look for children.

They

A FAERIE ROMANCE.

137

generally avoid seeking them, though they cannot

help sometimes finding them, in places and with

circumstances uncongenial to their peculiar likings.

But no sooner

is

a child found, than

its

claim for

protection and nurture obliterates all feeling of choice


in the matter. Chiefly, however, in the season of
lasts so long,
;

summer, which

coming
in the

as

it

does after
evenings,

such long intervals

and mostly
;

warm

about the middle of twilight

and principally in the

woods and along the river banks, do the maidens go


looking for children, just as children look for flowers.

And

ever as the child grows, yea, more and more as


his face indicate to those

he advances in years, will

who understand

the spirit of nature, and her utter-

ances in the face of the world, the nature of the


place

of

his

birth,

and the other circumstances

thereof; whether a clear morning sun guided his

mother

to the

nook whence issued the boy's low

cry; or at eve the lonely maiden (for the same

woman never

finds a second, at least while the first

lives) discovers the girl

skin, lying in a nest

by the glimmer of her white like that of the lark, amid long

encircling grasses,

lowly daisies;

and the upward-gazing eyes of the whether the storm bowed the forest
still

trees around, or the


else flowing

frost fixed in

silence

the

and babbling stream.

138

PHANTASTES:

After they grow up, the

men and women


is

are

but

little

together.

There

this

peculiar diffe-

rence between them, which likewise distinguishes The men alone the women from those of the earth.

have arms

the

women have

only wings.

Resplen-

dent wings are they, wherein they can shroud themselves

from head

to foot in

a panoply of glistering
it

glory.

By

these wings alone,

may

frequently

15e

judged in what seasons, and under what aspects they

were born.

From

those that

came
;

in winter,

go

great white wings, white as snow

the edge of every

feather shining like the sheen of silver, so that they


flash

and

glitter like frost in the sun.

But under-

neath, they are tinged with a faint pink or rosecolour.

Those born

in spring
;

liant green,

green as grass

have wings of a briland towards the edges

the feathers are enamelled like the surface of the


grass-blades.

These again are white within.

Those

that

are born in
lined

summer have wings


with
pale
gold.

of a deep

rose-colour,

And

those

born in autumn

have purple wings, with a rich brown on the inside. But these colours are modified

and altered in

all

varieties,

corresponding to

the

mood

of the day and hour, as well as the season


;

of the year

and sometimes

found the various

colours so intermingled, that I could not determine

A FAERIE ROMANCE.

139

even the season, though doubtless the hieroglyphic


could be deciphered by more experienced eyes.
splendour, in particular, I

One

remember
of

wings of deep
grey, around

carmine, with an inner

down

warm

a form of
as the sun

brilliant whiteness.

She had been found


sea-fog, casting
little

went down through a low

crimson along a broad sea-path into a

cave on

the shore, where a bathing maiden saw her lying.

But though

I speak of sun
is

and

fog,

and sea and


diffe-

shore, the world there

in

some respects very

rent from the earth whereon the waters reflect no forms.

men

live.

For

instance,

To

the unaccustomed

eye they appear,

if

undisturbed, like the surface of a


latter

dark metal, only that the


tinctly,

would

reflect indis-

whereas they

reflect

not at

all,

except light

which

falls

immediately upon them. This has a great

effect in

causing the landscapes to differ from those

on the

earth.

On

the

stillest

evening, no

tall

ship

on

the sea sends a long wavering reflection almost to the


feet of

him on the shore


its

the face of no maiden

brightens at

own beauty in a still forest-well. The sun and moon alone make a glitter on the surface.
sea
is

The

like a sea of death,


:

ready to ingulf and

never
the

to reveal

a visible shadow of oblivion.


its

Yet

women

sport in

waters like gorgeous sea-birds.

140

PHANTASTES:

The men more rarely enter them. But, on the contrary,


the sky reflects everything beneath
built of water like ours.
it,

as if

it

were
con-

Of

course, from

its

cavity there

is

some

distortion of the reflected objects;

yet wondrous combinations of form are often to be


seen in the overhanging depth.

And

then

it is

not

shaped so

much

like a

round dome as the sky of the


rises to

earth, but,

more of an egg-shape,

a great

towering height in the middle, appearing far


lofty

more
at

than the other.


it

When
is

the stars

come out

night,
fires,"

shows a mighty cupola,

"

fretted with golden

wherein there

room

for all tempests to rush

and rave.

One evening in early summer, group of men and women on a

stood with a

steep rock that

overhung the sea. They were all questioning me about my world and the ways thereof. In making
reply to one of their questions, I was compelled to

say that children are not born in the Earth as with

them.

Upon

this I

was

assailed with a

whole battery
;

of inquiries,
last, I

which

at first I tried to avoid

but, at

was compelled, in the vaguest manner I could invent, to make some approach to the subject in
question.

Immediately a dim notion of what

meant, seemed to dawn in the minds of most of the

A FAEKIE KOMANCE.
women.

141
all

Some

of them folded their great wings

around them, as they generally do when in the


least offended,

and stood erect and motionless.

One

spread out her rosy pinions, and flashed from the pro-

montory

into the gulf at its foot.

great light

shone in the eyes of one maiden,

who turned and

walked slowly away, with her purple and white wings half dispread behind her. She was found, the
next morning, dead beneath a]withered tree on a bare
hill-side,

some miles
is

inland.
;

They buried her where


for,

she lay, as

their

custom

before they die, they

instinctively search for a spot like the place of their


birth,
lie

and having found one that


fold their

satisfies

them, they
if

down,

wings around them,

they be

women, or

cross their
if

arms over

their breasts, if they


;

are men, just as


sleep indeed.

they were going to sleep

and so

sign or cause of coming death is an indescribable longing for something, they know not what, which seizes them, and drives them into
solitude,

The

consuming them within,

till

the body

fails.

When

a youth and a maiden look too deep into each

other's eyes, this longing seizes

and possesses them

but instead of drawing nearer to each other, they

wander away, each


die of their desire.

alone, into solitary places,

and

But

it

seems to me, that there-

142
after they are

PHANTASTES:
born babes upon our earth ; where,
they find each other,
it
if,

when grown,
them
;

goes well with

if not, it will

seem

to

go

ill.

But

of this I

know

nothing.

When

I told

them

that the

women

on the Earth had not wings like them, but arms, they stared, and said how bold and masculine they must
look
;

not knowing that their wings, glorious as they

are, are

but undeveloped arms.

But

see the

power of this book, that, while recountits

ing what I can recall of


self

contents, I write as if

my-

had

visited the far-off planet, learned its


its

ways
that

and appearances, and conversed with

men and
to

women.
I had.

And

so,

while writing,
~
i

it

seemed

me

The book
born

goes on with the story of a maiden, who,

at the close of

autumn, and living in a long,

to

her endless winter,

set out at last to find the regions

of spring ; for, as in our earth, the seasons are divided

over the globe.

It begins

something like

this

She watched them dying for many a day, Dropping from off the old trees away, One by one or else in a shower Crowding over the withered flower. For as if they had done some grievous wrong, The sun, that had nursed them and loved them
;

so long,

Grew weary of loving, and, turning back, Hastened away on his southern track
;

And

helplessly

hung each

shrivelled leaf,

Faded away with an

idle grief.

A FAERIE EOMANCE.
And
the gusts of wind, sad

143

Autumn's

sighs,
;

Mournfully swept through their families Casting away with a helpless moan All that he yet might call his own,

As

the child,

when

his bird is

gone for ever,

Flingeth the cage on the wandering river. And the giant trees, as bare as Death,

Slowly bowed to the great Wind's breath ; groaned with trying to keep from groaning Amidst the young trees bending and moaning.

And

And the ancient planet's mighty sea Was heaving and falling most restlessly, And the tops of the waves were broken and
;

white,

Tossing about to ease their might And the river was striving to reach the main, And the ripple was hurrying back again. Nature lived in sadness now Sadness lived on the maiden's brow, As she watched, with a fixed, half-conscious eye,
;

One
Till

it

lonely leaf that trembled on high, dropped at last from the desolate
!

bough

Sorrow, oh, sorrow 'tis winter now. And her tears gushed forth, though it was but a leaf, For little will loose the swollen fountain of grief: When up to the lip the water goes, It needs but a drop, and it overflows.

Oh

many and many

a dreary year
;

Must pass away ere

the buds appear

Many

a night of darksome sorrow Yield to the light of a joyless morrow,


trees,

Ere birds again, on the clothed


Shall
fill

the branches with melodies.

She

will

dream of meadows with wakeful streams


;

Of wavy grass in the sunny beams Of hidden wells that soundless spring,
Hoarding their joy as a holy thing Of founts that tell it all day long
;

To

She

the listening woods, with exultant song ; will dream of evenings that die into nights,

Where each

sense

is filled

with

its

own

delights,

144

PHANTASTES:

And the soul is still as the vaulted sky, Lulled with an inner harmony ; And the flowers give out to the dewy night, Changed into perfume, the gathered light ;
And
She
the darkness sinks
Till the will

sun

upon all their host, up on the eastern coast wake and see the branches bare,
sail

Weaving a net

in the frozen air.

The

story goes on to

tell

how,

at last,

weary with

wintriness, she travelled towards the southern regions

of her globe, to meet the spring on

its

slow

way
and

northwards; and how,

after

many

sad adventures,
tears, bitter

many disappointed hopes, and many


fruitless,

she found at

last,

one stormy afternoon, in a

leafless forest,

a single snowdrop growing betwixt the

borders of the winter and spring. She lay


it

down beside
and

and

died.

I almost believe that a child, pale

peaceful as a snowdrop,

was born

in the

Earth within

a fixed season from that stormy afternoon.

A FAERIE ROMANCE.

145

XIII.
I

saw a ship

sailing

upon the

sea,
;

Deeply laden as ship could be

But not
For

so deep as in love I

am,

I care not

whether I sink or swim.

OLD BALLAD.
But Love

is

I cannot find

such a Mystery it out


:

For when I think I'm


I then

best resolv'd,

am in

most doubt.
SIR JOHN SUCKLING.

ONE

story I will try to reproduce.

But, alas

it is

like trying to

reconstruct a forest

out of broken

branches and withered leaves.


everything was just as
in
it

In the fairy book,

should be, though whether cannot


tell.

words or something

else, I

It

glowed
such

and flashed the thoughts upon the

soul, with

a power that the medium disappeared from the consciousness, and it was occupied only with the things
themselves.

My representation

of

it

must resemble

a translation from a rich and powerful language,


capable of embodying the thoughts of a splendidly

146

PHAXTASTES:

developed people, into the meagre and half-articulate


speech of a savage tribe.
it,

Of

course, while I read

was Cosmo, and

his history

was mine.

Yet,

all

the time, I seemed to have a kind of double consciousness,

times

it

and the story a double meaning. Someseemed only to represent a simple story
life,

of ordinary

perhaps almost of universal

life

wherein two
to

souls, loving

each other and longing

come

nearer, do, after all,

but behold each other

as in a glass darkly.

As through
veins;

the hard rock go the branching silver

as into the solid land

run the creeks and

gulfs from the unresting sea; as the lights and influences of the upper worlds sink silently through

the earth's atmosphere; so doth Faerie invade the

world of men, and sometimes

startle

the

common
when

eye with an association as of cause and

effect,

between the two no connecting links can be traced.

Cosmo von Wehrstahl was a


versity of Prague.

student at the Uni-

Though
for

of a noble family, he

was

poor, and prided himself


;

upon the independence


will not a

that poverty gives

what

man

pride

himself upon,

when

he cannot get rid of it?

favourite with his fellow students, he yet

had no

A FAERIE ROMANCE.

147

companions; and none of them had ever crossed


the threshold of his lodging in the top of one of the

highest houses in the old town.

Indeed, the secret

of

much

of that complaisance which

recommended
his

him

to his fellows,

was the thought of

unknown

retreat, whither in the evening


self,

he could betake him-

and indulge undisturbed in his own studies and

reveries.

These

studies, besides those subjects neces-

sary
less

to his course at the University,

embraced some
;

commonly known and approved

for in a secret

drawer lay the works of Albertus Magnus- and


Cornelius

Agrippa,
abstruse.

along with others less

read

and more

As

yet,

however,

he

had

followed these researches only from curiosity, and

had turned them

to

no practical purpose.
low-ceiled

His lodging consisted of one large

room, singularly bare of furniture; for besides a


couple of wooden chairs, a couch which served for

dreaming on both by day and night, and a great press of black oak, there was very little in the room
that could be called furniture.

But

curious instru-

ments were heaped in the corners ; and in one stood a


skeleton, half-leaning against the wall, half-supported

by

a string about

its

neck.

One

of

its

hands,

all of

fingers, rested

on the heavy pommel of

a"

great sword

L 2

148
that stood beside

PHANTASTES
it.

Various weapons were scattered

about over the


of adornment
;

floor.

The

walls were utterly bare

for the

few strange things, such as a


wings dispread, the skin of

large dried bat with

its

a porcupine, and a

stuffed sea-mouse, could hardly

be reckoned as such.
lighted
in

But although
like

his fancy de-

vagaries

these,

he

indulged

his

imagination with far different fare.

His mind had

never yet been


but
it

filled
still

with an absorbing passion;


twilight open to

lay like a

any wind,

whether the low breath that wafts but odours, or the


storm that bows the great trees
creak.
till

they strain and

saw everything as through a rosecoloured glass. When he looked from his window on
the street below, not a maiden passed, but she
as in a story,

He

moved
till

and drew

his thoughts after her

she disappeared in the vista.

When

he walked in

the streets, he always felt as if reading a tale, into

which he sought to weave every face of went by; and every sweet voice swept
with the wing of a passing angel.
poet without words ; the

interest that

his soul as

He was

in fact a

more absorbed and endan-

gered, that the springing waters were


into his soul,

dammed back

where, finding no utterance, they grew,

and swelled, and undermined.

He

used to

lie

on

A FAERIE ROMANCE.
his

149

hard couch, and read a


his

tale or a
;

poem,

till

the

book dropped from

hand

but he dreamed on,


asleep, until the

he knew not whether awake or


opposite roof

grew upon

his sense,

and turned golden

in the sunrise.

Then he

arose too; and the impulses

of vigorous youth kept

him ever

active, either in

study or in sport, until again the close of the day


left

him

free;

and the world of night, which had


in the cataract of the day, rose

lain

drowned

up

in

his soul, with all its stars,

and dim-seen phantom

shapes.

But

this

could hardly last long.


later step within the
life,

Some one
charmed

form must sooner or


circle, enter

the house of

and compel the be-

wildered magician to kneel and worship.

One

afternoon, towards dusk,^he

was wandering

dreamily in

one of the principal

streets,

when a

fellow-student roused

and asked him


alley to look at

to

him by a slap on the shoulder, accompany him into a little back

some old armour which he had taken a

fancy to possess. Cosmo was considered an authority


in

every matter

pertaining

to

arms, ancient

or

modern.

In the use of weapons, none of the students


;

could come near him

and

his practical acquaintance

with some had principally contributed to establish


his authority in reference to
all.

He

accompanied

150

PHANTASTES:
willingly.

him

They entered a narrow


little

alley,

and

thence a dirty

court,

where a low arched door

admitted them into a heterogeneous assemblage of


everything musty, and dusty, and old, that could well

be imagined.
factory,

His verdict on the armour was


his

satis-

and

companion

at

once concluded the

purchase.

As

they were leaving the place, Cosmo's


elliptical

eye was attracted by au old mirror of an

shape, which leaned against the wall, covered with


dust.

Around

it

was some curious carving, which

he could see but very indistinctly by the glimmering


light

which the owner of the shop carried in


It

his

hand.

was

this
it

carving that attracted his atten-

tion; at least so

appeared to him.

He
to

left

the

place, however, with his friend, taking

no further
the

notice of it
street,

They walked
Cosmo

together

main

where they parted and took opposite


sooner was
left alone,

directions.

No

than the thought

of the curious old mirror returned to him.


desire to see
it

A strong
and

more

plainly arose within him,

he directed his steps once more towards the shop.

The owner opened


man,
witli

the door

when he knocked,
a
little, old,

as if

he had expected him.

He was

withered

a hooked nose, and burning

eyes con-

stantly in a slow restless motion,

and looking here

A FAERIE ROMANCE.
and there
as
if after

151

something that eluded them.


articles,

Pretending to examine several other


at last
it

Cosmo

approached the mirror, and requested to have

taken down.

" Take
it,"

it

down

yourself, master

I cannot reach

said the old

man.
carefully,

Cosmo took it down

when he saw that the

carving was indeed delicate and costly, being both of

admirable design and execution; containing withal

many devices which seemed


to

to

embody some meaning


interest

which he had no

clue.

This, naturally, in one of

his tastes
felt in

and temperament, increased the


;

he

the old mirror


it,

so

much, indeed,

that he

now

longed to possess
leisure.

in order to study its frame at his


it

He

pretended, however, to want

only for

and saying he feared the plate could be of little service, as it was rather old, he brushed away a
use
;

little

of the dust from

its face,

expecting to see a dull

reflection within.

His surprise was great when he


brilliant,

found the reflection

revealing a glass not

only uninjured by age, but wondrously clear and


perfect (should the whole correspond to this part)

even for one newly from the hands of the maker.


asked carelessly what the owner wanted for the

He

tiling.

The

old

man

replied

by

mentioning a

sum

of

money

152
far
to

PHANTASIES:

beyond the reach of poor Cosmo, who proceeded replace the mirror where it had stood before.

" You think the price too high ?" said the old man. " I do not know that it is too much for you to
ask," replied

Cosmo; "but

it

is

far too

much

for

me

to give."

The
face.

old

man

held up his light towards Cosmo's


said he.

"

I like

your look,"

Cosmo could not return

the compliment.

In

fact,

now he looked
felt

closely at

him

for the first time,

he

a kind of repugnance to him, mingled with a

strange feeling of doubt whether a


stood before him.

man

or a

woman

" What

is your name ?" he continued. u Cosmo von Wehrstahl." " Ah, ah I thought as much. I see your father
!

in you.

knew your

father very well,

young
house,

sir.

I dare say in

some odd corners of

my
you

you

might find some old things with his crest and cipher

upon them

still.

Well, I like you

shall

have
it
;

the mirror at the fourth part of what I asked for

but upon one condition."

"What
price
just

is
still

that? "said

Cosmo;

for,

although the

was

a great deal for him to give, he could

manage

it;

and the desire

to possess the mirror

A
had increased
since
it

FAERIE ROMANCE.

153

to

an altogether unaccountable degree,


his reach.
to get rid of it

had seemed beyond


if

" That
again,

you should ever want

you

will let

me have

the

first offer."

Certainly," replied Cosmo, with a smile ; adding, " a moderate condition indeed." " On your honour ?" insisted the seller. " On my honour," said the buyer and the bargain was concluded. " I will carry it home for you," said the old man,
;

"

as

Cosmo took
"
No, no ;

it

in his hands.

I will

carry

it

myself," said he

for

he

had a peculiar

dislike to revealing his residence to

any one, and more especially


he

to this person, to

whom

felt every moment a greater antipathy. " Just as you please," said the old creature, and

muttered to himself as he held his light at the door " Sold for the sixth to show him out of the court
:

time

wonder what
I should think

will

be the upshot of

it it

this

time.

my

lady had enough of

by

how!"

Cosmo
the

carried his prize carefully home.


feeling that

But

all

way he had an uncomfortable

he was

watched and dogged.

Repeatedly he looked about,


Indeed,

but saw nothing to justify his suspicions.

154

PHANTASTES:
ill

the streets were too crowded and too

lighted to

expose very readily a careful spy,

if

such there

should be at his heels.


safety,

He

reached his lodging in

and leaned

his

purchase against the wall, rather


to

relieved, strong as

he was,

be rid of

its

weight

then, lighting his pipe,

threw himself on the couch,

and was soon


dreams.

lapt in the folds of one of his haunting

He

returned

home

earlier

than usual the next day, over the hearth, at

and fixed the mirror

to the wall,

one end of his long room.

He

then carefully wiped

away

the dust from

its face,

and, clear as the water

of a sunny spring, the mirror shone out from beneath


the envious covering.

But

his interest

was

chiefly

occupied with the curious carving of the frame.

This he cleaned as well as he could with a brush

and then he proceeded

to a

minute examination of

its

various parts, in the hope of discovering some index


to the intention of the carver.

In

this,

however, he

was unsuccessful

and, at length, pausing with some

weariness and disappointment, he gazed vacantly for

a few moments into the depth of the reflected room.

But

ere long he said, half aloud


is
!

"
:

What
For

a strange

thing a mirror

and what a wondrous


!

affinity exists this

between

it

and a man's imagination

room

FAERIE EOMAXCE.
is

155

of mine, as I behold it in the glass,

the same, and yet

not the same.

It is

not the mere representation of the


it

room
about

I live in,
it

but

looks just as

if I

were reading
dis-

in a story I like. All its

commonness has

appeared. The mirror has


fact into the
it

lifted it

out of the region of

realm of art

and the very representing of

to

me has

clothed with interest that which was other-

wise hard and bare; just as one sees with delight

upon the stage the representation of a character from which one would escape in life as from something unendurably wearisome.
rescues nature from the

But

is it

not rather that art

weary and sated regards of

our senses, and the degrading injustice of our anxious


every-day
life,

and, appealing to the imagination,

which dwells apart, reveals nature in some degree


as she really
is,

and as she represents herself


life,

to the

eye of the child, whose every-day

fearless

and

unambitious, meets the true import of the wonder-

teeming world around


without questioning
fear
it,

him, and

rejoices

therein
I almost

That

skeleton,

now

standing there so

still,

with eyes only for the


all

unseen, like a watch-tower looking across

the

waste of

this

busy world

into the quiet regions of

rest beyond.

And

yet I

joint in

it

as well as

know every bone and every my own fist. And that old

156

PHANTASTES:
any moment
it

battle-axe looks as if

might be caught

up by a mailed hand, and, borne


the

forth

by

the mighty

arm, go crashing through casque, and skull, and


brain,

invading

Unknown

with

yet another

bewildered ghost.
if I

I should like to live in that


it."

room

could only get into

Scarcely had the half-moulded words floated from

him, as he stood
striking

gazing

into

the

mirror, when,
that fixed

him

as with a flash of

amazement

him

in his posture, noiseless

and unannounced, glided

suddenly through the door into the reflected room,


with stately motion, yet reluctant and faltering step,
the graceful form of a

woman, clothed

all in

white.

Her back only was


to the

visible as she

walked slowly up

couch in the further end of the room, on which

she laid herself wearily, turning towards


of unutterable loveliness,
dislike,

him

a face

in

which

suffering,

and

and a sense of compulsion, strangely mingled

with the beauty.

He

stood without the power of

motion for some moments, with his eyes irrecoverably


fixed

upon her ; and even

after

he was conscious of

the ability to move, he could not


to turn

summon up courage
At
with a
will

and look on her, face

to face, in the veritable

chamber in which he
sudden
effort, in

stood.

length,

which the exercise of the

was

A FAERIE ROMANCE.
so pure, that
it

157
his

seemed involuntary, he turned


It

face to the couch.

was vacant.

In bewilderment,
:

mingled with terror, he turned again to the mirror

there, on the reflected couch, lay the exquisite lady-

form.
tears
lids
;

She lay with closed

eyes,

whence two large

were just welling from beneath the veiling


still

as death, save for the convulsive motion

of her bosom.

Cosmo himself could not have described what


he
felt.

His emotions were of a kind that destroyed

consciousness, and could never be clearly recalled.

He

could not help standing yet by the mirror, and

keeping his eyes fixed on the lady, though he was


painfully aware of his rudeness, and feared every

moment
regard.

that she

would open

hers,

and meet

his fixed

But he was,

ere long, a little relieved; for, after

a while, her eyelids slowly rose, and her eyes remained

uncovered, but unemployed for a time


length, they began to

and when,

at

wander about the room,

as if lan-

guidly seeking to

make some acquaintance with her en:

vironment, they were never directed towards him

it

seemed nothing but what was in the mirror could affect


her vision
;

and, therefore,

if

she saw

him

at

all, it

could only be his back, which, of necessity, was turned

towards her in the

glass.

The two

figures in the mirror

158

PHANTASTES:
lie

could not meet face to face, except

turned and

looked at her, present in his room ; and, as she was


not there, he concluded that if he were to turn towards
the part in his

she lay, his reflection

room corresponding to that in which would either be invisible to her


must appear to her to gaze and no meeting of the eyes

altogether, or at least it

vacantly towards her,

would produce the impression of spiritual proximity. By and by her eyes fell upon the skeleton, and
he saw her shudder and close them.

She did not

open them again, but signs of repugnance continued


evident on her countenance.

Cosmo would have

removed the obnoxious thing at once, but he feared to discompose her yet more by the assertion of his
presence, which the act would involve.

So he stood

and watched her.

The

eyelids yet shrouded the


;

eyes, as a costly case the jewels within

the troubled

expression gradually faded from the countenance,

leaving only a faint sorrow behind;


settled into

the

features
;

an unchanging expression of rest

these

signs,

and by and the slow regular motion of her


that she slept.

breathing,

Cosmo knew

now gaze on her without embarrassment.


that her figure,

He could He saw
of

dressed

in

the
;

simplest robe

white, was worthy of her

face

and

so harmonious,

A FAERIE KOMANCE.
that either the delicately-moulded foot, or

159

any finger

of the equally delicate hand, was an index to the

whole.

As

she lay, her whole form manifested the

relaxation of perfect repose.

He

gazed

till

he was

weary, and at
shrine,

last seated

himself near the new-found


like

and mechanically took up a book,


a sick-bed.

one

who watches by

But

his

eyes gathered

no thoughts from the page before him.

