6 For us.

ing to ?

God said, “ It comes from this side the “Oh, fill our jars with wine, dear curtain : they are very thirsty.” Lord.

Then the feast went on, and after a “ Our jars with wine."

while I saw a small, white hand slipped in “Give peace and plenty in our time, below the curtain edge along the floor ; dear Lord."

and it motioned toward the wine .jars. Peace and plenty in our time”-I And I said to God,“ Why is that hand said to God, “ Whom is it they are talk- so bloodless ?

God said, “ Do I know whom And God said, “It is a wine-pressed they speak of ?I saw they were look- hand.” ing up at the roof, not out in the sun- The men saw it and started to their shine, where God lay.

feet; and women cried, and ran to the 66- dear Lord !"

great wine jars, and threw their arms “Dear Lord.

about them, and cried, “ Ours, our own !" Our children's children, Lord, shall and twined their long hair around them. rise and call Thee blessed."

I said to God, “Why are they fright“ Our children's children, Lord !”—I ened of that one small hand ?!! said to God, “ The grapes are crying !”. God answered,

6. Because

it is 80 God said, “Still ! I hear them.' 6 shall white.” call Thee blessed."

And men ran in a great company tow“ Pour forth more wine upon us, ard the curtain, and struggled there. Lord."

heard them strike upon the floor with • More wine.'

their feet. And when they moved away " More wine."

the curtain hung smooth ; and there was 66 More wine !"

a small mark of wine upon the floor. 66 Wine ! !"

I said to God,“ Why do they not wash " Wine ! !''

it out?" " Wine ! ! !"

God said, “ They cannot.” " Dear Lord !”

And they took small stones and put And then the feast went on. And them down along the edge of the curtain mothers poured out wine and fed their to keep it down. And the men and little children with it, and men held up women sat down again at the tables. the cup to women's lips and cried,

And I said to God,“ Will those stones loved ! drink, ” and women filled their keep it down ?'' lovers' flagons ; and yet the feast went God said, “What think you-if the

And after a while I looked, and I wind blew ?" saw the curtain that hung behind the And the feast went on. house moving.

And suddenly I cried to God, “ If one I said to God, “ What is it—a wind ?" should rise among them, even of themGod said, " A wind."

selves, and start up from the table and And it seemed to me, that against the should cast away bis

cup, and cry aloud; curtain I saw pressed the forms of men ' My brothers, oh, my sisters, wait ! what and women. And after a while the feast- is it that we drink?'-and with his sword ers saw it also, and they whispered. Then should cut in two the curtain, and holding some rose and gathered the oldest cups wide the fragments, cry, ‘ My brothers, oh, and into them they put what was left at my sisters, see ! it is not wine, not wine ! the bottom of other vessels. Mothers not wine! My brothers, oh, my sisters whispered to their children, “Do not -!' and he should overturndrink all, save a little drop when you have God said, • Still !--see there." drunk well." And when they had col- I looked : before the banquet-bouse, lected the dregs they slipped the cups out among the grass, I saw a row of mouuds, under the bottom of the curtain without iowers covered them, and gilded marble lifting it. After a while the curtain left stood at their heads. I asked God what off moving

they were. I said to God, “How is it?''

He answered, They are the graves of He said,

"They have gone away to those who rose up at the feast and cried drink it."

aloud.I said, " They drink it-their own !" And I asked God how they came there.

66 Be

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]



He said, “ The men of the banquet- And the revels grew higher. Men house rose up and cast them down back- drank till they could drink no longer.

Some lay their heads upon

the table, I said, Who buried them ?"

sleeping heavily. Women who could God said, " The men who cast them dance no more leaned on the benches

with their heads against their lovers. I said, How came it that they threw Little children, sick with wine, lay down them down, and then set flowers and mar- upon the edges of their mothers' robes. ble over them ?''

