I. SUMMER IN NATURE
THE CONTENTS continued
11 A Forerunner . . . . . .
13 Meeting of Spring and Summer . ROSA MULHOLLAND.
19 The Biology of Summer . . J. ARTHUR THOMSON.
31 Oceanus . . . . . . WILLIAM SHARP.
32 The Dance of Life . . . . JANE HAY.
36 From the Irish-Gaelic of Tadhg DOUGLAS HYDE, LL.D.
Gaolach O Suilliobhain . . (an Chraoibhin Aoibhinn).
41 Swan-White . . . . . NORA HOPPER.
II. SUMMER IN LIFE
43 Flower of the Grass . . . PATRICK GEDDES.
67 The Unborn . . . . . VITA.
69 Sun-Joy . . . . . . W. MACDONALD.
THE AUTHORS OF ‘THE EVOLU-.
73 The Moral Evolution of Sex . . TION OF SEX.’
89 Song . . . . . . SIR GEORGE DOUGLAS.
III. SUMMER IN THE WORLD
90 Telen Rumengol . . . . E WINGATE RINDER.
101 Summer-Night Sadness . . W.J. ROBERTSON
104 A Summer Air . . . . FIONA MACLEOD.
109 Vers l’Unité . . . . . ABBÉ FÉLIX KLEIN.
IV. SUMMER IN THE NORTH
119 To Robert Burns . . . . H.BELLYSE BAILDON.
120 The Kingdom of the Earth . . FIONA MACLEOD.
124 The Warning of Cuculain . . PHILIP PERCEVAL GRAVES.
129 Nannack . . . . . . JOHN MACLEAY.
135 Under the Rowans . . . FIONA MACLEOD.
137 Night in Arran . . . . GEORGE EYRE-TODD.
Cover . . . . . . CHARLES H. MACKIE.
5 Almanac . . . . . . HELEN HAY.
9 Roses . . . . . . ROBERT BROUGH.
17 Bathers . . . . . . ROBERT BURNS.
29 Surface Water . . . . JOHN DUNCAN
39 Antarctic Summer . . . W.G. BURN MURDOCH.
65 ‘Chucks’ . . . . . . CHARLES H. MACKIE.
71 Sub Tegmine . . . . JAMES CADENHEAD.
87 La Lune d’Été . . . . ANDREW K. WOMRATH.
99 The Way to Rheims . . . JOHN DUNCAN.
107 The Victor . . . . . ROBERT BURNS.
117 Un Soir de Juin . . . . ANDREW K. WOMRATH.
127 The Tattoo . . . . . JAMES CADENHEAD.
HEADPIECES AND TAILPIECES BY
HELEN HAY . . . . . . . . . 104, 115, 119, 129
NELLIE BAXTER . . . . . . 32, 36,63,69, 85, 97, 124, 136
ANNIE MACKIE . . . . . . . . . . 6, 27, 41, 89, 105
MARION A. MASON . . . . . . . 67, 123, 134, 135, 137, 141
JOHN DUNCAN . . . . . 3, 11, 31, 43,73,90, 101, 103, 109, 120
BY ROBERT BROUGH
I. —A FORERUNNER
CYTHEREA, in green gown,
Hair alight and purple crown,
Wendeth amid willows wan
In the ice dews by the lawn.
Cytherea, rapt in dreams,
Heareth not the thawing streams,
Doth not see the sprouting stalks,
No bird stirreth where she walks.
Yet where Cyntherea moves
Hasten many a million loves;
Primrose, wind-flower, daffodil,
Follow her without her will.
Cytherea silent passes
With wet feet among the grasses,
On her head a soft rain weepeth,
In her veiled eyes sunshine sleepeth.
Wheresoe’er hath passéd she
All alive are bird and tree,
Rivers running, leaves uncurled,
Bud and bird-song glad the world.
Whither wendeth Cytherea,
Spring’s unrealised idea,
Dear forerunner of our rapture,
Fugitive whom none would capture?
Veiléd vestal, joy unknowing,
Summer waits upon thy going;
Love sleep-walking, ere thou waken,
Spring-tide laughs, and thou’rt forsaken!
Somewhere, wilt thou in surprise
Ope thy sweet, cold-lidded eyes,
Look upon the red-veined rose,
Bathe thee in the stream that flows?
Wilt thou, in a dumb amaze,
Turn thy slowly-kindling gaze
On full-flowered banks and meadows,
Wide with light and broad with shadows?
Where abid’st thou when the peach,
Within autumn’s careless reach,
Falls o’erwhelmed by its heart-sweetness,
Failing through its own completeness?
When all richly-coloured things,
All wild creatures that have wings,
Warm in sheath, or cold in grave,
Winter slumber seek, or have,
Then upon some morning mellow,
When grey skies are tinged with yellow,
One who listens with fine ear,
Thy returning step may hear!
II.—MEETING OF SPRING AND SUMMER
HER face is like the first wind flower,
An arm, a knee, are bare.
Gold, enough for a queen’s dower,
Is strewn upon her hair.
It is the Spring-tide’s perfect hour
Say, if she is not fair !
Her hyacinthine draperies
Are hastily caught up
Across a youthful breast that is
Round as an acorn cup,
Under the giant forest trees,
Where the young fairies sup.
From the high hills she hath come down
Baptized by thawing snows,
To where the turbid streams are brown,
The ice-tarn overflows ;
Their drops upon her primrose crown
Bedew her as she goes.
Upon the pastures green and wide
The little lambs, new-born,
Run from their anxious mother’s side
To her in the dim morn.
Beneath her feet she hath descried
The early-springing corn.
Knee-deep in flowers advanceth she,
Gathering the daffodil,
And pansy and anemone,
With these her lap doth fill.
The wild hedge-rose on its high tree
Grows redder at her will.
Deep in the meadow her foot stays.
Each sweet familiar thing
Doth puzzle her in these green ways.
Sure, somewhere used to sing
With that same note, some other days,
Yon lark upon the wing!
When was she here before, and why
Was wrought her banishment?
The streamlet’s song, the lambkin’s cry
Were hushed when she was sent
Forth from this glory, suddenly,
And into darkness went.
Whose was the voice that bade her go
No further through these woods?
This day she will not falter, tho’
The seas, with all their floods,
To stay her feet should turn and flow
Across the flowery roods.
Her memories, bright with bud and song,
Give back no enemy,
Nor sound of wrath, nor sight of wrong
Within her mind hath she;
No fateful presence, harsh and strong,
That was, and yet may be.
. . . . . .
Lo, bright amid full-foliaged trees
Beside a glassy pool,
Sudden Earth’s rosy queen she sees,
The Summer beautiful,
Dipping her snow-white feet at ease
Into the waters cool.
A crimson passion-flower entwines
The Summer’s dusky hair,
Above her saffron garment shines
A shoulder, rosy fair.
The purple shadow of dark pines
Surrounds her everywhere.
A nightingale his notes of love
Rains down upon her head.
Into her ear the shy wood-dove
Plains and is comforted.
Beyond her roof of boughs enwove
The golden sun turns red.
Spring’s startled face irradiate grows,
Her dainty hands let down
The white bloom that the ice-wind knows
Out of her fluttering gown,
And stretch to pluck the flower that grows
In summer’s rubied crown.
Now lifts the queen her dreamy gaze,
And laughs aloud to see
Her handmaiden in pale amaze,
Bewildered, even as she
The moon that into morning strays
And meets the sun, may be.
A step, and the last bird-note dies
Upon the air, as Spring
Toward the laughing Summer flies,
And all herself doth fling
Into her arms with gladsome cries
Asleep upon the rosy breast
Of Summer, Spring is there
Kissed into her long swoon of rest,
And couched in hiding where
Winter will find her in her nest
One day, and waken her.
BY ROBERT BURNS
A BIOLOGY OF SUMMER
ARGUMENT.—Life is rhythmic and is punctuated by the seasons. Summer
is the crest of the annnal wave. I. It is the time of intensest life, when both
output and income of energy reach their maximum. The activity of unconscious
plant-life is crowned in the flowers, and the growing brilliancy of colour is an
index of increasing intensity. II. Conscious animal industry also reaches its
climax, both in instinctive and intelligent activity, as in bees and birds. III.
But the vigorous intensity of life is interrupted by sleep, weariness, and death.
Yet Love is strongest after all.
THE tide which sets in with a rush in Spring:
reaches its high-water mark in Midsummer, and
often makes for itself a new shore. The buds
are replaced by hard-working leafy boughs
whose activity during the day is intense; the
budlike early flowers are succeeded by more
liberal beauty; young things pass through adolescence to
mature strength; and love is justified in her children. For
Summer is the time of maximum output and income of
energy, when the fires of life not only burn brightest, but are
built up for another season; it is the time of intensest effort,
rising even to madness, the time of richest beauty and fullest
Although we are wont to associate Summer with rest and
holiday-making, this is rather an urban than a rustic general-
isation. Midwinter is the countnrman’s resting time; in Mid-
summer he is hard at work. So with Nature, for in Summer
most work is done, and the stores of energy are accumulated
for another year. Whether we think of the green leaves in
which the powers of light and of life co-operate to raise simple
substances into complexity, the inorganic into the organic;
or of the bees who so industriously visit the flowers and store
up honey in the hive; or of the birds gathering food for their
callow young; or of the haymakers busy in the heat of the day,
we get the same impression of vigorous work, at the various
planes of unconscious, instinctive, intelligent, and rational life.
The biggest fact in the Biology of Summer is perhaps the
most obvious one, that it is then that life comes nearest, or,
what comes to the same thing, is most exposed to the source
of almost all mundane energy—the sun. Thus the Biology of
Summer has for its central problem—the influence of heat and
light upon life. Now there is heat that burns, witness the
steppe vegetation after the dry season; and there is light that
kills, notably in the case of the disease germs or Bacteria
which a forenoon of dear sunshine destroys so beneficently,
but the general fact, demonstrable by numberless experiments,
is that the heat and light of Summer renew the energies of
living creatures. Indeed, we all depend from year to year on
the power that green plants have of inducing the sunlight to
help them to make food for us. At the very opposite end of the
scale—for there is long gamut of life from wheat plant to man
—is it not true that seeking the sun and seeking more life are
synonymous for some of us? It is idle to point to the fact
that London has about one-third less sunshine than Madrid,
but certainly not less vitality; for it is obvious that London is
mainly an area for uncorking sunshine bottled elsewhere.
Every one knows how the pulse-register or sphygmograph
proves that the sunshine vivifies the system. Quite irrespective
of holiday-mood, of the delights of being free and hearing the
birds sing and seeing the flowers in bloom, the sunlight
quickens the pulse and man’s life.
‘O solemn-beating heart
Of Nature! I have known that thou art
Bound unto man’s by cords he cannot sever.
And what time they are slackened by him ever,
So to attest his own supernal part,
Still runneth thy vibration, fast and strong.,
The slackened cord along!’
And if in man—with his slackened cord—the sunlight still
awakens the responses of vitality, how much more so in the
animals who throb with every pulsation of Nature’s heart!
And if the sunlight find voice in the bravura of birds, how
much more directly yet in the bustle of growing wheat I
The growing intensity of unconscious vegetable life is re-
gistered in the incresising brightness of floral colour. For
although there are many bright flowers in early Spring,—the
marsh marigold which raises its golden cups from the dark
ditch, the bright yellow celandine which welcomes the swallow,
the blue hyacinths, which make the wood-glade glorious,—’the
heavens upbreaking through the earth,’ the laburnum with its
‘dropping wells of fire,’ the periwinkle and the ground ivy,
and the golden daffodils whose dance ‘outdoes the sparkling
waves in glee,’—yet the broad fact is that as the days grow
warmer and brighter, the colours increase in intensity.
Although we may not accept the sagacious meteorologist’s
suggestion that the annual succession of colour corresponds to
the colour-scheme of the rainbow, yet it seems demonstrable
that red and purple,” blue and violet flowers—in short, those of
richer colour, become more numerous as the days lengthen.
Ruskin, following Goethe, defined the real nature of the flower,
when he said, ‘The leaf which loves the light has above
all things the purpose of being married to another leaf, and
having child-leaves, and children’s children of leaves, to
make the earth fair for ever. And when the leaves marry
they put on wedding-robes, and are more glorious than
Solomon in all his glory, and they have feasts of honey, and we
call them flowers.’ For we recognise that the petals are but
transfigured leaves, and that the pollen-producing and seed-
bearing parts are also modified leaves. The feasts of honey or
nectar are overflows of sugar in more or less useful places; the
fragrance may possibly correspond to a kind of essence of
sweat, remotely analogous to the muskiness which exudes
from the skins of some animals; and the beauty of the
wedding-robes, like that of some butterflies’ wings, is in some
cases due to waste-products, the ashes of the flowers’ hidden
It cannot be said that we have by any means attained to an
understanding of either nectar or fragrance or colour; we are
still children with flowers in our hands, just beginning to know
something about them. We have at any rate got past the pre-
liminary stage of giving their insect visitors the whole credit for
evolving flowers, which is like crowning snakes for evolving the
wisdom of the East; we are now busy trying to find out what
nectar, fragrance, and pigments mean primarily in the life of
the plant The poet says, ‘It must be the flag of my disposi-
tion, out of hopeful green stuff woven’; the religious mind says,
‘It is the handkerchief of the Lord, a scented gift and remem-
brancer designedly dropt, bearing the owner’s name someway
in the comers’; the biologist says,’ Overflow of surplus sugar,
sublimated sweat, and beauty for ashes;’ but the flower in the
crannied wall is a hieroglyphic still.
We have spoken of the unconscious work of the sunlit leaves,
the results of which are seen in the filling of tubers and other
storehouses, in the formation of next year’s buds, in the making
of seeds and fruits,—and again, indirectly, in the increased store
of energy which is brought by plants within reach of animal
life. The sunbeams dance over the meadow, but some of them
are trapped, and their dance is lost in a dance of molecules
which, changing partners in the maze, eventually sink into
complex combinations; we can hardly see the grass for flowers,
each is in a sense a fixed sunbeam; the butterflies float from
blossom to blossom, the sunbeam is in motion again. It is a
ceaseless series of transformations of energy.
One of the main impressions of Summer is surely that of a busy
animal life, swayed in great part by the twin impulses of Hunger
and Love. There is eager endeavour after individual well-being,
there is not less careful effort which secures the welfare of the
young. The former varies from a keen struggle for existence
to a gay pursuit of æsthetic luxuries; the latter rises from
physiologically necessary life-losing and instinctive industry to
remarkable heights of what seems to us affectionate devotion.
Whether we look out on plants or animals or men during the
intense life of Summer, the old question rises to our lips,
‘Warum treibt sich das Volk so und schreit?’ and the answer
ever fundamentally true, but changeable within limits for
different existences, comes, ‘Es will sich ernähren. Kinder zeu-
gen, und die nähren so gut es vermag.’
The activity of the ants, bees, wasps, and other insects, repre-
sents Summer industry at a higher level than that in the leaves;
it is, we believe, conscious and instinctive. By which we mean
that most of those activities, which it is one of the delights of
Summer to watch, are performed without intelligent control,
and are more or less independent of education and experience,
in virtue of inherited cerebral mechanism, if such an ignorance-
confessing phrase be admissible. The animals are, so to speak,
constitutionally wound up to do what they do when suitable
stimuli occur. In many of their activities they are conscious
automata. But the beauty of it is that the results of this con-
scious automatism are often as perfect as the outcome of the
most profound deliberation. It seems, as we look at the bee’s
honeycomb, the wasp’s nest, the spider’s web, that art is per-
fected in becoming most instinctive; and surely the rationality
of our world is at least as plain in the web or termitary as in the
Forth Bridge or Eiffel Tower. ‘A mouse is miracle enough to
stagger sextillions of infldels.’
Animal industry in its instinctive forms gives one an impression
of ease and spontaneity; they do not sweat nor whine, nor hesi-
tate nor look puzzled. One has the same impression in watch-
ing a very perfect mechanism which performs its task without
noise or jar. But just as the machine has certainly its wear
and tear, however well concealed that may be, so it is with the
instinctively industrious animals. Recent researches show that
the nerve-cells of the bee’s brain are, at the end of a hard day’s
work, unmistakably fatigued; and, more than this, a certain
number seem gradually to go out of gear as the Summer’s work
continues; they die off until no more are left than are sufficient
for the necessary vital functions. There are hints of the same
sad fact even in man, and though our knowledge of the matter
is very slight, we may dimly see why it is that we are doomed,
not only to become ‘old fogies,’ but to die of ‘old foginess’
should we escape a more merciful ending. Along the same
line of thought we may also perhaps advance to a better under-
standing of such facts as the saving reaction of daily and
Representing a higher grade of activity than that of the bees is
the parental industry of the birds, for it is to a larger degree
intelligent. We do not mean the building of nests, which we
prefer to regard as an activity of Spring (often continued on into
Summer), for that seems to us in the main instinctive, we mean
rather the untiring activity which so many exhibit in protecting,
feeding, and finally educating their young. The songsters are
quieter than they were, the wild lyrics have given place to more
measured psalms of life, partly, of course, because the ecstasy
of passion is over for the season, partly, perhaps, because the
birds have found keeping house a much more serious business
than falling in love and getting married. But were it less
familiar it would appear to us more beautiful—the manner in
which the love of mates broadens into and is lost in the love of
offspring. Yet not lost either, since it surely returns purified and
strengthened. Every one knows that the two parent birds will
work themselves thin in their untiring solicitude for the young
brood. We are not warranted in supposing that they think
of their sacrifice, any more than of the welfare of the species,—
they do not control their conduct in reference to an ideal, they
are not moral, poor things,—but is there not something won-
derful in it, something, as Socrates said, moving to tears, and
yet consoling in our rdations one with another ?
But it must be noticed that the intensity of life, which seems to
us so characteristic of Summer, is by no means unrelieved.
