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psalms or anything”—“If I live to be served | and half a Mephistopheles, with all the lying such another trick, I'll have my brains taken and cowardice of the one, and all the clever out and buttered, and give them to a dog for rascality of the other, yet somehow loveable, a new-year's gift.” What are these, and a after all—where shall we find such another hundred other such conceits in Falstaff, but triad ? And how they set off each other ! the lucky result, as it were, of sheer volun- Panurge always active, always amusing, tary drivel—the lips speaking on in blind never at a loss, sneaking off at the first haste, and Nature, per force, supplying the glimpse of danger, re-appearing whenever it matter? And precisely so it is in Rabelais. is past; Friar John, with his hanger ever In him, however, the zanyism is most frequent ready for a foe, and his knife for a joint, often ly of a peculiar genus-a vinous zanyism, so bullying his poor co-mate, yet bearing with to speak; the zanyism of intoxication. We him like a brother; and Pantagruel, someseem to see all through the heavy eye, the times štanding apart and looking on, at others swaggering look, the alternate mock-solemni- joining in the sport, but always as a superior ty and downright idiotcy of drunkenness. nature, occupied with thoughts of his own Indeed, as has been well remarked, the whole there is something almost fearful in such a of Rabelais's book may be best conceived as conjunction. The affection that Pantagruel a drama within a drama; the real scene being bears to Panurge, the uniform kindness and the tavern-parlor of the hostelry at Chinon consideration with which he treats that strange warm and well lighted in a blustering winter unearthly being, who seems but one lump of night, with a company of jolly topers seated facetiousness and vice, are positively mystic. in it round a board; and the professed story, He sometimes rebukes Friar John, Panurge with its Gargantuas, Panurges, and Friar never. Of the three characters, Panurge is, Johns, passing through this only as a mad beyond question, the masterpiece. As a phantasmagory, or drunken revel. And thus poetic impersonation of the principle of evil we see how Rabelais was still the old man, -we do not hesitate to say it—the character and how, even in his mature age, all that he of Panurge, by Rabelais, is a more original could do was to roll back his later experience and masterly conception than that of Mephisof life, so as to bed and smother it in his early topheles, by Goethe. recollections.
And this leads us, finally, to the philosophy Of the vigor of the dramatic or creative of Rabelais. It was a favorite opinion of faculty in Rabelais, the proof lies in the dis-Coleridge, that the real scope of the great tinctness with which one learns to picture work of Rabelais was not political, but phithe main characters of his fiction. What losophical.
What losophical. “Pantagruel,” he said, “ was the can be finer, in its way, than his description Reason ; Panurge, the Understanding—the of the domestic old giant, Grangousier, as he pollarded man, the man with every faculty was quietly spending his time when the news except the Reason.” With virtually this reached him of the invasion of his territories by meaning in view, Rabelais, as Coleridge conPicrochole ?—“Grangousier, good old man, ceived, was led, by the necessity of the times, warming his thighs at a good, great, clear to assume the guise of zanyism--now making fire, waiting upon the broiling of some chest- a deep thrust; then, to appear unconscious nuts, very serious in drawing scratches on of what he had done, writing a chapter or the hearth with a stick burnt at one end, two of pure buffoonery. This hypothesis, a where with they stirred the fire, telling to his little altered and softened, would almost wife and the rest of his family pleasant old seem admissible ; so clear is it, above all in stories and tales of former times.” Nor is the delineation of Pantagruel, that Rabelais, the portrait of Gargantua less clear to the too, had his high thoughts and serious reader. It is, however, upon the three friends moments. And here, without investigating and companions-Pantagruel, Friar John, the matter further, let u: quote, in conclusion, and Panurge, that Rabelais has taken 'most one passage, in which, more than in any othpains. The characters of these three stand er in the whole work, (we can say this as out as conceptions perfectly and peculiarly conscientious readers,) Rabelais has shown Rabelæsian. Pantagruel, the wise, the good, his deeper susceptibilities-a passage which the invincible, the modest, the sad, the spe- proves, we think, that even he, mass of fat, culative, half a Hamlet, half a giant; Friar fun, and filth, as people would fain represent John, the lusty, the fearless, the jovial, the him to have been, was subject to visits of a profane, "going through the world like a mystic melancholy that Horace never knew. bull;" and Panurge, the witty, the mischiev. It is where, in Bookiv. chapter 28, Pantagruel, ous, the wily, the unprincipled, half a Pistol I discoursing on immortality, relates what is called “a very sad story of the death of the forecastle, and casting his eyes on the shore, said heroes."