Sometimes, a man rose snddenly, and as God said, Because the bones cried he staggered struck the tables and overout, they covered them.'

threw the benches ; some leaned upon



and weeds I saw balustrades sick upto death. Here and an unburied body lying ; and I asked God there rose one who staggered to the wine why it was.

jars and lay down beside them. He turned God said, Because it died only yes- on the wine tap and let the wine run out, terday. In a little while, when the flesh and lay on the ground sleeping. shall have fallen from its bones, they will Slowly the thin red stream ran across bury it also, and plant flowers over it." the white inarbled floor ; it reached the And still the feast went on.

stone steps. Slowly, slowly, slowly it Men and women sat at the tables trickled down, from step to step, from quaffing great bowls. Some rose, and step to step : it sank into the earth. A threw their arins about each other, and thin white smoke rose from it. danced and sang.

They pledged each other.

I did not say anything ; neither did Higher and higher grew the revels. God speak. He beckoned me to come

Men, when they had drunk till they on. could no longer, threw what was left in their glasses to the roof, and let it fall And after we had travelled for a while back in cascades. Women dyed their we came where on seven hills lay the ruins children's garments in the wine, and fed of a mighty house larger and stronger than them on it till their tiny mouths were red. the one which I had seen. Sometimes, as the dancers whirled, they I said to God, " What did the men who overturned a vessel, and their garments built it here ?were besprinkled. Children sat upon the God said, “They feasted." floor with great bowls of wine, and swam And I said, “ On what ?" rose-leaves on them for boats.

They put

God said,

66 Wine." their hands in the wine and blew large And I looked, and it seemed to me that red-colored bubbles.

behind the ruins lay still a circular bollow And higher and higher grew the revels, within the earth where the foot of a wineand wilder the dancing, and louder the press

stood. singing. But here and there among the

I said to God, How came it this revellers were those who did not revel. I house fell ?noted at the tables here and there men God said, “ The earth was sodden." who sat with their elbows on the table and And He called me to come farther. hands shading their eyes ; they looked We came upon a bill wbere blue waters into the wine-cup beneath them, and did played, and marble lay about. I said to not drink. And when one touched them God, What stood here ?" lightly on the shoulder, bidding them to He said, “A pleasure-house." rise and dance and sing, they started, and I looked, and at my feet great pillars then looked down, and sat there watching, lay. I cried aloud for joy. I cried to but they did not speak.

God, “ The marble blossoms !" And here and there I saw a woman sit God said, “Ay, 'twas a fairy house. apart. The others danced and sang and There has not been one like to it, nor fed their children, but she sat silent with shall be. The pillars and the porticos her head aside as though she listened. blossomed ; the wine-cups were as gathHer little children plucked her gown ; she ered flowers : on this side the curtain were did not see them ; she was listening ; but broidered fair designs, the stitching was she said nothing

of gold.”



I said to God, “ What on the other I said to God, “ It was a banquetside ?"

house ?" God said, “ On the side of the wine- God said, “A banquet-house.” press it was dark."

I said, “ There was a wiue-press here ?”' I said to God,“ How came it that it God said, “A wine-press. fell ?!!

I was very weary. I looked across the God said, ". The wind blew."

gray sands : I shaded my eyes with my He called me.

hand. The pink evening light was lying And as we travelled, we came where lay over everything. a mighty ridge of sand, and a dark river Far off, away upon the sand, I saw two ran. There rose two mounds.

figures standing. With wings upfolded I said to God, “ They are very great. high above their heads, and stern faces God said, “ Exceeding great.

set, neither man nor beast, they looked And I listened.

across the desert sand, watching, watchGod asked me what I heard.

ing, watching. I did not ask God what I said,

“The sound of weeping, and I they were, or who had set them there. I hear the sound of strokes, but I cannot was too weary. tell whence it comes.

And still, yet farther, in the evening God said, “The echo of the wine press light, I looked with my shaded eyes. lingers still among the coping-stones upon Where'the sands were thick and heavy the mounds. A banquet-house stood I saw a solitary pillar standing : the top

had fallen, and the sand bad buried it. He called me to come farther.

On the broken pillar sat a gray owl of the Upon a barren hill-side, where the soil desert, with folded wings; and slowly by was arid, God called inė to stand still. crept the desert fox trailing his brush, and

He said, " There was a feasting-house the evening light cast its shadow on the here once upon a time.”

sand. I said to God, “I see no mark of any I shaded my eyes. Farther, yet farfeasting-house here now."

ther, I saw the sand gathered into heaps God said, “ There is not left one stone as though it covered something, until it upon another that has not been thrown faded from my sight.

