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The embassy returned to Thebes armed with Polynices, the younger son, from Thebes ; a knowledge of the fatal secrets connected his return with a confederate band of princes with Edipus, but under some restraints of for the recovery of his rights; the death of prudence in making a publication of what so the two brothers in single combat; the pubdreadfully affected the most powerful per- lic prohibition of funeral rites to Polynices, sonage in the state. Perhaps in the whole as one who had levied war against his native history of human art as applied to the evo- land; and the final reappearance of Antigone, lution of a poetic fable, there is nothing more who defies the law, and secures a grave to exquisite than the management of this crisis her brother at the certain price of a grave to by Sophocles. A natural discovery, first of herself—these are the sequels and arrears of all
, connects Edipus with the death of Laius. the family overthrow, accomplished through That discovery comes upon him with some the dark destiny of Edipus. surprise, but with no shock of fear or remorse. And now, having reviewed the incidents That he had killed a man of rank in a sudden of the story, in what respect is it that we quarrel, he had always known; that this man object to the solution of the Sphinx's riddle ? was now discovered to be Laius, added no- We do not object to it as a solution of the ridthing to the reasons for regret. The affair dle, and the only one possible at the moment; remained as it was. It was simply a case of but what we contend is, that it is not the personal strife on the high road, and one solution. All great prophecies, all great which had really grown out of aristocratic mysteries, are likely to involve double, triple, violence in the adverse party Edipus had or even quadruple interpretations – each asserted his own rights and dignity only as rising in dignity, each cryptically involving all brave men would have done in an age another. Even amongst natural agencies, that knew nothing of civic police.
precisely as they rise in grandeur, they It was true that this first discovery—the multiply their final purposes. Rivers and identification of himself as the slayer of seas, for instance, are useful, not merely as Laius—drew after it two others, viz., that it means of separating nations from each other, was the throne of his victim on which he bad but also as means of uniting them; not seated himself
, and that it was his widow merely as baths, and for all purposes of whom he had married. But these were no washing and cleansing, but also as reservoirs offences; and, on the contrary, they were of fish, as high-roads for the conveyance of distinctions won at great risk to himself
, and commodities, as permanent sources of agriby a great service to the country. Suddenly, cultural fertility, &c. In like manner, a however, the reappearance and disclosures mystery of any sort, having a public referof the shepherd who had saved his life dur- ence, may be presumed to couch within it a ing infancy, in one moment threw a dazzling secondary and a profounder interpretation. but funereal light upon the previous dis- The reader may think that the Sphinx ought coveries that else had seemed so trivial. In to have understood her own riddle best; an instant everything was read in another and that, if she was satisfied with the sense. The death of Laius, the marriage answer of Edipus, it must be impertinent in with his widow, the appropriation of his us at this time of day to censure it. To throne-all towered into colossal crimes, censure, indeed, is more than we propose. illimitable, and opening no avenues to atone- The solution of Edipus was a true one; and ment. Edipus, in the agonies of his horror, it was all that he could have given at that inflicts blindness upon himself; Jocasta com- early period of his life. But perhaps, at the mits suicide; the two sons fall into fiery feuds moment of his death amongst the gloomy for the assertion of their separate claims on thickets of Attica, he might have been able the throne, but previously unite for the ex- to suggest another and a better.