that he had been commanded to proclaim that
the great god Pan was dead. The words were “Epitherses, the father of Æmilian, the rhe- hardly out of his mouth, when deep groans, great torician sailing from Greece to Italy, in a ship lamentations, and doleful shrieks, not of one freighted with divers goods and passengers, at person, but of many together, were heard from the night the wind failed them near the Echipades, land. The news of this was soon spread at Rome; some islands that lie between the Morea and Tu- insomach, that Tiberius, who was then emperor, nis ; and the vessel was driven near Paxos. sent for this Thamous, and having heard him, gave When they got thither, some of the passengers credit to his words. * * For my part, I underbeing asleep, others awake, the rest eating and stand the story of that great Saviour of the faithdrinking, a voice was heard that called aloud, ful who was put to death at Jerusalem. He may “ Thamous !" which surprised them all. This be called, in the Greek tongue, Pan, since he is same Thamous was their 'pilot, an Egyptian by our all. He is Pan, the great shepherd, also, who, birth, but known by name only to some few of the as the loving Corydon affirms, hath a tender love, passengers. The voice was heard a second time no! for his sheep only, but also for their shepherds. calling “ Thamous," in a frightful tone; and none At his death, complaints, sighs, tears, and lamenmaking answer, but all trembling and remaining tations were spread throughout the whole fabric of silent, the voice was heard a third time, more the universe-heavens, land, sea, and hell. The dreadful than before. This caused Thamous to time also concurs with this interpretation of mine ; answer, “ Here am I; what dost thou call me for ?" for this most mighty Pan, our Saviour, died near Then the voice, louder than before, bid him publish, Jerusalem, in the reign of Tiberius Cæsar.' Panwhen he should come to Palodes, that the great tagruel having ended this discourse, remained silent god Pan was dead. All the mariners and passen- and full of contemplation. A little while after, we gers having heard this, were amazed and affright- saw tears flow out of his eyes
, as big as ostrich's ed. * * Now when they had come to Palodes, eggs. God take me presenlly if I tell you one they had no wind, neither were they in any current. syllable of a lie in the matter.' Thamous then getting up on the top of the ship's
From Hogg's Instructor.
THE SPHINX'S RIDDLE.
BY THOMAS DE QUINCEY.
The most ancient* story in the Pagan re- | likely to pause, and to revolt as from somecords, older by two generations than the thing not perfectly reconciled with the genestory of Troy, is that of Edipus and his ral depth of the coloring. This lies in the mysterious fate, which wrapt in ruin both Sphinx's riddle, which, as hitherto explainhimself and all his kindred. "No story what-ed, seems to us deplorably below the granever continued so long to impress the Greek deur of the occasion. Three thousand years, sensibilities with religious awe, or was felt at the least, have passed away since that by the great tragic poets to be so supremely riddle was propounded; and it seems odd fitted for scenical representation. In one of enough that the proper solution should not its stages, this story is clothed with the present itself till November of 1849. That is majesty of darkness; in another stage, it is true ; it seems odd, but still it is possible, that radiant with burning lights of female love, we, in anno domini 1849, may see further the most faithful and heroic, offering a beau- through a mile-stone than Edipus, the king, tiful relief to the preternatural malice divid- in the year B. c. twelve or thirteen hundred. ing the two sons of (Edipus. This malice The long interval between the enigma and its was so intense, that when the corpses of both answer, may remind the reader of an old brothers were burned together on the same story in Joe Miller, where a traveler, appafuneral pyre (as by one tradition they were), rentỉy an inquisitive person, in passing the flames from each parted asunder, and through a toll-bar, said to the keeper, “ How refused to mingle. This female love was so do you like your eggs dressed ?" Without intense, that it survived the death of its ob- waiting for the answer, he rode off; but ject, cared not for human praise or blame, | twenty-five years later, riding through the and laughed at the grave which waited in the same bar, kept by the same man, the traveler rear for itself, yawning visibly for immediate looked steadfastly at him, and received the retribution. There are four separate move- monosyllabic answer, “Poached.” A long ments through which this impassioned tale parenthesis is twenty-five years; and we, devolves; all are of commanding interest; gazing back over a far wider gulph of time, and all wear a character of portentous shall endeavor to look hard at the Sphinx, solemnity, which fits them for harmonizing and to convince that mysterious young lady with the dusky shadows of that deep anti--if our voice can reach her—that she was quity into which they ascend.
too easily satisfied with the answer given; One only feature there is in the story, and that the true answer is yet to come; and this belongs to its second stage (which is also that, in fact, Edipus shouted Lefore he was its sublimest stage), where a pure taste is out of the wood.