Every one familiar with the country has noticed that in days of
intense heat, the whole aspect of Nature occasionally suggests
sleepiness, especially about noon. A few clouds hang motion-
less in a lofty blue sky, the air is tremulous over the hot earth,
the birds are all hushed in the woods, the leaves droop after
extreme transpiration, the labourers have lain down by the
hedge-side, and there is scarce a sound save that of the grass-
hoppers, whose interrupted chirping makes a sort of background
for the silence. Doubtless our own sleepiness exaggerates the
impression, but when even the leaves fall asleep, few living
things are likely to be wakeful. In fact, what we experience
even in this country is a suggestion of the Summer slumbers—
or aestivation—of mud-fish, amphibians, and crocodiles, when
the waters dry up in the pools of tropical countries. We may
corroborate this very strikingly by visiting half a dozen shore
pools in the heat of the day when there is stillness like that of
an Eastern city in siesta, and in the twilight when there is all
the activity of a Donnybrook Fair.
There is another phenomenon which has often impressed us on
a bright and breezy Summer day,—the sudden appearance of a
dark cloud, which, though heavy with dust and rain, drifts
rapidly across the sky. We can follow its shadow over the
fields and the firth, and as it blots out the sun from us for a few
long seconds, we feel a shiver of suspense. Of course this is
a mere sentimentalism, but the precise physiology of the shiver
might be interesting, especially in reference to the connection
between emotion and muscular movements. This cloud, no
bigger than a man’s hand, is the external counterpart of the
tear which comes sometime to all of us to blot out God’s sun.
Its shadow is death’s.
For in the midst of all the beauty and virility, all the bustle
and gaiety of Summer days, he with the ever-harvesting sickle
walks with swift feet. He mingles with the haymakers and
one is carried senseless off the field; he troubles the waters of
the seaside town, and the ranks of the children who romped
merrily on the sands are thinned; he passes among the flocks,
and many need no more shepherding; he breathes upon the
dancing day-flies, and they sink with the setting sun; he
touches the meadows with his skirts, and the grass withereth
and the flower fadeth. But why in the midst of life is there
so much death, against whom there is no standing nor de-
fiance? It is partly that at an early chapter in life’s history
immortality was pawned for love, and death was made a price
for giving rise to new life; as is illustrated by so many butter-
flies and other animals which die soon after reproducing. It
is partly that the machinery of life is by no means perfectly
self-repairing, and that the organism in living is continually
going into debt to itself,—debts only payable by death; as is
illustrated by all organisms whose efforts are followed by
irremediable nerve-fatigue. It is in great part also due to the
fact that although the sunlight is the most powerful antago-
nist of the pestilence that walketh in darkness, to wit, the
omnipresent disease-germs or Bacteria, the warmth and plenty
of Summer days favour their fatal multiplication, as is illus-
trated by many fevers.
But no one can have realised what the work of Summer
actually means, without feeling the profound truth of the
Buddhist doctrine of reincarnations, that nothing is ever really
lost in this economical world:
‘That nothing walks with aimless feet,
That not one life shall be destroyed,
Or cast as rubbish to the void,
When God hath made the pile complete.’
Matter is ever circulating, in Summer most actively; energy
is ever changing, in Summer most of all. Nothing is ever lost.
The moistened dust and the quivering air become the grass,
the grass the deer, the deer the huntsman, the huntsman the
tiger, the tiger—with the aid of Bacteria—grass again. For
so the world goes round, and, ‘after Last, returns the First,
though a wide compass round be fetched.’
But if one asks for more than this profound, though perhaps
cold truth; asks, in fact, not for the flowers of yester-year,
but for the ‘souls of the flowers,’ for the psychical or metakinetic
aspects of the dayflies and butterflies, the sun-stricken hay-
maker, the fevered child, then we have but an answer as vague
as the question is vague:—
‘You must begone,’ said Death; ‘these walks are mine.
Love wept and spread his sheeny vans for flight;
Yet ere he parted said, ‘This hour is thine;
Thou art the shadow of life, and as the tree
Stands in the sun and shadows all beneath,
So in the light of great eternity
Life eminent creates the shade of death;
The shadow passeth when the tree shall fall
But I shall reign for ever over all!’
J. ARTHUR THOMSON.
BY JOHN DUNCAN
Dead Calm: Noon.
VAST, vast, immeasurably vast, thy dreadful peace,
When heaving with slow mighty breath thou
In utter rest, and dost thy ministering winds
So that with folded wings they too subside,
Floating through hollow spaces, though the highest
Stirs his long tremulous pinions when thou sighest!
Then in thy soul, that doth in fathomless depths abide.
All wild desires and turbulent longings cease—
Profound, immeasurable then, thy dreadful peace!
Dead Calm: Midnight.
But in thy noon of night, serene as death, when under
The terrible silence of that arched dome,
Not a lost whisper ev’n of thy wandering thunder
Ascends like the spiral smoke of perishing flame,
Nor dying wave on thy swart bosom sinks in foam-
Then, then the world is thine, thy heritage, thy home!
What then for thee, O Sea, thou Terror! Or what Name
To call thee by, thou Sphinx, thou Mystery, thou Wonder,—
Above thou art Living Death, Oblivion under!
THE DANCE OF LIFE
THE sorrow was bitter and hard to forget, but life
and its duties remain; so to gain fresh strength
we went to the peaceful island of Iona. At first it
seemed as though earth’s loveliness intensified
the loss, but that was before we reached the
Holy Island: for there Peace fell upon us, even as
the shades of evening crept silently over the land.
Amongst the sacred ruins how small the bitterest personal
grief became! The grand old earth was the same as it had
been even in Columba’s days: the mornings were just as bright,
—the waves danced just as merrily,—the larks sang just
as sweetly,—nor were the gambolling lambs less happy because
of those who had lived, suffered, and slept Nay rather did
Life’s tragedy sink into its proper place; the pain was stilled,
and one could see how the life and death of dear ones were
but part of the grand endless cycle of Nature. Why cavil at
Fate? Life is but as a glimpse seen through the mist of
years. The world will be young when we are old. Let us
play our part bravely, be it short or long, and rejoice in
the thought of the eternal youth of our bounteous Mother
Every morn she gems the earth afresh with dew or frost, every
Spring she scatters flowers and blossoms o’er the earth, and
every day she sends fair babes to prattle of the joy and beauty
of the world. Yet night follows day, and Winter kills the
Autumn flowers: but only that the dawning of another day
may be gladdened by the opening of fresh baby buds.
Why for us should the perfect order be reversed? We share
in the dance; is not that enough? We are part, however
small, of the wondrous beauty of the day and night—the Spring
and Summer: we have indeed a place midst the starry firma-
ment For us, and with us, is the motion of the waves, the
song of the wind, the glowing of the sunset glamour, the hush
of expectant twilight, the cold and glittering moonlight, the
dark floating clouds of night, the stirring morning breeze,
and the grand ever-new, ever-creating glory of another day.
For this were we born to be in very sooth. Children of Heaven,
to share in its glories here, and to know that when they have
passed us by they will go on and on circling upwards and
ever upwards to gladden myriads of others. To know this,
if but for a little, is to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Let
us but feel the rhythmic measure of the universe and there
is no longer a gruesome Dance of Death but the joyous Dance
of Life, with the music of the Spheres as part of Nature’s
To this the whole earth moves. The tiniest atoms dance to
the measured beat. If we listen intently we can almost hear
the invisible gathering and grouping of dainty crystal dancers,
so delicate are the mystic echoes which the ether waves bear to
us. The glorious golden sunlight is but a faster movement of
the dance, which, when fevered, makes the cold earth warm.
The magic spark, which can slay without a struggle, flows
along a glittering thread, its potential thunderings reduced to
a childish tap, tap: and thus it plays its part.
When we feel the rhythmic measure, the sea is never silent
The waves no longer moan or fret, but roll on fraught with deep
messages of peace and wisdom. As of yore they tell of stead-
fast faith and brave endurance, of losses grander than victories,
and deaths nobler than any lives; but they also tell of never-
ending energy, of rest after storm, the smiling morning after
the wildest night, the inflooding main as surely as the gently
ebbing tide. Day after day, year after year, ever the same
onward rhythmic movement.
The towering tree-tops bend to the measured song; light
leaves answer to its faintest murmur, waving grasses sway
to the rhythmic sound, and every fragile flower, with tiny
tinted bell, rings out Life’s endless melody.
Nature’s humblest offspring keep time with the dance and song.
The sweep of the delicate Cilia, the opening and shutting of
some pale medusae, the dreamy movement of a fish’s fins, the
rise and fall of a golden butterfly, the beating of a linnet’s wings.
Are they not rhythmic?
Birds rise and fall to the measured theme of the Universe.
The white gulls languidly swing to it as they rest on the
tranquil sea; to it they dart as they lightly kiss the foam-
tipped waves; and the downward sweep of the swallow, the
upward flight of the lark, are part of the dance, while the song
from every sweet bird’s throat swells the wondrous chorus to
which they wing their flight. All good manly labour marks the
rise and fall of the song: the blacksmith hammering on his
anvil, the sailor pulling on his rope at sea, and the steady
tramp of soldiers. Even when men try to escape from the
dance, the rhythm only reappears,—though they may choose to
listen to the clink of coins rather than to the lap of the sea, or
the beat of a bird’s light wing. Those who vainly try to stem
the onward movement, or to break from the line of dancers,
bring discord into the glorious theme: then rippling mirth is
lost, and heart-strings are broken. But, let the song again be
taken up, Harmony reigns once more; and, so natural is the
concord of sweet sounds, that straightway men forget the dis-
cord and think only of the perfect rhythm. Does not the
written story of the world tell this? How many wild chaotic
lives have been made perfect by harmonious ends? When the
singer once more takes his place, unsteady steps turn to the
measured tread; and the grand world-song hushes the trivial
voices of his past.
But with her newly-born Nature herself is happiest Watch
her little babes. See how they open and shut their shell-
pink fingers in sleep, how the dimpled legs move in the
dance. See how they love her, how they pat and kiss her,
and nestle to her. How happy they are when they can press
their bare feet against her bosom. They feel that they are
part of her,—they have no fear of her,—it is only when men
have grown away from Nature, when they have shut them-
selves in cities and grown aliens in their proper home-land that
they cease to feel themselves her children, and fear to meet her
in death. Then they forget, and fail to see her glory, and build
themselves fancies of a world beyond, the very images of which
are drawn from the simple life which is within the reach of all
who will quietly and reverently listen.
The cycle of the year, or seasons, can easily be traced; but
the universal spiral is indeed so vast, that mortals, seeing but
a part, thought it was a straight and narrow path with a goal
at the end. If goal there be, let it be that of singing our part
in the chorale, so as to strengthen the weary and cheer the
For the measure of the dance is varied. For the young it is
‘Allegro’; for enthusiasts it must needs go faster: but Peace is
with the silvery-headed old folks who glide quietly along, softly
crooning their song to the end. For some it is always ‘Andante’;
while for the old, life’s ‘Ritardando’ has imperceptibly begun.
But weary or glad the dance must yet go on—for how shall
Summer follow if Spring delay?
Then let us sing clearly as we go, and generations yet unborn
shall hear the echoes of our song; and many a watchful mother
seeing the wistful smile and moving limbs shall know that her
little one is with those who went before. Even as we can some-
times touch the spirits of the mighty dead. Not always—not
often—but in these rare and blissful moments, when we rest in
peace and humbly listen for the faintest murmur of their echo-
ing song. Then, indeed, do we rise refreshed and gladdened,
ready once more to join the dance, to chant aloud the
rhythmic chorus, to share in all the mystic wonders, to
spend ourselves for the ever-living Mother, and so
earn for ever and ever that perfect dreamless
sleep which has no rude awakening.
FROM THE IRISH-GAELIC OF TADHG GAOLACH O SUILLIOBHAIN
ROSE of the Universality, holy and heavenly leader,
Thou of thy flock on the mountains, the comforter,
carer, and feeder,
Save me, protect me, preserve me, on mountains
a perilous wanderer,
Aid me and keep me and steer me, and shield
me from death and the plunderer.
From famine, from dread, and from darkness, from death and
destruction and danger,
Guard me that ultimate day of the Universe, be not a stranger.
From the bursting and burning and flashing of livid-red light-
ning and thunder.
From war and from tumult of Nature, and elements riving
. . . . . .
Day of a terrible judgment, imposing an end on all nations,
Black day of wrath and of anger, and fury on earth’s habita-
Sorrowful, spiritless day of grey grief and of loud lamentation,
Day of the treading the wine-press of wrath and of red desola-
With thunderbolts’ crash, and with bursting of billows, and
tempest, and clangour,
Heaven shall shake, and the elements blazing shall quake at
Blood-red and crimson the moon shall be turned when the
might of His power
Shall shake down the sun from his seat, and the doud-face of
darkness shall lower.
Woods and all forests and mountains and crags with a thunder
Islands and cities and countries all melting, dissolving, and
Darkness and fog through the world, with confusion, and fury,
And hurling of hailstones from heaven, and fragments of firma-
. . . . . .
Then both His sign shall be seen, and His word shall be heard,
and the wicked
Furious and fearful and fipng shall hide them in cave and in
Then shall the seas from their barriers break with a mighty
Tumult on earth and in air, and tumultuous tumult in ocean.
Michael shall stand, a serene one, arrayed in majestical splen-
Warning with sound of a trumpet he cometh, an holy avenger;
With a loud brazen blare of a clarion, from heaven to hell it is
Bursting the bars of the bondage of Death, and His vengeance
. . . . . .
DOUGLAS HYDE, LL.D.
(An Chraoibhin Aoibhinn).
BY W. G. BURN MURDOCH
WHITE of skin and brown of hair,
Her footfall wakens the sleepy air—
And suddenly sweet and strange it
With scents of lilac and thjrme and
Forest leaves are all astir,
Following fitfully after her.
Gold forsaketh the prickly whin,
Though not for a month comes Autumn in.
Under the touch of her wandering feet.
Grass is not soft, nor woodruff sweet!
Under the cloud of her fallen hair.
The rose in her breast is scarcely fair:
Not a flag-flower keeps its grace.
All things fade when they see her face.
Brown of hair and white of skin,
Forest-ways she goes wandering in.
And nuts grow ripe ere the gathering-time,
And the bees come back to the yellow lime.
What is her kindred, and whence comes she,
From the middle earth, or the middle sea?
For the soul’s asleep in her eyes that make
The Spring come back for her beauty’s sake.
And though she carries nor sword nor spear,
A curse it is that has fallen here—
Curses twain we knew nothing of—
The curse of beauty, the curse of love.
FLOWER OF THE GRASS
THE literature of religion, as of ancient and modern
travel, has given us many pictures of Eastern
shepherd life, centred round the tending and
guarding of its flocks: even the children are
herding, the maids milking, the men shearing,
guiding the flock, seeking the lost afield. We
see the group of tents; the men mounted even for the shortest
journey; the patriarch as of old sitting at his tent door; the
women child-tending, weaving within.
We see how as the grass conditions the sheep, and the sheep
the shepherd, so the gregarious sheep involve a gregarious
people; hence it is that we are in presence of a large com-
munitary family, not an individualistic one. As the larger the
flocks and herds, the larger the number of children they can
maintain: so what better can we wish the patriarch than flocks
and herds, than children as the sand of the sea, or as the stars
for multitude? As they multiply, there grows up all the
opulence of the pastoral East: maid-servants for the children
and men-servants for the flock, horses and asses, tents and
carpets, changes of raiment, weapons and jewels, camels to
carry the whole.
Hospitality we find as of old; and increasingly we admire the
native courtesy of these good folk, their loving-kindness to
their beasts and to each other. For as Abbé Hue and other
travellers tell us, these terrible Tartars are the very gentlest
of men; and well they may. Anthropologists are laying great
stress (the latest book—Shaler’s ‘Domesticated Animals,’—
more than ever) upon the importance for human progress, for
moral evolution, upon the reaction which the domestication
and care of animals have upon man himself. And if pictures
of child and pet lamb, of good shepherd and lost sheep, have
become hackneyed to us through weak iteration, we may renew
this meaning; the first any spring, from the actual scene itself;
the other from that Border gravestone over one of the many
shepherds who have sunk and slept amid its winter hill-drifts—
‘The good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.’
Realise then how gentleness is thus the unceasing education
of infancy, kindness the unceasing occupation of age, and how
this kindly life is the essential biography of vast populations
throughout ages; action forming habit, and habit character,
and character life, for the race as for the individual. In sheep-
keeping, economics and morals uniquely coincide; and thus,
even before entering upon the consideration of the human
family at all, we begin to understand the historic place of these
shepherds in the religionising and moralising of the world.
For, ‘He prayeth best who loveth best’: the theologian who
would understand, who would use the Lamb as a sacred symbol,
should first feel (ay, and use as teacher) the thrill of its gentle
influence as a living thing.
What is Western Europe but the rock peninsulas of Asia?
What fundamentally are its central populations (theologians
and all) but churlish farmers of the valleys, savage hunters of
the mountain forests, fisher pirates of the fiords, who take life
rather than tend it—to this day the armed sons of Cain? Out
of this elemental natural history of the European races grow
up mighty developments of Western industry and science, and
from the lives of these types, their struggles among each other
and with the pastors, come history, economics, and politics,
all far complexer than that of the shepherd; yet in the very
nature of their morally inferior occupations lies the root ex-
planation of why all great waves of moral or religious impulse
have come from the pastoral East. We begin to understand
the saying, ‘ex Oriente lux.’
Yet the ethical dynamics of the pastoral life are only beginning.
Here, quite literally, all men are brethren, and brethren who live
their whole lives together; hence a solidarity of family of which
we have no idea. They have no possibility of isolated career,
rarely a chance of separate initiative; and if injustice tend to
arise, if might, as everywhere, tend to be right, and elder
oppress the younger, the old parents are there to redress the
balance with their natural preponderance of affection for their
own youngest, and for the grandchildren about their knees. The
intense solidarity of family comes to a head in the Patriarch,
that type of noblest maturity for the human species. Thanks
to the healthy life of saddle and tent, he longest of all men
prolongs his prime, has children even in old age, is leader to
the last. He is at once parent and chief shepherd, leader and
general, lawgiver and judge; yet also daily guide, philosopher,
and friend. He is the repository of passive experience—that is,
of science; of active experience, meditative and practical—that
is, of wisdom: he is at once philosopher and thinker, theologian
and priest So we have in one man a combination of the qualities
which are specialised in many in our more complex societies
of less complex men; but here these are normally united, uni-
versally and perpetually recurrent, not only of old in Abraham,
Isaac, and Jacob, but throughout the nomadic hordes to-day.