His

intellect

had been stunned by the bold contradiction, to its face, of all its experience, and now lay passive,
without assertion, or speculation, or even conscious
astonishment
;

while his imagination sent one wild


after another coursing

dream of blessedness
his soul.

through

How

long he sat he

knew

not; but at

length he roused himself, rose, and, trembling in

every portion of his frame, looked again into the

She was gone. The mirror reflected faithfully what his room presented, and nothing more. It stood there like a golden setting whence the
mirror.
central jewel has been stolen

sky without the glory of


with her
It
all

its

stars.

away; like a nightShe had carried

the strangeness of the reflected room.


to the level of the one without.

had sunk
the

But
had

when
passed,

first

pangs of his

disappointment

Cosmo began

to comfort

himself \vith the

160

PHANTASTES:
that

hope

she

might

return,

perhaps

the

next
if

evening, at the same hour.


did, she should not at least

Resolving that

she

be scared by the hateful

skeleton, he

removed

that

and several other

articles

of questionable appearance into a recess


the hearth,
reflection

by the side of
cast

whence they could not possibly into the mirror ; and having made

any

his poor

room

he could, sought the solace of the open sky and of a night wind that had begun to
as tidy as

blow ; for he could not

rest

where he was.

When

he returned, somewhat composed, he could hardly


prevail with himself to
lie

down on

his

bed; for
it
;

he could not help feeling as

if

she had lain upon

and

for

him

to lie there

now would be something

However, weariness prevailed; and laying himself on the couch, dressed as he was, he
like sacrilege.

slept

till

day.

With a

beating heart, beating

till

he could hardly

breathe, he stood in

dumb hope

before the mirror,


reflected

on the following evening.

Again the

room

shone as through a purple vapour in the gathering


twilight
for a
liness

Everything seemed waiting


to

like

himself

coming splendour

glorify

its

poor earth-

with the presence of a heavenly joy.

And

just as the

room vibrated with

the strokes of the

A FAERIE ROMANCE.
neighbouring church
six, in

161

bell,

announcing the hour of

glided the pale beauty, and again laid herself

on the couch.
with delight.

Poor Cosmo nearly

lost his senses


!

She was there once more

Her

eyes sought the corner where the skeleton had stood,

and a

faint

gleam of
it

satisfaction crossed

her face,
suffering

apparently at seeing
still,

empty.

She looked

but there was

less of discomfort

expressed in her

countenance than there had been the night before. She


took more notice of the things about her, and seemed
to gaze with

some

curiosity

on the strange apparatus

standing here and there in her room.

At

length,

however, drowsiness seemed to


again she
fell

overtake her, and

asleep.

Resolved not to lose sight


the sleeping form.

of her this time,

Cosmo watched
so

Her slumber was


fascinating repose

deep and absorbing, that a


to pass contagiously

seemed

from

her to him, as
as if

he gazed upon her; and he started

awaking from a dream, when the lady moved,

and, without opening her eyes, rose, and passed

from the room with the gait of a somnambulist.

Cosmo was now


Most men have a
miser has
ring
;

in a state of extravagant delight.

secret treasure somewhere.


;

The

his

golden hoard
his

the virtuoso his pet


;

the student

rare book

the

poet his

162
favourite haunt
;

PHANTASTES:
the lover his secret drawer
it.
;

but

Cosmo had a mirror with a lovely lady in

And

now

that he

knew by

the skeleton, that she was

affected

object

by the things around her, he had a new in life: he would turn the bare chamber
a room such as no lady need
This

in the mirror into

disdain

to

call

her own.

he

could

effect

only

by

furnishing and adorning his.

And Cosmo

was poor.

Yet he possessed accomplishments that


although,
his

could be turned to account;

hitherto,

he

had preferred

living

on

slender
his

allowpride

ance, to

increasing his

means by what
his

considered
best

unworthy of
in

rank.
;

He

was the

swordsman

the University

and now he

offered to give
ercises,

lessons in fencing

and similar ex-

to such as chose to pay him well for the

His proposal was heard with surprise by the students ; but it was eagerly accepted by many ;
trouble.

and soon

his instructions

were not confined

to the

richer students, but

were anxiously sought by many

of the young nobility of

Prague and

its

neigh-

So that very soon he had a good deal of money at his command. The first thing he did was to remove his apparatus and oddities into a
bourhood.
closet in the

room.

Then he placed

his

bed and a

A FAERIE EOMANCE.

163

few other necessaries on each side of the hearth,

and parted them from the


two screens of Indian
couch
his
fabric.

rest of

the

room by
elegant

Then he put an

for the lady to lie upon, in the corner


;

where

bed had formerly stood


article of

and,

by

degrees, every
it,

day adding some

luxury, converted

at

length, into a rich boudoir.

Every night, about the same time, the lady entered. The first time she saw the new couch, she started
with a half-smile
tears
;

then her face grew very sad, the

came

to her eyes,

and she

laid herself

upon the

couch, and pressed her face into the silken cushions,


as if to hide,

from everything.

She took notice of

each addition and each change as the work pro-

ceeded

and a look of acknowledgment,

as if she

knew

that

some one was ministering


it,

to her,

and was

grateful for
suffering.

mingled with the constant look of


length, after she
fell

At

had

lain

down

as

usual one evening, her eyes

upon some paintings


walked across the

with which Cosmo had just finished adorning the walls.

She

rose,

and

to his great delight,

room, and proceeded to examine them carefully,


testifying
so.

much

pleasure in her looks as she did


sorrowful,
tearful

But again the returned, and again

expression

she

buried her face in the

164
pillows of

PHANTASTES:
her
couch.

Gradually, however, her

countenance had grown more composed;


the suffering manifest on her
first

much

of

appearance had

vanished, and a kind of quiet, hopeful expression

had taken
gave way

its

place

which, however, frequently

to

an anxious, troubled look, mingled

with something of sympathetic pity.

Meantime, how fared Cosmo?

As might be

ex-

pected in one of his temperament, his interest had

blossomed into love, and his love


ripened, or

shall I call it

withered into passion

But, alas

he

loved a shadow.

He

could not come near her,

could not speak to her, could not hear a sound

from those sweet

lips, to

which

his longing

eyes

would

cling like bees to their honey-founts.


to himself:

Ever

and anon, he sang


"I

shall die for love of the

maiden;

"

and ever he looked again, and died


his heart
life

not,

though

seemed ready

to

break with intensity of

and longing.

And
;

the

more he did
that,

for her,

the

more he loved her

and he hoped

although

she never appeared to see him, yet she was pleased


to think that

one unknown would give his

life

to

her.

He

tried to comfort himself over his separation

from her, by thinking that perhaps some day she

A FAERIE EOMANCE.
would
would
all

165

see

him and make


him
"
;

satisfy

for,"

and that " is not this thought he,


signs to him,

that a loving soul can do to enter into


?

commu-

nion with another

Nay, how many who


to

love, never

come nearer than


mirror;

behold each other as in a


yet never

seem
life;

to

know and

know

the

inward

never enter the other soul; and part

at last, with but the vaguest notion of the universe

on the borders of which they have been hovering for


years
?

If I could but speak to her,

and knew that

she heard me, I should be satisfied."

Once he

contemplated painting a picture on the wall, which


should, of necessity, convey to the lady a thought of

himself; but, though he


pencil,

had some

skill

with the

he found his hand tremble so

much when
to

he began the attempt, that he was forced


it

give

up.

One

evening, as he stood gazing on his treasure,


faint expression of self-conscious-

he thought he saw a

ness on her countenance, as if she surmised that passionate eyes


last

were fixed upon

her.

This grew

till

at

the red blood rose over her neck, and cheek, and
to

brow. Cosmo's longing


delirious.

approach her became almost

This night she was dressed in an evening

costume, resplendent with diamonds.

This could

166

PHANTASTES:
to

add nothing

her beauty, but

it

presented

it

in

a new aspect; enabled her loveliness to make a

new
For

manifestation of itself in
essential

a
;

new embodiment.
and, as the soul of

beauty

is

infinite

Nature needs an endless succession of varied forms


to

embody her

loveliness, countless faces of

beauty

springing forth, not any two the same, at every one

of her heart-throbs

so the individual
its

form needs
it

an
to

infinite

change of
all

environments, to enable
its

uncover

the phases of

loveliness.

Diamonds
its

glittered

from amidst her hair, half-hidden in

luxuriance, like stars through dark rain-clouds ; and

the bracelets on her white

arms

flashed

all

the

colours of a rainbow of lightnings, as she lifted her

snowy hands
beauty shone

to cover

her burning

face.

But her

down

all its

adornment. " If I might

have but one of her

feet to kiss,"

thought Cosmo,
himself, for

"I should be content" Alas! he deceived


passion
is

never content

Nor

did he

know

that

there are two

ways out of her enchanted house. But, suddenly, as if the pang had been driven into
his heart

from without, revealing

itself first in pain,

and afterwards in definite form, the thought darted into his mind, " She has a lover somewhere.

Remembered words of

his

bring

the

colour

on

A FAERIE ROMANCE.
her face now.
in another
I

167

am nowhere
all

to her.
all

She

lives

world

day, and
she

night, after she

leaves

me.
till

Why
I,

does

come and make me

love her,

a strong man,
"

am

too faint to look

upon her more ?

He

looked again, and her face

was pale
to

as a

lily.

sorrowful compassion seemed

rebuke the

glitter of the restless jewels, and the

slow tears rose in her eyes.

She

left

her room

sooner this evening than was her wont.

Cosmo

re-

mained

alone, with a feeling as if his


left

bosom had been

empty and hollow, and the weight of the whole world was crushing in its walls. The
suddenly
next evening, for the
first

time since she began to

come, she came not.

And now Cosmo was


not rest for a moment.
see

in

wretched

plight.

Since

the thought of a rival had occurred to him, he could

More than

ever he longed to

the lady face


if

to face.

He

persuaded himself
;

that

he but knew

the worst he would be satisfied

for then

he could abandon Prague, and find that

relief in constant motion,

which

is

the hope of

all

active

minds when invaded by

distress.

Meantime

he waited with unspeakable anxiety for the next


night, hoping she

would return; but she did not


fell

appear.

And now he

really

ill.

Rallied

by

168
his fellow-students
to

PHANTASTES:
on
his

wretched looks, he ceased

attend

the

lectures.

His engagements

were

neglected.

He

cared for nothing.


it,

The

sky, with

the great sun in


desert.

was

to

him a

heartless,

burning

The men and women

in the streets

were

mere puppets, without motives in themselves, or He saw them all as on the everinterest to him.
changing
field

of a camera olscura.

She

she alone
life,

and altogether

was

his

universe, his well of


six evenings she

his incarnate good.

For

came

not.

Let his absorbing passion, and the slow fever that

was consuming his brain, be his excuse for the resolution which he had taken and begun to execute,
before that time

had expired.
it

Reasoning with himself, that

must be by some
he determined to

enchantment connected with the mirror, that the form


of the lady was to be seen in
it,

attempt to turn to account what he had hitherto


studied principally from curiosity.
to himself,

"

For," said he

" if a

spell can force her presence in that

glass (and she

came unwillingly

at first),

may

not a

stronger spell, such as I know, especially with the


aid of her half-presence in the mirror, if ever she

appears again, compel her living form to come to

me

here

If I

do her wrong,

let

love be

my

excuse.

A
I

FAERIE KOMANCE.

169

want only

to

know my doom from her own


all

lips."

He

never doubted,

the time, that she was a real

earthly

woman

or, rather, that there

was a woman,
her

who, somehow or
form
into the

other, threw

this reflection of

magic mirror.

He

opened his secret drawer, took out his books

of magic, lighted his lamp, and read and

made

notes

from midnight

till

three in the morning, for three

successive nights.

Then he

replaced his books; and

the next night went out in quest of the materials

necessary for the conjuration.


to find
;

These were not easy


all

for, in

love-charms and

incantations of
fit

this nature, ingredients are

employed scarcely

to

be mentioned, and for the thought even of which,


in connection

with her, he could only excuse himself

on the score of his bitter need.


ceeded in procuring
all

At

length he suc-

he required; and on the

seventh evening from that on which she had last


appeared, he found himself prepared for the exercise
of unlawful and tyrannical power.

He

cleared the centre of the room; stooped and


circle

drew a

of red on the floor, around the spot


;

where he stood
signs,

wrote in the four quarters mystical


all

and numbers which were


;

powers of seven
carefully, to see

or nine

examined the whole ring

170

PHANTASTES:
had occurred in the circumhis

that no smallest break

ference

and then rose from

bending posture.
;

As

he

rose, the

church clock struck seven


first

and, just as

she had appeared the

time, reluctant, slow, and

stately, glided in the lady.

Cosmo trembled; and

when, turning, she revealed a countenance worn


and wan, as with sickness or inward trouble, he

grew faint, and felt as if he dared not proceed. But as he gazed on the face and form, which now
possessed his whole soul, to the exclusion of
all

other

joys and griefs, the longing to speak to her, to


that she heard him, to hear from her one
return,
hastily

know
in

word

became

so unendurable, that

he suddenly and

resumed
circle,

his preparations.

Stepping carefully
its

from the

he put a small brazier into

centre.

He
it

then set

fire to its

contents of charcoal, and while


his

burned up, opened

window and

seated himself,

waiting, beside it
It

was a sultry evening. The air was

full of thunder.

A sense of luxurious depression filled the brain.


sky seemed
to

The

have grown heavy, and


it.

to

compress

the air beneath

kind of purplish tinge per-

vaded the atmosphere, and through the open window

came the

scents of the distant fields,

which

all

the

vapours of the city could not quench.

Soon the

A FAERIE ROMANCE.
charcoal

171

upon it the incense and other substances which he had comglowed.


sprinkled

Cosmo

pounded, and, stepping within the

circle,

turned his

face from the brazier and towards the mirror.


fixing his eyes

Then,

upon the face of the lady, he began


to repeat a

with a trembling voice


tation.

powerful incan-

He had
all
its

not gone far, before the lady grew


a returning wave, the blood
its

pale; and then, like

washed
she

banks with

crimson

tide,

and

hid her face in her hands.

Then he passed
rose and

to a conjuration stronger yet.

The lady

walked uneasily
spell;

to

and

fro in her room.

Another

and she seemed seeking with her eyes for


to
rest.
;

some object on which they wished


length
it

At
for
his,

seemed

as if she

suddenly espied him


full

her eyes fixed themselves

and wide upon

and she drew gradually, and somewhat unwillingly,


close to her side of the mirror, just as if his eyes

had

fascinated her.
before.

Cosmo had never


;

seen her so near

met eyes but he could not quite understand the expression of hers. They were fall of tender entreaty, but there was something more
at least, eyes

Now

that he could not interpret.


to labour in his throat,
agitation to turn

Though

his heart

seemed

he would allow no delight or


his task.

him from

Looking

still

172
in her face,

PHANTASTES:
he passed on
to the mightiest

charm he

knew.

Suddenly the lady turned and walked out

of the door of her reflected chamber.


after, she entered his

moment
;

room with

veritable presence

and, forgetting

all his

precautions, he sprang from the

charmed

circle,

and knelt before her.

There she

stood, the living lady of his passionate visions, alone

beside him, in a thundery twilight, and the

glow of

a magic

fire.

"Why,"
streets

said the

lady, with a trembling voice,

" didst thou bring a poor maiden through the rainy


alone?" " Because I am

dying for love of thee ; but I only

brought thee from the mirror there."

"Ah,
mirror

the mirror!" and she looked up at

it,

and

shuddered.
exists.

"Alas!

am

but a slave, while that


it

But do not think


drew me ;
it

was the power of


desire
till

thy

spells that

was thy longing

to see

me, that beat


to yield."

at the door of

my

heart,

was forced

"Canst thou love me then?"

said

Cosmo,

in a

voice calm as death, but almost inarticulate with

emotion.

" I do not know," she replied


not
tell,

[sadly;

" that

I can-

so long as I

am

bewildered with enchant-

A FAERIE ROMANCE.
ments.
It

173

were indeed a joy too

great, to lay
;

my

head on thy bosom and weep


thou lovest me, though
I

to death
;

for I think

do not know

but

"

Cosmo
"
I

rose from his knees.

I love thee as

nay, I

know

not what

for since

have loved

thee, there is nothing else."

He
"
fore I

seized her

hand

she withdrew

it.

No, better not ; I

am

in

thy power, and there-

may

not."

She burst

into

tears, and, kneeling

before

him

in her turn, said

"

Cosmo,
:

if

thou lovest me, set

me

free,

even from

thyself

break the mirror."


shall I see thyself instead?"
I

"And
" That

cannot

tell.

I will not deceive thee

we

may

never meet again."


struggle arose in Cosmo's bosom.

A fierce

Now

she was in his power.

She did not

dislike

him

at least ;

and he could see her when he would.

To break
life,
it

the mirror would be to destroy his very

to

banish out of his universe the only glory


sessed.
if

pos-

The whole world would be but a

prison,

he annihilated the one window that looked into the

paradise of love.

Not yet pure

in love,

he hesitated.
feet.

"With a wail of sorrow, the lady rose to her

174

PHANTASTES
!

"

Ah

he loves
;

me
alas

not
!

he loves

me

not even as I

love

him

and

I care

more

for his love than

even for the freedom I ask." " I will not wait to be

willing," cried

Cosmo

and

sprang to the corner where the great sword stood.

Meantime

it

had grown very dark

only the

embers cast a red glow through the room.


seized the

He

sword by the
;

steel scabbard,

and stood

before the mirror


at it

but as he heaved a great blow

with the heavy pommel, the blade slipped halfout of the scabbard, and the

way

pommel struck
that

the wall above the mirror.


terrible

At

moment, a
in

clap

of thunder

seemed

to burst

the

very room beside them;


repeat the blow, he
fell

and ere Cosmo could


senseless

on the hearth.

When

he came

to himself,

he found that the lady

and the mirror had both disappeared.

He

was seized

with a brain fever, which kept him to his couch for


weeks.

When he recovered his reason, he began to think what could have become of the mirror. For the
lady, he

hoped she had found her way back

as she
its

came ; but

as the mirror involved her fate with

own, he was more immediately anxious about

that.

He

could not think she had carried

it

awav.

It

A FAERIE ROMANCE.
was much
too heavy,

175

even

if it

had not been too


it.

firmly fixed in the wall, for her to remove


again, he

Then

remembered the thunder; which made


that
it

him

believe

was not

the

lightning,

but

some other blow that had struck him down.

He

concluded that, either by supernatural agency, he

having exposed himself to the vengeance of the

demons

in leaving the circle of safety, or in

some
its

other mode, the

mirror

had

probably found
and, horrible

way back
think
of,

to

its

former owner;
this

to

might have been by


of,

time once more


into the

disposed

delivering
;

up the lady
if

power

of another

man

who,

he used his power no worse

than he himself had done, might yet give Cosmo

abundant cause

to curse the selfish indecision

which

prevented him from shattering the mirror at once.


Indeed, to think that she

whom

he loved, and who


still

had prayed

to

him

for freedom, should be

at

the mercy, in some degree, of the possessor of the


mirror, and was
observation,
lover.
at
least

exposed to his constant

was

in itself

enough

to

madden

a chary

Anxiety
at length

to

be well retarded his recovery;


to creep abroad.

but
first

he was able

He

made

his

way

to the old broker's, pretending to

be

176
in search of

PHANTASTES:
something
else.

laughing sneer on
that he

the creature's face convinced

him
it

knew

all

about

it

but he could not see

amongst

his fur-

niture, or get any information out of

him

as to

what had become of


surprise at hearing

it.

He

expressed the utmost


stolen
;

it

had been

a surprise
;

which Cosmo
while, at

saw

at

once to be counterfeited

the same time, he fancied that the


all

old

wretch was not at


for genuine.

anxious to have

it

mistaken

Full of distress, which he concealed

he could, he made many searches, but with no avail. Of course he could ask no quesas well as
tions
;

but he kept his ears awake for any remotest

hint that might set

him

in a direction of search.

He
the
his

never went out without a short heavy

hammer

of steel about him, that he might shatter the mirror

moment he was made happy by the sight of lost treasure, if ever that blessed moment should
Whether he should
see the lady again,

arrive.

was

now

a thought altogether secondary, and postponed

to the

achievement of her freedom.

He
by

wandered

here and there, like an anxious ghost, pale and

haggard
of

gnawed ever

at the heart
all

the thought
fault.
filled

what she might be

suffering

from his

One

night,

he mingled with a crowd that

A FAEEIE KOMANCE.

177

the rooms of one of the most distinguished mansions


in the city; for

he accepted every

invitation, that

he might

lose

no chance, however poor, of obtaining

some information that might expedite his discovery. Here he wandered about, listening to every stray word
that he could catch, in

the hope of a revelation.


ladies

As he approached some
you heard of the strange
Hohenweiss ? " " Yes she has been
;

who were

talking

quietly in a corner, one said to another:

"Have
von

illness of the Princess

ill

for
fine

more than a year


a creature to have
for

now.

It is

very sad for so

such a terrible malady.

She was better


last

some

weeks

lately,

but within the

few days, the same

attacks have returned, apparently accompanied with

more

suffering than ever.

It is altogether

an inex-

plicable story."

"Is there a story connected with her illness?" " I have only heard imperfect reports of it but
;

it is

said that she


to

gave offence some eighteen months ago an old woman who had held an office of trust in

the family, and who, after some incoherent threats,


disappeared.
after.

This peculiar affection followed soon


the strangest part of the story
is

But

its

association with the loss of an antique mirror,

which

178

PHANTASTES:

stood in her dressing-room, and of which she constantly

made

use."

Here the

speaker's voice sank to a whisper


his

and

Cosmo, although
ears, could

very soul

sat listening in his

hear no more.

He

trembled too

much
The

to dare to address the ladies,

even

if it

had been

advisable to expose himself to their curiosity.

name

of the Princess was well

known

to
it

him, but

he had never seen her; except indeed

was

she,

which now he hardly doubted, who had knelt before

him on

that dreadful night

Fearful of attracting
state of his health,

attention, for,

from the weak

he

could not recover an appearance of calmness, he


his

made
;

way

to the

open he

air,

and reached

his lodgings

glad in

this, that

at least

knew where she

lived,

although he never dreamed of approaching her openly,

even

if

he should be happy enough to free her from

her hateful bondage.

He

hoped, too, that as he had

unexpectedly learned so much, the other and far more


important part might be revealed to him ere long.

*****
me
at the rapier,

" Have you seen Steinwald lately?" " No, I have not seen him for some
is

time.

He

almost a match for

and I suppose

he thinks he needs no more lessons."

A
"
see
I

FAERIE- ROMANCE.
I

179

wonder what has become of him.


:

want

to

him very much. Let me see saw him, he was coining out of
den, to which,
if

the last time I

that old broker's

me

once, to

you remember, you accompanied look at some armour. That is fully

three weeks ago."

This hint was enough for Cosmo.

Von

Steinwald

was a man of influence in the court, well known


for his reckless habits

and

fierce passions.

The very
or hasty

the possibility that

mirror should be in his possession

was

hell

itself

to

Cosmo.

But

violent

measures of any sort were most unlikely

to succeed.

All that he wanted was an opportunity of breaking


the fatal glass
his time.
;

and

to obtain

this,

he must bide

He

revolved

many
fix

plans in his mind,

but without being able to

upon any.

At

length, one evening, as he was passing the

house of Von Steinwald, he saw the windows more


than usually
brilliant.

He

watched

for

a while;

and seeing that company began


home, and dressed
as

to arrive,

hastened

richly as

he could, in the
;

hope of mingling with the guests unquestioned


in effecting which, there could be

no

difficulty for

man

of his carriage.

N 2

180
In a
lofty, silent

PHANTASTES

chamber, in another part of the

city, lay

a form more like marble than a living

woman.
upon her

The

loveliness

of
lips

death seemed

frozen

face, for

her

were

rigid,

and her
crossed

eyelids closed.

Her long white hands were

over her breast, and no breathing disturbed their


repose.

Beside the dead,

men
Just

speak in whispers,

as if the deepest rest of all could be

broken by the

sound of a living voice.

so,

though the soul


all

was evidently beyond the reach of


from the
senses, the

intimations

two

ladies,

who

sat beside her,

spoke in the gentlest tones of subdued sorrow. " She has lain so for an hour."

" This cannot

last long, I fear."

"
last

How much
few weeks
!

thinner she has


If

grown within

the

she would only speak, and

explain

what she

suffers, it

would be better

for her.

I think she has visions in her trances,

but nothing
is

can induce
awake."

her

to

refer

to

them when she

" Does she ever speak in these trances?" " I have never heard her but ; they say she
walks sometimes, and once put the whole household
in a terrible fright

by disappearing

for

a whole

hour, and returning drenched with rain, and almost

FAERIE ROMANCE.
fright.

181

dead with exhaustion and

But even then

she would give no account of what had happened."

A scarce audible murmur


lips

from the yet motionless


After

of the lady here startled her attendants.

several ineffectual attempts at articulation, the

word
as

" Cosmo!" burst from


before
;

her.

Then

she lay

still

but only for a moment.

With a wild
floor,

cry,

she sprang from the couch erect on the

flung

her arms above her head, with clasped and straining hands, and, her wide eyes flashing with light,
called
spirit

aloud,

with a voice exultant as that of a


I

" bursting from a sepulchre,


I

am

free

am

free

thank thee

"
!

Then

she flung herself on

the couch, and sobbed

then rose, and paced wildly

up and down the room, with gestures of mingled Then turning to her motiondelight and anxiety. " less attendants cloak and
hood
"
!

Quick, Lisa, my Then lower " I must go to him.


!

Make
will."
street,

haste, Lisa

You may come

with me,

if

you
the

In

another

moment they were The moon was near

in

hurrying along towards one of the bridges over


the Moldau.
the zenith, and

the streets were almost empty.

The

Princess soon

outstripped her attendant, and was half-way over


the bridge, before the other reached
it.

182

PHANTASTES:
you
"
free,

" Are

lady ?

The mirror

is

broken

are

you free ? The words were spoken


hurried on.

close beside her, as she

She turned

and there, leaning on the


stood Cosmo, in

parapet in a recess of the bridge,

a splendid dress, but with a white and quivering


face.

" Cosmo
I

I
to

am

was coming " And I to

and thy servant you now."


free

for ever.

you, for Death

made me bold
I

but I

could get no further.


I love

Have
"

atoned at

all ?

Do

you a
I

little

truly ?
that

"

Ah,

know now

you love me,


"

my Cosmo

but what do you say about death ?

He

did not reply.

His hand was pressed against


closely
:

his side.

She looked more

the blood was

welling from between the fingers.

She flung her

arms around him with a

faint bitter wail.

When

Lisa came up, she

found

her mistress

kneeling above a
in the spectral

wan dead

face,

which smiled on

moonbeams.

