More by Andrew Lang

'Many a man,' says De Quincey, 'can trace his ruin to a murder, of which, perhaps, he thought little enough at the time.' This remark applies with peculiar force to Philip II. of Spain, to his secretary, Antonio Perez, to the steward of Perez, to his page, and to a number of professional ruffians. All of these, from the King to his own scullion, were concerned in the slaying of Juan de Escovedo, secretary of Philip's famous natural brother, Don John of Austria. All of them, in different degrees, had bitter reason to regret a deed which, at the moment, seemed a commonplace political incident.
The puzzle in the case of Escovedo does not concern the manner of his taking off, or the identity of his murderers. These things are perfectly well known; the names of the guilty, from the King to the bravo, are ascertained. The mystery clouds the motives for the deed. Why was Escovedo done to death? Did the King have him assassinated for purely political reasons, really inadequate, but magnified by the suspicious royal fancy? Or were the secretary of Philip II. and the monarch of Spain rivals in the affections of a one-eyed widow of rank? and did the secretary, Perez, induce Philip to give orders for Escovedo's death, because Escovedo threatened to reveal to the King their guilty intrigue? Sir William Stirling-Maxwell and Monsieur Mignet accepted, with shades of difference, this explanation. Mr. Froude, on the other hand, held that Philip acted for political reasons, and with the full approval of his very ill-informed conscience. There was no lady as a motive in the case, in Mr. Froude's opinion. A third solution is possible: Philip, perhaps, wished to murder Escovedo for political reasons, and without reference to the tender passion; but Philip was slow and irresolute, while Perez, who dreaded Escovedo's interference with his love affair, urged his royal master on to the crime which he was shirking. We may never know the exact truth, but at least we can study a state of morals and manners at Madrid, compared with which the blundering tragedies of Holyrood, in Queen Mary's time, seem mere child's play. The 'lambs' of Bothwell are lambs playful and gentle when set beside the instruments of Philip II.
Subject of this book - The last rally of Jacobitism hitherto obscure - Nature of the new materials - Information from spies, unpublished Stuart Papers, &c. - The chief spy - Probably known to Sir Walter Scott - ÔRedgauntletÕ cited - ÔPickle the SpyÕ - His position and services - The hidden gold of Loch Arkaig - Consequent treacheries - Character of Pickle - PickleÕs nephew - PickleÕs portrait - Pickle detected and denounced - To no purpose - Historical summary - Incognito of Prince Charles - Plan of this work.
The latest rally of Jacobitism, with its last romance, so faded and so tarnished, has hitherto remained obscure. The facts on which ÔWaverleyÕ is based are familiar to all the world: those on which ÔRedgauntletÕ rests were but imperfectly known even to Sir Walter Scott. The story of the Forty-five is the tale of Highland loyalty: the story of 1750-1763 is the record of Highland treachery, or rather of the treachery of some Highlanders. That story, now for the first time to be told, is founded on documents never hither to published, or never previously pieced together. The Additional Manuscripts of the British Museum, with relics of the government of Henry Pelham and his brother, the Duke of Newcastle, have yielded their secrets, and given the information of the spies. The Stuart Papers at Windsor (partly published in BrowneÕs ÔHistory of the Highland ClansÕ and by Lord Stanhope, but mainly virginal of type) fill up the interstices in the Pelham Papers like pieces in a mosaic, and reveal the general design. The letters of British ambassadors at Paris, Dresden, Berlin, Hanover, Leipzig, Florence, St. Petersburg, lend colour and coherence. The political correspondence of Frederick the Great contributes to the effect. A trifle of information comes from the French Foreign Office Archives; French printed ÔMŽmoiresÕ and letters, neglected by previous English writers on the subject, offer some valuable, indeed essential, hints, and illustrate CharlesÕs relations with the wits and beauties of the reign of Louis XV. By combining information from these and other sources in print, manuscript, and tradition, we reach various results. We can now follow and understand the changes in the singular and wretched development of the character of Prince Charles Edward Stuart. We get a curious view of the manners, and a lurid light on the diplomacy of the middle of the eighteenth century. We go behind the scenes of many conspiracies. Above all, we encounter an extraordinary personage, the great, highborn Highland chief who sold himself as a spy to the English Government.
His existence was suspected by Scott, if not clearly known and understood.