But, first of all, let us rehearse the circum* That is, amongst stories not wearing a mytho- stances of this old Grecian story. For in a logic character
, such as those of Prometheus, Her popular journal, it is always a duty to ascules, &c. The era of Troy and its siege, is doubtless by some centuries older than its usual chronolo- four may have had no opportunity, by the
sume, that perhaps three readers out of gic date of nine centuries before Christ. And considering the mature age of Eteocles and Polynices,
course of their education, for making themthe two sons of Edipus, at the period of the Seven selves acquainted with classical legends. And against Thebes,” which seven were contemporary in this present case, besides the indispensawith the fathers of the heroes engaged in the Trojan bleness of the story to the proper comprewar, it becomes necessary to add sixtyor seventy hension of our own improved answer to the years to the Trojan date, in order to obtain that of Edipus and the Sphinx. Out of the Hebrew Scrip- Sphinx, the story has a separate and indetures, there is nothing purely bistoric so old as this. I pendent value of its own; for it illustrates a profound but obscure idea of Pagan ages, , embodying at intervals this word sin, * are which is connected with the elementary more extravagant than would be the word glimpses of man into the abysses of his higher category introduced into the harangue of an relations, and lurks mysteriously amongst Indian sachem amongst the Cherokees; and what Milton so finely calls “the dark foun- finally, that the very nearest approach to dations" of our human nature. This notion, the abysmal idea which we Christians attach it is hard to express in modern phrase, for to the word sin (an approach, but to that we have no idea exactly' corresponding to it; which never can be touched-a writing as of but in Latin it was called piacularily. The palmistry upon each man's hand, but a writreader must understand upon our authority, ing which“ no man can read"), lies in the nostro periculo, and in defiance of all the false Pagan idea of piacularity: which is an idea translations spread through books, that the thus far like hereditary sin, that it expresses ancients (meaning the Greeks and Romans an evil to which the party affected has not before the time of Christianity) had no idea, consciously concurred; which is thus far not not by the faintest vestige, of what in the like hereditary sin, that, it expresses an evil scriptural system is called sin. The Latin personal to the individual, and not extending word peccatum, the Greek word amartia, are itself to the race. translated continually by the word sin ; but This was the evil exemplified in Edipus. neither one word nor the other has any such He was loaded with an insupportable burden meaning in writers belonging to the pure of pariah participation in pollution and misery, classical period. When baptized into new to which his will had never consented. He meaning by the adoption of Christianity, these seemed to have committed the most atrocious words, in common with many others, trans- crimes; he was a murderer, he was a parricide, migrated into new and philosophic functions. he was doubly incestuous, and yet how? In But originally they tended toward no such the case where he might be thought a muracceptations, nor could have done so; seeing derer, he had stood upon his self-defence, not that the ancients had no avenue opened to benefiting by any superior resources, but, on them through which the profound idea of sin the contrary, fighting as one man against three, would have been even dimly intelligible. and under the provocation of insufferable inPlato, 400 years before Christ, or Cicero, solence. Had he been a parricide ? What more than 300 years later, was fully equal to matter, as regarded the moral guilt, if his the idea of guill through all its gamut: but father (and by the fault of that father) were no more equal to the idea of sin, than a sa- utterly unknown to him ? Incestuous had gacious hound to the idea of gravitation, or he been ? but how, if the very oracles of fate, of central forces. It is the tremendous pos- as expounded by events and by mysterious tulate upon which this idea reposes, that con- creatures such as the Sphinx, had stranded stitutes the initial moment of that revelation him like a ship left by the tide, upon
this which is common to Judaism and to Christi- dark unknown shore of a criminality unsusanity. We have no intention of wandering pected by himself? All these treasons into any discussion upon this question. It against the sanctities of nature had Edipus will suffice for the service of the occasion if committed ; and yet was this Edipus a we say, that guilt, in all its modifications, thoroughly good man, no more dreaming of implies only a defect or a wound in the indi- the horrors in which he was entangled, than vidual. Sin, on the other hand, the most mys- the eye at noonday in midsummer is conterious, and the most sorrowful of all ideas, scious of the stars that lie far behind the implies a taint not in the individual, but in the race—that is the distinction; or a taint in the individual, not through any local dis
* And when we are sp aking of this subject, it ease of his own, but through a scrofula may be proper to mention (as the very extreme equally diffused through the infinite family of anachronism which the case admits of), that Mr.
We are not speaking controversially, Archdeacon W. has absolutely introduced the idea either as teachers of theology or of philoso- of sin into the “Iliad;". and, in a regular octavo vol
ume, has represented it as the key to the whole phy; and we are careless of the particular con
ilovement of the fable. It was once made a restruction by which the reader interprets to proach to Southey, that his Don Roderick spoke, in himself this profound idea. What we affirm his penitential moods, a language too much resemis, that this idea was utterly and exquisitely bling that of Methodisin : yet, after all, that prince inappreciable by Pagan Greece and Rome;
was a Christian, and a Christian amongst Mussul
mans. But what are we to think of Achilles and that various translations from Pindar, from Patroclus, when described as being (or not being) Aristophanes, and from the Greek tragedians, “under convictions of sin ?"
day-light. Let us review rapidly the inci- | had simply used his natural powers of selfdents of his life.
defence against an insolent aggressor. This Laius, ķing of Thebes, the descendant of aggressor, as the reader will suppose, was Labdacus, and representing the illustrious Laius. The throne therefore was 'empty on house of the Labdacide-about the time the arrival of Edipus in Thebes : the king's when his wife, Jocasta, promised to present death was known, but not the mode of it; him with a child—had learned from various and that Edipus was the murderer, could prophetic voices that this unborn child was not reasonably be suspected either by the destined to be his murderer. It is singular people of Thebes, or by Edipus himself. that in all such cases, which are many, spread The whole affair would have had no interest through classical literature, the parties me- for the young stranger; but through the acnaced by fate believe the menace, else why cident of a public calamity then desolating do they seek to evade it? and yet believe it the land, a mysterious monster, called the not; else why do they fancy themselves able Sphinx, half woman and half lion, was at to evade it? This fatal child, who was the that time on the coast of Bæotia, and levyEdipus of tragedy, being at length born, ing a daily tribute of human lives from the Laius committed the infant to a slave, with Bæotian territory. This tribute, it was unorders to expose it on Mount Cithæron. This derstood, would continue to be levied from was done : the infant was suspended, by the territories attached to Thebes, until a thongs running through the fleshy parts of riddle proposed by the monster should have his feet, to the branches of a tree, and he been satisfactorily solved. By way of enwas supposed to have perished by wild couragement to all who might feel prompted beasts. But a shepherd, who found him in to undertake so dangerous an adventure, the this perishing state, pitied his helplessness, authorities of Thebes offered the throne and and carried him to his master and mistress, the hand of the widowed Jocasta as the prize king and queen of Corinth, who adopted and of success; and Edipus, either on public or educated him as their own child. "That he on selfish motives, entered the lists as a comwas not their own child, and that in fact he petitor. was a foundling of unknown parentage, The riddle proposed by the Sphinx, ran in Edipus was not slow of finding from the these terms :-“What creature is that which insults of his schoolfellows; and at length, moves on four feet in the morning, on two with the determination of learning his origin feet at noon-day, and on three toward the and his fate, being now a full-grown young going down of the sun ?" Edipus, after man, he strode off from Corinth to Delphi. some consideration, answered, that the creaThe oracle of Delphi, being as usual in col- ture was Man, who creeps on the ground with lusion with his evil destiny, sent him off to hands and feet when an infant, walks upright, seek his parents at Thebes. Op his journey in the vigor of manhood, and leans upon a thither, he met, in a narrow part of the road, staff in old age. Immediately the dreadful a chariot proceeding in the counter direction Sphinx confessed the truth of his solution by from Thebes to Delphi. The charioteer re- throwing herself headlong from a point of lying upon the grandeur of his master, inso- rock into the sea; ber power being overlently ordered the young stranger to clear thrown as soon as her secret had been dethe road; upon which, under the impulse of tected. Thus was the Sphinx destroyed ; his youthful blood, Edipus slew him on the and, according to the promise of the proclaspot. The haughty grandee who occu- mation, for this great service to the state, pied the chariot rose up in fury to avenge Edipus was immediately recompensed. He this outrage, fought with the young stranger, was saluted King of Thebes, and married to and was himself killed. One attendant upon the royal widow Jocasta. In this way it the chariot remained: but he, warned by the happened, but without suspicion either in fate of his master and his fellow-servant, himself or others, pointing to the truth, that withdrew quietly into the forest that skirted Edipus had slain his father, had ascended the road, revealing no word of what had his father's throne, and had married his own happened, but reserved by the dark destiny mother. of Edipus, to that evil day on which his Through a course of years all these dreadevidence, concurring with other circum- ful events lay hushed in darkness; but at stantial exposures, should convict the young length a pestilence arose, and an embassy Corinthian emigrant of parricide. For the was despatched to Delphi, in order to ascerpresent, Edipus viewed himself as no crimi- tain the cause of the heavenly wrath, and nal, but much rather as an injured man, who the proper means of propitiating that wrath