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It was the vivandière herself who was
playing the guitar, and joining merrily in
the chant in her own praise. I looked into
the little courtyard, where she and the
drum-major and the senior clarionet were
sitting at a table, with a bottle and glasses
between them. "Will monsieur give
himself the pains to be seated?" quoth the
vivandière; and she fell to twanging the
guitar more merrily than ever.


As we have allowed the Vindicator of Prose*
to advocate freely the cause of his client, it is
but fair that the apologist for Verse should
have an equal opportunity for justifying his
preference. As prose identifies itself with
history, so verse readily associates itself with
poetry. The vindicator properly concedes the
priority of the latter, and dates its origin and
existence in some pre-historic age, which was
eminently the age of poetry. Nations appear
to have passed a long poetic life, before arriving
at the condition of becoming states, or even
societies. Tradition reaches beyond the
registry of the founding of either, and intimates
that even then many changes had already
happened. Language itself gives abundant proof
of what no literature has narrated; for philology
affords plentiful evidence that the nations
of antiquity had proceeded from Asia as
a centre, and more than assumes an extensive
range of events which have had no historian
though dimly shadowed forth in Norse and
Caledonian legends, which were originally said
or sung, not written. Empires lie concealed
beneath the ground which once shone so
gloriously in the sunlight, such as that of the
solitary Nile, whose speechless dead are now
dug up and transported to all quarters of the
globe, and whose majestic habitations stimulate
the fancy to suggestions of departed greatness;
like splendid but empty tombs that serve as
cenotaphs, in remembrance of those who once
were rich and brave and fair, but whose very
ashes have long since been distributed among
surviving nations.
* See page 346, vol. i., New series

There is no reason to suppose that the records
of ante-historical or poetic periods have been
lost, or accidentally perished; they are wanting,
simply because their existence was impossible.
The requisite subjects which render
annals desirable had not yet been revealed,
though no doubt there was plenty of incident,
many revolutions, nomadic wanderings, and
the strangest mutations, which, though they
give occasion to poetry, have no historic value,
because not being yet related to law they may
boast of no distinctness as transactions, and no
clearness as objects of human consciousness.
Indian literature abounds in illustration of this,
by which we are made acquainted with a land
rich in intellectual products, and those of the
profoundest order of thought, but without any
history. Instead of this, India presents us
with ancient books relating to religion, splendid
poems, and early codes, which, under certain
conditions, might have served as the material
for history, but under those that actually
existed were never employed for any such
purpose. A German writer accounts for this
by the impulse of organisation, which, in
beginning to develop social distinctions, was in
that country immediately petrified in the
classification according to castes. The subjective,
or spiritual, element, was not yet developed,
and in its absence the laws concerning
civil rights were made dependent on exclusive
natural distinctions. They were especially
occupied with determining the relations (Wrongs
rather than Rights) of the various classes
towards each other, and especially the
privileges of the higher over the lower.

Under such conditions, imagination, to supply
a great social want, generated what we have
called poetry, which supplied in the ideal what
was absent from the actual. In this, and the
need for this, lies the required apology for the
origin of poetry, which filled a void that, while
it remained unoccupied, was doomed to waste
and desolation. Here was room for its creations,
and for the exercise of its fancies. And
now the wilderness began to blossom as the rose.
A new pleasure had been invented; also a new
pain. For Byron was correct when he wrote
that "Pain and Pleasure are two names for
one feeling." A state of consciousness was
awakened that till then had slumbered; the
instrument and agent of such awakening being
the feeling of pain. Such pain even becomes
an element of worship, for in it the sorrowful
worshipper, according to the learned dictum of
a great modern sage, realises, in a certain
antagonism, his own subjectivity; at once indulging
self-consciousness and recognising the presence
of actual existence. Two principles are blended
in one, and a unity produced in which light
and darkness, life and death, are reconciled.

It was in this way that poetry was, in the
earliest tunes, found assisting in the worship of
Adonis; the best of worship, namely, that of
grief. It is in the celebration of the death of
Adonis, we are told by the authority just
referred to, and of his resurrection, that the
concrete is made conscious. For poetry only
improves, not invents. The story of Adonis
is that of a youth who is torn from his parents
by a too early death, an accident regarded by
the ancients as exceptional. To them it bore a
miraculous sort of character, and was thus
elevated into a spiritual, even a divine event.
The death of parents is naturala debt to be
duly and unreluctantly paid. "But when a
youth," says the critical interpreter of the
myth, "is snatched away by death, the occurrence
is regarded as contrary to the proper
order of things. While affliction at the death
of parents is no just affliction, in the case of
youth death is a paradox. And this is the
deeper element in the conceptionthat in the
divinity supposed, negativity, antithesis, is