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Tristan would not have acted like Lancelot, and neither like Geraint. But Gareth has no such dramatic individuality; he is impatient to distinguish himself, light-heartedly undertakes the first adventure that offers, is courteous to the reviling Lynette, and fights bravely when he meets his enemy, just as we must suppose any other young, highspirited knight at the court would have done, according to the measure of his strength. Lynette is, to be sure, individual enough, and plenty of room is given to the display of her character, but it is not at all to her advantage or to that of the poem. The fact is, that though of “high lineage,” with brow of may-blossom, cheek of apple-blossom, and a “tip-tilted” nose, Lynette is no lady. Of none of the heroines, even the bad ones, of the previous poems can this be said. The worst of them, Ettarre, though sensual, faithless, and haughty, when not in her worst mood is a noble and stately lady. Lynette's manners are those of a pert housemaid, who can not curb her tongue even in the presence of the King, but who finds unspeakable delight in taunting an inferior. Even Ettarre, we may be sure, however she might heap scorn on her too simply constant wooer, would have thought shame to rail at a kitchen-knave who was obeying the King's command. If Gareth wedded Lynette, we wish him joy of his bargain, and pity his household.
If our criticism has been somewhat minute, it is because these poems mark an epoch in English literature, and because Mr. Tennyson has taught us to look for nothing but the most finished and artistic work from his hand. The work of an inferior craftsman we should not inspect so narrowly; but as coming from one who has given us such noble and perfect work as Elaine, The Passing of Arthur, and The Holy Grail, we must feel Gareth, notwithstanding the beautiful passages it contains, to be a disappointment.
And now, the Arthurian cycle of legend having been completed, so far as Mr. Tennyson proposes to complete it, it may not be out of place to inquire a little into its origin. If we go further back than the stories of the early romancers, we find its roots struck into the early Celtic or Druidical mythology.
The two primitive deities of this cultus bore the names of Hu and Ceridwen. Hu, the male, is the active power of nature ; Ceridwen, the female, is the fecundity of nature. Hu is the Lord of Heaven: under the name of Cadwaladr he is the orderer of battles ; under that of Uther Pendragon, he is the psychopompos, the marshal of departed spirits, Lord of the under-world. Under the name of Aeddon, Hu died yearly and was buried ; in which is plain to be seen an allegory of the winter-death of nature — the same allegory that we have in the Syrian Adonis, and the Teutonic Balder. This death and burial of Hu were represented in the Druidical mysteries. Ceridwen was the Lady of the Waters and of the Earth. Her caldron, or basin, of which much was said in the Druidical or bardic lays, was the earth, which, like a basin or caldron, contains the sea. also called Eigr (Ygerne) and Morgana, or Lady of the Sea. To this day the mirage upon the sea is called in the south of Europe Fatu Morgana, or the fairy Morgana. To the car of Ceridwen the dragon was yoked, as to that of Ceres, being the universal type of the Chthonian powers.
Now Arthur was the son of Uther Pendragon, that is of Hu, and of Ygraine, that is of Ceridwen : in other words, he is the son of Heaven and Earth. And yet there was a mystery about his birth, and his parentage was disputed. So Arthur represents Man, whose origin is a mystery, whom yet the wise know to be of heavenly origin, who, under the deities and helped by them, imposes his will upon nature, and brings the order produced by special volition, out of the order produced by general law. As the myth assumed a more concrete form, Arthur became a king whose mission was to bring order into a distracted land, root out anarchy, correct abuses, and repel invasion. He is the builder of cities, the patron of bards, and is under the especial protection of the Fairy Morgana, that is, his mother, the Lady of the Waters. He comes from the sea, and goes away over the waters to the mystic island valiey of Avillion — the Island of Apples — to be healed of his wound, or to die and rise again like his father Hu. That is, that as in nature nothing abides and yet all endures, the sun and the stars fulfil their allotted courses, the seasons pass and still return, so the work of man, however wisely wrought and beneficent, must submit to the law of change. Arthur must die, his Round Table be dissolved, his order overthrown, and his kingdom dismembered ; and yet he can not die, since order must ever grow anew from disorder, but lives and will come again, the same and yet not the same, “but thrice as fair.” The poet has given the key-note of the myth in the words of the wounded king,
“ The old order changeth, yielding place to new,
And God fulfils himself, in many ways." Indeed he does not quite know if he goes at all, since the old order still retains life in the thoughts and memories of men, ere it is newborn in the new. Possibly also — but this is mere speculation in the old mysteries there were several grades of initiation, with doctrines more and more esoteric, the more advanced epoptae of Druidism may have been taught to see, in the myth of Arthur, the doctrine of the immortality of the soul.