If not, pulsion of Edipus, as one who had become then we have the satisfaction of thinking a curse to Thebes. And thus the poor heart- ourselves somewhat less dense than Edipus; shattered king would have been turned out for, in our opinion, the full and final answer upon the public roads, aged, blind, and a to the Sphinx's riddle lay in the word helpless vagrant, but for the sublime piety of EDIPUS. Edipus himself it was that fulhis two daughters, but especially of Antigone filled the conditions of the enigma. He it the elder. They share with their unhappy was, in the most pathetic sense, that went father the hardships and perils of the road, upon four feet when an infant; for the and do not leave him until the moment of his general condition of helplessness attached to mysterious summons to some ineffable death all mankind in the period of infancy, and in the woods of Colonus. The expulsion of which is expressed symbolically by this
image of creeping, applied to Edipus in a tion? This wrath, how came it to sink so far more significant manner, as one aban- low as to collapse at the echo of a word doned by all his natural protectors, thrown from a friendless stranger ? Mysterious upon the chances of a wilderness, and upon again is the blind collusion of this unhappy the mercies of a slave. The allusion to this stranger with the dark decrees of fate. The general helplessness had besides a special very misfortunes of his infancy had given propriety in the case of Edipus, who drew into his hands one chance more for escape; his very name (viz., Swollen-fool) from the these misfortunes had transferred him to injury done to his infant feet. Ke again it Corinth, and staying there he was safe. But was that, in a more emphatic sense than the headstrong haughtiness of youthful usual, asserted that majestic self-sufficient. blood causes him to recoil unknowingly upon ness and independence of all alien aid, which the one sole spot of all the earth where the is typified by the act of walking upright at co-efficients for ratifying his destruction are noonday upon his own natural basis. Throw- waiting and lying in ambush. Heaven and ing off all the power and splendor borrowed earth are silent for a generation ; one might from his royal protectors at Corinth, trust- fancy that they are treacherously silent, in ing exclusiveiy to his native powers as a order that Edipus may have time for buildman, he had fought his way through insult ing up to the clouds the pyramid of his to the presence of the dreadful Sphinx ; her mysterious offences. His four children, inhe had confounded and vanquished; he had cestuously born, sons that are his brothers, leaped into a throne—the throne of him who | daughters that are his sisters, have grown had insulted him, without other resources up to be men and women, before the first than such as he drew from himself, and he mutterings are becoming audible of that had in the same way obtained a royal bride. great tide slowly coming up from the sea, With good right, therefore, he was fore which is to sweep away himself and the shadowed in the riddle as one who walked foundations of his house. Heaven and upright by his own masculine vigor, and earth must now bear joint witness against relied upon no gifts but those of nature. him. Heaven speaks first : the pestilence Lastly, by a sad but a pitying image, that walketh in darkness is made the earliEdipus is described as supporting himself est minister of the discovery—the pestilence at nightfall on three feet ; for Edipus it it is, scourging the seven-gated Thebes, as was that by his cruel sons would have been very soon the Sphinx will scourge her, that rejected from Thebes with no auxiliary is appointed to usher in, like some great means of motion or support beyond his own ceremonial herald, that sad drama of Nelanguishing powers ; blind and broken- mesis—that vast procession of revelation hearted, he must have wandered into snares and retribution which the earth, and the and ruin ; his own feet must have been graves of the earth, must finish. Mysterious supplanted immediately : bui then came to also is the pomp of ruin with which this his aid another foot, the holy Antigone. revelation of the past descends upon that She it was that guided and cheered him, ancient house of Thebes. Like a shell from when all the world had forsaken him; she modern artillery, it leaves no time for prayer it was that already, in the vision of the cruel or evasion, but shatters with the same exSphinx, had been prefigured dimly as the plosion all that stand within its circle of staff upon which Edipus should lean, as the fury. Every member of that devoted third foot that should support his steps household, as if they had been sitting—not when the deep shadows of his sunset were around a sacred domestic hearth, but around gathering and settling about his grave. the crater of some surging volcano — all
In this way we obtain a solution of the alike, father and mother, sons and daughters, Sphinx's riddle more commensurate and are wrapt at once in fiery whirlwinds of symmetrical with the other features of the ruin. And amidst this general agony of story, which are all clothed with the gran- destroying wrath, one central mystery, as a deur of mystery. The Sphinx herself is a darkness within a darkness, withdraws itself mystery. Whence came her monstrous into a secrecy unapproachable by eyesight, nature, that so often renewed its remem- or by filial love, or by guesses of the brainbrance amongst men of distant lands, in and that is the death of Edipus. Did he Egyptian or Ethiopian marble ? Whence die ? Even that is more than we can say.