And now
volumes
;

I will say
I

no more about these wondrous


tell

though

could

many

a tale out of

them, and could, perhaps, vaguely represent some

A FAERIE ROMANCE.

183

entrancing thoughts of a deeper kind which I found

within them.
did I
sit

From many
grand

a sultry noon

till

twilight,

in that

hall,

buried and risen again


I trust I

in these old books.

And

have carried
their

away

in

my

soul

some of the exhalations of

undying
needful

leaves.

In after hours of deserved or

sorrow, portions of
to

what

read

there

have often come

me

again, with an unexpected

comforting; which was not fruitless, even though


the comfort might seem in itself groundless and
vain.

184

PHANTASTES:

XIV.
Your
Have we
In
pass'd through, not without
singularities
;

gallery

much

content

many

but

we saw not

That which

my

daughter came to look upon,


Winter's Tale.

The

statue of her mother.

IT

seemed

to

me

strange, that all this time I


I

had

heard no music in the fairy palace.


there

was convinced
sense

must be music

in

it,

but that

my

was

as

yet too gross to receive the influence of those


terious motions that beget sound.

mysI felt

Sometimes
I got

sure,

from the way the few figures of which

such

transitory glimpses passed me, or glided into

vacancy
;

before me, that they were

moving

to the

law of music

and, in fact, several times I fancied for a


I

moment

that

heard a few wondrous tones coming I knew not

But they did not last long enough to convince that I had heard them with the bodily sense. Such as they were, however, they took strange
whence.

me

liberties

with me, causing

me

to burst

suddenly into
to

tears, of

which there was no presence

make me

A FAERIE ROMANCE.
ashamed, or casting

185

me

into

a kind of trance of

speechless delight, which, passing as suddenly, left

me

faint

and longing

for more.
I

Now, on an evening, before

had been a week

in

the palace, I was wandering through one lighted

arcade and corridor after another.

At

length I

arrived, through a door that closed behind me, in

another vast hall of the palace.

It
I

was

filled

with a

subdued crimson

licrht

which by v

saw that slender

pillars of black, built close to walls of white marble,

rose to a great height, and then, dividing into innu-

merable divergent arches, supported a


walls, of white marble,

roof, like the

upon which the arches

inter-

sected intricately, forming a fretting of black

upon the
floor

white, like the network of a skeleton-leaf.

The

was

black.

Between several

pairs of the pillars

upon

every side, the place of the wall behind was occupied

by a crimson
and
rich

curtain of thick

silk,

hanging in heavy
curtains

folds.

Behind each of these


light,

burned a powerful
of the glow that

and these were the sources

filled

the hall.

A peculiar delicious
soon as I entered, the
felt

odour pervaded the place.

As

old inspiration seemed to return to me, for I

strong impulse

to sing;

or rather,
in

it

seemed
soul,

as if

some one

else

was singing a song

my

which

186

PHANTASTES:
to

wanted
breath.

come
I

forth at

my

lips,

imbodied in

my

But

kept silence; and feeling somewhat


as well

overcome by the red light and the perfume,


as

by the emotion within me, and seeing at one end of the hall a great crimson chair, more like a throne
than a chair, beside a table of white marble, I went
to
it,

and, throwing myself in

it,

gave myself up

to

succession of images of bewildering beauty, which

passed before
ally crowded

my inward
train.

eye, in a long

and occasionsuppose
;

Here

I sat for hours, I

till, returning somewhat to myself, I saw that the red light had paled away, and felt a cool gentle

breath gliding over

my

forehead.

I rose

and

left

the hall with unsteady steps, finding

my way

with

some

difficulty to

my own

chamber, and faintly remarble cave,

membering,

as I went, that only in the

before I found the sleeping statue, had I ever had a


similar experience.

After
hall ;

this, I

repaired every morning to the same

where

sometimes sat in the chair, and dreamed

deliciously,

and sometimes walked up and down over


Sometimes
I acte*d within

the black

floor.

myself a
;

whole drama, during one of these perambulations sometimes walked deliberately througli the whole
epic of a tale
;

sometimes ventured

to sing

a song,

FAERIE ROMANCE.
I

187
I
it

though with a shrinking fear of

knew not what


voice as

was astonished

at the

beauty of

my own

rang through the place, or rather crept undulating,


like a serpent of sound, along the walls
this

and roof of
arose

superb

music-hall.

Entrancing verses

within

me

as of their

own

accord, chanting them-

selves to their

own

melodies, and requiring no addi-

tion of music to satisfy the inward sense.


in the pauses of these,

But, ever

when

the singing

mood was

upon me,

seemed

to hear

something like the distant


felt as if it

sound of multitudes of dancers, and

was

the unheard music, moving their rhythmic motion,


that within

me

blossomed in verse and song.

I felt,

too, that could I

but see the dance, I should, from


of the

the

harmony of complicated movements, not

dancers in relation to each other merely, but of each

dancer individually in the manifested plastic power


that

moved

the consenting harmonious form, under-

stand the whole of the music on the billows of which

they floated and swung.

At

length, one night, suddenly,

when

this feeling

of dancing

came upon me,

bethought

me
if,

of lifting

one of the crimson curtains, and looking


behind
it

perchance,

there might not be hid some other mystery,


at least

which might

remove a

step further the bewil-

188

PHANTASTES:
Nor was
I altogether

derment of the present one.


disappointed.
I

walked

to one of the magnificent


in.

draperies, lifted

a corner, and peeped

There,
high in

burned a great, crimson, globe-shaped

light,

the cubical centre of another hall, which might be


larger or less than that in which I stood, for
its

dimensions were not easily perceived, seeing that floor

and roof and walls were entirely of black marble.

The

roof was supported

by the same arrangement of


;

pillars radiating in arches, as that of the first hall

only, here, the pillars and arches

were of dark

red.

But what absorbed


numerable

my

delighted gaze, was an instatues,

assembly

of white marble

of

every form, and in multitudinous posture,


the hall throughout.

filling

These stood, in the ruddy

glow of the great lamp, upon pedestals of jet black.

Around
legible

the lamp shone in golden letters, plainly


I stood, the

from where

two words

TOUCH HOT!

There was

in all this,

however, no solution to the

sound of dancing; and now I was aware that the


influence on

my mind had

ceased. I did not


I

go in that

evening, for I was weary and faint, but

hoarded up

the expectation of entering, as of a great coming joy.

Next night I walked, as on the preceding, through the

A FAEKIE EOMANCE.
hall.

189

My mind was filled with


much

pictures

and songs, and

therewith so

absorbed, that I did not for some


last

time think of looking within the curtain I had


night
to
lifted.
first,

When

the thought of doing so occurred


to

me

happened

be within a few yards of

it.

became conscious

at the

same moment,

that the

sound of dancing had been for some time in


I approached

my

ears.
it,

the

curtain quickly, and, lifting

entered the black hall.


death.
I should

Everything was

still

as

have concluded that the sound must


distant quarter,

have proceeded from some other more

which conclusion

its

faintness would, in ordinary cirfirst;

cumstances, have necessitated from the


there

but

was a something about the


to

statues that caused


I said,
;

me

still

remain in doubt.

As

each stood

perfectly

still

upon

its

black pedestal
air,

but there was

about every one a certain


if it

not of motion, but as


;

had just ceased from movement

as if the rest

were not altogether of the marbly stillness of thousands of years.


It

was

as if the peculiar

atmosphere

of each had yet a kind of invisible tremulousness; as


if its agitated

wavelets had not yet subsided into a


I

perfect calm.

cipated

my

had the suspicion that they had antiappearance, and had sprung, each, from

the living joy of the dance, to the death-silence and

190

PHAXTASTES:

blackness of its isolated pedestal, just before I entered.


I

walked across

tlie

central hall to the curtain oppo-

site

the one I had lifted, and, entering there, found all

the appearances similar ; only that the statues were


different,

and

differently grouped.

Neither did they


of motion just
others.

produce on
expired,

my

mind
I

that impression

which

had experienced from the

found that behind every one of the crimson curtains

was a similar
occupied.

hall, similarly lighted,

and similarly

The next

night, I did not allow

my thoughts

to

be

absorbed as before with inward images, but crept


stealthily along to the furthest curtain in the hall,

from behind which, likewise, I had formerly seemed


hear the sound of dancing.
I

to

drew

aside

its

edge as

suddenly as I could, and, looking


utmost
in,

in,

saw that the


I

stillness

pervaded the vast


it

place.

walked

and passed through


it

to the other end.

There

found that

communicated with a circular


it

corridor,

divided from

only by two rows of red columns.

This corridor^ which was black, with red niches


holding statues, ran entirely about the statue-halls,

forming a communication between the further ends


of them
all
;

further, that

is,

as regards the central


all

hall of white,

whence they

diverged like

radii,

A FAEKIE EOMANCE.
finding their circumference in the corridor.
this corridor I

191

Round

now

went, entering

all

the halls, of
all

which there were twelve, and finding them


larly constructed, but
filled

simi-

with quite various statues,

of what seemed both ancient and modern sculpture.

After I had simply walked through them, I found

myself sufficiently tired to long for

rest,

and went

to

my own

room.

In the night I dreamed that, walking close by one


of the curtains, I
to enter,

was suddenly seized with the


in.

desire

and darted

This time I was too quick

for them.

All the statues were in motion, statues no

longer, but

men and women

all

shapes of beauty

that

ever sprang from the brain of the sculptor,

mingled in the convolutions of a complicated dance.


Passing through them to the further end,
started from
I

almost

my

sleep on. beholding, not taking part

in the dance with the others, nor seemingly

endued

with

life

like

them, but standing in marble coldness

and
left

rigidity

upon a black pedestal

in the

extreme

corner

my lady of
While
I

the cave

the marble beauty

who sprang from her tomb


of

or her cradle at the call

my

songs.

gazed in speechless astonish-

ment and admiration, a dark shadow, descending from above like the curtain of a stage, gradually

192

PHANTASIES:

hid her entirely from


that this

my

view. I

felt

with a shudder
missing demon,

shadow was perchance

my
I

whom
Of

had not seen

for days.

awoke with a

stifled cry.

course, the next evening I began

through the halls (for I

knew not

to

my journey which my

dream had carried me), in the hope of proving the dream to be a true one, by discovering my marble
beauty upon her
black pedestal.

At

length,

on

reaching the tenth hall, I thought I recognised some


of the forms I had seen dancing in
to

my

dream

and

my

bewilderment,
left,

when

I arrived at the

extreme

corner on the

there stood, the only one I had


It

yet seen, a vacant pedestal.


position occupied, in

was exactly

in the

my

dream, by the pedestal on

which the white lady

stood.

Hope
"

beat violently in

my heart
"
the

Now,"

said I to myself,

if

yet another part of

dream would but come

true,

and

should

succeed in surprising these forms in their nightly

dance;

it

might be the

rest

would

follow,

and

should see on the pedestal


surely if

my marble

queen.
life

Then
before,

my

songs sufficed to give her

when

she lay in the bonds of alabaster,


sufficient

much more

would they be

then to give her volition

FAERIE ROMANCE.

193

and motion, when she alone of assembled crowds of


marble forms, would be standing rigid and cold."

But the

difficulty

was, to surprise the dancers.

had found that a premeditated attempt at though executed with the utmost care and

surprise,

rapidity, effected
I saw,

was of no

avail.

And,

in

my

dream,

it

was

by a sudden thought suddenly executed.


therefore, that there

was no plan of operation

offering

any probability of success, but this: to allow

my

mind

to

be

occupied with other

thoughts, as I
;

wandered around the great centre-hall


till

and

so wait

the impulse to enter


to arise in

one of the others should


at the

happen

me just

moment when
For
I

was

close to one of the crimson curtains.

hoped

that if I entered any one of the twelve halls at the


right

moment, that would

as

it

were give me the

right of entrance to all the others, seeing they all

had communication behind.


the hope of the right chance,

would not diminish

sary that the desire to

by supposing it necesenter should awake within


close to the curtains of

me, precisely when


the tenth hall.

was

At
ally,

first,

the impulses to see recurred so continu-

in

spite

of the crowded imagery that kept

passing through

my

mind, that they formed too


o

194

PHANTASTES:

nearly a continuous chain, for the hope that any

one of them would succeed as a surprise.

But

as

I persisted in banishing them, they recurred less

and

less often;

and

after

two or

three, at considerI

able intervals,

had come when the spot where

happened to be was unsuitable, the hope strengthened, that soon one might arise just at the right

moment

namely, when, in walking round the

hall, I

should be close to one of the curtains.

At

length the right


I

moment and

the impulse
It

coincided.
full

darted into the ninth hall.

was

of the

most exquisite

moving forms.

The

whole space wavered and swam with the involutions It seemed to break sudof an intricate dance.
denly as I entered, and
all

made one

or two bounds

towards their pedestals; but, apparently on finding


that they
to
their

were thoroughly overtaken, they returned employment (for it seemed with them

earnest enough to be called such) without further

heeding me.
crowd, I

Somewhat impeded by the floating made what haste I could towards the

bottom of the hall ; whence, entering the corridor, I


turned towards the tenth.
I

soon arrived at the

corner I wanted to reach, for the corridor was comparatively empty; but, although the dancers here,

A FAERIE ROMANCE.
after a
little

195

confusion, altogether disregarded

my

presence, I

was dismayed at beholding, even yet, a vacant pedestal. But I had a conviction that
she was near me.
I

And

as I looked at the pedestal,


it,

thought I saw upon

vaguely revealed as

if

through overlapping folds of drapery, the indistinct


outlines of white feet.

Yet there was no sign of

drapery or

concealing shadow whatever.


in

But

remembered the descending shadow

And

hoped
that

still

in

the

power of
dispel

my my

dream.
songs
;

thinking
likewise

what could

alabaster,

might

be capable of dispelling what concealed

my beauty

now, even

if it

were the demon whose


all

darkness had overshadowed

my

life.

o 2

196

PHANTASTES:

XV.
Alexander.
Apelles.

When

will
:

you
for

finish

Campaspe

?
is

Never

finish

always in absolute beauty there

somewhat above art


LTLT'S Campaspe.

AND now, what


if

song should I sing to unveil

my Isis,
away
the of

indeed she was present unseen ?


the white hall of

I hurried

to

Phantasy,

heedless

innumerable forms of beauty that crowded


these
brain.

my

way:

might cross
I
:

my

eyes, but *he unseen filled

my

space

wandered long, up and down the silent no songs came. My soul was not still

enough

for songs.

Only

in the silence

and dark-

ness of the soul's night, do those stars of the inward

firmament sink to

its

lower surface from the singing


spirit.

realms beyond, and shine upon the conscious

Here

all

effort

was unavailing.

If they

came

not,

they could not be found.

Next

night,

it

was just the same.


silent

walked
but

through the red glimmer of the

hall;

A FAERIE ROMANCE.
lonely as there I walked, as lonely trod

197

my

soul
I

up and down the


entered one of the
just
I

halls

of the brain.

At

last

statue-halls.
I

The dance had

commenced, and
free of their
to

was

was delighted to find that I walked on till I assembly.


There
I

came

the sacred corner.


it,

found the

pedestal just as I had left


as of white feet
still

with the faint glimmer

resting on the dead black.


to feel

As

soon as I saw

it,

seemed
;

a presence which
it

longed to become visible


to

and, as

were, called
it

me

to gift it

with self-manifestation, that

might

shine on me.

The power
voice,

of song

came

to

me.

But
soft,
;

the

moment my

though I sang low and

stirred the air of the hall, the dancers started

the

quick interweaving crowd vided


;

shook, lost its


its

form, distood,

each figure sprang to


life

pedestal, and

a self-evolving

no more, but a

rigid, life-like,

marble shape, with the whole form composed into


the expression of a
rolled
like a spiritual

single

state

or

act.

Silence

thunder through the grand


at
its

space.

My
close I

song had ceased, scared

own

influences.

But

saw

in the

hand of one of the

statues

by me, a harp whose chords yet


remembered that
as she

bounded past so me, her harp had brushed against my arm


quivered.
;

198
the spell of

PHANTASTES:
the marble

had not infolded

it.

sprang to her, and with a gesture of entreaty, laid

my

hand on the harp.


its

The marble hand, probably


the

from

contact with

strength enough to

uncharmed harp, had relax its hold, and yield the


life.

harp to me.

No

other motion indicated

Instinctively I struck the chords

and sang.
song, I

And

not to break upon the record of

my

mention

here, that as I sang the first four lines, the loveliest


feet

became

clear

upon the black pedestal


as if a veil

and ever
lifted

as I sang,

it

was

were being

up

from before the form, but an


the statue appeared to

invisible veil, so that

grow before me, not

so

much
added

by

evolution, as

by

infinitesimal degrees of

height.

And, while I sang, I did not feel that I stood


appeared to be, but that
itself

by a

statue, as indeed it

a real woman-soul was revealing


stages of imbodiment,

by

successive

and consequent manifestation

and expression.
Feet of beauty, firmly planting Arches white on rosy heel
!

Whence

the life-spring, throbbing, panting,


!

Pulses upward to reveal


Fairest things

know

least despising
:

Foot and earth meet tenderly


'Tis the

woman,

resting, rising

Upward

to sublimity.

A FAERIE KOMANCE.
Rise the limbs, sedately sloping,

199

Strong and gentle,


Soft

full

and

free

and

slow, like certain hoping,

Drawing nigh the broad firm knee.

Up

to speech

As up

to roses

Pants the

life

from leaf to flower,


discloses,

So each blending change


Nearer
still,

expression's power.

Lo!

fair

sweeps, white surges, twining


fearlessly
!

Up

and outward

Temple columns,
!

close combining,

Lift a holy mystery.

Heart of mine what strange surprises Mount aloft on such a stair


!

Some

great vision

upward

rises,
fair.

Curving, bending, floating

Bands and sweeps, and hill and hollow Lead my fascinated eye
;

Some apocalypse will follow, Some new word of deity.


Zoned unseen, and outward swelling, With new thoughts and wonders rife,
Queenly majesty
foretelling,
life
!

See the expanding house of

Sudden heaving, unforbidden Sighs eternal, still the same

Mounts of snow have summits hidden


In the mists of uttered flame.

But the

spirit,

dawning nearly,
;

Finds no speech for earnest pain Finds a soundless sighing merely


Builds
its stairs,

and mounts again.

200

PHANTASTES

Heart, the queen, with secret hoping, Sendeth out her waiting pair ;

Hands, blind hands, half blindly groping, Half in clasping visions rare;

And

the great arms, heartways bending


;

Might of Beauty, drawing home There returning, and re-blending,

Where from

roots of love they roam.

Build thy slopes of radiance beamy, Spirit, fair with womanhood !

Tower thy

precipice, white-gleamy,

Climb unto the hour of good.

Dumb space will be rent asunder, Now the shining column stands
Eeady
to be

crowned with wonder

By

the builder's joyous hands.

All the lines abroad are spreading,

Like a fountain's
Lo, the chin,

failing race.

first feature,

treading,
!

Airy

foot to rest the face


;

Speech is nigh oh, see the blushing Sweet approach of lip and breath !

Round the mouth dim


Waits to die

silence,

hushing,
X

ecstatic death.

Span across

in treble curving,
!

Bow

of promise, upper lip


free,

Set them

with gracious swerving ;


float

Let the wing-words

and

dip.

Dumb

Love immortal, More than words thy speech must be


art thou ?

Childless yet the tender portal

Of the home of melody.

A FAERIE ROMANCE.
Now the nostrils
Proud
Sure
it

201

in

open fearless, calm unconsciousness.


peerless
!

must be something

That the great Pan would express Deepens, crowds some meaning tender,
In the pure, dear lady-face.
Lo, a blinding burst of splendour! 'Tis the free soul's issuing grace.

Two calm

lakes of molten glory


!

Circling round unfathomed deeps


Lightning-flashes, transitory,

This the gate, at

Cross the gulfs where darkness sleeps. last, of gladness,


:

To the outward-striving me In a rain of light and sadness,


Out
its

loves

and longings

flee

With a presence

am

smitten
surprise
;

Dumb, with a foreknown


Even
I in the glorious eyes.
gulfs,
till

Presence greater yet than written

Through the

with inward gazes,

may

look

am

lost

Wandering deep

in spirit-mazes,
coast.

In a sea without a

Windows open to the glorious Time and space, oh, far beyond
!

Woman, ah

thou art victorious,

And I

perish, overfond.

Springs aloft the yet Unspoken In the forehead's endless grace,


Full of silences unbroken
Infinite,
;

unfeatured face.

PHANTASTES
Domes
above, the

mount of wonder ;
;

Height and hollow wrapt in night Hiding in its caverns under

Woman-nations in their might. Passing forms, the highest Human Faints away to the Divine
:

Features none, of

man

or

woman,

Can

unveil the holiest shine.

Sideways, grooved porches only


Visible to passing eye,

Stand the

silent, doorless,

lonely

Entrance-gates of melody. But all sounds fly in as boldly,

Groan and song, and

kiss

and cry,

At

their galleries, lifted coldly,

Darkly, 'twixt the earth and sky.

Beauty, thou art spent, thou knowest


So, in faint, half-glad despair,

From

the

summit thou

o'erflowest
;

In a

fall

of torrent hair

Hiding what thou hast created In a half-transparent shroud

Thus, with glory soft-abated, Shines the moon through vapoury cloud.

A FAEKIE ROMANCE.

203

XVI.
Selbst der Styx, der neunfach sie umwindet,

Wehrt die Riickkehr Ceres Tochter nicht Nach dem Apfel greift sie, und es bindet
Ewig
sie

des Orkus Pflicht.

SCHILLER.

Das

Ideal und das Leben.


infoldeth,

Ev'n the Styx, which ninefold her

Hems

not Ceres' daughter in

its

flow

But she grasps the apple ever holdeth Her, sad Orcus, down below.

EVER

as I sang, the veil

was

uplifted;
till,

ever as I
the eyes

sang, the

signs of
it

life

grew;

when

dawned upon me,


dour which

was with that sunrise of splen-

my
is,

feeble song attempted to re-imbody.

The wonder

that I

was not altogether overcome,

but was able to complete


veil

my

song as the unseen

continued to
state of

rise.

This ability came solely

from the
myself.

mental elevation in which I found


uplifted in song,

Only because

was
I
.

I able

to endure the
tell

blaze of the dawn.

But

cannot

whether

she looked more of statue or more


she seemed removed into that region
all
is

of

woman;

of phantasy where

intensely vivid, but no-

204

PHANTASTES
At

thing clearly defined.

last, as I

sang of her des-

cending hair, the glow of soul faded away, like


a dying sunset

lamp within had been


life

extinin

guished, and the house of

shone blank

winter morn.
visible,

She was a

statue once

more

but

and that was much gained. Yet the revulsion from hope and fruition was such, that, unable
to restrain myself, I sprang to her, and, in defiance

law of the place, flung my arms around her, as if I would tear her from the grasp of a
of the
visible

Death, and
to

lifted

her

from the pedestal


feet

down

my

heart.

But no sooner had her

ceased to be in

contact with

the black pedestal,


all

than she shuddered and trembled


writhing from
their

over;

then,

my

arms, before

could tighten

hold, she

sprang into the corridor, with the

reproachful cry,

"You

should not have touched

me

!"

darted behind one of the exterior pillars of


I followed almost as
pillar,

the circle, and disappeared.


fast
;

but ere I could reach the


all

the sound of

a closing door, the saddest of


fell

sounds sometimes,

on*my

ear

and, arriving at the spot where she

had vanished,

saw, lighted by a pale yellow lamp


it,

which hung above

a heavy, rough door, altoge;

ther unlike any others I had seen in the palace

A FAERIE ROMANCE.
for

205

they were

all

of ebony, or ivory, or covered

with silver-plates, or of some odorous wood, and

very ornate; whereas

this

seemed of old oak, with


Notwithstanding the

heavy

nails

and iron

studs.

precipitation of

my

pursuit, I could not help reading,

in silver letters beneath the

lamp

"
:

No

one enters

here without the leave of the

Queen"

But what was


white lady ?

the
I

Queen

to

me, when

I followed

my

dashed the door to the wall, and sprang through.


!

Lo

I stood

on a waste windy
stood
all

hill.

Great stones

like tomb-stones

about me.

No

door, no

palace was to be seen.

A
;

white figure gleamed

past me, wringing her hands,

and crying, " Ah

you
to
I

should have sung to

me

you should have sung


stones.

me

"
!

and disappeared behind one of the

followed.

A cold gust of
;

wind met me from behind


saw nothing but a

the stone

and when

I looked, I

great hole in the earth, into which I could find no

way
tell.

of entering.
I

Had

she fallen in

could not

must wait

for the daylight.

I sat

down and

wept, for there

was no

help.

206

PHANTASTES

XVII.
Anfangs
vrollt 'ich fast

verzagen,

Und ich glaubt' ich triig' es nie, Und ich hab' es doch getragen,
Aber
fragt

mich nur nicht

wie?

HEINE.
First, I thought, almost despairing,

This must crush

my

spirit

now

Yet I bore

it,

and

Only do not

am bearing ask me how.


brought the

WHEN
the

the daylight came,


it

it

possibility

of action, but with


first visible

little

of consolation.

With

increase of light, I gazed into the

chasm, but could not, for more than an hour, see


sufficiently well to discover its nature.

At

last I

saw

it

was almost a perpendicular opening,


I

like a

roughly excavated well, only very large.


perceive no bottom;

could

and

it

was not
a

till

the

sun

actually rose, that I discovered


staircase, in

sort of natural

many

parts

little

more than suggested,

A FAEEIE ROMANCE.
which led round and round the
spirally into its abyss.

207

gulf, descending

saw

at once that this

was

my

path

and without a moment's

hesitation, glad to

quit the sunlight,


lessly,

which stared

at

me most

heartIt

commenced

my

tortuous descent.

was

very

difficult.

In some parts I had to cling

to the

rocks like a bat.


track
stair
;

In one place, I dropped from the


the next returning spire of the
this particular portion,

down upon

which being broad in

and standing out from the wall


received
stupified

at

right angles,

me upon my
by
the shock.

feet

safe,

though somewhat

After descending a great

way,

I found the stair

ended

at

a narrow opening
Into this I

which entered the rock


crept, and,

horizontally.

having entered, had just room to turn

round.

I put

my

head out

into the shaft

by which

had come down, and surveyed the course of my descent. Looking up, I saw the stars although the
;

sun must by

this

time have been high in the heavens.