Christianity was early introduced into Britain, and at a time when the Church was still the subject of persecution, and its first disseminators followed a different course from that which was afterwards pursued in the conversion of the Teutonic peoples. It may have been that they found the Britons more fervent and more tenacious in their faith than were the latter. At all events, their plan seems to have been to present the new faith with as strong a resemblance to the old as possible, that the transition might not be too abrupt; and to leave as much Druidism, for the time being, as they thought safe. So while the missionaries to the Teutons taught them to look upon Freia, the goddess of love, marriage, and fruitfulness, as a demon either tempting or openly malignant, and Friday, her sacred day — hitherto held most auspicious for all undertakings, but especially for marriage - as a day of blackest ill-omen, for marriage
above all, so that to this day Friday is an unlucky day in all Teutonic countries; and the superstition has even mixed itself with the law, so that even now criminals are hanged on Friday because the early
Christian missionaries found the worship of the beauteous Freia hard to root out — the monks that labored among the Britons gave a Christian interpretation to the May-day festivities, and sanctioned the respect paid to the trefoil or shamrock (venerable to the Druids because it typified the three orders of the priesthood, and bore a pale crescent-moon on its leaves), by adopting it as a symbol of the Trinity; and to this day the orthodox Paddy wears it in his hat on the festival of his patron saint, little thinking he is observing a rite taught ages before St. Patrick was born, by the Druids in the oak-forests of Kildare, or on the holy islands of Kerry.
And thus they dealt with Arthur, the darling hero of legend and story. In their hands he became a Christian prince of servent piety, the founder of abbeys and monasteries, and the scourge of the heathen. Slowly the transformation went on, point by point. For the mystic caldron of Ceridwen, was substituted the Holy Grail, and in its honor Arthur founded a Round Table of Christian knights, twelve in number, originally, representing the twelve Apostles. This was the new shape the Bardic order bad assumed in the Christian form of the legend, but it was nove the less Ceridwen's caldron - the Earth.*
On the other hand, as Christianity grew ever stronger and stronger, there sprang up a reaction against it in the form of the later Druidism, preserved in the Bardic songs attributed to Merlin, Taliessin, and others, in which we find Christian and Druidic mysteries mingled in wild confusion, and dangerous doctrines veiled under dark and riddling sayings. Especially do they abound in predictions, carefully shrouded in ambiguous phrase and obscurest metaphor, but looking to the time when the new shall be done away with and the old return, and Arthur, their own Arthur, healed of his long wound, come in triumph back from mystic Avalon, and Guinivere, the faithless spouse, repent and be forgiven, and joined once more to her rightful lord.
Arthur, therefore, as man, can never have the concrete personality that belongs to the individual, though he is greater and nobler than any. In truth he includes them all, and the knights are but separate functions of Arthur. Their adventures have more interest than his, as personal actions, and yet the true importance is only in their relation to Arthur and his destiny. So long as their wills are subordinate to his, they prosper and win glory; when they are arrayed against their King lie falls and they fall with him, being impotent to stand alone.
Thus, notwithstanding the dissenting opinion of some thoughtful critics, we hold that the comprehensive though somewhat colorless character of Arthur is of right not only the central figure but the hero of the piece, and not any of the unsymmetrical characters that surround him — not Lancelot, who is Passion, nor Gawain, who is Worldliness, nor Percivale, who is Asceticism, nor the phantom-like Galahad, who is Mysticism, nor even Merlin, who is Wisdom. Take in proof an instance where this has been done -take the fine poem of Tristan and Ysolde, who are Youthful Love, which here is Lord of All. It is beautiful, affecting, but it is but a single phase of humanity -- one
*"But now the whole Round Table is dissolved,
Which was an image of this mighty worid."
scene in the great drama, one book of the great epos. “Love will still be Lord of All,” is, and must be, the motto of some natures; but it can not and should not be the molto of man. He must himself be Lord of All, and even Love must be his minister, as Arthur leaves Guinevere at Almesbury, and goes with a firm purpose to his last battle.
