Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Free Classic E-books

Jurgen by James Branch Cabell

Part 3 out of 6

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 0.7 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

So Jurgen put his arm about the ghost of Queen Sylvia Tereu, and
comforted her. Then, finding her quite willing to be comforted,
Jurgen sat for a while upon the dark steps, with one arm still about
Queen Sylvia. The effect of the potion had evidently worn off,
because Jurgen found himself to be composed no longer of cool
imponderable vapor, but of the warmest and hardest sort of flesh
everywhere. But probable the effect of the wine which Jurgen had
drunk earlier in the evening had not worn off: for now Jurgen began
to talk wildishly in the dark, about the necessity of his, in some
way, avenging the injury inflicted upon his nominal grandfather,
Ludwig, and Jurgen drew his sword, charmed Caliburn.

"For, as you perceive," said Jurgen, "I carry such weapons as are
sufficient for all ordinary encounters. And am I not to use them, to
requite King Smoit for the injustice he did poor Ludwig? Why,
certainly I must. It is my duty."

"Ah, but Smoit by this is back in Purgatory," Queen Sylvia
protested, "And to draw your sword against a woman is cowardly."

"The avenging sword of Jurgen, my charming Sylvia, is the terror of
envious men, but it is the comfort of all pretty women."

"It is undoubtedly a very large sword," said she: "oh, a magnificent
sword, as I can perceive even in the dark. But Smoit, I repeat, is
not here to measure weapons with you."

"Now your arguments irritate me, whereas an honest woman would see
to it that all the legacies of her dead husband were duly

"Oh, oh! and what do you mean--?"

"Well, but certainly a grandson is--at one remove, I grant you,--a
sort of legacy."

"There is something in what you advance--"

"There is a great deal in what I advance, I can assure you. It is
the most natural and most penetrating kind of logic; and I wish
merely to discharge a duty--"

"But you upset me, with that big sword of yours, you make me
nervous, and I cannot argue so long as you are flourishing it about.
Come now, put up your sword! Oh, what is anybody to do with you!
Here is the sheath for your sword," says she.

At this point they were interrupted.

"Duke of Logreus," says the voice of Dame Anaitis, "do you not think
it would be better to retire, before such antics at the door of my
bedroom give rise to a scandal?"

For Anaitis had half-opened the door of her bedroom, and with a lamp
in her hand, was peering out into the narrow stairway. Jurgen was a
little embarrassed, for his apparent intimacy with a lady who had
been dead for sixty-three years would be, he felt, a matter
difficult to explain. So Jurgen rose to his feet, and hastily put up
the weapon he had exhibited to Queen Sylvia, and decided to pass
airily over the whole affair. And outside, a cock crowed, for it was
now dawn.

"I bid you a good morning, Dame Anaitis," said Jurgen. "But the
stairways hereabouts are confusing, and I must have lost my way. I
was going for a stroll. This is my distant relative Queen Sylvia
Tereu, who kindly offered to accompany me. We were going out to
gather mushrooms and to watch the sunrise, you conceive."

"Messire de Logreus, I think you had far better go back to bed."

"To the contrary, madame, it is my manifest duty to serve as Queen
Sylvia's escort--"

"For all that, messire, I do not see any Queen Sylvia."

Jurgen looked about him. And certainly his grandfather's ninth wife
was no longer visible. "Yes, she has vanished. But that was to be
expected at cockcrow. Still, that cock crew just at the wrong
moment," said Jurgen, ruefully. "It was not fair."

And Dame Anaitis said: "Gogyrvan's cellar is well stocked: and you
sat late with Urien and Aribert: and doubtless they also were lucky
enough to discover a queen or two in Gogyrvan's cellar. No less, I
think you are still a little drunk."

"Now answer me this, Dame Anaitis: were you not visited by two
ghosts to-night?"

"Why, that is as it may be," she replied: "but the White Turret is
notoriously haunted, and it is few quiet nights I have passed there,
for Gogyrvan's people were a bad lot."

"Upon my word," wonders Jurgen, "what manner of person is this Dame
Anaitis, who remains unstirred by such a brutal murder as I have
committed, and makes no more of ghosts than I would of moths? I have
heard she is an enchantress, I am sure she is a fine figure of a
woman: and in short, here is a matter which would repay looking
into, were not young Guenevere the mistress of my heart."

Aloud he said: "Perhaps then I am drunk, madame. None the less, I
still think the cock crew just at the wrong moment."

"Some day you must explain the meaning of that," says she.
"Meanwhile I am going back to bed, and I again advise you to do the

Then the door closed, the bolt fell, and Jurgen went away, still in
considerable excitement.

"This Dame Anaitis is an interesting personality," he reflected,
"and it would be a pleasure, now, to demonstrate to her my grievance
against the cock, did occasion serve. Well, things less likely than
that have happened. Then, too, she came upon me when my sword was
out, and in consequence knows I wield a respectable weapon. She may
feel the need of a good swordsman some day, this handsome Lady of
the Lake who has no husband. So let us cultivate patience.
Meanwhile, it appears that I am of royal blood. Well, I fancy there
is something in the scandal, for I detect in me a deal in common
with this King Smoit. Twelve wives, though! no, that is too many. I
would limit no man's liaisons, but twelve wives in lawful matrimony
bespeaks an optimism unknown to me. No, I do not think I am drunk:
but it is unquestionable that I am not walking very straight.
Certainly, too, we did drink a great deal. So I had best go quietly
back to bed, and say nothing more about to-night's doings."

As much he did. And this was the first time that Jurgen, who had
been a pawnbroker, held any discourse with Dame Anaitis, whom men
called the Lady of the Lake.


Why Merlin Talked in Twilight

It was two days later that Jurgen was sent for by Merlin Ambrosius.
The Duke of Logreus came to the magician in twilight, for the
windows of this room were covered with sheets which shut out the
full radiance of day. Everything in the room was thus visible in a
diffused and tempered light that cast no shadows. In his hand Merlin
held a small mirror, about three inches square, from which he raised
his dark eyes puzzlingly.

"I have been talking to my fellow ambassador, Dame Anaitis: and I
have been wondering, Messire de Logreus, if you have ever reared
white pigeons."

Jurgen looked at the little mirror. "There was a woman of the Leshy
who not long ago showed me an employment to which one might put the
blood of white pigeons. She too used such a mirror. I saw what
followed, but I must tell you candidly that I understood nothing of
the ins and outs of the affair."

Merlin nodded. "I suspected something of the sort. So I elected to
talk with you in a room wherein, as you perceive, there are no

"Now, upon my word," says Jurgen, "but here at last is somebody who
can see my attendant! Why is it, pray, that no one else can do so?"

"It was my own shadow which drew my notice to your follower. For I,
too, have had a shadow given me. It was the gift of my father, of
whom you have probably heard."

It was Jurgen's turn to nod. Everybody knew who had begotten Merlin
Ambrosius, and sensible persons preferred not to talk of the matter.
Then Merlin went on to speak of the traffic between Merlin and
Merlin's shadow.

"Thus and thus," says Merlin, "I humor my shadow. And thus and thus
my shadow serves me. There is give-and-take, such as is requisite

"I understand," says Jurgen: "but has no other person ever perceived
this shadow of yours?"

"Once only, when for a while my shadow deserted me," Merlin replied.
"It was on a Sunday my shadow left me, so that I walked unattended
in naked sunlight: for my shadow was embracing the church-steeple,
where church-goers knelt beneath him. The church-goers were
obscurely troubled without suspecting why, for they looked only at
each other. The priest and I alone saw him quite clearly,--the
priest because this thing was evil, and I because this thing was

"Well, now I wonder what did the priest say to your bold shadow?"

"'But you must go away!'--and the priest spoke without any fear. Why
is it they seem always without fear, those dull and calm-eyed
priests? 'Such conduct is unseemly. For this is High God's house,
and far-off peoples are admonished by its steadfast spire, pointing
always heavenward, that the place is holy,' said the priest. And my
shadow answered, 'But I only know that steeples are of phallic
origin.' And my shadow wept, wept ludicrously, clinging to the
steeple where church-goers knelt beneath him."

"Now, and indeed that must have been disconcerting, Messire Merlin.
Still, as you got your shadow back again, there was no great harm
done. But why is it that such attendants follow some men while other
men are permitted to live in decent solitude? It does not seem quite

"Perhaps I could explain it to you, friend, but certainly I shall not.
You know too much as it is. For you appear in that bright garment of
yours to have come from a land and a time which even I, who am a skilled
magician, can only cloudily foresee, and cannot understand at all. What
puzzles me, however"--and Merlin's fore-finger shot out. "How many feet
had the first wearer of your shirt? and were you ever an old man?" says

"Well, four, and I was getting on," says Jurgen.

"And I did not guess! But certainly that is it,--an old poet loaned
at once a young man's body and the Centaur's shirt. Aderes has
loosed a new jest into the world, for her own reasons--"

"But you have things backwards. It was Sereda whom I cajoled so

"Names that are given by men amount to very little in a case like
this. The shadow which follows you I recognize--and revere--as the
gift of Aderes, a dreadful Mother of small Gods. No doubt she has a
host of other names. And you cajoled her, you consider! I would not
willingly walk in the shirt of any person who considers that. But
she will enlighten you, my friend, at her appointed time."

"Well, so that she deals justly--" Jurgen said, and shrugged.

Now Merlin put aside the mirror. "Meanwhile it was another matter
entirely that Dame Anaitis and I discussed, and about which I wished
to be speaking with you. Gogyrvan is sending to King Arthur, along
with Gogyrvan's daughter, that Round Table which Uther Pendragon
gave Gogyrvan, and a hundred knights to fill the sieges of this
table. Gogyrvan, who, with due respect, possesses a deplorable sense
of humor, has numbered you among these knights. Now it is rumored
the Princess is given to conversing a great deal with you in
private, and Arthur has never approved of garrulity. So I warn you
that for you to come with us to London would not be convenient."

"I hardly think so, either," said Jurgen, with appropriate
melancholy; "for me to pursue the affair any further would only
result in marring what otherwise will always be a perfect memory of
divers very pleasant conversations."

