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On History

Jules Michelet

Notes and Clarifications

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1Introduction... and not summary outline. An outline must present all the major points of its subject. An introduction promises only a method, a thread to guide the reader who wishes to study the subject. It is at liberty to make no mention of many things that would have to find a place in even a simple outline.

2Page 25. Spirit against matter... this endless struggle. I heartily congratulate the new apostles who bring us the good news that peace is imminent. But I fear that a treaty will lead to nothing more than to making the spirit material. The industrial pantheism that thinks it is the beginning of a new religion overlooks two things: first, that a religion in any way viable is always the result of a burst of moral liberty, if it is not to end in pantheism, which is the graveyard of religion, and, second, that the last people on earth among whom the human personality will consent to vanish into pantheism is France. Pantheism is in its element in Germany, but here…

3Page 25. Of liberty against fatality. I use “fatality” in its popular sense and mean by this term everything that impedes liberty. How can these two coexist? That question should be put to philosophy, which perhaps would then admit its incapacity on this point more forthrightly.

4Page 25. Infiltrating philosophy and history. This reproach cannot be addressed to M. Guizot. He has respected moral liberty more than any other historian of our time; he has not enslaved history to the fatalism of race or to the fatalism of ideas. So capacious an intellect automatically rejects any exclusive solution. We may confidently expect that the major work M. Villemain is preparing (Vie de Grégoire VII) will be no less removed from any teaching that tends to petrify history. A great writer is incapable of misrepresenting and distorting life to make it fit, willy-nilly, into formulas.

5Page 26. According to M. Ampère, these magnetic currents explain the temperature of the surface of the earth better than any other hypothesis; they generally run from east to west.

6Page 26. Powerful aromatics. See Chardini (vol. IV, p. 43, ed. Langlès, 1811), for the prodigal use of perfume in India. At the wedding of a princess of Golconde in 1679, two or three bottles were poured on each guest.

7Page 26. Multiplied in excess. Laknot, ancient capital of Bengal, counted 1,200,000 families in 1538, according to Ayeen-Akbery.ii

8Page 26. A herd of wild elephants storms… See the play Sakontala.iii

9Page 26. A thousand bubbling springs. A vizir of Korasan in Bactriana discovered in the registers of the province that there had once been 42,000 kerises or underground canals. Fecund and homicidal heat. “In a morning dream I saw the angel of death fleeing barefoot and at top speed away from the city of Raga. I said to him: ‘And even you take flight!’” For this citation of a Persian poet, and for all the details that follow here, see Chardin, vol. II, p. 413; vol. III, p. 405; vol. IV, pp. 57, 58, 125, 127. See also the magnificent work by Porter (Ker Porter’s Travels, 2 vols., 1818), which alone is authoritative with respect to art.

10Page 27. By killing himself before the very eyes ... Asiatic Researches, III, 344; V, 268.

11Page 27. Within fatality. J. Goerres, introduction to Das Heldenbuch von Iran aus dem Shah Nameh des Firdussi, 1820.

12Page 27. The gift of the Nile. Ὅτι Αἴγυπτος…ἐστὶ Αἰγυπτίοισι ἐπίκτητός τε γῆ καὶ δῶρον τοῦ ποταμοῦ. Herod, II, 5.

13Page 27. The great Albuquerque... Commentarios do grando Alfonso de Alboquerque, capitan general dà India, etc., 1576, by the son of Albuquerque. See also L’Asia Portugueza, by Barros and his continuators.

14Page 28. Who fights with his two hands... does not hesitate to eat the loaves of proposition. Judges 3, 15; 1 Kings 21.

15Page 30. Interceding with the father of the gods in behalf of man...

Zεῦ πάτερ, ἠδ’ ἄλλοι μάκαρες θεοί αἲεν ἐόντες,
Μήτις ἔτι πρόϕρων ἀγανός καὶ ἤπιος ἔστω
Σκηπτοῦχος βασιλεὺς, μηδέ ϕρεσὶν αἴσιμα εἰδὼς·
Ἀλλ’ αἰεὶ χαλεπός τ’εἴη, καὶ αἴσυλα ῥέζοι
Ὡς οὔτις μέμνηται Ὀδυσσῆος θείοιο
Λαῶν, οἷσιν ἄνασσε, πατήρ δ’ᾣς ἤπιος ἦεν...