Looking below, I saw that the sides of the shaft went sheer down, smooth as glass ; and far beneath me, I

saw the

reflection of the

same

stars I I

had seen

in the

heavens when I looked up.


crept inwards

turned again, and

some

distance,

when

the

passage

widened, and I was at length able to stand and walk

208
upright

PHANTASTES:
Wider and
off
loftier

grew the way; new


side
;

paths branched

on every

great open halls

appeared;

till

at last I

found myself wandering on

through an underground country, in which the sky

was of rock, and instead of


were only
fantastic rocks

trees

and

flowers, there

and

stones.
till

And

ever as I

went, darker grew

my

thoughts,

at last I

had no

hope whatever of finding the white lady : I no longer


called her to myself

my
I

white lady.

Wherever a

choice was necessary,

always chose the path which

seemed

to lead

downwards.

At

length I began to find that these regions were

inhabited.

From

behind a rock a peal of harsh

grating laughter, full of evil humour, rang through

my

saw a queer, goblin creature, with a great head and ridiculous features,
ears, and, looking round, I

just such as those described, in


travels,

German

histories

and

" as Kobolds.

What

do you want with me?"


with a long forefinger,

I said.

He

pointed at

me

very thick at the root, and sharpened to a point, and " " answered, He ! he he what do you want here ?
! !

humility

Then, changing his tone, he continued, with mock " Honoured vouchsafe to withdraw
sir,

from thy slaves the lustre of thy august presence,


for

thy

slaves

cannot

support

its

brightness."

A FAERIE ROMANCE.

209
so big,

second appeared, and struck in

" You are

you keep the sun from us. We and we 're so cold." Thereupon
the most
terrific

can't see for you,

arose,

on

all sides,

uproar of laughter, from voices

like those of children in

volume, but scrannel and

harsh as those of decrepit age, though, unfortunately,


without
its

weakness.

The whole pandemonium


fantastic
all sizes

of

fairy devils, of all

varieties of

ugliness,

both in form and feature, and of


to four
feet,

from one

seemed

to

have suddenly assembled

about me.

At

length, after a great babble of talk

among
and
tion,

themselves, in a language

unknown

to

me,

after seemingly endless gesticulation, consulta-

elbow - nudging,

and

unmitigated

peals

of

laughter, they formed into a circle


their

about one of
a stone, and,
to

number, who scrambled upon


to

much
began

my

surprise,

and somewhat

my

dismay,
nature

to sing, in

a voice corresponding in

its

to his talking one,

from beginning

to end, the

song

with which I had brought the light into the eyes


of the white lady.
all

He

sang the same air too

and,

the time, maintained a face of

mock
song

entreaty

and worship;
travestied

accompanying
of

the

with
the

the
lute.

gestures

one

playing on

210

PHANTASTES:

The whole assembly kept silence, except at the close of every verse, when they roared, and danced, and
shouted with laughter, and flung themselves on the

ground, in real or pretended convulsions of delight.

When

he had

finished, the

singer threw himself

from the top of the stone, turning heels over head


several times
alight, it

in

his

descent

and when he did


on which he

was on the top of

his head,

hopped about, making the most


culations with his legs
in the

grotesque gestiInexpressible

air.

laughter followed, which broke up in a shower of


tiny stones from innumerable hands.

They could

not materially injure me, although they cut

me
run

on

the

head

and
all

face.

attempted

to

away, but they


hold of

rushed upon me, and, laying


that

every part

afforded

a
like

grasp, held
bees,

me

tight.

Crowding about me

they

shouted an insect-swarm of exasperating speeches


face, among which the most frequently " You shan't have her were you shan't recurring have her; he! he! he! She's for a better man;

up

into

my

she 's for a better


he'll kiss

man

how he '11

kiss

her

how

her!"

The

galvanic torrent of this battery of malevolence

A
stung to
life

FAERIE ROMANCE.

211

within

me

a spark of nobleness, and

I said aloud,

"

"Well, if

he

is

a better man, let

him

have her."

They

instantly let go their hold of

me, and

fell

back a step or two, with a whole broadside of grunts

and humphs,
approbation.

as
I

of

unexpected
step or

and disappointed

made a

two forward, and a


through the midst
politely
I

lane was instantly opened for

me

of the grinning
to

little antics,

who bowed most


After

me

on every side

as

I passed.

had
all

gone a few yards, I looked back, and saw them


standing quite
school of boys
still,
;

looking after me, like a great

till

suddenly one turned round,

and with a loud whoop, rushed into the midst of In an instant, the whole was one the others.
writhing and tumbling heap of contortion, reminding

me

of the live pyramids of intertwined snakes

of which travellers

make

report.

As

soon as one
off

was worked out of the mass, he bounded


paces,

a few

and then, with a somerset and a run, threw


air,

himself gyrating into the


all his

and descended with

weight on the summit of the heaving and


I left

struggling chaos of fantastic figures.


still

them

busy

at

this

fierce

and

apparently aimless

amusement.

And

as I went, I sang

p 2

212

PHANTASTES:
If a nobler waits for thee ,

I will

weep

aside

It is well that thou should'st be,

Of
For

the nobler, bride.


love builds up the home,

if

Where

the heart

is free,

Homeless yet the heart must roam, That has not found thee.

One must
Take
her,
!

suffer

I,

for her,

Yield in her

my part.

thou art worthier


still,

Still

be

my heart
!

Gift ungotten

largess high

Of a
But
Is

frustrate will

to yield it lovingly

a something

still.

Then a

little

song arose of

itself in
it

my

soul

and

I felt for the

moment, while

sang sadly within

me, as

if I

was once more walking up and down

the white hall of Phantasy in the Fairy Palace.

But

this lasted

no longer than the song, as

will

be seen.

Do

not vex thy violet


to afford
;

Perfume

Else no odour thou wilt get From its little hoard.

In thy lady's gracious eyes Look not thou too long ;


Else from them the glory
flies,

And

thou dost her wrong.

A FAEEIE EOMANCE.
not thou too near the maid, Clasp her not too wild ; Else the splendour is allayed, And thy heart beguiled.

213

Come

A crash

of laughter, more discordant and deriding

than any I had yet heard, invaded

my ears.
saw a

Looking
elderly

on in the direction of the sound,

little

woman, much
had just
the path.
left,

taller,

however, than the goblins I

seated
rose,

She
to

upon a stone by the side of as I drew near, and came


She was very plain and

forward

meet me.

commonplace
ugly.

in appearance, without being hideously

Looking up in my face \vith a stupid sneer, she said " Isn't it a pity you haven't a pretty girl
:

to

walk

all

alone with
different

country?

How

you through this sweet everything would look!


one can never have

wouldn't it?

Strange that
like best!
that,

what one would


bloom and
wouldn't
all

How
Her

the roses would


infernal

even in

this

hole!

they,

Anodos?

eyes would light

up the old cave, wouldn't they?" " That depends on who the pretty
be," replied
I.

girl

should

" Not " look

so

very

much

matter that," she answered

here."

214
I

PHANTASTES
had turned
to

go away as I gave my reply, and looked at her. As a rough unsightly bud might suddenly blossom into the most lovely flower ; or rather, as a sunbeam bursts through
but now
I stopped

a shapeless cloud, and transfigures the earth; so


burst a
face

of

resplendent

beauty, as

it

were

through the unsightly visage of the

ing

it

with light as

it

dawned through
;

woman, destroyit. A summer

sky rose above me, grey with heat across a shining slumberous landscape, looked from afar the peaks
of snow-capped mountains
;

and down from a great

rock beside me,

fell

a sheet of water

mad

with

its

own
"

delight

Stay with me," she

said, lifting

up her

exquisite

face,

and looking

full in

mine.
infernal laugh grated

I drew back.

Again the

upon

my

ears

again the rocks closed in around


at

me, and the ugly woman looked

me

with wicked*

mocking hazel eyes. " You shall have your reward,"


shall see

said she.

" You

your white lady again."


lies

" That
and

not with you," I replied, and turned

left her.

She followed

me

with

shriek

upon

shriek

of

laughter, as I went on

my way.

A FAERIE EOMANCE.
I

215

may

mention here, that although there was

always light enough to see

my

path and a few

yards on every side of me, I never could find out


the source of this sad sepulchral illumination.

216

PHANTASTES:

XVIII.
Im Sausen des Windes, im Brausen Und im Seufzen der eigenen Brust.
des Meers,

HEINE.
In the wind's uproar, the sea's raging grim, And the sighs that are born in him.

Ja, est wird

wird,

zwar ein anderes Zeitalter kommen, wo es Licht und wo der Mensch aus erhabnen Traiimen erwacht, und
wieder findct, weil er
niclits verier als

die Traiime

den Schlaf."
Hesperus.

JEAN

PACT,.

From dreams of bliss shall men awake One day, but not to weep The dreams remain they only break The mirror of the sleep.
:

How I got through this dreary part of my travels, I do


not know.
that
I

do not think I was upheld by the hope


light

any moment the

might break hi upon me


I

for I scarcely thought about that.

went on with a

dull endurance, varied

sadness;

for

by moments more and more the

of uncontrollable conviction

grew

upon me
again.
It

that I should never see the white lady

may seem

strange that one with

whom

A FAERIE ROMANCE.
I

217

had held

so

little

communion, should have so


but
benefits

engrossed

my
in

thoughts;

conferred

awaken love

some minds,

as surely as benefits

received in others.

Besides being delighted and


had.
called

proud

that

my
life,

songs
the

the

beautiful
to
feel

creature to

same

fact

caused

me
for

a tenderness unspeakable for her, accompanied with

a kind of feeling of property in her


goblin Selfishness would reward the

so

the

angel Love.

When

to all this is added,

an overpowering sense of

her beauty, and an unquestioning conviction that this

was a true index


derstood
filled mj'-

to

inward loveliness,
to pass that

it

may be

un-

how

it

came

my

imagination

whole soul with the play of

its

own mul-

titudinous colours and harmonies around the form

which yet
midst of
its

stood, a gracious

marble radiance, in the

white hall of phantasy.


for

The time passed


Per-

by unheeded; haps this was


no
food,

my

thoughts were busy.

also in part the cause of

my

needing

and never- thinking how


subterraneous part of

I should find any,

during

this

my
tell,

travels.

How
had no

long they endured I could not

for I

means of measuring time


there

and when

I looked back,

was such a discrepancy between the decisions of my imagination and my judgment, as to the length

218

PHANTASTES:

of time that had passed, that I was bewildered, and

gave up

all

attempts to arrive at any conclusion on

the point.

A
the

grey mist
I looked

continually gathered behind


past, this mist

me.

When

back towards the

was

medium through which

my
;

eyes had to strain for

a vision of what had gone by

and the form of the

white lady had receded into an

unknown

region.

At

length the country of rock began to close again

around me, gradually and slowly narrowing,

till

found myself walking in a gallery of rock once more,


both sides of which I could touch with
stretched hands.
to
It

my

out-

narrowed

yet, until I

was forced

move

carefully, in order to avoid striking against

the projecting pieces of rock.

The

roof sank lower

and lower, until


then to
terrible
afraid,

was compelled, first to stoop, and It recalled creep on my hands and knees. dreams of childhood but I was not much
I
:

because I

felt

sure that this

was

my path,

and

my

only hope of leaving Fairy Land, of which I


almost weary.

was

now

At

length, on getting past an abrupt turn in the

passage, through

which

had

to force myself, I saw,

a few yards ahead of me, the long-forgotten daylight


shining through a small opening, to which the path,

A FAEEIE ROMANCE.
if

219
"With great

path

it

could

now be

called, led

me.

difficulty I

accomplished these last few yards, and


I stood

came

forth to the day.


sea,

on the shore of a

wintry
its

with a wintry sun just a few feet above

horizon-edge.

Hundreds

was bare, and waste, and grey. of hopeless waves rushed constantly
It

shorewards, falling

exhausted

upon a beach

of

great loose stones, that seemed to stretch miles and miles in both directions.

There was nothing O

for the

eye but mingling shades of grey; nothing for the


ear but the rush of the coming, the roar of the
breaking, and the

moan

of the retreating wave.

No

rock

lifted

up a

sheltering severity above the dreariI

ness around;

even that from which

had myself

emerged rose scarcely a foot above the opening by which I had reached the dismal day, more dis-

mal even than the tomb


death-like

had

left.

cold,

wind swept across the shore, seeming to issue from a pale mouth of cloud upon the horizon. Sign of life was nowhere visible. I wandered over the stones, up and down the beach, a human'embodi-

ment of the nature around me.


its

The wind

increased;

keen waves flowed through


;

my

soul

the foam

rushed higher up the stones


to

a few dead stars began

gleam

in

the east ; the sound of the waves

grew

220

PHANTASTES:

louder and yet more despairing.

A dark
sea,

curtain of

cloud was lifted up, and a pate blue rent shone

between

its

foot

and the edge of the

out from

which rushed an icy storm of frozen wind, that tore


the waters into spray as
billows in raving heaps
it

passed, and flung the


shore.
I

upon the desolate

could bear

it

no longer.
be tortured to death," I cried

"I
will

will not
it

"
;

meet
to

half-way.

The

life

within

me

is

yet

enough

bear

me up

to the face of Death, and

then I die unconquered."

Before

it

had grown so dark,

had observed,
that

though
one

without any particular


the

interest,

on

part of
to

shore
far

a low platform of
into

rock
the

seemed
breaking

run out

the
this

midst
I

of

waters.

Towards

now

went,

scrambling over smooth stones, to which scarce even


a particle of sea-weed clung; and having found
I
it,

got on

it,

and followed

its

direction, as near as I
I could
sea.
;

could guess, out into the tumbling chaos.

hardly keep

my

feet against the

wind and

The

waves repeatedly all but swept me off my path but I kept on my way, till I reached the end of the low
promontory, which, in the
fall

of the waves, rose a


rise,

good many

feet

above the surface, and, in their

A FAERIE ROMANCE.
was covered with
their waters.
I stood

221
one moment,

and gazed into the heaving abyss beneath

me

then

plunged headlong into the mounting wave below.


blessing, like the kiss of a mother,

seemed

to alight

on

my

soul

a calm, deeper than that which accom-

panies a hope deferred, bathed


in the waters,

my

spirit.

sank far

and sought not to return. I felt as if once more the great arms of the beech-tree were
around me, soothing

me

after the

miseries

had
sick

passed through, and telling me, like a


child,

little

that

should

be better to-morrow.

The

waters of themselves lifted me, as with loving arms,


to the surface.

I breathed again, but did not


I

un-

close

my

eyes.
pitiless

and the

would not look on the wintry sea, grey sky. Thus I floated, till someme.
it

thing gently touched


floating beside
tell
;

It

was

little

boat

me.

How
fall,

came there

I could not

but

it

rose and sank on the waters, and kept


in
its

touching
let

me

as if with a

human
It

will to
little

me know

that help

was by me.

was a

gay-coloured boat, seemingly covered with glistering


scales like those of a fish, all of brilliant

rainbow
in

hues.

scrambled into

it,

and lay down

the
I

bottom, with a sense of exquisite repose.

Then

drew over me a

rich, heavy, purple cloth that

was

222
beside

PHANTASTES:

me

and, lying

still,

knew, by the sound of the


fleeting rapidly on-

waters, that

my

little

bark was

wards.

Finding, however, none of

that
I

stormy
beheld

motion which the sea had manifested


it

when
;

from the shore,

opened

my

eyes

and, looking

first

up, saw above me the deep violet sky of a warm southern night; and then, lifting my head,
I

saw that
last

was

sailing fast

upon a summer

sea, in the

border of a southern twilight.

The

aureole of
its

the sun yet shot the extreme faint tips of

longest

rays above the horizon-waves, and withdrew them


not.
It

was a perpetual twilight

The

stars, great

and

earnest, like children's eyes, bent

down

lovingly

towards the waters; and the reflected stars within

seemed

to float up, as

if

longing to

meet

their

embraces.

But when

I looked

down, a new wonder

met

my

view.

For, vaguely revealed beneath the

wave, I floated above

my
by
;

whole Past.
the halls of

The

fields

of

my

childhood

flitted

my

youthful

labours; the streets of great cities where I had dwelt;

and the assemblies of men and women wherein


wearied myself seeking for
rest.

had

But

so indistinct

were the

visions, that

sometimes I thought that I


sea,

was
and

sailing

on a shallow

and that strange rocks

forests of sea-plants beguiled

my eye,

sufficiently

A FAERIE ROMANCE.
to

223

be transformed, by the magic of the phantasy,

into

well-known

objects

and

regions.
lie

Yet,

at

times, a beloved

form seemed to

close beneath

me
if

in

sleep;

and the eyelids would tremble as


conscious

about to forsake the

eye;

and the

arms would heave upwards,


sought
motions
for

as if in

dreams they

satisfying

presence.

But

these

might come

only from

the

heaving

of

the waters between those forms


I
fell

and me.

Soon
delight.

asleep,

overcome with fatigue and

In dreams of unspeakable joy


ships
;

of restored friendit

of revived embraces

of love which said

had never died; of faces that had vanished long


ago,

yet said with

smiling
;

lips

that

they

knew

nothing of the grave

of pardons implored, and

granted with such bursting floods of love, that I

was

almost
this

glad

had

sinned

thus I passed
I

through

wondrous

twilight.

awoke with

the feeling that I had been kissed and loved to

my

heart's content;

and found that

my

boat was
little

floating motionless
island.

by the grassy shore of a

224

PHANTASTES

XIX.
In staler Euhe, in wechselloser Einfalt
fiihr ich

ununterbrochen

das Bewusstseyn der ganzen Menschheit in mir.

SCHLEIERMACHER
In
still rest,

Monologcn.

in changeless simplicity, I bear, uninterrupted, the

consciousness of the whole of

Humanity within me.

such a sweetness, such a grace


In
all

That what

thy speech appear, to th' eye a beauteous face,


is

That thy tongue

to the ear.

Covurr.

THE water was deep


from the
island
little

to the

very edge

and

sprang

boat upon a soft grassy turf.


all

The

seemed rich with a profusion of


flowers.
;

grasses

and low
most

All delicate lowly things were


;

plentiful

but no trees rose skywards


tall

not even

a bush overtopped the


place near the cottage I

grasses, except in one

am

about to describe, where

a few plants of the gum-cistus, which drops every


night
all

the blossoms that the day brings forth,

formed a kind of natural arbour.

The whole

island

A FAERIE ROMANCE.
lay

225
rose

open

to

the

sky and
feet

sea.

It

nowhere

more than a few

above the level of the waters,


all

which flowed deep

around

its

border.

Here

there seemed to be neither tide nor storm.


of persistent calm and fulness arose in the

A sense
mind
at

the sight of the slow, pulse-like rise and

fall

of the

deep, clear, unrippled waters against the bank

of

the island, for shore


so

it

could hardly be called, being

much more
I

like the

edge of a

full,

solemn

river.

As

walked over the grass towards the cottage,


at a little distance

which stood

from the bank,

all

the flowers of childhood looked at


child-eyes out of the grass.

me

with perfect

My
it

heart, softened

by
to

the dreams through which

had passed, overflowed

in a sad, tender love- towards them.

They looked
in

me

like

children

impregnably

fortified

a helpthe

less confidence.

The sun

stood half
soft

way down
;

western sky,
there

shining very

and golden

and

grew a second world of shadows amidst the world of grasses and wild flowers.

The

cottage

was square, with low

walls,

and a

high pyramidal roof thatched with long reeds, of

which the withered blossoms hung over


It is

all

the eaves.

noticeable that most

of the buildings I saw

in Fairy

Land were

cottages.

There was no path


<-

226

PHANTASTES

to a door, nor, indeed,

was there any track worn

by

footsteps in the island.


turf.

The

cottage rose right

out of the smooth

It

had no windows that


in
I

I could see; but there

was a door up
to

the centre

of the side facing me,

which
I

went

knocked, and the sweetest voice


said,

had ever heard


bright
fire

" Come

in."

entered.

was

burning on a hearth in the centre of the earthen


floor,

and the smoke found

its

way

out at an opening

in the centre of the

pyramidal

roof.

Over the

fire

hung a
face, the

little pot,

and over the pot bent a womanI

most wonderful, I thought, that

had ever

was older than any countenance I had ever looked upon. There was not a spot in
beheld.

For

it

where a wrinkle lay not. And the skin was ancient and brown, like old parchwhich a wrinkle could
lie,

ment.

The woman's form was

tall

and spare

and

when
was

she stood up to welcome me, I saw that she


straight
as

an arrow.

Could that voice of


lips

sweetness have issued from those


as they were,

of age

Mild

could they be the portals whence

flowed such melody?


eyes, I no longer

But

the

moment
:

saw her

wondered

at her voice

they were

absolutely

young

those of a

woman

of five-and-

twenty, large, and of a clear grey.

Wrinkles had

A FAEBIE EOMANCE.
beset
old,

227

them

all

about; the eyelids themselves were


;

and heavy, and worn

but the eyes were very

incarnations of soft light.

She held out her hand

to

me, and the voice of sweetness again greeted me, She set an with the single word, " Welcome."
old

wooden

chair for me, near the

fire,

and went on

with her cooking.

A wondrous

sense of refuge

and

repose came upon me.

I felt like

a boy

who

has got

home from

school, miles across the hills, through a

heavy storm of wind and snow. on her, I sprang from my seat

Almost, as

gazed

to kiss those old lips.

And when,
little

having finished her cooking, she brought


set it

some of the dish she had prepared, and


table

on a

by me, covered with a snow-white cloth,

I could not help laying

my

head on her bosom, and

She put her arms round " " Poor child; poor child me, saying,
bursting into happy tears.
!

As

continued to weep, she gently disengaged

herself; and, taking a spoon, put


(I did not

some of the food


lips,

know what

it

was)

to

my

entreating

me most
made an

endearingly to
effort,

swallow it

To

please her, I

She went on feeding me like a baby, with one arm round me, till I looked up in her face and smiled: then she gave me the spoon, and told me to eat, for it would do me good.
and succeeded.
Q 2

228
I

PHANTASTES

obeyed her, and found myself wonderfully reThen she drew near the fire an oldfreshed.
fashioned couch that was in the cottage, and making

me

lie

down upon
Amazing

it,

sat at

my

feet,

and began to
from her

sing.
lips,

store of old ballads rippled


;

over the pebbles of ancient tunes

and" the voice

that sang

was sweet

as the voice of a tuneful

maiden

that singeth ever from very fulness of song.

The

songs were almost


comfort.

all

sad, but

with a sound of
It

One
:

I can

faintly recall.

was some-

thing like this

Sir Aglovaile through the churchyard rode; Sing, All alone I lie :
Little recked

he where'er he yode. All alone, up in the sky.


fear;

Swerved his courser, and plunged with


All alone

I lie

His cry might have wakened the dead men near, All alone, up in the sky.

Lapt

The very dead that in the mouldy

lay at his feet,

winding-sheet.
until he stood

But he curbed him and spurred him,


Still in his place, like

a horse of wood,
;

With nostrils uplift, and eyes wide and wan But the sweat in streams from his fetlocks ran.

A ghost grew out of the shadowy air,


And
sat in the midst of her

moony

hair.

In her gleamy hair she sat and wept; In the dreamful moon they lay and slept;

A FAERIE ROMANCE.
The shadows above, and the bodies below, Lay and slept in the moonbeams slow.

229

And

Over the stubble

she sang, like the moan of an left behind:

autumn

Avind

Alas, how easily things go wrong

A sigh

too

much, or a kiss

too long,

And there follows a mist and a weeping And life is never the same again.
Alas, how hardly things go right ! 'Tis hard to watch in a summer ?iight,

rain,

For

And
"

the sigh will come, and the kiss will stay, the summer night is a winter day.

"
"

To

Oh, lovely ghost, my heart is woe, see thee weeping and wailing so.

"

Oh, lovely ghost," said the fearless knight, Can the sword of a warrior set it right ?

"

" Or prayer of bedesman, praying mild, As a cup of water a feverish child,

"

" Soothe thee at last, in dreamless mood, To sleep the sleep a dead lady should?
fill

" Thine eyes they


"

me

As To

if I

had known thee

with longing sore, for evermore.

" "

Oh, lovely ghost, I could leave the day, sit with thee in the moon away,

"

" If thou wouldst trust me, and lay thy head To rest on a bosom that is not dead."
cry,
;

The lady sprang up with a strange ghost

And And And And And

she flung her white ghost-arms on high she laughed a laugh that was not gay, it lengthened out till it died away;
the dead beneath turned and moaned,

the yew-trees above they shuddered and groaned.


is

"Will he love me twice with a love that "Will he kill the poor ghost yet again?

vain?

230

PHANTASTES
; '

"I thought thou wert good but I said, and wept " Can I have dreamed who have not slept ?
'

" And I knew, alas or ever 1 would, " Whether I dreamed, or thou wert good.
!

" When my baby died, my brain grew wild. "I awoke, and found I was with my child." " If thou art the ghost of my Adelaide, "How is it ? Thou wert but a village maid,

" And thou seemest an angel lady white, " Though thin, and wan, and past delight."

The lady smiled a

flickering smile,
:

And
"

she pressed her temples hard the while

"Thou seest that Death for a woman can Do more than knighthood for a man."
?

" But show me the child thou callest mine. " Is she out to-night in the ghost's sunshine
*'

"

" At

In St. Peter's Church she is playing on, hide-and-seek, with Apostle John.

" When the moonbeams right through the window go, " Where the twelve are standing in glorious show,

" She says the rest of them do not stir, " But one comes down to play^with her.
" Then I can go where I list, and weep, " For good St. John my child will keep."
"

Thy beauty filleth the Tery air. " Never saw I a woman so fair."
;

" Come, if thou darest, and sit by my side " But do not touch me, or woe will betide.
:

" Alas I am weak I well might know " This gladness betokens some further woe.

" Yet come.

It will

come.
yet

I will bear

it.

I can.

"For thou

lovest

me

though but as a man."

A FAEEIE ROMANCE.
The knight dismounted
in earnest speed
;

Away

through the tombstones thundered the

stec<1,

And fell by the outer wall, and died. But the knight he kneeled by the lady's
Kneeled beside her in wondrous Eapt in an everlasting kiss
:

side

bliss,

Though never

his lips

come the lady


lie.

nigh,

And

his eyes alone on her beauty

All the night long, till the cock crew loud, He kneeled by the lady, lapt in her shroud.