In the patriarch’s hands is the ultimate control of all the wealth
and property of the community; he is the temporal as well as
the spiritual power, his blessing carries with it every gift; and
if he say, ‘Depart, ye cursed,’ what is to become of the solitary
exile in the desert?
Our patriarch epitomises experience, and this in no small
measure. Ulysses-like, he is at once geographer and navi-
gator. He knows the firmament, and where the steppe is so
featureless, and the water a changing or drying shallow if not
even a mirage, there is no sure and definite guide but the stars.
He knows too the seasons, the wind, and the rain: upon his
knowledge, his skilled navigation, the whole maintenance of
the tribe depends, for he must reach and leave each pasture
at the right season. He must adjust his journey to many
conditions, notably day by day to the indispensable wells.
He is an experienced sheep-farmer; learned in pedigrees,
skilled in breeding varieties, it would seem even in Jacob’s day,
to a degree from which our recent Western progress has still
much to learn. (Let the town reader, who thinks all sheep
alike, listen for a moment to the market-talk—’I’ll dae my
best to judge Cheviots, but I ken naething ava’ aboot Sooth-
doons.’) Again, it is he who knows the other tribes, the
clanships, the treaties and boundaries so necessary to avoid
rendering desperate the struggle for existence. In every way,
then, he is experience personified. The respect of his authority
is thus no mere sentimental one, no mere admiration of the
Old Man Eloquent; it is the child-faith in parent and teacher,
multiplied by the necessary and implicit confidence of sailor in
captain, of soldier in general.
With his old wife, he is the repository of the traditions of the
family, of which he may be the actual ancestor; or if not the
actual grandparent, the oldest uncle; and even if not by blood,
then by courtesy even from the stranger, by affection at home.
Note the Russian greeting of the village children to the stranger
as ‘Uncle,’ or how President Krüger to his own people is
‘Oom Paul’ That the family affection for their patriarch is
more than reciprocated by him, the story of Jacob (or, for that
matter, of most old grandparents alive) may equally show.
The patriarch has not only his own commanding presence, but
also the cumulative majesty of dead dynasties of patriarchs,
who rise as they recede to sublimer and diviner height. Little
wonder, then, that the pastors should have made their God
in such an image: what greater, what better, if we are to use
anthropomorphic terms at all, can they or we conceive than this
loving All-Father, or how more glorify his name than as ‘God
of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob.’
Again, this whole social and economic life organises selective
purity of race, in sheep and horse and man. The experience
of ages has given clear perception and record of the equal
importance and equal certainty of good breeding in beast and
man alike; conviction too that evil breed is avenged unto
the third and fourth generation, yet that the healing force of
Nature is greater, showing mercy to thousands, as they again
conform to the law of life.
We see then how the pedigrees and genealogies of pastoral
pride are normal to the social type. But we seldom realise
how logically and inevitably there must tend to arise a prevision
of improving type; and projecting this ideal forward into the
tribe, the advent of the Ideal Himself becomes not merely a
matter of vague hope or groundless faith, but a legitimate and
even a necessary Flacial Ideal. Here then is another of the
many ways in which modem science is not come to destroy,
but to fulfil;—to destroy, it may be, here and there for the slaves
of the letter, but to fulfil in spirit; reinvestigating origins, yet
restating ideals. Thus each young mother may again know
something of her old-world sister’s Messianic Hope.
Every Western traveller tells us of the beauty of day, of the
sublimity of night, the brilliance of moon and stars in that high,
clear, dry, serene atmosphere; and thus arises not only the
ancient astronomy, but those great tides of cosmic emotion
yet of noble confidence and serenity, which rise in Genesis, flow
through the Psalms, and culminate in the book of Job.
Yet feeling is far from wholly optimistic, for there is complete
impossibility of defence against nature. In a storm at sea we
may still be masters of helm and sail, but on land only passive
shelter will avail us from wind, or sand, or sun. We can but
sit within the tent, seek shade from the short-lived gourd, or
long for the shadow of a great rock in a weary land. The
drought may sweep away the flock as it ruins the Australian
squatter; strange pestilence may walk in darkness or smite
like the fire of God. The wind too may smite the house and it
fall; one knows not what cloud of horsemen a day may bring
forth; flocks and herds, sons and daughters, may thus alike be
reft, and Job thus fall from riches to utmost poverty in a single
Yet after a brief crisis of overmastering emotion, when the old
man cries aloud, and rends his garments, in an explosion of
agony which for the moment rises to mania, then sinks to melan-
cholia which sits refusing to be comforted, there soon returns
that persistent faith in the universal Order which no mere indi-
vidual calamities can shock; thus we have the resignation, the
settled patience of Job. Meanwhile the scattered sheep are
again gathering, they multiply into a flock; and the patriarch
lives, even to have new sons and daughters to comfort his old
Long then before the modern geologist, the patriarch had
learned that there is catastrophe as well as uniformity in the
order of Nature. Storms will beat, and houses fall, and
enemies conquer as of yore; and thus arises along with the
faith in the orderly and beneficent course of things, that gloomy
fatalism which so constantly paralyses Eastern peoples.
Wherever Nature controls man, he is ultimately pessimist.
Only in the measure of victory over the Titanic nature-forces
does he grow gay. This victory is the essential matter; it is
not a mere question of sky, as French critics often tell us.
The Celt of the Western Isles lives in the northern paradise of
beauty, and is steeped in it, yet ‘has the gloom’; for he has no
mastery over nature. Whereas, though the North Sea and its
canal banks are but grey beside the ocean fiords and hills, the
Dutchman sits jolly in Rotterdam, careless of wind and wet.
because his broad craft will ride the storm, his pile-built house
stand sure amid the treacherous mud, and his mighty dykes
ever thrust back and back the encroaching sea. Even the
scholar there is gay; the wise Erasmus praises folly.
The shepherd’s calling gives a patient certainty of increase.
One cannot make haste to be rich, yet if Nature have her way
one will be rich in time. The life is easy; from every other
ordinary economic standpoint is one which seems but indolence.
Animals do all the heavier work: and thus grows up a disdain
of labour; a disdain too of the labouring man, who seems him-
self but a beast of burden; whose toil dulls the active life of the
intellect, whose weariness quenches the passive meditative life
of the spirit; who thus becomes ‘as the beasts that perish.’
Whereas the dignity of the Arab, the pride of pastoral races,
rises in the saddle, reaches to the stars.
The pasture eaten bare, for the time being the land is waste,
incapable of use till fresh grass be grown. It cannot be
retained or guarded from other occupation; the next comers
are free to have their turn; hence the idea of individual pro-
perty in land is simply inconceivable. When attacked or
molested, the policy is if possible to strike tents and move on,
and this not from cowardice but common-sense. For here we
have no continuing city; a few more days’ grazing is not worth
risking the whole flock for. Thus the pastor has ever receded
before the farmer, Celt before Saxon, Boer before Englishman.
But while he has no notion of permanent property for himself,
the pastor can similarly have no notion or capacity of recog-
nising any permanent occupation other than as encroachment;
and hence arises the perpetual war between the incompatible
land systems of shepherd and farmer. Hence then that
ineradicable feeling of Highland peasant and Irish crofter of
the superiority of ‘right’ over ‘ownership’ in pasture, for him
mere might, let Duke of Argyll or Saxon parliament say what
they may. For where immemorial tradition is the title, what
can there be but utter disdain of new-made parchments fetched
from town? What are your law papers? what to us can they
ever be—but the intrusive rubbish of a wholly alien social
formation?—Dirt here upon the hill, however sacred at West-
minster or Edinburgh ?
Yet each of these social formations is inexorably driven and
ground against the other by its internal pressure of population.
‘The shepherds are needing a larger pasture, whatever.’ ‘Are
they? The farmer needs a larger clearing too.’ Hence the
urge of pastoral conquest recurrent through the ages, from
modern Panslavism back through the Pentateuch: hence the
steadier expansion of Rome, whose conquering legion is the
agricultural colony militant. Conversely, as these respectively
lose their ground, we have for Rome the agony of the bar-
barian invasions; or here the Saxon crushing of the Celtic
peoples. Taking the very widest view of Europe-Asia, the
apparent permanence of China is associated with her ever-
repeated inundations of pastoral immigrants—while the Fall of
Rome is, for the geographer Richthofen, but a by-product of
the building of the Chinese Wall, since this deflected upon
Europe the irresistible waves of shepherd migration.
The natural increase of the sheep and of the family is long an
advantage; yet since the pasture is constant there comes a
definite limit to this. Now arises the phenomenon of swarm-
ing, which may be by the separation of patriarchs like Abraham
and Lot; by the start of sons, like Jacob setting forth from
Isaac; or by the start of sons-in-law with the wives and flocks
for which they have served, like Jacob from Laban, for the
pastoral apprentice also marries his master’s daughter.
But for these new swarms there is no coming back to the old
pastures. Here would be a material competition, and one
which is impossible: for it would be ungrateful and impious in
the young swarm, even were it strong enough, to attack the
old. Hence it must look for new pastures—must look for a
promised land. The Promised Land of the Jews is thus, like
one of their own patriarchs, or like the characteristic incidents
of his life, something not solitary but representative and typical.
Every migration is more or less to a promised land ; and the
migrating pastors have been the invaders and conquerors not
only of Judaea but of half the world. The migration has not
only the impulse and counsel of the aged patriarch but the
enthusiasm and energy and novelty of youth and hope. The
leader here is old enough to command and lead, but young
enough to explore, to venture, and to fight ; hence the restless
energy of the pastoral invasions. These communitary shep-
herds are not only a troop of light cavalry, a chivalry of the
desert, but a religious order; little wonder that such literal
brethren support each other and their leader (‘Another for
Hector!’) to the very last. Hence it needed the religious
orders, the Templars and Hospitallers, to hold head against
The characteristics of intertribal war are also worth attention.
On the one hand we have light horsemanship and skirmishing
which lies in wait to pick up stray sheep or pick off stray riders.
Tribute from pastor to farmer, much less to cities, is impossible;
for who could collect it ? The Czar and the Emperor of China
each claim vast tracts of Asiatic territory; but the colour of
their maps expresses nothing that the populations recognise,
since neither armies nor individuals can collect their taxes for
them. At most the leading points can be held as the Russians
do with the Turcomans by the tactics of pastoral victors; that
is of severity almost to massacre, then clemency, with at most
occasional tribute in kind. Of old it was rather for mountain-
shepherd, whether of Caucasus or of the Highland line, to take
black-mail from farmer and toll from merchant. For every
reason, the war-stroke must be sudden and decisive, like that
of Abraham upon his forayers, Dundee at Killiecrankie,—the
same tactics everyrwhere.
Where war for economic reasons has become extreme, the
alternatives are the sharpest; for the attack, victory or utter
retreat; for the defence, if not victory then extinction, by ex-
termination or assimilation. When religious differences inten-
sify the conflict, the alternative takes the form of ‘Sword or
Koran’: and even this is gentle and merciful, compared with
the dealings of Joshua or Gideon, Samuel or David. That the
secularist should therefore scoff at the piety of the Psalmist
or the gentleness of Samuel is therefore natural enough;
European populations gave the Mongols their commoner name
from Tartarus. Yet in all such cases such criticism is from
without not within; we see that the lion in war is none the less
the lamb in peace. Both states of life and mind are equally
genuine; but the former is temporary and exceptional, the
latter the normal and the permanent. Were this understood,
say as regards the Turks, we should not be divided into
Turcophobes and Turcophiles, each with a half truth; and
with more social science among our peoples and their
politicians, Armenian question, Eastern question, and many
more might have had happier issues.
The prize of victory, too, is enormous; sudden wealth of flocks
and herds instead of long waiting on increase, wealth of weapons
and horses, choice of captive women—perhaps the intensest in-
centive to the pastoral aggressions. The women of one’s own
tribe are like sisters: in any case the best matches are got
afield, like Isaac and Rebekah, Jacob and Rachel. The unseen,
too, is more beautiful than the seen; thus the Mohammedan
paradise is but systematised and elaborated from the imagina-
tion of the boy.
In more types than the pastoral, women’s eyes have been soon
dried over slain brothers; and these women are less indivi-
dualised than Western ones. To the male cynic, sitting in
one tent seems a good deal like sitting in another; and it is
better to be mistress than maid. Save in rare cases as where
a mean and vain-glorious victor insults the slain patriarch, like
the husband of Rosamund, vengeance is little to be feared. In
the association of the lower individuality of Eastern women with
polygamy, there is obviously a vicious circle, each alternately
cause and effect. Thus we begin to work at the side of deep
inferiority of pastoral society to those of Western types.
Officers of experience tell us of their feeling of real admiration
for the swift and skilful decampment of a travelling menagerie;
for the discipline of these nomadic civilians can give a lesson
to skilled soldiers, because they have to practise it every second
morning. A point like this helps us not only to appreciate the
patriarch as a general on the march, but to understand the
terrific swiftness and impunity of the pastoral invasions in
history. What made the Huns of old so terrible was that they
were here to-day and away to-morrow, their encampments
vanishing like clouds, which no European army could follow.
It is largely the survivals of this easy mobility with associated
discipline and simplicity of transport which makes it so difficult
for civilised Europe to intervene in Armenia to-day. The same
factor told in the lightness and frequent impunity of the Scottish
raids into England; and here lay the conscious strength in
invasion of Wallace, or Bruce, Douglas, or Buccleuch.
To insist on these military details of migration is the way to
realise their importance in history. This done we may ration-
alise the story of Attila, Ghenghiz Khan, Tamerlan, or Solyman,
of course, recognising besides these purely militant types the
more spiritual leadership of a Moses, a Mohammed, or a
But to understand the pastoral type in war, we have still to
see the emergence of a new type beside the patriarch. While
the steppe produces the instruments of peace, it is poor in the
instruments of war, and hence the need of exchange, the dawn
of commerce; probably beginning in the barter of carpets for
weapons, wool for steel.
Here then arises the caravan, with its leader of a very different
type from the old patriarch—a younger man, in whom the
active not the passive life strongly preponderates, and who is
primarily not a father, but a picked son, ready to be leader,
merchant, disciplinarian, and general: and who may become
merchant-prince and diplomatist, it may be strategist and
All this then must be taken into our study of migrations.
We are more ready to understand how the inspired caravan-
driver becomes Mohammed, how the ritual of his religion is
but the discipline of the caravan slightly idealised, his paradise
but the thinly spiritualised promises of the good time waiting
While the patriarchs have no coherence, and the flocks wander
wide, the caravans have a definite route, year by year, age by
age. Not only the historian, but the archaeologist are prov-
ing to us the vast antiquity of the great trade routes, and it is
hardly possible to guess how old the diffusion of Kuen-Lun jade
or Bsdtic amber. Of late M. Champault has been revealing to
us Odin; no longer a misty Scandinavian Jove, but a cara-
van-chief trading between Odensee or Upsala in the North, with
towns of the Black Sea, of the Caucasus; his Ases Asiatic
caravaniers; their centres, the glorious Asgard, which hence
become the Northman’s quest.
From the comparative absence of organisation we pass to a
high development of it, as the patriarch passes into ruling
caravan chief. The shepherd kings seem ancient and gone;
but the caravan kings, their junior contemporaries, are still with
us—railway kings we call them now. The promotion of Lord
Elgin from North British Railway Board to Viceroyalty of
India is in fact no exceptional matter, but an instance of one
of the great processes of history.
A Highland laddie goes to Aberdeen, learns the ribbon trade,
peddles such things in Canada, shrewdly buys a railway share
or two, then more and more; sees first where the railway is
needed and then how to make it, finally rules the Canadian
Pacific Railway, leads it across the Continent. Its highest point
is called after him, Mount Stephen (Odensee again); then he is
called after it, as lord and legislator; now doubtless duly feared
and worshipped throughout his countryside, like many a
smaller deity since, or like Odin of old. Returning now to M.
Champault, he suggests a new factor in the Fall of Rome,
which gets us over the great difficulty of seeing how mere
hordes could make way against strategists like the Roman
generals without leaders of somewhat similar calibre. He finds
these requisite leaders through the cutting of caravan routes by
the Roman expansion to the Rhine and beyond the Danube,
which necessarily turned their merchant chiefs— their occupa-
tion gone—into generals of invasions: and who could stir and
organise whole populations, the more easily since these aggres-
sions were really in every way reprisals; here for appropriated
pastures, as there for ruined caravans. We know that Eastern
waves were pressing on them behind; but the empire would
not have been overthrown by mere fugitive hordes, nor mere
wandering nomad ones; and the requisite military leadership
before the advent of the skipper and forester Norsemen, is what
M. Champault’s caravaniers supply. The student of Gibbon,
the reader of the last book on the Egyptian Soudan, may thus
profitably compare notes in fresh ways.
But even patriarchs have not always been good. Paternal auto-
cracy may readily go to excess; it is just a far-reaching intelli-
gence which becomes the most readily tinged with suspicion.
Benevolent despotism then easily sours into malevolent, and
patriarchal gentleness becomes inverted into inhuman ferocity.
The corruption of the best is the worst; and given unrestrained
power, this perversion of matured intelligence, will, and feeling,
soon work out the maddest orgies of human history. Peter the
Great and Ivan the Terrible are but earlier and later types of
this degeneration; but the alienist as historian will yet classify
the lives of Czars and Sultans wholesale, in series of which the
elemental types and stages are in every asylum—the suspicious,
the megalomaniac, the homicidal, and so on. What then is to
be done with a person so dangerous ? Put him in the asylum?