16Page 31. Rome, etc. Development and proof of these matters belongs more properly to my Histoire Romaine.

17Page 32. The Semitic world resisted... See the representation of the long struggle between the Semitic world and the Indo-Germanic world in my Histoire Romaine, II, ch. 2.

18Page 33. Reread the Phaido at Utica, died at Philippi reciting Euripides, and cried out in Greek under the blows of Brutus’s dagger. See Plutarch, Lives of Cato and Brutus, and Suetonius, Lives of the Caesars.

19Page 33. Rome rejected the bacchanals. How the ideas of Greece and of the East invaded Rome is one of the principal subjects of my Histoire Romaine, III, ch. 2, “Dissolution de la Cité.”

20Page 33. Gloomy Serapis, yet another god of life and death. Hadrian writes: “Those who worship Serapis are Christians and those who call themselves bishops of Christ are devoted to Serapis... They [those of Alexandria] have only one God, to whom Christians, Jews, and all nations pay homage.” Saturnin, Vopiscus, ch. 8, Letter of Hadrian. See the article by Guignaut following vol. 5 of Burnouf’s translation of Tacitus.

21Page 33. Below the Capitol... gory Mithras... The celebrated Mithriatic bas relief of the Villa Borghese, now in the Louvre, was consecrated in the underground passage that led beneath the Capitoline Hill from the Campus Martius to the Forum. The horrible bull sacrifice... See the memoir of Lajart and Creuzer’s Symbolique, notes by Guignaut.iv

22Page 34. Liberty, famished for pain, rushed to the amphitheater and relished being put to death... We have, among others, the letter of St. Ignatius, bishop of Antioch, written to the Christians of Rome, who wanted to deliver him and so deprive him of the martyr’s crown:

23“It is my hope to greet you soon in the irons of Christ, should it be my good fortune to consummate what I have so well begun. What I fear is that your charity might do me wrong. For I shall never find an equal occasion to reach God. If you favor me with your silence, I shall be his... You are not envious; you teach others. I only wish to accomplish your teachings. Let me become the repast of beasts; I am the wheat of God; ground by their teeth, may I yet become the true bread of God... Oh, may I have the pleasure of the beasts that are being prepared for me... I write you yet living, but eager for and longing for death (ὀναίμην τῶν θηρίων τῶν ἐμοὶ ἡτοιμασμένων...ζῶν γὰρ γράϕω ὑμῖν, ἐρῶν τοῦ ἀποθάνεῖν).”

24The authenticity of this letter is critically established; it does not belong to the apocryphal letters of this church father. (SS. Patrum qui temporibus apostolicis floruerunt, Barnabae, Clementis, Herma, Ignatii, Polycarpiopera. Recensuit J. Clericus, Amstelaedami, 1724, pp. 25-30.)

25Page 34. “I see before me the gladiator lie...”

I see before me the gladiator lie.
He leans upon his hand—his manly brow
Consents to death! But conquers agony.
And his droop’d head sinks gradually low—
And through his side the last drops, ebbing slow
From the red gash, fall heavy, one by one,
Like the first of a thunder-shower; and now
The arena swims around him—he is gone,
Ere ceased the inhuman shout which hail’d the wretch who won.

He heard it, but he heeded not—his eyes
Were with his heart, and that was far away.
He reck’d not of the life he lost nor prize,
But where his rude hut by the Danube lay.
There were his young barbarians all at play,
There was their Dacian mother—he, their sire,
Butcher’d to make a Roman holiday—
All this rush’d with his blood—shall he expire,
And unavenged?—Arise! Ye Goths, and glut your ire!
While stands the Coliseum, Rome shall stand;
When falls the Coliseum, Rome shall fall;
And when Rome falls—the world…
Childe Harold, IV, 191-192 [in English in text—tr.]