And what they said, I may not say Dead night was sweeter than living day.
:

How she made him so blissful glad Who made her and found her so ghostly
I

sad,

may To make them


tell

not

but

it

needs no touch

blessed
night,

who

love so much.
to

"
"

Come every

my ghost,

me

And

one night I will come to thee.


:

" 'Tis good to have a ghostly wife " She will not tremble at clang of

strife

" She will only hearken, amid the din, " Behind the door, if he cometh in."

And
And

this is how Sir Aglovaile Often walked in the moonlight pale.


oft

when

the crescent but thinned the gloom,


filled his

Full orbed moonlight

room

And And

Fell a ghostly

through beneath his chamber door, gleam on the outer floor


;

they that passed, in fear averred


often heard.

That murmured words they

'Twas then that the eastern crescent shone Through the chancel window, and good St. John

232

PHANTASTES:
Played with the ghost-child all the night, And the mother was free till the morning

light,

And

sped through the dawning night, to stay With Aglovaile till the break of day.

And their love was a rapture, lone and high, And dumb as the moon in the topmost sky.
One night
Sir Aglovaile, weary, slept,

And dreamed

a dream wherein he wept.

But

warrior he was, not often wept he, this night he wept full bitterly.
beside
:

He woke

him

Out of the dark

the ghost-girl shone 'twas the eve of St. John.


still,

He had dreamed
Where

a dream of a

dark wood,
stood
;

the maiden of old beside

him

But a mist came down, and caught her away,

And he
Till

sought her in vain through the pathless day,

he wept with the grief that can do no more, And thought he had dreamt the dream before.

From

And

lo

bursting heart the weeping flowed on ! beside him the ghost-girl shone ;

Shone like the light on a harbour's breast, Over the sea of his dream's unrest
;

Shone like the wondrous, nameless boon, That the heart seeks ever, night or noon:

Warnings

He

forgotten, when needed most, clasped to his bosom the radiant ghost.

She wailed aloud, and

faded,

With upturn'd white

face, cold

and sank. and blank,

In his arms lay the corpse of the maiden pale, And she came no more to Sir Aglovaile.

Only a voice, when winds were wild, Sobbed and wailed like a chidden child.

A FAERIE ROMANCE.
Alas,

233

how
too

A sigh

easily things go wrong ! much, or a kiss too long,

And there follows a mist and a weeping And life is never the same again.

rain,

This was one of the simplest of her songs, which,


perhaps,
it

is

the cause of

my

being able to remember

better than most of the others.

While she sung,

was

in Elysium, with the sense

of a rich soul upholding, embracing, and overhang-

ing mine, full of


she could give

all

plenty and bounty.

I felt as if

me everything I wanted;

as if I should

never wish to leave her, but would be content to be

sung
by.

to

and fed by her, day


last I fell asleep

after day, as years rolled

At

while she sang.


it

When
day.
l"ust

awoke,
fire

knew not whether


to a

was night or

The
gave

had sunk enough


to

few red embers, which

light
feet

show me the woman stand-

ing a few

from me, with her back towards me,

facing the door by which I


ing,
to

had entered. She was weep-

but very gently and plentifully. The tears seemed


freely from her heart.

come

Thus she

stood for a

few minutes ; then, slowly turning

at right angles to

her former position, she faced another of the four


sides of the cottage. O
I

now observed
;

for the first


that, indeed,

time, that here

was a door likewise

and

there

was one

in the centre of every side of the cot-

234
tage.

PHANTASIES

When

she looked towards this second door,

her tears ceased to flow, but sighs took their place.

and every time she closed her eyes, a gentle sigh seemed to be born in her heart and to escape at her lips. But when

She

often closed her eyes as she stood;

her eyes were open, her sighs were deep and very
sad,

and shook her whole frame.

Then

she turned

towards the third door, and a cry as of fear or suppressed pain broke from her;

but she seemed to


it

hearten herself against the dismay, and to front


steadily
;

for,

although I often heard a slight cry and

sometimes a moan, yet she never moved or bent her


head, and I
felt

sure that her eyes never closed.

Then

she turned to the fourth door, and I saw her shudder,

and then stand


towards
face

still

as a statue

till

at last she turned


I

me and

approached the

fire.

saw that her

was white

as death.

But she gave one look up-

wards, and smiled the sweetest, most child-innocent


smile
;

then heaped fresh wood on the

fire,

and, sitting

down by the blaze, drew her wheel near her, and began to spin. While she spun, she murmured a low strange
song, to which the
infinite

hum

of the wheel

made

a kind of

At length, she paused in her symphony. spinning and singing, and glanced towards me, like a

mother who looks whether or not her child gives signs

A FAERIE ROMANCE.
of waking.

235
that

She smiled when she saw


I

my

eyes
yet.

were open.

asked her whether


is

it

was day

She answered, " It


keep
I

always day here, so long as I

my
felt

fire

burning."

wonderfully refreshed; and a great desire


island

to see

more of the
I

awoke within me.

I rose,

and saying that

wished to look about me, went


I

towards the door by which

had entered.

Stay a moment," said my hostess, with some " Listen to me. You will trepidation in her voice.
not see what you expect
door.

"

when you go out


:

of that
to

Only remember
to

this

whenever you wish


this

come back

me, enter wherever you see

mark."

She held up her left hand between me and the fire. Upon the palm, which appeared almost transparent,
I

saw, in dark red, a


fix in

mark

like this

--^

which

took care to

my

mind.

She then kissed me, and bade me good-bye with a solemnity that awed me and bewildered me too,
;

was only going out for a little ramble in an island, which I did not believe larger than could easily be compassed in a few hours' walk at most. As
seeing I
I

went she resumed her spinning.


I

opened the door, and stepped out. The moment

my

foot touched the

smooth sward,

seemed

to issue

from

236

PHANTASTES:

the door of an old barn on

my

father's estate,

where,

in the hot afternoons, I used to

go and

lie

amongst the
that I

straw, and read.

It

seemed
a
little

to

me now

had

been asleep there.

At

distance in the field, I

saw two of

my brothers

at play.

The moment they

caught sight of me, they called out to

me

to

come

and join them, which


as

I did

and we played together


till

we had done

years ago,

the red sun went


to rise

down

in the west,
river.

and the grey fog began

from the

Then we went home

together with a

strange happiness.
tinually
grass.

As we

went,

we heard
in

the conthe long


little

renewed lanim of a landrail

One

of my brothers and I separated to a

distance,

and each commenced running towards the

part

whence the sound appeared to come, in the hope of approaching the spot where the bird was, and so
getting at least a sight of
it,

if

we

should not be able


voice re-

to capture the little creature.

My father's

called us

from trampling down the rich long grass,

soon to be cut

down and
all

laid aside for winter.

had quite forgotten

about Fairy Land, and the

wonderful old woman, and the curious red mark.

My favourite
Some
last

brother and I shared the same bed.

childish dispute arose

between us

and our

words, ere

we

fell

asleep,

were not of kindness,

A FAEEIE ROMANCE.
notwithstanding the pleasures of the day.

237

When
had

woke

in the morning, I missed him.


to

He

risen

early, and had gone

bathe in the river.

In
!

another hour, he was brought


alas
!

home drowned.

Alas

if

we had

only gone to sleep as usual, the one

with his arm about the other!

Amidst the horror

of the moment, a strange conviction flashed across

my
I

mind, that

had gone through the very same

once before.

rushed out of the house,

I I

knew

not why,

sobbing and crying bitterly.


fields hi aimless distress, till, I

ran through the

passing the old barn,

caught sight of a red mark on the door.


trifles

The

merest

sometimes rivet the attention in the


little to

deepest misery; the intellect has so


grief.
I

do with
I I

went up to look at this mark, which remember ever to have seen before. As did not
looked at
it,

thought I would go in and


for
I

lie

down

amongst the straw,

was very weary with


I

running about and weeping.

opened the door;

and there in the cottage o

sat the old

woman

as

had

left

her, at her spinning-wheel.

"I

did not expect

you

quite so soon," she said,


I
it

as I shut the

door behind me.

went up

to the

couch, and threw myself on

with that fatigue

238

PHANTASTES

wherewith one awakes from a feverish dream of


hopeless grief.

The

old

woman
The
But

sang

May feint from


love,

great sun, benighted, the sky

once uplighted, Will never more die.


its

Form, with

brightness,
:

From
The

eyes will depart

It walketh, in whiteness,

halls of the heart.

Ere she had ceased


turned.
I

singing,

my

courage had re-

started

from the couch, and, without

taking leave of the old


Sighs, and sprang into

woman, opened the door what should appear.

of

I stood in a lordly hall, where,

by a

blazing fire
for

on the hearth,

sat a lady, waiting, I

knew,

some
I

one long desired.


that

A mirror

was near me, but


its

saw

my

form had no place within


should be seen.

depths, so I

feared not that I


fully resembled

The lady wonderwhether

my

marble lady, but was altogether


tell

of the daughters of men, and I could not or not


it

was

she.

It

was not

for

me

she waited.

The tramp
without.

of a great horse rang through the court


It ceased,

and the clang of armour told and the sound of


his ringing

that his rider alighted,

A FAERIE ROMANCE.
heels approached the halL

239

The door opened; but


alone.

the lady waited, for she

would meet her lord

He

strode in

she flew like a home-bound dove into


steel.

his arms,

and nestled on the hard

It

was the

knight of the soiled armour.

But now the armour


tell,

shone like polished glass; and, strange to


the

though

mirror

reflected

not

my

form, I saw a dim


steel.

shadow of myself in the shining " O thou art

my

beloved,

come, and I

am

blessed."

Her

soft fingers speedily

overcame the hard clasp

of his helmet; one

by one she undid the buckles of his


toiled
it

armour; and she


as she

under the weight of the mail,

would carry

aside.

Then she unclasped

his

greaves, and unbuckled his spurs ; and once

more she

sprang into his arms, and laid her head where she could

now

feel the

beating of his heart.

Then she

disen-

gaged herself from his embrace, and,


step or two, gazed at him.

moving back a
sadness had

He

stood there a mighty


all

form, crowned with a noble head, where


disappeared, or

had been absorbed

in solemn purpose.

Yet

I suppose that

he looked more thoughtful than

the lady had expected to see him, for she did not

renew her
love,

caresses, although

his face

glowed with
as

and the few words he spoke were


;

mighty

deeds for strength

but she led him towards the

240
hearth, and seated

PHANTASTES
him
in

an ancient chair, and

set

wine before him, and sat at his feet " when I think of the " I am sad," he said, youth

whom

met twice

in the forests of Fairy

Land

and who, you say, twice, with


from the death-sleep of an
evil

his songs, roused

enchantment.
it

you There

was something noble

in him, but

was a nobleness
yet perish of

of thought, and not of deed.


vile fear."

He may

"

Ah

"
!

returned the lady, " you saved him once

and

for that I

thank you

for
tell

somewhat loved him ?

But

may me how you


for so

I not say that I


fared,

when you

struck your battle-axe into the ash-tree,


;

and he came and found you

much

of the

story you had told me, when the beggar-child came and took you away."

" As soon as I saw " him," rejoined the knight,

knew
he
;

that earthly

and that

my
I

arms availed not against such as soul must meet him in its naked

strength.

So

unclasped

the ground; and,

my helm, and holding my good axe


flinch.

flung

it

on

yet in

my

hand, gazed at him with steady eyes.

On

he came,

a horror indeed, but I did not

Endurance

He must conquer, where force could not reach. came nearer and nearer, till the ghastly face was

A FAERIE ROMANCE.
close to mine.

241

A shudder
As

as of death ran through

me

but

think I did not move, for he seemed to


retreated.

quail,

and

soon as he gave back, I

struck one more sturdy blow on the stem of his tree,


that the forest rang;

and then looked

at

him

again.

He

writhed and grinned with rage and apparent

pain,

and again approached me, but retreated sooner I heeded him no more, but hewed than before.
with a will at the tree,
till

the trunk creaked, and


it fell

the head bowed, and with a crash

to the earth.

Then

looked up from

my
I I

labour,

and, lo!
;

the

spectre

had vanished, and

saw him no more

nor

ever in

my wanderings
!

have

heard of him again."


!

" Well struck


the lady.

well withstood

my

hero,"

said

"

" dost But," said the knight, somewhat troubled,


still ?

thou love the youth " Ah " she


!

" I

"

replied,

how can
;

help

it ?

He woke
I

me from worse
But
love

than death
if

he loved me.

had
first.

never been for thee,


I

he had not sought

me

him not

as I love thee.

He was

but the

moon

of

my

night;

thou art the sun of

my

day,

beloved."

" Thou art right," returned the noble man.

"

It

were hard, indeed, not

to

have some love

in return

- R

242
for such a gift as

PHANTASTES

he hath given

thee.

I,

too,

owe

him more than words can speak."

Humbled
"Let me,

before them, with an aching and deso-

late heart, I yet could not restrain

my

words

then, be the

moon

of thy night
is

still,

woman
fairest

And when
let

thy day

beclouded, as the

days will be,

some song of mine comfort

thee, as

an

old, withered, half-forgotten thing, that

belongs to an ancient mournful hour of uncompleted


birth,

which yet was beautiful


sat silent,

in its time."

They
listening.

and

I almost thought they

were

The

colour of the lady's eyes


tears grew,
rose,
I

grew deeper
filled

and deeper; the slow and overflowed.


hand, close to

and

them,

They
where

and passed, hand in

stood;

and each looked

towards

me

in

passing.

Then they disappeared


into

through a door which closed behind them ; but, ere


it

closed, I

saw that the room

which

it

opened
I

was a

rich chamber,

hung with gorgeous

arras.

stood with an ocean of sighs frozen in


1

my

bosom.
I

could remain no longer.

She was near me, and


in the

could not see her ; near


better than
I,

me

arms of one loved


and
I

and

would not

see her,

would

not be by her.

But how
I

to escape

from the nearness


time forgotten

of the best beloved ?

had not

this

A FAERIE EOMAXCE.
the mark;

243

for the fact that I could not enter the

sphere of these living beings kept


for me, I
life.

me

aware

that,

moved

in a vision, while they

moved

in

I looked all
;

about for the mark, but could see

it

nowhere

for I avoided looking just

where

it

was.

There the dull red cipher glowed, on the very door


of their
secret

chamber.
fell

Struck with agony, I


at the feet

dashed
Avoman,
of

it

open, and
still

of the ancient

who

spun on, the whole dissolved ocean

my

sighs bursting

from
I

me

in a storm of tearslept, I

less

sobs.

Whether
I

fainted or

do not

know;
I

but, as
to

returned to consciousness, before


to

seemed

have power

move, I heard the


:

woman

singing,

and could distinguish the words

light of

dead and of dying days


!

thy glory go, In a rosy mist and a moony maze, O'er the pathless peaks of snow.

O Love

in

But what is left for the cold grey soul, That moans like a wounded dove ? One wine is left in the broken bowl To love, and love, and love. 'Tis

Now

I could weep.

When

she saw

me

weeping,

she sang:
Better to
sit at

the waters' birth,


;

Than a sea of waves to win To live in the love that floweth forth, Than the love that cometh in.

B 2

244
Be thy

PHANTASTES

heart a well of love, ray child,

Flowing, and free, and sure; For a cistern of love, though undefiled,

Keeps not the


I rose

spirit pure.

from the earth, loving the white lady as

had

never loved her before.

Then
opened

I
it,

walked up to the door of Dismay, and and went out. And lo! I came forth
street,

upon a crowded
to

where men and women went


I

and

fro

in multitudes.

knew

it

well;

and,

turning to one hand, walked sadly along the pave-

ment.

Suddenly

saw approaching me, a

little

way
alas,

off,

a form well the

known
word
!)

to

me

(well-known!
years

how weak

in the

when

thought
before

my
I

boyhood was
the

left

behind, and shortly

entered

realm

of

Fairy

Land.

Wrong and Sorrow had gone


hand, as
it is

together,

hand-in-

well they do.


It

Unchangeably dear
heart as
I could

was that
lies in its

face.

lay in
;

my
but

a child

own

white bed

not meet

her.

"

Anything but

that," I said

and, turning aside,

sprang up

the steps to a door, on which I fancied I


sign. I entered I

saw the mystic


cottage,

not the mysterious

but her home.

rushed wildly on, and

stood

by the door

of her room.

A FAERIE EOMANCE.
"She
is

245

out," I said,

"I

will see the old

room

once more."

opened the door gently, and stood in a great solemn church. deep-toned bell, whose sounds
I

throbbed and echoed and

swam through

the

empty

building, struck the hour of midnight.

The moon

shone through the windows of the clerestory, and

enough of the ghostly radiance was diffused through


the church to let

me

see,

walking with a

stately,

yet somewhat

trailing

and stumbling

step,

down

the opposite aisle, for I stood in one of the transepts,

a figure dressed in

a white robe, whether

for the night, or for that longer night

which

lies
it

too

deep for the day,

could not

tell.

Was

she?

and was

this

her chamber?

I crossed the church,

and followed.
as
it

The

figure stopped,

seemed

to

ascend

were a high bed, and lay down. I reached The bed the place where it lay, glimmering white. was a tomb. The light was too ghostly to see
clearly,

but I passed

my

hand over the face and


all

the hands and the feet, which were

bare.

were cold
It

they were marble, but


I

They knew them.


steps,

grew dark.
ere

turned to retrace
that
I

my

but

found,

long,
little

had wandered
I

into

what

seemed a

chapel.

groped about, seeking

246
the
door.

PHANTASTES:
Everything
I

touched

belonged

to

the dead.

My

hands

fell

on the cold

effigy of a

knight

who

lay with his legs crossed and

Ms sword
hand
:

broken beside him.

He
I

lay in his noble rest, and I


I felt for the left

lived on in ignoble strife.

and a certain finger

found there the ring I knew


ancestors. I

he was one of my own

was

in the chapel

over the burial- vault of

my
I,

race.

I called

aloud

"If any of the dead are moving here,


take pity upon

let

them
alive
;

me, for

alas

am

still

and

let

some dead woman comfort me,

for I

am

stranger in the land of the dead, and see no light."

A warm kiss alighted


And
I said,

on

my lips

through the dark.


;

"

The dead

kiss well

I will not

be

afraid."

And
I

a great hand was reached out of the

dark, and grasped mine for a moment, mightily and


tenderly.
said
to
is

myself:

" The

veil

between,

though very dark,

very

thin."
I

Groping

my way

further,

stumbled over the


:

heavy stone that covered the entrance of the vault


and,
in

stumbling, descried
fire.

upon the stone the


caught the great ring.

mark, glowing in red


All

my
it

effort

could not have

moved

the

but

opened the door of the cottage,


once

huge slab and I threw


;

myself

more, pale

and

speechless,

on

the

A FAERIE ROMANCE.
couch beside the ancient dame.

247

She sang once

more

Thou dreamest

on a rock thou
;

art,

High o'er the broken wave Thou fallest with a fearful start,
But not
For,
into thy grave
in the
;

morning's light, Thou smilest at the vanished night.


sink, all pale and dumb, Into the fainting gloom ;

waking

So wilt thou

But

ere the

coming terrors come,

Thou wak'st where is the tomb ? Thou wak'st the dead ones smile above, With hovering arms of sleepless love.

She paused

then sang again


for gladness,

We We
And

weep

The The

tears they are the

weep for same


;

grief ,

sigh for longing,

and

relief

sighs have but one name.


strife,
;

mingled in the dying

Are moans that are not sad The pangs of death are throbs of
Its sighs are

life,

sometimes glad.
:

The face
It is

is

very strange and white

Earth's only spot That feebly nickers back the light

The
I fell asleep,

living

see'tli

not.

and

slept a dreamless sleep, for I I

know

not

how

long.

When

awoke,

found that

my

hostess

had moved from where she had been

sitting,

248 and now


sat

PHANTASTES:
between

me and

the fourth door.

guessed that her design was to prevent


there.
I

my

entering

sprang from the couch, and darted past her


I
is

to the door.
I

opened

it

at once

and went

out.

All

remember

a cry of distress from the

woman:
!

" Don't go
I

there,

my

child

Don't go there "

But

was gone.
I

it

knew nothing more; or, if I did, all when I awoke to consciousness,


cottage, with

had forgot

lying on the
lap of

floor of the

my

head

in the

the

woman, who was weeping over me, and


hair with both hands, talking to
to a sick

stroking

my
As

me

as a

mother
child.

might talk

and sleeping, or a dead

soon as I looked up and saw her, she smiled


;

through her tears

smiled with withered face and

young

eyes,

till

her

countenance was

irradiated

with the light of the smile.

Then
an icy

she bathed

my

head and face and hands


liquid,

in

cold, colourless

which smelt a

little

of

damp

earth.

Imme-

diately I

was able

to sit up.

some food before me.


" Listen to me,
directly!"

When
child.

She rose and put had eaten, she said


:

my

You must

leave

me

" Leave you


I

"
!

I said.

"

am

so

happy with you.

never was so happy in

my

life."

A FAERIE ROMANCE.
" But

249

you must

go," she rejoined sadly.

" Listen

What
"
I

do you hear?"
hear the sound as of a great throbbing of

water."

"

Ah

you do hear

it ?

Well,

had
"

to

go through

that door

the door of the Timeless

(and she shud-

dered as she pointed to the fourth door)


;

"

to find

had not gone, you would never have you entered again and because I went, the waters around
for if I
;

my

cottage will rise and rise, and flow and come,

till

they build a great firmament of waters over


dwelling.

my

But

as long as I

keep

my

fire

burning,

they cannot enter.

have fuel enough for years;

and

after one year

they will sink away again, and be


I

just as they

were before you came.

have not been


she smiled

buried for a hundred years now."

And

and wept. " Alas

alas

"
!

I cried.

"

have brought

this evil

on the best and kindest of friends, who has


heart with great gifts."

filled

my
can

"
bear

Do
it

not think of that," she rejoined.

"

very well.

You
I

will

come back
for

to

me some

day, I know.
child, to

But

beg you,

my

sake,

my
it

dear

do one thing.

In whatever sorrow you

may
may

be,

however

inconsolable and irremediable

PHANTASTES:
appear, believe
cottage,

me

that the

old

woman

in

the

with the young eyes," (and she smiled),

" knows
it,

something, though she must not always


satisfy

tell

that

would quite

you about

it,

even in the

worst moments of your

distress.

Now you

must go."

" But how can


and
if

I go, if the waters are all about,

the doors

all

lead into other regions and other

worlds?" " This is not an


to the land

island," she replied;


;

" but

is

joined

by a narrow neck

and

for the door, I

will lead

you myself through the

right one."

She took
door
;

my

hand, and led


I

me

through the third

whereupon

found myself standing in the


I

deep grassy turf on which


little

had landed from the


cottage.

upon the opposite side of the She pointed out the direction I must take, to
isthmus and escape the rising waters.

boat, but

find the

Then

putting her arms around me, she held


;

me

to

her bosom
leaving

and as
mother

I kissed her, I felt as if I for the first time,

were

my

and could not

help weeping bitterly.

At

length she gently pushed

me away, and

with the words, " Go,

my

son,

and do

something worth doing," turned back, and, entering


the cottage, closed the door behind her.
I felt

very desolate

as I went.

A FAERIE ROMANCE.

251

XX.
Thou hadst no fame
;

that which thou didst like good

but thy appetite that swayed thy blood For that time to the best for as a blast
;

Was

That through a house

conies, usually

doth cast

Things out of order, yet by chance may come And blow some one tiling to his proper room,

Sway

So did thy appetite, and not thy zeal, thee by chance to do some one thing

well.

FLETCHER'S Faithful Shepherdess.

The noble hart

And

is

that harbours vertuous thought, with childe of glorious great intent,

Can never

rest, untill it forth have brought Th' eternall brood of glorie excellent. SPENSEB. The Faerie Queene.

HAD not gone very far before I felt that the turf beneath my feet was soaked with the rising waters.
I

But
and

reached the isthmus in safety.

It

was rocky,

so

much

higher than the level of the peninsula,


to cross.

that I
side of

had plenty of time

saw on each

me

the water rising rapidly, altogether with-

out wind, or violent motion, or broken waves, but as

252
if

PHANTASTES:
strong
fire

a slow

were glowing beneath


found myself at

it.

Ascending a steep

acclivity, I

last in

an open, rocky country.

After travelling for some

hours, as nearly in a straight line as I could, I arrived


at

a lonely tower, built on the top of a

little hill,

which overlooked the whole neighbouring country.

As

I approached, I

heard the clang of an anvil


I despaired of

and

so rapid

were the blows, that


till

myself heard
It

a pause in the

making work should ensue.

was some minutes before a cessation took place; but


it

when

did, I

wait; for,

knocked loudly, and had not long to a moment after, the door was partly opened
half-undressed, glowing

by a noble-looking youth,

with heat, and begrimed with the blackness of the


forge.

In one hand he held a sword, so lately from


it

the furnace that


as

yet shone with a dull

fire.

As

soon

he saw me, he threw the door wide open, and stand-

ing aside, invited


so
;

me

very cordially

to enter.

did

when he shut and

bolted the door most carefully,

and then led the way inwards.

He

brought

me

into

a rude hall, which seemed to occupy almost the whole


of the ground floor of the
little

tower, and which

saw was now being used

as a workshop.

A huge fire
By

roared on the hearth, beside which was an anvil.

the anvil stood, in similar undress, and in a waiting

A FAERIE ROMANCE.
attitude,

253

hammer

in hand, a second youth, tall as the


slightly built.

former, but far

more

Reversing the

usual course of perception in such meetings, I thought

them, at
glance,

first

sight,

very unlike ; and,

at the second

knew

that they were brothers.


elder,

The

former,

and apparently the

was muscular and dark,

with curling hair, and large hazel eyes, which sometimes

grew wondrously

soft.

The second was

slender

and

fair,

yet with a countenance like an eagle, and an

eye which, though pale blue, shone with an almost


fierce expression.

He

stood erect, as

if

looking from

a lofty mountain crag, over a vast plain outstretched


beloAv.

