Tag Archives: Dublin University Magazine

“Every Irishman is an Arab” (Mangan’s Oriental “Translations”)

‘To an acquaintance who objected that a particular translation was not Moorish, he replied: “Well, never mind, it’s Tom Moorish.’’ ’

– Charles Gavan Duffy


‘Every Irishman is an Arab’:

James Clarence Mangan’s Eastern ‘Translations’

An essay by Melissa Fegan


“This article examines James Clarence Mangan’s ‘Literæ Orientales’, six articles he published in the Dublin University Magazine between 1837 and 1846. Many of the translations of Persian and Turkish poems Mangan offers in these articles are, in fact, original poems masquerading as translations, and Mangan uses them, and his reflections on orientalism and contemporary translation theory, to critique the ignorance and arrogance of Western attitudes to Eastern literature and culture, and undermine facile notions of transparent translation. He also plays on the long-standing association of Ireland and the East, seen in Mangan’s Dublin University Magazine colleague Samuel O’Sullivan’s labelling of papists and nationalists as ‘Affghans at home’, to plant subversive comparisons of the Irish and Oriental colonized in the journal of Anglo-Irish cultural hegemony.”







Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Monuments to Mangan (The Irish Times)

A review article by the poet John Montague saluting Clarence Mangan in prospect of his bicentenary on May Day of 2003 ; published in The Irish Times on Saturday, April 26, 2003.


Another Veilèd Prophet utters a mystic speech,

To be translated only by a future age . . .

With his bicentenary on May Day, James Clarence Mangan rises up like some Gothic creature, glowing, from his grave. I am referring to the many volumes of The Collected Works, the four of poetry and the two of prose, which have been published by the Irish Academic Press, along with a fine biography, and bibliography. These are essential reading not only for departments of Irish literature, but also for Irish history as well, because Mangan was the most piercing voice of his epoch. Even the periodical publication of his poems and prose pieces, such as ‘The Woman of Three Cows’, published in an Irish Penny Journal of 1840, or the appearance of ‘Siberia’ and ‘Dark Rosaleen’ in The Nation, in the gloomy year of 1846, are testimonies to the survival of the creative spirit during the darkest days of our history.

Though sometimes he sounds like a voice from a shroud. His poems, especially in the 1840s, have an almost monotonous melancholy, which seems like the distillation from some weeping cloud crossing the stricken landscape of mid-19th-century Ireland. Or, to change the metaphor, a funeral bell knelling endlessly.

And towards the West at first they marched,

Then towards the South,

Those endless FUNERALS, till the sky o’erhead,

As one vast pall, seemed overarched

With blackness, and methought the mouth

Of Hades had cast up its Dead!

Published in the United Irishman in March 1849, ‘The Funerals’ might seem to sound some ultimate note of gloom, but Mangan haunts the same darkness in ‘The Famine’ a few months later, in the same periodical.

Despair? Yes! For a blight fell on the land –

The soil, heaven-blasted, yielded food no more –

The Irish serf became a Being banned –

Life-exiled as none ever was before.

But then this “piercing wail”, while indeed a lament for all Ireland, also has its source in Mangan’s own psyche. An early poem, composed in competition with other Dublin wags, begins: “Come get the black, the mourning pall . . .” And one of his few prose pieces of first intensity, his fragmentary Autobiography, reprinted by the Dolmen Press in 1968, describes a blighted childhood: “In my boyhood I was haunted by an indescribable feeling of something terrible”. This text was probably the germ for Tom Kinsella’s fine gloomy poem on Mangan: it is as if, as a child, Mangan had suffered the kind of “vastation” of the spirit to which Ted Hughes ascribes the genius of Emily Dickinson.

Mangan depicts his father terrorising his wife, and gleeful that his children try to flee like mice at his approach. This was a father who squeezed the life out of his entire family, “a human boa-constrictor”. Mangan sought refuge in books and solitude: “I isolated myself in such a manner from my own nearest relatives that with one voice they all proclaimed me mad.” Yet these early methods of escape – solace in books and a disdain for the outer world – were clearly not completely successful, for Mangan also describes a “feeling of impending calamity”.

It was in his boyhood “that the seeds of that moral insanity were developed within me which afterwards grew up into a tree of great altitude”. Convinced of his waywardness and eccentricity, but compelled to seek work as a scrivener, at which he laboured long hours for low pay, the coarseness of his colleagues afflicted him: “My nervous and hypochondriacal feelings almost verged upon insanity.”

Once again the serpents seethe: “I seemed . . . to be shut up in a cavern with serpents and scorpions . . . which . . . discharged their slime and venom over my person.”

Perhaps his greatest poetry came when his blasted psyche was mirrored by a blighted landscape, when political and personal suffering finally met in his verse.

From the sordid scrivener’s life, Mangan sought relief in scribbling. The buffoonery of his early constitutional satire, ‘Our Quackstitution’, with its gross word play – “the House of Hangover”, and “Longdulldreary” for Londonderry – seems tedious, like the whimsy of ‘A Treatise on a Pair of Tongs’. Such prose could be seen as an ancestor of the exuberant linguistic lunacy of writers like Myles. But it does not seem as natural to Mangan’s psyche as his ventures into the Gothic, especially The Man in the Cloak, which is already a version of a story of Balzac, intended as a sequel to Melmoth the Wanderer. And of course Mangan worshipped Maturin. As a child, he followed Maturin along the streets, and later would consider that haggard, solitary, oddly dressed figure an alter ego in eccentricity, and perhaps also in genius.

There is a curious moment in The Man in the Cloak where one of the bank secretaries is described as “a flippant litterateur, who translated German poetry and wrote German stories for the magazines . . .” How much German did Mangan really know, and where, indeed, had he learnt it? He certainly knew enough to act as tutor to some pretty Dublin ladies. And his voluminous Anthologia Germanica produced the only book published in his lifetime, German Anthology: A Series of Translations (1845).

When I was compiling my Faber Book of Irish Verse, I included poems which I then took to be original, but now discover were copied from the German. For instance, the wonderfully dolorous ‘Siberia’, which must be one of the great protest poems of the world –

In Siberia’s wastes

The Ice-wind’s breath

Woundeth like the toothèd steel . . .

– turns out to be based on an obscure German poem about Polish leaders sentenced to Siberia after the 1830 revolution.

An autobiographical aside here: the first poem of Mangan that I read was not one of his political/historical visions. I was, after all, brought up in the North of Ireland, so British war poetry was more likely to be on the syllabus; echoes of that early training can still be heard in much Northern Irish poetry. Whereas my Southern contemporaries were subjected to dirges like ‘O’Hussey’s Ode to the Maguire’ and, of course, ‘Dark Rosaleen’. Those visionary poems are extraordinary; a lurid light plays over an often arid landscape, and the language is infected with a hectic glitter, as if the poet were drunk or drugged. But I fell in love with a love poem, as I trudged through the woods of south Dublin, chanting to myself: “I saw her once, one little while, and then no more:/ ‘Twas Paradise on Earth awhile, and then no more./ Ah! what avail my vigils pale, my magic lore?”

This of course is from the original German of Rückert. In addition to gently purloining original German poems, Mangan sometimes signs his ostensible translations “Selber”, a variant of “Self”. As when he refers to his translations of the Persian poet, Hafiz, jokingly since he knew little or no Persian, as being “Half-His”. Mangan’s Oriental translations can be seen as part of the fascination with Arabia which led to Goethe’s Westöstlicher Divan and, of course, Moore’s ‘Lalla Rookh’. Of our living Irish poets, only Desmond O’Grady has inherited some of this scholarly passion for the East, translating some of the great Arabic odes. Mangan worked from the available scholars, yet his version of a poem by Jami, ‘The Hundred-Leafèd Rose’, has a gorgeous symmetry. But then this gaunt, golden-haired spectre had a thing about roses, as in his beautiful translation from the Turkish, ‘The Time of the Roses’. And also his haunting, nostalgic poems of youth lost and time passing: “Remember/ The days of roses but as a dream.”

Although the posthumous Poets and Poetry of Munster is a landmark in our literary history, there is the question as to how much Irish Mangan actually knew. Douglas Hyde tells how it was Mangan’s “custom to stretch his body halfway across the counter, while John [O’Daly] would translate the Irish song to him and [he] would versify it . . .” Some of his versions, or “perversions”, are quite beautiful, and again when I was looking for some O’Rahilly for my Faber anthology, I chose Mangan over even Austin Clarke.

Now that we have the mass of Mangan, nearly 1,000 poems, re-evaluation can begin. The more or less official Selected winnows these, with a thoughtful introduction by Terence Brown of Trinity College, whose Dublin University Magazine sustained the poet for years. Brown links the failing fortunes of post-Union Dublin to those of Mangan, his attraction “to the romantic trope of ruination”.

And the dirge still draws us, from Kinsella to Durcan, and beyond. Another, slimmer Selected has been edited and introduced by David Wheatley, a gifted young poet whose own volumes, Thirst and Misery Hill, surely entitle him to write with authority on Mangan’s “landscape of grandeur and desolation”. Brown and Wheatley sometimes see him as a Borges-like “shape-changer”. But while Mangan may lack the length and breadth of his fellow 19th-century Irish poets, Ferguson and Allingham, the nervous intensity of his best lyrics are unique mediumistic masterpieces.

The entire Irish Academic Press series, comprising nine volumes, is also a monument to the tireless general editorship of the late Augustine Martin.




Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Miss Guiney, in the Atlantic, on Mangan


~Louise Imogen Guiney~

An Irish Poe. — Few people have ever heard of James Clarence Mangan : even to such as profess literature he is seldom more than a name. A shy, elusive, mysterious personage, he took little pains to push himself into notice, being mainly occupied with the effort, pursued with no great steadiness or success, to keep the wolf from the door. Miss Guiney, who brings him to light in an Atlantic article of uncommon brilliancy, crammed with human as well as literary interest, says “his personal history is quite as vague as if he had lived in a hermit’s cell eight hundred years ago ;” yet she manages to reconstruct him in an outline so striking as to make one wish for more.

Thus wrote a reviewer in Lippincott’s Monthly, for January of 1892, regarding the Bostonian poetess and essayist, Louise Imogen Guiney, whose essay entitled “James Clarence Mangan” had appeared in The Atlantic Monthly two months before (November, 1891 ; LXVIII, pp. 641-59). In a publishing project which the same Lippincott’s scribe had both anticipated and suggested, Miss Guiney would revise and enlarge the piece to serve as preface for her book, James Clarence Mangan : His Selected Poems, with a Study by the Editor (1897) ; and in the dedicatory page of that collection she made a reverential salute to “his kindest friend”, Charles Gavan Duffy who was by this time a retired Sir in the south of France.

Below is reproduced the article from The Atlantic Monthly. All spellings and punctuation of this original essay, whether they represent an American editor’s preferred style, or convey mere mistranscriptions, or reflect variant forms of the poet’s quoted verses, have been retained (all save two : in that line of “Dark Rosaleen” where the word “hill” should be pluralised ; and where “Freihem” has been restored to Freiherr so as to correct an obvious error of misapprehension). Miss Guiney or her editor had awarded a superfluous l to John Mitchel’s name, but that detail is left as it is.

The Latin quotation cinis et manes et fabula, a phrase taken from the Satires of Persius, may be translated : “ashes, then a phantom, and a topic for tale-telling” ; while his being “eager to ‘feel the bumps’ on friendly heads” is a reference to Mangan’s keen interest in phrenology (a theme in his mystical parody story, “The Man in the Cloak”).

From this then, an eloquent and informed Study which is both relatively early and tolerably objective in its field (albeit issuing from the sympathetic pen of a Boston Irishwoman, the daughter of General Guiney of Tipperary no less), we may hope to gain a measure of insight into Clarence Mangan, the clerk at the Fagel Library, the Nameless One, the Man in the Cloak.




On the principle that “it has become almost an honor not to be crowned,” the name of James Clarence Mangan may be announced at once, as very worthy, very distinguished. He is unknown outside his own non-academic fatherland, though he bids fair to be a proverb and a fireside commonplace, much as the Polish poets are at home, within it. Belonging to an age which is nothing if not specific and departmental, he has somehow escaped the classifiers ; his wings have never been run through with a pin and spread under glass in the museums. Duyckinck, Dana, Palgrave, and the score of lesser books which are kind to forgotten or infrequent lyres know him not ; in Allibone’s Dictionary he has but hasty mention ; Ward’s English Poets has no inch of classic text to devote to him. Nor is Mangan’s absence altogether or even chiefly due to editorial shortcomings. The search after him has always been difficult. During his lifetime he published only a collection of translations, and by his own willful, exasperating hand his original numbers are tangled up almost inextricably with other translations. A large mass of his work, good, bad, and indifferent, hides in old newspaper files, and is likely there to remain ; and the only collection representing his genius, an edition eminently imperfect, bearing a New York imprint, and prefaced by John Mitchell’s beautiful memoir, has never been reissued elsewhere, nor bettered in any form. So it is ; and so, perhaps, it must be. All critics indulge in foolish cynicisms, one day or another, and cry out against a stupid world in behalf of the unrecognized. The great spirits, we know, carry applause by siege. But, as Charles Lamb could not fail to perceive, it is not the greatest whom one cares most about. Some fame, and often the choicer and sweeter, is born, as by a paradox, to be a privacy. Our time adjusts merit with supreme propriety in setting up Herrick in the market-place, and in still reserving Daniel for a domestic adoration. Apollo has a class of might-have-beens whom he loves : poets bred in melancholy places, under disabilities, whose thwarted growth and thinned voices “snatch a grace beyond the reach of art ;” poets compounded of everything magical and fair, like an elixir which is the outcome of ecstasy and patience, and which wants in the end, even as common water would, the essence of immortality. The making of a name is too often like the making of a fortune. The more scrupulous contestants turn out to be

“Delicate spirits, pushed away

In the hot press of the noonday.”

Mangan’s is such a memory, captive and overborne. It may be unjust to lend him the epitaph of defeat, for he never strove at all. One can think of no other, in the long disastrous annals of English literature, cursed with so monotonous a misery, so much hopelessness and stagnant grief. He had no public ; he was poor, infirm, homeless, loveless ; travel and adventure were cut off from him, and he had no minor risks to run ; the cruel necessities of labor sapped his dreams from a boy ; morbid fancies mastered him as the rider masters his horse ; the demons of opium and alcohol pulled him under, body and soul, despite a persistent and heart-breaking struggle, and he perished ignobly in his prime.

James Clarence Mangan was born at number 3 Fishamble Street, the ancient Vicus Piscariorum of Dublin, on the first day of May, 1803. He was the eldest of four children, an early-dying family ; his brother, the only one who survived him, was destined to follow him the same month. The father belonged in Shanagolden, Limerick, and was a grocer in fair circumstances when his son was born. The house and shop were the property of the mother, Catharine Smith, of whom we know little but her name. The shop seems to have been soon resigned by the elder Mangan to a brother-in-law, whom he beguiled over from London. This Mangan was a willful, tyrannous, thick-headed man, of whom his little ones were afraid. He retired from his business on a competency, but ran through his small estate from excess of hospitality, and died prematurely of the superior disease of disillusion and vexation. The poet, in a posthumous autobiographical fragment, thus describes him, and exalts or debases him into a Celtic type : “His nature was truly noble ; to quote a phrase of my friend O’Donovan, he ‘never knew what it was to refuse the countenance of living man ;’ but in neglecting his own interests (and not the most selfish misanthropes could accuse him of attending too closely to those), he unfortunately forgot the injuries which he inflicted upon the interests of others. He was of an ardent and forward-bounding disposition ; and though deeply religious by nature, he hated the restraints of social life, and seemed to think that all feelings with regard to family connections and the obligations imposed by them were beneath his notice. Me, my two brothers, and my sister he treated habitually as a huntsman would treat refractory hounds. It was his boast, uttered in pure glee of heart, that we would run into a mouse-hole to shun him ! While my mother lived he made her miserable ; he led my only sister such a life that she was obliged to leave our house ; he kept up a continual succession of hostilities with my brothers ; and if he spared me more than others, it was perhaps because I displayed a greater contempt of life and everything connected with it. . . . May God assoil his great and mistaken soul, and grant him eternal peace and forgiveness ! But I have an inward feeling that to him I owe all my misfortunes.”

Mangan’s judgments were invariably too gentle ; Mitchell says that he was never heard to criticise or blame any one but himself. The experiences of his tragic infancy must have affected the fountain-springs of human feeling. Perhaps he remembered his own nameless antipathy, by contrast, when he came to render the wistful thought of a dead father in August Kuhn’s verses on a lonely little wildwood boy: —

“I would rather

Be with him than pulling roses.”

An odd, nervous, gloomy child, he was sent to school, in Swift’s forlorn and formal natal neighborhood, in Derby Square, off Werburgh Street. There was a tutor there who had baptized him, and who loved him ; and from him he learned, among other things, the rudiments of French and Latin. But at thirteen or at fifteen (it is impossible to know which) he had to enter the bitter workaday lists of the world, and to toil like “sabbathless Satan” for the support of a family of steadily sinking fortunes, who had no mercy for him, and who preyed upon him like a nest of harpies. As early as 1817 the gift within him was visibly astir, only to vent itself in the charades and whimsical rhymes proper to an almanac. For seven weary years he toiled at copying, from five in the morning, winter and summer, until eleven at night, through a boyhood which knew no vacations. For three years succeeding he was an attorney’s clerk, in close air and among vulgar associates, so tortured in every sentient fibre of his being that he affirmed nothing but a special Providence preserved him from suicide. The circumstances of this drudgery at 6 York Street gnawed into his memory. Isolation of mind was his habit then as afterwards, and long walks by night were his sole relaxation. As he looked back upon the spectacle of his innocent and stricken youth, he was able to record the anguish at which the outer willingness was priced. “I would frequently inquire, though I scarcely acknowledged the inquiry to myself, how or why it was that I should be called upon to sacrifice the immortal for the mortal ; to give away irredeemably the Promethean fire within me for the cooking of a beefsteak ; to destroy and damn my own soul that I might preserve for a few miserable months or years the bodies of others. Often would I wander out into the fields, and groan to God for help. De profundis clamavi ! was my continual cry.”