But if you have only a tent? and if you do not know what in-
sanity is, nor perhaps even for years that he is insane at all? and
then only at intervals? What is to be done? Hesitatingly,
reluctantly, but gradually arises the conviction—there is no
help for us but in his death. Yet since there are no public
powers of any kind, save in the patriarch himself, who shall take
upon himself to act? And how? Can he be slain openly
among his guards, or must he be stalked in secret like the wild
beast he is? Is the slayer just judge and needful executioner
in the people’s cause for whom he dares all things, or is he
base conspirator and cowardly assassin? Shall he be for ever
held as traitor and parricide, or hailed as deliverer, acclaimed
patriarch in turn? All these things have been, and are. Why
so frequently? It is to be noted that revolution by slaying the
patriarch, whether justifiable or unjustifiable, is at any rate
effective; for there must be a new patriarch, with whom things
go back to their old ways, unless madness (this time necessarily
not quite the same madness) reappear.
The extremest Royalist has hardly affirmed any right divine
for criminal madness, at least if directed against himself; then
the natural man within him boils up as against might diabolic;
in Russia or Turkey it is thus the courtier who is most com-
monly the assassin, and hence we commonly miss the point to
which all this is leading—the ancient and patriarchal Asiatic
nature of despotism limited by assassination. Hence the
crimes, which have in late years appalled Europe, which the
anarchist and the newspaper reader are alike apt to imagine
modem, are thus remotely ancient, are social reversions, are
atavistic, not progressive. Understand then this primitive dis-
ease of power and the primitive treatment of it, and we are
ready to re-read our Scottish history, so full of royal assassins
and assassinations, as profoundly pastoral, and reinterpret the
Celtic vices in a lurid but still oriental light. Turning to practi-
cal politics, how shall we put down assassination? ask anxiously
the police and governments of Europe. By punishing the
assassin ?—much he cares; it is odds if you do not awake new
criminals. The only successful penal restraint upon assassina-
tion in history has been the terrible wholesale Roman one which
made the lives of each whole household of slaves (Slavs mostly,
i.e. pastors liable to assassinate their tyrant) responsible for that
of their master, and once inexorably crucified nearly four hun-
dred for a single crime. Wholesale deportation to Siberia is the
nearest modern approach to this, although again in Scots history
the proscribing of clans, in English history the massacres in
Ireland, are of this kind. But all such governmental violence
provokes new individual violences, and this again wholesale
violence, hence vicious circles disturbing the surface of human
history, and constantly obscuring its depths. The putting down
of anarchist outrage lies then in social education; and there
will be no safety till journalist and reader and man in the
street, instead of thinking these horrors new, modem, the work
of advanced minds, the product of recent science and what not,
shall know that these are early disease-phenomena of patriar-
chal society, wholly irrelevant to our own. The most elemen-
tary comprehension of our own social order should make it as
impossible to think of murdering a president to improve a
government, as of knocking off an engine-driver to improve his
railway track. The assassins of Garfield, of Camot, were each
bursting with vanity; each fool convinced that he had placed
himself in the foremost files of time: and pity it is the most
real precaution against any recurrence was not taken; that
press and social science were not themselves ready to expose
fully the hideous irrelevance, the wretched folly of such a deed.
But thanks to popular good sense, not to governments, the
preventive measure of general contempt has already replaced
the dangerous provocation of alarm. The whole subject of
Anarchism thus needs re-study; but with the general idea
that its dramatic crimes, its gentle doctrines also, are primarily
Oriental Antiquities, and only quite secondarily Occidental
Novelties, the conditions of criticism and re-interpretation
become fairly clear.
Auguste Comte is popularly supposed to be a radical, a demo-
cratic man of modem science. But he makes his contributions
to sociology from the standpoint of the hierarchy of feeling and
genius, of the aristocracy of action and thought. Conversely,
it is Frédéric Le Play, whose point of view it is that has been
followed and developed above, and who is popularly supposed
even in his own country to make his appeal to capitalist and
conservative, to aristocrat and priest, who has really estab-
lished for us the vital doctrine of all democracy; which is only be-
coming apparent as Liberal nonsense of the Sovereignty of the
People, of the Infallibility of Majorities of the electors of county,
city, or parish of Buncombe, goes the way of the once current
Tory nonsense about the Divine Right of Kings. Comte sees the
great stream of Humanity; but in this he calls attention mainly
to the Calendar of Great Men, to men of genius as Her chief
servants—for him, proletarian and woman are little better than
grown children, to be guided and governed for ever by patrician
and priest. But for Le Play, worker and woman unite to form
the elementary human family, and from them, not only by bodily
descent, but by social descent, from their everyday life and
labour, there develops the whole fabric of institutions and
ideas, temporal and spiritual. No blossom, however rare or
marvellous, whether of practical, intellectual, or spiritual genius
but comes ultimately from this humble root—this tiny seed of
simple daily human life:
‘The lord is hay, the peasant grass—
This wood, but that the growing tree.’
With Comte and the historians we visit the historic dome of
Aix, and thrill as we read ‘ Carolo Magno ‘ upon its vaulted
floor ; but with Le Play we see first the living everyday Charle-
magne a solid thrifty Prankish farmer striding round his
estate, seeing that his stewards keep accounts even of the
eggs, that is, have the assured wherewithal to maintain cities
in peace, armies in war. We know the Northern Lords of Battle
—our Bruce, our Coeur-de-Lion—from legend or history; Le
Play shows us first of all the Viking axeman, not the coronet;
he sees in their axecrait, the poise and swing and skill
of woodman, of house- and boat-builder over Scandinavia or
Canada to-day. The historians, Gibbon or Comte or Sir
Walter, all explain for us much of the present by help of the
survivals of the Past; but Le Play, like Lyell, explains to us
the past from the actual Present.
The method is less romantic; there may be some disen-
chantment in learning that the commanding, the supremely
self-assertive dignity of Norman noble was based on the swift
decision and authority, the necessary and unquestioning obedi-
ence which necessarily springs up on board of every fishing
boat; and that the hauteur of Lady Clara Vere de Vere comes not
from a hundred earls nor even jarls, but from the simple ancestral
fisher-carle, whose boys must learn to look sharp with the sail
while he sits by the helm. The individuality, the independence
of the women of Western Europe is for Le Play neither Ameri-
can nor New; it is the direct product of the life-conditions of all
North Sea fisherwives, whose men pass their lives at sea, or in
intervals of rest when they return; so leaving them, indeed
compelling them, to develop the qualities of man and woman
in one. And when the mother has to be father too, then the
eldest girl, however small, must be much more of mother; so
responsibility begins early, and here as everywhere gives indi-
viduality for its fruit.
The most interesting platform on which to see the evolved
woman is thus not that of the public hall but of the railway
station; most particularly it is here in our own Waverley sta-
tion, at the arrival of that fishwives’ train, which is one of the
most characteristic sights of Edinburgh. For out springs the
fair-haired Brynhild; there with set lips under a mighty burden
frowns the stern Gudnin; there onward stride a trio, with
weather-beaten deep-lined faces sorrow-wrought, the thread
of future footsteps weaving in their hands. Would we see the
doughty countess who held her castle against the Roundheads’
cannon, who laughed even at Oliver? or Black Agnes, untame-
able even in her iron cage on Berwick wall? or the great Abbess
of Whitby presiding over Parliament? There they are every one;
to this day the primitive aristocracy of European womanhood.
It needs little physiognomy to see that the ladies of court and
drawing-room, of stage or sick-room, of platform or university,
are but their more polished, yet degenerate representatives.
Long tails, it is true, despise short tails, and fine feathers the
bare head and woven willows, yet the first woman little knows
how strongly her feeling is reciprocated by the second. The
first has the conscious advantage of more refinement, the
second has, and that consciously, more to refine. As she gives
the artist more to work on, so with the sociologist and the psy-
chologist, the moralist or the singer. For surely not only in
the life of experience and provision but in that of sympathy and
sacrifice, the daintiest reticule, the woolliest workbasket, is but
a small affair compared with the fishwife’s creel. Hark to her
homely song, any that know not how elemental economics
deepens into human feeling:—
‘Wha ‘ll buy my caller herrin’, they ‘re bonnie fish and halesome
Buy my caller herrin’ new drawn frae the Forth.
. . . . . .
When the creel o’ herrin’ passes, ladies clad in silks and laces
Gather in their braw pelisses, toss their heads and screw their
. . . . . .
Wha’ll buy my caller herrin’!
O ye may ca’ them vulgar farin’,
Wives and mithers maist despairin’
Ca’ them lives o’ men.
. . . . . .
Caller herrin’, caller herrin’.’
In America it is where democracy has free play, and where it
is less confused by old developments and survivals of all kinds,
that the natural growth of things is most obvious. How the
stout axeman carves his way to fortune, wealth, and power,
‘From Log Cabin to White House’ is one of the most thread-
bare themes; cind who does not see poor Richard as a canny
Yankee, Emerson as his more spiritual brother?
We may follow the same elemental clues into many phases
of life. The dull and unimaginative wealth of England and
America, which so seldom gets any realities for its money save
sorrow for its children, is half explained when we read the
story of the Industrial Revolution, and see how the nobler
leaders of the working class have been constantly wasting their
lives in barren politics; or, perhaps at best, following the fate of
Robert Bums, while it was left to too many of the grosser and
duller types, the Arkwrights and the like, to drudge or gripe
or crush their way to fortune.
Or let us now take race with occupation, and in the concluding
struggle of the Civil War, ask what is the duel of Grant and
Lee—of Grant the hammerer with Lee the strategist, but the
fight of heavy and downright hitter with wary and skilful
gipsy guide? And if we ask for light on Grant’s racial type,
what more characteristic than when he says,’ I will fight it out
on this line.’ For (all the better if unconsciously) he is renewing
the age-old war-cry of his clan—’Stand fast, Craigellachie!’ the
only possible strategy in holding one’s narrow glens. And if
Strathspey look to the American a small outlandish place for
the breeding of a hero of his continent, let him look in his atlas
and see what coast, what river-mouth in history must have
borne first the shock of the all-victorious Norse migrations
which were to be the unmaking and making of Europe. Then
he will see that these Craigellachie folk are of an old and fighting
breed, the children of King Arthur’s vanguard, the children too
of his victors.
This elemental way of looking at all men and women is no
doubt to many a commonplace, at least in general terms. They
know that if rank be rank, there must lie under its stamp the
gold; that rank is not mere stamp: that men must rise to rank,
develop rank, attain rank through function, and in the measure
of the reality and range of actual deed. That the war-duke is a
soldier at his highest, the admiral a seaman at his best, no one
will ever deny; but he who doubts or forgets that there is the
stuff of viking and admiral in every fishing village of Devon or of
Fife must surely have forgotten that Drake or Jean Bart or
Paul Jones were but such pirate-venturers (some say Columbus
too) or that the kings and nobles of Europe are proud to repre-
sent the younger branches of existing Norse peasant and fisher
stocks. As the child is father of the man, so is the worker of
all men; and it is time to be thinking less with the politician or
the positivist, of the worker as a child (to be led by the nose or
educated respectively), but to recognise in him, according to his
kind, the stuff of each type however highly developed—of skill
however masterly, of genius however sublime, of virtue how-
Thus, as James Watt, instrument maker, Glasgow, is the
master smith of the last century, so Lord Kelvin is but a subtler
avatar of the same craft-type; fundamentally, of course,
neither lord nor professor nor wrangler, but now the best
Glasgow instrument maker in his turn, developed by the
problems which his life there among the shipbuilders and
electricians has brought him. So Whitworth, so Armstrong is
swordsmith, arrowsmith; all the inventors in short are the
Thinking Smiths, be they lords of peace or war. Again, they
who read the secrets of life are the Thinking Rustics: thus
Pasteur is the thrifty Jura peasant, Darwin the Midland
truant and poacher, fancier and gardener, happily only half-
settled into squire.
Even in more abstract thought the same principle holds. No
philosopher, however sedentary, should need much introspec-
tion to recognise his profound kinship here with the dreamy
and dreary loafer, there with the restless and careless tramp,
rustic or urban, as his case may be.
Or shall we try politics—permit a word or two of comment on
points suggested by the newspapers of the day. Just as Oom
Paul is a Boer, or Jameson a trooper, or John Burns a jour-
nalist, or Mr. Labouchere a gamin, was not the great recent
victory of Lords over Commons primarily the old victory of
rustic over urban populations, that of slow but not silly
peasants over smart but not wise mechanics and clerks and
Next, why does the coalmaster or ironmaster, the master-weaver
or master-smith change his politics as he becomes landowner
and lord? It is not primarily a change of Society; the man is
not a mere snob: but he inevitably leaves the direct and simple
rationality of the workshop for the cautious empiricism of the
field; in a word, from artisan he has become peasant. Here for
the first time he realises the vast complexity of human affairs
and his own ignorance in dealing with them, and so his simple
Liberal formulae, made in Birmingham, repaired in Newcastle,
lose their old hold upon him. Little wonder that he lapses
from grace—deplored by his successors in the party, until the
call comes for them also to go up higher in their turn, and help
him to let well (and ill) alone.
So far, then, some outlines of interpretation of things as they
are, that is, as they have grown, as they become; at another
season we may think of things as they may be.
BY CHARLES H. MACKIE
THE Born to the Unborn cried,
‘Come forth, my brother, to life, in the free and
the open world;
Come forth into light with me—and learn what
But the Unborn answered low,—’And what do you mean by
And by “brother,” and “light,” and “life”?
I feel for you right and left, over and under me here:
I grope for you round about, but you answer me nowhere in
I know not why I am stirring,—am restless within my world—
The world of all that is real!
I must stifle this eager desire and conquer the throes I feel.’
‘Oh, never resist them, brother, but help them with all your
Even if life brings wailing,—the sorrow it brings shall bless;
Shall redeem and transfigure all Nature, watching to welcome
For life is a mighty breathing, a breathing of fresh, sweet air;
Not only a beating heart, but a brain awake and aware:
A knowing of good and of truth and of beauty beyond compare.
. . .And how shall I tell you what light is,
The suns and the blue of skies?
Give Nature her way and come forth;
And what “brother” can mean shall be plain:—
Brother and sister and friend: father and mother and wife. . . .’
But again came the murmuring protest:
‘Oh, leave me in peace and be silent!
I dare not come forth of my shelter, I dread such a dangerous
Full of cloudlands and lonely places:—
And what “brother” can mean shall be plain:—
I shrink from your dazzling suns, your “home” without circling
My home is within the shadow, where none of these things are
I am safe as I am and quiet; it hurts me to stir or move;
This is all the Life I can bear. . . . .’
But the Born went on crying and calling,
And at last his brother came forth.
Shrinking and wailing he came, thinking home was broken
and lost . . .
Only after a while he was silent; silent and drinking in
Drinking at motherhood’s breast and sinking to mother’s-arm
And then came a waking of wonder; two wide-open smiling
And a happy soft murmur of crooning—
And at last a laugh of delight. . . .
As the years went on and he grew, and could walk, run, think,
Did he miss the dark life he had left?
Would he fain have returned to that?
Was the life he had entered less real? And was it fuller or not?
NOW Summer has come with a calm,
And the world is encircled around
With sunshine and song, like a psalm
Revoking the Curse of the Ground.
Through the length of the trancèd Day
Our thoughts go a pilgrimage—
So far away and so far away,
As a bird goes forth o’ the cage!
For the edict of halcyon peace,
That enfreedoms the earth and the sky,
Brings the birds of our spirit release,
And afar into heaven they fly.
They fly to the gates of the sun,
And they travel for love of the west,
And back, when their rapture is done,
They come to us, laden with rest—
Filled full of the warmth and the light,
And flushed with the boon of the air,
And drowsy for very delight
That is almost a Summer-Despair.
Till darkness itself cannot keep
The day and the morrow apart:
For all last night, while I was asleep,
They were singing a song in my heart!
BY JAMES CADENHEAD
THE MORAL EVOLUTION OF SEX
NATURAL science for women is not what they
think at College—the dissecting of the frog for
the anatomists. It is with the child, with the
poet, and the naturalist, from Virgil to Darwin;
it begins in gardening, in watching the living
bees. And this vital science makes use of no
hard names; its language indeed is simpler than the common.
The ‘Queen’ is no queen but an imprisoned Mother; the
‘Neuters’ are no neuters, but the busy Sisters of the hive.
For the first is the life-long imprisonment, the narrow home of
motherhood; for the others the life of energy and of labour, for
them the freedom, the sunlight, and the flowers.
Here is your contrast of house-mother and new woman—sure
enough as old as the world. Yet let us not overpity the queen-
mother; what mother but will smile and say, ‘Pity her? Rather
envy her—was I not happiest with my babes?’ Nor let us
over-envy these free and happy workers—rich though they
return to their hive. For one thing their vocation, like that
of our emancipated women again, has been a temporal one,
not a spiritual. Unlike the developed males, the drones, each
carries her poisoned sting. But this sting is no new and
strange weapon; it is part of the very organ of maternity, the
ovipositor, the egg-placer with which the queen places each
egg in its appointed cell.
The parallelism of all this to human life is so obvious that this
is perhaps the reason why the biologist never teaches it.
The passive Hausfrau of contemporary Germany, the New
Woman of contemporary America or England, are each as
old as civilisation. For oh, good lady friends, for whom
human society stops exactly at your own particular level of
Society, did you never see that every one of your domestics
is a new woman, a worker-bee, who has gone out to labour
in the world; that doctor and nurse, teacher and typist,
dressmaker, mill girl, shop girl, and all the rest, are New
Women proper, that is. Workers?—those who call them-
selves New and Advanced and what not, without working,
being only mimics of the buzzing drones. The domestic is
nearest the home, and so feels the instinctive feminine interest
of this more than do her sister workers in the outer world.
Her domestic functions too are also more normally feminine
ones. She feeds the household, cares for the children and all
the rest, like the good worker-bee, and so oftenest turns to
marriage—oftenest too, to motherhood without marriage.
But the vast body of working women other than domestic, how
shall we classify them? Obviously some have distinctly
temporal functions, others distinctly spiritual ones. The dress-
maker is the tire-woman of the domestic and the mother, the
mill girl is the weaver-slave of all three, and so on. These
women-workers merely replace men and machines in the
factories, which are, as it were, the enlarged work-sheds lying
behind the kitchen of the typical home.
But what of the spiritual functions? Leaving the domestic
Martha and her handmaidens, what of Mary? Hers it is to
be type of the spiritual calling, hers the deliberate choice of the
better part which shall not be taken away from her—hers the
prototype and ideal of all sisterhoods since her day.
Yet to one’s own sister one says, ‘Don’t refuse love if it be
offered you.’ Why? Mary, type of sisterhoods, is not the
highest Mary, but surely it is she in whom purity and
Again and again the painter has given us to understand the
Madonna and Child not only as a religious symbol; but also,
without halos, as a frankly human presentment, a frankly
human ideal. But why dare we so seldom renew more of
sacred legend with the same completeness, more of human life
with the same sacredness, and so paint the Annunciation
Lilies as brought by Youth to Maid! Such art is old, is dawn-
ing; and with the living science of which it is the forerunner
it will frankly face the mysteries of sex, free from the false
modesty of our passing age of mechanical art and analytic
What is the ideal of life? What but the blossoming of noble
(that is, pure) individuality, human and organic, into fulness—
that is, of love, of sex. What better symbol (that is, sign) of
these than the lily? And what clearer word of literal revela-
tion, what simpler, yet deeper word of initiation to both art and
science was ever spoken than in the ancient counsel and com-
mand, ‘Consider the lilies, how they grow’?
The theologian, who has seldom wearied of materialising the
symbolic, may shudder at the ‘Materialism’ which considers
the noble symbol he is wont profanely to ignore. But the
lilies which are to be considered are none the less Real Lilies,
and art and science are but ways of considering them aright:
here at any rate ‘Wer Wissenschaft und Kunst besitzt hat
auch Religion.’ Some day again with the renewal of Nature-
Religion will return its corresponding Nature-Ritual, and, in
no mere metaphor, plant its lilies amid our dying thorns.
Never was there such free discussion of sex questions as in
these days; and much there is to alarm the timid, much indeed
to repel the pure. But here as everywhere the road lies for-
ward, not back. We must grapple with each question, whoever
be shocked; not shirk it, gloss it, retreat from it, in our feeble
virtue. Consider then the lily: face its elemental biologic-
moral fact. ‘Pure as a lily’ is not really a phrase of hackneyed
sham-morals; for it does not mean weak, bloodless, sexless,
like your moral philosopher’s books, your curate’s sermons. Its
Purity lies in that it has something to be pure; its Glory is in
being the most frank and open Manifestation of Sex in all the
organic world. Its magnificent array is to show forth, not con-
ceal: these wear their lucent argent for the passion-fragrant
night, and these roll back their swart-stained robes of scarlet-
orange to the sun-rich day; naked and not ashamed, glowing,
breathing, warm, each flower showers forth its opulence of
golden dust, stretches forth to welcome it in return. This,
when we consider, is How they Grow.
. . . . . . .
What then is the elemental fact of sex and love? What but
nature-mating—love-mating? This it is which covers even the
bar-sinister with its gold.
For here primarily lies the secret of the strength and courage
of William the Conqueror, here of the vivid heroism of Don
John of Austria, and many a hero more; and in the converse ill-
assorted ‘mariage de convenance’ lies half that of the sinister
devilry of Philip II., of Pedro the Cruel, of mad czars and
imbecile kinglets without end. Here, in the virtuous, prudent,
timid, sordid cloistering of French maid and man, lies the old
decadence of the nobles of France, the contemporary decadence
of her wealthy and governing classes. And here in Scot-
land in the exceptional freedom in marriage choice, in love
choice, illegitimacy and all, lies a root explanation of the
organic vigour, of the ‘ingenium perfervidum’ of our strenu-
ous race. There may, of course, be base-born children
without wedlock, but there are also too many base-born
Are we therefore attacking marriage—’sapping the founda-
tions of morality,’ as foolish people always say when they are
asked to face facts? Not so, but defending marriage; making
clear its fundamental and indispensable nature—the mutual
selection of congruent types, at the culmination of organic an
psychic life. We are sinking, therefore, the foundations of
And hence it is that romance and poetry are truly religious.
For religion lies in idealising and consecrating life; and love is
life, and life is love; so Robert Burns, human sinner, is also
sacred bard. The Nature-Religions, like all others, are not
dead, but are returning; and in ever purer forms. He was the
fullest incarnation of Dionysos.
But since ‘every clear idea is true,’ i.e. has its truth, why then
the social infamy of the bastard? First, because too often the
psychical element is wanting, and then there is no marriage at
all, but mere pairing of the lower animal sort; though perhaps
even this is better than the pairing of the lower plant sort
which is the ideal of the ‘mariage de convenance.’ Second,
that mating, physical and psychic, can only be full and true
when it is permanent, that is, when it goes on evolving through-
out the lives it intertwines.
Hence, even apart from the claims and bonds of offspring and of
society, the biological and psychic ideal is of permanent mono-
gamy; the ‘primitive promiscuity’ of which we used to hear so
much being but an ugly dream, a disease-utopia of city de-
generation under domestication, never a history of the past.
. . . . . . .
Yet even lovers recognise in colder moments, and dramatist
and moralist are constantly reminding them, that the com-
plete ideal has many elements, and that, alas, complete marriage
is therefore mathematically unattainable for humanity—no such
ideally complete physical, psychical, social, and ethical cul-
mination of life being even definitely imaginable. For, even
granting the possibility of occasional perfection in either sex,
we have a second improbability in the simultaneous occurrence
of the ideally harmonious, yet contrasted type of the opposite
sex, and a further improbability of their ever meeting. Hence
appears one of the ways in which the ideal of celibacy is con-
stantly re-affirming itself, and we understand better the monk
and nun, the misogynist and new woman.
This idea of celibacy needs fuller analysis. How comes it that
we humans develop it at all? It is ‘not natural’ we say,
when we remember the mighty urge of Nature. Yet it is in
Nature; witness the very bees who were our text, for we were
just now tracing the parallelism of bee-worker and woman-
worker. In the maidenly reluctance which meets the masculine
counsel, ‘Do not refuse love if it be offered’ with ‘I’ll never
marry if I can help it’—there are many elements, but notably
two. The reluctance to the loss of child-freedom, youth-free-
dom, the shrinking from the older and more passive maternal
life—is one main element. But there is also an anticipation
of the fuller maturity which lies beyond sex-love altogether,
a recognition of a possibility (be this spiritual or social as
education, religion, or temperament may determine) of a para-
dise ‘in which there is neither marrying nor giving in mar-
riage, but in which we are as the angels of God in Heaven’—or
in more modern and everyday (yet happily also not unspiritual)
phrase—a ‘Society of Friends.’
Is it not a little significant that it is the religious society of that
name who, taking them all over, seem most nearly to have
realised their heaven upon earth? For to them the secular
life of good deeds and social intercourse is most normally ac-
companied by the spiritual life. Is not this not merely in, but
also largely through, that measure of sex-equality and sex-
fellowship beyond that of other faiths and churches, so that
within any of the sisters or brethren in meeting assembled,
there may arise the Spirit and awake the beatific Vision—
In which the master of angelic powers
Lightens the dusk within.’
. . . . . . .
But life is mostly in the present and the actual, not in the ideal,
and the question of questions, in which religion alone has so
constantly failed, and which it is the task of science to help it to
answer, is—What of the actual and practical present?
Return to this, and to the women-workers of respectively pre-
dominant temporal or spiritual calling. Or if the former be
sufficiently discussed, what of the latter? What can we see or
say of spiritualising the present?
Here appear, in catholic phrase, the secular orders—nursing the
sick, helping the poor, teaching the children, and the like. And
these good works satisfy many; witness not only the professed
sisterhoods, or the incipient ones like Nurses, School-mis-
tresses, or Parish Councillors; and thus assuredly may be lived
most serviceable and happy lives.
Here, moreover, we are getting back to the fundamental domes-
tic again, albeit now with spiritual bias. But here, as lover
suggests lover of the opposite sex, so fellow suggests fellow;
sister suggests sister of the opposite sex, that is, brother. Here
was the limitation of the ancient religious orders; although, be
it noted, vigorous attempts were made in the early monas-
tic times to establish mixed convents. These, despite all
difficulties, expressed the true ideal, which is of co-operation,
not separation, of the sexes; and despite of failures and
shortcomings it has been realised in many ways. Here
of course is the great and pure, the ideal side of the Greek
Hetairae, of the ideal Abbey of Thelema; here too lies the
reasonable and legitimate side of the contentions of the freest
The element of true union of the sexes, like the element of
danger and confusion, is surely too obvious to need discussion:
and the problem of morals, as of practical life, is not to retreat
from its difficulties, but to surmount them, to bring them into a
higher equilibrium, so making in short the difficulty an oppor-
tunity of higher things.
What, then, is the normal, the vital condition of the true fellow-
ship, of the ideal sister and brotherhood? How shall we reach
this fuller perfection of the human hive? Where has it been
expressed in the world? Rarely, dimly, fantastically, if you will,
yet surely in some measure in Chivalry, which was no mere
temporal ordering of things, but in large measure also was the
provisional Religion of Western Feudalism, and which grappled
more boldly than did the too passive orientalisms to which we
have been wont to restrict the name, with the fundamental
problems of our daily life.
In its noblest examples, the combination of activity with purity
was practically reached; not evaded by help of separate cloister
walls, as in the (so far profoundly less moral, however superfici-
ally more moral) discipline of monasticism. For here lies the
vital element of chivalry, that each sex not only expresses its
own quality, its own superiority over the other, but uses this
to develop the other. The natural courage of the youth was not
only developed by the danger of the quest, but refined by its
discipline and patience. For the woman also this meant more
than affection and constancy: for she might be not his lover,
but his lady only, the serene expression of his ideals or their
arousing voice, and thus suggest, not only his general line of
action, but keep up his moral attitude in it.
We are reaching the fullest ideal of the woman-worker—she
who works not merely or mainly For men as the help and
instrument of their purpose, but who works With men as the
instrument yet material of her purpose.
Here again of course we have new possibilities of good and
evil; here are the clearest alternatives of witchcraft black and
white, of Circe or Joan of Arc.
Do not let us be idolatrous, and take these again for solitary
historic or legendary types. Look around you; are not all men
swine and heroes? Not swine nor heroes, mark you, but swine
and heroes—a good deal of both—the lower animal indeed in
these days generally, but never wholly, predominant. Witch
Joan gained her battles with the heroes she had created, and
lost them again with swine; Witch Circe, for her part, made
heroes swine, and yet they were delivered.
The rest of this essay is obviously for a woman to write. But if
she say herself and her sisters are not witches of either type, it is
obvious they must be a muddle of both types. And if so, what is
the problem of general, of popular education? To go on blink-
ing all sex-facts, all life-facts? to teach three R’s or Latin and
Calculus? to pass Standards or Tripos Examinations? or to
lead out young souls, to purify and strengthen their latent
ethical and ideal life?
But how then shall we lead out these types? How deal with
the moral mud of modern conditions—how crystallise, as
Ruskin put it, the sand and soot and slush of our factory town
into its elements—of opal, diamond, and snow?
Is chivalry over and done? Certainly not devilry at any rate.
Was Circe ever more in evidence? Were ever we poor
mariners and pilgrims more comfortable swine? We trow not.
We do not intend it, but neither did the herd of Circe; her
ideal was never definitely expressed to her men, though Joan’s
was. The utilitarian world thinks just now it is impartial, it
has got beyond expressing any ideals; that is, it is fully, if
tacitly, accepting the negative ones.
Is it possible or not possible then to restore moral ideals?—that
is again to produce men and women of the highest type? And
this for practical purposes in our everyday modem world?
Higher Education, the thing itself, instead of the word? Obvi-
ously, yes. Your cynic who denies this is but an ignoramus,
comprehensively ignorant of the nature of chivalry, of its civil
history, its natural history alike, blind to the vital essence
which lies under its quaint and outworn forms.
Every age of chivalry follows a period of decadence, of moral
decline, and is the protest of the new order—is the expression
of the new young life, breaking into the very citadel of evil,
slaying its mightiest giants, its most infernal dragons.
The giant-killer, the dragon-slayer, is the son of a god very
often—very often too the son of nobody in particular; which, as
already noted, may amount to the same thing. He is Jack,
Tom Thumb, Dummling, Gareth the scullion-knave, and so
on. And the heroine, who is she? Very possibly the giant’s
own daughter, the heiress of the rascally or the sleeping king
of the story; the Cinderella of the household, the beggar-maid
of Cophetua; rarely has she the good pure pedigree of the
peasant maid of Domrémy.
This, of course, should lead into an examination of the biologi-
cal realities of pedigree, which like everything else has to be
looked at along the lines of organic reality, and shows us pure
blood and cur blood in palace and hovel alike. Yet after
all, this matters little. Where there is human life, however
fallen, there is hope. Are men curs and swine as some tell us?
Shall we believe these decadent novelists, bemired half way
between old ideals and new? It matters not; no brute wholly
lacks courage, still less natural affection; and the possibilities
of redemption, as the theologian at his best has always told us,
are thus inextinguishable with life. The stuff of moral evolu-
tion is ever with us; this generation need not go to Hades; our
children at least may make for Heaven.
Take another elemental illustration from the world of simpler
life; consider what feeble propriety calls ‘the pig,’ so only seeing
‘it’ as ‘dirty,’ as ‘shocking,’ as a contrast to its anti-macassar
lilies. But in the stronger language of hunt or farm, of heraldry
or science, this is either boar or sow—elemental male, elemental
female, beyond all other familiar creatures. For one, the swift
and sharp-tusked, recks not how many foes he fight, turns upon
death amid a sheaf of spears; the other, many-breasted as
Nature, many-childed as Charity, patiently yields the little ones
Yet these creatures are not human, as our beast and bird friends
are. Their courage is but brute courage, however better than
none; their affection but brute affection. Why? Because the
one is but blind Berserk rage, fighting for fighting’s sake; the
other mere instinct. It is as the male considers mate and
by and by little ones, as he builds and feeds and watches the
home that his brute courage refines. The wild boar is but of
barbarian battle; finer fighters have been the Eagle of Rome,
the Cock of Gaul.
This might be followed far; alike in natural and in civil history.
But pass rather to psychology proper. The old school has
talked its fill of Pleasure and Pain, but a new evolutionary
school has left these vague generalisings, and begins anew
with the elemental emotion; that is, it tells us, Fear. But we
again are wont to work at another problem—that of the
organic Evolution of Sex. Supreme over the individual life to
which the pre-evolutionary school and the earlier evolutionary
ones alike too much confine themselves, is the sexual life; but
this has its correspondingly supreme sexual emotion—which is
other-regarding; that is, the stuff of Affection. Coming now to
the self-regarding emotion of Fear, the rebound is Courage.
So we would substitute for the outworn psychology of pleasure
and pain something which is more akin to current phases of
science; which, therefore, does not shrink from the crimino-
logist’s observant psychology of fear, from the modern novelist’s
or alienist’s observant analyses of moral corruption; yet which
does not stop there; but goes on to enunciate higher problems
and better ideals, that is, more scientific and more practical
ones. We seek then not only Science but Art, not only an
‘experimental psychology’ but an Evolutionist Education, in
which the elemental lust of the flesh is disciplined into Love,
and in which the perfect Love casteth out Fear.
Set then before man-child and maid-child, before lad and lass,
man and woman, the elemental ideals of the sexes, of Courage
and Affection; that is, let them, get them, set them to set these
respective ideals before each other. And so animal masculine
courage combines with affection to rise into Chivalry, mag-
nanimous to others; the instinctive feminine affection rises
through gain of courage into Purity, reverential of self.
How work this out in detail? It is incipient wherever children
meet at play. Here and there a woman is sometimes facing it in
her kindergarten; a schoolmaster in his athletic field, in his Boys’
Brigade: but the elaboration, the development, the organisation
of all this is the highest task of Educators, that is, of Women
strengthened and trained by Men whom they have trained
and strengthened. And here we are reaching the secret of the
remoralisation of the sexes, of their highest individual possi-
bilities, and this for and by lovers and celibates alike. Enough
however if for the present we keep to the children. The boy’s
sword, the girl’s doll; here Nature gives the starting-points of
the Educator. Encourage, boldly develop, the game of war,
let gun and trumpet have their little day, better now in nursery
than later on Kaiser’s throne. Drill and march, shamfight and
snowfight; for it means discipline and valour; it means geo-
graphy too; in which is all the stuff of science; it means history,
in which is the stuff of literature. It means making not Latin
grammarians only, mimics of the Latin pedants and versifiers
of the Decline, but Roman boys; who sit down to read their
Cæsar together with some meaning, in the ancient hill-fort they
have themselves held as Britons, or stormed as conquerors;
and whose next game may be to build a Roman wall or fill a
moat. So onward through History, dramatised wherever pos-
sible; thus even come fortification and engineering; with
practical energy and skill of peaceful handicraft—a preparation
more vivid than that of our present Sloyd and polytechnics for
the industrial world. Give them too with all this, story and
song and ballad, give them individual banner and national flag,
for here is the simplest concrete symbol of an ideal. These
things done young enough, from war-game to peace-game the
transition will be easy.
But the girls meanwhile? Where are they? Enjoying the fun,
of course, first of all; it is no new physiology that laughter is
trophic. How their presence intensifies the fighting, here
rewards the victor, consoles the vanquished, is surely an old
story; surely, too, how they teach fairplay and in turn learn it,
as they learn courage also. Just as civilisation grows richer
and softer, there is increasing need of a hardy upbringing for
girl as well as boy. These elemental matters seen to, we are
in a position safely to develop the domestic education and the
culture education in which, on the whole, girls have such tradi-
tional advantages over boys, and to develop the kindergarten,
which already is mainly feminine in type.
Of higher stages of this mutual education there is no space to
speak; but shall we set down the elements of all this, for those
that love order and rules, that educate by Code? Starting then
(1) with the moral ideals of Courage and Kindness, we would
(2) discipline this in a corresponding practical life-drama; we
would supply the corresponding intellectual instruction as need
and opportunity arise: (3) all this, as far as reasonably possible
(and that is far), being carried on for and by both sexes. In
short, carefully reverse your present Codes; defy them that
separate the children, that set but intellectual tasks, irrelevant
to their real life and interests, which are of Play: that either
starve practical activities or teach too tame and mechanical
skills; that leave the untrained moral life, the inevitable sexual
interest to their fate amid evil chances.