As

soon as
I

we

entered the hall, the elder


satisfaction

turned to me, and

saw that a glow of

shone on both their faces.


pleasure, he addressed

To my surprise and
thus
:

great

me
sit

"

Brother, will

finish this

by ? our work of part you

the
"

fire

and

rest, till

we

I signified

my

assent

and, resolved to await any


to

disclosure they

might be inclined

make, seated

myself in silence near the hearth.

The

elder brother then laid the sword in the


it

fire,

covered

well over, and

when
it

it

had attained a
it

suffi-

cient degree of heat,


anvil,

drew

out and laid

on the

moving

it

carefully about, while the younger,

254

PHANTASTES

with a succession of quick smart blows, appeared


either to be welding it, or

hammering one
rest.

part of

it

to

a consenting shape with the

Having

finished,

they laid

it

carefully in the fire; and,

when it was very


some
liquid,

hot indeed, plunged it into a vessel

full of

whence a blue flame sprang upwards, as the glowing


steel entered.

There they

left it

and, drawing two

down, one on each side of me. " We are very glad to see you, brother. We have been expecting you for some days," said the darkstools to the fire, sat

haired youth.
I am proud to be called your brother," I rejoined " and yon will not think I refuse the name, if I de" sire to know why you honour me with it ? " Ah then he does not know about said the
; !

"

it,"

younger.

"

We thought you had known of the bond


we have
to

betwixt us, and the work

do together.

You must

tell

him, brother, from the first"


:

So the elder began " Our father is king of this country. Before we were
born, three giant brothers had appeared in the land.

No

one

knew

exactly when, and no one had the least

whence they came. They took possession of a ruined castle that had stood unchanged and unoccuidea

pied within the

memory

of any of the country people,

A FAERIE ROMANCE.
The
time,

255

vaults of this castle had remained uninjured

by

and

these, I presume, they

made use

of at

first.

They were
injury to

rarely seen, and never offered the least


;

any one

so that they

were regarded

in the

neighbourhood

as at least perfectly harmless, if not

rather benevolent beings.


served, that the old castle
other,

But

it

began

to

be ob-

had assumed somehow or


dif-

no one knew when or how, a somewhat


from what
it

ferent look

used

to have.

Not only were

several breaches in the lower part of the walls built

up, but actually


stood,

some of the battlements which yet


to prevent

had been repaired, apparently

them

from

falling into

worse decay, while the more imporrestored.

tant parts

were being

Of course, every one


The peasants

supposed the giants must have a hand in the work,

but no one ever saw them engaged in

it.

became yet more cealed himself, and watched


bourhood of the
full

uneasy, after one,

who had

con-

all night, in

the neigh-

castle,

reported that he had seen, in

moonlight, the three huge giants working with


all

might and main,

night long, restoring to their

former position some massive stones, formerly steps


of a grand turnpike
stair,

a great portion of which

had long since

fallen,

along with part of the wall of


it

the round tower in which

had been

built.

This

256

PHANTASTES

wall they were completing, foot

by

foot,

along with

the

stair.

But the people

said they

had no just pre-

text for

interfering: although

the real reason for

letting the giants alone was, that

everybody was far

too

much afraid

of them to interrupt them.

" At length, with the help of a neighbouring quarry,


the whole of the external wall of the castle
finished.

was

And now the


But

country folks were in greater


for several years the giants

fear than before.

remained very peaceful.

The

reason of this was

afterwards supposed to be the fact, that they were


distantly

related
for,
;

to

several

good

people in the

country;

as

long as

these

lived,

they
all

re-

mained quiet

but as -soon as they were

dead

the real nature of the giants broke out.

Having
they pro-

completed
ceeded,

the

outside of their

castle,

by spoiling country them, to make a quite luxurious provision


comfort within.
the news of their robberies
ears
;

the

houses

around
for their

Affairs reached such a pass, that

came

to

my

father's

but he, alas ; was so crippled in his resources,

by a war he was carrying on with a neighbouring


prince, that he could only spare a very few
to attempt the capture of their stronghold.

men,

Upon

these the giants issued in the night,

and slew every

A FAERIE ROMANCE.
man
of them.

257

And

now, grown bolder by success


their depre-

and impunity, they no longer confined

dations to property, but began to seize the persons

of their distinguished neighbours, knights and ladies,

and hold them

in

durance, the misery of which


all

was heightened by

manner of

indignity, until

they were redeemed by their friends, at an exorbitant


ransom.

Many

knights have adventured their over-

throw, but to their

own

instead

for they

have

all

been slain, or captured, or forced to


retreat.

To crown

their enormities, if

make a hasty any man now

attempts their destruction, they, immediately upon


his defeat, put one or

more of

their captives to a
all

shameful death, on a turret in sight of


so that they have been

passers-by ;
;

much

less

molested of late

and we, although we have burned, for years,


attack these

to

demons and destroy them, dared

not, for

the sake of their captives, risk the adventure, before

we

should have reached at least our earliest man-

hood.

Now, however, we

are preparing for the


this

attempt;
these.

and the grounds of

preparation are

Having

only the resolution, and not the ex-

perience, necessary for the undertaking,

we went and
lives not

consulted a lonely

woman

of wisdom,

who

very far from here, in the direction of the quarter

258

PHANTASTES

from which you have come. She received us most kindly, and gave us what seems to us the best of
advice.

She

first

inquired what experience

we had

had

in arms.

We told

her

we had been
for

well exer-

cised from our boyhood,

and

some years had

kept ourselves in constant practice, with a view to


this necessity.

" * But

you have not actually fought

for life

and

death?' said she.

"

We were forced to confess we had not.


the
better in

" * So much
replied.

some

respects,'
first

she

'Now,

listen to

me.

Go

and work

with an armourer, for as long time as you find needful to obtain a

knowledge of

his craft

which will
all

not be long, seeing your hearts will be

in the

work.
alone^.

Then go
Receive
for

some lonely tower, you two no visits from man or woman.


to

There forge
that

yourselves every piece of armour

you wish

to wear, or to use, in

your coming
As, howthe
three

encounter.
ever,

And

keep up your

exercises.

two of you can be no match

for

giants, I will find you, if I can, a third brother,

who
and

will take

on himself the third share of the

fight,

the preparation.

Indeed, I have already seen one

who

will, I think,

be the very

man

for

your fellow-

A FAERIE ROMANCE.
ship
;

259
to

but

it

will be

some time before he comes

me.

He

is

wandering now without an aim.

I will

show him
will

you in a glass, and, when he comes, you know him at once. If he will share your endeato

vours,

you must teach him

all

r you know , and he

will

repay you

well, in present song,

and in future

deeds.'

" She opened the door of a curious old cabinet that


stood in the room.

On

the inside of this door

was

an oval convex mirror.

Looking

in

it

for

some time,

we

at length

saw reflected the place where we stood,


in her chair.
at the feet of the

and the old dame seated


were not
reflected.

Our forms
dame, lay

But

a young man, yourself, weeping. "* Surely this youth will not serve our ends,' said
(

I,

for

he weeps.'
'

" The old woman smiled.


strength,' said she.

Past tears are present

"

'

Oh

'
!

said

my

brother,

saw you weep once

over an eagle you shot.' " ' That was because


I replied
'
;

it

was

so like you, brother,'

but indeed,

this

youth

may have
'
;

better

cause for tears than that

was wrong.'

" ' Wait a while,' said the


not, he will make you weep

woman
till

if I

mistake

your

tears are

dry

for

ever.

Tears are the only cure for weeping.


8 2

260

PHANTASTES

And you may have


your tower,
till

need of the cure, before you go

forth to fight the giants.

You must

wait for him, in

he comes.'

you will join us, we will soon teach you to make your armour and we will fight together, and work together, and love each other as never three
;

" Now, if

loved before.

And you will


when

sing to us, willyou not?"

"That
is

I will,

I can," I

answered; "but

it

only at times that the power of song comes upon

me.

For that

must wait; but


will not

have a feeling
off to enliven

that if I

work

well, song

be far

the labour."

This was
required

all

the compact made:

the brothers

nothing

more, and I did not


I rose,

think
off

of

giving anything more.

and threw

my
am

upper garments.

" I know the uses of the sword,"


ashamed of
soiled

I said.

"

my

white hands beside yours so nobly


;

and hard

but that shame will soon be wiped

away."

"No, no; we
needful as
toil.

will not

work

to-day.
;

Rest
it is

is

as

Bring the wine, brother

your

turn to serve to-day."

The younger

brother soon covered a table with


ate

rough viands, but good wine ; and we

and drank

A FAERIE ROMANCE.
heartily,

261

beside our work.

Before the meal was

over, I

had learned

all their story.

Each had some-

thing in his heart which

made

the conviction, that

he would victoriously perish


a real sorrow to him.

in the

coming

conflict,

Otherwise they thought they


their

would have lived enough. The causes of trouble were respectively these
:

While they wrought with an armourer, in a city famed for workmanship in steel and silver, the elder
had
fallen in love

with a lady as far beneath him in

real rank, as she

was above the

station

he had as

apprentice to

an armourer.

Nor

did he seek to

further his suit

by

discovering himself;

but there
him, that

was simply

so

much manhood about


what

no one ever thought of rank when in his company.

This

is

his

brother said

about

it.

The lady could not help loving him in return. He told her when he left her, that he had a
perilous

adventure before him, and that


either see

when

it

was achieved, she would

him return

to

claim her, or hear that he had died with honour.

The younger
if

brother's grief arose from the fact, that,


slain,

they were both


childless.

his old

father,

the king,

would be

His love for

his father

was

so
it,

exceeding, that to one unable to sympathize with

262
it

PHANTASTES

would have appeared extravagant. Both loved him equally at heart but the love of the younger had been more developed, because his thoughts and
;

anxieties
at

had not been otherwise occupied.


;

When
and, of

home, he had been his constant companion

late,

had ministered

to the infirmities of his

growing

age.

The youth was never weary

of listening to the
;

tales of his sire's youthful

adventures

and had not

yet in the smallest degree lost the conviction, that his


father

was the

greatest

man

in the world.

The

grandest triumph possible to his conception was, to


return to his father, laden with the spoils of one of
the hated giants.

But they both were

in

some

dread, lest the thought of the loneliness of these

two might occur to them, in the moment when decision was most necessary, and disturb, in some
degree, the self-possession requisite for the success

of their attempt.

For, as

have

said,

they were yet


I,

untried in actual conflict.


to

"Now," thought

"I see

what the powers of


part, I did not

my gift

must minister."
I

For

my own

dread death, for

had nothing

to care to live for;

but I dreaded the encounter


it.

because of the responsibility connected with


resolved however to

work hard, and thus grow

cool,

and quick, and

forceful.

A FAEKIE EOMANCE.
The time passed away
and ramble,
in

263
song, in talk
aid.

work and

in friendly fight
for myself

and brotherly

would not forge


like theirs, for I

armour of heavy mail

was not

so powerful as they,

and

depended more

for

any success I might secure,

upon

nimbleness of motion, certainty of eye, and ready


response of hand.

Therefore I began to

make

for

myself a

shirt of steel plates

and rings

which work,

while more troublesome, was better suited to

me

than the heavier labour.

Much
by

assistance did the


their instructions,

brothers give me, even after,


I

was able

to

make some

progress alone.
to

Their

work was

in a

moment abandoned,

render any re-

quired aid to mine.


I tried to repay

As

the old

woman had promised,


;

them with song

the tears
dirges.

they both shed, over

and many were my ballads and

which

The songs they liked best to hear were two made for them. They were not half so
I

good as many others


learned from the wise

knew, especially some

I
;

had
but

woman

in

the

cottage

what comes nearest

to

our needs
I.

we

like the best.

on his throne, Glowing in gold and red ; The crown in his right hand shone, And the grey hairs crowned his head.
sat

The king

264

PHANTASTES:
His only son walks
in,
:

And
"

in walls of steel he stands

Make me, O father, strong to win, " With the blessing of holy hands."

He

knelt before his

sire,
;

Who blessed him with feeble smile


His eyes shone out with a kingly

fire,

But
"

his old lips quivered the while.

Go
"

to the fight,

my son,
;

Bring back the giant's head " And the crown with which my brows have done, " Shall on thine instead."
glitter

"

My father,

I seek

no crown,

"But unspoken

praise from thee;

" For thy people's good, and thy renown, " I will die to set them free."

The king
Till

sat

down and waited


night nor day;
filled

there,

And rose not,

a sound of shouting
cries of

the

air,

And

a sore dismay.

Then like a king he sat once more, With the crown upon his head
;

And up to

the throne the people bore

A mighty giant dead.


And up
to the throne the people bore

A pale and lifeless boy.


The king
In a
rose

up

like a prophet of yore,

lofty,

deathlike joy.

put the crown on the chilly brow: " Thou should'st have reigned with me; " But Death is the king of both, and now "I go to obey with thee.

He

A FAERIE ROMANCE.
"

265

Surely some good in me there lay, " To beget the noble one." The old man smiled like a winter day,

And

fell

beside his son.

II.

"

O lady,
" He is He hath

thy lover is dead," they cried; dead, but hath slain the foe ;

"

left his name to be magnified " In a song of wonder and woe."


!

" Alas

am

well repaid," said she,

"With a pain
'

that stings like joy;


to

For I

feared,

from his tenderness

me,

" That he was but a feeble boy.

"

Now

I shall hold

my head

on high,

queen among my kind. " If ye hear a sound, 'tis only a sigh

" The

"For a glory

left

behind."

The
wept

first

three times I sang these songs, they both

passionately.

But

after the third time,

they

wept no more.

Their eyes shone, and their faces

grew pale, but they never wept at any of


again.

my

songs

266

PHANTASTES:

XXI.
I put

my life in my hands.
The Book of Judges.

AT

length, with

much

toll

and equal

delight,

our

armour was

finished.

We

armed each

other,

and

tested the strength of the defence, with

many blows
and
with

of loving force.

I was inferior in strength to both


little

my

brothers, but a

more

agile than either

upon

this agility, joined to precision in hitting

the point of

my weapon,

grounded

my

hopes of

success in the ensuing combat.


to develope yet

I likewise laboured

more the keenness of


gifted; and,

sight

withVhich

was naturally

from the remarks of

my

companions, I soon learned that


not in vain.

my

endeavours were

to

The morning arrived on which we had determined make the attempt, and succeed or perish perhaps
"We had resolved
to fight

both.

on

foot

knowing

that the mishap of

many

of the knights

who had

made

the attempt, had resulted from the fright of

their horses at the appearance of the giants;

and

believing with Sir Gawain, that, though mare's sons

A FAEEIE ROMANCE.
might be
a
traitor.

267

false to us, the earth

would never prove


in

But most of our preparations were,


at least, frustrated.

their

immediate aim

We

rose, that fatal


all

morning, by day-break.

We
now

had rested from

labour the day before, and


lark.

were fresh as the


water, and

We

bathed in cold spring


in

dressed ourselves

clean garments,
festivity.

with a sense of preparation, as for a solemn

When we
which
I

had broken our


had found
in the

fast, I took

an old lyre,

tower and had myself

repaired, and sung for the last time the two ballads

of which I have said so

much

already.
:

followed

them with

this, for
for

a closing song
his

Oh, well

him who breaks

dream

With

the blow that ends the strife;


that flows

And, waking, knows the peace Around the pain of life


!

"We are dead, my brothers! Our bodies clasp, As an armour, our souls about
;

This hand

is

the battle-axe I grasp,


stout.

And
Fear

this

my hammer

not,

my brothers,
of the grave

for

we

are dead;
;

No

noise can break our rest


is

The calm

And

about the head, the heart heaves not the breast.


back,

And our life we throw to our people To live with, a further store;
In the land where we live no more.

We leave it them, that there be no lack

268

PHANTASTES:
Oh, well for him who breaks his dream With the blow that ends the strife ;

And, waking, knows the peace that flows Around the noise of life!

As

the last few tones of the

instrument were

following, like a dirge, the death of the song,

we

all

sprang

to

our

feet.

For, through one of the


I

little

windows of the tower, towards which

had looked

as I sang, I saw, suddenly rising over the edge of the

slope

on which our tower stood, three enormous

heads.

The
caused

brothers

knew

at once,

by

my

looks,

what
utterly

my
to

sudden movement.

We
to

were
arm.

unarmed, and there was no time

But we seemed

adopt the same resolution simul-

taneously ; for each caught up his favourite weapon,


and, leaving his defence behind, sprang to the door.
I snatched

up a long

rapier, abruptly,

but very finely


;

pointed, in

my

sword-hand, and in the other a sabre

the elder brother seized his heavy battle-axe; and


the younger, a great, two-handed sword, which he

wielded in one hand, like a feather.

We

had just

time to get clear of the tower, embrace and say goodbye, and part to some
little

distance, that

we might
They

not incumber each other's motions, ere the triple


giant-brotherhood drew near to attack us.

were about twice our height, and armed

to the teeth.

A FAERIE ROMANCE.
Through

269

the visors of their helmets, their monstrous


I

eyes shone with a horrible ferocity.

was

in the

middle position, and the middle giant approached

me.

My

eyes were busy with his armour, and I


in settling

was not a moment saw that


his

my mode

of attack.

body-armour was somewhat clumsily

made, and that the overlappings in the lower part

had more play than necessary; and I hoped that, in a fortunate moment, some joint would open a I stood little, in a visible and accessible part.
till

he came near enough to aim a blow at


all

me
the
I

with the mace, which has been, in


favourite

ages,

weapon
and

of

giants,

when, of
blow
fall

course,

leaped

aside,
I

let

the

upon

the

spot where

had been standing.

expected this

would

strain

the joints of his armour yet more.

Full of fury, he

made

at

me

again

but

kept him

busy, constantly eluding his blows, and hoping thus


to fatigue him.

He

did not seem to fear any assault


;

from me, and

attempted none as yet

but while I

watched
at

his motions in order to avoid his blows, I,

the same time, kept equal watch upon

those

joints of his
I

armour, through some one of which


life.

hoped

to

reach his

At

length, as if some-

what

fatigued,

he

paused a moment, and

drew

270

PHANTASTES
I

himself slightly up;

bounded forward,

foot

and

hand, ran

my

rapier "right through to the

armour

of his hack, let go


his right

the

arm, turned as
sabre.

and passing under he fell, and flew at him


hilt,

with

my

At one happy
which

blow, I divided the

band of

his helmet,

fell off,

and allowed me,

with a second cut across the eyes, to blind him


quite;
after

which

I clove his

head, and turned,

uninjured, to see

how my

brothers

had

fared.

Both
I

the giants were down, but so were


flew
first to

my

brothers.

the one and then to the other couple.

Both

pairs of combatants

were dead, and yet locked

together, as in the death struggle.

The

elder

had

buried his battle-axe in the body of his


fallen beneath

foe,

and had
strangled

him

as

he

felL

The giant had

him

hi his

own

death-agonies.
left

The younger had


enemy; and,

nearly hewn

off the

leg of his

grappled with in the

act, had, while they rolled to-

gether on the earth, found for his dagger a passage

betwixt the gorget and cuirass of the giant, and


stabbed him mortally in the throat
the giant's throat
his foe,

The blood from

was yet pouring over the hand of


grasped the
hilt

which

still

of the dagger
I,

sheathed in the wound.

They

lay

silent.

the least

worthy, remained the sole survivor in the

lists.

A FAEKEE KOMANCE.
As
first

271

I stood exhausted amidst the dead, after the

worthy deed of

my

life,

suddenly looked

behind me, and there lay the Shadow, black in the


sunshine.
I

went

into the lonely tower,

and there
supine

lay the useless armour of the noble youths


as they.

Ah, how sad


it

it

looked

It

was a glorious

death, but
fort

was death.
I

My songs

could not comI

me

now.

was almost ashamed that

was

alive,

when

they, the true-hearted,

were no more.
had gone
perhaps

And
I

yet I breathed freer to think that I


trial,

through the

and had not


if

failed.

And

may

be forgiven,

some

feelings of pride arose

in

my

bosom, when I looked down on the mighty

form, that lay dead by

my

hand.

" After

all,

however," I said to myself, and


it

my

heart sank, "

was only

skill.

Your

giant

was but

a blunderer."
I
left

the bodies

of friends

and

foes,

peaceful

enough Avhen the death-fight was over, and, hastening


to

the

country below, roused

the

peasants.

They came with


waggons
princes

shouting and gladness, bringing


I resolved to take the

to carry the bodies.

home

to their father, each as

he lay, in the
searched the

arms of
giants,

his country's foe.

But

first I

and found the keys of

their castle, to

which

272
repaired, followed
It

PHANTASTES:
by a great company
of the people.

was a place of wonderful strength. I released the prisoners, knights and ladies, all in a sad condition,
from the cruelties and neglects of the
giants.
It

humbled me
thanks,

to see

them crowding round me with

when

in truth the glorious brothers, lying


to

dead by their lonely tower, were those


thanks belonged.
the thought born
visible

whom

the

had but aided


their

in carrying out

in

brain,
laid

and uttered
hold

in

form before ever I

thereupon.

Yet

I did count

myself happy to have been chosen

for their brother in this great deed.

After a few hours spent in refreshing and clothing


the prisoners,

we

the capital.

commenced our journey towards This was slow at first; but, as the
all
it

strength and spirits of the prisoners returned,

became more rapid

and

in three days

we

reached

the palace of the king.

As we

entered the city

gates, with'^the huge bulks lying each on a waggon

drawn by

horses,

and two of them

inextricably

intertwined with the dead bodies of their princes,


the people raised a shout and then a cry, and fol-

lowed

in multitudes the

solemn procession.

I will not attempt to describe the behaviour of the

grand old king.

Joy and pride

in his sons

overcame

A FAERIE ROMANCE.
his sorrow at their loss.

273

On me

he heaped every

kindness that heart could devise or hand execute.

He

and question me, night after night, about everything that was in any way connected
used to
sit
>

with them and their preparations.


life,

Our mode

of

and relation

to each other,

during the time

we

spent together, was a constant theme.


into

He

entered
of

the

minutest

details

of

the

construction

the armour, even to

a peculiar

mode

of riveting

some of the armour


sole
I

plates,

with unwearying
to

interest.

This

had intended

beg of the king, as


;

my

memorials of the contest

but,

when
it,

saw the

delight he
solation
it

took in contemplating

and the con-

appeared to afford him in his sorrow, I


it
;

could not ask for

but, at his request, left

my

own,

weapons and

all, to

be joined with

theirs in a trophy,

erected in the grand square of the palace.

The
knight
the

king, with gorgeous ceremony, dubbed

me

with

his

own

old hand, in which trembled

sword of

his youth.
I

During the short time


was, naturally,
I

remained,

my

company

much

courted by the young nobles.

was

in a constant

round of gaiety and diversion,

notwithstanding that the court was in mourning.

For the country was

so

rejoiced at the death

of

274
the giants, and so

PHANTASTES:

many

of their lost friends had

been restored to the nobility and

men

of \vealth,

that the gladness surpassed the grief.

" Ye have

indeed

left

your
I said.

lives

to

your people,

my

great

brothers

"
!

was ever and ever haunted by the old shadow, which I had not seen all the time that I
I

But

was

at

work

in the tower.

Even

in the society of
to think
it

the ladies of the court,


their

who seemed

only

duty

to

make my
it

stay there as pleasant to

me

as possible, I could not help being conscious of its

presence, although
at the time.

might not be annoying

me

length, somewhat weary of uninterrupted pleasure, and nowise strengthened there-

At

by, either in body or mind, I put on a splendid


suit of

armour of

steel inlaid

with

silver,

which the
the horse

King had given me, and, mounting on which it had been brought to me, took
old

my

leave

of the palace, to visit the distant city in which the

lady dwelt,

whom

the elder

prince had loved.

anticipated a sore task, in conveying to her the news

of his glorious fate

but

this trial

was spared me,

in

a manner as strange as anything that had happened


to

me

in Fairy Land.

A FAERIE ROMANCE.

275

XXII.
Niemand hat meine
Gestalt als der Ich.

Schoppe, in

JEAN PAUL'S

Titan.

No

one has

my

form but the

/.

Joy's a subtil

elf.

I think

man 's

when he forgets himself. CYBIL TOURXEUK. The Revenger's Tragedy.


happiest

ON

the third day of

my journey,
little
it.

was riding gently was approaching

along a road, apparently

frequented, to judge
I

from the grass that grew upon


a
forest.

Everywhere in Fairy Land, forests are the places where one may most certainly expect advenAs I drew near, a youth, unarmed, gentle, tures.
and
beautiful,

who had

just cut a branch from a

yew growing on the skirts of the wood, evidently to make himself a bow, met me, and thus accosted me
:

" Sir
forest
;

knight, be careful as thou ridest through this


for
it is

said to be strangely enchanted, in a


its

sort

which even those who have been witnesses of

enchantment, can hardly describe."


T 2

276
I

PHANTASTES
thanked

him

for

his

advice,
on.

which

pro-

mised to
I

follow, and rode

But the moment


to

entered

the

wood,

it

seemed
it

me

that,

if

enchantment
kind than
;

there

was,

for

the

Shadow,
and

must be of a good which had been more


since
I

usually dark

distressing,

had
I

set out
felt

on

this

journey, suddenly disappeared.


spirits,

a wonderful elevation of

reflect

on

my

past

life,

and began to and especially on my combat


satisfaction,
I

with the giants, with such


actually to

that I

had

remind myself, that

had only killed one

of them; and that, but for the brothers, I should

never have had the idea of attacking them, not to

mention the smallest power of standing to


I rejoiced,

it.

Still

and counted myself amongst the glorious knights of old; having even the unspeakable presumption my shame and self-condemnation at the

memory
and

of

it

are such, that I write


I

it

as the only

sorest

penance

can perform
it

to think of

myself

(will the world believe

?) as side

by

side with Sir

Galahad!

Scarcely had the thought been born in

my

mind, when,

approaching

me

from the

left,

through the

trees, I espied

a resplendent knight, of
to shine of itself,
I

mighty

size,

whose armour seemed

without the sun.

When

he drew near,

was

A FAERIE ROMANCE.
astonished to see that this armour

277
like

was

my own

nay, I could trace, line for

line, the

correspondence

of the inlaid silver to the device on


horse,
too,

my

own.

His

was

like

mine in colour, form, and

motion ; save that, like his rider, he was greater and


fiercer than his counterpart.

The knight rode with

beaver up.