"Old poet, you are well advised," said Merlin,--"especially now that
the little princess whom we know is about to enter queenhood and
become a symbol. I am sorry for her, for she will be worshipped as a
revelation of Heaven's splendor, and being flesh and blood, she will
not like it. And it is to no effect I have forewarned King Arthur,
for that must happen which will always happen so long as wisdom is
impotent against human stupidity. So wisdom can but make the best of
it, and be content to face the facts of a great mystery."

Thereupon, Merlin arose, and lifted the tapestry behind him, so that
Jurgen could see what hitherto this tapestry had screened.

* * * * *

"You have embarrassed me horribly," said Jurgen, "and I can feel
that I am still blushing, about the ankles. Well, I was wrong: so
let us say no more concerning it."

"I wished to show you," Merlin returned, "that I know what I am
talking about. However, my present purpose is to put Guenevere out
of your head: for in your heart I think she never was, old poet, who
go so modestly in the Centaur's shirt. Come, tell me now! and does
the thought of her approaching marriage really disturb you?"

"I am the unhappiest man that breathes," said Jurgen, with unction.
"All night I lie awake in my tumbled bed, and think of the miserable
day which is past, and of what is to happen in that equally
miserable day whose dawn I watch with a sick heart. And I cry aloud,
in the immortal words of Apollonius Myronides--"

"Of whom?" says Merlin.

"I allude to the author of the _Myrosis_," Jurgen
explained,--"whom so many persons rashly identify with Apollonius

"Oh, yes, of course! your quotation is very apt. Why, then your
condition is sad but not incurable. For I am about to give you this
token, with which, if you are bold enough, you will do thus and

"But indeed this is a somewhat strange token, and the arms and legs,
and even the head, of this little man are remarkably alike! Well,
and you tell me thus and thus. But how does it happen, Messire
Merlin, that you have never used this token in the fashion you
suggest to me?"

"Because I was afraid. You forget I am only a magician, whose
conjuring raises nothing more formidable than devils. But this is a
bit of the Old Magic that is no longer understood, and I prefer not
to meddle with it. You, to the contrary, are a poet, and the Old
Magic was always favorable to poets."

"Well, I will think about it," says Jurgen, "if this will really put
Dame Guenevere out of my head."

"Be assured it will do that," said Merlin. "For with reason does the
_Dirghagama_ declare, 'The brightness of the glowworm cannot be
compared to that of a lamp.'"

"A very pleasant little work, the _Dirghagama_," said Jurgen,
tolerantly--"though superficial, of course."

Then Merlin Ambrosius gave Jurgen the token, and some advice.

So that night Jurgen told Guenevere he would not go in her train to
London. He told her candidly that Merlin was suspicious of their

"And therefore, in order to protect you and to protect your fame, my
dearest dear," said Jurgen, "it is necessary that I sacrifice myself
and everything I prize in life. I shall suffer very much: but my
consolation will be that I have dealt fairly with you whom I love
with an entire heart, and shall have preserved you through my

But Guenevere did not appear to notice how noble this was of Jurgen.
Instead, she wept very softly, in a heartbroken way that Jurgen
found unbearable.

"For no man, whether emperor or peasant," says the Princess, "has
ever been loved more dearly or faithfully or more wholly without any
reserve or forethought than you, my dearest, have been loved by me.
All that I had I have given you. All that I had you have taken,
consuming it. So now you leave me with not anything more to give
you, not even any anger or contempt, now that you turn me adrift,
for there is nothing in me anywhere save love of you, who are

"But I die many deaths," said Jurgen, "when you speak thus to me."
And in point of fact, he did feel rather uncomfortable.

"I speak the truth, though. You have had all: and so you are a
little weary, and perhaps a little afraid of what may happen if you
do not break off with me."

"Now you misjudge me, darling--"

"No, I do not misjudge you, Jurgen. Instead, for the first time I
judge both of us. You I forgive, because I love you, but myself I do
not forgive, and I cannot ever forgive, for having been a
spendthrift fool."

And Jurgen found such talking uncomfortable and tedious and very
unfair to him. "For there is nothing I can do to help matters," says
Jurgen. "Why, what could anybody possibly expect me to do about it?
And so why not be happy while we may? It is not as though we had any
time to waste."

For this was the last night but one before the day that was set for
Guenevere's departure.


The Brown Man with Queer Feet

Early in the following morning Jurgen left Cameliard, traveling
toward Carohaise, and went into the Druid forest there, and followed
Merlin's instructions.

"Not that I for a moment believe in such nonsense," said Jurgen:
"but it will be amusing to see what comes of this business, and it
is unjust to deny even nonsense a fair trial."

So he presently observed a sun-browned brawny fellow, who sat upon
the bank of a stream, dabbling his feet in the water, and making
music with a pipe constructed of seven reeds of irregular lengths.
To him Jurgen displayed, in such a manner as Merlin had prescribed,
the token which Merlin had given. The man made a peculiar sign, and
rose. Jurgen saw that this man's feet were unusual.

Jurgen bowed low, and he said, as Merlin had bidden: "Now praise be
to thee, thou lord of the two truths! I have come to thee, O most
wise, that I may learn thy secret. I would know thee, and would know
the forty-two mighty ones who dwell with thee in the hall of the two
truths, and who are nourished by evil-doers, and who partake of
wicked blood each day of the reckoning before Wennofree. I would
know thee for what thou art."

The brown man answered: "I am everything that was and that is to be.
Never has any mortal been able to discover what I am."

Then this brown man conducted Jurgen to an open glen, at the heart
of the forest.

"Merlin dared not come himself, because," observed the brown man,
"Merlin is wise. But you are a poet. So you will presently forget
that which you are about to see, or at worst you will tell pleasant
lies about it, particularly to yourself."

"I do not know about that," says Jurgen, "but I am willing to taste
any drink once. What are you about to show me?"

The brown man answered: "All."

So it was near evening when they came out of the glen. It was dark
now, for a storm had risen. The brown man was smiling, and Jurgen
was in a flutter.

"It is not true," Jurgen protested. "What you have shown me is a
pack of nonsense. It is the degraded lunacy of a so-called Realist.
It is sorcery and pure childishness and abominable blasphemy. It is,
in a word, something I do not choose to believe. You ought to be
ashamed of yourself!"

"Even so, you do believe me, Jurgen."

"I believe that you are an honest man and that I am your cousin: so
there are two more lies for you."

The brown man said, still smiling: "Yes, you are certainly a poet,
you who have borrowed the apparel of my cousin. For you come out of
my glen, and from my candor, as sane as when you entered. That is
not saying much, to be sure, in praise of a poet's sanity at any
time. But Merlin would have died, and Merlin would have died without
regret, if Merlin had seen what you have seen, because Merlin
receives facts reasonably."

"Facts! sanity! and reason!" Jurgen raged: "why, but what nonsense
you are talking! Were there a bit of truth in your silly puppetry
this world of time and space and consciousness would be a bubble, a
bubble which contained the sun and moon and the high stars, and
still was but a bubble in fermenting swill! I must go cleanse my
mind of all this foulness. You would have me believe that men, that
all men who have ever lived or shall ever live hereafter, that even
I am of no importance! Why, there would be no justice in any such
arrangement, no justice anywhere!"

"That vexed you, did it not? It vexes me at times, even me, who
under Koshchei's will alone am changeless."

"I do not know about your variability: but I stick to my opinion
about your veracity," says Jurgen, for all that he was upon the
verge of hysteria. "Yes, if lies could choke people that shaggy
throat would certainly be sore."

Then the brown man stamped his foot, and the striking of his foot
upon the moss made a new noise such as Jurgen had never heard: for
the noise seemed to come multitudinously from every side, at first
as though each leaf in the forest were tinily cachinnating; and then
this noise was swelled by the mirth of larger creatures, and echoes
played with this noise, until there was a reverberation everywhere
like that of thunder. The earth moved under their feet very much as
a beast twitches its skin under the annoyance of flies. Another
queer thing Jurgen noticed, and it was that the trees about the glen
had writhed and arched their trunks, and so had bended, much as
candles bend in very hot weather, to lay their topmost foliage at
the feet of the brown man. And the brown man's appearance was
changed as he stood there, terrible in a continuous brown glare from
the low-hanging clouds, and with the forest making obeisance, and
with shivering and laughter everywhere.

"Make answer, you who chatter about justice! how if I slew you now,"
says the brown man,--"I being what I am?"

"Slay me, then!" says Jurgen, with shut eyes, for he did not at all
like the appearance of things. "Yes, you can kill me if you choose,
but it is beyond your power to make me believe that there is no
justice anywhere, and that I am unimportant. For I would have you
know I am a monstrous clever fellow. As for you, you are either a
delusion or a god or a degraded Realist. But whatever you are, you
have lied to me, and I know that you have lied, and I will not
believe in the insignificance of Jurgen."

Chillingly came the whisper of the brown man: "Poor fool! O
shuddering, stiff-necked fool! and have you not just seen that which
you may not ever quite forget?"

"None the less, I think there is something in me which will endure.
I am fettered by cowardice, I am enfeebled by disastrous memories;
and I am maimed by old follies. Still, I seem to detect in myself
something which is permanent and rather fine. Underneath everything,
and in spite of everything, I really do seem to detect that
something. What role that something is to enact after the death of
my body, and upon what stage, I cannot guess. When fortune knocks I
shall open the door. Meanwhile I tell you candidly, you brown man,
there is something in Jurgen far too admirable for any intelligent
arbiter ever to fling into the dustheap. I am, if nothing else, a
monstrous clever fellow: and I think I shall endure, somehow. Yes,
cap in hand goes through the land, as the saying is, and I believe I
can contrive some trick to cheat oblivion when the need arises,"
says Jurgen, trembling, and gulping, and with his eyes shut tight,
but even so, with his mind quite made up about it. "Of course you
may be right; and certainly I cannot go so far as to say you are
wrong: but still, at the same time--"

"Now but before a fool's opinion of himself," the brown man cried,
"the Gods are powerless. Oh, yes, and envious, too!"