These were the years when first he took comfort, five minutes at a time, in delightful study ; when from pure single-hearted passion he made himself an Oxford out of nothing, and won what is rightly called his “profound and curiously exquisite culture ;” when toward the unlovely home or the yet unlovelier office he would pace the streets softly reciting some sad verses of Ovid’s which had a charm for him at school, and keeping his mind alive with reverie and song, — a solitary young golden-haired figure, rapt and kind, upon whom no gladness ever broke, and who was alone in any crowd. But he had already fallen on solaces less sure than these. In the parlors of 2 Church Lane, College Green, he found his earliest encouragers : intellectual tipplers, most of them, like Tighe and Lawrence Bligh, ready to be Mangan’s colleagues in dangerous and downward paths. It is written that, about this time, a friend betrayed his confidence in some way, and helped him to a sickening foretaste of what his lot was to be. We have no reason to infer, however, that the blow was dealt to so trustful a heart by any of the radiant and erratic Comet Club. A crowning calamity came upon him between 1820 and 1825. His first love was given to a fair girl much “above him,” according to our strange surveys. She encouraged his shy approaches ; and he was tremblingly, perilously happy. For the pleasantest period of his life he was in frequent social contact with interesting people of station and breeding, with those who made for him his fitting environment. But at the moment when he feared nothing he was taken like a bird in the fowler’s net, and cast scornfully away. Stunned and broken, he crept back as best he could to solitude. He had no confidant ; he waived the effeminacy of a diary ; none of all who have written here and there of him can do more than allude to the heroine of his tragedy. Name, habitation, date, she has none. With perfect dignity, and with a reticence which does him infinite honor, he laid aside hope, and went into the black valley before him. Only once, in 1839, in the midst of the clumsy machinery of the dialogue Polyglot Anthology, he utters some rather imprecatory stanzas To Laura, or, as afterwards amended, To Frances, beginning, —

“The life of life is gone and over ;”

and mentions, with his usual mendacity and presence of mind, that they are from the Italian ! They close in a fine Byronic burst :

“Adieu ! for thee the heavens are bright,

Bright flowers along thy pathway lie :

The bolts that strike, the winds that blight,

Will pass thy bower of beauty by.

“But when shall rest be mine ? Alas,

When first the winter wind shall wave

The pale wild flowers, the long dark grass,

Above my unremembered grave.”

He was safe here in speaking out, as he was safe later in The Nameless One, because he had always been so close-lipped and uncomplaining. None of his contemporaries, at least, could measure how entirely, in both instances, he relieved his heart. The face of no woman ever appealed to Mangan again. Other and yet more mocking faces walked by his side ; for his ruin had begun, and the fatal friend of sin clung to him when the white visions he adored had, one by one, withdrawn.

Henceforth it is not so easy to track him ; he seems to have vanished into smoke. His bright hair blanched of a sudden, during his first withdrawal from the upper world after his rebuff. Whatever is known of him has been gathered only with extreme painstaking : his personal history is quite as vague as if he had lived in a hermit’s cell eight hundred years ago, when as yet the fine arts of spying and reporting were in the germ. Even to the men who saw him yesterday, close at hand, he was a stranger. He passed through their company like the ghost of a séance, with soundless speech and gait : whence and whither none could discover. Mangan was a loving student of the mediæval alchemists, and he took for his own the black art of shooting out of darkness into a partial light, and vanishing as soon. He would disappear for weeks and months at a time, and baffle search. It was evident that he mingled, meanwhile, with those who had snapped all links with human society. Nor is he the only poet in English letters over whose head the tides of despair rose and rolled, that he might so sink, and float, and sink again. We have not forgotten Dr. Johnson’s heartfelt lament over Richard Savage, who, after an inner battle, retired occasionally into chaos, with his pension-money in his pocket. “On a bulk, in a cellar, or in a glass-house among thieves and beggars,” says that illustrious friend, “was to be found the author of The Wanderer, — the man of exalted sentiments, extensive views, and curious observation ; the man whose remarks on life might have assisted the statesman, whose ideas of virtue might have enlightened the moralist, whose eloquence might have influenced senates, and whose delicacy might have polished courts.” Into such deeps of partial insanity did Mangan also fall ; and out of them, ever and again, he was born, humble, active, clean of heart, by some reparative miracle, — his eyes fixed (they, at least, never wavered) on eternal beauty and eternal good.

Giving what he could, and asking nothing, genial and gentle to all that lived, he did not lack affection. In his poverty, his eccentric habits, his irresponsibilities, he found a distinguished and devoted few to replace his mistaken circle of Church Lane wits : Mr. George Petrie, Dr. Todd, Dr. Anster, and, especially, Sir Charles Gavan Duffy. The Nation paid Mangan in advance for the copy he too often forgot to supply ; Trinity College Library employed “the admirable scribe” on its vast new catalogues, until, alas, he forfeited its regard ; the Ordnance Survey Office, where he was at peace awhile among topographers and antiquaries, generally the happiest-tempered of men, proved to be but a haven whence the fearful undercurrents were persistently dragging him out to sea. He might have lived with those who would have appreciated and protected him, but he was too proud. It pleased him better to sit in a garret by his invalid brother, with a bottle for a candlestick, sipping tar-water, and, with his delicate smile, watching the other’s consumption of the single egg which was all Apollo’s vassal could afford to buy him for a certain Christmas dinner ; or to move from lodging to lodging, with his hand-bag and his “large, malformed umbrella,” devising how he could redeem his manuscripts, and his cherished tar-water too, left in pawn for the antepenultimate rent. Nothing very definite ever happened to him. Always suffering in health, always absent-minded and a prey to accidents, he was no stranger to hospitals, and cheerfully asserted that his intellect cleared the moment he entered the ward. Lonely, sick, harassed, and clinging with foolhardy calm to his Bride Street dwelling during the great cholera epidemic, suddenly and quietly as the shutting of a glow-worm’s little lamp, on June 20, 1849, his life went out, at the Meath Hospital, whither he had been removed. The nurse who had cared for him thoughtlessly burned the papers he had covered with his exquisite handwriting. The Reverend Charles P. Meehan (who survived until the spring of 1890), to whom the poet had long been dear, Dr. Stokes, and Burton, the artist, helped him, as watchers and faithful friends. Burton came in again when all was over, and drew the pallid face as it lay back upon the pillow, old and weary with its forty-six insupportable years. The unique portrait of Clarence Mangan hangs now in the National Gallery on Leinster Lawn, Dublin, a more striking and significant thing than Severn’s tender sketch of the dying Keats. He was buried a mile or two away, in Glasnevin. Those who laid him in his grave did so with hearts not unthankful. Upon the headstone, tardily raised, there might have been graven Dante’s touching symbol of the worm,

“Born to become the angelic butterfly.”

To think of Mangan dead was to think of him as freed, abroad on fortunate wings for the first time, and for eternity.

His locked-in soul reveals itself, however, to the eye of sympathy. He even speaks a second time, with an unreserve which has a certain horror, in The Nameless One, the fiercest, fullest, most memorable of all his poems.



Roll forth, my song, like a rushing river
That sweeps along to the mighty sea ;
God will inspire me while I deliver
My soul of thee !
.Tell thou the world, when my bones lie whitening
Amid the last homes of youth and eld,
That there once was one whose veins ran lightning
No eye beheld.
.Tell how his boyhood was one drear night-hour,
How shone for him, thro’ his grief and gloom,
No star of all heaven sends to light our
Path to the tomb.
.Roll on, my song, and to after-ages
Tell how, disdaining all earth could give,
He would have taught men from wisdom’s pages
The way to live.
And tell how, trampled, derided, hated,
And worn by weakness, disease, and wrong,
He fled for shelter to God, who mated
His soul with song :
.With song that alway, sublime or vapid,
Flowed like a rill in the morning beam ;
Perchance not deep, but intense and rapid,
A mountain stream !
Tell how this nameless, condemned for years long
To herd with demons from hell beneath,
Saw things that made him, with groans and tears, long
For even death.
Go on to tell how, with genius wasted,
Betrayed in friendship, befooled in love,
With spirit shipwrecked, and young hopes blasted,
He still, still strove,
Till, spent with toil, dreeing death for others,
And some whose hands should have wrought for him,
(If children live not for sires and mothers,)
His mind grew dim,
And he fell far thro’ the pit abysmal,
The gulf and grave of Maginn and Burns,
And pawned his soul for the devil’s dismal
Stock of returns ;
But yet redeemed it in days of darkness,
And shapes and signs of the final wrath,
When death, in hideous and ghastly starkness,
Stood on his path.
And tell how now, amid wreck, and sorrow,
And want, and sickness, and houseless nights,
He bides in calmness the silent morrow
That no ray lights.
And lives he still, then ? Yes, old and hoary
At thirty-nine, from despair and woe,
He lives, enduring what future story
Will never know.
Him grant a grave to, ye pitying noble !
Deep in your bosoms, there let him dwell :
He, too, had tears for all souls in trouble
Here, and in hell. 
While everybody recognizes the pathos and manliness of what Burns pleads in behalf of his projected self, this far more wonderful elegy, based on the same remorse, is forgotten. When Mangan cries, only too autobiographically,
“And he fell far thro’ the pit abysmal, 

The gulf and grave of Maginn and Burns,”

he lends us an incidental glimpse of two forerunners to whom he was attached. The mention of Maginn has unique historic interest ; for he exercised on Mangan’s genius a pronounced though superficial influence. It seems ironical to recall to the present generation of readers the Sir Morgan Odoherty of Blackwood’s, the star of Fraser’s and the Noctes, now cinis et manes et fabula— the joyous, the learned, the amazing William Maginn, LL. D., who, because he reaped a temporal reward as an unsurpassed writer for magazines, has all but perished from the heaven of remembered literature. The coupling of his truly illustrious name with that of Burns was, at the given date, obvious. It is not likely that Mangan would have spoken of the ultimate blight of Maginn’s great powers while he lived ; and the allusion in the poem itself to the age of the author (thirty-nine), would tend to fix its composition in the year of Maginn’s death, 1842. Profound feeling, as of a personal loss, premonition, as if called forth by the fate of one familiarly known, hang over these rushing strophes, written as they are in the third person, and free from extraneous events. It is clear that Mangan had an enthusiasm for Maginn, hitherto unnoted. His commentary in the Anthologia Germanica, in the Litteræ Orientales, and in all the rather imitative raillery of his Dublin University Magazine work, with its officious instructive footnotes, testifies how genuine it was. And the midsummer news from Walton-on-Thames, which struck home to many who loved “learning lightly worn,” and who grieved for might put to no immortal use, hurt also the quiet clerkly figure on the library ladders of Trinity, and added a pang to his opinion of himself. Maginn’s is the only influence discernible in Mangan’s prose ; his poetry, even prior to the time when his style was formed, is aloof, to a remarkable degree, from known fashions. Once, indeed, he seems to have assimilated and forgotten a note of the “pausing harp” of 1797. We are told of the knight who won “the bright and beauteous Genevieve” that so soon as the story faltered on his lips he

“Disturbed her soul with pity.”

“The song of the tree that the saw sawed thro’,” says Mangan, after Coleridge,

“Disturbed my spirit with pity,

Began to subdue

My spirit with tenderest pity !”

But Mangan’s echoes are so rare that they amount to phenomena.

It was always said of him, even as a boy, that he could not tolerate direction in his reading. Of whatever other comfort he was bereft, he seems to have owned books, and his taste was solely for the best of them. Browsing habitually among the stalls of the Four Courts, he grew to an intimacy with the fathers of English literature ; nor was his choice of contemporaries less interesting. He fell down before Godwin’s St. Leon, when, if we may judge by a phrase in the mouth of one of Mangan’s fictitious characters, he went to sleep over Sir Walter’s bugle-cries. And he admired (may he be forgiven these vagaries) Mr. Rogers. But we find him quoting Balzac, Charles Lamb, and the young Tennyson, and affectionately addressing a friend who sought to uplift him as

“Thou endowed with all of Shelley’s soul,”

at a time when “Shelley’s soul” was still rated below par by the sagacious world which had not known him. Mangan thought, however, that there was “a cloud on Shelley’s character.” It is pleasant to think of the small blond sprite of 1811 tripping in and out of the Derby Square school, who may have looked more than once on Shelley’s boyish self, as he went crusading with Harriet through the streets. For whatever Mangan saw or heard, it was from his own contracted orbit at home. He was acquainted with his Dublin

“As the tanned galley-slave is with his oar,”

and he was never out of it.

Mangan had some theoretical knowledge of painting and of music ; he took deeper interest in Paracelsus and Lavater than in the professors of more practical sciences than theirs. Deep as was his hope for the welfare of all humanity, he could not be accredited with anything so local and gross as a political opinion, even in the seething times of O’Connell. But he proved, when the crisis came, that his heart was with the Young Ireland party, with the purest and maddest ideal that ever dawned upon his troubled motherland. He very generously stole out of his privacy to support it with a pledge, sending in one resplendent recruit, the Irish National Hymn, to represent him in the ranks, and, later, supplementing it with a popular song perfect in its kind, A Highway for Freedom. This unsuspected enthusiasm in one apart from the common concerns of men had a distinctive moral beauty. So Thoreau, wedded to growing leaves and the golden hues of a squirrel’s eye, stood forth from his happy woods, and spoke promptly and aloud in the ear of scandalized New England for John Brown. Mangan, like Cowley, like Southey and Coleridge, had a sort of yearning for what he is pleased to call
“The dædal Amazon,

And the glorious O´hi-o´,”

and, like Byron, he pays a lofty compliment to “the single soul of Washington ;” but the notion of his actually taking passage to Washington’s open-doored republic must have been absurd even to himself. In fact, he never struck at anything, nor “put it to the touch,” for the major reason suggested by the cavalier poet, that he feared “his fate too much.” His inertia was due mainly, of course, to the Circean drugs, and partially to his constitutional fragility, and a dull submissiveness which he took, perhaps, to be his duty. He was always, at heart, religious. He had extreme charity for everybody but Clarence Mangan. It seems superfluous to say that he made no rebellious clutches at life, had no greed. Thinking once of domestic peace, debts discharged, and acknowledged personal value to a community, Goldsmith sighed in a letter to his brother, “Since I knew what it was to be a man, I have not known these things.” Worldly wisdom is not a gift left in Irish cradles. It was Goldsmith’s instinct, as it was Mangan’s, to hitch his wagon to a star ; and presently to discover, without any change of countenance, that his star had no power of motion, and so to stand, a spectacle for the laughter of men and gods. It is Mangan’s chief negative merit that he was duped and driven to the wall because he had so much faith or altruism. Such weakness, rather than the strength which receives superstitious reverence, is advanced civilization ; and yet it must not be recommended in hornbooks. Civilized Mangan was, — nay, more ; unlike “Goldy,” he might be called “genteel.” About the tight coat and the torn cravat was an aroma as of wilted elegance, a deceptive aroma of what had never been. His manner had great charm ; his voice and smile were winning. It was with a gliding grace, the converse of awkwardness, that he wandered around the journalist offices of Trinity Street, where, after prolonged eclipse, the outcast apparition alighted in the doorway, and heads of curious clerks bobbed up from the desks. If Mangan talked at all, he indulged in a soft, desultory, uncanny soliloquy, when he could do so in the ear of an old friend. “It was easy to perceive that his being was all drowned in the blackest despair. . . . He saw spirits, too, and received unwelcome visits from his dead father, whom he did not love.” In spite of destiny he would be gay. There was nothing in him of the roisterer, but his speech was full of sudden witticisms, sly fooling that drew no blood. The grimmest poem he wrote has its play upon words, at which melancholy game he takes rank with Heine and Thomas Hood, invincibles like himself. “Poor Clarence Mangan, with his queer puns and jokes, and odd little cloak and wonderful hat !” — so a contemporary paints him, not without a handsome reference to the huge inevitable umbrella, “carried like a cotton oriflamme in the most settled weather, and which, when partly covered by his cloak, might easily be mistaken for a Scotch bagpipe.” Never were clothes so married to a personality ; they were as much a part of Mangan as his shining blue eyes, or his quiet, rapid, monk-like step. He had a little brown, caped cloak in which he seemed to have been born ; and the strange, antique, dismaying hat aforesaid, fixed over his silken white hair, is set down to our great satisfaction (in the preface to O’Daly’s Poets of Munster) as broad-leafed, steeple-shaped, and presumably built on the Hudibras model. Stooped but not short, wan, thin, and bright, powdery with dust from the upper shelf, eager to “feel the bumps” on friendly heads, equipped with the scant toga precariously buttoned, the great goggles, and the king-umbrella of Great Britain and Ireland, — such was Mangan ; so ludicrous and so endearing a figure that one wishes him but a thought in Fielding’s brain, lovingly handled in two volumes octavo, and abstracted from the hard vicissitudes of mortality.

His priceless gift expressed itself in fugitive verses given to the Dublin Penny Journal, from 1832 to 1837 ; to the Irish Penny Journal, started in 1840, for which he wrote much ; to the Nation and the United Irishman ; and to the Dublin University Magazine, to which he was faithful, in his intermittent fashion, from its inception in 1833 up to his death, sixteen years later. “Throughout his whole literary life of twenty years,” says his patriot friend Mitchell, “he never published a line in any English periodical or through any English bookseller. He never appeared to be aware that there was a British public to please.” Mangan, modest by nature, had schooled himself to indifference ; no selfish zeal was able to fire him, and he would not have crossed the street to advance his interests. He says roguishly of one of his home-made “German” poets, “Selber’s toploftical disdain of human applause is the only great thing about him except his cloak.” It is just to reflect also that he kept from the agreeable ways of publicity in London, because his feelings and associations were hostile and on the side of his country in her storms fifty years ago. At any rate, he never burned even the permissible candle to Mammon. London, and through her posterity, are the losers ; there would have been no doubt of his welcome.