As he

halted right opposite to

me

in the

narrow path, barring


of

my

way,

saw the

reflection

my
on

countenance in the centre plate of shining


his breastplate.

steel

Above
I
I

it

rose the

same
and

face
fiercer.

his face
I

only, as

have

said, larger

was bewildered.

could not help feeling


it

some admiration of him, but

was mingled with a dim conviction that he was evil, and that I ought
to fight with him.

" Let "

me

pass," I said.
will,"

When I
him

he replied.

Something within
ride at
!

me

said

"
:

Spear in

rest,

and

else

thou art for ever a slave."


so
tell

I tried,

but

could not

my arm trembled couch my lance. To


He
gave a

much, that
the truth,

I
I,

who had overcome


before this knight.

the giant, shook like a coward


scornful laugh,

that echoed through the wood, turned his horse,

and

said,

without looking round, " Follow me."

278

PHAXTASTES:

I obeyed, abashed and stupified.

How
tell.

long he led,

and how long

I followed, I cannot

"

never

knew misery before,"


I had
at least struck
!

I said to myself.

" Would that

him, and had had


then, do I not

my

death-

blow

in return

Why,
One

call to

him

to

wheel and defend himself?


but
I

Alas

know

not why,

cannot.

look from

him would cow me


and was
silent.

like a beaten hound."

I followed,

At

length

we came

to

a dreary square tower, in


It

the middle of a dense forest.

looked as

if

scarce
for
it.

a tree had been cut

down

to

make room

Across the very door, diagonally, grew


tree, so large that there
it

the stem of a

was just room

to squeeze past

in order to enter.

One

miserable square hole in

the roof was the only visible suggestion of a window.

Turret or battlement, or projecting masonry of any


kind,
it

had none.
its

Clear and smooth and massy,

it

rose from

base,

and ended with a


roof,

line straight
to

and

unbroken.

The

carried

centre

from each of the four walls, rose


point

slightly to

the

where the
little

rafters

met

Round

the

base

lay several

heaps

of either bits
peeled, or

of broken

branches, withered

and
not

half-whitened

bones

could

distinguish

which.

As

approached, the ground sounded hollow beneath

my

A FAEKIE ROMANCE.
horse's hoofs.

279

The knight took a


opened the door.

great key from his

pocket, and reaching past the stem of the tree, with

some

difficulty

" Dismount " he ;

commanded.

I obeyed.

He

turned

my

horse's

head

away from
the

the tower, gave

him a

terrible

blow with
tearing

flat side

of his sword, and sent

him madly

through the forest.

"

Now,"

said he,

"

enter,

and take your companion

with you."
I looked

round

knight and horse had vanished,


I entered,

and behind

me

lay the horrible shadow.

for I could not help myself;

and the shadow followed

me.

had a

terrible conviction that the knight

and

he were one.

The door

closed behind me.

Now
me.
as
I

was indeed

in pitiful plight.

There was

literally nothing in the tower but

my

shadow and
which,
little

The

walls rose right

up

to the roof; in

had seen from without, there was one


This I

square opening.

now knew
I

to

be the only
the

window
floor,

the tower possessed.


listless

sat I

down on
think I

in

wretchedness.

must
for

have

fallen

asleep,

and have

slept for hours;

I suddenly

became aware of
shining

existence, in observing

that the

moon was

through the hole in

the roof.

As

she rose higher and higher, her light

280
crept
right

PHANTASTES
down
upon
the wall over me,

till

at last

it

shone

my

head.

Instantaneously the walls of

the tower seemed to vanish

away

like a mist.
forest,

sat beneath a beech, on the edge of a

and

the open country lay, in the moonlight, for miles and miles around me, spotted with glimmering houses

and
joy!

spires
it

and towers.

" thought with myself, Oh,

waste

is

was only a dream; the horrible narrow gone, and I wake beneath a beech-tree,

perhaps one that loves me, and I can go where I


will."

I rose, as I thought,

and walked about, and


;

did what I would, but ever kept near the tree

for

always, and, of course, since

my

meeting with the


ever,
I

woman

of the beech-tree far


tree.
rise,

more than
on.

loved that

So the night wore

I waited for

the sun to
journey.

before I could venture to renew

my

But

as soon as the first faint light of the

dawn

appeared, instead of shining upon


it

me

from the

eye of the morning,

stole like a

fainting ghost

through the
the walls

little

square hole above


as

my

head ; and

came out

the

light

grew, and the


of

glorious night was swallowed up

the

hateful

day.

The long dreary day


floor.

passed.

My

shadow

lay black on the


of food.

I felt

no hunger, no need
shone.
I

The

night came.

The moon

A FAERIE ROMANCE.
watched her

281

light slowly descending the wall, as I

might have watched, adown the sky, the long, swift


approach of a helping angel.

Her

rays touched

me, and
away.

was

free.

Thus

night after night passed


this.

should have died but for


conviction

Every
free.

night the

returned,

that

was

Every morning I sat wretchedly disconsolate. At length, when the course of the moon no longer
permitted her beams to touch me, the night was

dreary as the day.

When

I slept,

I
all

w as somer

what consoled by
dreamed,
I

my

dreams; but

the time I

knew

one night, at

was only dreaming. But length, the moon, a mere shred of


that I

pallour, scattered a few thin ghostly rays

upon me

and

I think I fell asleep

and dreamed,
on a

I sat in
hill

an

autumn
ing
to

night, before the vintage,


castle.

overlook-

my own
!

My heart

sprang with joy.

Oh,

be a child again, innocent,


I

fearless,

without shame
All were in

or desire

walked down

to the castle.

consternation at

my

absence.

My

sisters

were weepto

ing for

my

loss.

They sprang up and clung


cries, as I entered.

me,

with incoherent

My

old friends

came

flocking round me.


It

grey light shone on


light of the

the roof of the hall.

was the

dawn

shining through the

square window of

my

tower.

282

PHANTASTES

More
this

earnestly than ever, I longed for freedom after


;

more drearily than ever, crept on the next wretched day. I measured by the sunbeams, caught through the little window in the trap of my
dream
tower,

how

it

went by, waiting only

for the

dreams

of the night.

About noon,
to all

started
all

as

if

something foreign

my

senses
;

and
it

my

experience, had suddenly

invaded
singing.
prise,

me

yet

was only the voice of a woman

My

whole frame quivered with joy, sur-

and the sensation of the unforeseen.

Like a

living soul, like an incarnation of Nature, the song

entered

my prison-house. Each
me
like a sea
;

tone folded

its

wings,
heart.

and
It

laid itself, like a caressing bird,

upon
like

my

bathed
;

inwrapt

me

an odorous

vapour

entered
;

my

soul like a long draught of clear

spring-water

shone upon

me

like essential sunlight

soothed

me

like a mother's voice

and hand.

Yet, as

the clearest forest-well tastes sometimes of the bitterness of decayed leaves,


heart,
its

so

to

my

weary, prisoned
its

cheerfulness

had a

sting of cold, and

tenderness

unmanned me with
I
I

the faintness of long-

departed joys.

wept

half-bitterly, half-luxuriously;
tears,

but not long.

dashed away the


I

ashamed of

a weakness which

thought

had abandoned.

Ere

A FAERIE ROMANCE.

285

I knew, I had walked to the door, and seated myself

with

my

ear against

it,

in order

to

catch

every

syllable of the

revelation
I
to

from the unseen outer


distinctly.

world.

And now

heard each word

The

singer seemed

be standing or sitting near the

tower, for the sounds indicated no change of place.

The song was something


The
sun, like

like this

a golden knot on high,

Gathers the glories of the sky, into a shining tent, Roofing the world with the firmament.

And binds them

And through the pavilion the rich winds blow, And through the pavilion the waters go. And the birds for joy, and the trees for prayer,
Bowing
their heads in the

sunny

air,

And for

thoughts, the gently talking springs,


secret things

That come from the centre with

All make a music, gentle and strong, Bound by the heart into one sweet song.

And
Sits

amidst them

all,

the mother Earth


;

with the children of her birth


all,

She tendeth them

as a

mother hen
:

Her

little

ones round her, twelve or ten

with hands on knee, Idle with love for her family.


Oft she
sitteth,

Go

forth to her from the dark

and the dust,


;

And weep
If she

beside her, if

weep thou must

may

not hold thee to her breast,


infant, that cries for rest;

Like a weary

At least she will press thee to her knee, And tell a low, sweet tale to thee,
Till the hue to thy cheek, and the light to Strength to thy limbs, and courage high
tliine

eyey

284
To thy From Come

PHANTASTES:
fainting heart, return amain,

And away to work

thou goest again.

the narrow desert,

man

of pride,

into the house, so high

and wide.
I I

Hardly knowing what I did, Why had I not done so before ?

opened the door.


do not know.
I

At

first I

could see no one

but when

had forced

myself past the tree which grew across the entrance,


I saw, seated
tree,

on the ground, and leaning against the

with her back to

my

prison, a beautiful
to

woman.

Her countenance seemed known


unknown.
I

me, and yet


smiled,

She looked up
appearance.

at

me and

when

made

my

"Ah! were you


"

the prisoner there?

am very

glad I have wiled you out."

Do you know me

then ?"

" Do

I suppose,

you not know me ? But you hurt me, and that, makes it easy for a man to forget. You
globe.

broke

my

Yet

thank you.

Perhaps

owe

you many thanks for breaking it. I took the all black, and wet with crying over them,
Fairy Queen.

pieces,
to the

There was no music and no

light in
laid

them now. them


aside
;

But she took them from me, and and made me go to sleep in a great

hall

of white, with black pillars, and

many
went

red curtains.

When

woke

in the morning, I

to her,

hoping

A FAERIE ROMANCE.
to have
sent

285

my

globe again, whole and sound ; but she


it,

me away without
I care for
I
it

and
I

have not seen

it

since.

Nor do
better.

now.

have something O so much

do not need the globe to play to


I

me

for
I

1 can sing.

could not sing at

all before.

Now

go about everywhere through Fairy Land, singing


till

my

heart
at

is

like to break, just like

my

globe, for

very joy

my own

songs.

songs do good, and deliver people.


delivered you, and I

And wherever I go, my And now I have


into her eyes.
at her
;

am

so happy."

She ceased, and the


All this time,
I

tears

came

had been gazing

and now

fully recognised the face of the child, glorified in the

countenance of the woman.

was ashamed and


lifted

humbled before her


from

but a great weight was

my

thoughts.

I knelt before her,

and thanked

her, and begged her to forgive me. " " I have Rise, rise," she said nothing to forBut now I must be gone, for give I thank you.
; ;

do not

know how many may be


till

waiting for me,


;

here and there, through the dark forests


cannot come out
I

and they

come."
farewell, turned
;

She
and

rose,

and with a smile and a

left

me.

I dared not ask her to stay

in fact,

I could

hardly speak to her.

Between her and me,

PHANTASTES:
there was a great gulf.

She was

uplifted

by sorrow
hope
one

and well-doing,
ever to enter.

into a region I could hardly

watched her departure,

as

watches a sunset.

She went

like a radiance

through

the dark wood, which was henceforth bright to me,

from simply knowing that such a creature was in it. She was bearing the sun to the unsunned spots. The

and the music of her broken globe were now in her heart and her brain. As she went, she sang ;
light

and

caught these few words of her song

and the

tones seemed to linger and wind


after she

about the trees

had disappeared
Thou

goest thine, and I go mine

Many ways we wend; Many days, and many ways,


Ending
in one end.

Many a wrong, and its curing song; Many a road, and many an inn
;

Eoom
For

to roam, but only one


all

home

the world to win.

And
by

so she vanished.

With a sad

heart, soothed

humility, and the knowledge of her peace and

gladness, I bethought
First, I

me what now

I should do.

must leave the tower


moment,
I

far behind

me,

lest, in

some
within
in

evil
its

might be once more caged

horrible walls.

But

it

was
I

ill

walking

my

heavy armour; and besides

had now no

A FAERIE ROMANCE.

287

right to the golden spurs and the resplendent mail,


fitly

dulled with long

neglect.

might do for

squire; but I honoured knighthood too highly,

to call

myself any longer one of the noble brotherI

hood.

stripped
tree,

off

all

my

armour,

piled

it

under
seated,

the

just

where the lady had

been

my unknown way, eastward through the woods. Of all my weapons, I carried only a short axe in my hand. Then first I knew
and
took
the delight of being lowly; of saying to myself, " I

am what
I said

I
I

am, nothing more."


have
I
lost

"

I
it

have

failed,"

"
;

myself
:

would

had been

my

shadow."
to be seen.
self,

looked round

the shadow was nowhere


it

Ere

long, I learned that

was not myI learned

but only
it is

my

shadow, that I

had

lost.

that

better, a thousand-fold, for a


to hold
I

proud

man
head

to fall

and be humbled, than

up

his

in his pride

and fancied innocence.


will barely

learned that

he that will be hero,

be a man; that
is

he that will be nothing but a doer of his work,


sure of his manhood. lowered, or dimmed, or

In nothing was

my
;

ideal

grown

less precious

I only

saw
it.

it

too plainly, to set myself for a

moment
;

beside

Indeed,

formerly,

my ideal soon became my life whereas, my life had consisted in a vain attempt to

288
behold, if not

PHANTASTES

my

ideal in myself, at least myself in


I took, at first,

my

ideal.

Now, however,

what perand
arise,

haps was a mistaken


degrading myself.
like a white spirit

pleasure, in
self

despising
to

Another

seemed

from a dead man, from the

dumb

and trampled self of the past. Doubtless, this self must again die and be buried, and again, from its
tomb, spring a winged child
;

but of

this

my

history
to life

as yet bears not the record.

Self will

come

even in the slaying of

self;

but there
it,

is

ever somewill

thing deeper and stronger than


at last
it

emerge from the unknown abysses of the soul: will

which

be as a solemn gloom, burning with eyes ? or a

clear

morning

after the rain ?

or a smiling child,

that finds itself nowhere,

and everywhere ?

A FAERIE ROMANCE.

289

XXIII.
High erected thought, seated
in a heart of courtesy.

SIR PHILIP SIDNEY-.

A sweet attractive kinde of grace,


A full assurance given by lookes,
Continuall comfort in a face,

The lineaments of Gospell

bookes.

SPENSER, on Sir Philip Sidney.


I

HAD not gone

far, for I

had but just


voice of

lost sight

of

the hated

tower,

when a

another

sort,,

sounding near or
cepted
its

far, as

the trees permitted or interIt

passage, reached me.

was a

full,

deep,

manly voice, but withal clear and melodious.


it

Now
to

burst on the ear with a sudden swell, and anon,


to
it

dying away as suddenly, seemed


across a great space.
till,

come

me

Nevertheless,

drew nearer ;

at last, I

could distinguish the words of the


glimpses
trees.

song,

and get transient

of

the

singer,

between the columns of the

He came

nearer,

dawning upon me

like

a growing thought.

He

was a knight, armed from head to heel, mounted upon a strange-looking beast, whose form I could not

290
understand.

PHANTASTES
The words which
:

heard him sing

were

like these

Heart be stout, And eye be true;

Good

blade out
ill

And

shall rue.

Courage, horse

Thou

lackst no skill;

Well thy force Hath matched

my

will.

For the

foe,

With

fiery breath,

At a
Is

blow,
still

in death.
!

Gently, horse

Tread

fearlessly;

'Tis his corse

That burdens

thee.

The

sun's eye

Is fierce at

noon

Thou and

I
full soon.

Will rest

And new strength New work will meet;


Till,

at length,
rest is sweet.

Long

And now
for

horse and rider had arrived near enough

me

to see, fastened

by

the

long neck to the


its

hinder part of the saddle, and trailing

hideous

length on the ground behind, the body of a great

A FAERIE ROMANCE.
dragon.
at
liis

291

It

was no wonder

that,

with such a drag


slow progress,

heels, the horse could

make but

notwithstanding his evident dismay.


serpent-like head, with
red, hanging out of
horse's side.
Its
its

The

horrid,

black tongue, forked with

its

jaws, dangled against the

neck was covered with long blue


Its

hair;

its

sides

with scales of green and gold.


skin, of a purple hue.

back was of corrugated


belly

Its

was

similar in nature, but its colour


Its

was leaden,
skinny, batIt

dashed with blotches of livid blue.


like

wings and

its

tail

were of a dull grey.

was

strange to see

how
lines,

so

many

gorgeous colours, so

many

curving

wings and hair and

and such beautiful things as scales, combined to form the

horrible creature, intense in ugliness.

The knight was


but, as I

passing

me

with a salutation

walked towards him, he reined up, and I stood by his stirrup. When I came near him, I saw,
to

my

surprise

and pleasure likewise, although a


fire, sprang up in was the knight of the soiled knew before, and whom I had seen
it

sudden pain,

like

a birth of

my

heart,

that
I

armour,

whom

in the vision, with the lady of the marble.

But

could have thrown


she loved him.

my

arms around him, because

This discovery only strengthened

u 2

292

PHANTASTES:

the resolution I had formed, before I recognised

him, of offering myself to the knight, to wait upon

him
I

as a squire, for

he seemed

to

be unattended.
possible.

made

my request
I

in as

few words as
at

He

hesitated for a
fully.

moment, and looked

me

thought-

saw that he suspected who

I was,

but that

he continued uncertain of
he was soon convinced of
I

his suspicion.

No doubt
all

its

truth

but

the time

was with him, not a word crossed

his lips with

reference to what he evidently concluded I wished


to leave unnoticed, if not to

keep concealed.
:

"

Squire and knight should be friends," said he

"can

you take
and

me by

the

hand?"

And
I

he held
it

out the great gauntleted right hand.


willingly
strongly.

grasped

Not a word more was

said.

The knight gave


began
little

the sign to his horse, which again


I

his slow

march, and

walked beside and a

behind.

We
a
little

had not gone very


cottage
;

far before

we

arrived at

from which, as we drew near, a


:

woman
"
child?"

rushed out with the cry


child
!

My
I
is

my

child

have you

found

my

"
she

have found her," replied the knight, " but


sorely hurt.
I

was forced

to leave

her with

FAERIE ROMANCE.

293

the hermit, as I returned.

You

will find her there,

and

think she will get better.

You

see I

have

brought you a present.

This wretch will not hurt

you

again."

And

he undid the creature's neck, and

flung
door.

the frightful

burden down by the cottage-

The woman was now almost


wood
;

out of sight in the


at

but

the

husband stood

the

door,

with

speechless thanks in his face.

" You must bury the monster,"


"
If I had^ arrived
late.

said the knight.

moment

later, I

should have
fear, for

been too

But now you need not


this

such

a creature as
part, twice

very rarely appears, in the same

during a life-time."

" Will

you not

dismount

and

rest

you,

Sir

Knight?"
" That

said the peasant,


little.

who

had,

by

this time,

recovered himself a
I
will,

thankfully," said he

and,

dis-

mounting, he gave the reins to me, and told


to unbridle the horse,

me

and lead him

into the shade.


;

" You need not


not run away."

tie

him up," he added

" he will

When
his

I returned, after

obeying his orders, and

entered the cottage, I saw the knight seated, without helmet,

and talking most familiarly with the

294
simple host.

PHANTASIES:
I stood at the

open door for a moment,

and, gazing at
in preferring

him, inwardly justified the white lady

him

to

me.

nobler countenance I

never saw.

Loving-kindness beamed from every


It

line of his face.

seemed

as if

he would repay

himself for the late arduous combat, by indulging


in all the gentleness of a

womanly

heart.

But when
fall into

the talk ceased for a moment, he seemed to

a reverie.

Then

the exquisite curves of the upper


lip

lip vanished.

pressed at

was lengthened and comthe same moment. You could have told
were firmly
closed.

The

that, within the lips, the teeth

The whole
fierce uplift
;

grew stern and determined, all but only the eyes burned on like a holy sacrifice,
face

on a granite rock.
entered, with her

The woman
her arms.

mangled
little

child in

She was pale as her

burden.

She

gazed, with a wild love and despairing tenderness,

on the
from

still,

all

but dead face, white and

clear

loss of

blood and terror.


rose.

The knight
tenance.

The

light that

had been conwhole coun-

fined to his eyes,

now shone from


little

his

He

took the

thing hi his arms, and,

with the mother's help, undressed her, and looked to

her wounds.

The

tears flowed

down

his face as

A
lie

FAEKIE ROMANCE.

295

did

so.

With tender hands he bound them up,

kissed the pale cheek, and gave her back to her

mother.

When

he went home,

all

his tale
;

would

be of the grief and joy of the parents

while to

me, who had

looked on, the gracious countenance


the panoply of

of the armed man, beaming from


steel,

over

the

seemingly dead
it

child,
it,

while the

powerful hands turned


it,

and

shifted

and bound

if possible

even more gently than the mother's,


story.

formed the centre of the


After

we had partaken

of the best they could give

us, the knight took his leave, with a

few parting

in-

structions to the mother, as to

how

she should treat

the child.
I

brought the knight his steed, held the stirrup

while he mounted, and then followed him through


the wood.

The

horse, delighted to be free of his

hideous load, bounded beneath the weight of

man
his

and armour, and could hardly be restrained from


galloping on.

But
and

the knight
so

made him time


for

powers
two.

to mine,

we went on
"
:

an hour or

Then

the knight dismounted, and compelled

me

to get into the saddle, saying

Knight and squire

must share the labour."


Holding by the
stirrup,

he walked along by

my

296
side,

PHANTASTES

heavily clad as he was, with apparent ease.

As we

went, he led a conversation, in which I took

what humble part


permit me.

my

sense of

my
"

condition would

" Somehow or
the beauty of
are, there
is
tliis

other," said he,

notwithstanding

country of Faerie, in which


that
is

we

much

wrong

in

it.

If there are
;

great splendours, there are corresponding horrors


heights and depths;
fiends
;

beautiful

women and
All a
if

awful
bas to

noble

men and
what he

weaklings.
can.

man

do,

is to

better

And

he will

settle it

with himself, that even renown and success are in


themselves of no great value, and be content to be
defeated, if so be that the fault
is

not his

and so
will,

go

to his

work with a

cool brain

and a strong

he

will get

it

done ; and fare none the worse in the end,

that he

was not burdened with provision and pre-

caution."

" But he
to say.

will not always

come

off well," I

ventured

"

" in the Perhaps not," rejoined the knight,


;

indi-

vidual act

but the result of his lifetime will content

him."

" So

it

will fare
"

with you, doubtless," thought

" but

for

me

A
Venturing "
to

FAERIE ROMANCE.
resume the conversation

297
after

pause, I said, hesitatingly:

May
aid,

ask for what the


she

little

beggar-girl wanted
castle to find

your

when

came

to

your

He
"

looked at
:

me

for a

moment

in silence,

you?" and

then said

I cannot help
is

wondering how you know of that

but there

something about

you quite
privilege
I,

strange
of

enough

to

entitle

you

to

the

the

country; namely, to go unquestioned.

however,

being only a man, such as you see me,


to tell
I

am

ready

you anything you

like to ask

me, as far as
into the

can.
I

The
was

little

beggar-girl

came

hall

where
story,

sitting,

and told

me

a very curious
it

which

can only recollect very vaguely,

was

so peculiar.

What

I can recall

is,

that she

was

sent to gather wings.

As

soon as she had gathered


fly

a pair of wings for herself, she was to


said, to the

away, she

country she came from

but where that

was, she could give no information.

She

said she
;

had

to

beg her wings from the

butterflies

and moths
her.

and whenever she begged, no one refused


she needed a great

But

many

of the wings of butterflies


;

and moths
to

to

make

a pair for her

and

so she

had

wander about day

after day, looking for butter-

298
flies,

PHANTASTES
and night

after night, looking for

moths ; and

then she begged for their wings.

But

the day before,

she had come into a part of the forest, she said, where
there were multitudes of splendid butterflies flitting about, with wings which were just
fit

to

make

the

eyes in the shoulders of hers; and she

knew

she

could have as
asking
;

many

of

them

as she liked for the

but as soon as she began to beg, there came

a great creature right up to her,

and threw her


she got up,

down, and walked over her.


she saw the

When
to

wood was

full of these

beings stalking

about, and seeming to have nothing


other.

do with each

As

soon as ever she began to beg, one of


;

them walked over her

till

at last, in dismay,

and in

growing horror of the senseless creatures, she had

run away to look for somebody her what they were like. She

to help her.

asked

said, like great

men,

made

of wood, without knee or elbow-joints, and

without any noses or mouths or eyes in their faces.


I

laughed at the
child's

little

maiden, thinking she was

making

game

of

me

but, although she burst

out laughing too, she persisted in asserting the truth


of her story. " '
you.'

Only come, knight, come and

see

I will lead

A FAERIE ROMANCE.
" So
I

299

armed myself,

to

be ready for anything that


for,

might happen, and followed the child ;

though

make nothing of her story, was a little human being in need


could
other.

could see she

of some help or

As

she walked before me, I looked atten-

tively at her. so often


tell,

Whether

or not

it

was from being


I could not

knocked down and walked over,

but her clothes were very

much

torn,

and in

several places her white skin


I

was peeping through. thought she was humpbacked but on looking more
;

closely, I saw,

through the tatters of her frock

do

not laugh at

me

a bunch on each shoulder, of the

most gorgeous colours.


I

Looking yet more

closely,

saw that they were of the shape of folded wings,


all

and were made of

kinds of butterfly-wings and

moth-wings, crowded together like the feathers on


the individual
butterfly

pinion

but,

like

them,

most beautifully arranged, and producing a perfect

harmony of colour and

shade.

I could
;

now more

easily believe the rest of her story

especially as I

saw, every

now and

then, a certain heaving motion

in the wings, as if they longed to be uplifted

and

outspread.

But beneath her scanty garments comand indeed, from

plete wings could not be concealed,

her own story, they were yet unfinished.

300

PHANTASTES
for

" After walking


little girl

two or three hours, (how the


I

found her way,

could not imagine)

we

came

to a part of the forest, the

very

air of

which was

quivering with the motions of multitudes of resplen-

dent butterflies

as gorgeous in colour, as if the eyes


infi-

of peacock's feathers had taken to flight, but of


nite variety of

hue and form, only that the appearance


'
!

of some kind of eye on each wing predominated.


*

There they

are, there they are

cried the child, in

a tone of victory mingled with terror.


this tone, I

Except for

should have thought she referred to the


could see nothing
butterfly,
else.

butterflies, for I

But

at that

moment an enormous

whose wings had

great eyes of blue surrounded

by confused cloudy

heaps of more dingy colouring, just like a break in


the clouds on a stormy day towards evening, settled

near
'

us.