And I looked round ; and on I cried to God, “Oh, I am so weary." the hill-side was a lonely grave.

God said, “You have not seen half I said to God, 66 What lies there ?" Hell." He said,

A vine truss bruised in the I said, “I cannot see more, I am afraid. wine press.”

In my own narrow little path I dare not And at the head stood a cross, and on walk because I think that one has dug a the foot lay a crown of thorns.

pit for me ; and if I put my hand to take As I turned to go I looked backward ; à fruit I draw it back again because I the wine-press and the banquet-house were think it has been kissed. If I look out gone, but the grave stood.

across the plains, the mounds are covered And on the edge of a long ridge there houses ; and when I pass among the stones opened out before me a wide plain, with I hear them crying. The time of the sand across it. And when I looked down dancing is beaten in with sobs, and the I saw great stones lie shattered ; and the wine is alive. Oh, I cannot bear Hell !" desert sand half covered them.

God said, “ Where will you go ?” I said to God, “There is a writing on I said, “ To earth from which I came ; thein, but I cannot read it."

it was better there. God bent and blew aside the desert And God laughed at me ; and I wonsand, and cleared it with His finger, and dered why He laughed. read the writing : “ Weighed in the bal- He said, “ Come with Me, and I will ance, and found—” the last word was show you Heaven."--New Review. wanting.


[ocr errors]



However history may change its coun. ignoring tbis, appeals to man's concern in tenance the one problem which is the the finite, and only interprets his destiny heart of it remains everlastingly the same. by projecting that finite into the infinite. Through all thought and action, all civili. So that for an individual the true reading zation and life in every age, there beats of the problem is not, " What shall become the sombre monotone of one question, of me when I am dead ??? but, 66 What does What does it mean? Human destiny is a this life mean to me?" It is possible for a problem that never ends, and according as man to deny the supernatural and live. men have answered the question, so have And even where he finds the power of a men lived. They have danced to it ; they new and stronger life accruing to him from have groaned and perished under it. Na- a belief in the supernatural, he still must tions and races have felt its burden, and begin with the facts around him and transthey have risen to its inspiration. They late his divine faith to meet the elementhave made life beautiful with the radiance ary issues of human affairs. These two of Greece or strong with the strength of sides together form the medal of life, a Rome, ponderous as Egypt, proud as medal on whose obverse may be traced Israel, dark with the ugliness of Islam or sprigs of flowers, implements of toil, and of Scotland, according as the eternal tone weapons of battle, and at the foot a skull sounded in their ears. And so, too, indi- and bones, but on the reverse there is viduals make believe to fill the brief hour written a hieroglyphic which no eye has with light and song, and try to forget that read. they were born and have to die. Or they Perhaps nowhere else in the history of turn away from the music and the mirth, a nation do we find these two sides so aband wrestling drearily with the destiny of solutely and irreconcilably dissevered as in death and hereafter meanwhile forget that the antagonism of parties which reft they might live. Or with Shakespeare's asunder English life in the early part and eye and Shakespeare's calm they have middle of the seventeenth century,—the known both the beauty and the darkness, one party lightly smiling on the flowerhave seen the frolic and felt its pathos, sprigs and the battle-gear, the other too and having done their worldly task and darkly pondering the hieroglyphic. Cavafinished joy and moan have gone home to lier and Puritan may be taken as in a quiet consummation. But from the book sense representing the comedy and the of Job to In Memoriam humanity is still tragedy of life, its finite and its infinite, only a rock round which surge the waters its natural and its supernatural. Their of the infinite, and its clearest light is opposition presents only a partial pbase of hung about thick and dark with the shad- the profounder problem. Their violent ow of destiny.

division contains little of philosophy in The true significance of the problem is it, but however partial and however exagnot as it questions the darkness but as it gerated both sides were, they embody a relates to the light.