26Page 35. From the Bosporos to Batavia. On the establishment of the Franks on the shores of the Pontos Euxeinos and their return to the land of the Batavi, see Panegyr. vet, V, 18 and Zozim., I, p. 66.v

27Page 35. Under their savage and pitiless rule domestic slavery... It is clear that the Franks accorded slaveholders no such special protection as did the Burgundians and the Visigoths. See Collection des Historiens de France, IV, lex Burgundiorum, tit. XXXIX and lex Visigothorum, Lib. III, tit. II, par. 3, 4, 5; tit. III, par. 9. Lib. V, tit. IV, par. 17, 18, 21; tit. VII, par. 2, 3, 10, 11, 13, 14, 16, 17, 21, 21. Lib. VI, tit. III, 6; tit. IV, 1, 9, 11; tit. V, 9, 20. Lib. VII, tit. I, par. 6; tit. II, par. 21; tit III, par. 1, 2, 4. Lib. IX, tit. I.

28Page 36. Isn’t that Jerusalem? ... “Videres mirum quiddam; ipsos infantulos, dum obviam habent quaelibet castellam vel urbes, si haec esset Jerusalem ad quam tenderent rogitare.” Guibert, lib.

29Page 36. The countless arches of the cathedrals. About the year 1000, the medieval world, astonished to have survived the moment long announced for its destruction (adventate mundi vespero, etc.) set to work with childlike joy renovating most of its religious edifices. In the words of a contemporary, it was as if the world, bestirring itself and casting off its old rags, had donned the white robe of the churches: “erat enim instar ac si mundus ipse excutiendo semet, rejecta vetustate passim candidam ecclesiarum vestem indueret.” Rad. Glaber, III, 4.vii

30Page 36. The five thousand marble statues that crown the cathedral of Milan. This astonishing number was assured me by the learned and precise writer to whom we owe the description of that cathedral: Gaetano Franchetti, Storia e descrizione del Duomo di Milano, Milan, 1821. In-folio. See also the colossal work of Boisserée on the Cologne cathedral. In a moment of perfect resemblance, the description remains incomplete, as does the monument.

31Page 36. A man in black... a legist against the priestly alb. In the middle of the thirteenth century the influence of men of law suddenly appeared in legislation that had been entirely feudal and ecclesiastic until then. St. Louis and Frederick II publish their codes almost simultaneously, and for the first time Roman law emerges openly opposite feudal law. In the Établissements the pandects are cited pedantically—and often poorly understood. To these legists we probably owe the firmness of the pious Louis IX toward the court of Rome. Nonetheless, I confess, I find that this cortege of prosecutors fairly casts a shadow over the poetic picture of the sainted king meting out patriarchal justice to his subjects under the oak tree at Vincennes. Little by little the legists become the masters; in the fourteenth century they reign supreme. It was one of these knights of law, Guillaume de Nogaret, who took it upon himself to deliver the challenge of Philip the Fair to Boniface VIII. All Christendom was indignant. Dante exclaims: “I see the man of the fleurs de lis (lo fiordaliso) enter Anagni and see Christ captive in his vicar. I see him mocked and insulted anew, given to drink of vinegar and gall, and put to death between thieves.” Purgatorio, XX, 86. I give the entire passage in Italian below.


32However severe the judgment that follows, the reader should not accuse me of bias against dear, learned Germany, to whose works I am so much indebted and where I have such valued friends. No one is more cognizant of the touching goodness and adorable purity of German customs, of the wide learning of her cultivated men, of the vast and profound genius of her philosophers. Under the Restoration the French public became their willing disciple and patiently received what it was seen fit to reveal to it of that mysterious land. In a few years France might perhaps have been as conquered by the ideas of northern Germany as was Italy by the arms of southern Germany. Nonetheless, for all its superior learning, does that land today have sufficient verve and originality to pretend to take the lead over France? The preeminent figure of its literature is eighty years old; all its remaining great men—Schelling and Hegel, Goerres and Creuzer—are mature figures that have borne their best fruit. If we except two young men of promise, Gans and Otfried Müller, Germany presents little more than a great workshop of erudition and criticism, an immense laboratory of editions, recensions, animadversions, etc. This is a people of erudite men of superior training and superior discipline. The future will decide what that superior discipline is worth in matters of war and of letters.