The

child instantly

began murmuring:
'

Butterfly, butterfly, give

me your

wings

when,

the

moment

after she fell to the

ground, and began

crying as if hurt.
great blow
fallen.
It

drew

my

sword and heaved a

in

the direction in which the child had

struck something, and instantly the most

grotesque imitation of a
see this Fairy

man became

visible.

You
of

Land

is full

of oddities and

all sorts
is

incredibly ridiculous things, which a

man

com-

A FAERIE ROMANCE.

301

pelled to meet and treat as real existences, although


all if

the time he feels foolish for doing


it

so.

This being,

being

could be called, was like a block of

wood
;

roughly hewn into the mere outlines of a


hardly
so, for it

man

and

had but head, body,

legs,

and arms

the head without a face, and the limbs utterly formless.

had hewn

off

one of

its

legs,

but the two

portions

moved on

as best they could, quite indepen-

dent of each other; so


I

that I
it

ran after

it,

and clove
it

in

had done no good. twain from the head


its

downwards

but

could not be convinced that


;

vocation was not to walk over people


as the little girl

for, as soon
all

began her begging again,


;

three

parts

came bustling up

and

if I

had not interposed

my

weight between her and them, she would have


I

been trampled again under them.


thing else must be done.
creatures,
it

saw that somefull of the

If the

wood was
to

would be an endless work

chop them

so small that they could do no


besides, the parts
butterflies

injury; and then,

would be
in

so

numerous, that the


drift

would be
I

danger from the


so,

of

flying

chips.

served this one

however; and

then told the girl to beg again, and point out the
direction in
find,

which one was coming. I was o glad to o however, that I could now see him myself, and

302

PHANTASTES

wondered how they could have been


I

invisible before.
;

would not allow him

to

walk over the child

but

while I kept

him

off,
;

another appeared

and she began begging again, and it was all I could do, from the

weight of

my

armour, to protect her from the stupid,

persevering efforts of the two.


right plan occurred to me. I

But suddenly the tripped one of them

up, and, taking him by


his

the legs, set

head, with his heels against a

tree.

him up on I was

delighted to find he could not move.

Meantime the
it

poor child was walked over by the other, but


for the last time.

was

Whenever one
tripped
little

appeared, I folset

lowed the same plan


his

him up and

him on

head ; and so the

beggar was able

to gather

her wings without any trouble, which occupation she


continued for several hours in

my

company."

" What became of her?" I asked. " I took her home with me to
told

my

castle,

and she
all

me

all

her story; but

it

seemed

to

me,
its

the

time, as if I

were hearing a child talk

in

sleep.

I could not arrange her story in

my

mind

at all,

although
order of

it

seemed
own.

to leave hers in

some certain

its

My

wife

"

Here the Knight checked


more.

himself,

and said no

Neither did I urge the conversation farther.

A FAERIE ROMANCE.
Thus we journeyed
in such shelter as

303

for several days, resting at night

we

could get ; and

when no

better

was

to

be had, lying in the forest under some

tree,

on

a couch of old leaves.


I loved the

knight more and more. I believe never

squire served his master with


ness than
I.

I tended his horse

more care and joyfulI cleaned his armour


;

nay

skill in
;

the craft enabled


I

me
;

to repair

it

when

necessary
for
all,

watched

his needs

and was well repaid

by the love

itself

"

This," I said to myself,

which I bore him. " is a true man.


all

I will

serve him, and give him


the embodiment of what
I

worship, seeing in him.


fain become.

would

If I

cannot be noble myself, I will yet be servant to his


nobleness."

He,

in return, soon

showed me such

signs of friendship and respect, as

made

my

heart

glad

and

I felt that, after all,

mine would be no
to the world's end,

lost life, if I

might wait on him

although no smile but his should greet me, and no one but him should say, " Well done he was a good
!

servant

"
!

at last.

But

burned

to

do something
a squire's

more

for

him than the ordinary routine of

duty permitted.

One

afternoon,

we began

to observe

an appearance

of roads in the wood.

Branches had been cut down,

304

PHANTASTES

and openings made, where


below.
till,

footsteps

had worn no path

These

indications increased as

we

passed on

at length,

we came

into a long,

narrow avenue,
remain-

formed by

felling the trees in its line, as the

ing roots evidenced.

At some

little

distance,

on both

hands,

we

observed signs of similar avenues, which


spot.

appeared to converge with ours, towards one

Along

these,

we

indistinctly

saw several forms


to

moving, which seemed, with ourselves,


the

approach

common
to

centre.

Our path brought


trees,

us, at last,

up

a wall of

yew
it.

growing close together,


so,

and intertwining their branches


be seen beyond
a door, and
all

that nothing could


it

An

opening was cut in

like

the wall was trimmed smooth and

perpendicular.
till

The knight dismounted, and waited


for his horse's comfort;

had provided

upon

which we entered the place together.


It

was a great

space, bare of trees,

and enclosed by

four walls of yew, similar to that through which

we

had

entered.

These

trees

grew

to

a very great
till

height,

and did not divide from each other

close to

the top, where their summits formed a row of conical


battlements
all

around the

walls.

The space contained

was a parallelogram of great length. Along each of the two longer sides of the interior, were ranged

A FAERIE ROMANCE.

305

three ranks of men, in white robes, standing silent

and solemn, each with a sword by

his side, although

the rest of his costume and bearing was more priestly

than soldierly.

For some

distance inwards, the space


filled

between these opposite rows was

with a com-

pany of men and women and


attire.

children, in holiday

The

looks

of

all

were directed inwards,


in

towards the further end.

Far beyond the crowd,


to

a long avenue, seeming

narrow

in the distance,

went the long rows of the white-robed men. On what the attention of the multitude was fixed, we
could not
tell,

for the

sun had

set before It

we

arrived,

and

it

was growing dark

within.

grew darker

and darker.
stars

The multitude waited


to shine

in silence.

The
and

began

down

into the enclosure,

moment. they grew brighter and larger every


arose,

A wind
;

and swayed the pinnacles of the


like strange sound, half

tree-tops

and

made a
ing,

music, half like moan-

and leaves of the through the close branches beside me, tree-walls. young girl who stood

clothed in the same dress as the priests, bowed her

head, and grew pale with awe.

The knight whispered


There

to

me,

"

How

solemn

it is

the voice of a prophet. Surely they wait to hear


is

something good near

"
!

306

PHANTASTES
I,

But

though somewhat shaken by the feeling ex-

pressed

by

my

master, yet had an unaccountable con-

viction that here


to

was something bad. So I resolved be keenly on the watch for what should follow.
star, like

Suddenly a great

a sun, appeared high in


it

the air over the temple, illuminating

throughout ;

and a great song arose from the men in white, which went rolling round and round the building, now receding to the end, and

now

approaching,

down

the

other side, the place where

we

stood.

For some of

the singers were regularly ceasing, and the next to

them

as regularly taking

up the song;

so that

it

crept onwards, with gradations produced

by changes
for only a

which could not themselves be detected,


few of those who were singing ceased

at the

same

moment.

The song paused

and

saw a company
the centre of

of six of the white-robed the

men walk up

human

avenue, surrounding a youth gorgeously

attired beneath his robe of white,

and wearing a

chaplet of .flowers
closely, with

on

his head.

I followed
;

them

my

keenest observation

and,

panying their slow progress with


able to perceive

my
I

by accomeyes, I was

more

clearly

what took place when

they arrived at the other end.


sight

knew

that

my

was

so

much more keen

than that of most

A
people, that I
see

FAERIE ROMANCE.

307

had good reason

to suppose I should

more than the

rest could, at such a distance.

At

the farther end, a throne stood upon a platform, high

above the heads of the surrounding

priests.

To

this

platform I saw the company hegin to ascend, apparently

The by an inclined plane of gentle slope. on of a kind throne itself was elevated again, square
pedestal, to the top of which led a flight of steps.

On

the throne sat a majestic-looking figure, whose posture

seemed
as

to indicate a

mixture of pride and benignity,

he looked down on the multitude below.


to the foot

The

company ascended
they
all

of the throne, where

kneeled for some minutes; then they rose


to the side of the pedestal stood.

and passed round which the throne

upon
close
;

Here they crowded

behind the youth, putting him

in the foremost place

and one of them opened


youth
to enter.
I

a door in the pedestal, for the


I

was sure

saw him shrink back,


in.

and those crowding behind push him

Then,

of song from the multitude in again, arose a burst white, which lasted some time.

When

it

ceased, a

new companv of seven commenced its march up the master centre. As they advanced, I looked up at my
:

his noble countenance

was

full of

reverence and awe.

he could scarcely suspect Incapable of evil himself, x 2

308
it

PHANTASTES

in another,

much

less in

a multitude such as

this,

and surrounded with such appearances of solemnity.


I

was certain

it

was the
;

really grand accompaniments

that overcame

him

that the stars overhead, the dark

towering tops of the yew-trees, and the wind that,


like

an unseen

spirit,

sighed through their branches,

bowed

his spirit to the belief, that in all these cere-

monies lay some great mystical meaning, which, his


humility told him, his ignorance prevented him from
understanding.

More convinced than

before, that there

was

evil

here, I could not endure that

my

master should be

deceived; that one like him, so pure and noble, should


respect what, if

my

suspicions

were

true,

was worse
I

than the ordinary deceptions of priestcraft.


not
tell
-

could

how

far

he might be led

to countenance,

and

otherwise support their doings, before he should find

cause to repent bitterly of his error.

watched the

new

procession yet

more keenly,

if

possible, than the


girl
;

former.

This time, the central figure was a

and, and at the close, I observed, yet more indubitably, the shrinking back,

and the crowding push.


never learned
bear
it
;

What happened
I
I stooped,

to the victims, I

but

had learned enough, and and whispered

I could to

no longer.
girl

the

young

who

A FAERIE ROMANCE.
stood

309
I

by me,
it,

to

lend

me

her white garment.

wanted

that I might not be entirely out of keeping


least
this

with the solemnity, but might have at


help to passing unquestioned.

She looked up,

half-

amused and
I

half-bewildered, as if doubting

whether

was

in earnest or not.

But
it,

in her
slip it

perplexity, she

permitted
shoulders.

me

to unfasten

and

down from her


;

I easily got possession of

it

and, sinking

down on

my my

knees in the crowd,

I rose

apparently

in the habit of one of the worshippers.

Giving

battle-axe to the girl, to hold in pledge

for the return of her stole, for I wished to test the

matter unarmed, and,

if it

was a man that

sat

upon

the throne, to attack him with hands bare, as I sup-

posed his must be, I made

my way

through the

crowd

to the front, while the singing yet continued,


it

desirous of reaching the platform while

wa*un-

occupied by any of the

priests.

was permitted to

walk up
though
I

the long avenue of white robes unmolested,

saw questioning looks


I

in

many

of the faces

as I passed.

presume

my

coolness aided

my

pas;

sage

for I felt quite indifferent as to

not feeling, after the late events of


I

my own fate my history, that

was

at all

worth taking care of; and enjoying,

in the perhaps, something of an evil satisfaction,

310
revenge
fooled
I

PHANTASTES:
was thus taking upon the
so long.
self

which had

me

When
But

I arrived

on the platform,
all

the song had just ceased, and I felt as if

were
its

looking towards me.


foot, I

instead of kneeling at

walked right up the stairs to the throne, laid hold of a great wooden image that seemed to sit

upon

it,

and

tried to hurl

it

from

its

seat.

In

this

I failed at first, for I

found

it

firmly fixed.

But

in

dread

lest,

the

first

shock of amazement passing

a^y,

the guards

would rush upon

me
all

before I had

effected

my

purpose, I strained with

my

might

and, with a noise as of the cracking, and breaking,

and tearing of rotten wood, something gave way,


and
I

hurled the image

down

the steps.

Its dis-

placement revealed a great hole in the throne, like


the hollow of a decayed tree, going

down apparently
examine
it,

a great way.

But
it,

had no time
it

to

for,

as I looked into

up out of

rushed a great brute,

like a wolf, but twice the size,

and tumbled

me

head-

long with

itself,

down
I

the steps of the throne.


it

As

we

fell,

however,

caught

by

the throat, and the

moment we reached

the platform, a struggle com-

menced, in which I soon got uppermost, with

my
But

hand upon

its

throat,

and knee upon

its

heart.

now

arose a wild cry of wrath

and revenge and

A FAERIE ROMANCE.
rescue.

311
every sword

universal hiss of
its

steel, as

was swept from

scabbard, seemed to tear the very

air in shreds. I heard the rush of hundreds towards

the platform on which I knelt.

I only tightened

my

grasp of the brute's throat.


starting
out.

His eyes were already


his tongue

from

his head,

and

was hanging

My
killed

anxious hope was, that, even after they

had

me, they would be unable

to

undo

my

before the monster gripe of his throat,

was past
and
force,

breathing.

I therefore

threw

all

my will,
I

and purpose,

into the grasping hand.

remember

no blow.

faintness

came over me, and

my

con-

sciousness departed.

312

PHANTASTES:

XXIV.
We are ne'er like angels till our passions die.
DECKAR.
This wretched Inn, where we scarce stay to We call our Dwelling-Place :
bait,

We call one
But angels
Angels,

Step a Race

in their full enlightened state,


Live,

who

and know what

'tis

to Be,

Who Who

all

the nonsense of our language see,


things,

speak

and our words, their ill-drawn pictures, scorn,

When

by a foolish figure, say, Behold an old man dead ! then they


we,
cry, Behold

Speak properly, and

a man-child born !

COWLEY.
I

WAS dead, and

right content.

I lay in

my

coffin,

with

my

hands folded in peace.

The

knight, and the

lady I loved, wept over me.


face.

Her

tears fell

on

my

"Ah!"
like a

said the knight,


I

madman.

"I rushed amongst them hewed them down like brush-

wood.
hurt

Their swords battered on


not.

me

like hail,

but

me He was
and
I

I cut a lane

through to

my

friend.

dead.

But he had

throttled the monster,

had

to cut the handful out of its throat, before

FAERIE ROMANCE.

313

I could disengage and carry off his body.

They

dared not molest

me

as I brought

him back."

" He has died well,"

said the lady.

My

spirit rejoiced.

They

left

me

I felt as if a cool

hand had been

laid

my repose. upon my heart,


to

and had

stilled it

My
fall

soul

was

like

summer

evening, after a heavy

of rain,

when

the drops

are yet glistening on the

trees in the last rays of the

down-going sun, and the wind of the twilight has begun to blow. The hot fever of life had gone by,

and

breathed the clear mountain-air of the land of


I

Death.
It

had never dreamed of such


that I

blessedness.

was not

had

in

any way

ceased to be what I

had been.

The very

fact that anything can die,


;

that cannot die implies the existence of something

which must

either take
is

to itself another form, as


dies,

when

the seed that

sown

and

arises again

continue to or, in conscious existence, may, perhaps,

lead a purely spiritual

life.

If

my passions were dead,

the souls of the passions, those essential mysteries of the which had imbodied themselves in the
spirit

passions,

and had given

to

them

all their

glory and

wonderment, yet

lived, yet

glowed,

with a pure,

undying

fire.

They

rose

above their vanishing

disclosed themselves angels earthly garments, and

3 14
of light

PHANTASTES
But
oh,

how

beautiful

beyond the old


as
it

form

I lay thus for a time,


;

and lived

were

an unradiating existence
that

my

soul a motionless lake,

received

all

satisfied in

still

things and gave nothing back; contemplation, and spiritual con-

sciousness.

Ere

long, they bore

me

to

my grave.

Never

tired

child lay

down

in his white bed,

and heard the sound

of his playthings being laid aside for the night, with

a more luxurious

satisfaction of repose

than I knew,

when

I felt the coffin settle

on the firm earth, and


its

heard the sound of the falling mould upon


It

lid.

has not the same hollow rattle within the


it

coffin,

that

sends

up

to the edge of the grave.

They

buried

me

in no graveyard.

They loved

me

too in
;

much

for that, I

thank them ; but they

laid

me

the grounds of their

own

castle,

amid many

trees

where, as

it

was spring-time, were growing primroses,


and
all

and blue

bells,

the families of the woods.

Now
will.

that I lay in her bosom, the

whole earth, and


to

each of her
I

many

births,

was as a body

me,

at

my
life,

seemed

to feel the great heart of the

mother

beating into mine, and feeding

me

with her
I

own

her

own

essential being

and nature.

heard the
thrill

footsteps of

my

friends above,

and they sent a

A FAERIE ROMANCE.
through

315

my

heart.

knew

that the helpers

had

gone, and that the knight and the lady remained,

and spoke low,

gentle, tearful

words of him who lay


I rose into a single

beneath the yet wounded sod.


large primrose that

grew by and from the window of its humble, *


looked
full in the

the edge of the grave,


trusting * O face,
I felt that

countenance of the lady.

I could manifest

myself in the primrose

that

it

said

a part of what I wanted to say ; just as in the old


time, I

had used

to betake

myself

to a

song for the

same end.

The
it,

flower caught her eye.

She stooped

and plucked
ture
It

"
saying,

Oh, you beautiful creait,

"
!

and, lightly kissing


first

put

it

in her bosom.

was the

kiss she

had ever given me.


it.

But

the flower soon began to wither, and I forsook


It

was evening.

The sun was below the horizon

but his rosy beams


that floated high

yet illuminated a feathery cloud,

above the world.

arose.

I
it,

reached the cloud; and, throwing myself upon


floated with
it

in sight of the sinking sun.


;

He

sank,

and the cloud grew grey


not

but the greyness touched

my

heart.

It carried its rose-hue within; for

now
wan

I could love without needing to

be loved again.
the past in her

The moon came


face.

gliding

up with

all

She changed

my

couch into a ghostly

316
pallor,

PHANTASTES:
and threw
all

the earth below as to the

bottom of a pale sea of dreams.

But she could not


it

make me

sad.

knew now,

that

is

by

loving,

and not by being loved, that one can come nearest


the soul of another
;

yea, that,

where two

love,

it is

the loving of each other, and not the being beloved

by each

other,

that

originates
I

and

perfects

and

assures their blessedness.


to

knew

that love gives

him that

loveth,

if that

soul

know him
;

power over any soul beloved, even not, bringing him inwardly
a power that cannot be but for
selfishness intrudes, the

close to that spirit

good

for in proportion as

love ceases, and the power which springs therefrom


dies.

Yet

all

love will, one day, meet with


will,

its

return.
in

All true love

one day, behold

its

own image
glad.

the eyes of the beloved, and be


is

humbly

This
!

possible in the realms of lofty Death.

"

Ah my

friends," thought I,

" how

I will

tend you, and wait


love."
city.

upon you, and haunt you with

my

My
Its

floating chariot bore

me

over a great

a sound steamed up into the air " sound how composed ? How many hopeless " and how cries," thought I, many mad shouts go
faint

dull

to

make up

the tumult, here so faint where I float

in eternal peace,

knowing that they

will one

day

A FAERIE ROMANCE.
be
stilled in

317

the surrounding calm, and that despair

dies into infinite hope,


sible

and that the seeming impos!

there,

is

the law here

But,

pale-faced

women, and
children,

gloomy-browed
I

men,

and forgotten
to

how

will wait

on you, and minister

you, and, putting

my

arms about you

in the dark,

think hope unto your hearts,


is

when you
to this

fancy no one

near

Soon

as

my

senses have all

come back,
blessed
life,

and have grown accustomed


I will

new

be among you, with the love that healeth."


this,

With
through

a pang and a terrible shudder went a writhing as of death convulsed

me

me

and

became once again conscious of a more


life.

limited,

even a bodily and earthly

318

PHANTASTES:

XXV.
Unser Leben
einer werden.
ist

kein Traum, aber es

soil

und wird

vielleicht

NOVALIS.
1

Our life is no dream; but it ougbt to become one, and perhaps * I'

And
And

on the ground, which

is

my

modres gate,
late,

I knocke with

my

staf, erlich

and

say to hire, Leve mother, Jet

me in.

CHAUCER.

The Pardoneres Tale.

SINKING from such a state of ideal

bliss,

into the

world or shadows which again closed around and


infolded me,

my

first

dread was, not unnaturally,


again,
It

that that

my own shadow had found me my torture had commenced anew.


we
think

and

was a

sad revulsion of feeling.

This, indeed, seemed to

correspond to what
die.

death

is,

before

we

Yet

I felt

within

me

a power of calm en-

durance to which I had hitherto been a stranger.


For, in truth, that I should be able
if

only to

think such things as I had been thinking, was an

unspeakable delight.

An

hour of such peace made

the turmoil of a life-time worth striving through.

A FAEKIE ROMANCE.
I

319
air, in

found myself lying in the open

the early

morning, before sunrise.

Over me

rose the

summer

heaven, expectant of the sun.

The

clouds already

saw him, coming from afar; and soon every dewdrop would rejoice in his individual presence within
it.

I lay motionless for a

few minutes; and then


I

slowly rose and looked about me.

was on the

summit of a

little

hill;

a valley lay beneath, and

a range of mountains closed up the view upon that


side.

But, to

my horror,

across the valley,

and up

the height of the opposing mountains, stretched, from

my
it

very

feet,

a hugely expanding shade.


large,

There
I turned

lay, long

and

dark and mighty.

away with
sun just

a sick despair; when, lo! I beheld the


his

lifting

head above the eastern


fell

hill,

and the shadow that


his

from me, lay only where


It

beams

fell

not.

danced for joy.

was only

the natural shadow, that goes with every

man who

walks in the sun.

As he

arose, higher

and higher,

the shadow-head sank


site hill,
feet.

down

the side of the oppo-

and crept in across the valley towards


from

my
this

Now
fear, I

that I

was

so joyously delivered

saw and recognised the country around me.

In the valley below, lay

my own

castle,

and the haunts

320
of

PHANTASTES
childhood were
all

my
;

about me.

I hastened

home.
joy

My

sisters

received

me

with unspeakable

but I suppose they observed some change in


for a

me,

kind of respect, with a slight touch of

awe

in

it,

mingled with their joy, and made

me

ashamed.

They had been


the morning of
floor of

in great distress about

me.

On

my

disappearance, they had


all

found the

my

room flooded; and,

that

day, a wondrous and nearly impervious mist had

hung about the

castle

and grounds.

had been

gone, they told me, twenty-one days.

To me
I

it

seemed twenty-one years.


quite

Nor could
experiences.
in
I

yet feel
at

secure in

my new

When,

night, I lay

down once more


sure that

my own
awoke,

bed, I did

not feel at
find

all

when

I should not

myself in some mysterious region of Fairy

Land.
but

My

dreams were incessant and perturbed


awake,
I

when

I did

saw clearly that

was

in

my own home.

My mind soon grew


of

calm

and

began the duties

my new position,

somewhat

instructed, I hoped,

by

the adventures that had befallen

me

in

Fairy Land.

Could
into

I translate the

experience of

my

travels there,

common
I live
it

life?
all

This was the question.


it

Or
over

must

over again, and learn

all

FAERIE ROMANCE.

321

again, in the other forms that belong to the world

of men, whose experience yet runs parallel to that of

Fairy Land?

These questions I cannot yet

answer.

But

I fear.

Even

yet, I find

myself looking round sometimes

with anxiety, to see whether

my
I

shadow

falls

right
dis-

away from

the sun or no.

have never yet


side.

covered any inclination to either

And

if I

am

not unfrequently sad, I yet cast no more of a shade

on the earth, than most men who have lived


long as
I.

in

it

as

have a strange

feeling sometimes, that I

am

a ghost, sent into the world to minister to

my

fellow-men, or, rather, to repair the wrongs I have

already done.

May

the world be brighter for me,


it,

at least in those portions of


falls not.

where

my

darkness

Thus

I,

who

set out to find

my

Ideal,

came back

rejoicing that I

had

lost

my

Shadow.
the blessedness I expein

When
rienced,

the thought of
after

my

death

Fairy Land,
it

is

too
it,

high for

me

to lay hold

upon

and hope in
in

I often think of

the wise

woman

the

cottage,

and of her solemn assurance


thing too good to be told.

that she
I

knew someoppressed

When

am

by any sorrow

or real perplexity,

I often feel as if

322
I

PHANTASTES.
left

had only

her cottage for a time, and would


it

soon return out of the vision, into


times, on such occasions,

again.

Some-

I find myself, unconsciously

almost, looking about for the mystic

mark

of red,

with the vague hope of entering her door, and being


comforted by her wise tenderness. I then console " I have come myself by saying through the door
:

of

Dismay

and the way back from the world


is

into

which that has led me,


that the red sign
lies,

through

my
it

tomb.

Upon

and

I shall find

one day, and

be glad."
I will

end

my

story with the relation of an inci-

dent which befell


with

me

a few days ago.

had been

my

reapers, and,

at noon, I

had

lain

when they ceased their work down under the shadow of a great,

ancient beech-tree, that stood on the edge of the


field.

As

I lay,

with

my

eyes closed, I began to

listen to the

sound of the leaves overhead.


inarticulate

At

first,

they made sweet

music alone; but, by

and by, the sound seemed to begin to take shape, and to be gradually moulding itself into words till,
;

at last, I

seemed able
little

to distinguish these, half-dis-

solved in a

ocean of circumfluent tones:


is

"A

great good

is

coming
so

Anodos ;" and

coming is coming to thee, over and over again. I fancied that

FAERIE ROMANCE.

323

the sound reminded

me

of the voice of the ancient


that

woman,
opened
that I

in

the cottage

was

four-square.

my

eyes, and, for a


face, with

moment, almost believed

saw her

its

many

wrinkles and

its

young

eyes, looking at

me

from between two hoary

branches of the beech overhead.

But when
leaves,

looked

more keenly,

saw only twigs and

and the

infinite sky, in

tiny spots, gazing through between.


is

Yet

know

that good

coming

to

me

that

good

is

always coming; though few have


simplicity
call evil,

at all times the


it.

and the courage


is

to believe

What we
could be

the only and best shape, which, for the


his

person

and

condition at

the time,

assumed by the best good.

And

so, Farewell.

THE END.

London

Printed by SMITH, ELDEB

&

E.C. Co., Little Green Arbour Court,

UC SOUTHERN REGIONAL LIBRARY FACILITY

A 000137885

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