Miserable as Mangan was, he had “content surpassing wealth” in his art. On this subject, as on all that touch him nearly, he is dumb. We know very little of his literary habits, save that he wrote fitfully, and often failed, in his earlier years, to get a farthing’s pay. He apologizes for gaps in his various Anthologiæ, — once by pleading that he had mislaid the last leaves of his manuscript, again by saying that he had not of late found a peaceful hour in which to resume his task. His work, at its worst, has the faults inseparable from the conditions under which it was wrought : it is stumbling, pert, diffuse, distraught. He had in full that racial luxuriance and fluency which, wonderful to see in its happier action, tend always to carry a poet off his feet, and wash him into the deep seas of slovenliness. Mangan’s scholarship, painfully, intermittently acquired, never distilled itself into him, to react imperiously on all he wrote. Again, his mental strength, crowded back from the highways of literature, wreaked itself in feats not the worthiest : in the taming of unheard-of metres, in illegal decoration of other men’s fabrics, in orthopoeic and homonymic freaks of all kinds, not to be matched since the Middle Ages. It cannot be said of him, in the full sense, as Hannay says of Poe, that “he never profaned his genius, whatsoever else he profaned.” Mangan’s work, if the moral test be applied to it, is exceedingly immaculate ; but much of it is mockingly insincere. The alloy of poverty and humiliation gets into it, and gives it an underbred air. “Hippocrene may be inexhaustible,” he says quaintly, and on another topic, “but it flows up to us through a pump.” Did ever Virgilian perfection spring from a poet hurried and ill-fed ? The marvel, burning the dross away, is the spirit of victory in Mangan which often and utterly surmounts the most appalling obstacles known to the mind of man. At his best he is astonishingly original and modern ; and he is cosmopolitan, after the manner of the Irish, who have the wit to be, at call,

“like almost anything,

Or a yellow albatross !”

His mind is liberal and impassioned, full of the willful strength which repels discipline. His wild excellence looks best confronted with the sweet and adroit lays of his townsman and contemporary, Thomas Moore ; these two stand asunder at the poles of the lyric world. Surprisingly slight as is the body of Mangan’s poetry hitherto printed as his own, he shows in it considerable inequality. It is hard to believe that the Hellenic strophes of Enthusiasm, whose opening invocation Clough might have penned, —

“Not yet trodden under wholly,

Not yet darkened,

O my spirit’s flickering lamp, art thou !”

belong to the same source as the guffaw-like postlude to the Broken-Hearted Song. But Mangan must have his range : awful when he draws himself up to the Karamanian attitude, —
“I was mild as milk till then,
I was soft as silk till then ;
Now my breast is like a den,
Karaman !
Foul with blood and bones of men,
Karaman !
With blood and bones of slaughtered men,
Karaman, O Karaman !”
and when he touches Ireland and the peasants’ famine-year, in
“Understand your position,
Remember your mission,
And vacillate not
Whatsoever ensue,” 
either so altered, so shrunken, that his own dog would not know him, or else belied altogether by the attributing of his name to political drivel entirely foreign both to his intellect and his character. Mitchell, who had unerring literary acumen, detected in Mangan the conflict of “deepest pathos and a sort of fictitious jollity.” At times, he says, the poet breaks into would-be humor, “not merry and hearty fun, but rather grotesque, bitter, Fescennine buffoonery, which leaves an unpleasant impression, as if he were grimly sneering at himself and all the world, purposely spoiling and marring the effect of fine poetry by turning it into burlesque, and showing how meanly he regarded everything, even his art, wherein he lived and had his being, when he compared his own exalted ideas of art and life with the littleness of all his experiences and performances.” The painful mummery of some pages (of which, it is but fair to recall, their author had never the revision, and which should not have been, nor should be, reprinted) is not representative of anything but the mauvaise honte that comes at intervals over Mangan, and stands between him and his angel,

“When the angel says, ‘Write.'”

He was not uncritical. He likened his genius to “a mountain stream,” and no analysis could be better, on the whole. His home is on untrodden highlands, in rough, precipitous places, where only the Munster shepherd-boys pass with their flocks, and drink of the strangely gushing water, and dream not but that all water tastes the same the wide world over.

Mangan had not been given his title to the Erin of song for nothing. He atoned to the ancestral tongue he could neither speak nor understand by making it articulate in the hearing of the invader. It is folly to speak of him as a strictly successful translator ; in power of interpretation he must yield to Sir Samuel Ferguson. But he ran into twilight fields of his own, as was his wont, and dedicated exquisite work, albeit a trifle schismatical, to the ancient literature of his country. Several Gaelic scholars furnished him, toward the end of his life, with literal drafts of the many ballads he was to render ; and within these outlines he built up structures altogether glorious, and not unfaithful to their first design. There is a breathless grandeur in his chanting of the Hymn of St. Patrick, At Tarah To-Day, the manuscript of which, still preserved at Trinity College, is proved by Dr. Petrie to be thirteen hundred years old. It was with such magnificent deep-mouthed apostrophes that Mangan was best fitted to cope. He was able to try them again in a translation sacred to war as the other to Christian peace, O’Hussey’s Ode to the Maguire : rude heroic strophes bursting from the heart of the last hereditary bard of the great sept of Fermanagh as late as the reign of Charles I., while the courtly lyres of England were tinkling a cannon shot away. Precisely as good as these, in its province, is the inimitable sarcastic rattle of The Woman of Three Cows. But Mangan’s happiest witchwork is in My Dark Rosaleen. This was written by a worthy contemporary of Shakespeare’s, an unknown minstrel of the Tyrconnel chief Hugh the Red O’Donnell, who put upon the lips of his lord, as addressed to Ireland, the love-name of Roisin Dubh, the Black-Haired Little Rose. More exact versions of this symbolic masterpiece have since been made, but the stormy beauty of Mangan’s lines does away with considerations of law and order. From an extract such as “Over hills and hollows I have traveled for you, Roisin Dubh ! and crossed Loch Erne in a strong wind, . . . but the mountains shall be valleys and the rivers flowing backward before I shall let harm befall my Roisin Dubh,” the poet draws the second, fifth, and last stanzas of seven, one of these being all but a pure gratuity, like a foam-ball on the stream : —

“Over hill[s] and thro’ dales

Have I roamed for your sake !

All yesterday I sailed with sails

On river and on lake.

The Erne at its highest flood

I dashed across unseen,

For there was lightning in my blood,

My Dark Rosaleen !

My own Rosaleen !

O there was lightning in my blood,

Red lightning lightened thro’ my blood,

My Dark Rosaleen !

.         .         .         .         .         .         .         .

“Over dews, over sands,

Will I fly for your weal ;

Your holy delicate white hands

Shall girdle me with steel.

At home in your emerald bowers

From morning’s dawn till e’en,

You’ll pray for me, my flower of flowers,

My Dark Rosaleen !

My fond Rosaleen !

You’ll think of me thro’ Daylight’s hours,

My virgin flower, my flower of flowers,

My Dark Rosaleen !

.         .         .         .         .         .         .         .

“O the Erne shall run red

With redundance of blood,

The earth shall rock beneath our tread,

And flames wrap hill and wood,

And gun-peal and slogan-cry

Wake many a glen serene,

Ere you shall fade, ere you shall die,

My Dark Rosaleen !

My own Rosaleen !

The Judgment Hour must first be nigh,

Ere you can fade, ere you can die,

My Dark Rosaleen !”

What passionate, inebriating thought and sound even these fragments hold ! The manner is all Mangan’s ; its noteworthiest feature being the recurrence of words and lines for which Roisin Dubh gives no warrant, and to whose examination we shall return when we come to speak of Poe.

The only book published by Mangan during his life was the Anthologia Germanica, which, having run its course in a magazine, was printed, without its prose passages, in 1845 (it is said at Sir Charles Gavan Duffy’s expense). Whatever reputation Mangan has rests upon it, and it is sometimes praised far beyond its deserts. His diction, here as elsewhere, is simple, emotional, choice ; it is easy to number instances of extremely skillful rendition. But these German poems, being what the Irish ones are not, the children of conventional art, suffer more from Mangan’s swervings and strayings. He treats his great victims pretty much as Burns, with every justification, treats the floating Scotch ballads : he adjusts, he reverses, he interfuses, his old material with a fresh quality. If he fails to confess, with the Sir E— B— L— of Bon Gaultier,

“I’ve hawked at Schiller on his lyric throne,

And given the astonished bard a meaning all my own,”

at least he can well be pardoned for his all too generous doings ; for Mangan seldom detracts from the Muse he professes to follow ; his unfaithfulness is in quite another category. The single fact of his having transformed the hard-hearted Kunegund of The Ride around the Parapet into the Lady Eleanora von Alleyne, trumpeting her to and fro with splendid repetitions, is indicative enough of his prodigal habit. Mangan takes under protest, though his endeavor is always to make you think him a great assimilator and economist ; but he is a prodigious giver. He hates the niggardly hand, like Horace, and he cares not a straw how much of himself he throws away at his game of setting up a poet in whom he has no special interest, and who often is his inferior. The best known and certainly the loveliest of his shorter German translations is Rückert’s ghazel, Und Dann Nicht Mehr.


I saw her once, one little while, and then no more :
‘T was Eden’s light on Earth awhile, and then no more.
Amid the throng she passed along the meadow-floor ;
Spring seemed to smile on Earth awhile, and then no more.
But whence she came, which way she went, what garb she wore,
I noted not ; I gazed awhile, and then no more.

I saw her once, one little while, and then no more :
‘T was Paradise on Earth awhile, and then no more.
Ah ! what avail my vigils pale, my magic lore ?
She shone before mine eyes awhile, and then no more.
The shallop of my peace is wrecked on Beauty’s shore ;
Near Hope’s fair isle it rode awhile, and then no more.

I saw her once, one little while, and then no more :
Earth looked like heaven a little while, and then no more.
Her presence thrilled and lighted to its inner core
My desert breast a little while, and then no more.
So may, perchance, a meteor glance at midnight o’er
Some ruined pile a little while, and then no more.

I saw her once, one little while, and then no more :
The earth was peri-land awhile, and then no more.
Oh, might I see but once again, as once before,
Thro’ chance or wile, that shape awhile, and then no more,
Death soon would heal my grief ; this heart, now sad and sore,
Would beat anew a little while, and then no more. 

Even here, where he keeps physically rather close to his pensive model, he adds metaphor after metaphor, many a lyrical wail, and a heart-stopping pathos all unwarranted and new ; he seems to blight and then revivify almost everything he touches. Scores of times, as in Wetzel’s Sehnsucht, itself very like Mignon’s immortal song of the far-off land and of the spiritual longing to turn thither, Mangan deliberately improvises on his theme, as if he would say, “See how I would have done it, more Mangano !” He matches Wetzel’s graceful eight lines with twenty-five of his own,  melodiously overlapping, and of extraordinary sweetness, in which

“Morn and eve a star invites me,

One imploring silver star,

Wooes me, calls me, lures me, lights me,”

with a divine persistence as far as the “imploring star” itself from good Wetzel’s imagination.  

The truth is, Clarence Mangan is no translator at all. He is dominated by his own genuine and splendid force, which throve under evil conditions, and had no clear outlet ; and he cannot contain the ebullition of his natural speech even in the majestic presence of Goethe. His mind is not pliable, not uniformly “at your service, sir ;” he can give an able and courteous coöperation only when the demigod chances to agree with his native fire. The most striking internal evidence that he had not in him the first instinct of the translator is that he seems aware of the existence of Heine, whose abrupt beauty he was curiously well fitted to convey into English, only to appraise him as “darkly diabolical,” and to touch severely on his “melancholy misdirection of glorious faculties.” As it was, he wasted on the dreams of anybody else the time he was forbidden to devote to the inspirations of his own brain. It was Mangan’s misfortune, his punishment also, that with the early loss of enthusiasm, and “that true tranquil perception of the beautiful,” which, as he himself feelingly says of an elder writer, “a life led according to the rules of the divine law alone can confer on man,” there came an autumnal decadence ; a sinking from the exercise of the creative faculty to that of the critical ; a relinquishment of the highest intellectual mood, which was his birthright, for that of the spectator, the sceptic, the jaded philosopher. He recanted his belief in his own powers, and having done that he held a false but consistent way. The things he did in literature have the look of accidents and commentaries, as he wished ; the pride of his whole shadowed career was to figure in a mask beneath him. In such a spirit of evasion he took to his inexplicable trade of translating ; accepting a suggestion and scornfully elaborating it, or ironically referring to the gardens of Ispahan his own roses, whose color seemed too startling for the banks of the Liffey.

The question of his Oriental “translations” is of absorbing interest. He is not known to lovers of literature, because he played tricks masterly as any of Chatterton’s, and because, unfortunately for the vindication of his genius, his tricks have never been discovered and explained, — they have been merely suspected ; and the lazy few who have written of him since he died have left it to be inferred that he was more of a savant and less of an organic force than he was. His obliging labor of transposing the Welsh, Danish, Frisian, Swedish, Russian, and Bohemian (for he solemnly pretends to deal in all these) is pure trickery. If Mangan had had the linguistic requirements of his adored Maginn and of Father Prout, he would have rivaled their gigantic jokes on the gentle reader. Latin and three of the current European tongues he knew, and he quoted Greek, possibly at first hand ; he goes out of his way to bear witness that English is nobler than them all ; but it seems clear that he was no better versed in the Oriental languages and their dialects than in Gaelic. The Schlegels, Herder, Rückert, and others whom he read were full of Arabic and Persian influences, obvious or occult. During the earlier half of the century the eyes of scholars were turned often enough to the East ; by 1830 there was enough of it in German and English letters, enough even in the spurious bulbuls of Lalla Rookh, to supply a man of nimble apprehension like Mangan, “sagacious of his quarry from afar,” with visions of his own. He expressly states somewhere that he dislikes the Orientals for their mysticism ! Meanwhile, on a fine musical principle, he approximates them, he has sympathies with them. He has all the sense of awe and horror, the joy in action and the memory of action, the bright fatalism, of a Mussulman. Whenever he puts on a turban, natural to him as the himation to Keats, mischief is afoot. He does not only invent his Ottoman ; he invents a Teuton, in one instance, to be his Ottoman’s sponsor. In 1845, in the pages of the Dublin University Magazine, “J. C. M.” bursts into the wild and moving measures of The Last Words of Al Hassan. He remarks that he found it in Wolff’s Hausschatz, “the repertory of an incredible quantity of middling poetry ;” and he adds that it was composed by “one Heyden, a name unfamiliar to our ears.” Now there is no Heyden indexed or otherwise represented in Wolff’s Hausschatz. Mark the artful depreciation of the German volume, meant, perhaps, to fright a possible speculator in Manganese. “Translation ‘s so feasible !” he exclaims in a passage of unusual jollity, wherein he blames other bards who do not dedicate themselves, for the hungry public’s sake, to that excellent diversion. Lamb himself had no more fun out of Ritson and John Scott the Quaker than Mangan has out of his poem by Selber, with notes by Dr. Berri Abel Hummer ! The nomenclature of some of his puppets is quite too daring ; Berri Abel is bad enough, but Baugtrauter is notorious. Even Where ‘s My Money ? (his only humorous poem which is really a success, really not to be spared) he gives away with a flourish to one Franz Freiherr Gaudy. He declared continually that his “translations” were not rigidly faithful, or he refused altogether to gratify the curiosity of his audience. “It is the course that liberal feeling dictates,” he says, with a strict humor worthy of Newman, “to let them suppose what they like.” And all the time he is enriching them and cheating himself ; adorning the annals of reversed forgery, and cutting off from the circulation of his mother-tongue some of the most original accents of the century. He took tremendous delight in throwing dust in the eyes of devoted Dublin. It is obviously within reason that in Mangan’s soaring stanzas dedicated to the Ingleeze Khafir, Djaun Bool Djenkinzun, the dear and dunder-headed gentleman addressed might miss the point altogether. It would not be so conceivable that he hoodwinked also the Trinity Fellows at his elbow were it not for two considerations. In the first place, nobody was especially well acquainted with him ; he was essentially intangible ; none could affirm with authority that he had but one coat in his wardrobe, or where and how he kept his distressing relatives, so none could track his elusive mental habits, and say, “This knowledge, and not that, has he acquired.” Again, specialists do not grow on every bush, even at Trinity. The names of authors whom he cited, Baba Khodjee, Selim-il-Anagh, Mustafa Reezah (may their tribe decrease !), were not illuminating. He attributes one strain to a sixteenth-century Zirbayeh, another to Lameejah, a third to a phonetic nightingale called Waheedi ; he abstracts from a manuscript in possession of the queen of Transoxiana one of the loveliest of his songs, and fathers it upon Al Makeenah, a fighting bard of his fancy. Once he was brought to task for concealing himself under the cloak of Hafiz ; whereupon he replied that a critic with half an eye could discern that the verses were only Hafiz ! His custom was to let Hafiz alone, with Saadi and Omar, these being persons somewhat familiar to the general. The poets he courts are more preciously private to himself then ever Cyril Tourneur was, some years ago, to the elect. The attention of a competent Orientalist may never have been drawn to specifications which would at once throw the unwary off the trail ; but it is likely that they passed with modest minor scholars who would have suspected anybody of this roguery sooner than spectral little spectacled Mangan.

It is as a son of the Prophet that he claims full applause. Al Hassan is more than equaled by The Wail and Warning of the Three Khalendeers, once

“full of health and heart

Upon the foamy Bosphorus,”

by The Time of the Barmecides, The Howling Song of Al Mohara, and others, drawn, like these, from the impossible “Persian,” which escaped the vigilance of Mitchell, a man of many affairs, and which are yet to be found scattered up and down the capital-lettered yellow pages of extinct provincial journals. This Howling Song has a consummate vehemence.