And when Jurgen very cautiously opened his eyes the brown man had
left him physically unharmed. But the state of Jurgen's nervous
system was deplorable.


Efficacy of Prayer

Jurgen went in a tremble to the Cathedral of the Sacred Thorn in
Cameliard. All night Jurgen prayed there, not in repentance, but in
terror. For his dead he prayed, that they should not have been
blotted out in nothingness, for the dead among his kindred whom he
had loved in boyhood, and for these only. About the men and women
whom he had known since then he did not seem to care, or not at
least so vitally. But he put up a sort of prayer for Dame
Lisa--"wherever my dear wife may be, and, O God, grant that I may
come to her at last, and be forgiven!" he wailed, and wondered if he
really meant it.

He had forgotten about Guenevere. And nobody knows what were that
night the thoughts of the young Princess, nor if she offered any
prayers, in the deserted Hall of Judgment.

In the morning a sprinkling of persons came to early mass. Jurgen
attended with fervor, and started doorward with the others. Just
before him a merchant stopped to get a pebble from his shoe, and the
merchant's wife went forward to the holy-water font.

"Madame, permit me," said a handsome young esquire, and offered her
holy water.

"At eleven," said the merchant's wife, in low tones. "He will be out
all day."

"My dear," says her husband, as he rejoined her, "and who was the
young gentleman?"

"Why, I do not know, darling. I never saw him before."

"He was certainly very civil. I wish there were more like him. And a
fine looking young fellow, too!"

"Was he? I did not notice," said the merchant's wife, indifferently.

And Jurgen saw and heard and regarded the departing trio ruefully.
It seemed to him incredible the world should be going on just as it
went before he ventured into the Druid forest.

He paused before a crucifix, and he knelt and looked up wistfully.
"If one could only know," says Jurgen, "what really happened in
Judea! How immensely would matters be simplified, if anyone but knew
the truth about You, Man upon the Cross!"

Now the Bishop of Merion passed him, coming from celebration of the
early mass. "My Lord Bishop," says Jurgen, simply, "can you tell me
the truth about this Christ?"

"Why, indeed, Messire de Logreus," replied the Bishop, "one cannot
but sympathize with Pilate in thinking that the truth about Him is
very hard to get at, even nowadays. Was He Melchisedek, or Shem, or
Adam? or was He verily the Logos? and in that event, what sort of a
something was the Logos? Granted He was a god, were the Arians or
the Sabellians in the right? had He existed always, co-substantial
with the Father and the Holy Spirit, or was He a creation of the
Father, a kind of Israelitic Zagreus? Was He the husband of
Acharamoth, that degraded Sophia, as the Valentinians aver? or the
son of Pantherus, as say the Jews? or Kalakau, as contends
Basilides? or was it, as the Docetes taught, only a tinted cloud in
the shape of a man that went from Jordan to Golgotha? Or were the
Merinthians right? These are a few of the questions, Messire de
Logreus, which naturally arise. And not all of them are to be
settled out of hand."

Thus speaking, the gallant prelate bowed, then raised three fingers
in benediction, and so quitted Jurgen, who was still kneeling before
the crucifix.

"Ah, ah!" says Jurgen, to himself, "but what a variety of
interesting problems are, in point of fact, suggested by religion.
And what delectable exercise would the settling of these problems,
once for all, afford the mind of a monstrous clever fellow! Come
now, it might be well for me to enter the priesthood. It may be that
I have a call."

But people were shouting in the street. So Jurgen rose and dusted
his knees. And as Jurgen came out of the Cathedral of the Sacred
Thorn the cavalcade was passing that bore away Dame Guenevere to the
arms and throne of her appointed husband. Jurgen stood upon the
Cathedral porch, his mind in part pre-occupied by theology, but
still not failing to observe how beautiful was this young princess,
as she rode by on her white palfrey, green-garbed and crowned and
a-glitter with jewels. She was smiling as she passed him, bowing
her small tenderly-colored young countenance this way and that way,
to the shouting people, and not seeing Jurgen at all.

Thus she went to her bridal, that Guenevere who was the symbol of
all beauty and purity to the chivalrous people of Glathion. The mob
worshipped her; and they spoke as though it were an angel who

"Our beautiful young Princess!"

"Ah, there is none like her anywhere!"

"And never a harsh word for anyone, they say--!"

"Oh, but she is the most admirable of ladies--!"

"And so brave too, that lovely smiling child who is leaving her home

"And so very, very pretty!"

"--So generous!"

"King Arthur will be hard put to it to deserve her!"

Said Jurgen: "Now it is droll that to these truths I have but to add
another truth in order to have large paving-stones flung at her! and
to have myself tumultuously torn into fragments, by those
unpleasantly sweaty persons who, thank Heaven, are no longer
jostling me!"

For the Cathedral porch had suddenly emptied, because as the
procession passed heralds were scattering silver among the

"Arthur will have a very lovely queen," says a soft lazy voice.

And Jurgen turned and saw that beside him was Dame Anaitis, whom
people called the Lady of the Lake.

"Yes, he is greatly to be envied," says Jurgen, politely. "But do
you not ride with them to London?"

"Why, no," says the Lady of the Lake, "because my part in this
bridal was done when I mixed the stirrup-cup of which the Princess
and young Lancelot drank this morning. He is the son of King Ban of
Benwick, that tall young fellow in blue armor. I am partial to
Lancelot, for I reared him, at the bottom of a lake that belongs to
me, and I consider he does me credit. I also believe that Madame
Guenevere by this time agrees with me. And so, my part being done to
serve my creator, I am off for Cocaigne."

"And what is this Cocaigne?"

"It is an island wherein I rule."

"I did not know you were a queen, madame."

"Why, indeed there are a many things unknown to you, Messire de
Logreus, in a world where nobody gets any assuredness of knowledge
about anything. For it is a world wherein all men that live have but
a little while to live, and none knows his fate thereafter. So that
a man possesses nothing certainly save a brief loan of his own body:
and yet the body of man is capable of much curious pleasure."

"I believe," said Jurgen, as his thoughts shuddered away from what
he had seen and heard in the Druid forest, "that you speak wisdom."

"Then in Cocaigne we are all wise: for that is our religion. But of
what are you thinking, Duke of Logreus?"

"I was thinking," says Jurgen, "that your eyes are unlike the eyes
of any other woman that I have ever seen."

Smilingly the dark woman asked him wherein they differed, and
smilingly he said he did not know. They were looking at each other
warily. In each glance an experienced gamester acknowledged a worthy

"Why, then you must come with me into Cocaigne," says Anaitis, "and
see if you cannot discover wherein lies that difference. For it is
not a matter I would care to leave unsettled."

"Well, that seems only just to you," says Jurgen. "Yes, certainly I
must deal fairly with you."

Then they left the Cathedral of the Sacred Thorn, walking together.
The folk who went toward London were now well out of sight and
hearing, which possibly accounts for the fact that Jurgen was now in
no wise thinking of Guenevere. So it was that Guenevere rode out of
Jurgen's life for a while: and as she rode she talked with Lancelot.


How Anaitis Voyaged

Now the tale tells that Jurgen and this Lady of the Lake came
presently to the wharves of Cameliard, and went aboard the ship
which had brought Anaitis and Merlin into Glathion. This ship was
now to every appearance deserted: yet all its saffron colored sails
were spread, as though in readiness for the ship's departure.

"The crew are scrambling, it may be, for the largesse, and fighting
over Gogyrvan's silver pieces," says Anaitis, "but I think they will
not be long in returning. So we will sit here upon the prow, and
await their leisure."

"But already the vessel moves," says Jurgen, "and I hear behind
us the rattling of silver chains and the flapping of shifted
saffron-colored sails."

"They are roguish fellows," says Anaitis, smiling. "Evidently, they
hid from us, pretending there was nobody aboard. Now they think to
give us a surprise when the ship sets out to sea as though it were
of itself. But we will disappoint these merry rascals, by seeming to
notice nothing unusual."

So Jurgen sat with Anaitis in the two tall chairs that were in the
prow of the vessel, under a canopy of crimson stuff embroidered with
gold dragons, and just back of the ship's figurehead, which was a
dragon painted with thirty colors: and the ship moved out of the
harbor, and so into the open sea. Thus they passed Enisgarth.

"And it is a queer crew that serve you, Anaitis, who are Queen of
Cocaigne: for I can hear them talking, far back of us, and their
language is all a cheeping and a twittering, as though the mice and
the bats were holding conference."

"Why, you must understand that these are outlanders who speak a
dialect of their own, and are not like any other people you have
ever seen."

"Indeed, now, that is very probable, for I have seen none of your
crew. Sometimes it is as though small flickerings passed over the
deck, and that is all."

"It is but the heat waves rising from the deck, for the day is
warmer than you would think, sitting here under this canopy. And
besides, what call have you and I to be bothering over the pranks of
common mariners, so long as they do their proper duty?"

"I was thinking, O woman with unusual eyes, that these are hardly
common mariners."

"And I was thinking, Duke Jurgen, that I would tell you a tale of
the Old Gods, to make the time speed more pleasantly as we sit here
untroubled as a god and a goddess."

Now they had passed Camwy: and Anaitis began to narrate the history
of Anistar and Calmoora and of the unusual concessions they granted
each other, and of how Calmoora contented her five lovers: and
Jurgen found the tale perturbing.

While Anaitis talked the sky grew dark, as though the sun were
ashamed and veiled his shame with clouds: and they went forward in a
gray twilight which deepened steadily over a tranquil sea. So they
passed the lights of Sargyll, most remote of the Red Islands, while
Anaitis talked of Procris and King Minos and Pasiphae. As color went
out of the air new colors entered into the sea, which now assumed
the varied gleams of water that has long been stagnant. And a
silence brooded over the sea, so that there was no noise anywhere
except the sound of the voice of Anaitis, saying, "All men that live
have but a little while to live, and none knows his fate thereafter.
So that a man possesses nothing certainly save a brief loan of his
own body; and yet the body of man is capable of much curious

They came thus to a low-lying naked beach, where there was no sign
of habitation. Anaitis said this was the land they were seeking, and
they went ashore.