The Countryman. "You know how much, for some time past, the editions of the Elzevirs have been in demand. The fancy for them has even penetrated into the country. I am acquainted with a man there who denies himself necessaries, for the sake of collecting into a library (where other books are scarce enough) as many little Elzevirs as he can lay his hands upon. He is dying of hunger, and his consolation is to be able to say, 'I have all the poets whom the Elzevirs printed. I have ten examples of each of them, all with red letters, and all of the right date.' This, no doubt, is a craze, for, good as the books are, if he kept them to read them, one example of each would be enough."
The Parisian. "If he had wanted to read them, I would not have advised him to buy Elzevirs. The editions of minor authors which these booksellers published, even editions 'of the right date,' as you say, are not too correct. Nothing is good in the books but the type and the paper. Your friend would have done better to use the editions of Gryphius or Estienne."
This fragment of a literary dialogue I translate from 'Entretiens sur les Contes de Fees,' a book which contains more of old talk about books and booksellers than about fairies and folk-lore. The 'Entretiens' were published in 1699, about sixteen years after the Elzevirs ceased to be publishers. The fragment is valuable: first, because it shows us how early the taste for collecting Elzevirs was fully developed, and, secondly, because it contains very sound criticism of the mania. Already, in the seventeenth century, lovers of the tiny Elzevirian books waxed pathetic over dates, already they knew that a 'Caesar' of 1635 was the right 'Caesar,' already they were fond of the red-lettered passages, as in the first edition of the 'Virgil' of 1636. As early as 1699, too, the Parisian critic knew that the editions were not very correct, and that the paper, type, ornaments, and FORMAT were their main attractions. To these we must now add the rarity of really good Elzevirs.
The modern Science of the History of Religion has attained conclusions which already possess an air of being firmly established. These conclusions may be briefly stated thus: Man derived the conception of 'spirit' or 'soul' from his reflections on the phenomena of sleep, dreams, death, shadow, and from the experiences of trance and hallucination. Worshipping first the departed souls of his kindred, man later extended the doctrine of spiritual beings in many directions. Ghosts, or other spiritual existences fashioned on the same lines, prospered till they became gods. Finally, as the result of a variety of processes, one of these gods became supreme, and, at last, was regarded as the one only God. Meanwhile man retained his belief in the existence of his own soul, surviving after the death of the body, and so reached the conception of immortality. Thus the ideas of God and of the soul are the result of early fallacious reasonings about misunderstood experiences.
It may seem almost wanton to suggest the desirableness of revising a system at once so simple, so logical, and apparently so well bottomed on facts. But there can never be any real harm in studying masses of evidence from fresh points of view. At worst, the failure of adverse criticism must help to establish the doctrines assailed. Now, as we shall show, there are two points of view from which the evidence as to religion in its early stages has not been steadily contemplated. Therefore we intend to ask, first, what, if anything, can be ascertained as to the nature of the 'visions' and hallucinations which, according to Mr. Tylor in his celebrated work 'Primitive Culture,' lent their aid to the formation of the idea of 'spirit.' Secondly, we shall collect and compare the accounts which we possess of the High Gods and creative beings worshipped or believed in, by the most backward races. We shall then ask whether these relatively Supreme Beings, so conceived of by men in very rudimentary social conditions, can be, as anthropology declares, mere developments from the belief in ghosts of the dead.
The scene was a dusky shabby little room in Ryder Street. To such caves many repair whose days are passed, and whose food is consumed, in the clubs of the adjacent thoroughfare of cooperative palaces, Pall Mall. The furniture was battered and dingy; the sofa on which Logan sprawled had a certain historic interest: it was covered with cloth of horsehair, now seldom found by the amateur. A bookcase with glass doors held a crowd of books to which the amateur would at once have flown. They were in ÔboardsÕ of faded blue, and the paper labels bore alluring names: they were all First Editions of the most desirable kind. The bottles in the liqueur case were antique; a coat of arms, not undistinguished, was in relief on the silver stoppers. But the liquors in the flasks were humble and conventional. Merton, the tenant of the rooms, was in a Zingari cricketing coat; he occupied the arm-chair, while Logan, in evening dress, maintained a difficult equilibrium on the slippery sofa. Both men were of an age between twenty-five and twenty-nine, both were pleasant to the eye. Merton was, if anything, under the middle height: fair, slim, and active. As a freshman he had coxed his College Eight, later he rowed Bow in that vessel. He had won the Hurdles, but been beaten by his Cambridge opponent; he had taken a fair second in Greats, was believed to have been Ôrunner upÕ for the Newdigate prize poem, and might have won other laurels, but that he was found to do the female parts very fairly in the dramatic performances of the University, a thing irreconcilable with study. His father was a rural dean. MertonÕs most obvious vice was a thirst for general information. ÔI know it is awfully bad form to know anything,Õ he had been heard to say, Ôbut everyone has his failings, and mine is occasionally useful.Õ
Logan was tall, dark, athletic and indolent. He was, in a way, the last of an historic Scottish family, and rather fond of discoursing on the ancestral traditions. But any satisfaction that he derived from them was, so far, all that his birth had won for him. His little patrimony had taken to itself wings. Merton was in no better case. Both, as they sat together, were gloomily discussing their prospects.