My heart is as a house of groans
From dusky eve to dawning gray ;
(Allah, Allah hu !¹)
The glazed flesh on my staring bones
Grows black and blacker with decay.
(Allah, Allah hu !)
Yet am I none whom Death may slay ;
I am spared to suffer and to warn ;
(Allah, Allah hu !)
My lashless eyes are parched to horn 
With weeping for my sin alway ;
(Allah, Allah hu !)
For blood, hot blood that no man sees,
The blood of one I slew,
Burns on my hands : I cry therefóre,
All night long, on my knees,
Allah, Allah hu !
Because I slew him over wine,
Because I struck him down at night,
(Allah, Allah hu !)
Because he died and made no sign,
His blood is always in my sight ;
(Allah, Allah hu !)
Because I raised my arm to smite
While the foul cup was at his lips,
(Allah, Allah hu !)
Because I wrought his soul’s eclipse
He comes between me and the light ;
(Allah, Allah hu !)
His is the form my terror sees,
The sinner that I slew ;
My rending cry is still therefóre,
All night long, on my knees,
Allah, Allah hu !
[¹ O God, O God most high !]
Under the all-just heaven’s expanse
There is for me no resting-spot ;
(Allah, Allah hu !)
I dread man’s vengeful countenance,
The smiles of woman win me not.
(Allah, Allah hu !) 
I wander among graves where rot
The carcasses of leprous men,
(Allah, Allah hu !)
I house me in the dragon’s den
Till evening darkens grove and grot.
(Allah, Allah hu !)
But bootless all : Who penance drees
Must dree it his life thro’ ;
My heart-wrung cry is still therefóre
All night long, on my knees,
Allah, Allah hu !
The silks that swathe my hall-deewan ¹
Are damascened with moons of gold ;
(Allah, Allah hu !)
Musk-roses from my gulistan ²
Fill vases of Egyptian mould ;
(Allah, Allah hu !)
The Koran’s treasures lie unrolled
Near where my radiant night-lamp burns ;
(Allah, Allah hu !)
Around me rows of silver urns
Perfume the air with odors old.
(Allah, Allah hu !)
But what avail these luxuries ?
The blood of him I slew
Burns red on all : I cry therefóre
All night long, on my knees,
Allah, Allah hu !
Can sultans, can the guilty rich
Purchase with mines and thrones a draught,
(Allah, Allah hu !)
From that Nutulian ³ fount from which 
The conscience-tortured whilom quaffed ?
(Allah, Allah hu !)
Vain dream ! Power, glory, riches, craft,
Prove magnets for the sword of wrath,
(Allah, Allah hu !)
Thorn-plant man’s last and lampless path,
And barb the slaying angel’s shaft ;
(Allah, Allah hu !)
O the blood-guilty ever sees
But sights that make him rue,
As I do now, and cry therefóre
All night long, on my knees,
Allah, Allah hu !
[¹ Sofa or seat along the side of a room.

² Rose-garden.                  ³ Lethean.]

Mangan’s other Eastern fictions, like some of his Western ones, deal usually with a mood of reminiscence and regret, and they have the arch and poignant pathos in which English song is not rich. The mournful music of days gone by, the light tinging a present cloud from the absent sun, are everywhere in Mangan’s world. He looks back forever, not with moping, but with a certain shrewd sense of triumph and heartiness. He embraces the tragical to-day, like Pascal’s crushed and thinking reed of mankind, parcequ’il sait qu’il meurt, et l’avantage que l’univers a sur lui : l’univers n’en sait rien. He delivers a lament as if it were a cheer ; in his strange temperament they blend in one. It is clear to posterity that this looking back on rosy hours is a sham, a poet’s license. What idyllic yesterday cradled and reared so ill adventured a soul ? Out of his imagination his “rich Bagdad” never existed ; though it be cherished there as only the solitary and disregarded intelligence can cherish its ideal, he is lord of it yet, and can bid it vanish, porch, turret, gallery, and dome, at one imperious gesture of relinquishment. Down tumbles Bagdad ! — the sound thereof is in the public ears ; and who will refuse to believe that there was a Clarence Mangan who knew something of the blessed Orient, — something, too, of felicity, even though it passed ? With his provoking banter, in April of 1840, he calls attention in a magazine to The Time of the Barmecides, which he had given to the same pages precisely a year before, and which he had bettered infinitely, meanwhile, by a few discreet touches. Starting off with a motto (obviously of his own manufacture), that

“There runs thro’ all the dells of time

No stream like Youth again,”

he proceeds to explain the second appearance of his favored lyric. “It was published some months back, but in such suspicious company that it probably remained unread, except by the few, very few persons who have always believed us too honorable to attempt imposing on or mystifying the public. We now, therefore, take the liberty of reintroducing the poem to general notice, embellished with improvements, merely premising that if any lady or gentleman wishes to have a copy of the original (or indeed of any original of our oversettings), we are quite ready to come forward and treat : terms cash, except to young ladies.” With talk of transparent nonsense, Mangan attempts to parry his rightful praise. He would have us think that to his laborious searching and transcribing, “with the help,” as he says, of “punch and patience,” we are indebted for the existence of his finest work. But the punch is direct from Castaly’s well, and the patience covers the rapturous drudgery known to all true art. What held him back from acknowledging his own homespun glories was a trait both of shyness and of perversity. He must have been conscious that his rhythms were nothing short of innovations. Nearly everything which bears his name has a voluptuous dance-measure which no one had written before, — a beauty so novel and compelling that a full recognition of it from outsiders would have subjected Mangan, ultimately, to a process very like lionizing. With characteristic shirking, and with an awkward inability to “face,” literally, his own music, he sealed his charter of merit to his supposititious ancients and aliens. We, the perspicacious readers of another generation, are to consider it less likely that in one poet was a voice of such individuality that it breaks forth through a hundred disguises than that bards resident through the ages in the four zones, Jew and Gentile,

“Bold Plutarch, Neptune, and Nicodemus,”

are the co-heirs of the selfsame astonishing style ! Wits were at work on him, even as on a rebus, long before he died. Some anonymous person, aware of a new sound when he heard it, addressed to him an apostrophe not utterly flat, since it shows that the sagacious race of mousers abides always and everywhere, and that, according to a metaphysical truism, no one can deceive at all : —

“Various and curious are thy strains, O Clarence Mangan,

Rhyming and chiming in a very odd way ;

Rhyming and chiming ! and the like of them no man can

Easily find in a long summer’s day.”

The refrain is characteristic, in some shape or other, of all old poetry. It belongs to Judea and Greece, to infant England, to northern France, to the Persianized Germany of Mangan’s study. After a long lapse, it had its first faint perceptible modern use in the peculiar cadence of Coleridge’s stops and keys. The fact that, at divers periods, fashions of thought and speech infect the air is a vindication of many laureled heads ; for it is a theory which pinches nobody. Almost on the same morning, within twenty years of Coleridges’s retirement to Highgate, Mrs. Browning, Mangan, and Edgar Allan Poe were involuntarily conspiring to fix and perpetuate a poetic accident destined to its subtlest and not wholly unforeseen collateral development in Rossetti. Of these, if we would speak technically, where the competition is so close, Mrs. Browning invented and foreshadowed much, but with a light hand. Poe’s ringing of the word-changes is, on the other hand, so bold that any successor who approximates his manner is sure now of instant detection and smiling discouragement. Whatever recalls

“Come, let the burial rite be read,
The funeral song be sung !
An anthem for the queenliest dead
That ever died so young ;
A dirge for her, the doubly dead,
In that she died so young,”

is all very fine, we say, but it will not do ; the thing was done to perfection once ; we must let Poe reign in his own kingdom. Let us have a care lest we are letting Poe reign in Mangan’s kingdom. The unmistakable shibboleth of Poe’s maturer poetry, the employment of sonorous successive lines which cunningly fall short of exact duplication, belongs also to Mangan, in the same degree. There is this passage, for instance, in the reverie of the wayfarer beside the river Mourne, who longs for everlasting rest delayed, and who hears, in answer, a prophetic voice from the martyred tree in the sawmill : —

“‘For this grieve not ; thou knowest what thanks
The weary-souled and the meek owe
To Death !’ I awoke, and I heard four planks
Fall down with a saddening echo, —
I heard four planks
Fall down with a hollow echo !”
Were it not for the imperfect rhyme, any critic would attribute the lines to Poe, both for manner and for perfect mastery of ghastly detail.
It happens that the Muse over in Dublin has the advantage of priority. Poe’s maiden work has not the lovely lyrical tautology which has since been associated with his name. Judging by the pains which he took to dissect the rainbow of his genius in his Philosophy of Composition, he would have us assured that The Raven was his earliest experiment in the values of that repetition which, like a looped ribbon, flutters about the close of so many of his posthumous verses. The Raven was first published in January of 1845 ; it spread like wildfire in America, and reached London the next year. The English parodies of it, which would certify that it was popular and familiar, began in 1853. Ulalume appeared in Colton’s Review, in 1847 ; and it may be considered as the perfect blossom of Poe’s da capo tendencies. Mangan, back in 1839 and 1840, bestowed on heedless air the same emphatic melancholy notes in Night is Nearing, in The Time of the Barmecides, and something not far from them in The Howling Song ; indeed, as this article proves, it is difficult to quote from him at all and not detect the accent associated forever and mistakenly with Ulalume, Lenore, For Annie, and the rest. In the Dublin University Magazine, during the years when Poe was attaining his zenith of success, figure other exemplars of Mangan’s unchanged art : The Time ere the Roses were Blowing, The Wail and Warning, Twenty Golden Years Ago, the rousing Winniger Winehouse, My Dark Rosaleen, and
“The wasted moon has a marvellous look
Amiddle of the starry hordes ;
The heavens, too, shine like a mystic book
All bright with burning words ;
The mists of the dawn begin to dislimn
Zahara’s castles of sand :
Farewell, farewell ! Mine eyes feel dim,
They turn to the lampless land,
‘Llah Hu !
My heart is weary, mine eyes are dim ;
I would rest in the dark, dark land.”
Mrs. Browning and Coleridge are influences aside, when one comes to scrutinize the neck-and-neck achievements of Mangan and Poe. Mr. Joseph Skipsey openly infers that Poe fell across Mangan’s experimental measures during his own editorial and journalistic career. The proposition might have more weight coming from a more cautious pen, yet it is as practicable as a guess need be. The American’s thrift and hardihood, his known accomplishment of buccaneering, beneficent as it came to be in the application, helped him to adopt and bring into notice any reform perishing in obscure hands. So he supplemented the octosyllabic cadences of Lady Geraldine’s Courtship in
“The silken, sad, uncertain rustling of each purple curtain”
with a patrician aggressiveness never to be confounded with common theft. No arraignment of this sort can be brought against poor chivalrous Mangan which would not be a chronological absurdity. He got his phrase once, if not his pace, from Coleridge. That beatific philosopher might have pushed his practice farther ; but he lacked that sensationalism which is a noble ingredient if used sparingly and in season, and of which Mangan and Poe, beyond all doubt, were possessed. But it is not to be forgotten that one of these two lived and died, as it were, in a hole ; that at no time was he in the current of things, or so placed that he could and would scan even the near English horizon. It was the business of the other to sit in a watch-tower
“Where Helicon breaks down
In cliff to the sea.”
Poe, if it may be said respectfully, was what the gypsies call a jinney-mengro : one-who-knows-what-is-up-and-cannot-be-gulled. Under circumstances comparatively kind, from an official chair, and with the bravery which is half the battle, he soberly bequeathed to the soil of English literature a hitherto exotic beauty. But Clarence Mangan, shrinking like the Thane before the supernatural “All hail, Macbeth, that shalt be king hereafter !” is the true founder, nevertheless, of the most picturesque feature in modern verse.
Poe was ever the finer artist ; he had a more steadfast and sumptuous imagination. While he links himself with his immediate English predecessors in The Haunted Palace, The City of the Sea, and the opening of Al Aaraaf, and so falls gracefully into his dynastic place, Mangan has a leaning, far more wayward and unaccountable, sometimes to the whimsical, affectionate temper of Béranger, sometimes to the bare strength of the Elizabethans themselves, as in his line where Fate
“Tolls the disastrous bell of all our years,”
a line as unlike as possible to
.“Helen, thy beauty is to me
Like those Nicean barks of yore.”
He is somewhat addicted to compound words ; and in the rash use of such words as “youthhood,” “gloomsomely,” and “aptliest” he makes straight for the pitfalls dug for the radiant intelligence of Mrs. Browning. Poe is too “dainty, airy, amber-bright,” for sophomoric blunders, for wretched puns, for breathless haste, for dactyls maimed and scarred in the wars. He never makes Mangan’s lunges ; his every cæsural pause is fixed by conclave of the Muses. And there is over all his entrancing work an air of incomparable self-attentiveness, a touch of satisfied nicety.
The two Celts had much, very much, in common ; Poe’s Attic taste and training are responsible for most of the difference. To affirm of him, as has often been done, that he worshiped beauty with his whole soul ; that he loved the occult sciences, the phrenologists, and the old mystics ; that his existence was but an affecting struggle with the adversaries of darkness ; even that he was of frail physique, his forehead high and pale, the lower part of his face sensitive and dejected, — in writing thus of Poe one describes Mangan equally well. They had kindred dreams ; they had the same ascetic sense of humor ; they were haunted by the same “dishonor of the grave;” they died, under almost identical circumstances of pain and mystery, in the same year. In the moral contrast it is the Irish poet who gains. Poe, with his manifold gifts (if we may pervert the terms of a theological thesis not “defended or oppugned, or both, at Leipsic or Göttingen”), was, “of the highest order of the seraphim illuminati who sneer.” He nursed grudges and hungered for homage ; he was seldom so happy as in a thriving quarrel. Mangan, as proud at heart, was a pattern of gratitude and deference, and left the force and virginal sweetness of his art to prosper or perish, as Heaven should please.
In 1803, the year of Mangan’s birth, Mrs. Hemans printed her first verses, and Moore, already a popular young minstrel, was commissioned to be Admiralty Register at Bermuda. The Lyrical Ballads had sunk, softly as a snowflake, into the earth one twelvemonth before. Mangan’s early youth was the flowering-time of Keats, Shelley, and Byron ; and he was writing for penny journals while the new minor notes, Hood’s, Praed’s, Moore’s, were filling the air. He died, not companionless, with Emily Brontë, Hartley Coleridge, and Thomas Lovell Beddoes, in 1849 : three souls of lavish promise, defrauded and unfulfilled like his own, yet happier than he, inasmuch as they have had since many liegemen and rememberers. He stands withdrawn in the violet shadow of the Wicklow hills all through the gathering thunder of revolutions abroad and the near and mighty wind of Tractarianism. If he should ever come forward, it will be with his own whimsical, misgiving manner, and with questions pathetically irrelevant, as of one whom the fairies had led astray.
“O sayest thou the soul shall climb
The magic mount she trod of old,
Ere childhood’s time ?”
It may be the solemn privilege of a daring editor, some auspicious day, to illustrate this not irrecoverable name in an anthology ; or, better yet, to gather a full volume from the scattered files of Dublin journalism, which shall supplant Mitchell’s necessarily hurried and haphazard labor. May that not impossible editor have the gallantry to repeat, in introducing Clarence Mangan, the words with which Schumann prefaced a review of the young Chopin : “Hats off, gentlemen : a Genius !”


Imogen Guiney.




Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

A Schiller sequence of Mangan

Of these four lyrical poems —chosen from among the many that Clarence Mangan translated from the German of Schiller— the first treats of Confucian themes ; the second speaks of philosophy’s quiet eloquence ; the third represents Life as a raree-show to Youth (i. e. a peep-show or camera obscura of the period circa 1790) ; and the fourth poem offers three riddles (the present Editor has provided the answers at the very foot of this post, and Mangan’s own general notes are included interstitially among the verses as they appeared in The Dublin University Magazine in 1838). ~Q~


++The Course of Time

Dreyfach ist der Schritt der Zeit :

Time is threefold— triple— three ;
+First— and Midst— and Last ;
Was— and Is— and Yet-To-Be ;—
+Future— Present— Past.

Lightning-swift, the Is is gone—
The Yet-To-Be crawls with a snakelike slowness on ;
Still stands the Was for aye ; its goal is won.

No fierce impatience, no entreating,
+Can spur or wing the tardy Tarrier :
+No strength, no skill, can rear a barrier
Between departure and the Fleeting :
No prayers, no tears, no magic spell,
Can ever move the Immovable.

Wouldst thou, fortunate and sage,
Terminate Life’s Pilgrimage ?
Wouldst thou quit this mundane stage
Better, happier, worthier, wiser ?
Then, whate’er thine aim and end,
Take, O, Youth, for thine adviser,
Not thy working-mate, The Slow ;
O, make not The Vanishing thy friend,
Or The Permanent thy foe !

The following is less lofty.

+++++Breadth and Depth.

++++++++++Es glänzen Viele in der Welt.
++++Gentry there be who don’t figure in History ;
+++++Yet they are clever, too— deucèdly !—
++++All that is puzzling, all tissues of mystery
+++++They will unravel you lucidly.
Hear their oracular dicta but thrown out,
You’d fancy these Wise Men of Gotham must find the Philosophers’
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++Stone out !


++++Yet they quit Earth without signal and voicelessly ;
+++++All their existence was vanity.
++++He seldom speaks— he deports himself noiselessly
+++++Who would enlighten Humanity :
Lone, unbeheld, he by slow, but incessant
Exertion, extracts for the Future the pith of the Past and the Present.


++++Look at yon tree, spreading like a pavilion ! See
+++++How it shines, shadows and flourishes !
++++Not in its leaves, though all odour and brilliancy,
+++++Seek we the sweet fruit that nourishes.
No ! a dark prison encloses the kernel
Whence shoots with round bole and broad boughs the green giant whose
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++youth looks eternal !


+The last stanza is very German. Schiller compares the showy talkative man to a leaf-tree, and the plain, thoughtful, practical man to a fruit-tree. Good : but it happens that a tree with fruit is showier than a tree with merely leaves : so far, therefore, the comparison fails. Then, the connection that subsists between the final couplet and the quatrain that precedes it is not clear. You need not look for fruit among the leaves of that fine tree yonder, quoth the poet, because the whole tree springs from an insignificant kernel. How, we should like to know, is the superiority of a peach-tree to a beech-tree illustrated by the fact that an oak proceeds from an acorn ?

+Forgive us, gentlest shade ! Perhaps it is in our own brains that the muddlement lies, this balmy, sleepy, June afternoon. We are again an experimentalist upon thine Iambics.


