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306 PHYSICAL AND MENTAL MIGRATIONS.
In detail innumerable enemies had been proved his inferiors in strength and intelligence. Important migrations took place: man passes, geographically, away from the region of some of his worst enemies, inhabits countries more fruitful, less malarious, his habitat exceeding that of his animal foe in range; and, still better, he passes by mental migration out of the stone age, out of other helpless ages, to the age of metal and the skill to fashion and use it. He has made the fire-fiend his friend. No longer henceforth a naked savage, with bit of stone or bone only to meet the crushing powers of the world and win its reluctant supplies!
There is a sense far profounder than its charming play of fancy in Heine's account of the Gods in Exile,' an essay which Mr. Pater well describes as 'full of that strange blending of sentiment which is characteristic of the traditions of the Middle Age concerning the Pagan religions.'' Heine writes : ‘Let me briefly remind the reader how the gods of the older world, at the time of the definite triumph of Christianity, that is, in the third century, fell into painful embarrassments, which greatly resembled certain tragical situations of their earlier life. They now found themselves exposed to the same troublesome necessities to which they had once before been exposed during the primitive ages, in that revolutionary epoch when the Titans broke out of the custody of Orcus, and, piling Pelion on Ossa, scaled Olympus. Unfortunate gods! They had, then, to take flight ignominiously, and hide themselves among us here on earth under all sorts of disguises. Most of them betook themselves to Egypt, where for greater security they assumed the form of animals, as is generally known. Just in the same way they had to take flight again, and seek entertainment in
1 'Studies in the History of the Renaissance.' Macmillan & Co. 1873.
THE GODS IN EXILE.
remote hiding-places, when those iconoclastic zealots, the black brood of monks, broke down all the temples, and pursued the gods with fire and curses. Many of these unfortunate emigrants, entirely deprived of shelter and ambrosia, had now to take to vulgar handicrafts as a means of earning their bread. In these circumstances, many, whose sacred groves had been confiscated, let themselves out for hire as wood-cutters in Germany, and had to drink beer instead of nectar. Apollo seems to have been content to take service under graziers, and as he had once kept the cows of Admetus, so he lived now as a shepherd in Lower Austria. Here, however, having become suspected, on account of his beautiful singing, he was recognised by a learned monk as one of the old pagan gods, and handed over to the spiritual tribunal. On the rack he confessed that he was the god Apollo; and before his execution he begged that he might be suffered to play once more upon the lyre and to sing a song. And he played so touchingly, and sang with such magic, and was withal so beautiful in form and feature that all the women wept, and many of them were so deeply impressed that they shortly afterwards fell sick. And some time afterwards the people wished to drag him from the grave again, that a stake might be driven through his body, in the belief that he had been a vampire, and that the sick women would by this means recover. But they found the grave empty'
Naturally: it is hard to bury Apollo. The next time he appeared was, no doubt, as musical director in the nearest cathedral. The young singers and artists discovered by such severe lessons that it was dangerous to sing Pagan ballads too realistically ; that a cowl is capable of a high degree of decoration ; that Pan's pipe sounds well evolved into an organ; that Cupids look just as well if called Cherubs. It is odd that it should have required Robert
THE GOBAN SAOR.
Browning three centuries away to detect the real form and face beneath the vestment of the Bishop who orders his tomb at Saint Praxed's Church :
The bas-relief in bronze ye promised me,
And Moses with the tables. .... So in one direction grew the hermitage to the Vatican ; so Zeus regained his throne by exchanging his thunderbolts for Peter's keys, and Mars regained his steed as St. George, and Hercules as Christ wrestles with Death once more. But while these artificial restorations were going on in one direction, in another some of the gods were passing through many countries, outwitting and demolishing their former selves as lowered to demons. There are many legends which report this strange phase of development, one of the finest being that of The Goban Saor, told by Mr. Kennedy. The King of Munster sent for this wonderful craftsman to build him a castle. The Goban could fashion a spear with three strokes of his hammer-St. Patrick, who found the Trinity in the shamrock, may have determined the number of strokes, -and when he wished to drive in nails high up, had only to throw his hammer at them. On his way to work for the King, Goban, accompanied by his son, passed the night at the house of a farmer, whose daughtersone dark and industrious, the other fair and idle-received from him (Goban) three bits of advice: 'Always have the head of an old woman by the hob; warm yourselves with your work in the morning; and some time before I come back take the skin of a newly-killed sheep to the market, and bring itself and the price of it home again.' As Goban, with his son, journeyed
THE MASTER SMITH.