wrath against Thebes ? This How dreadful does the sound fall upon the wrath, how durst it tower so high as to heart of some poor, horror-stricken crimmeasure itself against the enmity of a na- | inal, pirate, or murderer, that has offended by a mere human offence, when, at nightfall, sting with her dying words ? Did she say, tempted by the sweet spectacle of a peaceful “I, the daughter of mystery, am called ; I hearth, he creeps stealthily into some village am wanted? But, amidst the uproar of the inn, and hopes for one night's respite from sea, and the clangor of sea-birds, high over his terror, but suddenly feels the touch and all I hear another, though a distant sumhears the voice of the stern officer saying, mons. I can hear that thou, Edipus, the “Sir, you are wanted.” Yet that summons son of mystery, art called from afar: thou is but too intelligible ; it shocks, but it be also wilt be wanted.” Did the wicked wilders not; and the utmost of its malice is Sphinx labor in vain, amidst her parting bounded by the scaffold. “Deep,” says the convulsions, to breathe this freezing whisper unhappy man, “is the downward path of into the heart of him that had overthrown anguish which I am called to tread; but it her? has been trodden by others." For Edipus Who can say ? Both of these enemies there was no such comfort
. What language were pariah mysteries, and may have faced of man, or trumpet of angel, could decipher each other again with blazing malice in some the woe of that unfathomable call, when, pariah world. But all things in this dreadfrom the depth of ancient woods, a voice ful story ought to be harmonized. Already that drew like gravitation, that sucked in in itself it is an ennobling and an idealizing like a vortex, far off yet near, in some dis- of the riddle, that it is made a double riddle; tant world, yet close at hand, cried, “ Hark, that it contains an exoteric sense obvious to Edipus ! King Edipus! come hither, thou all the world, but also an esoteric senseart wanted !” Wanted! for what? Was it now suggested conjecturally after thousands for death? Was it for judgment ? Was it of years-possibly unknown to the Sphinx, for some wilderness of pariah eternities ? and certainly unknown to Edipus ; that this No man ever knew. Chasms opened in the second riddle is hid within the first; that earth; dark, gigantic arms stretched out to the one riddle is the secret commentary upon receive the king; clouds and vapor settled the other; and that the earliest is the hieroover the penal abyss ; and of him only, glyphic of the last. Thus far as regards the though the neighborhood of his disappear riddle itself; and, as regards Edipus in ance was known, no trace or visible record particular, it exalts the mystery around him survived, neither bones, nor grave, nor dust, --that in reading this riddle, and in tracing nor epitaph.
the vicissitudes from infancy to old age, atDid the Sphinx follow with her cruel eye tached to the general destiny of his race, this fatal tissue of calamity to its shadowy unconsciously he was tracing the dreadful crisis at Colonus ? As the billows closed vicissitudes attached specially and separately over her head, did she perhaps attempt to l to his own.
THE HUNGARIAN CROWN.
The Hangarian crown, it is generally be more than a century after this its history is lieved, Kossuth has taken with him in his a blank; but in 1439, on the death of the Alight; if so, it has for a second time crossed Emperor Albrecht IV., there was again a the frontiers of Turkey. The past history double election, the two rivals being Wladisof this crown is a curious one, and as full of law, of Poland, and Ladislas, the infant son vicissitudes as the lives of some of those who of Albrecht. The Empress resolved to have have worn it. The Magyars attach a super- the child crowned, and for that purpose the stitious value to the relic of their ancient diadem was stolen from the Castle of Wismonarchy; there is a legend that it was segrad by one of her maids of honor, who wrought by the hands of angels for St. Ste- undertook the task, and succeeded. In 1441, phan, who was crowned in it in 1001; his- the Empress made a less dignified use of it,tory, with a more limited faith, records that she pledged it to the Emperor Frederick IV. it was sent as a present to Stephan by Pope for 2000 gulden. It was redeemed by Sylvester the Second. In 1072 Duke Geisa Mathias Corvinus, and taken back to Wisreceived from the Greek Emperor a golden segrad; from hence, after the battle of Mocirclet or royal band for his brow; when he hac, it was again stolen, and again by a womwas afterward made King of Hungary he an, in order to crown John Zapolya. Zapolya joined this circlet to the diadem, so that the gave it in charge to Preny, who delivered it crown is really composed of two kingly em- up to Ferdinand I.; he was crowned with it blems united. When the race of the Arpads in 1527, and then it fell into the hands of became extinct, in 1301, there was a double the Turks. As Solyman returned from the election to the vacant throne; one party siege of Vienna, he publicly exhibited the chose Robert of Anjou and Naples, the other crown to his army in Öfen, but told his solWenzel, the younger, of Bohemia. The diers that it was that of the renowned Percause of the latter did not prosper, and his sian ruler Nushiryan : he then sent it back affairs were taking an unfortunate turn, when to his protégé Zapolya, on whose death it his father, Wenzel, King of Bohemia, march- was again given up by his widow to the Emed an army to Ofen, and carried off his son peror Ferdinand. Rudolph II. sent the crown and the crown with him to Prague. The to Prague; Mathias II. brought it back to Hungarians then definitively elected Otto, of Presburg, where, in 1619, it was seized by Bavaria, and old Wenzel, for reasons not Bethlem Gabor; on the conclusion of the stated, gave up the crown to him. Otto to peace of Nikolsburger, he gave it up to Fertake possession of his kingdom had to ride dinand II. The Emperor Joseph had it incognilo through Austria, carrying the crown brought to Vienna; Leopold sent it again to as a "property” with him. It was packed Hungary, where it remained till the taking in a little cask, and hung at the saddle-bow of Pesth by Windischgrätz, when it was reof a German Graf, who discovered, one moved by Kossuth, and has ever since been morning at daybreak, that he had lost his kept at the seat of the Hungarian Governprecious charge during the night. The party ment; that being broken up and dispersed, had then arrived at Fischerment, below Vien- the crown has resumed its wanderings. As na, where they were about to cross the Do- to what has become of it, there are many nau; they retraced their steps, and, by great rumors; it is said to be buried in a secret good luck, found cask and crown again. In place. According to others, Kossuth has it 1307 Otto went to Siebenburgen, on a visit in his personal possession, and by this time to the Waywode Ladislas, intending to win the diadem, that was the gift of a Pope to a him over to his party; he must have failed saint, has been stripped of its jewels to go signally in his attempt, for the old Waywodej as bribes to the Mohammedan, and the gold seized the Crown, and made the King a pris- has terminated an almost sacred existence of oner. After some time, he saw fit to let eight centuries as ignominiously as a mere Otto go, but kept firm possession of the dia- 1 piece of stolen plate in the melting pot of a dem for three years. În 1310, on threats of Jew!—Times' Correspondent. war and extermination, he gave it up.