+++++The Game of Life.

+Wollt ihr in meinen Kasten sehn ?

Who’s for my Box ? Who’ll have a peep at
++The Game of Life, the World in Miniature ?
++Come, youths and maidens ! come, look in at your
Ease ! Nought’s to pay— a price ’tis cheap at.
Don’t come too near, though, for you know you
++Would only spoil my necromancy ;
You can’t see anything I shew you
++Save by the light of Hope and Fancy.

Look in ! The matron rocks the sleeping Baby ;
++The Boy bounds o’er the stage, skipping and shouting ;
Then rushes in the Youth, as wild as may be ;
++The Man walks to and fro, half hoping and half doubting.

Every one buckles to his business now,
++Or sacrifices to his ruling passion,
++According to his fortune or his fashion :
See how the smiling Courtier makes his bow !
And listen to the Trifler’s tittle-tattle !
++The stout-limbed Labourer trundles his wheel-barrow ;
++The Husbandman prepares his plough and harrow ;
The General and his troops march forth to battle ;
The Sickling and the Timid stop at home ;
The Rich Man purchases a costly dome ;
The Proud Man falls, and Laughter mocks his fall ;
The Crafty Man makes cat’s-paws of them all !

Apart you see the Virgin and the Wife,
++The one preparing wreaths, the other dinners,
For all who at this bustling Game of Life
++May come off winners.

+While the losers may take their stand with their hurdy-gurdies, at the gates of the feasters’ palaces— highly honored in a nod of approval— richly rewarded by a penny. Asses they were and are. Success is not only a great thing itself, but the sole criterion of another thing not so great— Merit.

+++Had Buonaparte won at Waterloo
++++It had been firmness— now ’tis pertinacity.

+The question, it may be alleged, has its perplexities. So, we reply, has every other. Posers are a drug. Man would appear to be an animal that puzzles and is puzzled. He talks enigmas, he hears enigmas, he sees enigmas, he dreams enigmas, he meets enigmas, he enacts enigmas— and last, not least, he sits down and writes, or else translates

++++  Enigmas.

+Unter allen Schlangen ist Eine.

Of the fiercer snakes there is one,
++Alone on a chartless path—
Outstripped in swiftness by none,
++Unrivalled of any for wrath.

A stunning roar is its hiss—
++Death tracks its desolate course :
It upswallows in one abyss
++The Rider and his Horse.

It winds round the peaky spire
++When throes make the sick earth reel,
For its forkèd tongue of fire
++Is lured by the beamy steel.

‘Twill rive and rend in twain
++The eldest oak of the wood—
In the glance of an eye ’twill drain
++The heart of its warmest blood.

But this monster dies in its birth ;
++A moment bounds its reign :
It visits, to vanish from, Earth ;
++It slays, but, in slaying, is slain !

+Wir stammen, unsrer sechs Geschwister.

We form a strange groupe, six in number,
++The offspring of a wondrous pair ;
The mother all begemmed and sombre,
++The father blithe and debonnair.

When, at the birth of Time, they drest us,
++The last in light, the first in shade,
We bound Creation as a cestus,
++And swore it not to fail or fade.

We fear and flee the Drear and Gloomy ;
++It is our banner which, unfurled,
Makes jewel bright and flowret bloomy,
++And vivifies the living world.

We lead along the Car of Summer ;
++We marshal yellow Autumn’s hours,
Nor fly till Winter, the Benumber
++And Darkener, tramples down our bowers.

Wherever Splendor greets the gazer,
++Where Beauty smiles, there we are seen ;
And, let his rank exalt the Kaiser,
++We lend his throne its pomp and sheen.

+Ein Gebäude steht da von uralten Zeiten.

A Fabric was raised in ages of old ;
++No temple— no house— without roof or pier ;
No cavalier of mortal mould
++Shall ride around it in a year.

Centuries have rolled, and still the march
++Of Time and Tempest it proudly braves ;
It stands undecayed under Heaven’s blue arch,
++It soars to the clouds, it rests in the waves.

No idle vanity gave it birth ;
++It shelters and shields— it is useful as grand ;
Its peer is not found on the face of the earth,
++And yet it was raised by the human hand !


[From J. C. Mangan’s Anthologia Germanica, No. XII, The Dublin University Magazine, July 1838]


Solutions to Schiller’s three Enigmas :

1. lightning (der schlängelnde Blitz)

2. The six prismatic colours according to Goethe’s theory : red, violet, orange, yellow, green, blue

3. Schiller gives the answer to this puzzle of an ancient Gebäude (“building, fabricated structure”) as die chinesische Mauer (“the Chinese Wall” – the Great Wall of China)

N. B. In the original set under their German title Parabeln und Räthsel (“Parables and Riddles”) the versified riddles number thirteen, three of them being connected with Turandot, Schiller’s Chinese play translated from the Italian of Gozzi.





Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized


The present poem first appeared in The Dublin University Magazine in June of 1840 as one in James Clarence Mangan’s series of “Stray Leaflets From the German Oak”. Mangan was an admired translator out of various tongues, but had as well earned a reputation for intricate literary hoaxes and a sort of “reverse plagiarism” (what he himself called “the antithesis of plagiarism”, i. e., passing off one’s own writings as the work of another) which he perpetrated complete with invented exotic origins, sly foot-notes and punning pseudonyms. As with many of the assumed Oriental oversettings he made “From the Ottoman” under various noms de plume, the Irish author claimed to have translated verses from the German of a certain poet named “Selber” (Ger. selber, “oneself” ; Ich selber, “myself”). Hood-winked readers were led along page by page with a battery of critical interpretations and a mockery of marginalia :


Nobody can translate Selber to advantage : his peculiar idiosyncrasy unfortunately betrays itself in every line he writes— and there exists, moreover, an evident wish on his part to show the world that he possesses
“A life within himself, to breathe without mankind.”


No evidence ever emerged to confirm that person’s existence, and any act, on Mangan’s part, of “translating” Herr Selber must have only held to Quince’s sense of metamorphosis in Shakespeare : “Thou art translated !”

Be all that as it may, this nostalgic poem breathes a comfortable sort of fireside melancholy, and the mention of the poet Kerner, in a touch of seriocomic rivalry, is significant : Mangan made real English versions of Kerner’s verses for his famous Anthologia Germanica. ~Q~





O, the rain, the weary, dreary rain,
++How it plashes on the window-sill !
Night, I guess too, must be on the wane,
+++Strass and Gass around are grown so still.
Here I sit, with coffee in my cup—
++Ah ! ’twas rarely I beheld it flow
In the taverns where I loved to sup
+++Twenty golden years ago !

Twenty years ago, alas !— but stay,
++On my life, ’tis half-past twelve o’clock !
After all, the hours do slip away—
+++Come, here goes to burn another block !
For the night, or morn, is wet and cold,
++And my fire is dwindling rather low :—
I had fire enough, when young and bold,
+++Twenty golden years ago.

Dear ! I don’t feel well at all, somehow :
++Few in Weimar dream how bad I am ;
Floods of tears grow common with me now,
+++High-Dutch floods, that Reason cannot dam.
Doctors think I’ll neither live nor thrive
++If I mope at home so— I don’t know—
Am I living now ? I was alive
+++Twenty golden years ago.

Wifeless, friendless, flagonless, alone,
++Not quite bookless, though, unless I chuse,
Left with nought to do, except to groan,
+++Not a soul to woo, except the Muse—
O ! this, this is hard for me to bear,
++Me, who whilome lived so much en haut,
Me, who broke all hearts like chinaware
+++Twenty golden years ago !

P’rhaps ’tis better :—Time’s defacing waves
++Long have quenched the radiance of my brow—
They who curse me nightly from their graves
+++Scarce could love me were they living now ;
But my loneliness hath darker ills—
++Such dun-duns as Conscience, Thought and Co.,
Awful Gorgons ! worse than tailors’ bills
+++Twenty golden years ago.

Did I paint a fifth of what I feel,
++O, how plaintive you would ween I was !
But I won’t, albeit I have a deal
+++More to wail about than Kerner has !
Kerner’s tears are wept for withered flowers,
++Mine for withered hopes ; my Scroll of Woe
Dates, alas ! from Youth’s deserted bowers,
+++Twenty golden years ago.

Yet, may Deutschland’s bardlings flourish long !
++Me, I tweak no beak among them ;— hawks
Must not pounce on hawks ; besides, in song
+++I could once beat all of them by chalks.
Though you find me, as I near my goal,
++Sentimentalising like Rousseau,
Oh ! I had a grand Byronian soul
+++Twenty golden years ago !

Tick-tick, tick-tick !— Not a sound save Time’s,
++And the wind-gust, as it drives the rain—
Tortured torturer of reluctant rhymes,
+++Go to bed, and rest thine aching brain !
Sleep !— no more the dupe of hopes or schemes ;
++Soon thou sleepest where the thistles blow—
Curious anticlimax to thy dreams
+++Twenty golden years ago !

++++++++++++++++++++++++J. C. M.







Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized




THE great clock of the Banking-house of Willibald and Company struck four.
+++ “The Bank is closed !” cried the porter, in his usual sonorous tones.
+++ At the words there was a general opening and shutting of desks ; every inmate of the Bank took off his office coat and donned his walking-habit. In five minutes the bureaus were deserted, the runners had walked out, the clerks disappeared ;— the two bankers, both married men, were driving off in their curricles, one to dine with a friend, the other with a mistress. Silence reigned through the spacious building ; and the daylight which found its way through the windows gradually deepened into dusk, for the season was November and the day had been cloudy. Any one who would now see to read and write must avail himself of an artificial illumination ; and accordingly at twenty minutes before five a solitary lamp shed a sickly light over a heap of ledgers and papers, notes and rouleaus, confusedly scattered to and fro through the different recesses of the Cash-office, and developed the features and part of the figure of a man seated before his desk, conning several documents, which he passed in review before him, with an anxious eye, and from time to time casting abstracted glances around him, which now rested upon vacancy and now upon the iron safes and sealed strong boxes imbedded in the walls of his temporary prison.
+++ The Herr Johann Klaus Braunbrock, he to whom we thus introduce the reader, was cashier to the Banking-house, and had lingered somewhat beyond his time, from what motive we may possibly understand by-and-by. Let us try to depict his appearance. He was a man of the middle size, rather clumsily made, but with a finely-shaped head, and features expressive of considerable intellect— mingled, however, with a large proportion of worldly astuteness and an air of penetration and distrust that bespoke but an indifferent opinion of mankind, or, possibly, a mind ill at ease with itself. His age might be about forty. His grizzled hair had retreated from his forehead, which was broad, but not high, and indented with many wrinkles. Upon the breast of his blue coat glittered a military star, for he had served in the Imperial Army as a colonel of Austrian dragoons, and his salary of six hundred crowns a month as cashier was reinforced by a pension of five hundred dollars, paid to him quarterly by the War Office. A pen was in his hand, with which he had just completed the signature of Willibald and Brothers to the last of several counterpart letters of credit drawn upon the house of Puget and Bainbridge in London.
+++ As the eye of the forger glanced rapidly but scrutinisingly over the work of his hands, to enable him to decide which of the counterfeits before him was least liable to awake suspicion, a slight noise near caused him to start, and raising his head he saw peering through the grated door of his box two dark, burning and searching eyes, which, fixed intently upon him, seemed as if they would read the most hidden secrets of his soul. The rest of the countenance was in shadow, and the figure of the gazer was completely hidden from view by a large black cloak.
+++ Such an apparition, which would have been under even ordinary circumstances sufficiently extraordinary and startling, was now rendered peculiarly so to Braunbrock by its suddenness, the unusual time, the sepulchral dimness of the place, and, above all, the consciousness that the occupation he was engaged in was one that would scarcely bear inspection from a pair of eyes even much less inquisitorial than those of the stranger. A moment’s reflection, however, served in some sort to re-assure him. The distance between himself and the intruder, whoever he might be, was, though slight, still sufficient, he flattered himself, to preclude all chance of detection. Recovering himself, therefore, he grew bold enough to return the stranger glance for glance.
+++ “Who are you ?” he demanded.
+++ “It concerns you to know, perhaps ?” was the interrogative reply, delivered in a strange and hollow voice, the accents of which thrilled through every nerve and fibre of the cashier.
+++ “To know your business, at least,” said Braunbrock, “What is it ?”
+++ “Merely to receive payment of this from you,” answered the Unknown, and he handed a paper to the cashier.
+++ “The Bank is closed,” said Braunbrock.
+++ “Your office is open,” said the stranger, significantly. “To-morrow will be Sunday ; you will not be here. Perhaps you may be absent on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday— all the week, and beyond it. Do you understand ? Come, then, do not delay me. The sum, you perceive, is one hundred thousand dollars : you have so much in the drawer beside you. Be quick and let me have it.”
+++ “How did you gain admittance ?” asked the cashier, still dallying, with the bill between his fingers.
+++ “What is that to the purpose ?” said the stranger. “I am here.”
+++ The cashier now scanned the letter of exchange, and finding it, as he fancied, or chose to fancy, correct, he slowly opened the drawer and counted out bank notes and bills to the amount required. Having given them to the stranger, he again took up the letter and looked at it.
+++ “Your signature is not to the receipt,” said he. “How is this ?”
+++ “Give it to me, and a pen with it,” said the other, “and I will supply the omission.”
+++ Braunbrock gave the letter and a pen to the stranger, who wrote in English, and in English characters, at the foot of the receipt, M. The Man in the Cloak.
+++ “What the plague sort of signature and handwriting is this ?” demanded the cashier, as he tried in vain to read it ; “I can make nothing of it.” He looked at the stranger. “You are not German, mein Herr ?”
+++ “No.”
+++ “You are scarcely French, I should think ?”
+++ “Scarcely.”
+++ “Ah ! English, I presume ?”
+++ “Your presumption is unwarrantable ; I am not English,” said the stranger, “I am an Irishman. Enough : farewell : we shall meet again.” In a minute more his form was lost in the gloom and shadows around. His retreat was so sudden and so silent that the cashier could not tell by which passage he had departed.
+++ How the deuce can he get out at all ? he asked himself. Or how did he come in ? What eyes ! he continued— and what an unreadable name ! Who can he be ? The circumstance is exceedingly strange altogether.— But I am wasting time. I must finish my business, and be off.
+++ With these words he proceeded to consume at the flame of the lamp such of the forgeries as he had rejected, and carefully deposited the selected one in his pocket-book. He next took out from his desk bank notes to the amount of ten thousand ducats, and stowed them safely away in the same morocco leather repository. Then, putting on his hat, he extinguished his lamp, and taking down his umbrella from a crook, he locked the door of his office and coolly proceeded, according to his custom, to deliver up the key to Madame Wilhelmina Willibald, the wife of the principal partner in the firm.
+++ “Ah ! you fag yourself so much, Herr Braunbrock !” said the lady. “But I have good news for you. We have made up a party to Ilsbein on Monday, and you are to be Master of the Ceremonies, Cicerone, Factotum in short. So, be with us early— and let the cash-office mind itself for one day.”
+++ “As you please, Madam ; I shall be most happy,” answered Braunbrock. “Meantime, will you be good enough to tell your husband that the bill of exchange from the Merciers for a hundred thousand dollars was paid this evening. It came in rather late.”
+++ “I will tell him so,” said the lady. “Will you have a glass of Tokay, Herr Braunbrock ?”
+++ “I thank you ; not this evening. Good night, Madam.” And the cashier went out.
+++ “That gentleman has a very marked head,” said the Baron Queerkopf, a determined, thick-and-thin, anti-loophole phrenologist, who had been lounging on a sofa during this short colloquy.
+++ “Marked ?— marked with what ?” asked the lady.
+++ “I mean a characteristic head,” said the Baron. “He has enormous Secretiveness and but little Conscientiousness.”
+++ “You give an indifferent character of our honest cash-keeper,” said the banker’s wife. “But do you know, Baron, I think he has a rather classic head.”
+++ “Cash-keeper !— ay, he is better fitted to keep cash than pay it,” returned the Baron : “I saw his Acquisitiveness at a glance. But as to classic heads, pardon me, Madam, for taking leave to differ from you : people make the most horrible and petrifying mistakes on that point. Mankind do not sufficiently consider”— and the Baron spoke with great emphasis— “that for the formation of what is popularly designated a classic head, there must be large Self-esteem, considerable Destructiveness, and deficient Veneration. The best heads— those which confer the most commanding intellects or sunshiny dispositions— are not infrequently altogether at variance with our preconceived notions of the beau-ideal of physical beauty. The truth is, that to a common observer the head is any thing but an index to the nature of the man. Look, for example, at Byron’s head. It is a positive and undeniable fact that what we imagine the superior appearance of that head is solely attributable to its deficiency in several of the most beneficial organs, and its redundance in some of the most morally deteriorating. It lacked Faith, Hope and Veneration, and exhibited but moderate Benevolence, while, on the other hand, though Conscientiousness was fair, an undue and preponderating proportion of cerebral development manifested itself in Self-esteem, Combativeness and Firmness.”
+++ “Well, now, Baron, do you know,” said the Banker’s wife, whose eyes and mind had been wandering to a thousand things while the phrenologist was lecturing ; “I don’t understand one word of what you have been saying.”
+++ “Suffer me to render it lucider,” said the Baron. “Phrenological induction, you will please to comprehend, is grounded upon the irrefragable principle that— “and the Baron, once fairly mounted upon his hobby, galloped on at a rate that left toiling common-sense an infinity of leagues behind. At the close of a monologue of half an hour he paused to take breath, and, looking round him, he saw that his auditress had vanished. The Baron sighed. Alas ! he soliloquised, it is ever thus with the sex : they have no powers of analysis, and they are incapable of continuous attention. Yet that bankeress is a beautiful and stately woman— really a fine animal. What a subject for everlasting regret that she should be so deficient in Causality and Concentrativeness !— And the Baron, sighing again, helped himself to a pinch of snuff from a box upon the lid of which were represented three separate views of the head of Goethe, phrenologically mapped out according to the very newest charts laid down by the most fashionable predecessors of his darling theory.
+++ Meanwhile Braunbrock walked into the porter’s lodge. “What the devil, Karl,” he asked, with an assumed sharpness, “made you leave the Bank-doors open until five o’clock this evening ?”
+++I leave the doors open till five, mein Herr !” exclaimed the menial, astonished. “No such thing at all, mein Herr ; would I be mad ? I locked them at four punctually, leaving ajar only the private postern for yourself, mein Herr.”
+++ “Very odd,” said the cashier, as talking to himself. “Are you certain you are telling the truth ?” he demanded, sternly.
+++ “Quite certain, mein Herr.”
+++ I suppose, then, muttered Braunbrock, as he walked out, I suppose that bizarre Irishman must have somehow found his way in and out through the private entrance. Well : I thought that the devil himself, exclusive of the few persons who know it, would have been puzzled to find his way in through that. But it is of no consequence. I have other and graver affairs to demand my attention. Let us see, he proceeded, as he directed his steps along the Hochstrasse. Have I managed matters with the requisite finesse ? I hope so. First, here is to-night and to-morrow ;— and then for Monday— egad, this party is a lucky incident, for Willibald sleeps out to-morrow night, and will not be home until noon next day ; so that I have at least until Tuesday to hammer away upon the anvil ;— and, by my faith, I will not let the iron cool !— I have two passports and two different disguises— such, I fancy, as would leave the cleverest police in Europe gropers in the dark. At London I shall touch half a million before any decisive steps can be taken to discover the fugitive ; and then for the remainder of my days I shall play the part of the accomplished nobleman in my Italian villa at Strozzi, with the title of Count Rimbombari, or some other of the kind ; I prefer his, however, as I, and nobody else, saw him die in the marches of Zembin, where his bones are whitening this night. But, ah !— Livonia— what shall I do with her ? Do with her ?— Bah ! what have I, at forty, to do with foolish girls at all ? I must leave her behind. Yet, confound it, I really love the girl— ay, love her, ass that I am ! Shall I take her with me ? Or shall I leave her where she is ?”
+++ “You shall leave her where she is,” said a voice which Braunbrock had recently heard. He turned round, and saw fixed upon his face, the terrific eyes of— the Man in the Cloak.
+++ Braunbrock was astounded, and somewhat annoyed.
+++ “Who the devil, Sir— ” he began.— But the Irishman had already glided by him and disappeared.
+++ Damn his eyes ! muttered Braunbrock, what does he mean by staring at me in that unearthly manner ? ‘You shall leave her where she is,’ forsooth ! Curse the fellow ! does he dare to dictate to me ? Who can he be ?— The next time I see him, here, in England, in France, or in Italy, hang me if I don’t tear that old cloak from his shoulders, and see whether he wears a tail or not ! A tail— ha ! ha ! Well— if I were a believer in humbug I should say that there is something supernatural about the man— though I own I deprecate the idea. It would be rather too bad, faith, to have the devil and the police at one’s heels together : I couldn’t stand that. Hey-day ! here I am, at the house of my darling. Now for a scene ! I will sound the girl’s feelings for me, and act accordingly.
+++ Livonia Millenger, a pretty brunette, with the finest eyes and teeth in all the world, was reclining, while her admirer was indulging in this mental soliloquy, on a handsome ottoman, and talking to her confidante, Maud, upon that one subject nearest (if we except, perhaps, the passion for Power) to the hearts of all women— Love.
+++ “I am afraid, Maud,” she said, “you are a little of a visionary. Ah ! you don’t know the world like me. You are a child, Maud, an infant, a babe. Men never love in the way you speak ; they have not the soul.”
+++ “Well, I am sure, I don’t know,” said the attendant damsel, “but I do think Rudolf unlike anybody else ; if any one can love sincerely, it is he ; there is no deceit, Livonia, in such blue eyes as his— in such a smile— such an angelic look. And oh ! if you could see him sometimes when he fancies no one is noticing him— how he gazes on you, and sighs, and then looks away from you again— and then—”
+++ “Ay— looks away from me again, Maud— that is just it ! I would rather he would not, though. Ah ! Maud, I guess his thoughts better than you, and I can tell you—”
+++ A loud knocking at the door interrupted the conversation.
+++ “O, Heavens !” cried Livonia, “that is Braunbrock’s knock— I know it— if Rudolf should come, as he says he will, while he is here, what shall I do ?”
+++ “Have no fear,” said Maud. “We’ll manage matters.” And down she tripped to open the door.
+++ I must burn this note, said Livonia, snatching up a rose-coloured billet from the table ; but she lingered to take a last glance at the characters that Love had traced upon its surface ; and, bounding up the stairs quicklier than was his wont, Braunbrock entered the room. Livonia flung the little missive into the fire.
+++ “Do you destroy all your billets-doux in that way ?” demanded he.
+++ “No ; only about nine-tenths of them,” she answered ; “the rest I use in papering my hair. Still I think the flames the most appropriate fate for them all : words that burn, you know, are quite at home in the fire— don’t you agree with me ?”
+++ “You speak, Livonia, just as if that had been a real billet-doux.”
+++ “A real ? And do you think, then, that I am not good enough, or beautiful enough, to receive such a thing ? You horrid monster !” And she stretched out her lips to Braunbrock to be kissed, but with an air of negligence and insouciance that would have convinced any man less blinded by love than the infatuated cashier that in so doing she considered herself merely going through a ceremony which the nature of the liaison between them rendered in some sort unavoidable, evaded, if circumstances had allowed her.
+++ “I have taken a box this evening in the Crescent,” said he ; “we had better dine at once, to be in time ; the entertainments will begin early. You will be greatly delighted.”
+++ “I ?”
+++ “Yes ; you will come with me, of course ; will you not ?”
+++ “O, no, no ! not I,” said Livonia, “I should be sick and tired to death. Take Maud with you ; I’ll stay at home here by my fire-side.”
+++ “Nonsense, Livonia, you must come. What should hinder you ?”
+++ “I have a head-ache.”
+++ “The theatre will cure it ; you will laugh it away.”
+++ “I should be ennuyée to excess of you, you beast,” said Livonia, laughing, “even if my head-ache were gone.”
+++ “Bear with me this evening,” said Braunbrock, also laughing, though in a different spirit, “for I shall not be here longer to kill you with either ennui or extacy. I am going away from you, Livonia, going to another land. I shall not return for a considerable time. But no matter ; while I am absent, you know, you are mistress of this house, these gardens, every thing here in short. Will you keep your heart for me till I come back, Livonia ?”
+++ “No, nor my little finger, nor the least paring of the little nail on it,” said Livonia, with a playful emphasis. “But when will you be back ?”
+++ “Aha!— is it so ?” said Braunbrock. “When do I come back, indeed ? Is that your cold question, Livonia ?— Well, well, love, it is said, cannot be hidden— but neither, say I, can the want of love ! So, you do not think of following me ?”
+++ “Why, you vain creature,” said Livonia, “what right have you to exact or expect such a sacrifice on my part ? Is Beauty to harness herself to the car of Ugliness ? Must Youth be subservient to the caprices of Age ? O, go to ! I am ashamed of you : you are a monster, like every one of your sex ; an ingrate, a wretch, a huge heap of animated selfishness. I have no patience with you. But I’ll tell you how I’ll punish you ; I’ll give you no dinner and turn you out of my house ; that’s the way I’ll serve you.”
+++ “Come, come, Livonia ; this is all folly. You intend to accompany me, of course ?”
+++ “To the theatre ?”
+++ “Bah ! to England !”
+++ “To England !— What ! and leave my troops of lovers behind me ?”
+++ “You have no lovers but me, now, surely, Livonia— and you love no one but me ?”
+++ “No one but you !” exclaimed Livonia. “Oh, positively now I shall expire”— and she burst into an uncontrollable fit of laughter. “You my lover ! Why you brute, you are half a century old, if you are a day ! And, you abominable-looking barbarian, you are as ugly as an Indian idol ! Then you are so frightfully made— and you have such a wheezing when the asthma takes you, that is, about fifteen times a day. O, you detestable wretch, how I hate you ! Do you know, I think I shall hire somebody to assassinate you some night !”
+++ “I wish you would drop this tone of badinage, Livonia, I am not in a mood for joking. Consider : I am bidding farewell to my Fatherland for ever.”
+++ “Oh, then, you have a balloon in readiness, I presume, waiting for floating orders,” said the lively girl.
+++ “Balloon ! what do you mean ?”
+++ “Are you not going to England to-night ?”
+++ “I leave Vienna to-night for England, most certainly,” said Braunbrock ; “and I expect you to come with me, Livonia. I expect so much from your attachment. Really and seriously, Livonia, I am going,” he added, seeing a smile of incredulity on her lips.
+++ “Then, really and seriously, you are a greater fool than I took you to be,” said she. “You may go, but I shall stay. I wish you a pleasant voyage, but I would rather abandon life itself almost than my dear, darling, delightful, native town, W***.”
+++ “But Livonia, my dear girl— hear me : I do not mean to stop in England ; I shall proceed to France and thence into Italy.”
+++ “Ha ! ha !” laughed Livonia. “From Germany to England, from England to France, and from France to Italy ! Really the Wandering Jew may begin to tremble for his reputation : he has a dangerous rival in the Herr Johann Klaus Braunbrock.”
+++ “I see it is idle to talk to you,” said the gentleman, pettishly, and stretching himself on a sofa. “But you will come with me to the Crescent, at least— that pleasure you will not deny me ?”
+++ “Well, my poor calf, if you are really leaving us, I will consent to oblige you so far. But see, your cravat is quite loose : let me fasten it for you.” So saying she approached him, and stooping over him began to arrange the folds of his neck-kerchief. “And at what hour do you leave me ?” she asked, tenderly.
+++ “At twelve, dearest,” he answered, playing with her hair.
+++ “See, now, thus I tie a gentleman’s cravat,” she said, executing with her delicate hands a movement the enamoured quadragenarian had by no manner of means anticipated.
+++ “Oh, oh ! Livonia !— Death and fury, you will strangle me, woman !” and by a vigorous bound forward he disengaged his neck from her grasp. In the meantime Livonia had made a sign to Maud to approach, and while the astonished lover, half inclined to laugh, and half to scold, was recovering himself she whispered—
+++ “Tell Rudolf, if you see him, not to venture hither until one o’clock.”
+++ The maid-servant announced dinner.
+++ “Very good,” said Braunbrock, “we will dine together, and then you will dress and accompany me.”
+++ At about seven accordingly they drove off to the Crescent, and entered a box near the stage. The entertainments consisted of three pieces. As soon as the second piece was over, Braunbrock apologised to Livonia for leaving her for a few minutes, and went out to converse with some friends whom he had observed going round to the saloon from an opposite box. He had scarcely advanced half a dozen steps, however, when he felt himself touched upon the shoulder. Turning nervously round, he saw before him for the third time the figure of the Man in the Cloak, who in a moment stepped before him and intercepted his passage onward.
+++ “What do you mean, Sir ?” asked Braunbrock.
+++ “I mean to smoke,” replied the Irishman, as he drew a long pipe, already ignited, from beneath the folds of his cloak.
+++ “Come, come, Sir,” cried Braunbrock, “I don’t understand this buffoonery. Let me pass, or take the consequences !”
+++ A number of persons had already assembled around them, to watch the issue of this singular rencontre.
+++ “So serious a matter as forgery, I fancy, has unfitted you for relishing buffoonery,” said the Irishman, aloud, and in the hearing of all.
+++ “Forgery !” exclaimed Braunbrock, turning three colours, white, blue and yellow. “Who dares— But such language can only be resented in one way, when a gentleman has to deal with a ruffian !” So saying, he aimed a furious blow with his clenched fist at the Irishman, who received it with exemplary science and imperturbability precisely upon the bowl of his pipe, from which it did not elicit a single sparkle.
+++ The lookers on were seized with amaze ; and no wonder. “Come,” said the Man in the Cloak, proffering his pipe to one by-stander, who mechanically took it, “come, Herr Braunbrock, this is child’s play on both sides ; you and I must know each other better. Give me your arm and we will walk and talk a little. Make way, gentlemen, if you please ;” and seizing the arm of the bewildered cashier, who was now almost passive in his grasp, he dragged rather than led him to a remote and silent part of the saloon, where they might converse without hazard of espionage or interruption.
+++ “Poor handful of dust !” he here exclaimed— “did you think to resist ME ? As well might you attempt to pluck the planets from their spheres. Know that on this vile ball of earth all that man can dream of in the shape of Power is mine. I wield, or if I chose, could wield, all the engines of governments and systems. I read every heart ; I see into the future ; I know the past. I am here ; and I wield, or if I chose, could wield, all the engines of governments and systems. I read every heart ; I see into the future ; I know the past. I am here ; and yet I may be elsewhere, for I am independent of time and place and distance. My eye pierces the thickest walls ; my hands can dive into exhaustless treasures. At my nod proudest palaces crumble. I can overspread the waste with flowers, or blast in a moment the loveliest landscape that eye delights to revel in. Poor, degraded, imbecile being, how can you cope with me ? Can you bend this iron arm ? Are you able to quench the torch-light of this all-scrutinising eye ? Dare you hope to humanise a heart of granite ? Go to, helpless, blind, weak worm that you are ! Delude not yourself. You are my slave. Though oceans should roll above your corpse, you are my bond slave. Though you should hide yourself from the eyes of men and angels in the central caverns of the earth, you are still mine, and I can trample you to impalpable powder ! Neither by might nor guile can you escape me, for I am— be wide awake and listen to me— I am—”
+++ “You are— Who ?” demanded the confounded cashier.
+++ “I am,” replied the Irishman— and bending his head, he suffered his lips to approach within an inch of Braunbrock’s ear— “I am— the Man in the Cloak !”
+++ “Strange and mysterious being !” exclaimed Braunbrock, whose superstition was awakened, though his religion still slumbered— “and what would you with me ?— you who represent yourself so powerful as to need nothing at the hands of others.”
+++ “You rightly guess,” said the Man in the Cloak, “that, after all, I require your help— yes, even yours. I am all-powerful in every respect but one : I cannot conquer my own destiny. To achieve such a conquest, I require the assistance of another— a reckless and desperate man— and I have pitched on you as the aptest instrument I could find. Will you give me the aid I ask ?”
+++ “What is it ?” said Braunbrock.
+++ “You shall know soon. Meantime let us return to our box— and I shall show you your destiny. Mark it well ! for unless you evade it by one mode,— and there is no other open for you— you must undergo all its torture ! You came to see a sight— ha ! ha ! so you shall. Come, now, and present me to the girl Livonia Millenger as one of your best friends.”
+++ Braunbrock returned to his box, accompanied by the Man in the Cloak, whom he introduced to Livonia, as a particular friend of his, but without mentioning any name, simply because he had heard none. Livonia looked at the stranger, and then testified in a whisper to Braunbrock, her astonishment at the glare of the stranger’s eyes ; but made no other remark. With respect to the Man in the Cloak himself, he retired to a back-seat in the box, and resumed his pipe, of which he had managed to repossess himself as he walked along with Braunbrock.
+++ “How rude your friend is !” whispered Livonia. “Smoking such a long pipe in a box at the theatre !”
+++ “He is a foreigner,” returned Braunbrock ; “and it may be the custom in his country to smoke very long pipes in the boxes of theatres.”
+++ “When we are at Rome we should do as Rome does,” observed Livonia. But at that instant the curtain rose, and the closing vaudeville of the evening’s entertainments began. Expectation was high, for the popular player, Twigger, was to enact four parts, as a Jew pedlar, a French dancing-master, a German student, and an English alderman, in this piece.
+++ The cashier, however, had scarcely cast his eyes upon the boards before he uttered a half-stifled shriek of terror. Could he credit his senses ? A private room, into which he had been more than once introduced, in the house of the Willibalds, was represented on the stage ; and in this room Herr Willibald the elder himself was discovered in close conference with the Minister of Police upon the flight of Braunbrock and the robbery and forgery he had committed ! There was a good deal of very animated discussion, which terminated in the drawing up of informations deposing to all the facts, and which were to be forthwith transmitted to the official authorities.
+++ “After all,” said Willibald, “the infernal rascal may give us the slip. Are you certain he is at the Crescent ?”
+++ “Positive,” answered the Minister of Police ; “and escape is quite impossible: I have planted guards at every avenue.”
+++ Braunbrock trembled from head to foot ; he rose up. “I— I must leave this, Livonia,” said he stammering— “Business—” He turned round and was about to make his exit from the box when the Man in the Cloak tapped him on the shoulder with his pipe. “Just stay where you are,” said he, “and note what passes before you. Would you rush into the lion’s mouth ?”
+++ The effect experienced by Braunbrock from the touch of the Irishman’s pipe was similar to that resulting from a sudden attack of nightmare, or a blow from the tail of a torpedo. He felt paralysed ; his limbs refused to sustain him ; he tried to raise his arms ; they sank powerless by his side. He looked imploringly at the Man in the Cloak and his regards were met by a glance of fire and a volume of smoke, which savoured considerably of a sulphury origin.
+++ “What have I done ?” he asked, faintly. “Say at once what you would have of me— and cease to torture me.”
+++ The Man in the Cloak took the pipe from his mouth and pointed towards the stage. “Look and learn or you are lost !” said he. Braunbrock, who felt as if under the influence of a spell, trembled more than before, but he obeyed the Irishman.
+++ The scene changed to the interior of Livonia’s house. Maud was conversing by the fireside in her mistress’s room with a sergeant-major of cavalry in a Bavarian regiment, then in garrison at W***.
+++ “So, Braunbrock is going,” said the military man. “I am very glad of that ; I shall have a clear stage, and, I hope, a great deal of favour. I love Livonia too well to suffer her to sacrifice herself to the whims of that sneaking old robber. I shall espouse her myself.”
+++ “Sneaking old robber !” muttered Braunbrock, as he heard this. “The scoundrel !— I could blow his brains out !”
+++ The play went on ; the conversation between the sergeant-major and Maud was continued. By-and-by a knocking was heard at the door.
+++ “I vow they are come !” cried Maud. “Here, Rudolf, hide yourself in this closet : I thought to have got you out of the house before they returned— but no matter— Braunbrock will not stop many minutes. There, keep quiet as a mouse !”
+++ Braunbrock saw the young officer thrust into the closet, and immediately afterwards beheld himself enter the room, accompanied by Livonia. Here, after partaking of refreshments, the double of the unfortunate cashier bade farewell to his mistress, who hung about his neck in apparent fondness and sorrow, but kept all the while silently laughing over his shoulder in the face of Maud, who grinned back her approbation, and, pointing to the closet, intimated to her mistress by signs that Rudolf was there.
+++ “Vile girl !” cried Braunbrock, looking at her who sat by his side— “have I then at last discovered your dissimulation— your treachery !” But his exclamations were lost in the plauditory shouts and irrestrainable laughter of the audience, who were during all this time deriving the most exquisite, if not the most intellectual pleasure, from the happy manner in which Twigger, as a gouty old English alderman, was devouring an entire haunch of venison, at the rate of about half a pound a mouthful,— and swilling from time to time— O, hear it, ye fashionable British novelists and blush for the continental reputation of your aldermanic countrymen— porter !— and out of a tin gallon can !
+++ “O, I shall expire !” cried the real Livonia, in a convulsion of laughter. “Was there ever such a delightful man !” Then looking at Braunbrock, and round at the Irishman— she exclaimed, while the tears of mirth filled her eyes, “How can you forbear from laughing ? Why you are both as gloomy as night-owls in the midst of all this merriment. What ails you ?”
+++ “Do you want ME to laugh, lady ?” demanded the Man in the Cloak, solemnly, as he withdrew the pipe from his mouth.
+++ “Ha ! ha ! ha !” cried Livonia ; “that is really better than Twigger. Do you only laugh, then, by particular request ?”
+++ “I have never laughed in all my life,” said the Man in the Cloak, with increased solemnity. “But if you desire it, I will exert myself to laugh now.”
+++ “Nay, nay,” said Livonia, “I have no wish to balk your grave humour. But you,” turning to Braunbrock— “what witchery has come over you ? You sit as pallid and wordless as if you were turned into stone.”
+++ “Silence, girl !” cried Braunbrock ; “you will speedily enough learn the reason of my pallor and wordlessness !”
+++ “O, as you please,” said Livonia, carelessly.