All the land in these days is full of talk of a new Machinery of
Education; but few care for the realities of it, few indeed know
that there are any. Yet here is a field of inquiry yet imagina-
tion, of romance yet history, a field not indeed primarily of
legislation, but of everyday practical experiment in which
each of us may help; and that in hope. ‘For when a faithful
thinker, resolute to see every object in the light of thought,
shall kindle science with the fire of the holiest affections,
then will God go forth anew into Creation.’
The Authors of
‘THE EVOLUTION OF SEX.’
LA LUNE D’ÉTÉ
BY ANDREW KAY WOMRATH
WHO would not love,
Were Love the simple boy,
Wing’d like the harmless dove,
The child of Mirth and Joy?
Who but would love?
Not I, dear maids, not I!
Wing’d like the harmless dove.
Love yet has wings to fly!
Who would not dream—ah, who,
Were waking free from pain?
Who would not dream ? but few
Who wake may dream again!
And oh, sweet friend!
I tremble even in sleep,
To dream that dreams may end,
And dreamers wake to weep!
‘Le paradis ne se gagne qu’aux pieds des saints de son pays.’
PEACE reigned in the forest of Rumengol. Thither
it was that Gralon, King of Ys, had fled, with the
words of Primel, the anchorite, in his ears:—’My
son, when thy heart is heavy with secret sorrow,
take refuge in the eternal solitudes. The forests
are tender to suffering man. God has made those
sacred aisles the sanctuaries of peace: therein the harmony of
the world is revealed.’
When the King of Cornouailles reached the spot where the
Druids worshipped, the place of the menhir, the stone of
healing, a vision of the Virgin came upon him:—’Mother of
Sorrows,’ said Gralon, ‘if the good God grant me length of
days, here on this spot will I build Thee a temple which shall
stand for all time: its columns shall be numberless as the trees
of the forest, and the eternal silence of the woods shall reign
there.’ But the King of Cornouailles had not the years for
the fulfilling of that vow. Even as he spoke, the green moss
was rest to him, and the gold-brown leaves that fell gently
were stirred by the soft wings of death.
The Virgin greeted the weary old man as he crossed the
threshold of paradise. Smiling graciously, she gave him
¹’Telen Rumengol’ means literally ‘The Harp of Rumengol,’ and by extension the
‘Pardon des Chanteurs.’ This sketch of a Summer Pardon is adapted from a recent
book on the Country of the Pardons, by the distinguished Breton writer, N. Aoatole
thanks for the beautiful sanctuary which he had dedicated to
her in the forest of Rumengol.
‘If thou desirest aught of me,’ said the Mother of God, ‘joyfully
will I hearken unto thee.’
‘Alas!’ replied the old king, ‘my daughter Ahès dwells beneath
the black waters which robbed me of my royal city of Ys; her
soft voice calls men to their undoing; on moon-clear nights
her fair form is seen on the crest of the waves.’
The Virgin bowed her head.
‘Canst thou, O Holy Mary, still that voice which lures men to
their doom, and brings down on Ahès, my beloved, the curses
of the people?’
‘That lies not within my power, O Gralon. So it is ordained.
But hearken unto me. A race of singers shall arise, whose
songs shall be sweet as the songs of the siren. In rhythmic
words shall their thoughts be clothed. They shall soothe the
sorrows which Ahès has caused; they shall give peace to the
souls whom she has filled with dread. Each year, at the
return of the month of May, which is my month, they shall
flock to my Pardon at Rumengol. There, as from an inex-
haustible spring, shall flow the inspiration of all the sweet
songs and airs, the gwerz and sônes, of the land of Arvor.
From Rumengol my minstrels shall wander far and wide, and
sing the strength of the men of Armorica, the beauty of her
daughters, the heroic deeds of the fathers of the race, and thy
renown, O Gralon! Field and plain, threshing-floor and village-
green, shall re-echo their songs; and as they draw near, men
shall say: “Behold the nightingales of the Virgin!”‘
It is midway in the month of the hay-harvest Pilgrims from all
quarters repair to the Pardon of Rumengol: natives of Vannes,
‘Gwénédours,’ with smooth hair and sharply outlined features;
broad-shouldered men of Scaer, with velvet-trimmed jackets;
lads of Elliant in stiff collars, saint sacrements embroidered on
the back of their coats. Women are there too: mothers
bearing the marks of age—the skin wrinkled, the figure
broadened by field-labour and incessant child-bearing; bright,
young girls, too, simple country flowers, the wings of their pure
white coiffes outspreading like the petals of the wood-anemone.
It is no great distance from Quimerc’h to Rumengol. From
the ascending road are seen the green, undulating meadows
of Comouailles reflected here and there in the winding river;
and, beyond, the blue rampart of distant hills, their jagged
peaks touched by the golden light of the setting sun. The sky
is cloudless; the wind soft as the living breath of the sea.
The summit gained, the gaze travels from that eyrie like a
bird. Beneath, the gabled roofs, dotted here and there by
woodland and meadow, recall the middle ages. To the left,
grey, vanishing forms, the crests of Menez-Hom; and
beyond these again, vague, distant shadows, motionless
clouds they seem—the triple-peaked promontory of Crozon,
that ‘three-fingered hand’ which stretches towards the
heart of the Atlantic. To the right, the roadstead of Brest,
called by the Bretons la mer close, an arm of the sea sur-
rounded by fields and woods, expands its smooth, clear surface,
whereon still fluctuates the rose and gold of a sun setting ocean-
ward. Across a valley, full of green shade, the brown, sloping
heathland of Hanvec withholds the last sun-glow; and there,
invested with quiet light, clings, as a swallow to the eave, the
little Mecca of Armorica, the holy oasis of Rumengol.
Slowly moving thitherward, a young shepherd-conscript
tenderly and rhythmically chants the popular air of ‘Our Lady
Lili, arc’hantet ho dêlliou.
War vord an dour ‘zo er prajou;
Douè d’ezho roas dillad
A skuill er meziou peb c’houèz vad. . . .
Down where the salt sea-meadows are,
Each lily gleams a silvern star:
‘Tis God that clothed them so; each yields
Its soul in fragrance o’er the fields. . . .
Other pilgrims catch up the strain, and the wandering air
re-echoes from the opposite hill-side.
The road, descending, winds between two woods; above it, the
meeting branches form a green trellis-work. From the fosses
on either side this woodland way comes the faint sucking
sound of thirsty water-plants. Not a breath of wind is astir:
each leaf sleeps, or rather hushfully suspends, for everywhere
is that sense of the approach of night which pervades a dusking
Abruptly the road lifts itself out of the greenness; and, as the
woods fall away on either side, the horizon is again visible.
The path now leads through fresh-smelling ferns and fragrant,
blossoming gorse. Behind, the shadows of evening deepen;
though, on the hill-slope opposite, still lingers a mysterious
light, infinitely delicate in tone, thrown up, it may be, from the
distant surface of the sea. In this strange aureole the fiame-
like spire of Rumengol stands out distinct: the surrounding
country seems to bow before it in silent adoration. All things
breathe of prayer, and a scarce audible murmur rises from field
and plain and meadow, a murmur recalling the spirit of dimly-
Again the words of the local hymn burst from the lips of the
Lili, arc’hantet ho dêlliou. . . .
From a field hard by comes an answering song, shouted by a
band of excited blue-jackets on their way to the Pardon. Arm
in arm they dance and sing:—
Entre Brest et Lorient
Entre Brest et Lorient
The freedom of the song in no way shocks the young shepherd-
conscript. ‘Ah,’ says he to a stranger pilgrim, ‘these poor
lads sing what they know. Does it matter what they sing, if
only they do sing? The good Virgin of Rumengol is not so
particular. She hears the sound of their voices; that is enough.
That they should hasten from Landevennec or from Recouvrance
to worship her in her own sanctuary proves that they remember
her, these brave lads of the fleet; and she is glad to see them
again, ay, truly glad to see them happy and well. For the rest,
she does not trouble. She is a true mother, our Virgin of
Rumengol. You will see her soon, in her robe of gold, her face
shining with welcome. A smile is always on her lips—it is for
joy to her to see the worshippers light-hearted. She loves one and
all to come to her singing some couplet, no matter what the
words or the air. Thus is it that her Pardon is well called
Le Pardon des Chanteurs.’
With these words the young bragou-ru joins the sailors, and
his strong, rich voice soon dominates all others. Again and
again the refrain rings through the air, poignant and clear as
the song of the rising lark; and even when the words are lost,
the sound of the floating music adds to the strange glamour of
that summer evening.
Rough tents become more frequent; on the further side
of the stream they form a street. A tallow candle stuck
into a bottle casts a dim flicker over groups of people who
talk noisily and embrace across narrow wooden tables. The
crowd on the road grows denser. Here and there a gap is
made by some beggar sitting cross-legged on the road, who,
as he entreats for alms, rattles a string of amulets which
hang round his neck; the passers-by, throwing a coin to him,
draw aside with superstitious respect.
The single street of Rumengol, flanked on the left by about a
dozen houses, on the right by the low wall of the cemetery, is
lined with stalls. Groups of peasant women gaze in wonder
at the medals, rings, trinkets, and charms which sparkle in
the flaring light of lamp or torch, or they flnger enviously the
suspended chaplets and bright-coloured scapularies which
swing to and fro in the breeze. The men surround the stall
where the game of mil ha kaz—a kind of primitive roulette,
very popular among the Bretons, proceeds noisily, or exercise
their skill in shooting at the Turk’s Head. To gain a passage
through these crowds is by no means easy, for a Breton during
his leisure hours is immovable as a rock. Only by free use of
the elbows may one at last reach the inn.
The little hostelry stands at the end of the street, a stone’s-
throw from the church; the warm glow from its narrow
mullioned windows has a look of welcome. A deep crimson
light fills the lower room; in the vast open hearth expands
a mass of red flame, and above swing the simmering black
pots. Fifty people or more, some squatted on the ground,
their plate between their knees, crowd together in this heated
atmosphere, and thankfully eat their supper.
. . . . . . . . . .
It is a strange scene, now, towards ten o’clock, the scene in
this votive church. Behind a pillar stands the Madonna of
Rumengol, her face lit up by the taper offerings of the people.
These tapers fill the church with a mysterious gleam; a
hallowed light that rests like a benediction on the snow-white
coiffes of the worshippers, and on the worn faces—a soft, won-
derful glow, bom not only of the litten tapers and the candle-
offerings in dim recesses, but out of humble minds and tender
hearts filled with the beauty of prayer. Kneeling in a circle
before the steps of a side-altar a group of women recite an
Ave, and the whole church responds. The ceaseless rise and
fall of their voices is as a fitful wind passing through a forest of
leaves. Until morning the watch will continue, and as a dream
from a thousand weary lips this prayer will issue.
Outside the building another chant is heard, a slow chant in a
minor key, one of those characteristic Breton strains in which
the same phrase recurs again and again, now muffled as a sob,
now penetrating as the howl of a wounded dog. Thus begins
another watch, the vigil of the singers in God’s acre.
. . . . . . . . . .
It is about three o’clock. Already, eastwards, a roseate light
suffuses the frontiers of the morning. A tremor is in the air;
it forebodes the incomparable awakening of the sea on a Breton
summer day. Here amid these wide, peaceful expanses of the
extreme West, where man is still in harmony with Nature, the
dawn has lost nothing of its pristine solemnity or grandeur.
Rounding the isle of Tibidi, the Rock of Prayer, a sail comes
into view, and others follow, notes of brown here and there in
the uniform grey of the horizon. It is the procession of boats
from Ouessant entering the ‘river.’ It may be that these
heavy fishing smacks, built for daily struggle with wind and
tide, have some secret sense of the solemn part which they now
play. In single file they advance slowly up the inland sea, furl
their sails, and disembark their passengers: all is done noise-
lessly, well-nigh without gesture. Some women fall on their
knees and kiss the ground where begins the blessed zone of
Notre Dame of Rumengol. Then in small groups they make
their way towards the ‘House of the Saint.’ All go barefoot;
each carries a taper.
They are tall, these women, for the most part, with somewhat
masculine, regular features, their faces fresh and rosy with the
salt breath of the sea. Their beautiful eyes, with the sea-
shadow in them, are limpid as the pools that sleep over green-
brown wrack in the rock-hollows; pathetic, too, they are, in
their depths lie the memory of past griefs, the presentiment of
sorrows to come. No woman of Ouessant is there who from
birth till death is not a living prey to the terrors of the sea
which robs her of father, lover, husband, sons. And this is why
from the cradle to the tomb they are clad in black. The dress
is black, the apron black; black, too, the coiffe, save for the
severe folds of white across the forehead.
The men, fine muscular fellows, in grey or blue woollen jerseys,
with huge fists, and placid features, follow the women. These
pilgrims from the parched isle of Ouessant know not the warm
breath of the country and the fragrance of the fresh-mown hay,
yet they move on, absorbed in their devotions, their eyes fixed on
a belated star which hangs low in the sky immediately above the
village spire. It is as a celestial sign to the islanders. Gazing at
the pale beam, they raise as with one voice a hymn to the
Virgin, the Breton version of the Ave Maria Stella:—
‘Ni ho salud, stéréden vor!’
It is a motley throng which crowds the graveyard of Rumengol
after the Mass of Dawn. Every type of the Armorican is here:
the stolid, taciturn Léonard, bom to be trader or priest; the
Trégorrois, frank yet sharp of tongue, with deep, expressive
eyes; well-built men of Pont l’Abbé, quaint pictures in their
embroidered vests and ample velvet trousers. It is a world of
reliefs and contrasts, but all are as one in the deep fellowship
of an ancient faith, of an ancient race.
The sun in now high above the horizon. Already from the
direction of Le Faou, Landemeau, Chdteaulin, creaking
omnibuses and brakes filled with bourgeois families
hasten to Rumengol as to a pleasure fair. The
Midnight Vigil, the Mass of Dawn, are over: the
Pardon des Chanteurs is at an end.
EDITH WINGATE RINDER.
THE WAY TO RHEIMS
BY JOHN DUNCAN
(Franco-Scottish Society—Sorbonne, 18th April 1896)
SAVE for the night-wind crisp and cool,
That vaguely thrills a sullen wave,
The calm that broods above this pool
Is deeper than the grave.
Lizard, nor vole with velvet fur,
Steals trembling near the water’s edge;
There is no pulse of life astir
In reed and rush and sedge.
Darkness and slumbrous silence lie
Where noonday heard the warbler sing,
And watched the unresting dragon-fly
Flitter on filmy wing.
One sole rift in the cloudy cope
Is dimly lit by one lone star;
The haggard trees that fringe the slope
Like spectral shadows are.
How sweet to die, if this were death!
Not swathed in cerements of the tomb,
But quivering still with blood and breath
In Nature’s kindly womb.
For if this conscious soul, dispersed,
Sleep in cold clay or senseless clod,
Shall I be glad when blossoms burst
Beneath the smile of God?
Shall I delight in yellowing grain,
In leaf unfurled or crinkled germ,
When through this subtle-chambered brain
Travails the winding worm?
What though the all-kindling sun behold
New races run their measured span,
And light through centuries untold
The myriad march of man;
Though lovers walk beneath the moon,
That slowly fills her silvery urn
From pure twin-cusp to plenilune;
Though stars and tides return;
Though Summer crown the crest of Spring
With blood-red rose for primrose pale,
If sun and moon and seasons bring
To me no boon or bale?
But if my death-change bring to birth
Some soul of sense that will not die,
Fain would I linger on the earth
Wherein these ashes lie.
I long for no divine abode,
No golden harp, no white array,
Nor glimpses of the light that glowed
On Israel’s trackless way.
Earth’s song is more to my desire
Than echoes of the heavenly hymn,
And dearer is the woodland quire
Than hosts of seraphim.
O mother I if my love aright
Hath given thee all that love could give,
Quench not its frail and flickering light,
But bid my spirit live,
To mingle with the mountain-stream
That down the long strath serpentines,
Or melt in a melodious dream
Amid the murmuring pines;
Thence, wafted by the wandering breeze,
To wanton over heath and holm,
And float on wildered waste of seas
In plumes of feathery foam;
Or, if against thee I have sinned,
Oh let me haunt this ghostly pool,
Where on my brows the twilight wind
Even now breathes crisp and cool!
W. J. ROBERTSON.
A SUMMER AIR
O WAVING trees
And waving wind
And waving seas
And waving mind—
Where, far and wide,
Am I to roam
To find my bride,
To reach my home?
My soul is my Bride:
Ah, whither fled?
She hath not died,
Nor am I dead:
But somehow, somewhere,
A song she heard.
And she flashed thro’ the air
A sunfire bird.
My bride, she is
Where the rainbows are;
Sweet, sweet her kiss
My goal is where
The sea-waves meet
The Sands of Youth
Stirred by her feet.
O waving leaves,
O waving grass,
My heart grieves
That it may not pass.
‘Summer is fleet,
Summer is long,’—
I know not, Sweet,
‘Tis an empty Song.
Where, far and wide,
Across what foam,
On what strange tide,
Shall I be come?
Meet me, O Bride,
Where, lost, I roam:
Leap to my side
And lead me home!
BY ROBERT BURNS
IL n’y a pas à méconnaître les symptómes de division qui
subsistent actuellement dans le monde. Le militarisme,
d’une part, et la question sociale de I’autre, ne suffisent
que trop à convaincre d’optimisme naïf ceux qui pro-
clament l’avènement prochain de la paix universelle et
le règne tranquille de la fraternité. Si la lutte et la
concurrence ne sont peut-être pas autant qu’on le croit des
maux nécessaires, ils sont de ceux, en tout cas, dont rien ne
fait encore pédvoir la disparition, et il faudrait de la crédulité
pour reprendre aujourd’hui le rêve antique des millénaires qui
promettaient mille ans de félicité terrestre avant le jugement
S’ensuit-il toutefois que, dans cet ordre d’idées, aucun progrès
ne soit réalisable, et que pas une ne disparaîtra des innom-
brables barrières élevées entre nous jadis par les conflits
d’intérêts et par les malentendus, par I’ambition, I’ignorance, la
haine et toutes les sortes de préjugés?