THE BATTLE OF TRAFALGAR.-NO. II.
M. THIERS' ACCOUNT.
When Napier has to relate the deeds of which Nelson led his countrymen to battle, French generals and French armies, with and which gave to every man's actions that whom it had been his lot to be engaged, day the impulse which an exalted patriotism there is no niggard praise bestowed upon could alone impart ? Why does M. Thiers them. Willingly, nay eagerly, he gives them record the stirring proclamations of Napoleon their full meed of approbation ; brings out to his soldiers ? He does so, because he in bold relief all that deserves admiration, wishes to describe the spirit which actuated whether it be mere soldierly daring or the the thousands whom that mighty chief led high excellence of consummate generalship. to war. He desires to record the skill with This praise is bestowed not merely on Na- which Napoleon brought moral influences to poleon, whose genius may be supposed to work for him, and made himself the idol of have dazzled the judgment, and to have won the people and of the army. Among the upon the chivalrous spirit, of the gallant means he employed, were the remarkable historian, but to all who deserve it. He deals proclamations which he from time to time adas frankly and liberally with the lieutenants, dressed to his soldiers, and through them to as with their great chief himself. And this France. In these his genius often shone out surely is the spirit in which such a history with extraordinary brightness and vigor; and ought to be written. Let us not add to the M. Thiers does Napoleon but bare justice inevitable miseries of warfare the bitterness when he carefully records some of the more of a deadly vendetta, or the mean, shuffling remarkable of these very striking producenvy and hate of low and pettifogging par- tions. The celebrated signal made by Nelson tisan politicians; but let the same chivalry be as he bore down upon his enemy was a happy found in the historian who records noble deeds stroke of genius also, and of the same characas in warriors who perform them. The last ter as that shown by Napoleon in the more months of Nelson's career exhibited such a stirring of his proclamations. But it was in combination of patriotic devotion, of utter one thing superior to them—it was wholly forgetfulness of himself in the pursuit of unpremeditated, but was suggested by a what he deemed his country's good ; such thorough knowledge of the character of the energy, sagacity, and daring, as ought to ex- people whom he addressed. It was simple, tort praise—and not merely praise, but re- brief, and touched a chord, at that moment spect and admiration, from any enemy, but tuned to fine issues. It roused his fleet; it above all from a gallant and noble enemy. stirred up the nation; and will be handed And a high-minded, generous historian, no down from generation to generation of Engmatter of what country, would be scrupulous- lishmen-keeping them under its spell a ly careful and eager to set forth the great great, because a united people. Was this an deeds of such a man, because they do honor, incident to be passed over in contemptuous not to one country, but to all; not to one pro- 1 silence by one who calls himself a statesman, fession or order of men, but to mankind. and aspires to the character of a philosophic What, then, shall we think of an historian, historian ? Passed over because an English speaking of him merely as an artist, who in sailor was to derive honor from it! and bethe description of Trafalgar omits all mention cause depreciating English sailors is just now of that one event of the many that occurred an easy means to win popular favor for polition that terrible day, which peculiarly gives | cal adventurers in France ! it a great moral interest for ages yet to come Nelson possessed more than any other -we mean, of the celebrated signal with | English commander the happy art of in