+++ Once more the scene was changed to the eye of Braunbrock. A public Strass in W*** was dimly lighted by half-extinguished lamps. The watchmen were drowsily crying “Two o’clock” from their turrets. A post-chaise rolled along the street and stopped before a house which Braunbrock recognised as that of an Englishman in whose name, the better to preclude suspicion, he had really designed to hire such a conveyance. Braunbrock watched the result with intense anxiety. “How, then ?” said he to himself ; “have I made good my escape from the theatre ? In that case there is yet a chance for me ; I may escape ; who is to prevent me ?” The carriage drove on : the scene changed to the barrier of the city : still the post-chaise was visible and alone : Braunbrock’s heart beat high with hope— alas ! even then all was over. Troops of horse and foot police immediately dashed forward and surrounded the carriage. Resistance was useless. Braunbrock saw his double taken prisoner and strongly fettered on the spot. A cry of terror and despair broke from him.
+++ “Hush !” said the Man in the Cloak. “The end is yet to come. Mark it well !”
+++ There were now but two remaining scenes for Braunbrock. The first was the trial scene in the assize-court, which terminated in his condemnation to twenty years of hard labour in a stone fortress at G***. The second was the fortress itself, in which, after being branded on the arm and breast by the common executioner, he saw himself loaded with irons, in the midst of sixty other criminals, and driven along into a wide and drear court-yard— the place of labour and punishment— under the surveillance of an overseer, who carried a knotted knout in his hand for the instruction and advantage of the lazy or the refractory.
+++ The curtain fell amid universal applause, and the audience rose to depart. Livonia took her mantle from the box-keeper, who assisted her in putting it on. As for Braunbrock, who still sat in the one position, with his eye glaring upon the fallen curtain, like a man petrified.
+++ “Come,” said the Man in the Cloak, “all is over. Do you hear, Herr Braunbrock ? All is over.”
+++ “Eternal Heavens ! what am I to do ?” cried Braunbrock, starting up. “O, let me but escape from this accursed place, and I am safe— let me breathe the fresh air in the open street !”
+++ “Escape is impossible,” said the Irishman in a low tone, “except on one condition. I would speak ten words with you : step aside.” He then added, turning to Livonia. “Mein Fraulein, Herr Braunbrock and I will join you in the saloon.”
+++ “Be quick, then,” said Livonia; and she tripped along the passage.
+++ “What you have seen you remember,” said the Man in the Cloak to Braunbrock. “Flight— detection— trial— conviction— despair— ignominy— irons— mill-horse drudgery— black bread, and neither snuff nor coffee !— such is the prospect that awaits you. No human power can rescue you.”
+++ “Why ? How ?” cried the agitated betrayer of trust.
+++ “Why ?” said the Man in the Cloak, seizing the arm of Braunbrock. “Dunce ! Because the adamantine hand that grasps you thus will not relinquish its grasp until you are delivered up to justice. Is that German or not ?”
+++ “Cursed be the day that I was born !” exclaimed Braunbrock, in a paroxysm of despair. “Yet—” he cried, suddenly recollecting himself— “yet, you spoke, or my memory deceives me, but just now of a condition by which I might be saved. Is there any such, or do you but mock me ?”
+++ “There is ONE,” said the Man in the Cloak, after a pause.
+++ “Name it— name it— my brain is burning— I will consent to any thing,” cried Braunbrock.
+++ “Will you really ?” asked the Man in the Cloak. “Will you consent to—” and inclining his head, he whispered a few words in the ear of Braunbrock. “Could you consent to that compact ?” he asked, aloud.
+++ “Such a compact is not possible,” said Braunbrock. “We live in the second quarter of the nineteenth century.”
+++ “Believe it to be possible,” said the Man in the Cloak. “At any rate you had better give your consent. The century will ask you no questions.”
+++ “And will my consent ensure the possession of all you have whispered to me ?”
+++ “Of all, and more than all that.”
+++ “So be it then, I freely consent.”
+++ “Enough : you are at liberty. I will restore the sum of which you have plundered Willibald : the forgery you can yourself restore. Then your conscience will be satisfied. There exists no longer any necessity that you should have recourse to dishonest stratagem ; henceforth a word, a wish, makes you as rich as you please. Come, let us forth.”
+++ They rejoined Livonia, and proceeded towards the door. “I shall now take your place,” said the Man in the Cloak to Braunbrock. “These dogs of justice must be baffled, and I shall show them a trick worth a dozen of the best they have seen yet. Help Livonia into the carriage and take care of her.”
+++ “There he is— there is your man : seize him !” cried the voice of a police-officer to three of his myrmidons, who at the words instantly rushed forward and captured the Man in the Cloak.
+++ “Gentlemen,” said the latter, “I make no resistance, but I submit to you very respectfully that you are somewhat precipitate. I have committed, it is true, a robbery and a forgery— two very serious infractions of the social compact ; but any man who has studied the philosophy of life with liberal views and a mind emancipated from prejudices will acknowledge that circumstances may, in some degree, be allowed to plead for me and extenuate my guilt. When I perpetrated those crimes I was under the soporific influence of bad tobacco. Gentlemen, bad tobacco is an instigator to insanity. This pipe, gentlemen— this long and melancholy-looking pipe—”
+++ “Gammon !” cried the police-officers. “Come off with us, old cock ; we stand no nonsense.” And in a minute more, the Man in the Cloak, his hands and feet having been first secured by cords, was thrust into a coach and left to his meditations as it rattled over the streets towards the office of police.
+++ At length the vehicle, having reached its destination, stopped, and the door was opened by one officer, while three others stood ready in the midst of links and flambeaux to help the prisoner out and bear him into the guard-room.
+++ “Come, old twaddler, which are your legs ?” asked the officer. “What the deuce !” he continued, as he now looked in : “what do I see ? Surely that is not our prisoner.” He put his hand into the carriage. “Why, grill me alive,” he exclaimed, at the top of his voice, “if you haven’t made prisoner of a bag of feathers !”
+++ “A bag of devils ! What are you talking of ? You must be drunk, Schnapps,” said the nearest, advancing closer and looking in. “I cannot well see him : hold up the light, here, Gripper, I say !” The light was held up ; the policeman looked in ; but he had no sooner obtained a glimpse of his prisoner than he, too, started back in dismay.
+++ “A sack of chaff, as I am a living idiot !” he exclaimed.
+++ “What is all this delay for,” bellowed a rotund and spectacled sergeant, coming out of the office. “Why don’t you take out your prisoner ?”
+++ “There is none to take out,” said Gripper, sullenly.
+++ “What, scoundrels ! have you suffered him to escape !”
+++ “No,” said Schnapps, “he is inside, but he has changed himself into a bundle of hay. I thought he had a wizard look.”
+++ “I will have every mother’s son of you reported to-morrow morning for this,” said the sergeant. “Smash my spectacles if this thing ain’t always occurring ! Take out this moment whatever you have got crammed into the carriage.”
+++ The prisoner was accordingly released from durance. He proved to be a mere man of straw, with very thick legs of about ten inches in length, and a hollow pumpkin, stuffed with old rags, for a head !”
+++ “Was there ever any thing so disgraceful ?” exclaimed the sergeant, as he examined this singular figure through his spectacles, and forgetting in his wrath, his previous assertion of the perpetual occurrence of similar disappointments. “Upon whom the blame of the rescue may fall I know not, but it will be no wonder, if, after a circumstance of this kind, our police should sink in the estimation of Europe, Australia, and the two Americas !”
+++ And the story went that Braunbrock, after being captured, had been rescued, nobody knew how, and that his rescuers had supplied his place with a man of straw. This was not exactly the fact ; but it is not our business to know how far the rumour differed from the reality. After a lapse of eleven years, history can offer little but vague conjectures in solution of similar enigmas.
+++ In the meanwhile our hero and Livonia drove homeward. They had scarcely entered the house when they were again joined by the Man in the Cloak : he took Braunbrock aside and whispered in his ear a notification to the effect that the paction between them must be forthwith completed. “Lead the way, therefore,” said he, “into a dark room. The talisman does not bear the light.”
+++ “May I not bring a candle ?” asked Braunbrock.
+++ “Upon no account : there is no occasion,” answered the Man in the Cloak, and in fact his eyes, as they proceeded along, were as good as a gas-lamp, though rather more lurid.
+++ “What mischief are they about, I wonder ?” asked Maud of Livonia, following them with her looks. “I don’t half like that fire-eyed stranger in the cloak.” She then drew nearer to her mistress, and placing the forefinger of her left hand on her lips, while she glanced stealthily around, she pointed with the right to the closet in which the young cavalry-officer was immured.
+++ “Rudolf ?” interrogated Livonia, softly.
+++ “Yes, he has been here an hour,” answered Maud, in an equally subdued tone.
+++ “Shall I speak to him ?” asked Livonia. “I think I may venture. Stand at the door and see whether those brutes are coming in again.”
+++ Maud went to the door and listened. In a moment afterwards she returned. “I am afraid I have heard their footsteps,” said she. “Yes, yes, here they are.”
+++ The door of the room was now pushed open violently, and Braunbrock entered alone. There was a wild and foreign expression in his features. He did not look the same man that he had been two minutes before. His swarthy complexion had given place to a ghastly paleness. His eyes had that wandering brilliancy by which a physiognomist at once detects the poet or the madman among ten thousand. Even his bearing was altered ; he carried himself haughtily and sternly, and trod the floor with a step that seemed to disdain the earth.
+++ “What, in the name of Heaven, has happened you ?” inquired Livonia, looking at him in wonder, not wholly unblended with terror.
+++ “Better ask me in the name of Hell than Heaven,” said he ; and his voice was deep and thrilling.
+++ “What have you been doing ? What has passed between that frightful man and you, and where is he ?”
+++ “Where is he ?” echoed Braunbrock. “He is gone— home. I have taken his place. I am now the Man in the Cloak,— in other words, I am henceforth a being of mystery— none must see me as I really am.”
+++ “What nonsense ! But really, what have you been doing to yourself ? You are so changed I hardly know you. Bless me ! surely you were never a dabbler in sorcery ?”
+++ “Woman ! Wheedling devil ! be silent ! It is for me to speak to you. I know all— all, I tell you ! You have deceived, duped, betrayed, swindled me ! Therefore I cast you off. Livonia, scorn, or at best, indifference, is the only sentiment I can entertain for you henceforth. And I am justified. I trusted you ; you imposed upon me. Do I speak the truth ?”
+++ “I never pretended to be able to love you,” said Livonia ; “and I think you might have spared me the hard words you have just uttered, if you had a spark of generosity in your bosom.”
+++ “You think so ? Poor girl !” sneered Braunbrock. “How you are to be compassionated ! Such innocence as yours in such a corrupt world is at once admirable and saddening ! When a lover visits you, of course you know nothing of his intrusions ; he might clasp you round the waist, and you would not feel the pressure of his arm ; he might step into your closet before your face, and when he had closed the door you would be ready to take heaven and earth to witness that there was nobody there. Oh, you are too guileless altogether for society or for your own happiness, purest of maidens !”
+++ While Braunbrock spoke thus, Livonia’s color shifted from pale to red, from red to pale, and from pale to red again. She felt that her secret was discovered, that all was known, that the liaison between herself and Braunbrock was terminated. For this last consummation she did not care much——but, though fallen as regarded virtue, she was still sensitive to the opinion of society, and she dreaded the esclandre which was likely to result from an exposure of the double part she had for some time been playing with her lover and her protector. Afraid to speak to or look upon Braunbrock, she cast her eyes downwards, and awaited in silence the conclusion to which it might please him to bring this unhappy interview.
+++ Nor had she to wait long. Braunbrock, almost as soon as he had ceased speaking, walked to the end of the room and kicked open the closet-door. “Talking of closets,” said he, “one may as well take a survey of the contents of this.— Ah !” he continued, “well, it is odd how people will stumble upon the truth by accident. Rudolf Steiglitz, I protest !— the length and breadth of as neat a gallows-bird as ever sang small before a large multitude ! Come forth, my good fellow, and let me see whether you stand as stout upon your pins as you did last Thursday in the Hall at the Liongate.”
+++ Livonia, trembling from head to feet and white as ashes, flung herself into a fauteuil, while her lover, with an air in which mortification, pride, shame, and anger were mingled, obeyed the bidding of Braunbrock.
+++ “I am ready to give you satisfaction,” said he, “when and where you please. You are an old soldier.”
+++ “And you are a young jackass,” retorted Braunbrock. “You will give me satisfaction when I see the carrion-crows feeding on your carcase. Why should I take the trouble of blowing out your brains ? I see a purple circle round your neck already : the gallows are groaning for you. You are the especial property of the hangman ; I have no right and no desire to poach on his manor.”
+++ “I despise your vulgar vituperation, Sir, I am a man of honor.”
+++ “So they all say and swear at the Liongate, among the Devilmaycares, those new conspirators against government, who have just been déterrés and will be thrown into prison neck and heels, all of them, before to-morrow’s sun has set.”
+++ The young man grew paler as he listened, and Livonia, clasping her hands, exclaimed in anguish, “O Rudolf, Rudolf !”
+++ “It is too true for a German ballad,” pursued Braunbrock. “The Minister of Police is on the alert. The Attorney-general has already got hold of all your names, and the gaoler in a short time will get hold of all your bodies. The crown-lawyer, Kellenhoffer, is at this moment busy drawing up the indictment that is to accuse your entire gang.”
+++ “And you, monster, you have betrayed Rudolf !” cried Livonia, gathering courage and energy from her despair ; and she rose, and rushing towards her lover, clasped him round the neck with passionate fondness, bursting into tears as she did so, and sobbing aloud.
+++ “You know me too well to believe what you assert,” said Braunbrock, with great and laudable sang-froid. “I was ignorant of the facts myself an hour ago. Since then, however, I have undergone a singular change, as you have perceived, and now I see every thing, I know every thing, I can do every thing.”
+++ “Oh, then,” cried Livonia, casting herself at his feet,——”if you have the power you say, if you can do every thing, save, save him ! Save him, and I will love you ; I will adore you ; I will be the slave of your wildest caprices ! I will traverse the world at your bidding ;——if it be possible I will plunge myself into the depths of hell for your sake. Only let not him perish, so young, so good, so noble as he is !” and her passionate tears almost blinded her.
+++ “Maud,” said Braunbrock coldly, “toddle into the next room, like a decent wench, and bring me out the pipe you will find on the table.”
+++ Maud obeyed, and Braunbrock began to smoke. The pipe was that which had belonged to the Irishman. After a few inhalations and exhalations he replied coldly :
+++ “It is in vain, Livonia ; you make yourself ridiculous merely ; every man must fulfil his destiny ; and that of this young gentleman is to embellish the gallows one of these days. Perhaps I could save him— perhaps not ; no matter ; he dies ; and there is an end of discussion on the subject.”
+++ “Cruel ! cruel !” cried Livonia, rising and wringing her hands. “But cold-hearted fiend ! you shall not triumph ! Go, Rudolf, while there is yet time. Make your escape.” She attempted to open the door as she spoke, but Braunbrock stepped before her and pushed her back with a jerk into the middle of the room.
+++ “I am master in my own house, I suppose,” said he, “and doors are to be opened or closed as I please.”
+++ “Coward and villain !” cried Rudolf, drawing his sword. “You shall answer on the spot for your monstrous inhumanity. Draw this moment : it were but an act of justice to rid the earth of such a miscreant. Draw, I say !” Maud shrieked, and Livonia grasping her lover’s arm, exclaimed in terror, “O, no, Rudolf, no !” He gently but determinedly disengaged his arm.
+++ “But don’t you perceive, Don Bombastes, are you ass enough not to see,” said Braunbrock, coolly, addressing Rudolf, “that your chance of being able to rid the earth of me is rather better while I am unarmed thus than it will be if you give me the privilege of using cold iron against you ? Your own windpipe even might happen to be slit by some ugly mistake instead of mine.”
+++ “I am no assassin, sir !” exclaimed Rudolf ; “and I again call on you to draw. Draw this instant, I say !”
+++ “You would have better success in calling on me for a song ; though we are in a drawing-room,” said Braunbrock, “I have never learned to draw, though singing and dancing are very much in my way,— favorite amusements of mine. But this farce must end,— and now to treat you to a sample of dexterity unparallelled— observe !” He struck up as he spoke, the sword of the young officer with his pipe. The effect was instantaneous ; Rudolf’s arm fell relaxed and nerveless by his side, and the weapon dropped on the carpet. Braunbrock took it up again and returning it to the officer, commanded him to replace it in the sheath, a command which the astounded young man obeyed with the look and action of one who doubts whether he is awake or dreaming.
+++ “Livonia !” cried Braunbrock, turning to the girl, who had witnessed this exercise of superhuman power with no less astonishment than her lover, “Livonia, you must leave this house.” He rang the bell, and ordered a carriage to be called. “Go where you please,” he pursued, “but as I do not wish to return you personally evil for evil, here is money for you— more than you have a right to expect ;” and he took from his pocket a parcel of bank notes to the amount of sixty thousand crowns, and laid them down before her.
+++ “May my right arm wither from my shoulder,” replied Livonia, “when it touches a single shilling of your money ! Come, Rudolf, we will leave this house together, and, in spite of the prediction you have heard, I am certain there is no fear and no peril for us. Come ; I feel myself choking in this room. Come, Maud.”
+++ “Don’t mention choking to him,” said Braunbrock drily : “the subject is a ticklish one. Well, I am sorry you refuse to pocket the cash, for nothing can be done in this world without it. But the carriage has stopped at the door : shall I light you down the stairs ?”
+++ A look of mingled scorn, fear and hatred was the only reply which either party vouchsafed him, as they left the room and descended to the street. In another moment the sound of the carriage wheels in motion over the pavement reached his ears.
+++ He was now alone. He resumed his pipe and continued smoking all night long.
+++ Yes, he was thenceforth alone. And he felt that he was alone. And a presentiment mastered him even then that he should be alone through all the revolving cycles of eternity. The first use to which he was determined to put the tremendous power he had acquired by his talisman was to gratify all the tastes and animal longings of his being, hitherto in a great degree circumscribed in their indulgence by the limitedness of his means. Accordingly, changing his name, a precaution scarcely necessary, as the singular alteration in his features and person had rendered him almost unrecognizable by his former friends, he purchased a magnificent villa, furnished it in the costliest manner, stocked its cellars with the rarest wines and spared no expense to procure every luxury that art could devise or gold purchase. He plunged into dissipation with a zest and avidity that for a time enchained all his faculties and left no room for reflection. But after a while the novelty of pleasure faded, and his dreadful situation became revealed to him in all its terrors. In the midst of his banquettings and revellings he saw inscribed as it were upon all things the same fearful handwriting that startled Belshazzar upon the wall of his palace, and told him that the days of his power were numbered ; he felt that every succeeding hour robbed him of a portion of his soul ; and anticipations of the Future perpetually haunted him, terrible as those gigantic and indefinable images of horror which rise before the ulcerated conscience in dreams, and from which the sleeper would gladly plunge even into the unexplored abysses of Death itself. The enormous nature of his power only made him acquainted with the essential desolation of heart which flows from being alone in the universe and unsympathised with by others. The relations that had existed between his finer faculties and the external world gradually suffered an awful and indescribable change. Like his predecessor, he could in an instant transport himself into the blooming valleys of the East, or the swarthy deserts of Africa ; the treasures of the earth were his, and the ocean bared her deeps, teeming with gold and lustrous jewels, before him. But the transitions and vicissitudes by which mortals are taught to appreciate pain and pleasure, and the current of life is guaranteed from stagnating, were lost to him. His tastes were palled ; his passions sated. Wine ceased to excite him and woman to charm. He had exhausted all pleasures ; he had fathomed every depth of voluptuousness ; he had denied himself no gratification ; and the eternal and uniform result, grafted by necessity on nature, followed : he became incapable of further enjoyment. He was like to a rocky beach, strewn with wrecks and redolent of barrenness, when the full and gushing spring-tide of the morning has rolled back from it to the ocean. It was then, that for the first time in his life a question he remembered having met with somewhere in his boyhood recurred to him in its full force : ‘What shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul ?’ He gave to this question a more figurative interpretation than it usually receives, but on that very account, perhaps, its applicability to himself came home the stronglier to his bosom. His soul, he felt, was lost, even while yet he lived and breathed and moved among men : between him and the Power that governs the universe in love and wisdom there was hostility ; and the further his mind sought to dive into the recesses of eternity, the denser became the blackness of that darkness to which he felt himself compelled to look forward as at once his refuge and his torment. His state, in fine, was wretched beyond the power of language to shadow forth. Could such a state be endured always ? Could it be endured always even upon earth ? No : all the resources of human nature, aided even by infernal agency, are insufficient to battle against the mighty agony of that despair which the prospect of an eternity of woe, incessantly before the mind’s eye, must of necessity generate. Before the lapse of seven years all the energies of Braunbrock— let us still call him by that name— were devoted night and day to the task of discovering a victim— a substitute— even as the Man in the Cloak had discovered him. Month after month he prosecuted his search wherever he thought it likely to be successful. He traversed Spain, Italy, Holland, England, and France. Crossing the Mediterranean he passed as a pilgrim through Asia from east to west. Borne on the broad waters of the Atlantic he visited America. But the day of his enfranchisement was not yet to be, and he at last returned to his native land. And there he remained, alone among men, groaning under the intolerable burden of his gifted and terrible nature, and a perpetual prey to a despair that already communicated to him a foretaste of that proper demoniacal existence upon the horrors of which he felt that he must soon and finally enter.
+++ One night, at length, in the zenith of his wretchedness, he slumbered for a few moments, and in his slumber he had a dream : he dreamed that he stood in the aisle of the Church of St. Sulpice at Paris, and that he saw a figure in a cloak resembling that of the Irishman, leaning against a pillar, but that his face was that of a corpse. He awoke before he could approach the dead man. Next day he transported himself to Paris, and repaired to the church of St. Sulpice. A number of priests were singing the office for a departed soul around a bier. Braunbrock, seeing an ecclesiastic in the chancel alone, approached, and requested to be informed of the name of the deceased.
+++ “His name was Melmoth,” replied the priest. “Unless I am greatly deceived, too, that name should also be yours. There is a marked resemblance in feature between you both. Perhaps you were his brother ?”
+++ “No,” said Braunbrock. “But, the name— did you say it was Melmoth ?”
+++ “Yes.”
+++ “An Irishman ?”
+++ “The same.”
+++ “Who always wore a cloak ?”
+++ “Precisely.”
+++ “And whose eyes were of a blasting brightness ?”
+++ “Right.”
+++ “And his name was Melmoth ? I thought Melmoth had been long since in his grave— had been damned these ten years.”
+++ “So the story went,” said the priest ; “but it was false : Melmoth the Wanderer died within the precincts of this church only last week ; and his soul, I trust, if not already in heaven, is on its way thither. He made indeed a pious and penitent end. His crimes, it is true, were great, but his repentance has cancelled them all. I am not at liberty to speak of his confession, whatever it was, either horrible or otherwise, but of his prayers I will say that I never listened to any more humble and fervent. The finger of God was visible in the conversion of such a man. He has left all his wealth, which is considerable, to the poor. He would have bestowed a portion upon this church, but after mature deliberation my reverend brethren decided upon rejecting, under the peculiar circumstances of the case, any donation for themselves or the altar on this occasion. Stranger ! though not his brother, you are probably related to him ; the resemblance between you and him, especially in the eyes, strikes me at this moment even more than when you spoke first. Kneel down with me here and we will offer up a short prayer for the repose of his soul.”
+++ “No,” said Braunbrock. “I cannot : I have never knelt or prayed since I was sixteen years of age.”
+++ “Unfortunate man !” said the priest, surveying him with compassion. “Is it true ? Yet kneel now, at least.”
+++ “I will try, since you wish,” said Braunbrock. And he knelt.
+++ The priest then offered up an audible prayer for the soul of the deceased. Braunbrock remained silent. “And that it may please thee, O Lord,” added the priest, “to soften the hard heart of the living, and make of it a heart of flesh !”
+++ Still Braunbrock was silent.
+++ “Will you not join in the prayer ?” asked the priest.
+++ “I cannot,” said Braunbrock. Yet when he cast his eyes around, and they were met by the Gothic windows, and tall pillars and solemn altars veiled in black of the sacred edifice he was in, and when the chorusing chant of the priests fell upon his ear, he could not help on the instant mentally exclaiming, “Yes, all this must have had its origin in a Something !” But Conscience and his heart, ashamed of the word, went further, and demanded, “Miserable atom ! dost thou call the Author of all Existence a Something ?”
+++ “Invoke the assistance of God, unhappy man!” said the priest.
+++ “Impossible,” answered Braunbrock.
+++ “Can you not call upon God for mercy ?”
+++ “I do not know what to say,” replied the German.
+++ “Repeat after me, and with as much sincerity and unction as you can command, O, God, be merciful to me, a sinner !”
+++ And Braunbrock repeated the words, O, God, be merciful to me a sinner !
+++ “It is enough,” said the priest. “Rise !”
+++ Braunbrock rose up.
“Go now in peace,” said the priest ; “but return hither, and be here again on this day week, a changed man— a man who need no longer shroud himself in a cloak.”
+++ The sequel of our tale may be easily divined by the penetrating. Religion and Hope from that hour found their way slowly into the heart of Braunbrock. Still he was not able to disembarrass himself of the fatal gift that had been bestowed on him. But an invisible agency was at length operating in his behalf.
+++ One evening he happened to be passing the Bourse. Five days from the period of his interview with the priest in St. Sulpice had gone by, and the consciousness that the talisman still clung to him oppressed him more heavily than ever. “Oh,” he exclaimed aloud, as the dusk of a chill Autumn evening descended over the city, “can I then find none— none to deliver me ? Is there in this world of cupidity not one wretch to be met with, who, at such a price, will accept of inexhaustible riches and boundless power ?”
+++ “Who talks of bestowing inexhaustible riches ?” said a man with a hawk’s eye and a hooked nose, who at the moment came out of the Bourse.
+++ “Is it you, mon ami ?”
+++ “Yes,” answered Braunbrock, eagerly, as he glanced at the physiognomy of the stranger, and began to hope that he had found his man at last.
+++ “Why, you are not such a fool ?” said the other.
+++ “If I were ?” demanded Braunbrock.
+++En ce cas,” said the hook-nosed Parisian, “I would just trouble you for five hundred thousand francs. I am a ruined man, to be candid with you, unless I can obtain that sum by to-morrow.”
+++ “You shall have millions,” answered Braunbrock— “on one condition.”
+++ “Ah !— a condition !” said the Hawk-eyed.
+++ “A mere trifle.”
+++ “Its nature ?”
+++ “You must sell—”
+++ “My pictures ?”
+++ “Pish !”
+++ “My houses ?”
+++ “Psha !”
+++ “My wife ?”
+++ “Bah !”
+++ “What then ?”
+++ “Your ****,” said Braunbrock, with a solemnity of tone he did not intend, but which he could not avoid.
+++ “Is that all ?” said the Parisian. “Done. It is a bargain. But how do you propose getting at my **** ?”
+++ “That is my affair,” said Braunbrock. “Here is my card. Will you meet me in an hour hence at the hotel named here.”
+++ “I shall be punctual. Au revoir.”
+++ At seven o’clock, accordingly, the Parisian, whose name was Malaventure, arrived ; and the awful terms of the mutual contract were ratified on both sides. Malaventure obtained possession of the talisman which had acquired and secured for Braunbrock his tremendous prerogatives, and Braunbrock was restored to his ancient identity, which for so many years he had forfeited.
+++ “And what will become of you now ?” demanded Malaventure. “Have you any resource independent of cutting your throat and going to the devil ?”
+++ “I shall go to-morrow to the Church of St. Sulpice, to make my first and last confession to a priest,” said Braunbrock. ”The hand of death is upon me. I feel that I shall die, but I shall die in peace with GOD.”
+++ Church,— priest,— God ! muttered the Frenchman to himself. Pauvre imbécile ! He really believes he has a soul to be saved ! And, shrugging his shoulders, he left the hotel.
+++ Early the next morning Braunbrock repaired to St. Sulpice. It was precisely the date that the priest had signified for his return. He made his confession and was reconciled with the Church. As he had predicted, he died in a few days afterwards. His last moments were characterised by a penitence as sincere as that of Melmoth himself had been previously ; and he was buried side by side with the Irishman.
+++ Here, reader, our narrative ends. Though not, we hope, over pharisaical ourselves, we may be excused for wishing to keep ourselves aloof from such gentry as Malaventure, and any or all of those through whose hands the talisman he has purchased may hereafter pass. Besides, if we must acknowledge all the truth, we are somewhat in the dark with respect to the subsequent history and adventures of the said talisman. We have heard, indeed, that the atheist, growing frightened after he had paid his debts, disposed of it to a bankrupt notary ; that the notary transferred it to a ruined speculator in the funds ; that from the speculator it passed into the hands of a briefless lawyer ; and that this latter made it over to a stock-broker’s clerk, whom he had accidentally heard saying that for one hundred louis he would blow up the king of the barricades, the pope, and the whole college of cardinals with gunpowder. But whether these reports correspond with the actual truth we cannot take it upon ourselves to decide. We can only say, for certain, that all the accounts that have reached us concur in representing the stockbroker’s clerk as the latest possessor of the diabolical charm in question. This young man is described by all who knew him as of a wild and impetuous but generous character. He was unfortunate in his love, and lost large sums in play. One evening he left his lodgings, telling his landlady that he should return before midnight. He never returned more. The next day his body was taken up from the Seine, and deposited in the Morgue. Whether his death was self-inflicted or the result of accident was never ascertained. Of the talisman nothing was ever heard of afterwards : in all probability it slipped from his pocket as he fell into the river, and at this moment lies imbedded in the mud of the Seine.