66 We know what we historical solution under which a philosoare, but we know not what we may be.phy may be found to lie. To ChillingDeath reveals no secrets, but life puts us worth's quaint and pathetical humor, the riddles which we must solve or perish. struggle was only between publicans and Even religion in all its forms bears out the sinners on the one side, and scribes and justice of this view of the problem. For pharisees on the other. Milton, again, these forms, though they are distinguished while he had still the alternative before according to the various messages they him of espousing either side, presented profess to bring from the unknown, yet the choice as it appeared to him in his depend for their most sustaining power L'Allegro and Il Penseroso. But Milton, upon the directions they have to deliver moving in his seclusion at Horton between concerning the known. The pith and the sunshine of Euphrosyne and the secret marrow of a religion consist in its ethics shades of woody Ida's inmost grove, was not in its theology. Religion itself, not as far from realizing the mirth of the Cavalier as he was from being darkened founded on religious principle, and Shakeby the moroseness of the Puritan, and was speare was tabooed and anathematized as incapacitated by his idealism from furnish- heartily as ever Dryden or Congreve. The ing a true picture of either of the frag- result was that long before Puritanism bad mentary sections into which English life assumed the supremacy, it had driven was split. His deeper-toned picture has poetry and the drama into open protest. in it as much of Ariel as the ligbter one When the Puritans came to usurp serious. has of Puck. The Penseroso from the ness to themselves as their own special temper of his mind might have been a quality, and were now presenting seriousGreek, and have written choruses to the ness in a light which was never preposPrometheus. The light hearted Allegro, sessing and was frequently odious, those poet though he is, could never have joined who deemed that this world was worth hands with the author of the Ballad on a living in, as well as dying in, rerolted Wedding. Milton has clarified the con- from such a travesty, and were impelled trast of all its less refined though more to lay an exaggerated emphasis on tho realistic elements, has idealized both sides, other side of life. and has translated the merry sinner and This emphasis of revolt finds expression the sad pharisee into the universal tongue. in the view of life upheld by the Cavalier If we regard the contrasted pictures poets. With these life was in the main a through the refracting glass of Milton's matter of love among the roses. “visionary rhyme," we lose sight of the

Out upon it, I have loved veritable features of which L’Allegro and

Three whole days together. Il Penseroso are an unhistorical reflex. We must read Chillingworth's epigram only the light of ladies' eyes, the sparkle

The Cavalier's joyous temperament sought into Milton's poem, and see pharisee and

of the wine-bowl, and a song that had the sinner as they were.

From their earliest emergence as Non- ring of Rupert's march in it, conformists of the Reformation epoch, or

Carabine slung, stirrup well hung,

Flagon at saddlebow merrily swung. to speak with greater bistorical accuracy (since they did partially conform), from It was enough for him if Julia smiled, and their first appearance as the ultraProtes- the hours slipped to the passing of the tants of the Tudor period, the Puritans toast and a chorus of Begone, Dull held up an ideal of life which even at its

Robert Herrick, last of the Elizabest represented only one side of the truth bethans, sat in his vicarage in Devon and and one which embodied elements essen- lisped hedonistic songs like a bibulous tially false in themselves. Their restless oriental deity. Suckling, concerned as he and fermenting zeal exerted itself as a was in laying siege to the Lady Froths of continual protest against the gracious court with that "brisk impudence" of worldliness of the Renascence, and when which he was the first professional master, that zeal became more and joore active would scarcely trouble to write down the and Puritan influence effectively powerful, verses that make his name remembered. as happened before the close of the six- Lovelace, " the handsomnest man in his teenth century, there awoke a reactive generation," with his “incomparably movement among the representatives of graceful” manners, chirruped on every the Renascence ideal. It hardly touched tree while the summer lasted, and when men like Sidney and Shakespeare, but it the winter came, having squandered a succeeded in introducing into English life fortune, died of starvation in a cellar. and thought a rupture which grew ever Carew, the first and according to some the wider. The humanists drew away from best of the group, devoted his fine talent the zealots as Erasmus bad drawn away almost entirely to praise of the rosy lip from Luther. The inore serious element and the rosy glass, and wrote of love's became shy of contact with all this raptures with an exuberance that makes gracious worldliness and left dramatists one of his best poenis unfit to be quoted. and poets to address themselves to a The Cavalier was not awcary to be rid of changed audience.

Now this Puritan an- this world. He saw it, and to him it was tagonism did not proceed originally from all very good. He could record his emoa loathing of the stage ; it

tions because he did not suspect them. religious ground. It was an objection He could hold up the mirror to natural



from a

« VorigeDoorgaan »