Loin de nous cette appréhension! Outre qu’elle est de nature à
étouffer les plus généreux efforts, elle se trouve en contra-
diction avec la réalité des faits, avec le mouvement qui s’agite
depuis longtemps déjà dans les profondeurs de I’esprit humain
et qui commence aujourd’hui de se manifester jusqu’a la sur-
face par des phénomènes tout à fait nouveaux et incontestables.
Deux grandes forces jusqu’ici ont conduit les hommes: l’une
aussi ancienne que le monde et d’une origine divine, la religion;
l’autre, plus récente et plus humaine, quoique à peine moins
puissante et moins respectée, le patriotisme. Forces de
cohésion et d’unité par leur nature même, si on les avait
toujours bien comprises, n’est-il pas vrai qu’en pratique
l’homme les a souvent détournées de leur but et en a fait
l’occasion ordinaire de ses pires querelles, quand ce n’a pas été
de ses conflits les plus sanglants? Si cela allait changer,
pourtant? Si la patrie et la religion (qu’il faut se garder, au
reste, de rapprocher jusqu’à les confondre comme quelques-
uns le tentent imprudemment) si la patrie et la religion
cessaient un jour d’exciter les dissentiments, les contradictions,
les disputes, les guerres? Oui! si les religions et les patries
tendaient enfin à se tolérer, à se rencontrer, à s’expliquer,
j’allais dire à s’unifier?
Que nous soyons trés-loin de cet idéal, j’en convienssans peine;
mais qu’on en voie à l’horizon poindre déjà quelques lueurs
naissantes, je crois difficile de le méconnaître. Sans doute, le
jour qui s’annonce là-bas, je crains qu’au lieu de rayonner sur
le monde splendidement, il ne soit en grande partie intercepté
par nos erreurs et par nos vices comme le soleil peut l’être par les
nuages; mais une chose, du moins, ne parait plus possible:
c’est qu’on rentre jamais complètement dans la nuit ancienne.
Chez un grand nombre d’esprits et pour les causes les plus
opposées, l’idée de patrie cesse de se confondre avec i’idée de
frontière. On commence à comprendre qu’une race pent se
développer et jouer son rôle sans se battre nécessairement
avec les races voisines, môme sans les détester. Comme on
pent être Parisien et garder des relations excellentes avec un
Breton, un Lillois, un Provencal, un Basque; comme on pent
être d’York et avoir des amis ô Lancaster: il devient édent
aussi que le Frangais n’est point par essence et par ordre
providentiel rennemi naturel de l’Anglais, du Russe, de
l’Allemand, du Beige, de l’Iltalien ou de l’Espagnol. L’idée
de patrie rattache et fortifie par cela même les énergies
spéciales qui sont le lot des divers groupes d’hommes: par
exemple, la clarté d’esprit et la générosité de sentiments se
développent mieux qu’ailleurs dans le groupe frangais, et elles
perdraient de leur force s’il venait brusquement à le dissoudre;
il faut en dire autant de la profondeur allemande, de l’initiative
anglaise, de l’énergie scandinave. Évidemment, ce n’est pas là
ce qui doit disparaître. Mais l’idée de patrie, si elle possède
le grand avantage de perfectionner les groupes en eux-mêmes,
possède aussi, c’est incontestable, le grand inconvénient de
nuire aux relations naturelles de ces groupes entre eux; elle
fait du bien à une nation, elle fait du mal aux autres. Et c’est
cela, qu’on nous entende bien, cela précisément qui ne doit pas
durer; c’est cela que d’heureux symptômes nous font espérer
de voir finir.
Illusion et rêve? Non pas, si c’est I’effet déjà manifeste et la
conséquence nécessaire d’une cause naturelle, d’une cause que
rien n’arrêtera plus et qui toujours ira se fortifiant. Elle est
simple, cette cause, tellement simple que tout le monde la con-
naît, et que j’ai presque honte de la redire. Eh bien, oui, c’est
le developpement rapide, l’élargissement indéfini, i’incessante
multiplication des relations entre les peuples. Ce n’est que
cela, mais c’est tout cela. En dépit de ces obstacles qu’on
appelle douanes, frontièeres, armées nombreuses, les rapports
deviennent chaque jour plus fréquents et plus etroits; on passe à
côté, on passe par-dessus, pour faire du commerce, de la science,
de l’amitié. Il arrive que, durant un simple voyage, on oublie
toutes les lemons apprises et qu’on se laisse naïvement aller au
plaisir de voir et d’aimer des gens qui nous ressemblent et, quand
on est rentre chez soi, on s’étonne de se trouver autre, on com-
mence de s’habituer à l’élargissement de son âme. Déjà nul
ne s’étonne plus d’apprendre que des congrès de toute sorte
réunissent, tantôt dans une capitale, tantôt dans une autre,
les élites de chaque nation, et que ces élites s’accordent par-
faitement, qu’elles s’estiment, qu’elles s’entr’aident d’une façon
désintéressée, qu’elles créent, dans ces réunions de quelques
jours, des associations qui se perpétuent et qui établissent sur
tous les sommets de la pensée humaine le plus parfait cosmo-
politisme; cependant qu’en bas, pour des raisons moins
spéulatives peut-être, mais avec des aspirations où il n’y a
pas que de la chimère, on voit des travailleurs de tous pays
essayer de s’entendre et de se soutenir pour amdliorer leur sort,
pour protester, à l’occasion, contre les guerres et les armements.
Assemblies de savants et fédérations d’ouvriers, quand vous
les nommez tranquillement internationales, vous rendez-vous
compte de ce que cela veut dire? Et si les frontières vont en
s’effaçnt pour les savants, les gens d’affaires, les ouvriers,
autant dire toute la masse humaine; et si cette masse humaine
devient de plus en plus maîtresse de ses destinées, en sorte que
l’époque arrive où les guerres, les traités, les armements ne
dépendront plus du caprice des rois ou des diplomates, mais
du libre consentement de tous: vraiment n’a-t-on pas le droit de
croire qu’entre nations les rapports deviennent à la fois plus
nombreux et plus amicaux, moins défiants et moins agressifs?
On voudra bien reconnaître que nous n’annonçons pas la
disparition prochaine de l’idée de patrie. C’en est seulement
la transformation qui nous semble se préparer, et que, trés
franchement, nous batons de nos désirs. Ou plutôt, c’en est,
à dire vrai, l’épuration et le perfectionnement
Ou cette idée ne gardera et ne développera que son contenu
positif d’union fortifiante entre les hommes d’un m^me groupe,
et alors elle deviendra, comme nous I’espérons, une des plus
grandes causes de progrès; ou bien elle conservera ce que
nous avons mis en elle d’exdusif, de haineux et d’étroit, et alors
elle soulèvera tant de protestations dans les ames les plus
généreuses, que beaucoup en viendront à la méonnaître, à la
confondre avec ses abus, peut-être à la combattre et à la dé-
truire. Il ne faut pas faire servir les frontières nationales à la
justification de toutes les sottises et de tous les crimes, si l’on
ne veut pas qu’un jour la conscience humaine ne répète le cri
terrible de Sénèque: ‘sont-elles assez ridicules, ces limites
marquées par les hommes!’
‘Comiptio optimi pessima’: la religion, valant encore mieux que
la patrie, a donné lieu à des abus plus détestables. Il n’y a pas
plus de trois cents ans que toute l’Europe était, à cause d’elle,
couverte de sang et de ruines. Aujourd’hui encore, c’est la
haine anti-religieuse qui attarde la démocratie française en des
chicanes et des vexations misérables; c’est l’étroitesse religieuse
qui fait massacrer les Chrétiens en Chine, spolier et exiler, en
Russie, tout ce qui déplaît au procureur du Saint-Synode. Mais,
si l’on ajoute à ces trois pays quelques cantons intolérants de
la Suisse, certaines sectes musulmanes et peut-être trois ou
quatre tribus de sauvages, est-ce qu’on n’aura pas à peu
près fait le tour de ce qui subsiste aujourd’hui de fanatisme
Il n’y a que trois ans, des représentants de toutes les religions
se réunissaient à Chicago pour exprimer chacun leur credo sur
Dieu, sur l’âme, sur le devoir moral. Et il s’y est produit cette
étonnante manifestation de tendance unitaire, que toutes les
religions non-chrétiennes ont tenu à faire valoir ce qu’elles ont
de commun avec nous, tandis que, d’autre part, les confessions
non catholiques, pleines de déférence pour la vieille Église mère,
la priaient de considérer tout ce que, depuis la triste séparation,
elles ont gardé des lois et des croyances familiales. On y
apprenait (faut-il done I’avoir si longtemps ignoré?) que les
protestants ont conservé comme nous le symbole des Apôtres,
le symbole de Nicée et le symbole de Saint Athanase; on y
apprenait, que, grâce à la Révélation première et au bon sens
humain, tous les peuples de l’univers ont gardé à travers la
série des siècles, sauf d’infimes exceptions et malgré beaucoup
d’erreurs adventices, le culte du vrai Dieu. Les Puritains
avaient pris l’initiative du Congrè; il s’y trouvait de nombreux
Boudhistes; un cardinal y pronongait le discours d’ouverture,
et tous ensemble récitaient le ‘Pater Noster.’
Pour s’être passés en Amérique (ô la redoutable objection!) de
tels évèements n’en sont pas moins glorieux pour le siècle qui
sait les produire, ni moins féconds en grandes promesses pour
le temps futur. Beaucoup de catholiques fixent leurs yeux sur
ce mouvement comme sur la plus magnifique des promesses
et des espérances. Ils rêevent déjè de I’époque où toutes les
nations chrétiennes seront revenues à l’unité et ou l’évangile,
cessant d’être tiré en sens divers par des sectes contradictoires,
donnera enfin dans toute leur richesse ses fruits d’émancipation
et de fraternité
Jusque dans le Boudhisme et les autres religions mêlées de
plus ou moins d’erreurs, on commence d’apercevoir le noyau
central de vérité sans lequel elles n’eussent pu se maintenir, et
qui ne cesse en quelque sorte de se solidifier en elles tandis que
s’éliminent à la longue leurs éléments impurs.
L’idolâtrie brutale, dans les temps antiques, recula peu à peu
devant le polythéisme, et le polythéisme, à son tour, devant la
croyance en un Dieu suprême et unique. La mème marche
ascendante se poursuit depuis l’Évangile chez les peuples qui
ne l’ont pas encore reçu. Les cultes féroces disparaissent du
monde avec les demiers Dahomeys, le polythéisme n’existe
presque plus; en morale partout les mœurs vont s’adoucissant,
et la famille monogame étend chaque jour son empire civilisa-
teur. Toutes les religions s’approchent du christianisme, même
lorsqu’elles en ignorent l’existence. Est-ce I’effet d’une grâce
myrstérieuse? est-ce progrès de la recherche rationelle? est-ce
une latente compénétration des vérités répandues ailleurs? A
parler plus exactement, ce sont, dans une proportion indéfinis-
sable, toutes ces causes réunies qui poussent l’humanité vers
les régions de la lumière, avec une lenteur majestueuse, mais
avec une étonnante sûreté. L’heure s’annonce manifestement,
où toutes les religions imparfaites viendront se perdre dans
I’unique religion parfaite, tandis que, paralllement, toutes les
formes de l’incroyance iront, elles aussi, en se confondant
dans l’agnosticisme, dans un agnosticisme qui sentira son
impuissance devant les hauts problèmes d’origine et de destinée,
qui par cela même respectera la foi des voisins et se fera tolérer
en tolérant les autres.
Inutile d’insister sur des conclusions qui se dégagent d’elles-
mêmes. Si la religion et la patrie, ces deux puissances,
tendent à éliminer ce que la sottise humaine a glissé en elles
d’exdusif, de violent, de haineux, pour ne conserver plus que
ce que Dieu y a voulu mettre de force unifiante et élevante, ou
bien, en deux mots, si les patries peuvent cesser de se nuire et
si les religions imparfaites peuvent s’absorber dans la religion
vraie,—n’y a-t-il pas quelque raison de croire que la race
humaine marche vers I’union? Et si, enfin, prendre con-
science de ce progrès en montrer les sympt ômes,
en faire désirer l’avènement, cela pent aider é le
promouvoir, pourquoi ne I’oserait-on pas ?
ABBÉ FÉLIX KLEIN.
UN SOIR DE JUIN
BY ANDREW KAY WOMRATH
TO ROBERT BURNS—(1759-1796)
WHILE Southern lands are trembling in the
Of Earthquake that, with subterraneous
Of hollow thunders, humbles to the
Church, Forum, and Palace,—’neath its frozen snows,
In Arctic isle, a fierce volcano glows
Fretting for ever ‘gainst its iron bound,
Leaps suddenly aloft and flares around,
Flushing a pallid land to fiery rose.
So ‘neath our norland natures—stern and strong—
Sleep seething passions, molten ores of Love—
The themes that fire, the burning thoughts that move,
The Patriot flame, the fiery hate of Wrong;
All these, that pedant Custom would reprove,
Thy fiery soul outflings in rosy flames of Song.
H. BELLYSE BAILDON.
THE KINGDOM OF THE EARTH¹
LONG, long ago a Gypsy king, old and blind, but
dowered with ancestral wisdom beyond all men that
have lived, heard that the Son of God was bom among
men. He rose from his place, and on the eve
of the third day, he came to where Jesus sat
among the gifts brought by the wise men of the
East. The little Lad sat in Mary’s lap beneath a tree filled
with quiet light; and while the folk of Bethlehem came and
went He was only a Child as other children are. But when
the Gypsy king drew near, the Child’s eyes deepened with
‘What is it, my little Son?’ said Mary the Virgin.
‘Sure, mother dear,’ said Jesus, who had never yet spoken
word, ‘is it Deep Knowledge that is coming to me?’
‘And what will that be, O my Wonder and Glory?’
‘That which will come in at the door before you speak to me
Even as the Child spoke, an old blind man entered, and bowed
‘Come near, O tired old man,’ said Mary that had borne a son
to Joseph, but whose womb knew him not
¹From ‘The Washer of the Ford.’
With that the tears fell into the old man’s beard. ‘Sorrow of
sorrows,’ he said, ‘but that will be the voice of the Queen of
But Jesus said to His mother: ‘Take up the tears, and throw
them into the dark night’ And Mary did so; and lo! upon the
wilderness, where no light was, and on the dark wave where
seamen toiled without hope, clusters of shining stars rayed
downward in a white peace. Thereupon the old king of the
‘Heal me, O King of the Elements.’
And Jesus healed him. His sight was upon him again, and his
grey ancientness was green youth once more.
‘I have come with Deep Knowledge,’ he said.
‘Ay, sure, I am for knowing that,’ said the King of the
Elements, that was a little Child.
‘Well, if you will be knowing that, you can tell who is at my
‘It is my elder brother the Wind.’
‘And what colour will the Wind be?’
‘Now blue as Hope, now green as Compassion.’
‘And who is on my left?’
‘The Shadow of Life.’
‘And what colour will the Shadow be?’
‘That which is woven out of the bowels of the earth and out of
the belly of the sea.’
‘Truly, thou art the King of the Elements. I am bringing you
a great gift, I am: I have come with Deep Knowledge.’
And with that the old blind man, whose eyes were now as stars,
and whose youth was a green garland about him, chanted nine
The First Rune was the Rune of the Four Winds:
The Second Rune was the Rune of the Deep Seas:
The Third Rune was the Rune of the Lochs and Rivers and
the Rains and the Dews and the many waters:
The Fourth Rune was the Rune of the Green Trees and of all
things that grow:
The Fifth Rune was the Rune of Man and Bird and Beast, and
of everything that lives and moves, in the air, on the earth, and
in the sea: all that is seen of man, and all that is unseen of
The Sixth Rune was the Rune of Birth, from the spawn on
the wave to the Passion of Woman:
The Seventh Rune was the Rune of Death, from the quenching
of a gnat to the fading of the stars:
The Eighth Rune was the Rune of the Soul that dieth not, and
the Spirit that is:
The Ninth Rune was the Rune of the mud and the dross, and
the slime of Evil—that is the Garden of God, wherein He walks
with sunlight streaming from the palms of His hands, and
with stars springing beneath His feet:
Then when he had done, the old man said: ‘I have brought
you Deep Knowledge.’ But at that Jesus the Child said:
‘All this I heard on my way hither.’
The old Desert king bowed his head. Then he took a blade of
grass, and played upon it It was a wild strange air that he
‘Iosa mac Dhè tell the woman what song that is,’ cried the
‘It is the secret speech of the Wind that is my brother,’ cried
the Child, clapping His hands for joy.
‘And what will this be?’—and with that the old man took a
green leaf, and played a lovely whispering song.
‘It is the secret speech of the leaves,’ cried Jesus the little Lad,
And thereafter the Gypsy king played upon a handful of dust
and upon a drop of water, and upon a flame of fire: and the
Child laughed for the knowing and the joy. Then he gave
the secret speech of the singing bird, and the barking fox, and
the howling wolf, and the bleating sheep: of all and every
‘O King of the Elements,’ he said then, ‘for sure you knew
much, but now I have made you to know the secret things of
the green Earth that is Mother of you and of Mary too.’
But while Jesus pondered that one mystery the old man was
gone: and when he got to his people they put him alive into
a hollow of the earth and covered him up—because of his shin-
ing eyes, and the green youth that was about him as a
And when Christ was nailed upon the Cross, Deep Knowledge
went back into the green world, and passed into the
grass and the sap in trees, and the flowing wind,
and the dust that swirls and is gone.
THE WARNING OF CUCULAIN
CUCULAIN tossed on his lonely bed,
Laeg couched across the door—
The hero heard the heavenly steed,
Fair Macha’s grey, the North wind’s seed,
Neigh to her yoke-fellow, as in need,
And stamp on the stone-hagged floor.
Laeg slept unmoved, while down below
Th’ immortal war-horse stirred,
And ever it seemed to the wondering king
That he heard a harp at the casement ring
And a spirit chant to the chiming string.
Sweet-voiced as a magic bird.
The hero arose and searched the night
—A glory against the gloom—
Orphid MacManar before him sate,
Dark God, who but to the brave and great
May pour the presage of evil fate:
The dolorous burthen of doom.
Sad spake the seer—’Cuculain, lo!
Thou art set on the black grave’s brink.
Thy doom, alone ‘mid the Southron hordes,
To strew the plain with their smitten lords,
And at length o’erwhelmed by a sea of swords,
Like a storm-swept rock to sink.’
The God, like a dream, from his startled gaze,
Sank into the outer night;
Cuculain has wakened his charioteer,
And softly speaks in his listening ear,
‘I have seen the Death-God, be of good cheer.
Together we fall in the fight
‘Our comrades battle across the foam,
Seizing the strangers’ strands;
For us, old friend, more glorious far
To reap the ranks of the Southron war,
With the whirlwind rush of our scythe-set car.
The sweep of our flaming brands.’
‘Master,’ answered his charioteer,
‘Thy foster brother am I.
Since death-doomed by the God thou art,
By my sword, I swear, that the fatal dart
Must pass through mine, ‘ere it reach thy heart—
With thee, as I ‘ve lived, I die.’
PHILIP PERCEVAL GRAVES
BY JAMES CADENHEAD
SUN burnt and sun burnt,
Rain on soft rain fell,
And gleamed a tinge of green—
Just a heart beat:
Then the suns stopped,
Then the clouds fixed,
And heavy came the gloom.
The Rev. Colin Davidson sat in his study brooding. The
text of his sermon lay on his desk before him. The sink-
ing sun fell on his sadness, and he thought of a joy that once
was his. He knew the whole story now, and he often told it to
He was a lad again standing on a far-off Highland station. A
nipping wind cut him like a jagged knife, but with wide open
eyes he watched the train peching up the hillside. The steam
was falling in lumps against the heather. There was a hand-
kerchief fluttering at a window, and he waved back as one in a
dream. In a moment the red end of the guard’s van had
turned the corner, and only a sound was left. He remembered
as he set out for home how he had parted from Nannack
the night before. They climbed up the face of Scourouran, and
it was sweet to feel her hand as he helped her at the rocky
parts. They sat upon the western shoulder that commands
the sea, and, with never a word, they looked far out on the
waters. The beauty of the night was nothing then, but he
now went back on it The hills wore dark, solemn faces, and
a west wind swung round them. The stars sang. The waves
danced shorewards in rows, and a band of moonlight lay upon
their jewelled heads.
‘You must be going now, Nannack. You’ll have a lot of
packing to do,’ he said helplessly. The shaking of his heart
stopped the words he wished to say. He just looked at her,
and he could remember how her eyes glistened.
‘Oh, ye have to go, Nannack!’ he said again, and his love felt
ashamed of his words.
‘Ay, Colin, and I don’t know what to do.’ It was her voice
with a quiver in it he heard. She turned her soft eyes to him,
and he longed to catch her. She put her hand on his shoulder
He felt it there now. Her face had love’s beauty on it as she
said, ‘Kiss me.’
The sun had led its fire away, and in the dim light of his study
he was on Scourouran.
From a drawer he took a packet of letters, and he read the
first. As he looked upon the scratchy writing he felt a strange
kind of pride for all his sadness—the pride of winning a great
heart. The letter was just this:—
‘170 Grosvenor Square,
‘My own dear Colin,—i got here fine, its an affil thing the trane
and we jist came down some of the braes that quick that you
wood think we wood never stop. i was thinkin i wood be
feelin very lonely here if i wood be havin the time, its a busi
place this but often at night when everything gets as quate
all jist be mindin on you all at home and then i’ll jist be
like to cry but i am jist riting abowt mysell and no askin
how you will all be keepin at home you will be havin fine
wether jist now i am thinking, and i hope you will be enjoying
yourself very much. o i am longing affle to see you and i am
afrade it will be a terrble long time before i wont see you. i
often lie thinkin of our waaks and us going along the shore
yon night to Glendhu and climbing Scourouran and watching
everything so big roond us. it was terrble fine, but o it will be
an affle time before we hev waaks like yon agen. am likin my
place fine, they are too other girls in the place, one of them is
from Tain and the other one is from Dundee and some times
from the talk that will be on them i will be thinking they will not
be very good girls but there very kind too. there at denner up
the stairs just now and i am writing this quick and i will run
out to the post with it before there finished no more just now
my own dear Colin. hopping you are verry well i am the same
with all my love your loving Nanni.’
Shadows had settled round him, and his text was a blur on the
And now the memory of student days come to him. It is a time
of work, but yet the happiness of it tingles in his mind as the
dim class-rooms ring with laughter, and his stamping feet keep
time to the old Psalm tunes. And he is with Nannack. Her
night out is his too, and on Sundays they attend the evening
service in St. Columba’s with its homely faces and homely
voices. He remembers her joy and her sweet encouragement
His heart grew light with success, he was at last a minister of
the gospel he loved. Then the great day and the sermon in
the Barclay. He preached to one, and he felt the living God
in him. He saw her face—just the pale face, the glistening
eyes, and the dark hair—far up in the third gallery. God was
very good to him.
And next day the letter came.
. . . . . . .
She—there are two sides to many a story—worked and saw the
sun through the railings. Thought is not a servant’s work,
but Nannack did dream of her Colin. She wrote him every
week, and he little knew her fears. She looked on her blotted
pages, and her heart shrank. Did Colin laugh at her scribbling ?
Ah, if she could just speak to him. But she sought earnestly
to school herself.
Dreary was her life waiting for him. She felt the chill of Edin-
burgh life; her heart yearning for sympathy found none. For
Edinburgh is a sweet enchantress, but her smiles hide a cold
heart. Young strangers crowd her streets, but to cheer them
along in these days of youth there is no kind hand held out; no
kind words, no home firesides give greeting. Nannack felt it,
but she looked to the time when Colin would come to join his
classes. Then the days sped. On Thursday nights—the ‘night
out,’ which holds so much for many a weary girl—she met him,
and on Sunday evenings they went together to St. Columba’s
Church. Love’s expectation bridged these nights.
But then again fear came upon her. Each session brought
him success. He was the first man of his year, and she—a poor
servant girl. Part of her little wages she sent home, part she
spent in clothes, and what remained she spent in children’s
school-books to make her more worthy of a scholar’s love. She
sat far into the night over nouns and verbs, and in the summer
the grey of dawn looked down into the area and saw her with
an old ‘Royal Reader’ in her hand. And still she often caught
herself saying, ‘they wis’ and ‘we waas.’
One night she sat with Colin on a seat in the Meadows, just
below the Infirmary. An east wind stole west shivering with
cold, and the trees like gaunt old women at a wake rocked and
cried, sad at being left behind. Through the branches, the
lights of the students’ lodgings were stars.
Colin was full of his success.
‘Nannack, I’ll be through in a month, and I don’t think I’ll have
very much difficulty in getting a charge. And then, Nannack?’
The prospect was beyond his words.
‘There’ll be no more working for you, then, will there?’ he
‘No,’ was Nannack’s reply. ‘No, Colin, and you’ll be a great
preacher, and you’ll hev a big church, an’ a’ll be a poor lassie
‘at’ll always be a burden on you.’
‘Nannack,’ he said, and there was a sharp cut in his words,
‘Nannack! if I hear you speak like that again I’ll, I’ll—Ah, but,
Nannack, you are too good for any one, and you have the heart
that’ll give me strength when I’m weak, Nannack! I think I
see the future, and the sky is clear for us.’
Her face was white on his shoulder.
‘Nannack!’ he asked, with a pain in his heart, ‘you ‘re fond of
me still, aren’t you?’
Her forehead sank on his breast and tears fell on his hand.
‘O Colin, a’ wush a’ wis strong enough to show yi how a’ liked
ye,’ she said.
He put his arm round her, and smiled with content, knowing
Still she studied, but a new thought got between her and the
words. Colin had passed with highest honours, and now he
was a minister. Next Sabbath was to be a great day for him.
He was to preach in the Barclay. She was there in the topmost
gallery, and throughout the service she shrank into a dim
comer lest he might see her, for she had not told him that she
had got the forenoon off to hear him. A warm light filled the
great church, and she felt alone in it. The sound of people
moving to their seats seemed far off. But as Colin entered—
her Colin I she wondered did any of the congregation know he
loved a lonely servant-girl—as he entered with firm step and
brave eyes, pride rose in her, and she prayed to be purged of
it. From custom, and fear of being seen by him, she sat
throughout the Psalm. In the prayer his voice echoed in the
dark comers of the building and seemed to linger round her.
His text was, ‘Thy will be done on earth.’ It was all she
heard. Her mind was floating on the music of his words. She
saw herself his wife. She was trying to help him, and he was
looking fondly on her. She looked through the Summer and
into the Autumn and gathering time; their hearts were locked.
But her fancy shivered. She was only an ignorant servant
girl. She could not see his rich friends. She could not keep
his fine house. She was a burden on him. He kissed her, and
cut of the goodness of his heart called her ‘his own Nannack.’
But his preaching staled, and his fair hair and blue eyes were
grey; and his shoulders stooped. Could she bear to see him
sink? Was she selfish? She left the church with questions
ringing in her ears. It was a day of doubt with her.
The evening came without peace. She must think; the kit-
chen fire went out under her eyes. She rose at last and went
to her room. Her bed companion was asleep, and the only
sound was the heavy breathing. Nannack flung herself on her
knees by the bedside and burst into a storm of sobbing. The
struggle was long and fierce. At last peace stole into her eyes.
Her bosom ceased to heave, and her pulse to throb with fever.
Her face lit with the love that surpasses earthly, and her con-
quered soul melted into gentle tears that fell on her cold white
bosom. It was all quiet now. But her heart was broken.
She rose from her knees and took pen and paper from her
trunk. In the letter she wrote then, with shaking hand and
striven heart, lies the secret of the sadness that broods
upon the great Highland preacher’s thought.
UNDER THE ROWANS
GREEN branches, green branches, I see you beckon;
Sweet is the place you guard, there in the rowan—
There he lies in the darkness, under the frail
Heedless at last, in the silence, of these sweet midsummer
But sweeter, it may be, the moss whereon he is sleeping now.
And sweeter the fragrant flowers that may crown his moon-
And sweeter the shady place deep in an Eden hollow
Wherein he dreams I am with him—and, dreaming, whispers,
Green wind from the green-gold branches, what is the song
What are all songs for me, now, who no more care to sing?
Deep in the heart of Summer, sweet is life to me still,
But my heart is a lonely hunter that hunts on a lonely hill.
Green is that hill and lonely, set far in a shadowy place;
White is the hunter’s quarry, a lost loved human face:
O hunting heart, shall you find it, with arrow of failing breath
Led o’er a green hill lonely by the shadowy hound of Death?
Green branches, green branches, you sing of a sorrow olden
But now it is midsummer weather, earth-young, sun-ripe,
Here I stand and I wait, here in the rowan-tree hollow,
But never a green leaf whispers, ‘Follow, oh, Follow, Follow!’
NIGHT IN ARRAN
EIGHT o’clock, and the dusk of the Summer night
had begun to gather in the little Shisken valley.
One after another lights began to shine amid the
shadow of the hillside opposite; and down to the
right, where the valley opens on Kilbrannan Sound,
a thicker cluster of them marked the fisher hamlet
The scene was familiar enough to Hector Mackenzie as he
looked on it from the road under Drumadoon, for every night as
the darkness fell, for the first fifteen years of his life, from the
window of his father’s sheiling of Torbeg he had seen these
yellow lights shine out. Each one of them he knew by name,
and each brought to him some separate picture of thatched
bigging and upland croft, whose mossy dyke-sides and straw-
strewn shed or barn had been the haunt of long Summer Satur-
days in school-time. How well, too, he knew the murmur of
the bum over its pebbles, which came up now faintly, the only
sound amid the darkness. Many a night, in his little low-
roofed attic under the thatch, it had lulled him to sleep with
its quiet tune. Had he not, all his early days, breathed the
bracing air of these hills, understood the homely fragrance
of the peat-reek, and been familiar with the drifting scent of the
white clover in the meadows?
Sixteen years, however, had somehow made a difference—six
years in the grey university class-rooms, and ten in the labora-
tory of the grey scientist, reverenced and loved as the greatest
of the modern seers. It was not for nothing that the Arran
boy had seen the lightning bridled, and the universes weighed;
had looked on at achievements, chemical and mechanical, which
outstripped a thousand times the utmost dreams of mediaeval
magicians and astrologers. In his blood ran the Celtic fire,
quick with the hidden memories and imaginings of seventy
generations of the most emotional and spiritual race in the
world; and who knows what long-forgotten instincts of heredity
may suddenly waken again to consciousness in the blood at the
touch of their mysterious affinity?
At any rate, this night, when he stood again on the hillside
under Drumadoon, in the little Arran valley, he seemed to look
around him with opened eyes and a keener sense. The dusk
as it gathered and deepened, the breath of the meadow clover,
and the quiet murmur of the bum water, seemed, like music,
emotions in a primaeval language of their own, understood
silently by the heart. These inner meanings the poets here
and there have tried to translate and place on record, but the
cumbersome machinery of human speech proves but ill fitted
to reproduce so subtle a thing. More truly has this been done
by the great religions of the past; for the greatest of all the
poets have been prophets and priests, and for the stirrings they
felt at the movements of sun and sap, at the quickening of life,
the flash of lightning and the roar of the sea, they invented a
word, and spoke of communion with Bel or Jah.
Mackenzie walked along the hillside eastward. No sound of
wheels or footsteps was to be heard on the road, either behind
or in front, and the shoulder of Drumadoon rising on his left,
and the dip of the valley on his right, were alike now dark.
Before him, inland, no lights were to be seen; only, overhead
in the dark heaven, twinkled and flashed and burned a myriad
jewel-points of fire. Presently, below and in front of him, as the
road trended away to his left, spread the wild heath of Tor-
more; and from the spot where he stood, looking out over its
expanse, he could imagine, if he did not see, the grey stone
circles of the Druids. Familiar to him from his boyhood, yet
looked on always with a traditional awe, these grey memorials,
in their vast theatre of the hills, seemed now, amid the darkness
and the living silence, to waken the aspirations of some half-
forgotten dream. Suddenly he remembered it was Beltane
Eve, the first of May.
The spot is a quiet one, and the night was warm and dry. He
seated himself under the side of a great boulder, on a bank of
wild thyme, and gave himself up to picturing the pageants and
mysterious rites of a forgotten age to which the worn stone
circles on the moor below him had been silent witnesses.
The hours must have passed unconsciously, and it must have
been after midnight when he became aware that the moon was
rising. A thin crescent of clear and lovely fire, she rose slowly
from behind the dark mountain edge opposite, and stood pre-
sently, shining, radiant, serene, in a clear space of the eastern
heaven. The fact dawned on Mackenzie at the same time that
the moor below was no longer either forsaken or entirely
silent. Round the stone circles there shadowy figures were
moving, and once and again there rose and died away on the
stillness of the night a passionate murmur as of adoration. ‘It
is the worship of the goddess,’ he said to himself with awe, and
at that moment he felt his own heart move within him with a
wonder of wild memory and emotion. What could be more
worthy to be worshipped than that ethereal splendour in heaven?
what more enamouring to the heart than that pure presence
walking the star spaces, drawing after her with a mighty pas-
sion even the great bosom of the sea? Strangely, then, he
remembered the names under which she had been loved and
worshipped by various races in succeeding times—Istar, Ash-
taroth, Astarte, Aphrodite—ever the same goddess drawing
after her by a nameless magic the inexpressible longing of men.
Was not she the ruler, indeed, of all earthly loves, the controller
of the birth-times of all living, the mysterious measurer to man
and beast and flower, of the weeks of bringing forth? Well
advised, truly, were those priests among the Arran menhirs, and
their kindred in Chaldea, Moab, and Greece, to reverence so
lovely a presence, possessed of so absolute a control over the
hearts and lives of living things and over the movements of the
wind and the deep.
As he watched and worshipped and remembered, the night
must have flown, for presently he began to notice a paleness
spreading in the eastern sky. Higher and higher rose the blue
dawn, putting out the stars. Then a yellow radiance began to
strike upward from the mountain’s edge, growing brighter
every moment, while a clear light spread along the hills. At
last, suddenly, there appeared a point of dazzling Are, too shin-
ing to look upon; and the first rays touched the grey stones
on Tormore. At that moment on the moor there rose a cry,
and from the eastern stone shot up a tongue of flame. ‘Baal
has risen,’ said Mackenzie; ‘it is the Bel-tein, the Baal-fire!’
Then the crowd of shadowy forms about the stone circles began
to move, and he saw, as it were, men and children, cattle and
sheep, passing between two fires—the fire on the menhir and
another on the ground. ‘They are the Devoted,’ said the
watcher, ‘passing through the fires to Bel, blessed by the god
for another year.’ And as he looked at the happy folk and the
grey figures of the priests, the reverence and reason of their
worship came upon him. Their god, who else? was the
source of all light, the giver of all life. He who made the seeds
to spring, the leaves to break forth, and the Summer to blossom,
the fountain and upholder of all law, the origin of the earth
itself and the other planets, who held the worlds still in his
control in their dizzy sweep through space: what more glorious
was there for the eye to see or for thought to master? All
these things, as their stone memorials tell, these worshippers
knew. It may be that they knew more, for the same priests who
were aware of the indestructibility of matter and energy, taught
also, it is recorded, the immortality of the spirit of man. Time,
at any rate, has proved their teaching true. The soul of the
Druid lives to-day in all the higher faiths of the world; and
whether or not he dreamt of a mightier behind Bel, his face,
as he looked to the rising sun, was at least turned towards
Mackenzie woke with a start The sunlight fell warm on the
moor. The sheep that had lain all night in the shelter of the
great menhirs were beginning to move among them and feed;
and under their feet, he knew, lay the empty graves of
Celtic priest and chief, not dead, but alive to-day,
dust and spirit, in the beating hearts of men.
The Evergreen: A Northern Seasonal, vol. 3, Summer 1896, Evergreen Digital Edition, edited by Lorraine Janzen Kooistra, 2016-2018. Yellow Nineties 2.0, Ryerson University Centre for Digital Humanities, 2019. https://1890s.ca/egv3_all/