W. H. B.
Exposé d'un Systèm: de Legislation Criminelle pour l'Etat de la
Louisiane et pour les Etats Unis d'Amérique. Par Edward Livingston. Précédé d'une Préface par M. Charles Lucas, Membre de l'Institut, etc., et d'une notice historique par M. Mignet, Sécrétaire perpétuel de l'Academie des sciences, morales, et politiques. Paris : Guillamin et Cie, 1872. (From F. W. Christern,
foreign bookseller and importer, New York.) The appearance of the above edition without a corresponding reprint in this country of the Philadelphia edition of 1833, illustrates perhaps as well as aught else could alike the foreign estimation of the author as a jurisconsult and the neglect of his own countrymen. M. Lucas who, at the request of Mr. Livingston's daughter, Mrs. Barton, has written the preface to these volumes, informs us than an American edition with a preface prepared by the presiding officer of the Supreme Court of the United States would appear in the course of the past year 1872. It is to be hoped that the design has not been abandoned: it has certainly not been executed.
Although born in the State of New York, the scene of Mr. Livingston's legal and legislative labors was in the city of New Orleans and the State of Louisiana. He removed to that country in his fortieth year, immediately after its cession by France in 1863. His success at the bar was immediate, and the great powers of his mind were soon called into requisition to mould into one system, adapted to the process of trial by jury, the confused mass of Roman civil-law precepts, local French customs, and Spanish edicts which constituted the local law, and to incorporate therein some of the wisest provisions of English enactments. Messieurs Moreau Lislet and Derbigny were associated with him in this labor. Both were scholars, and one of them an eminent lawyer; yet, by common consent, the main merit of the compilation has been justly attributed to Livingston. Indeed it has been his rare good fortune to unite the suffrages of the philosophic jurist, the practical lawyer, and the law-abiding citizen. Scholars have pronounced his code the best adaptation of the principles of Roman jurisprudence* to the wants of modern society; and the inhabitants of the country for which it was framed, both French and English, hailed it at the time of its adoption as superior to the systems to which they had respectively been accustomed, and have since found little occasion to make any change in its provisions.
*Cambridge Essays, 1856, p. 17.
The system of criminal legislation which forms the subject of this notice, met — at least in this country — with a different fate. It was undertaken in 1820, in pursuance of an act of the Legislature of Louisiana, and a preliminary report was presented by Mr. Livingston to that body in 1822. Two thousand copies were printed, one-half in either language, and he was urged to prosecute the work in accordance with the plan he had submitted. The accidental destruction by fire of his manuscript in New York delayed for some years the completion of his final report, and when submitted to the Legislature it was rejected. The opposition turned mainly upon the proposed abolition of capital punishment; and M. Magureau, a gentleman of a high order of eloquence and much local reputation, whose influence secured its defeat, is said not to have been above the promptings of professional jealousy. The system for the District of Columbia and for the Federal Government, presented by him in the Senate in 1831, met with a like fate. They were collected into one work and printed in Philadelphia in 1833.
The system comprises four codes : on Crimes and Punishments; Procedure; Reform and Discipline of Prisons, and Evidence. To each of these there is an introduction or elaborate essay enforcing the author's reasons for the changes which he has proposed. These .constitute the gist of the work, and are all that the present French edition contains in full. Those which relate to the State of Louisiana were originally submitted by him in French, and are therefore given in his own words. The translation into French of that which relates to the Federal Government has been revised by M. d'Avesac de Costera Macaya, a nephew of Mr. Livingston. In this country there is as yet no place for the thinker whose thoughts fail of instant practical application ; but it is interesting to note the influence which, according to M. Lucas, this work has exercised abroad. The preliminary report of 1822 was the signal for discussion in Europe. Prizes were offered at Geneva and at Paris for the best essay on the subject of capital punishment, and Rossi, De Sismondi, Guizot, the Duke de Broglie, and the Baron de Staël took part in the discussion. The completed work has been, it is said, adopted in toto by the Republic of Guatemala, and constitutes the basis of the criminal legislation of the Empire of Brazil. Its prominent features have, with some natural modifications, entered into the composition of the penal codes of many of the nations of Europe. M. Lucas is himself so zealous an advocate of the abolition of capital punishment that one is naturally tempted to distrust his judgment upon what to others may seem the most important and practical portions of Mr. Livingston's work, especially those relating to Criminal Procedure and Criminal Evidence. From 1864 to 1870 the movement in favor of the abolition of capital punishment was very active in Europe. It obtained in the Canton of Geneva, the Principality of Roumania, the Kingdom of Portugal, in Saxony, Anhalt, Bremen, and Oldenburgh. On the formation of the North-German Confederation a penal code was proposed adopting many of the modifications which obtained in the last-named countries, but reserving the penalıy of death in certain cases. A motion was submitted to strike out the clauses providing