"Even now," says Jurgen, "I have seen none of the crew who brought
us hither."

And the beautiful dark woman shrugged, and marveled why he need
perpetually be bothering over the doings of common sailors.

They went forward across the beach, through sand hills, to a moor,
seeing no one, and walking in a gray fog. They passed many gray fat
sluggish worms and some curious gray reptiles such as Jurgen had
never imagined to exist, but Anaitis said these need not trouble

"So there is no call to be fingering your charmed sword as we walk
here, Duke Jurgen, for these great worms do not ever harm the

"For whom, then, do they lie here in wait, in this gray fog,
wherethrough the green lights flutter, and wherethrough I hear at
times a thin and far-off wailing?"

"What is that to you, Duke Jurgen, since you and I are still in the
warm flesh? Surely there was never a man who asked more idle

"Yet this is an uncomfortable twilight."

"To the contrary, you should rejoice that it is a fog too heavy to
be penetrated by the Moon."

"But what have I to do with the Moon?"

"Nothing, as yet. And that is as well for you, Duke Jurgen, since it
is authentically reported you have derided the day which is sacred
to the Moon. Now the Moon does not love derision, as I well know,
for in part I serve the Moon."

"Eh?" says Jurgen: and he began to reflect.

So they came to a wall that was high and gray, and to the door which
was in the wall.

"You must knock two or three times," says Anaitis, "to get into

Jurgen observed the bronze knocker upon the door, and he grinned in
order to hide his embarrassment.

"It is a quaint fancy," said he, "and the two constituents of it
appear to have been modeled from life."

"They were copied very exactly from Adam and Eve," says Anaitis,
"who were the first persons to open this gateway."

"Why, then," says Jurgen, "there is no earthly doubt that men
degenerate, since here under my hand is the proof of it."

With that he knocked, and the door opened, and the two of them


As to a Veil They Broke

So it was that Jurgen came into Cocaigne, wherein is the bedchamber
of Time. And Time, they report, came in with Jurgen, since Jurgen
was mortal: and Time, they say, rejoiced in this respite from the
slow toil of dilapidating cities stone by stone, and with his eyes
tired by the finicky work of etching in wrinkles, went happily into
his bedchamber, and fell asleep just after sunset on this fine
evening in late June: so that the weather remained fair and
changeless, with no glaring sun rays anywhere, and with one large
star shining alone in clear daylight. This was the star of Venus
Mechanitis, and Jurgen later derived considerable amusement from
noting how this star was trundled about the dome of heaven by a
largish beetle, named Khepre. And the trees everywhere kept their
first fresh foliage, and the birds were about their indolent evening
songs, all during Jurgen's stay in Cocaigne, for Time had gone to
sleep at the pleasantest hour of the year's most pleasant season. So
tells the tale.

And Jurgen's shadow also went in with Jurgen, but in Cocaigne as in
Glathion, nobody save Jurgen seemed to notice this curious shadow
which now followed Jurgen everywhere.

In Cocaigne Queen Anaitis had a palace, where domes and pinnacles
beyond numbering glimmered with a soft whiteness above the top of an
old twilit forest, wherein the vegetation was unlike that which is
nourished by ordinary earth. There was to be seen in these woods,
for instance, a sort of moss which made Jurgen shudder. So Anaitis
and Jurgen came through narrow paths, like murmuring green caverns,
into a courtyard walled and paved with yellow marble, wherein was
nothing save the dimly colored statue of a god with ten heads and
thirty-four arms: he was represented as very much engrossed by a
woman, and with his unoccupied hands was holding yet other women.

"It is Jigsbyed," said Anaitis.

Said Jurgen: "I do not criticize. Nevertheless, I think this
Jigsbyed is carrying matters to extremes."

Then they passed the statue of Tangaro Loloquong, and afterward the
statue of Legba. Jurgen stroked his chin, and his color heightened.
"Now certainly, Queen Anaitis," he said, "you have unusual taste in

Thence Jurgen came with Anaitis into a white room, with copper
plaques upon the walls, and there four girls were heating water in a
brass tripod. They bathed Jurgen, giving him astonishing caresses
meanwhile--with the tongue, the hair, the finger-nails, and the tips
of the breasts,--and they anointed him with four oils, then dressed
him again in his glittering shirt. Of Caliburn, said Anaitis, there
was no present need: so Jurgen's sword was hung upon the wall.

These girls brought silver bowls containing wine mixed with honey,
and they brought pomegranates and eggs and barleycorn, and
triangular red-colored loaves, whereon they sprinkled sweet-smelling
little seeds with formal gestures. Then Anaitis and Jurgen broke
their fast, eating together while the four girls served them.

"And now," says Jurgen, "and now, my dear, I would suggest that we
enter into the pursuit of those curious pleasures of which you were
telling me."

"I am very willing," responded Anaitis, "since there is no one of
these pleasures but is purchased by some diversion of man's nature.
Yet first, as I need hardly inform you, there is a ceremonial to be

"And what, pray, is this ceremonial?"

"Why, we call it the Breaking of the Veil." And Queen Anaitis
explained what they must do.

"Well," says Jurgen, "I am willing to taste any drink once."

So Anaitis led Jurgen into a sort of chapel, adorned with very
unchurchlike paintings. There were four shrines, dedicated severally
to St. Cosmo, to St. Damianus, to St. Guignole of Brest, and to St.
Foutin de Varailles. In this chapel were a hooded man, clothed in
long garments that were striped with white and yellow, and two naked
children, both girls. One of the children carried a censer: the
other held in one hand a vividly blue pitcher half filled with
water, and in her left hand a cellar of salt.

First of all, the hooded man made Jurgen ready. "Behold the lance,"
said the hooded man, "which must serve you in this adventure."

"I accept the adventure," Jurgen replied, "because I believe the
weapon to be trustworthy."

Said the hooded man: "So be it! but as you are, so once was I."

Meanwhile Duke Jurgen held the lance erect, shaking it with his
right hand. This lance was large, and the tip of it was red with

"Behold," said Jurgen, "I am a man born of a woman incomprehensibly.
Now I, who am miraculous, am found worthy to perform a miracle, and
to create that which I may not comprehend."

Anaitis took salt and water from the child, and mingled these. "Let
the salt of earth enable the thin fluid to assume the virtue of the
teeming sea!"

Then, kneeling, she touched the lance, and began to stroke it
lovingly. To Jurgen she said: "Now may you be fervent of soul and
body! May the endless Serpent be your crown, and the fertile flame
of the sun your strength!"

Said the hooded man, again: "So be it!" His voice was high and
bleating, because of that which had been done to him.

"That therefore which we cannot understand we also invoke," said
Jurgen. "By the power of the lifted lance"--and now with his left
hand he took the hand of Anaitis,--"I, being a man born of a woman
incomprehensibly, now seize upon that which alone I desire with my
whole being. I lead you toward the east. I upraise you above the
earth and all the things of earth."

Then Jurgen raised Queen Anaitis so that she sat upon the altar, and
that which was there before tumbled to the ground. Anaitis placed
together the tips of her thumbs and of her fingers, so that her
hands made an open triangle; and waited thus. Upon her head was a
network of red coral, with branches radiating downward: her gauzy
tunic had twenty-two openings, so as to admit all imaginable
caresses, and was of two colors, being shot with black and crimson
curiously mingled: her dark eyes glittered and her breath came fast.

Now the hooded man and the two naked girls performed their share in
the ceremonial, which part it is not essential to record. But Jurgen
was rather shocked by it.

None the less, Jurgen said: "O cord that binds the circling of the
stars! O cup which holds all time, all color, and all thought! O
soul of space! not unto any image of thee do we attain unless thy
image show in what we are about to do. Therefore by every plant
which scatters its seed and by the moist warm garden which receives
and nourishes it, by the comminglement of bloodshed with pleasure,
by the joy that mimics anguish with sighs and shudderings, and by
the contentment which mimics death,--by all these do we invoke thee.
O thou, continuous one, whose will these children attend, and whom I
now adore in this fair-colored and soft woman's body, it is thou
whom I honor, not any woman, in doing what seems good to me: and it
is thou who art about to speak, and not she."

Then Anaitis said: "Yea, for I speak with the tongue of every woman,
and I shine in the eyes of every woman, when the lance is lifted. To
serve me is better than all else. When you invoke me with a heart
wherein is kindled the serpent flame, if but for a moment, you will
understand the delights of my garden, what joy unwordable pulsates
therein, and how potent is the sole desire which uses all of a man.
To serve me you will then be eager to surrender whatever else is in
your life: and other pleasures you will take with your left hand,
not thinking of them entirely: for I am the desire which uses all of
a man, and so wastes nothing. And I accept you, I yearn toward you,
I who am daughter and somewhat more than daughter to the Sun. I who
am all pleasure, all ruin, and a drunkenness of the inmost sense,
desire you."

Now Jurgen held his lance erect before Anaitis. "O secret of all
things, hidden in the being of all which lives, now that the lance
is exalted I do not dread thee: for thou art in me, and I am thou. I
am the flame that burns in every beating heart and in the core of
the farthest star. I too am life and the giver of life, and in me
too is death. Wherein art thou better than I? I am alone: my will is
justice: and there comes no other god where I am."

Said the hooded man behind Jurgen: "So be it! but as you are, so
once was I."

The two naked children stood one at each side of Anaitis, and waited
there trembling. These girls, as Jurgen afterward learned, were
Alecto and Tisiphone, two of the Eumenides. And now Jurgen shifted
the red point of the lance, so that it rested in the open triangle
made by the fingers of Anaitis.

"I am life and the giver of life," cried Jurgen. "Thou that art one,
that makest use of all! I who am a man born of woman, I in my
station honor thee in honoring this desire which uses all of a man.
Make open therefore the way of creation, encourage the flaming dust
which is in our hearts, and aid us in that flame's perpetuation! For
is not that thy law?"

Anaitis answered: "There is no law in Cocaigne save, Do that which
seems good to you."

Then said the naked children: "Perhaps it is the law, but certainly
it is not justice. Yet we are little and quite helpless. So
presently we must be made as you are for now you two are no longer
two, and your flesh is not shared merely with each other. For your
flesh becomes our flesh, and your sins our sins: and we have no

Jurgen lifted Anaitis from the altar, and they went into the chancel
and searched for the adytum. There seemed to be no doors anywhere in
the chancel: but presently Jurgen found an opening screened by a
pink veil. Jurgen thrust with his lance and broke this veil. He
heard the sound of one brief wailing cry: it was followed by soft
laughter. So Jurgen came into the adytum.

Black candles were burning in this place, and sulphur too was
burning there, before a scarlet cross, of which the top was a
circle, and whereon was nailed a living toad. And other curious
matters Jurgen likewise noticed.

He laughed, and turned to Anaitis: now that the candles were behind
him, she was standing in his shadow. "Well, well! but you are a
little old-fashioned, with all these equivocal mummeries. And I did
not know that civilized persons any longer retained sufficient
credulity to wring a thrill from god-baiting. Still, women must be
humored, bless them! and at last, I take it, we have quite fairly
fulfilled the ceremonial requisite to the pursuit of curious

Queen Anaitis was very beautiful, even under his bedimming shadow.
Triumphant too was the proud face beneath that curious coral
network, and yet this woman's face was sad.

"Dear fool," she said, "it was not wise, when you sang of the Leshy,
to put an affront upon Monday. But you have forgotten that. And now
you laugh because that which we have done you do not understand: and
equally that which I am you do not understand."

"No matter what you may be, my dear, I am sure that you will
presently tell me all about it. For I assume that you mean to deal
fairly with me."

"I shall do that which becomes me, Duke Jurgen--"

"That is it, my dear, precisely! You intend to be true to yourself,
whatever happens. The aspiration does you infinite honor, and I
shall try to help you. Now I have noticed that every woman is most
truly herself," says Jurgen, oracularly, "in the dark."

Then Jurgen looked at her for a moment, with twinkling eyes: then
Anaitis, standing in his shadow, smiled with glowing eyes: then
Jurgen blew out those black candles: and then it was quite dark.


Shortcomings of Prince Jurgen

Now the happenings just recorded befell on the eve of the Nativity
of St. John the Baptist: and thereafter Jurgen abode in Cocaigne,
and complied with the customs of that country.

In the palace of Queen Anaitis, all manner of pastimes were
practised without any cessation. Jurgen, who considered himself to
be somewhat of an authority upon such contrivances, was soon
astounded by his own innocence. For Anaitis showed him whatever was
being done in Cocaigne, to this side and to that side, under the
direction of Anaitis, whom Jurgen found to be a nature myth of
doubtful origin connected with the Moon; and who, in consequence,
ruled not merely in Cocaigne but furtively swayed the tides of life
everywhere the Moon keeps any power over tides. It was the mission
of Anaitis to divert and turn aside and deflect: in this the jealous
Moon abetted her because sunlight makes for straightforwardness. So
Anaitis and the Moon were staunch allies. These mysteries of their
private relations, however, as revealed to Jurgen, are not very
nicely repeatable.

"But you dishonored the Moon, Prince Jurgen, denying praise to the
day of the Moon. Or so, at least, I have heard."

"I remember doing nothing of the sort. But I remember considering it
unjust to devote one paltry day to the Moon's majesty. For night is
sacred to the Moon, each night that ever was the friend of
lovers,--night, the renewer and begetter of all life."

"Why, indeed, there is something in that argument," says Anaitis,

"'Something', do you say! why, but to my way of thinking it proves
the Moon is precisely seven times more honorable than any of the
Leshy. It is merely, my dear, a question of arithmetic."

"Was it for that reason you did not praise Pandelis and her Mondays
with the other Leshy?"

"Why, to be sure," said Jurgen, glibly. "I did not find it at all
praiseworthy that such an insignificant Leshy as Pandelis should
name her day after the Moon: to me it seemed blasphemy." Then Jurgen
coughed, and looked sidewise at his shadow. "Had it been Sereda,
now, the case would have been different, and the Moon might well
have appreciated the delicate compliment."

Anaitis appeared relieved. "I shall report your explanation.
Candidly, there were ill things in store for you, Prince Jurgen,
because your language was misunderstood. But that which you now say
puts quite a different complexion upon matters."

Jurgen laughed, not understanding the mystery, but confident he
could always say whatever was required of him.

"Now let us see a little more of Cocaigne!" cries Jurgen.

For Jurgen was greatly interested by the pursuits of Cocaigne, and
for a week or ten days participated therein industriously. Anaitis,
who reported the Moon's honor to be satisfied, now spared no effort
to divert him, and they investigated innumerable pastimes together.

"For all men that live have but a little while to live," said
Anaitis, "and none knows his fate thereafter. So that a man
possesses nothing certainly save a brief loan of his body: and yet
the body of man is capable of much curious pleasure. As thus and
thus," says Anaitis. And she revealed devices to her Prince Consort.

For Jurgen found that unknowingly he had in due and proper form
espoused Queen Anaitis, by participating in the Breaking of the
Veil, which is the marriage ceremony of Cocaigne. His earlier
relations with Dame Lisa had, of course, no legal standing in
Cocaigne, where the Church is not Christian and the Law is, Do that
which seems good to you.

"Well, when in Rome," said Jurgen, "one must be romantic. But
certainly this proves that nobody ever knows when he is being
entrapped into respectability: and never did a fine young fellow
marry a high queen with less premeditation."

"Ah, my dear," says Anaitis, "you were controlled by the finger of

"I do not altogether like that figure of speech. It makes one seem
too trivial, to be controlled by a mere finger. No, it is not quite
complimentary to call what prompted me a finger."

"By the long arm of coincidence, then."

"Much more appropriate, my love," says Jurgen, complacently: "it
sounds more dignified, and does not wound my self esteem."

Now this Anaitis who was Queen of Cocaigne was a delicious tall dark
woman, thinnish, and lovely, and very restless. From the first her
new Prince Consort was puzzled by her fervors, and presently was
fretted by them. He humbly failed to understand how anyone could be
so frantic over Jurgen. It seemed unreasonable. And in her more
affectionate moments this nature myth positively frightened him: for
transports such as these could not but rouse discomfortable
reminiscences of the female spider, who ends such recreations by
devouring her partner.

"Thus to be loved is very flattering," he would reflect, "and I
again am Jurgen, asking odds of none. But even so, I am mortal. She
ought to remember that, in common fairness."

Then the jealousy of Anaitis, while equally flattering, was equally
out of reason. She suspected everybody, seemed assured that every
bosom cherished a mad passion for Jurgen, and that not for a moment
could he be trusted. Well, as Jurgen frankly conceded, his conduct
toward Stella, that ill-starred yogini of Indawadi, had in point of
fact displayed, when viewed from an especial and quite unconscionable
point of view, an aspect which, when isolated by persons judging
hastily, might, just possibly, appear to approach remotely, in one
or two respects, to temporary forgetfulness of Anaitis, if indeed
there were people anywhere so mentally deficient as to find such
forgetfulness conceivable.

But the main thing, the really important feature, which Anaitis
could not be made to understand, was that she had interrupted her
consort in what was, in effect, a philosophical experiment,
necessarily attempted in the dark. The muntrus requisite to the
sacti sodhana were always performed in darkness: everybody knew
that. For the rest, this Stella had asserted so-and-so; in simple
equity she was entitled to a chance to prove her allegations if she
could: so Jurgen had proceeded to deal fairly with her. Besides, why
keep talking about this Stella, after a vengeance so spectacular and
thorough as that to which Anaitis had out of hand resorted? why keep
reverting to a topic which was repugnant to Jurgen and visibly upset
the dearest nature myth in all legend? Was it quite fair to anyone
concerned? That was the sensible way in which Jurgen put it.

Still, he became honestly fond of Anaitis. Barring her
eccentricities when roused to passion, she was a generous and kindly
creature, although in Jurgen's opinion somewhat narrow-minded.

"My love," he would say to her, "you appear positively unable to
keep away from virtuous persons! You are always seeking out the
people who endeavor to be upright and straightforward, and you are
perpetually laying plans to divert these people. Ah, but why bother
about them? What need have you to wear yourself out, and to devote
your entire time to such proselitizing, when you might be so much
more agreeably employed? You should learn, in justice to yourself as
well as to others, to be tolerant of all things; and to acknowledge
that in a being of man's mingled nature a strain of respectability
is apt to develop every now and then, whatever you might prefer."

But Anaitis had high notions as to her mission, and merely told him
that he ought not to speak with levity of such matters. "I would be
much happier staying at home with you and the children," she would
say, "but I feel that it is my duty--"

"And your duty to whom, in heaven's name?"

"Please do not employ such distasteful expressions, Jurgen. It is my
duty to the power I serve, my very manifest duty to my creator. But
you have no sense of religion, I am afraid; and the reflection is
often a considerable grief to me."

"Ah, but, my dear, you are quite certain as to who made you, and for
what purpose you were made. You nature myths were created in the
Mythopoeic age by the perversity of old heathen nations: and you
serve your creator religiously. That is quite as it should be. But I
have no such authentic information as to my origin and mission in
life, I appear at all events to have no natural talent for being
diverted, I do not take to it wholeheartedly, and these are facts we
have to face." Now Jurgen put his arm around her. "My dear Anaitis,
you must not think it mere selfishness on my part. I was born with a
something lacking that is requisite for anyone who aspires to be as
thoroughly misled as most people: and you will have to love me in
spite of it."

"I almost wish I had never seen you as I saw you in that corridor,
Jurgen. For I felt drawn toward you then and there. I almost wish I
had never seen you at all. I cannot help being fond of you: and yet
you laugh at the things I know to be required of me, and sometimes
you make me laugh, too."

"But, darling, are you not just the least, littlest, tiniest, very
weest trifle bigoted? For instance, I can see that you think I ought
to evince more interest in your striking dances, and your strange
pleasures, and your surprising caresses, and all your other
elaborate diversions. And I do think they do you credit, great
credit, and I admire your inventiveness no less than your

"You have no sense of reverence, Jurgen, you seem to have no sense
at all of what is due to one's creator. I suppose you cannot help
that: but you might at least remember it troubles me to hear you
talk so flippantly of my religion."

"But I do not talk flippantly--"

"Indeed you do, though. And it does not sound at all well, let me
tell you."

"--Instead, I but point out that your creed necessitates, upon the
whole, an ardor I lack. You, my pet, were created by perversity: and
everyone knows it is the part of piety to worship one's creator in
fashions acceptable to that creator. So, I do not criticize your
religious connections, dear, and nobody admires these ceremonials of
your faith more heartily than I do. I merely confess that to
celebrate these rites so frequently requires a sustention of
enthusiasm which is beyond me. In fine, I have not your fervent
temperament, I am more sceptical. You may be right; and certainly I
cannot go so far as to say you are wrong: but still, at the same
time--! That is how I feel about it, my precious, and that is why I
find, with constant repetition of these ceremonials, a certain lack
of firmness developing in my responses: and finally, darling, that
is all there is to it."

"I never in my whole incarnation had such a Prince Consort!
Sometimes I think you do not care a bit about me one way or the
other, Jurgen."

"Ah, but I do care for you very much. And to prove it, come now let
us try some brand-new diversion, at sight of which the skies will be
blackened and the earth will shudder or something of that sort, and
then I will take the children fishing, as I promised."

"No, Jurgen, I do not feel like diverting you just now. You take all
the solemnity out of it with your jeering. Besides, you are always
with the children. Jurgen, I believe you are fonder of the children
than you are of me. And when you are not with them you are locked up
in the Library."

"Well, and was there ever such a treasury as the Library of
Cocaigne? All the diversions that you nature myths have practised I
find recorded there: and to read of your ingenious devices delights
and maddens me. For it is eminently interesting to meditate upon
strange pleasures, and to make verses about them is the most amiable
of avocations: it is merely the pursuit of them that I would
discourage, as disappointing and mussy. Besides, the Library is the
only spot I have to myself in the palace, what with your fellow
nature myths making the most of life all over the place."

"It is necessary, Jurgen, for one in my position to entertain more
or less. And certainly I cannot close the doors against my own

"Such riffraff, though, my darling! Such odds and ends! I cannot
congratulate you upon your kindred, for I do not get on at all with
these patchwork combinations, that are one-third man and the other
two-thirds a vulgar fraction of bull or hawk or goat or serpent or
ape or jackal or what not. Priapos is the only male myth who comes
here in anything like the semblance of a complete human being: and I
had infinitely rather he stayed away, because even I who am Jurgen
cannot but be envious of him."

"And why, pray?"

"Well, where I go reasonably equipped with Caliburn, Priapos carries
a lance I envy--"

"Like all the Bacchic myths he usually carries a thyrsos, and it is
a showy weapon, certainly; but it is not of much use in actual

"My darling! and how do you know?"

"Why, Jurgen, how do women always know these things?--by intuition,
I suppose."

"You mean that you judge all affairs by feeling rather than reason?
Indeed, I dare say that is true of most women, and men are daily
chafed and delighted, about equally, by your illogical method of
putting things together. But to get back to the congenial task of
criticizing your kindred, your cousin Apis, for example, may be a
very good sort of fellow: but, say what you will, it is ill-advised
of him to be going about in public with a bull's head. It makes him
needlessly conspicuous, if not actually ridiculous: and it puts me
out when I try to talk to him."

"Now, Jurgen, pray remember that you speak of a very generally
respected myth, and that you are being irreverent--"

"--And moreover, I take the liberty of repeating, my darling, that
even though this Ba of Mendes is your cousin, it honestly does
embarrass me to have to meet three-quarters of a goat socially--"

"But, Jurgen, I must as a master of course invite prolific Ba to my
feasts of the Sacae--"

"Even so, my dear, in issuing invitations a hostess may fairly presuppose
that her guests will not make beasts of themselves. I often wish that
this mere bit of ordinary civility were more rigorously observed by Ba
and Hortanes and Fricco and Vul and Baal-Peor, and by all your other
cousins who come to visit you in such a zoologically muddled condition.
It shows a certain lack of respect for you, my darling."

"Oh, but it is all in the family, Jurgen--"

"Besides, they have no conversation. They merely bellow--or twitter
or bleat or low or gibber or purr, according to their respective
incarnations,--about unspeakable mysteries and monstrous pleasures
until I am driven to the verge of virtue by their imbecility."

"If you were more practical, Jurgen, you would realize that it
speaks splendidly for anyone to be really interested in his

"And your female relatives are just as annoying, with their eternal
whispered enigmas, and their crescent moons, and their mystic roses
that change color and require continual gardening, and their
pathetic belief that I have time to fool with them. And the entire
pack practises symbolism until the house is positively littered with
asherahs and combs and phalloses and linghams and yonis and arghas
and pulleiars and talys, and I do not know what other idiotic toys
that I am continually stepping on!"

"Which of those minxes has been making up to you?" says Anaitis, her
eyes snapping.

"Ah, ah! now many of your female cousins are enticing enough--"

"I knew it! Oh, but you need not think you deluded me--!"

"My darling, pray consider! be reasonable about it! Your feminine
guests at present are Sekhmet in the form of a lioness, Io
incarnated as a cow, Hekt as a frog, Derceto as a sturgeon, and--ah,
yes!--Thoueris as a hippopotamus. I leave it to your sense of
justice, dear Anaitis, if of ladies with such tastes in dress a
lovely myth like you can reasonably be jealous."

"And I know perfectly well who it is! It is that Ephesian hussy, and
I had several times noticed her behavior. Very well, oh, very well,
indeed! nevertheless, I shall have a plain word or two with her at
once, and the sooner she gets out of my house the better, as I shall
tell her quite frankly. And as for you, Jurgen--!"

"But, my dear Lisa--!"

"What do you call me? Lisa was never an epithet of mine. Why do you
call me Lisa?"

"It was a slip of the tongue, my pet, an involuntary but not
unnatural association of ideas. As for the Ephesian Diana, she
reminds me of an animated pine-cone, with that eruption of breasts
all over her, and I can assure you of your having no particular
reason to be jealous of her. It was merely of the female myths in
general I spoke. Of course they all make eyes at me: I cannot well
help that, and you should have anticipated as much when you selected
such an attractive Prince Consort. What do these poor enamored
creatures matter when to you my heart is ever faithful?"

"It is not your heart I am worrying over, Jurgen, for I believe you
have none. Yes, you have quite succeeded in worrying me to
distraction, if that is any comfort to you. However, let us not talk
about it. For it is now necessary, absolutely imperative, that I go
into Armenia to take part in the mourning for Tammouz: people would
not understand it at all if I stayed away from such important
orgies. And I shall get no benefit whatever from the trip, much as I
need the change, because, without speaking of that famous heart of
yours, you are always up to some double-dealing, and I shall not
know into what mischief you may be thrusting yourself."

Jurgen laughed, and kissed her. "Be off, and attend to your
religious duties, dear, by all means. And I promise you I will stay
safe locked in the Library till you come back."

Thus Jurgen abode among the offspring of heathen perversity, and
conformed to their customs. Death ends all things for all, they
contended, and life is brief: for how few years do men endure, and
how quickly is the most subtle and appalling nature myth explained
away by the Philologists! So the wise person, and equally the
foreseeing nature myth, will take his glut of pleasure while there
is yet time to take anything, and will waste none of his short lien
upon desire and vigor by asking questions.

"Oh, but by all means!" said Jurgen, and he docilely crowned himself
with a rose garland, and drank his wine, and kissed his Anaitis.
Then, when the feast of the Sacae was at full-tide, he would whisper
to Anaitis, "I will be back in a moment, darling," and she would
frown fondly at him as he very quietly slipped from his ivory dining
couch, and went, with the merest suspicion of a reel, into the
Library. She knew that Jurgen had no intention of coming back: and
she despaired of his ever taking the position in the social life of
Cocaigne to which he was entitled no less by his rank as Prince
Consort than by his personal abilities. For Anaitis did not really
think that, as went natural endowments, her Jurgen had much reason
to envy even such a general favorite as Priapos, say, from what she
knew of both.

So it was that Jurgen honored custom. "Because these beastly nature
myths may be right," said Jurgen; "and certainly I cannot go so far
as to say they are wrong: but still, at the same time--!"

For Jurgen was content to dismiss no riddle with a mere "I do not
know." Jurgen was no more able to give up questioning the meaning of
life than could a trout relinquish swimming: indeed, he lived
submerged in a flood of curiosity and doubt, as his native element.
That death ended all things might very well be the case: yet if the
outcome proved otherwise, how much more pleasant it would be, for
everyone concerned, to have aforetime established amicable relations
with the overlords of his second life, by having done whatever it
was they expected of him here.

"Yes, I feel that something is expected of me," says Jurgen: "and
without knowing what it is, I am tolerably sure, somehow, that it is
not an indulgence in endless pleasure. Besides, I do not think death
is going to end all for me. If only I could be quite certain my
encounter with King Smoit, and with that charming little Sylvia
Tereu, was not a dream! As it is, plain reasoning assures me I am
not indispensable to the universe: but with this reasoning, somehow,
does not travel my belief. No, it is only fair to my own interests
to go graveward a little more openmindedly than do these nature
myths, since I lack the requisite credulity to become a free-thinking
materialist. To believe that we know nothing assuredly, and cannot
ever know anything assuredly, is to take too much on faith."

And Jurgen paused to shake his sleek black head two or three times,
very sagely.

"No, I cannot believe in nothingness being the destined end of all:
that would be too futile a climax to content a dramatist clever
enough to have invented Jurgen. No, it is just as I said to the
brown man: I cannot believe in the annihilation of Jurgen by any
really thrifty overlords; so I shall see to it that Jurgen does
nothing which he cannot more or less plausibly excuse, in case of
supernal inquiries. That is far safer."

Now Jurgen was shaking his head again: and he sighed.

"For the pleasures of Cocaigne do not satisfy me. They are all well
enough in their way; and I admit the truism that in seeking bed and
board two heads are better than one. Yes, Anaitis makes me an
excellent wife. Nevertheless, her diversions do not satisfy me, and
gallantly to make the most of life is not enough. No, it is
something else that I desire: and Anaitis does not quite understand


Of Compromises in Cocaigne

Thus Jurgen abode for a little over two months in Cocaigne, and
complied with the customs of that country. Nothing altered in
Cocaigne: but in the world wherein Jurgen was reared, he knew, it
would by this time be September, with the leaves flaring gloriously,
and the birds flocking southward, and the hearts of Jurgen's fellows
turning to not unpleasant regrets. But in Cocaigne there was no
regret and no variability, but only an interminable flow of curious
pleasures, illumined by the wandering star of Venus Mechanitis.

"Why is it, then, that I am not content?" said Jurgen. "And what
thing is this which I desire? It seems to me there is some injustice
being perpetrated upon Jurgen, somewhere."

Meanwhile he lived with Anaitis the Sun's daughter very much as he
had lived with Lisa, who was daughter to a pawnbroker. Anaitis
displayed upon the whole a milder temper: in part because she could
confidently look forward to several centuries more of life before
being explained away by the Philologists, and so had less need than
Dame Lisa to worry over temporal matters; and in part because there
was less to ruin one's disposition in two months than in ten years
of Jurgen's company. Anaitis nagged and sulked for a while when her
Prince Consort slackened in the pursuit of strange delights, as he
did very soon, with frank confession that his tastes were simple and
that these outlandish refinements bored him. Later Anaitis seemed to
despair of his ever becoming proficient in curious pleasures, and
she permitted Jurgen to lead a comparatively normal life, with only
an occasional and half-hearted remonstrance.

What puzzled Jurgen was that she did not seem to tire of him: and he
would often wonder what this lovely myth, so skilled and potent in
arts wherein he was the merest bungler, could find to care for in
Jurgen. For now they lived together like any other humdrum married
couple, and their occasional exchange of endearments was as much a
matter of course as their meals, and hardly more exciting.

"Poor dear, I believe it is simply because I am a monstrous clever
fellow. She distrusts my cleverness, she very often disapproves of
it, and yet she values it as queer, as a sort of curiosity. Well,
but who can deny that cleverness is truly a curiosity in Cocaigne?"

So Anaitis petted and pampered her Prince Consort, and took such
open pride in his queerness as very nearly embarrassed him
sometimes. She could not understand his attitude of polite amusement
toward his associates and the events which befell him, and even
toward his own doings and traits. Whatever happened, Jurgen
shrugged, and, delicately avoiding actual laughter, evinced
amusement. Anaitis could not understand this at all, of course,
since Asian myths are remarkably destitute of humor. To Jurgen in
private she protested that he ought to be ashamed of his levity: but
none the less, she would draw him out, when among the bestial and
grim nature myths, and she would glow visibly with fond pride in
Jurgen's queerness.

"She mothers me," reflected Jurgen. "Upon my word, I believe that in
the end this is the only way in which females are capable of loving.
And she is a dear and lovely creature, of whom I am sincerely fond.
What is this thing, then, that I desire? Why do I feel life is not
treating me quite justly?"

So the summer had passed; and Anaitis travelled a great deal, being
a popular myth in every land. Her sense of duty was so strong that
she endeavored to grace in person all the peculiar festivals held in
her honor, and this, now the harvest season was at hand, left her
with hardly a moment disengaged. Then, too, the mission of Anaitis
was to divert; and there were so many people whom she had personally
to visit--so many notable ascetics who were advancing straight
toward canonization, and whom her underlings were unable to
divert,--that Anaitis was compelled to pass night after night in
unwholesomely comfortless surroundings, in monasteries and in the
cells and caves of hermits.

"You are wearing yourself out, my darling," Jurgen would say: "and
does it not seem, after all, a game that is hardly worth the candle?
I know that, for my part, before I would travel so many miles into a
desert, and then climb a hundred foot pillar, just to whisper
diverting notions into an anchorite's very dirty ear, I would let
the gaunt rascal go to Heaven. But you associate so much with
saintly persons that you have contracted their incapacity for seeing
the humorous side of things. Well, you are a dear, even so. Here is
a kiss for you: and do you come back to your adoring husband as soon
as you conveniently can without neglecting your duty."

"They report that this Stylites is very far gone in rectitude," said
Anaitis, absent-mindedly, as she prepared for the journey, "but I
have hopes for him."

Then Anaitis put purple powder on her hair, and hastily got together
a few beguiling devices, and went into the Thebaid. Jurgen went back
to the Library, and the _System of Worshipping a Girl_, and the
unique manuscripts of Astyanassa and Elephantis and Sotades, and the
Dionysiac Formulae, and the Chart of Postures, and the _Litany of
the Centre of Delight_, and the Spintrian Treatises, and the
_Thirty-two Gratifications_, and innumerable other volumes
which he found instructive.

The Library was a vaulted chamber, having its walls painted with the
twelve Asan of Cyrene; the ceiling was frescoed with the arched body
of a woman, whose toes rested upon the cornice of the east wall, and
whose out-stretched finger-tips touched the cornice of the western
wall. The clothing of this painted woman was remarkable: and to
Jurgen her face was not unfamiliar.

"Who is that?" he inquired, of Anaitis.

Looking a little troubled, Anaitis told him this was AEsred.

"Well, I have heard her called otherwise: and I have seen her in
quite other clothing."

"You have seen AEsred!"

"Yes, with a kitchen towel about her head, and otherwise
unostentatiously appareled--but very becomingly, I can assure you!"
Here Jurgen glanced sidewise at his shadow, and he cleared his
throat. "Oh, and a most charming and a most estimable old lady I
found this AEsred to be, I can assure you also."

"I would prefer to know nothing about it," said Anaitis, hastily, "I
would prefer, for both our sakes, that you say no more of AEsred."
Jurgen shrugged.

Now in the Library of Cocaigne was garnered a record of all that the
nature myths had invented in the way of pleasure. And here, with no
companion save his queer shadow, and with AEsred arched above and
bleakly regarding him, Jurgen spent most of his time, rather
agreeably, in investigating and meditating upon the more curious of
these recreations. The painted Asan were, in all conscience, food
for wonder: but over and above these dozen surprising pastimes, the
books of Anaitis revealed to Jurgen, without disguise or reticence,
every other far-fetched frolic of heathenry. Hitherto unheard-of
forms of diversion were unveiled to him, and every recreation which
ingenuity had been able to contrive, for the gratifying of the most
subtle and the most strong-stomached tastes. No possible sort of
amusement would seem to have been omitted, in running the quaint
gamut of refinements upon nature which Anaitis and her cousins had
at odd moments invented, to satiate their desire for some more suave
or more strange or more sanguinary pleasure. Yet the deeper Jurgen
investigated, and the longer he meditated, the more certain it
seemed to him that all such employment was a peculiarly
unimaginative pursuit of happiness.

"I am willing to taste any drink once. So I must give diversion a
fair trial. But I am afraid these are the games of mental childhood.
Well, that reminds me I promised the children to play with them for
a while before supper."

So he came out, and presently, brave in the shirt of Nessus, and
mimicked in every action by that incongruous shadow, Prince Jurgen
was playing tag with the three little Eumenides, the daughters of
Anaitis by her former marriage with Acheron, the King of Midnight.

Anaitis and the dark potentate had parted by mutual consent.
"Acheron meant well," she would say, with a forgiving sigh, "and
that in the Moon's absence he occasionally diverted travellers, I do
not deny. But he did not understand me."

And Jurgen agreed that this tragedy sometimes befell even the
irreproachably diverting.

The three Eumenides at this period were half-grown girls, whom their
mother was carefully tutoring to drive guilty persons mad by the
stings of conscience: and very quaint it was to see the young Furies
at practise in the schoolroom, black-robed, and waving lighted
torches, and crowned each with her garland of pet serpents. They
became attached to Jurgen, who was always fond of children, and who
had frequently regretted that Dame Lisa had borne him none.

"It is enough to get the poor dear a name for eccentricity," he had
been used to say.

So Jurgen now made much of his step-children: and indeed he found
their innocent prattle quite as intelligent, in essentials, as the
talk of the full-grown nature myths who infested the palace of
Anaitis. And the four of them--Jurgen, and critical Alecto, and
grave Tisiphone, and fairy-like little Megaera,--would take long
walks, and play with their dolls (though Alecto was a trifle
condescending toward dolls), and romp together in the eternal
evening of Cocaigne; and discuss what sort of dresses and trinkets
Mother would probably bring them when she came back from Ecbatana or
Lesbos, and would generally enjoy themselves.

Rather pathetically earnest and unimaginative little lasses, Jurgen
found the young Eumenides: they inherited much of their mother's
narrow-mindedness, if not their father's brooding and gloomy
tendencies; but in them narrow-mindedness showed merely as amusing.
And Jurgen loved them, and would often reflect what a pity it was
that these dear little girls were destined when they reached
maturity, to spend the rest of their lives in haunting criminals and
adulterers and parricides and, generally, such persons as must
inevitably tarnish the girls' outlook upon life, and lead them to
see too much of the worst side of human nature.

So Jurgen was content enough. But still he was not actually happy,
not even among the endless pleasures of Cocaigne.

"And what is this thing that I desire?" he would ask himself, again
and again.

And still he did not know: he merely felt he was not getting
justice: and a dim sense of this would trouble him even while he was
playing with the Eumenides.


Cantraps of the Master Philologist

But now, as has been recorded, it was September, and Jurgen could
see that Anaitis too was worrying over something. She kept it from
him as long as possible: first said it was nothing at all, then said
he would know it soon enough, then wept a little over the
possibility that he would probably be very glad to hear it, and
eventually told him. For in becoming the consort of a nature myth
connected with the Moon Jurgen had of course exposed himself to the
danger of being converted into a solar legend by the Philologists,
and in that event would be compelled to leave Cocaigne with the
Equinox, to enter into autumnal exploits elsewhere. And Anaitis was
quite heart-broken over the prospect of losing Jurgen.

