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PROMETHEUS AND EPIMETHEUS.
But one thing remained at the bottom of the box, and that Hope.
So Epimetheus got a great deal of trouble, as most men do in this world: but he got the three best things in the world into the bargain—a good wife, and experience, and hope: while Prometheus had just as much trouble, and a great deal more (as you will hear), of his own making ; with nothing beside, save fancies spun out of his own brain, as a spider spins her web out of her stomach.
And Prometheus kept on looking before him so far ahead, that as he was running about with a box of lucifers (which were the only useful things he ever invented, and do as much harm as good), he trod on his own nose, and tumbled down (as most deductive philosophers do), whereby he set the Thames on fire: and they have hardly put it out again yet. So he had to be chained to the top of a mountain, with a vulture by him to give him a peck whenever he stirred, lest he should turn the whole world upside down with his prophecies and his theories.
But stupid old Epimetheus went working and grubbing on, with the help of his wife Pandora, always looking behind him to see what had happened, till he really learnt to know now and then what would happen next; and understood so well which side his bread was buttered, and which way the cat jumped, that he began to make things which would work, and go on working, too: to till and drain the ground, and to make looms, and ships, and railroads, and steam ploughs, and electric telegraphs, and all the things which you see in the Great Exhibition ; and to foretell famine, and bad weather, and the price of stocks; till at last he grew as rich as a Jew, and as fat as a farmer; and people thought twice before they meddled with him, but only once before they asked him to help them; for, because he earned his money well, he could afford to spend it well likewise.
And his children are the men of science, who get good lasting work done in the world : but the children of Prometheus are the fanatics, and the theorists, and the bigots, and the bores, and the noisy windy people, who go telling silly folk what will happen, instead of looking to see what has happened already.
SCENE IN THE BOWLING-GREEN BEHIND THE
PELICAN INN, PLYMOUTH, 19TH JULY 1588.
CHATTING in groups, or lounging over the low wall which commanded a view of the Sound and the shipping far below, were gathered almost every notable man of the Plymouth fleet, the whole posse comitatus of 'England's forgotten worthies.' The Armada has been scattered by a storm. Lord Howard has been out to look for it, as far as the Spanish coast; but the wind has shifted to the south, and fearing lest the Dons should pass him, he has returned to Plymouth, uncertain whether the Armada will come after all or not. Slip on for awhile, like Prince Hal, the drawer's apron; come in through the rose-clad door which opens from the tavern, with a tray of long-necked Dutch glasses, and a silver tankard of wine, and look round you at the gallant captains, who are waiting for the Spanish Armada, as lions in their lair might wait for the passing herd of deer.
See those five talking earnestly, in the centre of a ring, which longs to overhear, and yet is too respectful to approach close. Those soft long eyes and pointed chin you recognise already; they are Walter Raleigh’s. The fair young man in the flame-coloured doublet, whose arm is round Raleigh's neck, is Lord Sheffield; opposite them stands, by the side of Sir Richard Grenvile, a man as stately even as he, Lord Sheffield's uncle, the Lord Charles Howard of Etsingham, Lord High Admiral of England; next to him is his son-in-law, Sir Robert Southwell, captain of the Elizabeth Jonas :' but who is that short, sturdy, plainly dressed man, who stands with legs a little apart, and hands behind his back, looking up, with keen grey eyes, into the face of each speaker ? His cap is in his hands, so you can see the bullet head of crisp brown hair and the wrinkled forehead, as well as the high cheek bones, the short square face, the broad temples, the thick lips, which are yet firm as granite. A coarse plebeian stamp of man: yet the whole figure and attitude are that of boundless determination, self-possession, energy; and when at last he speaks a few blunt words, all eyes are turned respectfully upon him ;-for his name is Francis Drake.
A burly, grizzled elder, in greasy sea-stained garments, contrasting oddly with the huge gold chain about his neck, waddles up,
SCENE AT THE PELICAN INN, PLYMOUTH (1588). 161 as if he had been born, and had lived ever since, in a gale of wind at The
upper half of his sharp dogged visage seems of brick-red leather, the lower of badger's fir; and as he claps Drake on the back, and, with a broad Devon twang, shouts, 'Be you a-coming to drink your wine, Francis Drake, or be you not ?—saving your presence, my lord,' the Lord High Admiral only laughs, and bids Drake go and drink his wine; for John Hawkins, Admiral of the port, is the patriarch of Plymouth seamen, if Drake be their hero, and says and does pretty much what he likes in any company on earth.
SCENE IN AN INDIAN FOREST.
FORTH Amyas went, with Ayacanora as a guide, some five miles upward along the forest slopes, till the girl whispered, “ There they are’; and Amyas, pushing himself gently through a thicket of bamboo, beheld a scene which, in spite of his wrath, kept him silent, and perhaps softened, for a minute.
On the further side of a little lawn, the stream leaped through a chasm beneath overarching vines, sprinkling eternal freshness upon all around, and then sank foaming into a clear rockbasin, a bath for Dian's self. On its further side, the crag rose some twenty feet in height, bank upon bank of feathered ferns and cushioned moss, over the rich green beds of which drooped a thousand orchids, scarlet, white, and orange, and made the still pool gorgeous with the reflection of their gorgeousness. At its more quiet outfall, it was half-hidden in huge fantastic leaves and tall flowering stems; but near the waterfall the grassy bank sloped down toward the stream, and there, on palm-leaves strewed upon the turf, beneath the shadow of the crags, lay the two men whom Amyas sought, and whom, now he had found them, he had hardly heart to wake from their delicious dream.
For what a nest it was which they had found! The air was heavy with the scent of flowers, and quivering with the murmur of the stream, the humming of the colibris and insects, the cheerful song of birds, the gentle cooing of a hundred doves; while now and then, from far away, the musical wail of the sloth, or the deep toll of the bell-bird, came softly to the ear. What was not
there which eye or ear could need ? And what which palate could need either? For on the rock above, some strange tree, leaning forward, dropped every now and then a luscious apple upon the grass below, and huge wild plantains bent beneath their load of fruit.
There, on the stream bank, lay the two renegades from civilised life. They had cast away their clothes, and painted themselves, like the Indians, with arnotto and indigo. One lay lazily picking up the fruit which fell close to his side ; the other sat, his back against a cushion of soft moss, his hands folded languidly upon his lap, giving himself up to the soft influence of the narcotic cocajuice, with half-shut dreamy eyes fixed on the everlasting sparkle of the waterfall
While beauty, born of murmuring sound,
Somewhat apart crouched their two dusky brides, crowned with fragrant flowers, but working busily, like true women, for the lords whom they delighted to honour. One sat plaiting palm fibres into a basket; the other was boring the stem of a huge milk-tree, which rose like some mighty column on the right hand of the lawn, its broad canopy of leaves unseen through the dense underwood of laurel and bamboo, and betokened only by the rustle far aloft, and by the mellow shade in which it bathed the whole delicious scene.
Night falls ; the stars come out; the bright moon is in the sky : the household gathers round, and then takes place the hasty meal, of which every part is marked by the almost frantic haste of the first celebration, when Pharaoh's messengers were expected every instant to break in with the command,' Get you forth from among my people; Go! Begone!' The guests of each household at the moment of the meal rose from their sitting and recumbent posture, and stood round the table on their feet. Their feet, usually bare within the house, were shod as if for a journey. Each member of the household, even the women, had staffs in their hands, as if for an
immediate departure ; the long Eastern garments of the men were girt up, for the same reason, round their loins. The roasted lamb was torn to pieces, each snatching and grasping in his eager fingers the morsel which he might not else have time to eat. Not a fragment is left for the morning, which will find them gone and far away. The cakes of bread which they broke and ate were tasteless from the want of leaven, which there had been no leisure to prepare ; and, as on that fatal midnight they took their dough before it was leavened, their kneading troughs being bound up in their clothes on their shoulders,' so the recollection of this characteristic incident was stamped into the national memory by the prohibition of every kind of leaven or ferment for seven whole days during the celebration of the feast—the feast, as it was from this cause named, of unleavened bread. And, finally, in the subsequent union of later and earlier usages, the thanksgiving for their deliverance was always present. The reminiscence of their bondage was kept up by the mess of bitter herbs, which gave a relish to the supper. That bitter cup again was sweetened by the festive character which ran through the whole transaction, and gave it in later generations what in its first institution it could hardly have had,-its full social and ecclesiastical aspect. The wine-cups were blessed amidst the chants of the long-sustained hymn from the 113th to the 118th Psalm, of which the thrilling parts must always have been those which sing how •Israel came out of Egypt;' how 'not unto them, not unto them, but unto Jehovah's name was the praise to be given for ever and ever.'
THE LAST VIEW FROM PISGAH.
The end was at last come. It might still have seemed that a triumphant close was in store for the aged Prophet. His eye was not dim nor his natural force abated.' He had led his people to victory against the Amorite kings; he might still be expected to lead them over into the land of Canaan. But so it was not to be. From the desert plains of Moab he went up to the same lofty range, whence Balaam had looked over the same prospect. The same, but seen with eyes how different! The view of Balaam has been