Long ago, in a little island called Ithaca, on the west coast of Greece, there lived a king named Laertes. His kingdom was small and mountainous. People used to say that Ithaca Òlay like a shield upon the sea,Ó which sounds as if it were a flat country. But in those times shields were very large, and rose at the middle into two peaks with a hollow between them, so that Ithaca, seen far off in the sea, with her two chief mountain peaks, and a cloven valley between them, looked exactly like a shield. The country was so rough that men kept no horses, for, at that time, people drove, standing up in little light chariots with two horses; they never rode, and there was no cavalry in battle: men fought from chariots. When Ulysses, the son of Laertes, King of Ithaca grew up, he never fought from a chariot, for he had none, but always on foot.
If there were no horses in Ithaca, there was plenty of cattle. The father of Ulysses had flocks of sheep, and herds of swine, and wild goats, deer, and hares lived in the hills and in the plains. The sea was full of fish of many sorts, which men caught with nets, and with rod and line and hook.
Thus Ithaca was a good island to live in. The summer was long, and there was hardly any winter; only a few cold weeks, and then the swallows came back, and the plains were like a garden, all covered with wild flowersÑviolets, lilies, narcissus, and roses. With the blue sky and the blue sea, the island was beautiful. White temples stood on the shores; and the Nymphs, a sort of fairies, had their little shrines built of stone, with wild rose-bushes hanging over them.
Thirty years have passed, like a watch in the night, since the earlier of the two sets of verses here reprinted, Ballades in Blue China, was published. At first there were but twenty-two Ballades; ten more were added later. They appeared in a little white vellum wrapper, with a little blue Chinese singer copied from a porcelain jar; and the frontispiece was a little design by an etcher now famous.
Thirty years ago blue china was a kind of fetish in some circles, aesthetic circles, of which the balladist was not a member.
The ballade was an old French form of verse, in France revived by Theodore de Banville, and restored to an England which had long forgotten the Middle Ages, by my friends Mr. Austin Dobson and Mr. Edmund Gosse. They, so far as I can trust my memory, were the first to reintroduce these pleasant old French nugae, while an anonymous author let loose upon the town a whole winged flock of ballades of amazing dexterity. This unknown balladist was Mr. Henley; perhaps he was the first Englishman who ever burst into a double ballade, and his translations of two of Villon's ballades into modern thieves' slang were marvels of dexterity. Mr. Swinburne wrote a serious ballade, but the form, I venture to think, is not 'wholly serious,' of its nature, in modern days; and he did not persevere.
Nor did the taste for these trifles long endure. A good ballade is almost as rare as a good sonnet, but a middling ballade is almost as easily written as the majority of sonnets. Either form readily becomes mechanical, cheap and facile. I have heard Mr. George Meredith improvise a sonnet, a Petrarchian sonnet, obedient to the rules, without pen and paper. He spoke 'and the numbers came'; he sonneted as easily as a living poet, in his Eton days, improvised Latin elegiacs and Greek hexameters.
In Homer and the Epic, ten or twelve years ago, I examined the literary objections to Homeric unity. These objections are chiefly based on alleged discrepancies in the narrative, of which no one poet, it is supposed, could have been guilty. The critics repose, I venture to think, mainly on a fallacy. We may style it the fallacy of "the analytical reader." The poet is expected to satisfy a minutely critical reader, a personage whom he could not foresee, and whom he did not address. Nor are "contradictory instances" examinedÑthat is, as Blass has recently reminded his countrymen, Homer is put to a test which Goethe could not endure. No long fictitious narrative can satisfy "the analytical reader."