+++ As the following authentic document, in reference to the young man last-mentioned, may gratify some of our readers, we have cut it out from the Belgian Courier newspaper and sent it to our printers as an addendum to our story.
+++ Brussels, July 27th, 1835.— Our Parisian correspondent transmits us the following singular narrative :
+++ Yesterday, about two o’clock, the hottest hour in the day, the whole city of Paris was thrown into a state of commotion by seeing a stranger in a German dreadnought wrap-rascal with a fur collar, admirably adapted for the climate of Siberia, passing down the rue St. Honoré. The stranger seemed totally unconscious that there was anything in his appearance to call for observation until the hootings of the boys and girls who gathered in crowds about him convinced him to the contrary. When informed of the cause of the hullaballoo, he with great good nature and politeness disencumbered himself of the offending garment and delivered it into the hands of a by-stander to keep for him while he went into the house of M. Villeroi, the stock-broker, to transact some business there. I was curious to see more of the man, and I followed him.
+++ On stepping in he looked about him, and in accents that at once told me he was from Germany, inquired whether a young man of the name of Valdenoir had not formerly done business in that office. The reply was in the affirmative, and that he had been drowned.
+++ “Ah!— drowned,— yes,” said the stranger:— “well, he is now in the planet Jupiter.”
+++ “In the planet Jupiter ?” cried the head clerk, opening his eyes.
+++ “But whether he is happy or not is the mystery,” pursued the German, who I soon found out was an astrologer— “for Mercury was in the seventh house on the night he was drowned— and that is ambiguous. Borrowing a light from the old mythology, too, we should say that Jupiter was the chief of the gods— but then, saith Holy Writ, the gods of the heathens are devils— and Jupiter is thus but an arch-demon. I have a book here in my pocket— Jacob Bœhmen— which—” and he fumbled in five pockets successively for the book, which at length he was so fortunate as to find.
+++ “Is the man mad ?” asked one of another.
+++ “In the forty-eighth proposition of the book called The Threefold Life of Man, we find it laid down—” began the German.
+++ “Who is the writer of that quaint-titled volume, sir ?” demanded one of the secretaries, a flippant litterateur, who translated German poetry and wrote German stories for the magazines, and therefore deemed himself entitled to assume the critic on the present occasion.
+++ “Jacob Bœhmen,” said the astrologer.
+++ “Bemmen ?— Von Bemmen, the Hague banker ?”
+++ “No, no, sir ; this illustrious man was a shoemaker.”
+++ “Pooh, un cordonnier !— Made shoes for— what country was he of ?”
+++ “Prussia, sir, had the honor of his birth.”
+++ “Made pumps for old Freddy ?”
+++ “Monsieur ?”
+++ “Made shoes for the royal family ?”
+++ “I hope not,” said the German : “for not one of them was worthy to unloose the latchets of his.”
+++ “Permit me to look— to review for a moment— I am a— judge—”
+++ The book accordingly was handed across the counter by the German.
+++ “This is a very poor writer, Doctor— leaves out his hyphens— I see a semicolon in the very second sentence of the preface where there should be a full stop.”
+++ “Sir,” said the German gravely, “he was one of the profoundest of philosophers.”
+++ “What did he know of la Charte ?” demanded the second clerk, twirling his moustache at the German.
+++ “Or of Taglioni ?” said the third.
+++ “Could he grin a hole through a frying-pan ?” asked an understrapper, whose salary had not yet enabled him to ascend for amusement from the tavern to the theatre.
+++ “How was he off for soap ?” inquired an errand-boy.
+++ A series of similar questions recommenced with the head-clerk, and again terminated with the errand-boy. I confess I could not help laughing. As for the astrologer, he looked the very picture of stupefaction and bewilderment. He put his book up into his pocket. “Mein Gott,” said he, as he made his way out of the office, “was ist denn das ? Sind das Menschenoder vielleicht Troglodyten ?” Shortly afterwards he turned down an adjoining street, and I lost sight of him.
—Yours, mon cher Courier Belge.

.                                                  B. A. M.

.                                      [Clarence Mangan, November, 1838]






Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized