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.A

MARGARET AND HER FRIENDS

BY THE SAME AUTHOR.

What we Really Know


speare.
i2mo, cloth.

about Shake-

Price, $1.25.

The Life

Kinswoman

of Dr. Anandabai Joshee, a of the Pundita Ramabai.


Price, $1.00.

i2mo, cloth.

Letters Home from Colorado, Utah,

and California. i2mo. Price, $1.50. Barbara Fritchie. A Study. With Portrait.

i2mo.

Price, $1.00.

ROBERTS BROTHERS,
Publishers.

MARGARET AND HER FRIENDS


OR

&txi Conbersattons;
WITH

MARGARET FULLER
THE MYTHOLOGY OF THE GREEKS AND ITS EXPRESSION IN ART
Held at the House of the Rev. George Ripley Bedford Place, Boston

BEGINNING MARCH

1,

184-1

REPORTED BY CAROLINE W. HEALEY

BOSTON
ROBERTS BROTHERS
1895

3V

Copyright, 1895,

By Roberts Brothers.
All rights reserved.

JHttibetsttB

Press:
S.

John Wilson and Son, Cambridge, U.

A.

TABLE OF CONTENTS.

Page

Preface

Members of the Class General Mythological Statement I. Statement Continued. General II. R. W. E. Present 1 Story from Novalis. Apollo III. IV. Minerva. The Serpent and Psyche. R. W. E. V. Venus
.
.

17 25

40
60
77

Present
VI.

95

Cupid and Psyche.

Margaret, and
106 123

Elisabeth Hoar
VII.
VIII.

Pluto and Tartarus

Mercury and Orpheus.


Present

R.

W.

E.
135

IX.

X.

Hermes and Orpheus Bacchus and the Demigods

147
.

156

1 Emerson's presence at Conversations II. V. and VIII. noted above, because in his contribution to Margaret's " Memoirs " he shows that his attendance made absolutely He states that there were but Jive no impression on him. Conversations, and that he was present only at the second.

is

PREFACE.

TN

1839, Margaret Fuller, delicate in


health

and much

overtaxed,

con-

sented to gratify

many who

loved her

by opening

in

Boston a series of " Con-

versations for

Women."

In a Circular

quoted by Emerson, she says to Mrs.


Sophia Ripley
:

" Could a circle be assembled in earnest,

desirous to answer the questions,

What were
it ?
'

we born

to

do

?
'

and

'

How

shall

we do

should think the undertaking a noble one.'

This was certainly the original intent


of

the famous " Fuller Conversations,"

which, beginning then, were continued at

6
intervals, until

PREFACE.
Margaret
left

Boston

for

New York
It

in 1844.
little

seems a

singular, therefore, to

find her writing to

Ralph Waldo EmerNov.


25,

son

of this
:

series,

follows
"
of

first

1839,

as

The

day's topic was the genealogy


;

Heaven and Earth


;

then

the

Will or
:

Jupiter

the
day's,

Understanding, Mercury

the
of

second

The

celestial

inspiration

Genius, perception and transmission of Divine

Law

Apollo the terrene inspiration, Bacchus

the impassioned abandonment.


derbolt, the caduceus, the ray

Of the thun-

and the grape,

having disposed as well as might be, we came


to the

wave and the


. . .

sea-shell

it

moulds

to

beauty.

"I assure you, there

is

more Greek than


!

Bostonian spoken at the meetings "

Under the forms suggested by Mythology, Margaret proceeded to open


all

the great questions of

life.

In a literary

sense, she distinctly stated that she

knew

PREFACE.
little

about the doings on Olympus, nor

had she received any help from German


critical

works,

of which at

the present

day she would have found many.


These Conversations owed their
attrac-

tion first to the absolute novelty of her

theme
and

to

many
own

of those she addressed,

still

more

to the variety

and fresh-

ness of her
ing,

treatment.

The openof

at

the Boston

Athenaeum,

the

splendid collection of casts presented

by

Thomas Handasyd
private
ings,

Perkins, and
of

many
in-

collections

pictures,
casts,

engrav-

gems, and miniature

had

terested her intensely, and both

mind and

fancy were absorbed in the contemplation of their themes.

In these Conver-

sations she depicted

what she had gained


little

from Art, rather than the

that she

had acquired through study.

If I

may

judge from a later experience, her Latin


studies rather injured than developed her

PREFACE.
She never could
re-

brilliant fancies.

member what
to read

she had said, never could


if

repeat a brilliant saying, and,

obliged

any

illustration,

read

it,

as all her

friends

admitted, very badly.

From a
quote the

statement
following
"
:

made

to

Emerson,

applied itself to the

Her mood

mood

of her

companion, point to point, in the most limber,


sinuous, vital

way

and

this

sympathy

she had for

all

persons indifferently."

The communication of which the above


is

a sample

have always read with


never knew a person
less true.

amazement,
of

for I

whom

it

would seem

When
resting

conversing with one sympathetic person,


it

was undoubtedly true


affection

when

upon the

and loyalty of her

young women,
traordinary

most gifted and ex-

circle,

it

was

doubtless

equally so

but when the class of March,

PREFACE.

1841, was formed, a very different aspect


of herself appeared.

The fame
of the

of her " talks "

had spread.

She had great need of money, and some


gentlemen who were accustomed

to talk with her,

and some

of the ladies

of her day-class, suggested an evening


class, to

be composed of both ladies and

gentlemen, and to meet at the house of


the Rev. George Ripley in Bedford Place.

Ten Conversations were


the
tickets
dollars each, a

to be held,

and

of admission

cost

twenty

very high price for that

time.

It

was

in the

book-room of
first

Elisadis-

beth Peabody that I


cussed.
I
;

heard them

was very young

to join such
Elisa-

a circle

and when she invited me,

beth had more regard, I think, to Margaret's purse, than to

my

fitness for the

company.
nity.

But
the

it

was a great opportufull of excite-

The members were


over

ment

projected

opening of

10

PREFACE.
All were in good spirits,
forth.

Brook Farm.

and bright sayings ran back and


I

had been carefully trained in the Art


and
at

of Reporting,

that

time

made
In

careful abstracts

on the following day of

any lecture that had interested me.


these I trusted to

my
this

memory.

It

was

not possible to do

with the Convera sort of short-

sations; so I invented

hand, and carried note-book and pencil with

me.

sat a

little

out of sight

that I might not embarrass Margaret, but

Elisabeth Peabody and Mrs. Farrar found

me

out.

Elisabeth wrote what she called


;

an abstract, every night

but an examina-

tion of her abstracts quoted

by Mr. Emer-

son shows that what she wrote was not

what any one

said,

but the impression


it.

made upon her own mind by


morning.
I wrote out

These

abstracts she always read to me, the next

my

short-hand

notes before breakfast and carried

them

PREFACE.

11
I greatly en-

down
was

to her about noon.

joyed listening to her papers, and she


so absorbed in

them that she often

forgot to ask for mine, which was a great


relief to

me.
I

So far as

know, these Reports

of

mine are the only attempt ever made


deliberately to represent

these or any

of Margaret's " Conversations " word for

word.

Of course, much was omitted

as

not worth recording, nor did I ever write

down anything
stand.

that I could not underof the

Many

members
and

knew

intimately, and fell naturally into writ-

ing of them by
as they

initials

first

names,

always spoke to and of each

other.

At times

fell

back into the

Mr., Mrs., or Miss, which was


habit.
It is well to call those

my own
we
love

by any name they


familiar
circle

will permit,

but the

habit
full

of
of

the

Transcendental
peril

was

social

to

the

12

PREFACE.
it

younger members, who, conceiving


proof
origin
of

a
its

genius, followed

it,

when

was forgotten, and were much

misunderstood in consequence in later


years.
I offer the

Reports exactly as they


I

were written.

should like to alter

them
it

in several small

ways

if

I could

do

honestly.

We
;

met

to discuss Grecian

Mythology
were used

as interpreted to Margaret's

mind by Art

but Latin and Greek names

as if they

were synonymous,
as well as

and Latin poems were quoted,

Greek

traditions.

This
still.

confused

my

mind

then,

and does

Athene and
me, Art or

Minerva, Zeus and Jupiter, are by no

means the same persons


no Art.

to

who cannot remember the persons who enacted this little drama, or by those who do remember and know well how very disIt

may

be thought by those

PREFACE.
tinguished a

13
was, that I
reflec-

company

this

should have eliminated


tions,

my own

and dropped out of the

story.

This would I think have been greatly


unjust to Margaret,
this

who never enjoyed


it

mixed

class,

and considered

fail-

ure so far as her


cerned.

own power was

conlike

She and Mr. Emerson met

Pyramus and
tween.
patience, and
to understand

Thisbe, a blank wall be-

With Mr. Alcott she had no


no one of the
class

seemed

how

sincere

and deep was


In no
so

her interest in the theme.

way

was Margaret's supremacy


as in the impulse she

evident

gave

to the

minds

of younger
It

women.
also the wish of

was the wish of Margaret's mother


as
it is

and brothers,

her

surviving relatives, that I should print


these
pages.

After

Arthur's

death,

Richard Fuller undertook to carry out a


plan
to

which both had agreed, and

14

PREFACE.
at

which Margaret's mother had greatly


heart.

They

desired that I should write

a simple, straightforward account of Margaret, including her residence in Italy,

her marriage, the birth of her child, and her death.


at their
it

This they intended to print

own expense, and they thought


as to

might be so written

put an end to

many

absurd and painful rumors which


first

had followed the publication of the


Memoir.
all

That

might prepare for

this,

Margaret's manuscripts were in

my
The

custody for more than a year.

completion of the work was prevented

by Richard

Fuller's

unexpected death.
of the family was

No

surviving

member
in

able to carry out his intention.


I still

have
his

my

possession the esti-

mate

of

sister's

character
use.

which

Richard made

for

my

I should like to add, that the scholar


will see that the stories

from Apuleius

PREFACE.

15

and Novalis do not exactly correspond


to

the originals.

They were reported

exactly as they were told.

CAROLINE HEALEY DALL.


Sept.
1,

1895,
C.

Washington, D.

A LIST OF PEESONS
ATTENDING

THE CLASS NAMED IN THIS REPORT.


About thirty persons usually attended.

George Ripley. The well-known clergyman, settled over a Unitarian church in


Purchase
St.,

Boston, afterward the Presi-

dent of the Association at Brook Farm,

and later

literary editor of the

New York

" Tribune."

Sophia Dana Ripley, his

wife.

Elisabeth Palmer Peabody.


remarkable
accumulations
teacher, an

A woman
of
of

of

learning,

and as remarkable a breadth She was a

sympathy.

enthusiastic ad-

vocate of the Kindergarten, and opened at

No. 13 West

St.,

Boston, a foreign Circu-

lating Library, which soon


of Literary

became a

sort

Exchange

of the greatest use

18
to

MEMBERS OF THE
New
England.
all

CLASS.
great powers

Her own

did not accomplish


it

they ought, because

was impossible

for her to apply

them

systematically.

Frederick Henry Hedge.

The well-known
whose

German and

ecclesiastical scholar,

remarkable scholarship and character have


not yet received the commemoration they
deserve.

He was

at this time settled over

the church in Bangor, Maine.

James Freeman Clarke. Already the pastor of the Church of the Disciples, in Boston,
and preaching
of his lovely

at

Amory

Hall.
life is

The

outline

and useful

preserved in

memoir by the Rev.

E. E. Hale, D.D.

Ralph Waldo Emerson.


losopher.

The Concord

phi-

Mrs. Farrar, born Rotch, the wife of the

Harvard Professor
Mathematics.

of Physical Science

and

Francis G. Shaw.

The son

of a

well-known

Boston merchant, to be honored through


all

time as the father of Colonel Robert

G. Shaw,

who was

buried where he

fell,

with the negroes

whom

he died to

free.

MEMBERS OF THE
Ann Wilby Clarke,
officer

CLASS.

19

Mrs. Sarah B. Shaw, his wife.


wife of a Boston bankof

and the oldest member


of

an English

family
of

Wilby s, nearly every member


its

which was at some time a teacher in


neighborhood.

Boston or

Mrs. Jonathan Russell of Milton, widow of


the U. S. Minister to

Sweden (1814-1818),

residing on the old Governor Hutchinson

place at Milton, and

Miss Ida Russell, her daughter.

William White. The brother of the first wife of James Russell Lowell, who was
killed by a fall

from the

bluff at

Milwaukee

in 1856.

William W. Story. Sculptor, poet, and lawyer, and well known as a contributor
to

Blackwood.

Still living.

Caroline
Tappan,
creature.

Sturgis,

daughter

of

William

Sturgis of

Boston, married

later to Mr.

most

gifted

and charming

Mrs.

Anna Barker Ward,


living in
of Salem.

wife of

S.

G.

Ward, now
Jones Very

Washington.

A Transcendental poet.

20

MEMBERS OF THE
Hoar was
Hoar
of Concord, Mass.,

CLASS.

Elisabeth
uel

the daughter of Sam-

and of Sarah,
of

the daughter of Roger


necticut.
of

Sherman

Con-

Elisabeth was not the least gifted

her very gifted family.

One
is

brother,

recently deceased,
first

was President Grant's


;

Attorney-General

another

the wellto the


third,

known Senator from Massachusetts


Congress of the United States
;

and a

Edward Sherman Hoar, was distinguished To great intelas a scholar and botanist.
lectual gifts, Elisabeth
liness

added personal love-

and a

saintly serenity of character.

She was betrothed to Charles Emerson (a


brother of Ralph

Waldo Emerson), who

died of sudden illness just before the time

appointed for their marriage.

He was

also

a rarely gifted person, and after his death


his family transferred their tenderest affec-

tion to Elisabeth.

The reader

of the variis

ous Lives of Emerson will see that she

often mentioned, and several of Emerson's


letters

are

addressed to her.

Had

she

chosen to devote herself to literature, she

would have been

greatly

distinguished.

The Life of Mrs. Ripley of Waltham, written

MEMBERS OF THE
for "

CLASS.

21

The

Women

of

Our

First Century,''

and published by a committee appointed


at the Centennial Exhibition in Philadel-

phia,

was written by

her.

She died in

1878.

A. Bronson Alcott of Concord.


of

A memoir him has been written by the Hon. F. B.


of

Sanborn
Harris.

Concord, assisted by

Wm.

T.

W. Mack. A gentleman of great ability, His who taught a school in Belmont.


daughter was the
artist.
first

wife of Stillman, the


think, extinct, un-

The family

is, I

less Mrs. Stillman

left

a daughter.

Sophia Peabody.

A younger sister of E. P. P.,

afterwards Mrs. Nathaniel Hawthorne.

Marianne Jackson. A lovely, beloved, and accomplished woman, who died early. She was the daughter of Judge Charles Jackson, one of the soundest jurists
sat
of

who

ever
sister

on a Massachusetts bench,
Mrs.

the

Oliver Wendell Holmes, of Mrs.

Charles C. Paine, and the aunt, I believe,


of Mr.

John T. Morse.

22
I

MEMBERS OF THE
have reserved for the

CLASS.

last the

the only sound

Greek scholar

name of among us

Charles Wheeler.

Charles Stearns Wheeler.


1837,
distinguished
as

Born
Greek

in Lin-

coln, near Concord, Dec. 19, 1816, of

H. U.
econ-

scholar

from

whom much was


to

expected.

To
is

omize in order

pursue his Greek studies


said

he built a shanty at Walden, which

to have served as a suggestion to Thoreau.

He went

to

Germany

directly after these

Conversations, and died suddenly of fever


at Leipzig, in the

summer

of 1843.

His

death was a great grief and a great shock.


I

have not forgotten the sensation


Beloved and honored by
the

it

pro-

duced.

all

who
was

knew him,

community

of scholars
this

especially bereaved.

To

day, I

am

able to trust fearlessly to any information

obtained from him.

" Only a signal shown,

and a distant

voice in

the darkness." Longfellow.

MAEGAEET AND HEE FEIENDS.

I.

Monday

Evening,

March

1,

1841.

Maegaret opened
thology.

the conversation by

a beautiful sketch of the origin of

My-

The Greeks

she thought bor-

rowed

their

Gods from the Hindus and

Egyptians, but they idealized their personifications


to

far

greater

extent.
Infi-

The Hindus dwelt


nite,

in the All, the

which the Greeks analyzed and to


degree

some

humanized.

All

things
is,

sprang from Coelus and Terra.,

that
spirit

from Heaven and Earth, or


matter.

and

Rhea, or the Productive En-

ergy, and Saturn, or Time, were the chil-

dren of Coelus and Terra.

The

progress

26
of

MARGARET AND HER


any people
is

FRIENDS.
its

is

marked by

mythi.

Mythology

only the history of the deInfinite in the Finite.

velopment of the

Saturn devoured his


the disappointed
obstacle) in his

own

children until
(or

Rhea put a stone

way, and she succeeded

in raising Jupiter.

The development
that

of

human
seemed

faculties

was slow, therefore Time


all

to

absorb

Productive
itself

Energy brought
created obstacles

forth, until
;

Energy

and of these was born


Jupiter repre-

the

Indomitable Will.

sented that Will, and usurped the rule of

Time, fighting with the low and sensual


passions, represented

by the Titans and


he
seated

the

Giants,

until

himself

securely on the

Olympian Throne, the


This Will was not in

Father of the Gods.


itself

the highest development of either

Beauty,

Genius,

Wisdom,

or

Thought;

but such developments were subject to


it,

were

its

children.

MARGARET AND HER FRIENDS.


Juno
is

27

only the feminine form of this

Indomitable Will.
inferior to
it,
it,

By

herself

she

is

and whenever she opposes


Vulcan, her child,
is

loses the

game.

Mechanic Art, great

in itself to be sure,

but not comparable to the Perfect Wis-

dom, or Minerva, which sprang ready

armed from the masculine

Will.
still

SJie

was greater than her Father, but


child.

his

Neptune, who raises always a " placid

head above the waves," represents the


flow of thought,
in the world,

all-embracing, girdling
in the extrinsic, of

Diana and Apollo, or Purity

and Genius.

Mercury
eloquence,
expression.

is

Genius

human

understanding,

and

All were the

embodiments

of Absolute Ideas, of ideas that had

no

origin,

that

were
;

eternal.

Love

brooded

over Chaos

and the perfect

Beauty and Love, represented among the

28

MARGARET AND HER

FRIENDS.
son,

Greeks by Venus

and her

rose

from the turbid elements.

It is singular

that even the ancients should have maintained the


pre-existence
of Love.
or
fable
It

was before

Order, Men,

the

Gods

men

worshipped.

The

suggests

the truth,

Infinite
It is

Love and Beauty

always was.

only with their devel-

opment
to do.

in finite beings that History has

Here Margaret

recapitulated.

The

Indomitable Will had

dethroned Time,

and, acting with Productive Energy,


variously represented at different times
Isis,

by

Rhea, Ceres, Persephone, and so on,


driven back the sensual passions
it

had

to the bowels of the earth, while

pro-

duced Perfect Wisdom, Genius, Beauty,

and Love,
lent
if

results

which were more excelMythology, we

not more powerful than their Cause.


this

To understand
must denationalize

ourselves,

and throw

MARGARET AND HER FRIENDS.


the

29

mind back

to the

consideration of
It

Greek Art, Literature, and Poesy.


is

only scanty justice that

my

pen can
talk.

render to Margaret's eloquent

Frank Shaw asked her how


agined
these
personifications

she imto

have

suggested themselves in that barbarous


age.

Margaret
barous.

objected to the word barin the age of

She believed that


the

Plato

human

intellect

reached a
as

point as elevated

in

some respects

any

it

had ever touched.


of

But the Gods were not the product


that age, but of another far

more remote,

Frank

objected.

Was

not the infinity of

Hindu conception impaired, when the


Greeks attributed
passions,
to the

Gods the

duties,

and criminal

indulgences

of

men?
Mrs. Ripley
said that the virtue of the
If a

Hindu lay

in contemplation.

man

30

MARGARET AND HER

FRIENDS.

had seen God, he was exempt from the


ordinary obligations of
to pass his
life
life,

and allowed

in quiet adoration.

Makgaret added
better than that.

that the

Greek knew

He

felt

the necessity

of developing the Infinite

through action,
in

and embodied
and poesy

this necessity

his

art

as well as in his
still

myths.

Frank seemed

to

think that in

losing the adoring contemplation of the

Hindu, and bringing their deities to the

human

level, the

Greeks had taken one

step down.
E. P. P.

had always thought


up,

it

had

been a step
that

and

Ann Clarke
forgot

thought

the
all

Greeks

themselves,

merged

remembrance

of the Finite,

in realizing the individual forces of the


Infinite.

William White, who had not waded


very
far into

the stream, thought the

North American Indian's worship of the

MARGARET AND HER FRIENDS.

31

Manitou purer than the Greek worship,


for

the

very reason

that

the

Indian

ascribed to his Manitou no passion that

had degraded humanity.

Margaret said that tiated his God by vile

the Indian propideeds,

by ignoble

treacheries and revenge.

So the Hindu

throws her child into the Ganges, and

an ecstatic crowd
of Juggernaut.
I

falls

before the car

thought a good

deal,

but did not

speak.

Did not William's question grow

out of the simple Unity of the Indian

worship

But the Indian

does

not

worship the Manitou because he recognizes a single First Cause,

comprehend-

ing in

itself all

beauty, wisdom, purity,

and

truth,

but

because

his

heart

is

naturally

lifted

toward

an

unknown
hardly yet
rec-

something, which

he

has

considered as a Cause.

The Greek

ognized the abstract forces of the Uni-

32

MARGARET AND HER FRIENDS.

verse, but did not perceive their Unity,

and

so personified

them

separately.

E. P. P. suggested that the Indian had

no
his

literature,

and had

left

no record

of

Olympus!
that, if

Margaret added

we compare

the Indian Elysium with the Greek, the


difference in spirituality once.
is

perceived at

Henry Hedge

said that

Frank Shaw

talked about Greek mythi, but nobody

could show a purely Greek mythos.

Frank that when


a myth,

replied

that

he only meant

the Greek

mind had acted on


it.

it

had not refined


that
it

Margaret added
her Gods

was a vulgar

notion that the Poets of Greece created


;

that the Poets were objective,

and could give only humanized representations of them.

Henry Hedge thought

that there was

a point to which philosophy aided

and

MARGARET AND HER FRIENDS.


prompted the creative power,
point passed, rather checked

33

but, that

its action.

Analysis took the place of the objective

tendency.

Well
not the
ture,

said

William White, would


aided only by cul-

human mind,

be incapable of any better idea than

Frank Shaw suggested ?


lation complete the

Must not reveanswer

work ?
to his

Margaket

said that the

question would be

determined by his

understanding of the word " revelation."


She could not believe in a

God who

had ever
in

left

himself without a witness

the world.
will

As soon

as

the

human

mind and

were ready, there was

always some great Truth waiting to be


submitted to their united
it

action,

until

was worn

out.

The
era

beautiful

Greek
of

era had been succeeded


inaction
so on.
;

by a period

the

Roman

by another, and

She was sorry we had wandered

34

MARGARET AND HER

FRIENDS.
to

from our subject so far as


very premises

doubt her

Frank
premises
;

said,

everything rested on those

so he thought that the ideals

of beauty, love, justice, and truth should

be referred to the Infinite Mind, and not


to the Greek.
I

wonder where he was when Margaret


about the Love which " was " before

told

Order

Henry Hedge
the the Infinite.

said that Culture

was

Mediator between the Finite and

James Freeman Clarke, alluding


growth of philosophy, and the
the creative power, said that
if

to

Mr. Hedge's previous remark upon the


loss

of

that

were

fact, it

greatly diminished the proba-

bility of the birth of

pure Genius into

the world.

Plato wrote

when philosophy
were many

was

at the turning point.


said that there

Margaret

MARGARET AND HER FRIENDS.


proofs
in

35

Plato

that

the

philosophers

understood the personifications of the


mythi.

She thought that the gods, the

demigods, and the heroes of mythology


represented distinct classes, and that this

was not

sufficiently

remembered.

She

referred to the story of the burning of

Hercules in Ovid, where Jupiter

calls

Juno

how well his son endures William White said that he thought the idea of Deity was degraded when the
to see

Greeks changed a hero into a god

but

if

Culture be a Mediator, would not Plato

have been greater had he been born into


the nineteenth century
?

James
possible

F.

Clarke

said Platos

were im-

now.
agreed, and said that the

Margaret
in the

pride of knowledge which he would find

world should he appear, would be

a greater obstacle than superstition once was.

36

MARGARET AND HER FRIENDS.


Did somebody say a little while ago that

Will indomitable was born of obstacle

Margaret

told

William White that

Coleridge had once said that he could


neither measure nor understand Plato's

ignorance

His mind had not reached

that altitude

Henry Hedge,
the
all

not willing to forego


of Genius, asked
if

possible birth

the

experience and discovery with

which the world had been enriched since


Plato's time
for the

would not furnish enough


to act

new-comer

upon?

Margaret
go through

replied that the

mind could
She must

not receive unless excited.


all

the intellectual experi;

ence of a Plato, to be as great as he


she

but

might stand upon the general or

even her own intuitive recognition of


the truths he had advanced, and go for-

ward

to greater results,
to

but

still

that

would not be

make

herself greater.

MARGARET AND HER FRIENDS.


But, said Mrs. Ripley,
case
in the

37
first

you would be nothing

but Plato.

Margaret
to

acceded, but begged

not

be understood as doubting that the

future would be capable of finer things

than the

past.

The

ideal

significance

of

the

My-

thology was further

dwelt

upon, and

much was
ship of

said of the contrast

between

the thought of the priest and the wor-

the

people.

It

was acknowl-

edged as a matter

of course, that only a

few preserved any consciousness of the


original significance of the Mythology.

Henry Hedge
the
true

thought that
the

this

was
the

key

to

purpose of

Eleusinian mysteries, whether in Egypt

where they originated, or where they were introduced.


them,
all

in

Greece

Through

who

chose became initiated into

the interior meaning of the Mythology.

Charles Wheeler

added,

that

in

38

MARGARET AND HER FRIENDS.


of the

the flourishing times

Athenian

Republic every citizen was compelled


to initiate himself.

Margaret
gentle

closed

our

talk

with a

reproof to our wandering wits.


desultory prattling, she
subject should

To prevent such
desired that

be prostory

posed for the next evening.


of Ceres or

The

Rhea, in fact the Productive


carried gen-

Energy however manifested,


eral favor,

and Margaret

said archly that

she had thought the presence of gentle-

men (who had never


one
of her
talks)

until

now attended

would prevent the

wandering and keep us free from prejudice


I
!

thought she was rightly disappointed.


cannot recall the words, but at some

time this evening Margaret distinguished


three mythological dynasties.

The

first

was the reign of the Natural Powers.

The

second,

represented

by

Jupiter,

MARGARET AND HER FRIENDS.

39

Pluto, and Neptune, stood for the height,

the depth, and the surface or flow of


things, the first manifestations of

human
esti-

consciousness.
chic,

The

third

was the Bac-

Bacchus not being yet, in her

mation, the vulgar

God

of the wine-vat

and the

festival,

but the inspired Genius,

being
nectar
is

to Apollo, as she said, to the grape.

what the

CAROLINE W. HEALEY.
March
2,

1841.

II
March
8,

1841.

Margaret recapitulated ments she made last week.


giving to each fabled Deity

the

state-

By

thus

its

place in

the scheme of Mythology, she did not

mean

to ignore the enfolding ideas, the


in
all

one thought developed


Rhea, Bacchus, Pan.

as

in

She would only


indi-

imply that each personification was


vidual, served a particular purpose,

and

was worshipped

in a particular

way.

Before proceeding to talk about Ceres,


she wished to remind us of the mischief
of

wandering from our subject.

She

hoped the ground she offered would be


accepted at
least to talk about
!

Certainly

no one could deny that a mythos was


the last and best growth of a national

MARGARET AND HER FRIENDS,


mind, and that in
teristics

41

this case

the charac-

of the

Greek mind were best

gathered from this creation.


Ceres, Persephone, and
Isis,

as well as

Rhea, Diana, and so on, seem to be only


modifications of one enfolding idea,

a
of

goddess accepted by
peculiar to Greece.

all

nations,

and not

The pilgrimages
to
is

the more prominent of these goddesses,

Ceres and
life

Isis,

seem

indicate

the

which

loses

what

dear in child-

hood, to seek in weary pain for what


after all can

be but half regained.

Ceres

regained her daughter, but only for half


the year.
Isis

found her husband, but


This era in

dismembered.

Mythology

seems to mark the progress of a people


from an unconscious to a conscious
state.

Persephone's periodical exile shows the


impossibility of resuming an unconscious-

ness from

which we have been once

aroused, the need thought has, having

42
once

MARGARET AND HER FRIENDS.


felt the influence of the Seasons, to

retire into itself.

Charles

Wheeler reminded Marwithout


reference
to

garet that she had said that the predominant goddesses,

Greece, enfolded only one idea, that of


the female Will or Genius,
giver.

the bounteous

He

had asked her

if

she could
facts,

sustain

herself

by etymological

and she replied that her knowledge of


the

Greek

was

not

critical

enough.

Since

then he

had inquired into the

origin of the proper


deities,

names
it

of the

Greek

and found that

confirmed her
Tellus,

impression.
Isis,

The names of Rhea,

and Diana were resolvable into one,

and the difference in their etymology was


only a

common and

permissible change

in the position of the letters of

which

they are composed, or a mere provincial


dialectic change.

Diana

is

the same as

Dione, also one of the names of Juno.

'

MARGARET AND HER FRIENDS.


E. P. P. asked
if

43

Homer
two?

ever con-

founded

the

last

Margaret
purely objecless

thought not.
tive.

Homer was
little

He knew
the

and cared
creation

about

primitive

of

the

myths.
R.

W. Emerson thought
difficult to

it

would be
Ju-

very

detect this secret.

piter, for instance,

might have been a

man who was


his race.

the exponent of Will to

Margaret deduced him


herself,

said,

"

No they
;

could have

just as easily

from Nature
exhibition

or from a single

of

will power.'

R.
like

W. Emerson
Napoleon would
it.

said

that

man

easily

have sug"
!

gested

"

What

a God-send

is

a Napoleon
;

exclaimed Charles

Wheeler

u let us

pray for scores of such, that a


superior

new and
!

mythos may

arise for us

"

Is

44
it

MARGARET AND HER FRIENDS.


malicious
to

suspect a subtle irony


the sacred

turned
R.

against
this

person of

W. E. in Margaret

speech?
if

retorted indignantly that

they came,

ive

should do nothing better

than write memoirs of their hats, coats,

and swords,
without

as

we had done
any

already,

thinking of

lesson

they

might teach.

She could not see why


to take the beauti-

we were not content


ful

Greek mythi

as they were, without

troubling ourselves

about those which

might
R.

arise for us!

W.

E.

acknowledged

that

the

Greeks had a quicker perception


beautiful than we.

of the

Their genius lay in


of
it.

the material expression

If

we
to

knew
flight.

the real

meaning

of the

names of

their Deities, the story

would take

We

should have only the work-

ing of abstract ideas as

we might

adjust

them

for ourselves.

MARGARET AND HER FRIENDS. 45


Margaret
said that a fable
It

was more

than a mere word.

was a word of

the purest kind rather, the passing of

thought into form.

R.

W.

E.

had made

no allowance

for

time or space or climate,


that.

and there was a want of truth in

The age
Poetry
;

of the

Greeks was the age of

ours was the age of Analysis.

We
still

could not create a Mythology.


asked, "

Emerson

Why not ? We
irrelevantly

had

better material."
said,

Margaret
seemed
to

as

it

to

me, that Carlyle had attempted

deduce new principles from present

history,

and that was the reason he did


respectable.

not respect the

Emerson
ogy

said Carlyle

was unfortunate

in his figures, but

we might have mythol-

as beautiful as the Greek.

Margaret thought each age of the world had its own work to do. The
transition of thought into

form marked

46

MARGARET AND HER FRIENDS.


It

the Greek period.

was most

easily

done through

fable,

on account of their

intense perception of beauty.

Emerson pursued
thought.

his

own

train of

He seemed
it

to forget that

we

had come together

to pursue Margaret's.

He

said

was impossible that men or

events should stand out in a population


of twenty millions as they could from a

population of a single million, to which


the

whole

population

of

the

ancient

world could hardly have amounted.

As

Hercules stood to Greece, no modern

man could ever stand in relation to his own world. Margaret thought Hercules and Jupiter quite different creations.

The
life.

first

might

have been a

deified

The

second could not.

Charles Wheeler
of belief with

said

that R.

W.

E/s view carried no historical obligation


it.

We

could not deny

MARGARET AND HER FRIENDS.


the heroic origin of the

47

Greek demiwas the

gods, but the highest dynasty

exponent

of translated thought.
if

Sophia Ripley asked


individual
fitly

the

life of

an

interwoven

with

her
as

experience was not as fine a

Poem

the story of Ceres, her wanderings and

her tears
lives ?

Did not Margaret know such

R.

W.

E.

thought every

man had

probably met his Jupiter, Juno, Minerva,

Yenus, or Ceres in society

Margaret was
R.

sure she never had

W.

E.

explained:

world, but each on his

"Not in the own platform."


The
life

William Story
of

objected.

an

individual

was

not

univer-

sal. (!)

Sophia Ripley repeated, " The inner


life."

William Story claimed


dividual,

to be an in-

and did not think individual

48

MARGARET AND HER FRIENDS.


all

experience could ever meet

minds,

like the story of Ceres, for example.

Sophia
versal.

said

all

experience was uni-

I said nothing,

but held this colloquy


is

with myself.

Thought
;

the

best of

human
sion
:

nature

its

fulness urges expres-

its

need of being met, not only by

one other but

by every
is

other, craves

it.

This craving

the acknowledgment of

the universal experience.


individual
is

What

is

jmrely
is

perishable.

Identify

to

be separated from individuality for this


cause.

Margaret
fine

said the

element of beauty

would be wanting
which seem

to our creations.

emotion glowed

through features

to fall like a soft veil over


it

the soul, while

could scarce do more

than animate those that were obtuse and


coarse in every outline.
(!)

"Then,"

said

William Story, and

MARGARET AND EER FRIENDS. 49

my

heart thanked the preux

chevalier,

" then

something
itself."

is

wanting

in

the

emotion

William White
sunlight could not

said,

stupidly, that

fall

with equal charm


grass. (!)

on rocks and the green


I

asked
it

if

the rock could not give


?

what

did not receive

Flung back by

rugged
shadows,

points

and

relieved

by dark
itself

was not
?

the

sunlight

transfigured

Story
beauty.

said

every face had


act that

its

own

No

was natural could

be ungraceful.

Emerson
graceful

said that

we

all

did sundry

acts,

in

our caps and tunics,

which we never could do again, which

we never wanted Margaret said,


the point

to do again.
at last

we had touched

We

could not restore the

childhood of the world, but could

we not

admire

this

simple plastic period, and

50

MARGARET AND HER FRIENDS.


it

gather from
genius
R.
?

some notion of the Greek

W.

E. thought this legitimate.


it

He
we

would have

that

we

could not deter-

mine the
might

origin of

a mythos, but

fulfil

Miss Fuller's intention.


said history reconciled us
re-

Margaret
to
life,

by showing that man had


himself.

deemed
Not
was

Genius needed that

encouragement.
Genius,

Sophia Ripley thought;


it,

common

natures needed

but Genius

self -sup ported.

Margaret

said

it

might be the con-

solation of Genius.

Mrs. Russell asked


found so

why

Miss Fuller
present.
find with

much fault with the Margaret had no fault to


She took
facts as

it.

they were.

Every
the

age did something toward


cycle of mind.

fulfilling

The work

of the Greeks

was not

ours.

MARGARET AND HER


Sophia Ripley asked
if

FRIENDS.

51

the mythology

had been a prophecy of the Greek mind


to itself, or if the nation
life in

had experienced
sense.

any wide or deep

Margaret seemed
patience, and no

little

out

of
it

wonder!

She said

did not matter which.

The question

was, what could we find in the mythi,

and what did the Greeks mean that we


should find there.

Coleridge once said

that certain people were continually say-

ing of Shakespeare, that he did not


to

mean

impart certain spiritual meanings to


his sketches of life
if

some of
acter
his
;

and charit

but

Shakespeare did not mean


:

Genius did

so if the

Greeks meant not


it.

this or that, the

Greek genius meant

In relation to the progress of the ages,

James

F.

Clarke

said that the story of

Persephone concealed in the bowels of


the earth for half the year seemed to

him

to indicate

something of their com-

52

MARGARET AND HER


states.

FRIENDS.

parative

Persephone was the

seed which must return to earth before


it

could fructify.

Thought must
it

retire

into itself before

can be regenerate.
this,

Margaret was
it is

pleased with

more

especially as in the story of the

Goddess

eating the pomegranate, whose seed

is

longest in germinating, which

dooms

her to the realm of Pluto.

George Ripley remarked


saw
ful

that

we

this

need of withdrawal

in the slothto be imbib-

ages

when mind seemed

ing energy for future action.

The world

sometimes forsook a quest and returned


to
it.

We

had forsaken Beauty, but we


to
it.

might return
Certainly,
perfect

Margaret

assented.
all

mind would detect

beauty in

the hearth-rug at her feet: the meanest part of creation contained the

whole

but the labor


ciate the

we were now

at to appre-

Greek proved conclusively that

MARGARET AND HER FRIENDS.


we were not Greek.

53

A
in

simple plastic

nature would take

it all

with delight,

without doubt or question.

Or
take
It

rather,
it

amended Emerson, would


it.

up and go forward with


difference, said

makes no

Margaret,

for
I

we

live in a circle.
it

did not think

pleasant to track
arc,

and retrack the same


to
if

and preferred
E., so I

go forward with R. W.

asked

there was to be no higher poetry.

Margaret acknowledged
was something beyond the

that

there

aspiration

of the Egyptian or the poetry of the

Greek.

George Ripley thought we had not


lost
all

reverence

for

these

abstract

forces.

The Eleusinian mysteries might

be forgotten, but not Ceres. worship in ignorance.

We did

not
led

The mysteries

back to the

Infinite.

The

processes of

vegetation were actually heart-rending

54

MARGARET AND HER FRIENDS.


Here,

thought, was a basis for

my
it

higher poetry.

George Ripley acknowledged


was
so.

that

He seemed
movement

to be

more

con-

scious of the

of the world than


said

any

of our party.

He

we must not
There

measure creation by Boston and Washington, as

we were

too apt to do.

was

still

France, Germany, and Prussia,


!

perhaps Russia
eration

The work of

this genstill,

was not

religious nor poetic;

there was a tendency to go back to both.

There were

to be ultraisms, but also,

he

hoped, consistent development

Charles Wheeler then


story of
Isis,

related the

of

her hovering in the form

of a swallow

round the tree in which

the sarcophagus of Osiris had been enclosed

by Typhon
;

of her

being allowed

to fell the tree

of the odor emitted

by
the

the royal maidens

whom

she touched,
to

which

revealed

her

Divinity

MARGARET AND HER FRIENDS.


Queen
;

55

of the second loss of the body,

as she returned

home, and

its final dis-

memberment.
There was
little

success in spiritualiz-

ing more of this story than the pilgrim-

W. E. seemed to feel this for when Margaret had remarked that even
age, and K.
;

a divine force must become as the birds


of the air to compass
it

its

ends, and that

was

in the

carelessness of

conscious

success that the second loss occurred, he


said that
it

was impossible
all

to detect

an

inner sense in

these stories.

Margaret
attempted
in all the

replied, that she

had not
it

that,

but she

could see

prominent points.
said that the vari-

Charles Wheeler
eties of

anecdote proved that the stories


all

were not
cient

authentic.

It

was an anmedals
in

custom to strike

off

honor of certain acts of the Gods.


these graven pictures the

To

common

people

56

MARGARET AND HER

FRIENDS,

gave their own vulgar interpretations,


as

they did also to the bas-reliefs on

their temples

and monuments.

E. P. P. said this accounted for


of the
stories

many

transmitted by Homer.

When

sculpture

and architecture had


his inventive genius

lost their

meaning,

was only the more stimulated


one.

to find

Charles Wheeler asked what Margaret would


tears
of
?

make

of the story that the

Isis

frightened

children

to

death

There was a general laugh, but Mar-

garet

said coolly, that children always

shrank from a baffled hope.

Some one
her mother.

contrasted Persephone with

Margaret
said,

assented to whatever was

and added that she had been parit

ticularly struck with

in

an engraving

she had recently seen, in which Ceres

MARGARET AND HER FRIENDS.


stood with lifted
eyes,
full-eyed,

57

maand

tronly, bounteous, ready to give all to


all,

while

Persephone,

dejected
;

thoughtful, sat meditating

and the idea

was strengthened by her discovering


that Persephone was the same as Ariadne

the deserted.

I could

only guess at the

remark

by
to

Margaret's

comment.
hope

It

seemed

imply

baffled

for

Persephone.

The Eleusinian mysteries were now


alluded
to.

Although

it

has been said

that only moral precepts were inculcated

through these,

Wheeler urged

that a

whole school of Continental authors now

acknowledged that the higher doctrines


of philosophy

were taught.

R.

W.

E. added, that as initiation beinstruction

came more easy such


form, and

must

have degenerated into a mere matter of

many

of the uninitiated sur-

pass the initiated in wisdom.

58

MARGARET AND HER FRIENDS.


Margaret admitted
this.

Socrates

was one of the


seldom
felt

uninitiated.
full force of

The crowd
beauty in
it, it

the

Art or Literature.

To prove

was

only necessary to walk once through the


Hall of Sculpture at the Athenaeum, and
catch the remarks of any half-dozen on

Michael

Angelo's

"Day and Night"


its

He would

be fortunate who heard a

single observer

comment on

power.

Mrs. Russell asked


of the sun and

why

the images

moon were introduced


impatiently

into these mysterious celebrations.

Margaret
child

asked

why

they had always been invoked by every

who

could

string

two

rhymes

together.
I said that if Ceres

was the simple

agricultural productive energy, of course

the sun was her

first

minister, its genial

influence being as manifest as the energy


itself.

MARGARET AND HER FRIENDS.

59

In regard to the etymology of the

proper names,

it

seemed reasonable

to

me

that this energy should have gained


it

attributes as

did names.

Any

nation
call

devoted to the chase would learn to


the lunar deity Diana
;

any devoted

to

the cultivation of grain would

project

her as Ceres.

The reproductive powers


Rhea
would

of flocks and herds would suggest


or Juno, and philosophy or art

invoke Persephone.

When we
J. F.

were talking about beauty,

C. quoted Goethe, and said that the

spirit

sometimes made a mistake and


itself in

clothed

the

wrong garment.
C.

W. HEALEY.

March

9, 1841.

III.

The
place

third conversation
illness,

was delayed
finally took

by Margaret's

and

March
19, 1841.

Margaret

again complained that


subject,

we

wandered from the

and told the

following story from Novalis.

Imagine a room, on one


and Fable at play.
a marble slab on

side of

it

Eros

On

the other, before

which

rests a vase of

pure

water,

sits

a fair

woman named
sits

Sophia.

Her head

rests

upon her hand.


a

Between
of rev-

her and the children

man
is.

erend age, before a table at which he


writes whatever has been or

This

is

History; and as he finishes each sheet

he hands

it

to Sophia,

who

dips

it

in the

MARGARET AND HER FRIENDS.


vase of pure water, from which
it

61

often

emerges a perfect blank.

Sometimes a

few

lines, at

others a few words, some-

times only a punctuation mark, survive


the
last
test.

This troubles the old man.

At

he

rises

and leaves the room.

Fable

springs to his vacant seat, and scribbles


as if in play
till

his return,

when History
it

reproves her for wasting the paper, and


passes the sheet to Sophia, when, lo
!

comes out from her vase unchanged.


Fable has borne the test of Truth.
tory
is

Hisin

enraged at

this,

and succeeds

driving both Sophia and Fable from their

home, unfairly.

Sophia

is

driven away,

but the child escapes by a back door, and,

becoming bewildered
erns of the Earth,
the Fates.

in the central cav-

falls

into the

power of
find the

These respectable old ladies


little

Fable very troublesome, and, after


scolding, send her

some

away

to

spin,

62

MARGARET AND HER FRIENDS.


lo
!

when,
all

from the recesses of the cavern

sorts of

wonders and strange shapes

are spun out.

The Fates

are frightened,

and they seek History

to learn in

what

manner they

may

best rid

themselves

of the intruder.

However much they


is

may

dislike her, she

under their prodo no more

tection,

and

History can

than advise them to send her out to


catch

Tarantulas

Fable departs and


lyre,

meets Eros, who gives her a

upon

which she

plays,

and the venomous insects

swarm about

her.

The Fates behold


!

her return unharmed


she would be stung

They had hoped


to

death, and in

despair Ate throws her scissors at the


child,

who gracefully

avoids them.

Here-

upon the Tarantulas

sting the Fates in

the feet, at which they begin to dance.

As

their clothes are

thick and heavy,

this is rather

inconvenient exercise, and


at their distress they

when Fable laughs

MARGARET AND HER

FRIENDS.

63

send her away to spin them some thin


dresses.

Fable

is

tired

of

wandering.

She plays upon her lyre


las,

to the Tarantu-

bidding them spin, and she will give


large
flies.

them three

When

the dresses

are done, she carries


to the Fates,

them immediately
again to dance.
still

who begin

The ends

of the threads are

in the like
flies

bodies of the Tarantulas,


to

who do not

be jerked about.
I

" Behold the

which

promised you," said Fable.


fall

Thereupon the Tarantulas


the

upon

dancing Fates, and a


in

new dynasty

commences,

which Eros reigns, with

Fable for prime minister.

Margaret
had
of

said that in the story she


set

told

she had

us

the

example

wandering from the subject, but she


to

hoped

some purpose.

She hoped no
call

one would have need to

upon

little

Fable's body-guard of Tarantulas.

The

subject of the evening

was Apollo

64

MARGARET AND HER FRIENDS.


Genius opposed

in contrast with Ceres, or to Productive

Energy.

The

history of

Apollo stood for the history of thought,


its

progressive development and

its

un-

happiness.
miserable.

All the loves of Apollo are

He

never labors for himself.

He
the

uses the

instruments which others

have shaped.
lyre,

He

is

so delighted with
is

which Mercury, that

Sa-

gacity, has

made, that he gives him the

divining-rod, and would give

him more,

but he cannot.

The

earnest simplicity

with which Apollo begs Mercury to swear

by the sacred Styx not


quiver or his darts
is

to

steal
!

his

beautiful

The

common
sagacity,

understanding,

mere

human
it

may

indeed lay hands on the


candart,

weapons of the Inspired One, but


not possess them.

The
all

ray, the

the quiver, of Apollo

stand for the

instantaneous power of thought.

Delphi did not originally belong to

MARGARET AND HER FRIENDS.


Apollo.

65

With the
it
;

aid of Bacchus, he

wrested

from

Terra,

Neptune, and

Themis

hence the name " Delphi," or


This
is

"The
are

brothers."

only another
All things

instance of his independence.

made

to his hand.

The great conlies in

trast

between Ceres and Apollo


Ceres
is

the success of each.


full,

always
call

always prepared to meet the

of

humanity.

Apollo

is

always

un-

satisfied.

He

transmutes whatever he

touches, as he did one of his

many

loves,

changed

to a bay-tree.

His changes are

always beautiful.

James

F.

Clarke asked how Margaret


be-

would explain the fraternal relation

tween Bacchus and Apollo.


" Don't you remember " I don't like to repeat
?

" she retorted.


so smart

it, it is

and ingenious!"

Apollo and Bacchus


question

seemed
response.

to

her the

and the

Bacchus was what the earth

66

MARGARET AND HER FRIENDS.


the

yielded to

touch of Genius.

The

grape was genial.


of

It typified the excess

the

earth's

fruitfulness.

Bacchus

avenges the wrongs of Apollo,


said

who
!

is

never to have seen a shadow

He

never perceives an obstacle, but instantly


destroys

an

alien

nature.

Whatever
retri-

opposed Apollo met with terrible


bution,
others.

if

not from himself, then from

Genius cannot endure the presit.

ence of anything that mocks at

Charles

Wheeler

said

something

about the flaying of Marsyas.

Margaret
to

said that this once

seemed

her the most shocking of cruelties,

but she had lately seen a picture which


reconciled her to the deed
!

After look-

ing at the self-complacent face of Marsyas,

she

did not wonder that Apollo

destroyed him.
do
it I

She longed

to see him

Apollo was never indignant at

any sublime treachery.

He

forgave Mer-

MARGARET AND HER


cury
his theft because it
it

FRIENDS.

67

was

god-like,

because he did

so well.

Mrs. Russell said ironically that the


destruction of the children of Niobe

must

have been a gratifying

sight.
said,
'

Margaret laughed, and


like being
ner,'

" That

is

reminded of the
I

poor mari-

when

say that I like to hear the

wind blow."

The indignation of Apollo


one of his noblest
attri-

seemed
butes.

to her

His perfect purity separated him


all

from

the Gods.

Ceres seemed to be

included in the idea of

many

other Gods,
Isis
;

as in Pan, Bacchus, Juno,

and

but

Apollo, the divine Genius, stands alone.

There

is

none

like him.

Henry Hedge

asked whether holiness

appertained to Apollo.

Margaret thought
supposed
a
one's self, but there

not.

Holiness

voluntary consecration of

was no need of

this

68

MARGARET AND HER

FRIENDS.

in Apollo.

He

was pure thought, con-

secrated, but not consciously.

Henry Hedge

said

he had asked, be-

cause, considering Jesus to have, as he

certainly had, a mythological character,

he

thought

there

was a resemblance
Apollo.

between
words

him

and

His own

justified

the idea,

"I
on.

am

the

light of the world,"

and so

Mrs. Russell asked suddenly why


Apollo's lyre

had seven
said

strings.

Margaret

seven was a conse-

crated number.

Mrs. Russell asked


to

if it

did not have

do with the seven planets ?

George Ripley
so

said there

were not

many in that day. Margaret liked the reason, and wished


it

she had thought of

herself!

Some one asked about

the connection

between Diana and Apollo.

MARGARET AND HER FRIENDS.


Margaret
said that

69

Genius needed a

sister to console

him.
the in-

Emerson asked what bearing


scription over the Delphic

temple had
Divine

upon the story

of Apollo,

the

pun
art "

EI,

which means equally " Thou

and " If,"

as grand a pun
said he
!

as that
to

of

him who, dying,

was going

see the great " Perhaps "

"

le

grand

peut-etre."

Better translated,
great "May-be."

thought, as

the

George Kipley asked


art "

if it

were not

generally accepted positively as


?

"Thou

" Probably," Mr.

Emerson

said.

Henry Hedge found


Mrs. Russell asked

another type of

the Apollo in the Egyptian Horus.


if

the two Greek


Isis

vowels had not once stood for


Osiris.
If so,

and

they would have a natural

connection with the oracle.

"

70
I

MARGARET AND HER


remembered the
Isis,

FRIENDS.
on the

inscription
all

statue of

"I

am

that has been

and that
tals

shall be,

and none among mor-

has taken off


" of the Jews,

my

,,

veil.

The "I

am

and the "

Thou

art

of the Delphic temple are epigrammatic,

but the same.

Emerson, replying somewhat curtly


to Mrs. Russell, said

there were various

explanations.

The

story of Phaeton

came next.

Henry Hedge

asked

how Presump-

tion should be the child of Genius.

" Genius must be self-confident," Margaret said, " and that might predominate."
I asked if real Genius did not
its

know

own resources and husband them. Margaret thought Genius often atit

tempted more than


I said a

could do.

man might have


if

genius and

presume, but that

he were a genius I
Still,

should expect him to be modest.

MARGARET AND HER FRIENDS.


as
it

71
it

must have a crowd of

imitators,

might become the father of presumption.

The substance

creates the shadow.


said

William Story
that did not

no product could
;

be as great as the producing power

but

seem

to

me

to touch the

point, for the question

was not whether


to

Apollo could not give birth

some-

thing less than himself, but whether the


possession of

power could create an unto


it.

founded claim

The

story of Latona followed.


said

Henry Hedge

that

the

word

meant concealment.

Margaret thought
sive,

this

very expres-

and said that the isolation which


geniuses had

Goethe and other


craving
since the

been

world began Apollo


His mother was

had no need
concealment.

to seek.

The
it

oracle

was then

dis-

cussed, how
it

was

possible to consult

many

times and receive each time a

72

MARGARET AND HER FRIENDS.


answer,

different

how

it

could

be

bribed, as

by Alexander, or would give


in

two answers

one; but nothing very

new was
I

said.

remembered the double answer

of

the Pythoness to Croesus


tated crossing the

when he medi" Thou shalt Halys.


'

destroy a great empire,'

she said.
:

He

thought
it

it

was the enemy's

fate decided

should be his own.

Sophia Ripley

thought

the

oracle

belonged to Wisdom rather than Genius.

Margaret
men's houses.

said
It

Minerva

dwelt

in

was necessary a voice


that Jupiter had

from Heaven should speak.

Some one wondered


led

not possessed himself of the oracle, which

Margaret back
with her

to her exponents,

and she confessed that she was not quite


satisfied

own

definition of Jupi-

ter as Will.

Emerson suggested

that

experience

MARGARET AND HER FRIENDS.


was a prominent feature

73

in the Jupiter,

and named him Character.


Character
is

educated Will, said Mar-

garet, hesitating, and paused, for the

term did not

suit her.

Juno was then spoken


amusing

of as passive
It

Will, and her traits were dwelt upon.


is

to see

how weak

the

Queen

of

Olympus can be

in opposition to its

King.

The peacock was probably made


plumage, while the eagle was conon account of
its

sacred to her on account of the beauty


of
its

secrated to Jupiter
strength.

I said that the peacock, strutting

with
feet

conceit, glancing at

its

ill-shaped
in

and vexed enough to bawl


quence,
easily

conse-

suggested the scolding

Juno.

Some one asked a question about Msculapius. Margaret said he was genius made practical.

74

MARGARET AND HER

FRIENDS.
that Apollo

Henry Hedge thought by his own connection with


art

the healing
life

became the symbol of physical

and beauty.

William
Belvedere.

Story

thought no statue

could bear comparison with the Apollo

Margaret preferred the Antinous. James Clarke asked why Art should present a so much more inspiring view
of

Greek Mythology than Poetry.

Margaret
profess
to

said that all her ideas of

it

were deduced from Art.

She did not


of

know much
depended

the

Greek

authors,

and

chiefly

upon
of

Homer, but wished that some


gentlemen who ought
to

the

know more
it

would speak.

William Story thought


cause the
plause, for recitation
effect.

was

be-

poets wrote for popular ap-

and

its

immediate

Sculptors labored

more purely

for their Art.

MARGARET AND HER FRIENDS.


I

75

thought

too

that

the

dramatists

often had a political aim, and

manoeu-

vred Olympus

to suit

it

James Clarke
time every public
to his

said

that

if

in

our

speaker must bend


it

audience to a degree,
in Greece. to

was

still

more necessary

We
for the

were told

consider Minerva

next conversation, and to write


her.

down our thoughts about


Greek
ideas.
deities.

For

my
for

part I don't like using Latin


It

names

greatly confuses

my
dif-

Jupiter and Zeus seem very

ferent to me.

In regard to

the story

that

Apollo

never saw a shadow, Caroline Sturgis


asked
nature

how Apollo
if

could destroy an alien


it.

he never met
quite

There was
talk about this,

an

unsatisfactory

which would have ended

had anybody remembered how the sun


solves

the

enigma

every

day.

The

76

MARGARET AND HER FRIENDS.


it

sun never sees the shadow

destroys.
It annihi-

When
lates

its

rays
alien

fall,

light

is.

the

by merely being.

So

Truth annihilates Falsehood, yet cannot

meet

it.

The two are never

in

one

presence.

CAROLINE WELLS HEALEY.


March
20, 1841.

IV.
March

26, 1841.

Margaret opened our talk by saying that the subject of Wisdom presented
more conversable points than that
Genius.
of

We

could

all

think and talk

about Wisdom, and any

man who had

ever scratched his finger was to a degree


wise.

Minerva was the child of Counsel and


Intelligent Will.

She had no infancy,


Ready,

but sprang full-armed into being.


agile, she

was

in herself the history of

thought.
life

She did not need that her


of incident.
:

should be one

Her
the

attendant emblems are expressive

Sphinx, the owl, the serpent, the cock,

and the javelin suggest her whole

story.

78

MARGARET AND HER

FRIENDS.

William White asked why Genius was masculine and Wisdom feminine.

Margaret thought no one


any
the
difficulty
in

could find

the fact
It

that Genius
itself

was masculine.

presented

to

mind

in

the

full

glow of power.

The very

outlines of the feminine form

were yielding, and we could not associate

them with a prominent,


state of the faculties.

self-conscious
like
if

Wisdom was
for

woman, always ready


reality as a basis,

the
it
;

fight

necessary, yet never going to

taking
ar-

and classifying and

ranging upon

it all

that Genius creates,

seeing the relations and proper values


of things.

George Eilpey objected


nition.

to this defi-

He might

have imbibed a He-

brew

idea, but the office of

Wisdom was
this,

surely

something more than

a
to

purely mechanical and orderly

tact.

Margaret

said she

had not meant

MARGARET AND HER FRIENDS.


give our view of
it,

79

only the Greek idea

as manifest in the story of Minerva.

To
that

William White she

said,

smiling,

she supposed he had not wondered so

much
as

that Genius should be masculine

that

Wisdom should be feminine


Greeks were wise, and
she

But

the

revered their keen perception.

Elisabeth Hoar
her that

said

it

seemed
means.

to

Wisdom provided

A
him

hero might be inspired by Genius, but

Wisdom provided

his armor, taught

to distinguish the goal,

and to perceive
of

clearly the relation to


step.

it

any onward

Margaret agreed to this, and William Story said that Genius was indebted to Wisdom for means
of communication.

Genius thinks words

impertinent,
its

but

Wisdom apprehends
Wisdom

intuitions,

and gives them shape.


said further, that

Margaret

80

MARGARET AND HER FRIENDS.


adopt
instinctively

must

the

finest

medium.
It

seemed

to

me

that

Wisdom

not

only gave power of communication, but

power

of attainment.

Walter Scott was

a good instance of the union of intuitive

perception and

human
it

sagacity, but all

these words about

cleared up nothing.
that

Margaret then proposed


and so get at the
facts.

we

should take up the attributes of Minerva,

Mr. Ripley did not think

it

noble

enough when she based Wisdom upon


realities.

William Story
have
something
to

said

Wisdom must

work upon.

He

thought Wisdom compared the intuitions


of

Genius with

realities.

Charles Wheeler thought the word


actual

would help

them out

of

their

difficulty.

wanted

to

quote Emerson to the

MARGARET AND HER


effect that the Ideal
is

FRIENDS.

81

more Keal than

the Actual.

Margaret agreed with Mr. Wheeler,


and said that by
anything
tangible.
reality she understood

incarnated,

whatever

was

She then went on to speak

of the Sphinx.

What was it? Elisabeth Hoar seemed surprised the question. Was it not one thing
everybody
?

at
to

Margaret

called for her idea, but she


it.

would not give

Margaret
founding

said that to herself

it

rep-

resented the development of a thought,


itself

upon the animal,

until

it

grew upward
did not throw

into calm, placid power.

She revered these good ancients, who

away any of
but

the gifts of

God

who were

neither materialists nor

immaterialists,

who made matter

always subservient to the highest ends


of the Spirit.

82

MARGARET AND HER FRIENDS.


William White asked
if

the festivals

of the Gods, the highest source of their


influence over the people, did not

show

how

little

they had penetrated to the

spirit of

things?
nec-

Margaret thought ambrosia and


tar

were

proper

emblems
to

of

Divine taken

Joy.

They were not

be

literally.

" But," persisted

White, " the great

body

of the people thought

them
with

so."

William

Story

said,

happy

grace, that the great body of the people

might be excused

for such a thought.

Margaret enjoyed
that the great Greek

the pun, and said

body was sensuous

and

ate,

but that the Greek soul

knew

better than to suspect the Gods of open-

ing their mouths.


E. P. P.

waked up

at

this

moment,

and asked what

Margaret would say

to Berkeley's theory.

MARGARET AND HER FRIENDS.


Margaret
it

83

said she did not

know what
of
all

was
E. P. P.
said,

the

evolution

things from the soul, the non-existence


of matter.

James
difficult

F.
to

Clarke thought
decide

it

very

how

far

spirit

and

matter were one.


not in
the

man's identity was

particles

which came and

went every seven


Yet these

years, but in the spirit.

particles constituted the wall

of separation

between himself and


spirit.

others.

His identity was in his

George Eipley begged leave to disagree. He thought we knew as much


about matter as about
spirit,

and that

Berkeley's theory was as good as any.

Margaret
spirit

said

that
it

if

God

created

matter, of course
;

was evolved from

that matter could not be antago-

nistic to that

from which

it

was evolved.

84

MARGARET AND HER

FRIENDS.

To express
to say, "

a complete idea,
I

we had only
to

Jehovah,

am."

" Or,"

Charles Wheeler added, "

be silent."

"Yes,"
lies

said

Margaret, "and

in that

the

merit of Mythology.

Every

faculty was, according to that, an incomplete statement.

Therefore Mr. Ripley

did

wrong

to

confound Minerva with the

Logos."
E. P. P. did not see that Berkeley's

statement was answered.

William Story came


pun.

in with another
so,
it

" If Berkeley thought


"

was

no matter

Some

stupid person spoiled the wit by


it,

trying to explain

and the question

remained to us just as much matter as


ever.

They
yet said
in
its

talked about the Sphinx again,


little.

It holds

more meaning

passive

womb

than talk will ever

MARGARET AND HER FRIENDS.


play the midwife
the
to.

85

It

was the

child of

Destructive Element and

Feeling,

Typhon
by death.

and Echidna,

the

human

heart experienced in misfortune touched

Thought rooted

in the actual

and developed by tenderness was rooted


in this figure.

" Everybody
stings," said

knows

that
so

Margaret, and
of the

Wisdom we went

on to the serpent.

Somebody spoke

Greek Tartarus.
its

Ida Russell thought

torment was

not acute, but consisted of the deprivation of comforts.

The wandering
intolerable
to

idleness of

it

would be

an active Greek, Elisa-

beth Hoar thought, but more endurable than


for

any device of

a priesthood.

As
r

our serpent, no one seemed to know

much about it. Margaret said

that

we owed

it

so

86

MARGARET AND HER FRIENDS.


she felt
in
it.

much, that

duty bound to

know something of James F. Clarke


tian serpent

said that the Chris-

was quite another thing.


at the idea of a

Everybody laughed
Christian serpent.

William White
miration
for

professed great ad-

the

reptile.

We

should
its

have

had no Christianity but for

beguiling.

Margaret agreed
supposed everybody

and

said

she

felt that.

Mrs. Russell thought the casting of


the skin very expressive.

James
was the

F.

Clarke

gave Coleridge's

exposition, to the effect that the serpent

common

understanding!
all

It

would touch and handle


good from

things,

and

even sought to be as the Gods, knowing


evil.

Its

undulating motion

its

belly

now on

the ground,

now

off

MARGARET AND HER

FRIENDS.

87

expressed both the aspiration and the


subserviency of the creature.

Margaret asked if serpents ever lowed their own tails ?


Charles Wheeler
an arbitrary form.
said that

swal-

must be
had been

Margaret
struck

replied, that she

by the

difference

between the

Mexican and the Greek serpent.

The
itself.

Mexican was folded back upon

Not always,
times in
its

I said.

Its tail is

some-

mouth, and the variations

seem

to

be occasioned by the architec-

tural necessity.

James

F.

Clarke spoke of a Virginia


circle,

snake that moves in a


if

and asked
about

when Mr.

Emerson

talked

" coming

full circle " he

was not think-

ing of that?

Margaret

laughed, and declared that

serpent must be of Yankee invention.


iEsculapius bore two on his
staff,

Mer-

88

MARGARET AND HER FRIENDS.

cury two on his divining-rod, and the


cock was also sacred to ^Esculapius.
I

asked

if this

did not indicate a cer-

tain subjection of these

Gods

to

Wisdom

Some

questions written on paper were

here read.

One asked why Minerva


of the stroke of Vulcan,

was born

and

why

she was the patroness of weavers,

and what that had to do with the story


of Arachne.

Margaret
the
first,

replied with
it

ill

temper

to

that

was because Vulcan held


to the second, that she

the

hammer,

did not know.

But was there


in the fact that

really so little

meaning

Mechanic Art so minis-

tered to Intelligent Will that she could


afford to miss the point?

She said we could see that Minerva

was

told to

marry Vulcan, but declined


to

would have nothing


cripple.

do with the sooty

MARGARET AND HER FRIENDS.


Sophia Eipley
that
said,

89

aptly

enough,

Minerva had been changing her


since
!

mind ever

Ida Russell thought that when Mechanic Art was married


to Beauty,
it

might charm even Wisdom.

George Ripley
grew

said

she might well


force,

have despised the brute


into something
it.

but as

it

more noble, have

learned to love

Dr.

Dana

was the
In
exist

servant of the Lowell corporation.


these days no

corporation

could

without

its

man

of science.

His salary

was a mere pittance, and when he made


a discovery with which
all

Europe rang,

Dr. Dana, a celebrated chemist, received a salary from the Merrimac Manufacturing Co. as consulting Through his experiments and practical skill, chemist. a radical change was made in the methods of dyeing and printing calicoes. This was in connection with the use of madder, and the Company claimed his discovery and allowed him no extra recompense. It will be perceived that Mr. Ripley got his supposed facts from the

newspapers.

"

90

MARGARET AND HER

FRIENDS.
"

he asked

for a part of the profits.

We

will consider/' said the soulless corporation,

and they decided that they had a


right
to
all

legitimate

that

could

be

made out

of their servant!
I
said,

"Thus,"
"Exactly
,,

"Wisdom sows
?

for

the Mechanic Art to reap


so,"

was the reply; "and

this contains the essence of the

Yankee
long

philosophy.

The

life

of

Wisdom was one


Bending
still

struggle for something beyond a merely


serviceable knowledge.
to art

alike

and

artisan, she
till

refused to

love the latter


to their

he had wooed Beauty


service.

common

But Wisdom

has of late married Vulcan.

He no
sits

longer limps, and has washed his face in


the springs of love and thought, and
in holiday robes beside his bride.

Somebody

said

that

the

story

of

MARGARET AND HER


Aracbne was an instance
dess's vindictiveness.

FRIENDS.
of

91

the God-

Margaret hoped
ness
so,

that the vindictiveinterpolation.


If

was a popular
the
story
of

Marsyas shows that

she was malicious.


fortunes upon him.

She brought
If her

his mis-

own

voice

was discordant, there was no reason why


his voice should please

" Divinities have a right to be indignant,"


said

somebody.

Did Margaret

blush?
In speaking of the
tions of Minerva,
artistic representa-

Margaret

said

some
tall

beautiful things.

Minerva was

as

and large as she could be, without being


masculine.

Her

face

was thoughtful and

serene, without being sweet.

Her eye

was
to

so full

and clear that

it

had no need

be deep.

The

talk

was closed by Margaret's

92

MARGARET AND HER

FRIENDS.

reading the Essay that E. P. P. had sent


in,

and the criticisms upon

it.

E. P. P. began by speaking of
conservatism

the

which disinclined Jupiter to

the birth of Minerva.

"Yes,"

Margaret

said,

"the good

was always opposed

to the better."

E. P. P. then spoke of the Parthenon,

upon which, according

to the

Homeric

Hymn,

the story of Minerva's birth was

sculptured.

Margaret

said

it

had

been

diffi-

cult to believe that the

Greeks would

put so ugly a thing upon their temple, but the ruins showed a Vulcan with his

hammer
skull.

in his hand,

and the form of

the Goddess hovering over the cloven

Why, asked E. P. P., did Ulysses represent Wisdom in the Odyssey? Margaret thought he represented the history of a thought in life, when

MARGARET AND HER FRIENDS.


he tired us
all

out with his long story,


to decision.

and so pushed us

E. P. P. alluded to the different conceptions of Minerva in the Iliad and the

Odyssey, and this led to the question


of

priority

of composition.

Margaret thought the Odyssey was written when Homer was young and
romantic
;

but E. P. P. and myself stood


of the

out stoutly for the precedence


Iliad.
I said,

without the least bit of

real

knowledge, that I should not wonif

der

there were two centuries between

the poems, they seemed to indicate such


entirely different states of society
;

but

certainly the

Odyssey was

latest.

Charles Wheeler
scholars
Iliad

said that the best

seemed

all

of one mind.

The

was written

first

by Homer,

the

Odyssey long

after

by another hand.
was a gem
as married

E. P. P. said that there

which represented Minerva

94

MARGARET AND HER

FRIENDS.

to a mortal, but she could tell nothing

more about

it.

Jones Very
falls

said that

when Wisdom

into decay

Does that
fallen

we call it Genius mean that prophetic power


to
is

back from the moral nature

the intellect

dwarfed accordingly?

CAROLINE W. HEALEY.
March
27, 1841.

V.
April
2,

1841.

The

story of

Venus and Cupid and Venus she had

Psyche was discussed.

Margaret
less to

said that of

say than of either of the preceding


!

Deities

She was not the expression

of

a thought, but of a fact.

She was the

Greek idea
best

of

a lovely

woman,
of

the

physical

development

woman.

When we
said
all.

have said, " It

is,"

we have

The

birth of

Beauty was the


She sprang
re-

only ideal thing about her.

from the wave, from the flux and

flux of things, from the undulating line.

On

this

Venus, transitoriness had set


at her,

its

seal.

As we look

we

feel that
is

she must change.


fair

Her

loveliness

too
pass

to

last.

Her beauty would

96

MARGARET AND HER FRIENDS.


She could not
live a

next moment.
year,
of

we

think, without losing something grace.


It

her

full

was peculiarly
and

Greek
to

to create a beautiful symbol,

pause in the
to

symbol.

The Greeks

were very apt

do

this.

They

did

it

effectually in the

Goddess of Love.
all

She

was sportive

in

her amours.

They
to to

had no idea of an Everlasting Love.

They enjoyed themselves


abstract themselves.

too

much

Venus seemed

Margaret a merely human creature. She

was not the type

of Universal

Beauty
Still,

the Greek eye was closed to that.


their their

own embodiment

did

not satisfy
out their
all

own

need.

They

filled

ideal with

Venus Urania, Hebe, and


Graces,

the

attendant Hours and


satisfied.

yet

were not

Then came
girl

the fable

of Psyche and her three Cupids.

Venus
betray

was only a pretty

Her

cestus, her
all

doves, her pets, her jealousies,

MARGARET AND HER FRIENDS.


it.

97

The Venus Urania was more.


child of Celestial Light.

She

was the

Hebe
fill

was born of immortal bloom.

To

out

the gaps in their conception, Eros, or

Love

in Sadness,

Cupid a frolicsome boy,

and the more noble, more creative Love


which brooded over Chaos were evolved

from their consciousness.

Psyche,

who

did not appear until the age of Augustus,

who was

too

modern

to

be mythological,

yet glowing with mythic beauty, was


only another evidence of their imperfect
idea.

Her

story expresses
It
tells

more than

that of Venus.
story of

not only the

human

love, but represents the

pilgrimage of a soul.

The jealousy

of

Venus was

that which the

good must
is

always feel toward the better which


to supersede
it,

and as soon

as

Psyche

looked upon her sleeping lover she be-

came immortal.
of

The

soul in the fulness

Love became conscious of Destiny.

98

MARGARET AND HER

FRIENDS.

James Clarke asked what was the


difference

between the girl-mother

the

and the Greek Venus. Madonna Margaret replied, with more patience
than I was capable
of,

that the

represented more than passing


beauty.

Madonna womanly

She was prophetic, and lived

again in her child.

Then, persisted James

F.,

why was
to

Vulcan the husband of Beauty,

which

Margaret gave no satisfactory answer.

He

then
I

gave

his

own
justice,

thought,

to
it

which

can do no

although

was what

I tried in vain to say at the


It

last conversation.

amounted

to this,
it,

that in seeking
but in aiming at
labor

for

beauty we lose

utility

through hard

we

find perfect proportion

and
said

consequently perfect beauty.

He

that he and his sister Sarah had often

spoken to each other about


felt

this,

and he

that

the

time would come

when

MARGARET AND HER


we now

FRIENDS.

99

essays would be written about our ships,


as

write essays about the Pyrathe

mids and

Greek

Art.

Posterity

might

find the proof of our search after

beauty in the graceful prow and swelling


hold and
tall,

tapering mast or shrouds

of shredded jet; in the bellying canvas

and the patron

saint

which watches the

wake from the


in our

stern.

But we know

that the ship, the most beautiful object

modern world, was the product

of

labor, gradually evoked, according to the

law of

fitness,

compass, and general proits

portion.

To

bring

form into a natural


to find

relation to

wind and wave, was

perfect

harmony and beauty.

At

first

the

prow was too

sharp, and the water


it;

had rushed over

the hold was too

shallow, and she sat ungracefully

where

she

now rides as mistress. Emerson quoted some German


same
effect.

author

to the

100

MARGARET AND HER


said there
E.'s

FRIENDS.

Mr. Clarke
in

was something

one of R.

W.

own Essays which


said,

expressed the same thing.

Emerson laughed and


changed the subject, when

" Very

important authority," and would have

it

William White
tally well

said that

did not

with James Clarke's theory

that the ugly steamer had succeeded the


beautiful clipper.

Mr. Clarke said the

theory failed

only because there was no noble end in


view.

The steamer was not intended

to

be in harmony with Nature.

Emerson asked
symbol
for

if

the Greeks had no

natural

beauty.

Several

were suggested that he would not accept,


but he finally took Diana on Charles
Wheeler's suggestion.

Wheeler Venus. He

then spoke of the birth of


said

many

writers thought

the story as late as that of Psyche, and

MARGARET AND HER


the
line

FRIENDS.
it

101

of

Hesiod relating to

an

interpolation.

Margaret thought
suspected
it.

she should have

this

if

she had never heard


it

The thought

expressed was too

comprehensive to be in keeping with


the remainder of her story.

Charles Wheeler would not accept


the criticism, but
the marriage of

went on

to talk about

Venus with Mars, which


Olympian Deities
talk
to

had amazed Olympus.

Margaret
were
like

said the

modern men, who

women
only

forever about their softness and

delicacy, until

women imagine that the good thing in man is a strong arm.


elopes with a red coat, and the

The

girl

indignant lords of creation wonder

why

she did not appreciate their modest merit

and unobtrusive
weeps out

virtues.

Poor Beauty

the crimson stain upon her

escutcheon in a long age of suffering.

102

MARGARET AND HER FRIENDS.


laugh followed
this

bright
that

sally,

and then somebody

said

Venus

once married Mercury.

Margaret
of

declared that must be an

interpolation, for there

were no points
of

sympathy between the Goddess


craft.

beauty and the God of

James Clarke
that;

did

not

know about
finish

he

thought that the


of

and

completeness
Davis, Palmer,
of beaut//

the

late

robbery of

&

Co. constituted a kind

Margaret
gether grand

said
;

that affair

was

alto-

she had never heard of

anything so Greek as Williamson's exclaiming, " Gentlemen


!

you

will not de-

prive

me
?

of

the

implements of

my
to

trade
his

"

She could not help respecting


!

impudence

The Greeks ought

be respected for developing every


faculty into deity.
stealing,

human
of

She thought lying,

and so forth only excesses

MARGARET AND HER

FRIENDS.

103

a good faculty; and so did the Greeks,


for

in

their

mistaken way

they had

deified Mercury.

The Spartans taught


and the Greeks

their children to steal,

universally acknowledged that to cheat

was honorable
I

if

it

could be concealed.
the

remembered

passage in

the
con-

u Republic "
fesses that

where

Polemarchus

he had learned from

Homer
for his

to

admire Autolycus, grand sire of Ulysdistinguished above


all

ses,

men

thefts

and oaths

Thrasymachus

said

that the unjust were both prudent and

good,

if

they were able to commit injus!

tice to perfection

Is

the immortality of
?

Autolycus the destiny of Williamson

Wheeler
well

said there certainly

was a

authenticated

marriage

between

Venus and Mercury.


I could

not help thinking

it

might be

an astral connection that was indicated.

On

that

remarkable day of his birth,

104

MARGARET AND HER

FRIENDS.
stealing

Mercury was not content with


the divining-rod
also the

from Apollo

he took

cestus from Venus, the voice

from Neptune, the sword from Mars,


the will from Zeus, and his tools from

Vulcan

Sagacity

compassed
its

all

the

deeps of divinity to reach

end.

Ida

Russell

asked

if

Venus and
belonged to

Astarte were not the same.

Margaret
the stars.

said

Astarte

Did not Venus,


course

wonder?

But

of

they are creations far asunder

as the poles.

Charles Wheeler thought Astarte


and Venus Urania were the same.

Ida
statues

said that could not be.

The

first

of Astarte

were rough

blocks

of wood, with veiled heads.

So, I said,

were

all

first

statues of

Deities; so that

was no argument.
asked Margaret

When James Clarke

MARGARET AND HER


to

FRIENDS.

105

compare Venus with the Madonna, a

curious talk arose between Alcott, Margaret, Charles Wheeler,

and Emerson.
Christ
of a

Alcott wanted
was not
as

to

know why

much an impersonation

human
Deities

faculty as either of the

Greek

Margaret
thought.

said

Jesus

was

not

He was

born on the earth, and

lived out a thought.

He was no
to

abstrac-

tion to her, but a brother.

Alcott wanted

know whether
arise

purer mythology, suited to the wants of

coming time, might not

from the
Greeks,

mixed mythology
and Christians

of

Persians,

very confusing and tiresome talk

arose thereupon, which Charles

Wheeler

smiled

at,

but did not join

in,

and which

profited nobody.

CAROLINE WELLS HEALEY.


April
3,

1841.

VI.

CUPID AND PSYCHE.


April
9,

1841.

Margaret thought
impertinent to

it

would be very

begin by telling what

everybody

knew,

the

old

story

of

Cupid and Psyche.


E. P. P. declared that Margaret never
told
it

twice alike, and at last she yielded


:

and

said

The

beautiful

young

princess Psyche
to

was envied by Venus, who sent Eros


destroy her

but the God, finding Psyche

wholly lovely, wedded her.

They

lived

happily until Psyche began to doubt.

Eros had told her that she must not


seek to

know him

but curiosity prein looking at

vailed over faith,

and

him

MARGARET AND HER


as

FRIENDS.

107

he slept she wounded and waked him.


left

He

her in dismay

and

as a punish-

ment the
of mortals

three trials which are the lot

were awarded

to her.

She

must

sort grain, she

must bring three

drops from the river Styx, and must get


the box of beauty from Proserpine.
birds

The

helped her with the grain; but


she reached the banks of the Styx
fulfil

when

and stooped to

the second task, she

found the water too dark, too cold, and


the eagle

came

to her aid.
trial

At the

pros;

pect of the third

her soul sank


it;

she

refused to undertake

but, winning
self-

from one of the Gods the secret of


dependence, she set
off

for

Tartarus,

gave the usual sop to Cerberus, and


returned with her prize.
" possessed "
treasures

But she was


idea
that

with

the

the

the box contained might re-

store to her her husband's love,

and she

opened

the

box

as

she

came.

The

108

MARGARET AND HER


vapors which

FRIENDS.

noxious

issued

from

it

deprived her of consciousness, and she


fell.

Eros,

as soon as

who had flown to seek her his wound was healed, brought
Immortality which he had

her the

gift of

begged of

Jupiter.

Elisabeth

Hoar

asked
sisters,

what
whose

had
inter-

become of Psyche's

ference was a striking point in the story.

Margaret
us.

said she

knew nothing
of the story

of

them, and wished Miss Hoar would

tell

Her own knowledge


and
his frescos

was

gained entirely from Raphael's original


studies,

on the walls of a

Roman

palace.

Elisabeth

Hoar

recapitulated.

The

parents of Psyche were ordered by the

angry Venus to expose her upon a high


mountain,

when Zephyr carried her to the embraces of Love, who dwelt in the depths of a quiet valley hard by. Her
came
to bewail her

sisters

death, and

MARGARET AND HER


Psyche begged Love to

FRIENDS.

109

let

Zephyr bring
For
it

them

to rejoice in her happiness.

some time he refused,


was not
for

telling her that

her good, and that she could


This our foollast

be happy without them.


ish

Psyche would not believe, and at

they were permitted to come, only she

must not

tell

them the

little

she

knew

about her husband.

The

first

time Psyche had sent them with


gifts.

away loaded

They had

questioned her about her husband, and

Psyche replied that he was only a lovely


child.

The year went round, and again


sisters'

the lovely bride longed for her


presence.

Again the God entreated her


they

to be patient, assuring her that if

came

it

would only be

to

make her

miserable.

Psyche could not be quieted.

Again they came, again they questioned.


She forgot the story she had previously
told,

and replied that he was an old man,

110

MARGARET AND HER

FRIENDS.

bent with years, but very kind to her.

Then the envious women saw that Psyche


was herself ignorant
of his true nature.

They
meant

told her that


to

he was a dragon, and

devour her; that they had them-

selves seen

the

fields.

him as he passed through They begged her to take a


kill

knife

and lamp and

him

as

he

slept.

The frightened Psyche consented.

The God was sleeping


at her side,

in radiant

beauty

and as she gazed upon him

she drew an arrow from his quiver and


carelessly scratched her finger.

Impas-

sioned

by the wound, she bent over him,


of scalding oil fell

and a drop
lamp.

from her
the

Angry and
irritated

confused,

God

awoke, and,

by the
to

pain, flew

away.

Psyche clung

him; but she

could not support herself, and he was too

angry to hold

her.

She

fell

to

the

ground, and he, perched upon a neighboring tree, reproached her.

MARGARET AND HER FRIENDS.


Margaret
she
did not

Ill

know

this,

but said
tried

remembered
herself.

that

Psyche

to

drown

Elisabeth
despaired,
river
;

said that

was

later.

She

and threw herself into the

but the river pitied her, and bore

her to the shore.


of

Venus, growing

tired

her guest, sent Mercury to advertise

her.

Psyche yielded to the terms of the

Goddess, rendered herself up, and was

busy sorting the

gifts in the

temple of
to berate

Beauty when Custom was sent


her.

This, I suppose,

is

a condensation of

the lovely allegory of Apuleius in the

second century of our era, but


to

it

seems

me

Elisabeth

made some
that

additions.

Margaret
to

said

everybody had
sisters.

contend with the meddlesome


at the

They were
story,

bottom of every
to

fairy

from that of Psyche

Beauty

and the Beast.

112

MARGARET AND HER


said
it

FRIENDS.

Elisabeth Hoar
with the
Psyche.

was always
it

young
It

soul

as

was with

could give no account of

the love which


So,
I said,

made

it

so happy.

every

human
if

heart shrivels
is

under a curious touch.


that

Love

angry

we wound him, and


it is

he ever does

return

with Immortality in his hand.

When

custom berates, God accepts.


if

James Clarke asked

there was not a

celebrated statue of Cupid and Psyche.

Margaret had only heard


one older.

of Canova's,

but James said he was sure there was

William Story asked


Ida Russell
Psyche
Yes,
tions
to look.

if it

were older

than Apuleius, but James did not know.


said
it

was wrong

for

Margaret

said,
;

but her temptaif

were strong

and

they had not

come through her

sisters,

they must have

come through her own

soul.

Everything

MARGARET AND HER FRIENDS.


was
produced

113
This

by

antagonism.

morning she had taken

up

Kreitzer,

meaning

to

open the Greek volume, but


In that Mythology
all-

took up the Indian.

which William Story called deep and


embracing
there

were the antagonist

principles of Vishnu, or unclouded inno-

cence, and Brahm,

who could only become


all

pure by wading through

wickedness.
sin,

There seemed

to

be a need of
for

to

work out salvation

human

beings.

Emerson

said

faith should
It

work out

that salvation.

was man's privilege


triumphantly

to resist the evil, to strive to recognise it

never
of.

Good was

al-

ways present
not to look!

to the soul,

was
It

all

the

true soul took note

was a duty

Margaret thought
sin to despair.

it

the climax of
evil to

She believed

be

a good in the grand scheme of things.

She would not recognize

it

as a blunder.

114

MARGARET AND HER FRIENDS.


its

She must consider

scope a noble one.

In one word, she would not accept the world

for she felt within herself


it

the

power
evil

to reject

did

she not believe

working

in it for good!

Man had
his
fall.

gained more

than he

lost

by

The

ninety-nine sheep

in

the parable

were of less value than the " lost found,"


over which there was joy in heaven.
E. P. P. spoke of the Tree of

Life,

which would have made immortal those

who

ate of the Tree of

Knowledge.

Caroline Sturgis

said that this pro-

bation was what she could not compre-

hend.

"We began at the circumference,

and

if

we

fulfilled

our destiny must end


centre.
!

by being near the


better to have

How much

begun there

Why could
say
of that

not

God have made it so ? William Story began to God must seek the best good
creatures
;

all his

but Caroline interrupted him

MARGARET AND HER FRIENDS.


by saying that there was
good
ference.

115

certainly

more

at the centre than at the circum-

William White thought


better,

all this

good,

and best very puzzling.


Caroline
if

Margaret asked
had herself defined

she could

not see probation to be a good, as she


it?
?

Are we better then, than God


Caroline.

asked

Not

better, replied

Margaret,

for

we

cannot compare

dissimilar things.
if

William White asked

any one could

be more than good, more than pure.

William Story
its

said

perfection had

degrees

White
after

said,

How
man

can you progress


?

you have reached your goal


if

As
Is

any
I.

live

ever did reach his

goal! said

there any progress for

God

re-

torted he.

116

MARGARET AND HER

FRIENDS.

Not any,

for that is a contradiction in


;

terms, I said
it

but surely you conceive of

for souls in

heaven
said

Margaret

something about the

Gospel injunction to be perfect even as

our Father in Heaven


not " even as "

is

perfect.

Does

mean "

after the pattern

of"?

Does

it

involve the nature,

as

well as the degree?

Emerson interrupted
are not finite."

quickly,

"We

Everybody smiled
swer to
this
is

but the best anin the fact, that

found

we never
and at

conceive of ourselves as infinite

rest,

only

as reaching after the

Infinite in our motion.

White
evil

said to Caroline Sturgis, " If

brings
?

knowledge
"

of

good,

is

it

not a gain

William Story
evil

talked nobly, some:

thing to this effect

That good and


If

were related terms.

both did

MARGARET AND HER FRIENDS.

117

not exist, neither could, antagonism be-

ing the spring of most things in the


universe.

Margaret went back


said that in Raphael's

to

Cupid, and
studies

original

Cupid was always a boy.


a youth, almost a man.

in his frescos,
of

She spoke

the difference of

expression which he
his

gave

to

his

Venus and

Psyche,

especially in the eye.

That of Psyche

was deep and thoughtful.


tion

The
the

distinc-

extended to their attendant Cupids,


in

and was most marked

Psyche

when

she takes the cup of Immortality

from her husband.

Margaret

wanted

to

pass

on

to

Diana, but there were too

many

clergy-

men

in

the company.

Everybody was
at hand,

interested in

somebody nearer

and views

of the

unchanging Providence

were next presented.

Margaret

said

God was

the

back-

118

MARGARET AND HER


all

FRIENDS.
creation was

ground against which


thrown.

William
not
think
?

Story asked

if

she

did

He was

greater

than his

creatures

"Always beyond/' was Margaret's


reply.

Creation,

Story

said,

was rather the


must
act.
bless,

exponent

of

a Love which

than of an activity which must

It

was a Paternal power that


autocratic

ruled,

not an

power which fathered

us.

Margaret

said that the story of

Cupid

and Psyche was the story of redemption.


It contained the seeds of the doctrine of

election,

saving by grace, and


said,

so

on

good many queer things were


this.

said

on various points touched by

Emerson

that

to

imagine
fall.

it

possible to fall

was

to hegin to
little

E. P. P. got into a
to

maze trying

introduce

Margaret

and

W.

E.

! !

MARGARET AND HER FRIENDS.


to each other,

119

consummation which,
be wished,
will

however

devoutly to

never happen

James Clarke
just

told her that she

was
said,

where

Paul was

when

he

"

What then ? Shall I sin, may the more abound?"


Emerson
said the

that Grace

woodlands could

tell

us most about Diana, about


contrived to say very
little.

whom we
The
omis-

sion of orgies in her worship

was dwelt

upon.

Her pure and sacred character


of

with the Athenians was compared to


that

the

Diana

of

Ephesus, whose

orgies

were not unusual, and who was

considered as a bountiful mother rather

than as a virgin huntress.

Ida Russell said that her Mythology


accused Diana of being the mother of
fifty

sons and fifty daughters


said that cer-

Margaret laughed, and


tainly

was Diana of Ephesus

120

MARGARET AND HER

FRIENDS.

The maddening
fable
fact.

influence of moonlight
as if
it

was commented upon,


;

were a
it

but William Story said

was a

In tropical regions very sad con-

sequences resulted from long gazing on


the moonlight or sleeping in
it.

In one

town

he

had known sixteen persons


this

bewildered in

way.
said

William White
book
the
of Nichols
it

that in a late

was contended that


light of her

moon had some


eclipse,
is

own,

because she shows a brazen color even

under
earth

when

the dark side of the

toward her.

But why may she

not gather stellar light from the whole


universe, as the earth seems to
?

Sallie Gardiner said something to


William
Story in a
said

low

voice.

He

laughed, and

he had been think-

ing of the consequences of his theory.

Margaret asked what he was


about.

talking

MARGARET AND HER FRIENDS.


Story
said
it

121
of

was an application
the sun

eclipses to his theory that love

was the
is
it

motive to creation.

If

bene-

ficent truth shorn of its beams,

would

be like the moon, no better than brass

Caroline

Sturgis

asked

why

the

Mahomedans bore

the crescent.
said because of

William White

some

change in the moon which occurred at


the time of the Hegira.

William Story
shippers at

said

that

the

wor-

Mecca

carried the crescent

before Mahomet's time.

There

is

a cres-

cent on the black stone.

Both

stories

may

be true.

There

is

certainly a crescent on the old Byzantine coin, or besant.

Ida Russell said

something about

Diana being wedded.


This reminded E. P. P. of Minerva's
marriage, discussed last week.
that Charles

She

said

Wheeler had seen the gem

122

MARGARET AND HER

FRIENDS.

of which she then spoke, and that Nep-

tune was the favored

suitor.

William Story said the Greeks could not wed Neptune to Diana, for the tides
were too low
in the Mediterranean!
C.

W. HEALEY.

April 10, 1841.

VII.

PLUTO AND TARTARUS.


April 15, 1841.

Margaret

said

very

little

about Pluto.

On

the

first

evening she had called him

the depth of things, and

James Clarke
upon the

now had

a good deal to say

three ideas which she thought pervaded the Greek mythology,

the source,

the

depth, and the extent or flow of thought.

He

said that this distinction

had struck
first

him very
mentioned

forcibly
it.

when Margaret
speak of widely

We

dif-

fused thought, of aspiring and profound

thought
feeling,

of sympathetic, exalted, or deep


this

and
It

seemed

to

exhaust
of

language.

was through the depths

124

MARGARET AND HER

FRIENDS.
to

feeling

and experience that we came

the profound of thought.


E. P. P. said, " There
is

no genius

in

happiness."

Not

very

intelligible

statement.

Margaret

said,

"There

is

nothing

worth knowing that has not some penalty attached to


it.

We

pay

it

the more
wise.

willingly in proportion as

we grow

Depth, altitude,
births of

diffusion, are the three


It
is

Time.

this

which makes

the

German cover
at the

the operations of the


veil.

miner with a mystic


laugh
think."

Bostonians

Germans because

they

Wheeler
Irish phrase,

liked

what Mr. Clarke

said,

and added that there was meaning in the


" Lower me up."
said that
all

Margaret
fort,

the

punishef-

ments of Tartarus expressed baffled

the penalty least endurable to the

active Greek.

MARGARET AND HER FRIENDS.


Mr. Mack thought
it

125

singular that in

every nation where the belief in Tartarus

had prevailed, an exact

locality
it.

had

al-

ways been assigned

to

William White

said that, so long as


locality of

anybody could point out the


the garden of Eden,

we had no need

to

smile at the locality of a Tartarus or an

Elysium.
I

do not think these " myths " belong

to the

same

class.

Charles Wheeler quoted Champollion to the effect that the

Styx was only

a small river flowing


at

between the Temple

Thebes and a neighboring " place

of tombs."

The ferryman was named

Charon, and the Egyptian habit of judging the dead probably gave rise to the
rest of the fable.

Margaret
natural."

said,

" This

was

very

She asked Mr. Wheeler the


of certain

meaning

names.

126

MARGARET AND HER

FRIENDS.

Phlegethon, he answered, meant burning


fire
;

Acheron, anguish.
did

Why
lifeless

not somebody say that the


first

current of the Styx


to give
it

tempted
?

Homer

to the Infernals

It

is

in reality a river of Epeiros.

The Styx, Wheeler


the

said,

was a cold

unhealthy stream, like that which caused


death
of

Alexander.

It

flowed

slowly through Acadia, but was supposed


to

take

its rise

in Hades.

Lethe

is

river near the Syrtus in Africa.

It dis-

appears in the sand, but

rises

again.

Hence

its

name.
difficulty in

Mr. Wheeler had some

explaining certain inconsistencies in the


poets.

Mr. Clarke quoted the remark of


Achilles (?) concerning Elysium,

that

a day of hard labor on earth was preferable to an eternity of pleasure in Elysian


fields

MARGARET AND HER


Margaret

FRIENDS.

127

said that in Elysium, as in

Tartarus, souls waited.

These

restless

Greeks could do nothing.


cut
off

They were
their
to

from action, which was


All their punishments

delight.

seem

consist of frustrated effort,

the

conse-

quence of some presumption.

Tantalus

was ever
cause

thirsty

and ever famished beaspired


to

he

had

nectar

and

ambrosia.

Ixion,

who would have


condemned

scaled

the heavens, was

to incessant

revolution upon a wheel, which

never

paused yet never accomplished anything.

The Danaides, who murdered the


which wooed them, were doomed
a broken

love
fill

to

vessel

with

water which as

constantly escaped.

Sisyphus,

who had
end,
as con-

never labored except for a

selfish

was

to roll a stone

up

hill,
fit

which

stantly rolled down,


selfish labor.

emblem

of

all

As

for Tityrus,

who sought
the

to

violate

the

secrets

of Nature,

vulture fed always upon his entrails.

128

MARGARET AND HER

FRIENDS.

Wheeler
Margaret
morse
;

said this did not represent

frustrated effort.
said,

No

this

was

re-

but

there

was

an

admirable

instance of the former given by Goethe,


of

man who

wove

rope

from the

sedges which grew upon the banks of


Lethe, for an ass

who

continually deto be that

voured

it.

The moral seemed

the ass could just as well

have eaten
to say

them unwoven.
poor

Goethe goes on

that the Greeks only thought that the

man had

a prodigal wife, but that

the moderns would look deeper and see

more

in the fable.
all

We

weave sedges
I.

for asses to eat,

thought

Margaret seemed
would correspond
hero must
I

to think that

every

heart might have an experience which


to

Tartarus.

Every

visit it at least once.

suggested

Pluto,

Persephone,

the

MARGARET AND HER FRIENDS.


Fates,

129

the

Gorgons,

the

Furies,

and

Cerberus.

Pluto was equal to Neptune

and Jupiter.

Margaret continued Hades was not given to Pluto to mark defective char:

acter,

but simply as his kingdom.


all

His
bride

wants were

supplied.

The

Olympus refused him he was permitted


to steal

from earth while she gathered


Persephone, seed of
in
all

flowers.

things,

must dwell
legend
willing
tells

the

dark;
if

but another
she

us

that

had been
she

to

leave

her

veil,

might

have stolen away.

There was a mean"

ing in her being forbidden to eat in the


infernal regions.

Fate

said,

Do

not

touch what you

don't want."

Psyche

was forbidden
banquet
for

to partake

of the regal

Persephone
this

spread.
soul,

Seeking
every
bitter

Immortality,

like

other,

must be

content to

eat

bread.

130

MARGARET AND HER

FRIENDS.

There was then a talk about Cerberus

and the Gorgons.

Mr. Clarke

said

that

in

the

New

Testament the dog seemed


popular prejudice.

to stand for

The swine

stood for

what

could not, the

dog for what would

not, be convinced.

Yes,

Margaret

said,

the

wolf

is

misanthropic dog.

He

has

little

dignity.
for

Ida Russell said Cerberus stood


the temperaments.

Well,
she

Margaret
the

said, that

being

so,

liked

Greeks for making

no

allowance for the lymphatic.


she continued, do
as

To what, As
for

we

offer the first sop,


life ?

we

pass through

the

Gorgons, every one, she thought, would


find his

own

interpretation of them.

To

her there was no Gorgon but apathy


there
is

nothing in creation that will so

soon turn a live

man

into stone.

These

Gorgons were three women, who used

MARGARET AND HER FRIENDS.


who was
hair

131

one eye and one tooth between them,


except Medusa,
perfect.

beautiful and

Her

had provoked

the
into

envy of Minerva, and was changed


serpents.

Margaret had a copy of a

gem, which Marion Dwight had made


for her,

which showed
if

this.

E. P. P. asked

Perseus did not en-

deavor to show Medusa her own head.

Margaret
her!

said that

might well rouse

Charles Wheeler explained.


seus only used a mirror given

Per-

him by
Gorgon.
old

Minerva

to avoid looking at the

Caroline Sturgis

said that the

woman who
to her.

keeps house for Helen in

the second part of " Faust " was a Gorgon

This

dragged a

critical

analysis

of

the " Faust" forward.

Margaret

said the

Seeker represents

the Spirit of the Age.

He never

sinned

132

MARGARET AND HER

FRIENDS.

save by yielding, and yet he was emphatically saved by grace.


cult to see
It

was

diffi-

what Goethe meant

until

he

got to the Tower of the Middle Ages.

That made

all clear.

Charles Wheeler
went

said,

the

reader

would a great deal rather that Faust


to the Devil than not! of

Margaret defended Goethe's way

exhibiting character, of which Wilhelm

Meister was an instance.


to

Goethe
I

said

himself,

What

should

do with a
?

hero in such rascally society

Meister

preferred the Brahmal experience.


E. P. P. asked
if

this

moral

indiffer-

ence was well

Margaret
frightful as

replied, that

it

was

just as
If

any other Gorgon.

we

are to have a purely intellectual devel-

opment,
to

it

was well
it.

for a

man

like

Goethe

represent
evil

To choose

fairly be-

tween

and good, the

intellect

must

regard both with indifference..

MARGARET AND HER


Somebody asked how
head

FRIENDS.
the the

133

Gorgon's
^Egis
of

came
?

to

be

on

Minerva
If

Apathy
needs
it

is

the Gorgon, snrely Wis-

dom
in

Then we began
connection
sit

to talk

about Theseus

with

Tartarus.
?

Why

should he

forever on a stone

Margaret
reform

thought

he

represented

Mr. Mack

said reform checked itself

by

own fanaticism. Wheeler, in this connection, asked


its

after the

Greek notion

of accountability.

Margaret
had any.

did not think the Greeks

Wheeler
and
told

assured her to the contrary,


it.

anecdotes to prove

He

spoke of the

fatal transmission of guilt in

one family, generation after generation.

Margaret
rejected facts.

said

the

Greeks

never

134

MARGARET AND HER FRIENDS.


last

Ida Russell spoke of the

King

of

Athens, Codrus, supposed to have been

punished for the crimes of his ancestors.

Wheeler
killed

said that

when

the Greeks
felt

some ambassadors, they

so

sure that

Heaven would avenge

the sin

that they sent two citizens to expiate


it
;

but Darius, to

whom

they were sent,

refused to release the Greeks from their

impending doom.

Margaret
supposition

said

the

moment
there
it.

such a

was

started,

were

plenty of facts to sustain


is

Orestes
family.

the

purified

victim

of

his

The

old Greeks had


of

made no complete
destiny
or
their

statement

their

accountability.

E. P. P. said they had

made
C.

it

in art.

W. HEALEY.

April

16, 1841.

VIII.

MERCURY AND ORPHEUS.


April 22, 1841.

Margaret said it surprised her that young men did not seek to be Mercuries.
She
said that

one of the ugliest young

men
ries,

that she

knew had become

so en-

raptured with one of Raphael's Mercuthat he confessed to her

that
to

he

was never alone without trying


its

assume
said

attitude before the glass.

She

she could not help laughing at the image

he suggested, an ugly figure in highheeled


boots and a strait-coat in

the

act of flying, commissioned with every

grace

from Heaven to men

but she

respected the feeling, and thought every


sensitive soul

must share

it.

136

MARGARET AND HER


sent

FRIENDS.

Emerson had
a

Sophia Peabody

several fine engravings.

One
a
It

of these,
of

Correggio, represented
as

woman

Parma

a Madonna.

might give

any woman a

similar desire.

William Story, Frank Shaw, Mr.

Mack

and

his friends,
S.

Mrs. Ripley, Ida Russell,

and Mrs.
to-night.

G.

Ward were
that

all

missing

Margaret
so to
of

said

she

was sorry

she had allowed our subject to embrace

much.

The Grecian Mercury seemed


so little that she

mean
the

had not thought


connected

depth and

difficulty

with

the

Egyptian Hermes.

Among

the Greeks, Ceres, Persephone, and Juno

represent the productive faculties, Jupiter

and Apollo the

divine,

and Mercury
the

simply the

human

understanding,
thieves.
it

God

of eloquence

and of

Marianne Jackson thought

strange

that he should be at once the

God

of

persuasion and the Deity of theft!

MARGARET AND HER


Margaret
of thieving!

FRIENDS.

137

said eloquence

was a kind

Did the Greeks

so consider it? asked

Marianne.

Margaret
children
so

said,

Yes, more than any

nation in the world, and taught their


to

do

and in

fact

such
dis-

mental

recognitions

were

what
all

tinguished
peoples.

the

nation from

other

The Egyptian Hermes represented the


whole intellectual progress of man.
one made a discovery
mes, and under that
to posterity.
it

If

was signed Hertransmitted

name

Hence

the forty volumes

of

Hermetic theology, philosophy, and


Individuals were

so on.

merged

in the

God.

Hermes was always the mediator,


it

the peacemaker, and

was

in this rela-

tion that the beautiful story

was

told of

the caduceus.

Mercury has

originally

only the divining-rod which Apollo had

given

him, but, finding two

serpents

138

MARGARET AND HER FRIENDS.

fighting one day, he pacified them, and

had ever

after the

right to bear

them
she

embracing on his rod.

There was an-

other story, Margaret said, which


could not understand,

the story
of

of his

obtaining the head


Osiris.

the
the

Ibis

from

Hermes kept

first

or out-

side gates of

Heaven, a

significant fact

typically considered.
I

am

sure

there

is

something'
the

in

Heeren's

researches

about

Ibis

story, but Caroline Sturgis said, No.

William White asked


the

if

the

God gave
was given

name to the planet ? Margaret said, Yes and


;

it

because

it

stood nearest the sun.

E. P. P. said Plutarch had written some-

thing about

Hermes
said,

in his " Morals."

Margaret
did n't

Perhaps

so,

but she
read

know, as she never

could

them.

Plutarch went round and round


all

a story; presented

the corners of

it,

MARGARET AND HER FRIENDS.


told all the pretty bits of gossip
find, instead of

139

he could

penetrating to

its secret.

So she preferred

his anecdotes of

Heroes

to his Parallels or Essays.


I said, in surprise,

how much
said,

I liked

the "Morals."

"Yes," Margaret

"even Emer-

son paid the book the high compliment


of

calling

it

his

tuning-key,

when he

was about

to write."

E. P. P. said Coleridge was her own

tuning-key, and asked Margaret

if

she

had no such friendly

instigator.

Margaret

said she could

keep up no

intimacy with books.


dearly for a while
;

She loved a book


but as soon as she

began

to look out a nice

Morocco cover
to take a

for her favorite, she

was sure
it.

disgust to

it,

to

outgrow

She did not

mean
that,

that she outgrew the author, but

having received

all

from him that


her.

he could give her, he tired

That

140

MARGARET AND HER

FRIENDS.
!

had even been the case with Shakespeare


For several years he was her very
then
she
life

gave

him

up.

About two

years ago she had occasion to look into


" Hamlet," and then wished to refresh

her love, but found

it

impossible.

It

was the same with Ovid, whose luxuriant


fancy had delighted her girlhood.

She
all

took him up, and read a

little

with

her youthful glow

but

it

would not

last.

Friends must part, but


part from our books
?

why need we
by
it.

She regretted her

oddity, for she lost a great solace

She proceeded
with Mercury.

to contrast the Apollo

In Egypt,

Hermes was
the

the experimental Deity, the Brahma.

Caroline

Sturgis

asked what
of the

Hermes on

the door-posts

Athe-

nian houses meant.

Margaret thought

that

he

posed

there as a messenger, an opener of the

gates merely, and then spoke of several

MARGARET AND HER FRIENDS.


Mercuries by Raphael.
so
full

141

One she knew,


grace
that
it

of

beauty and

seemed a
all

single trumpet-tone.

Another
life

loveliness

was handing the cup of

to

Psyche.

She wondered that such

symbols as Apollo and Mercury did not


inspire all

young men with

ardor,

and

make them something better than young men usually are. William White said Apollo was too
far

beyond the average man

to

do

this

but that Mercury, graceful and vivacious,

would naturally attract the attention.

Margaret asked
easier

if

he would be an

model

to imitate,

and then repeated

her anecdote about the ugly youth

who

longed to be a Mercury.

William
have taken

said that

if

his faith

had been

strong enough, the transformation might


place.
is

Query
enough

what

meant

by strong

142

MARGARET AND HER


of
to

FRIENDS.
Egyptian

Margaret spoke
Osiris
said

the

in

his

relation

Hermes, and
him to
be

that she did

not

like

confounded with the Apollo.


in reality the

He was

Egyptian Jove.
to speak of
is

This led

me

the Orphic

Hymn

in

which Apollo

addressed as

" immortal Jove."

Margaret
very
little

said

she

had

discovered

about Orpheus.

In relation

to the five points of

Orphic theology, she


leaf

had lately read a posthumous


Goethe's Journal.

from

The existence of a
to

Daemon seemed
of his.
that
all

be a favorite idea

He

did not believe with

Emerson
souls,

things were in our

own

but that they existed in


(does anybody

the original souls,

know what

that means?)

and we must go out to seek them.


notion Goethe thought verified

This

by

his

own

experience.

Goethe's works, Mar-

garet thought, had

more variety than

MARGARET AND HER FRIENDS.


anybody's except
Shakespeare's.

143
His

powers of observation seemed to condense his genius.

William
Goethe
Byron.

White
such

wondered
tenderness

why
for

showed

Margaret
tant sense

said that in
his

every impor;

Byron was

very opposite

but Goethe hardly looked upon him as


a responsible being.

He was

rather the

instrument of a higher power.


the exponent of his period.

He was

Sophia Peabody had been making a


drawing of Crawford's Orpheus
Athenaeum.
for
It

at the

was here brought down

me

to see.

At

Sophia's

request,

Margaret

re-

peated a
it.

sonnet she had


it

written on

She recited

wretchedly, but the

sonnet was pleasant.


I

spoke of Bode's Essay on the Orphic

Poetry, and sympathized in his view of

144

MARGARET AND HER FRIENDS.


Hymns.

the spuriousness of the

They

might have been signed Orpheus, however, as other things

were signed Hermes,

simply because they were exponents of

Orphic thought.

Margaret
thought.

dilated

on

this

Orphic

I quoted Proclus in his

Commentary

on Plato's " Republic " as follows:


"

of the

Mars perpetually discerns and nourishes,

and constantly excites the contrarieties


Universe, that the world

may
;

exist

perfect

and entire

in all its

parts

but requires the

assistance of Venus, that he

may

bring order
dis-

and harmony into things contrary and


cordant.

"Vulcan adorns by
universe, which he
fills

his art

the

sensible

with certain natural


he

impulses, powers,
requires the

and proportions; but


of

assistance

Yenus, that he

may

invest material effects with beauty, and

by this means secure the comeliness of the


world.

Yenus

is

the source of
in the

all

the har-

mony and analogy

Universe, and of

MARGARET AND HER FRIENDS. 145


the

union of form with matter, connecting


of

and comprehending the powers


ments.

the ele-

Although

this

Goddess ranks among

the supermundane divinities, yet her principal

employment

consists in beautifully illumi-

nating the order, harmony, and


of all

communion

mundane concerns."

Margaret if this was not something like her own thought, this
I

asked

Venus, for example, was

it

not better

than that we got from Greek art?

She

said

it

was the primal

idea,

but
to

she did not attach

much importance

chronology.

Philosophy must decide the

age of a thought.
I

gave her as good an abstract of

Bode's theory as I could.

William White took


of
its

the drawing of

Orpheus from me, and, while speaking


beauty, said
to
it

always made him

angry
the

think of the deterioration of


figure.

human

He
10

thought

it

ought

146
to

MARGARET AND HER

FRIENDS.
his
his

have been prevented, and that

ancestors
rights.

had

deprived

him

of

Upon
a
lively

this,

Margaret
said the

entered into

disquisition

upon
best

masculine

beauty.
of
it

She

specimens

she had ever seen were a South-

ern oddity named Hutchinson and some

Cambridge
Virginia.

students

who came from


through

We
was
to

lost a finer talk to-night

the inclemency of the weather.

Wheeler
of
so,

have come with a great stock

information.

Had he done

need

not have quoted Bode or Proclus.

CAROLINE W. HEALEY.
April 23, 1841.

IX.

HERMES AND ORPHEUS.


April 29, 1841.

We

did not have a very bright talk.

There were few present, and we had only


the subject of last week.
did not speak at length.

Margaret Wheeler had


prescribed

been

ill,

and

his

physician

light diet of both

body and mind.


of

Somebody spoke
the courts of

Mercury sweeping
sug-

the Gods, but that

gested nothing to Margaret.

Sarah Shaw had


cury on
it,

a pin, with a Mer-

represented as holding the

head of a goat.

Margaret had never


that

seen anything

would explain

it,
it.

and there was

some dispute about

148

MARGARET AND HER

FRIENDS.

E. P. P. said that, according to the

Orphic
of

Hymn, Mercury sought


fruit

the love
goat.

Dryope under the form of a


of

Pan was the


this

that

amour.

In

form

also he

wooed Diana.
little,

We wandered
to

from our subject a

hear Mr.

Mack

talk about the Gorgons.

He
of

thought they stood for the three sides

human

nature.

Medusa, the chief

care-taker, the body,

was the only one

not immortal, and the only one beautiful.

Stheno and Euryale, wide-extended force

and wide-extended
spirit

scope,

represented
immortal.

and

intellect, essentially

The changing of Medusa's


sented the
It

curls (or ele-

ments of strength) into serpents reprefall.

was not the Gorgons


tooth be-

who had but one eye and one


tween them, but three

sister guardians,

whom

Perseus was compelled to destroy

before he could reach Medusa.

Mr. Mack did not

tell

us

why human

MARGARET AND HER

FRIENDS.

149

nature so divided had a certain petrify-

ing power
E. P. P. thought the intellect, not the

body, was the care-taker.

Mr.

Mack

tried

in vain to explain, owing, I think, to his

German misconception

of words.

Cer-

tainly the five senses are the providers,

which was what he must have meant.

Margaret
there

liked his theory, because


in
it

was a place

for sin

She

disliked failure.

Perhaps

we
it,

all
!

had per-

ceived her attachment to evil


she wished

Not that
it

men

to fall into

but

must

be accepted as one means of

final good.

The only
Neither

copies

of

Bode belong

to

Edward Everett and Theodore Parker.


is

at this

moment
on

to

be had.
of

The

talk

turned

the age

the

Orphic idea.

The Orphic Hymns, Wheeler


were merely hymns
Orphic mysteries.

said,

of initiation into the

They were

altered

by

every successive priesthood, and finally

150

MARGARET AND HER FRIENDS.


Platonists.

by the Christian

Those now

remaining were undoubtedly their work.

Perhaps the ancient formulas were


hidden in them.
ful story of

still

We know
If
all

the beauti-

Orpheus.

he indeed rep-

resents

many, yet
is

that has been said

of

him

also true of one.

Mr. Mack
represented
killed

declared

that

Eurydice

the

true faith!

She was

by an envenomed serpent, which


possibly

might

stand for

an enraged

priesthood
I got a little impatient here,
I did

and

said
;

not care to

but the

know about the Hymns Orphic idea, which made Scaliger

speak of the
Satan,"

Hymns as how old was


so.

the " Liturgy of


that
?

Margaret
called

could not guess

why he
since

them

Charles Wheeler

said

that,

they made a heathen worship attractive,

perhaps he fancied them a device of the


Evil

One

MARGARET AND HER FRIENDS.


Too great a compliment
thought.

151

to Scaliger, I

Margaret had no objection


as

to

Orpheus

crowning an age

she liked that mul-

titudes should produce one.

Charles Wheeler
had spoken
of

said that Carlyle

Orpheus

as standing in

such a relation to the Greeks as Odin


bore to the Scandinavians.

Margaret
see with

said at this point (I don't

what pertinency) that Carlyle


her by making so

displeased

much

of

mere men.

James Clarke quoted Milton, speaking of himself

among

the

revellers of

the Stuart Court, as like Orpheus the Bacchanals.


I said that

among
in the

Bode placed Homer

tenth century before Christ, and Orpheus


in the age just preceding, say the thir-

teenth century before.

Mr.

Mack

thought

all

that

mere

conjecture.

152
I

MARGARET AND HER


told

FRIENDS.

him
to

it

made

a good deal of
the

difference

me whether

Orphic

Mythology came before Homer.

or after that of

Had man grown

out of the
?

noble and into the base idea

our knowledge only

memory ?
till

Was all Had the


the
Pla-

Orphic fancies no beauty


tonic Christians shaped

them
to

Margaret responded
that she
did

what

I said,

not like a mind always

looking back.
E. P. P. said there was a great deal of
consolation in
ecy.
it.

Memory was
like

proph-

She

did n't

such

mind,
it

but since she happened to have

she

wanted support

for

it.

Mr. Mack
support.

said all history offered such

Charles Wheeler
believe
it,

did n't

like

to

but

felt that

he must.

He

spoke of the Golden Age.

Margaret

said

every nation looked

MARGARET AND HER FRIENDS.


back to
this
;

153

but, after

all, it

was only

the ideal.

The

past was a curtain on

which they embroidered their pictures


of the present.

William White

said that

all

great

men

looked to the appreciation of the

future.

We

are too near to the present.

Margaret

agreed.
all

E. P. P. said,

the science of Europe


the
old

could not offer anything like

Egyptian

lore.

Margaret

said

the moderns needed

the assistance of a despotic government.

Charles Wheeler spoke


uments
in Central

of the

monmind,

America; but before


in
his

he could utter what was

Margaret
ficed to

interrupted, saying that all

the greatness of the Mexicans only suf-

show
in

their littleness.

We

might

have

lost

grandeur and piety, but


in a

we had gained
ways.

thousand tag-rag

154

MARGARET AND HER

FRIENDS.
me, "Write
it.

Mrs. Farrar whispered


that

to

down

" and I have done

Charles Wheeler
plete

said that late dis-

coveries proved that there was a com-

knowledge

of

electricity

among

the ancients.

There were lightning-rods

on the temple at Jerusalem, and they


are described

by Josephus, who however


the " tag-

does not

know what they are. Margaret and I clung to

rag " gain.

Charles Wheeler agreed with me


thinking the Orphic
origin.

in

Hymns

of very late

Margaret

could not see the use of

creating a race of giants to prepare the


earth for pygmies
!

If

these must exist,


?

why

not in some other sphere

She

referred to the beautiful Persian fable.

The first was God,

of course

since

man

may

always revert to Him, what matter

about the giants?

MARGARET AND HER FRIENDS.


I said that primitive

155

ages were sup-

posed to be innocent rather than great.

Margaret
to

said the Persian fable bore

the same point as the Vishnu


It

and

Brahma.
duced
all

was antagonism that pro-

things.

The universe

at first
"
;

was one Conscious Being,


word, no darkness, no
scious
it

"I

am

no

light.

This Conitself,

Being needed

to

know

and

passed into darkness and light and a

third being,

two.

This

the Mediator between the Trinity produced


ideals,
;

men, animals, things


of

and after a period


years
all

twelve

thousand

return

again into the

One, who has gained


a multiplied

by the phenomena only


consciousness.

Were they merged? " asked Charles Wheeler. Margaret said, " No once created,
"
!

they could not lose identity."


c.

w. healey.

April 30, 1841.

X.

BACCHUS AND THE DEMIGODS.


May
6,

1841.

Few
were
does

present.
dull.

Our
For
me,

last talk,

and we
Bacchus

all

my
last

part,
I

not inspire
it

and

was sad
that
I

because

was the

time

should see Margaret.

She does not love

me

I could not venture to follow her

into her
!

much Her face is full Young as I am,


at her.

own home, and I love her so Her life hangs on a thread.


of

the marks of pain.

I feel old

when

I look

Margaret spoke

of

Hercules as rep-

resenting the course of the solar year.

The three apples were the three seasons


of four

months each

into

which

the

MARGARET AND HER FRIENDS.


ancients divided
it.

157

The twelve

labors

were the twelve signs


E. P. P. accepted this, and spoke of

Bryant's book, which Margaret did not


like.

Margaret
fact to

said

Bryant forced every


in a case.
falsified

be a point

Bending
it.

each to his theory, he

She

wished English people would be content,


like the wiser
fied facts
act.

Germans, to amass

classi-

on which original minds could

She liked to see the Germans so


to

content
pile

throw their
to

gifts

upon the
though

to

go down

posterity,

the pile might carry no record of the


collectors.

She spoke of Kreitzer, whose

book she was now reading, who coolly


told
his

readers

that

he should not

classify a

second edition afresh, for his

French

translator
if

had

done

it

well
satis-

enough, and
fied

readers were not

with his

own work, they must have

158

MARGARET AND HER


to

FRIENDS.
This she

recourse

the

translation.
it

thought was as

ought
said
it

to be.

James Clarke

always vexed
speak of

him

to hear ignorant people


if

Hercules as

he were a God, and of


if

Apollo and Jupiter as

they might at

some time have been men.

Margaret

said,

Yes, the distinction

between Gods and Demigods was that


the former were the creations of pure
spontaneity, and the latter actually existent

personages, about whose


all

heroic

characters and lives


clustered.
J.

congenial stories

F.

C.
;

did not like the statues of

Hercules
his taste.

the

brawny

figure

was not

to

Margaret thought
said

it

majestic.

She

he belonged properly to Thessaly,


its

and was identified with


told

scenery.

She
him.
of

several
of

little

stories

about

That

his sailing

round the rock

MARGARET AND HER

FRIENDS.

159

Prometheus, in a golden cup borrowed


of Jupiter,

was the

least

known.

She

told the story

from Ovid, the glowing

account of his death, of the recognition

by

delighted
"

Jove.
in

She said
Greece "

Wordsher

worth's

Tour

gave

great materials for thought.

Then she turned To show


Bacchus
in

to Bacchus.

what manner she supposed

to be the answer or

complement

to Apollo, she

mentioned the statement

of

some

late critic

upon the

relation of

Ceres and Persephone to each other.

Persephone was the hidden energy,


the vestal
fire,

vivifying the

universe.
ex-

Ceres was the


ternal,

productive

faculty,

bounteous.

They
It

were

two

phases of one thing.

was the same


Apollo was
;

with Apollo and


the vivifying

Bacchus.

power of the sun


the earth, and

its

genial

glow

stirred

its

noblest

product, the grape, responded.

160

MARGARET AND HER

FRIENDS.
festi-

She spoke of the Bacchanalian

vals, of the spiritual character attributed

to

them by Euripides, showing

that ori-

ginally they were something

more than

gross orgies.

Mrs. Clarke (Ann Wilby)

said that

they licensed the wildest drunkenness


in Athens.
I

said

that

was

at

later
to

time

than

Euripides

undertook

picture.
?

Were they
Egypt?

identical

with the Orphic


bring

Did Orpheus

really

them from

Margaret would
beginning.

accept

that for a

E. P. P. thought

that

next
about

winter

we might have
Mythology.

a talk

Roman

Margaret liked the idea, and James Clarke seemed to accept it for the whole
party.

He

said that he

had never

felt

any

interest in the

Greek

stories, until

MARGARET AND HER FRIENDS.

161

Margaret bad made them the subject of


conversation.
E. P. P. said she

bad

felt

excessively

ashamed
little.

all

through that she knew so

Margaret
so.

said

no one need

to

feel

It

was a subject that might exhaust


Still,

any preparation.
would study
!

she wished

we

She had herself enjoyed

great
tions

advantages.

Nobody's explana-

had ever perplexed her brain.

She

had been placed in a garden, with a


great pile
of books

before

her.

She
read

began

to

read

Latin before

she

English.

For a time these

deities
:

were

real to her,
if

and she prayed


!

"

God

thou art Jupiter "

etc.

James Clarke
Bacchus

said

he remembered

her once telling him that she prayed to


for a

bunch

of grapes!

Margaret
she was
first

smiled, and said that


old

when
about

enough
11

to think

162

MARGARET AND HER

FRIENDS.

Christianity, she cried out for her dear

old

Greek gods.

Its spirituality

seemed

nakedness.

She could not and would


it.

not receive

It
its

was a

long while

before she saw

deeper meaning.

CAROLINE W. HEALEY.
May
7,

1841.

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