"For I have never had such a Prince Consort in Cocaigne, so
maddening, and so helpless, and so clever; and the girls are so fond
of you, although they have not been able to get on at all with so
many of their step-fathers! And I know that you are flippant and
heartless, but you have quite spoiled me for other men. No, Jurgen,
there is no need to argue, for I have experimented with at least a
dozen lovers lately, when I was traveling, and they bored me
insufferably. They had, as you put it, dear, no conversation: and
you are the only young man I have found in all these ages who could
talk interestingly."

"There is a reason for that, since like you, Anaitis, I am not so
youthful as I appear."

"I do not care a straw about appearances," wept Anaitis, "but I know
that I love you, and that you must be leaving me with the Equinox
unless you can settle matters with the Master Philologist."

"Well, my pet," says Jurgen, "the Jews got into Jericho by trying."

He armed, and girded himself with Caliburn, drank a couple of
bottles of wine, put on the shirt of Nessus over all, and then went
to seek this thaumaturgist.

Anaitis showed him the way to an unpretentious residence, where a
week's washing was drying and flapping in the side yard. Jurgen
knocked boldly, and after an interval the door was opened by the
Master Philologist himself.

"You must pardon this informality," he said, blinking through his
great spectacles, which had dust on them: "but time was by ill luck
arrested hereabouts on a Thursday evening, and so the maid is out
indefinitely. I would suggest, therefore, that the lady wait outside
upon the porch. For the neighbors to see her go in would not be

"Do you know what I have come for?" says Jurgen, blustering, and
splendid in his glittering shirt and his gleaming armor. "For I warn
you I am justice."

"I think you are lying, and I am sure you are making an unnecessary
noise. In any event, justice is a word, and I control all words."

"You will discover very soon, sir, that actions speak louder than

"I believe that is so," said the Master Philologist, still blinking,
"just as the Jewish mob spoke louder than He Whom they crucified.
But the Word endures."

"You are a quibbler!"

"You are my guest. So I advise you, in pure friendliness, not to
impugn the power of my words."

Said Jurgen, scornfully: "But is justice, then, a word?"

"Oh, yes, it is one of the most useful. It is the Spanish _justicia_,
the Portuguese _justica_, the Italian _giustizia_, all from
the Latin _justus_. Oh, yes indeed, but justice is one of my best
connected words, and one of the best trained also, I can assure you."

"Aha, and to what degraded uses do you put this poor enslaved
intimidated justice!"

"There is but one intelligent use," said the Master Philologist,
unruffled, "for anybody to make of words. I will explain it to you,
if you will come in out of this treacherous draught. One never knows
what a cold may lead to."

Then the door closed upon them, and Anaitis waited outside, in some

Presently Jurgen came out of that unpretentious residence, and so
back to Anaitis, discomfited. Jurgen flung down his magic sword,
charmed Caliburn.

"This, Anaitis, I perceive to be an outmoded weapon. There is no
weapon like words, no armor against words, and with words the Master
Philologist has conquered me. It is not at all equitable: but the
man showed me a huge book wherein were the names of everything in
the world, and justice was not among them. It develops that,
instead, justice is merely a common noun, vaguely denoting an
ethical idea of conduct proper to the circumstances, whether of
individuals or communities. It is, you observe, just a grammarian's

"But what has he decided about you, Jurgen?"

"Alas, dear Anaitis, he has decided, in spite of all that I could
do, to derive Jurgen from _jargon_, indicating a confused
chattering such as birds give forth at sunrise: thus ruthlessly does
the Master Philologist convert me into a solar legend. So the affair
is settled, and we must part, my darling."

Anaitis took up the sword. "But this is valuable, since the man who
wields it is the mightiest of warriors."

"It is a rush, a rotten twig, a broomstraw, against the insidious
weapons of the Master Philologist. But keep it if you like, my dear,
and give it to your next Prince Consort. I am ashamed to have
trifled with such toys," says Jurgen, in fretted disgust. "And
besides, the Master Philologist assures me I shall mount far higher
through the aid of this."

"But what is on that bit of parchment?"

"Thirty-two of the Master Philologist's own words that I begged of
him. See, my dear, he made this cantrap for me with his own hand and
ink." And Jurgen read from the parchment, impressively: "'At the
death of Adrian the Fifth, Pedro Juliani, who should be named John
the Twentieth, was through an error in the reckoning elevated to the
papal chair as John the Twenty-first.'"

Said Anaitis, blankly: "And is that all?"

"Why, yes: and surely thirty-two whole words should be enough for
the most exacting."

"But is it magic? are you certain it is authentic magic?"

"I have learned that there is always magic in words."

"Now, if you ask my opinion, Jurgen, your cantrap is nonsense, and
can never be of any earthly use to anybody. Without boasting, dear,
I have handled a great deal of black magic in my day, but I never
encountered a spell at all like this."

"None the less, my darling, it is evidently a cantrap, for else the
Master Philologist would never have given it to me."

"But how are you to use it, pray?"

"Why, as need directs," said Jurgen, and he put the parchment into
the pocket of his glittering shirt. "Yes, I repeat, there is always
something to be done with words, and here are thirty-two authentic
words from the Master Philologist himself, not to speak of three
commas and a full-stop. Oh, I shall certainly go far with this."

"We women have firmer faith in the sword," replied Anaitis. "At all
events, you and I cannot remain upon this thaumaturgist's porch

So Anaitis put up Caliburn, and carried it from the thaumaturgist's
unpretentious residence to her fine palace in the old twilit wood:
and afterward, as everybody knows, she gave this sword to King
Arthur, who with its aid rose to be hailed as one of the Nine
Worthies of the World. So did the husband of Guenevere win for
himself eternal fame with that which Jurgen flung away.


In Time's Hour-Glass

"Well, well!" said Jurgen, when he had taken off all that foolish
ironmongery, and had made himself comfortable in his shirt; "well,
beyond doubt, the situation is awkward. I was content enough in
Cocaigne, and it is unfair that I should be thus ousted. Still, a
sensible person will manage to be content anywhere. But whither,
pray, am I expected to go?"

"Into whatever land you may elect, my dear," said Anaitis, fondly.
"That much at least I can manage for you: and the interpretation of
your legend can be arranged afterward."

"But I grow tired of all the countries I have ever seen, dear
Anaitis, and in my time I have visited nearly all the lands that are
known to men."

"That too can be arranged: and you can go instead into one of the
countries which are desired by men. Indeed there are a number of
such realms which no man has ever visited except in dreams, so that
your choice is wide."

"But how am I to make a choice without having seen any of these
countries? It is not fair to be expecting me to do anything of the

"Why, I will show them to you," Anaitis replied.

The two of them then went together into a small blue chamber, the
walls of which were ornamented with gold stars placed helter-skelter.
The room was entirely empty save for an hour-glass near twice the
height of a man.

"It is Time's own glass," said Anaitis, "which was left in my
keeping when Time went to sleep."

Anaitis opened a little door of carved crystal that was in the lower
half of the hour-glass, just above the fallen sands. With her
finger-tips she touched the sand that was in Time's hour-glass, and
in the sand she drew a triangle with equal sides, she who was
strangely gifted and perverse. Then she drew just such another
figure so that the tip of it penetrated the first triangle. The sand
began to smoulder there, and vapors rose into the upper part of the
hour-glass, and Jurgen saw that all the sand in Time's hour-glass
was kindled by a magic generated by the contact of these two
triangles. And in the vapors a picture formed.

"I see a land of woods and rivers, Anaitis. A very old fellow,
regally crowned, lies asleep under an ash-tree, guarded by a
watchman who has more arms and hands than Jigsbyed."

"It is Atlantis you behold, and the sleeping of ancient Time--Time,
to whom this glass belongs,--while Briareus watches."

"Time sleeps quite naked, Anaitis, and, though it is a delicate
matter to talk about, I notice he has met with a deplorable

"So that Time begets nothing any more, Jurgen, the while he brings
about old happenings over and over, and changes the name of what is
ancient, in order to persuade himself he has a new plaything. There
is really no more tedious and wearing old dotard anywhere, I can
assure you. But Atlantis is only the western province of Cocaigne.
Now do you look again, Jurgen!"

"Now I behold a flowering plain and three steep hills, with a castle
upon each hill. There are woods wherein the foliage is crimson:
shining birds with white bodies and purple heads feed upon the
clusters of golden berries that grow everywhere: and people go about
in green clothes, with gold chains about their necks, and with broad
bands of gold upon their arms, and all these people have untroubled

"That is Inislocha: and to the south is Inis Daleb, and to the north
Inis Ercandra. And there is sweet music to be listening to
eternally, could we but hear the birds of Rhiannon, and there is the
best of wine to drink, and there delight is common. For thither
comes nothing hard nor rough, and no grief, nor any regret, nor
sickness, nor age, nor death, for this is the Land of Women, a land
of many-colored hospitality."

"Why, then, it is no different from Cocaigne. And into no realm
where pleasure is endless will I ever venture again of my own free
will, for I find that I do not enjoy pleasure."

Then Anaitis showed him Ogygia, and Trypheme, and Sudarsana, and the
Fortunate Islands, and AEaea, and Caer-Is, and Invallis, and the
Hesperides, and Meropis, and Planasia, and Uttarra, and Avalon, and
Tir-nam-Beo, and Theleme, and a number of other lands to enter which
men have desired: and Jurgen groaned.

"I am ashamed of my fellows," says he: "for it appears their notion
of felicity is to dwell eternally in a glorified brothel. I do not
think that as a self-respecting young Prince I would care to inhabit
any of these earthly paradises, for were there nothing else, I would
always be looking for an invasion by the police."

"There remains, then, but one other realm, which I have not shown
you, in part because it is an obscure little place, and in part
because, for a reason that I have, I shall not assist you to go
thither. Still, there is Leuke, where Queen Helen rules: and Leuke
it is that you behold."

"But Leuke seems like any other country in autumn, and appears to be
reasonably free from the fantastic animals and overgrown flowers
which made the other paradises look childish. Come now, there is an

Book of the day:
Facebook Google Reddit StumbleUpon Twitter Pinterest