The fallacy is that of disregarding the Homeric poet's audience. He did not sing for Aristotle or for Aristarchus, or for modern minute and reflective inquirers, but for warriors and ladies. He certainly satisfied them; but if he does not satisfy microscopic professors, he is described as a syndicate of many minstrels, living in many ages.
In the present volume little is said in defence of the poet's consistency. Several chapters on that point have been excised. The way of living which Homer describes is examined, and an effort is made to prove that he depicts the life of a single brief age of culture. The investigation is compelled to a tedious minuteness, because the points of attackÑthe alleged discrepancies in descriptions of the various details of existenceÑare so minute as to be all but invisible.
The unity of the Epics is not so important a topic as the methods of criticism. They ought to be sober, logical, and self-consistent. When these qualities are absent, Homeric criticism may be described, in the recent words of Blass, as "a swamp haunted by wandering fires, will o' the wisps."
It may well be doubted whether works of controversy serve any useful purpose. ÔOn an opponent,Õ as Mr. Matthew Arnold said, Ôone never does make any impression,Õ though one may hope that controversy sometimes illuminates a topic in the eyes of impartial readers. The pages which follow cannot but seem wandering and desultory, for they are a reply to a book, Mr. Max MŸllerÕs Contributions to the Science of Mythology, in which the attack is of a skirmishing character. Throughout more than eight hundred pages the learned author keeps up an irregular fire at the ideas and methods of the anthropological school of mythologists. The reply must follow the lines of attack.
Criticism cannot dictate to an author how he shall write his own book. Yet anthropologists and folk-lorists, ÔagriologistsÕ and ÔHottentoticÕ students, must regret that Mr. Max MŸller did not state their general theory, as he understands it, fully and once for all. Adversaries rarely succeed in quite understanding each other; but had Mr. Max MŸller made such a statement, we could have cleared up anything in our position which might seem to him obscure.
Our system is but one aspect of the theory of evolution, or is but the application of that theory to the topic of mythology. The arch¾ologist studies human life in its material remains; he tracks progress (and occasional degeneration) from the rudely chipped flints in the ancient gravel beds, to the polished stone weapon, and thence to the ages of bronze and iron. He is guided by material ÔsurvivalsÕÑancient arms, implements, and ornaments. The student of Institutions has a similar method. He finds his relics of the uncivilised past in agricultural usages, in archaic methods of allotment of land, in odd marriage customs, things rudimentaryÑfossil relics, as it were, of an early social and political condition. The arch¾ologist and the student of Institutions compare these relics, material or customary, with the weapons, pottery, implements, or again with the habitual law and usage of existing savage or barbaric races, and demonstrate that our weapons and tools, and our laws and manners, have been slowly evolved out of lower conditions, even out of savage conditions.
This beloved volume collects the world’s most famous fairy tales, children’s classics, and bedtime stories.
The enchanting stories of childhood every girl and boy—and their parents—cherish are collected in this first volume of Andrew Lang’s renowned Fairy Books. Originally published in 1889, this treasure trove of timeless tales of action and adventure, enchanted forests and fantastic creatures, and monsters and magic has thrilled readers all over the world for generations.
The thirty-seven stories in this collection—including such favorites as “Little Red Riding Hood,” “Sleeping Beauty,” “Cinderella,” “Rumpelstiltskin,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “Hansel and Gretel,” “Puss in Boots,” “Aladdin,” and “Jack the Giant-Killer”—are more than just fairy tales; they are a priceless keepsake of childhood memories that will stand the test of time now and forever.
The Blue Fairy Book also includesThe Bronze Ring,” “Prince Hyacinth and the Dear Little Princess,” “East of the Sun and West of the Moon,” “The Yellow Dwarf,” “The Tale of a Youth Who Set Out to Learn What Fear Was,” “The Master-Maid,” “Why the Sea Is Salt,” “Felicia and the Pot of Pinks,” “The White Cat,” “The Water-Lily,” “The Gold-Spinners,” “The Terrible Head,” “The Story of Pretty Goldilocks,” “The History of Whittington,” “The Wonderful Sheep,” “Little Thumb,” “The Forty Thieves,” “Snow-White and Rose-Red,” “The Goose-Girl,” “Toads and Diamonds,” “Prince Darling,” “Blue Beard,” “Trusty John,” “The Brave Little Tailor,” “A Voyage to Lilliput,” “The Princess on the Glass Hill,” “The Story of Prince Ahmed and the Fairy Paribanou,” “The Black Bull of Norroway,” and “The Red Etin.”
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