on, they found a poor man vainly trying to roof his house with three joists and mud ; and by simply making one end of each joist rest on the middle of another, the other ends being on the wall, the structure was perfect. He relieved puzzled carpenters by putting up for them the pegless and nailless bridge described in Cæsar's Commentaries. Having done various great things, Goban returns to the homestead of the girls who had received his three bits of advice. The idle one had, of course, blundered at each point, and been ridiculed in the market for her proposition to bring back the sheep's skin and its price. The other, by kindly taking in an aged female relative, by working till she was warm, and by plucking and selling the wool of the sheep's skin and bringing home the latter, had obeyed the Goban's advice, and was selected as his daughter-in-law—the prince attending the wedding. Now, as to building the castle, Goban knew that the King had employed on previous castles four architects and then slain them, so that they should never build another palace equal to his. He therefore says he has left at home a necessary implement which his wife will only give to himself or one of royal blood. The King sends his son, who is kept as hostage till the husband's safe return.
This is the Master Smith of Norse fable, who has a chair from which none can rise, and who therein binds the devil; which again is the story of Hephaistos, and the chair in which he entrapped Hera until she revealed the secret of his birth. The 'devil' whom the Master Smith entraps is, in Norse mythology, simply Loki: and as Loki is a degraded Hephaistos, fire in its demonic forms, we have in all these legends the fire-fiend fought with fire.
This re-dualisation of the gods into demonic and saintly forms had a long preparation. The forces that brought it about may be seen already beginning in Hesiod's repre310
GREEK CARICATURE OF THE GODS.
sentations of the gods, in their presentation on the stage by Euripides, in a manner certain to demonise them to the vulgar, and to subject them to such laughter among scholars as still rings across the ages in the divine dialogues of Lucian. What the gods had become to the Lucians before they reached the Heines may be gathered from the accompanying caricature (Fig. 21). Nothing can be more curious than the encounters of the gods with their dead selves, their Manes. What unconscious ingenuity in the combinations! St. Martin on his grey steed divides with the beggar the cloud-cloak of Wodan on his black horse, treading down just such paupers in his wild hunt; as saint he now shelters those whom as storm-demon he chilled; but the identity of Junker Martin is preserved in both titles and myths, and the Martinhorns (cakes), twisted after fashion of the horns of goat or buck pursued by Wodan, are deemed potent like horse-shoes to defend house or stable from the outlawed god. 2
1 Concerning which Mr. Wright says: “It is taken from an oxybaphon which was brought from the Continent to England, where it passed into the collection of Mr. William Hope. . . . The Hyperborean Apollo himself appears as a quack-doctor, on his temporary stage, covered by a sort of roof, and approached by wooden steps. On the stage lies Apollo's luggage, consisting of a bag, a bow, and his Scythian cap. Chiron (XIPSN) is represented as labouring under the effects of age and blindness, and supporting himself by the aid of a crooked staff, as he repairs to the Delphian quack-doctor for relief. The figure of the centaur is made to ascend by the aid of a companion, both being furnished with the masks and other attributes of the comic performers. Above are the mountains, and on them the nymphs of Parnassus (NTMØAI), who, like all the other actors in the scene, are disguised with masks, and those of a very gross character. . . . Even a pun is employed to heighten the drollery of the scene, for instead of ITOIAE, the Pythian, placed over the head of the burlesque Apollo, it seems evident that the artist had written IIEIDIAE, the consoler.'_ History of Caricature,' p. 18. But who is the leaf-crowned figure, without mask, on the right hand? Was it some early Offenbach, who founá such representation of the gods welcome at Athens where the attempt to produce our modern Offenbach's Belle Helène recently caused a theatrical riot?
2 Wuttke. • Volksaberglaube,' 18.