33Page 38. The most hospitable of men. In the Middle Ages and in the high antiquity of the North, the host sets a condition for the pilgrim, the bard, the messenger, the mendicant (who are often the same): that he respond to an enigmatic question. Odin, in the guise of a pilgrim, also proposes questions to his hosts: he has traveled forty-two times among the peoples, under as many names. “Then came a penniless traveler who wanted to go to the Holy Sepulcher; his name was Tragemund and he knew seventy-two kingdoms” (German lay of the “Tattered Cloak” or “King Orendel”). See the questions of the pilgrim in Tragemundslied and the article by J. Grimm on this lay, Altdeutsche Wälder, 7, 1813.

34The tradition of St. Andrew, mentioned in the Golden Legend, is similar with respect to form. The devil, in the guise of a pretty woman, had insinuated himself upon a bishop and wanted to seduce him. A pilgrim suddenly appears at the door, knocks hard and calls loudly. The bishop asks the woman whether the stranger must be admitted. “Let us pose a difficult question,” she replies. “If he knows the answer, he will be admitted. If not, he will be sent away as ignorant and unworthy to appear before the bishop. Let us ask what is the most admirable small thing God has done.” The pilgrim answers: “The excellence and the variety of faces.” The woman then says: “Let us ask him a more difficult question: At what point is the earth higher than the heavens?” The pilgrim replies: “On the empyrean, where the body of Jesus Christ lies” (as flesh and thus as earth). “Fine,” says the woman. “Let him be asked a third question, very difficult and very obscure, so that we may know whether he is worthy to be seated at the bishop’s table. What is the distance from earth to heaven?” And the pilgrim to the messenger: “Go back to the one who sent you and put that question to him, for he knows more about this than I do: he covered the distance when he was cast into the abyss, and I have never fallen from heaven.” The messenger was seized with fear and had hardly brought back the response when the evil one vanished. A similar story appears among the sagas of the north.

35Page 38. The communal table is an altar. The table has a sacred character also among the Celtic peoples, viz. the famous round table of King Arthur. But it is mainly in Germany and the North that a man gives himself over with unthinking abandon to those barbaric feasts where, disarmed by drunkenness, he puts himself at the mercy of his comrades’ good faith. These intemperate habits are recognized in the laws of Norway: “The head of household must render judgment in a state of sobriety; if one of them has eaten or drunk too much, there shall be no judgment on that day.” Magnusar Konongs laga-baetirs gula-things-lang sive jus commune Norvegicum, Havniae, 1817, in-4. This is a reform of ancient law made in 1274 by King Magnus on the Island of Guley. Norway followed this code for five centuries.

36Page 38. Baptism by beer... laughable, touching mysteries of old Germany... sacred symbolism... solemn initiations. This little-known subject deserves to be treated in some detail. I will give particular emphasis to the societies of hunters and artisans.viii

37Grimm has collected 205 hunting calls (Alt. Wälder, III, 3, 4, 5, “Waidsprüche und Jägerschreie”). Moeser claims to have known more than 750. The language of the hunt as it is preserved in these calls and songs is infinitely varied and poetic. Stalkers can tell from the track not only the species but also the sex, age, and fecundity of the animals with amazing precision. They had 72 marks to distinguish the track of a stag; most of those marks had a special name. Even in this superficial sense, the language of German hunters and shepherds is a poetic language, since it has many expressions that are also images. The mountainous countrysides of Tyrol, Switzerland, the Palatinate, and Swabia are the most rich in such expressions.

38The questions and answers of journeymen artisans bear a close and incontestable resemblance to those of hunters; here too one finds symbolic colors and numbers (3, 7). By language, by wise, prudent, and precise replies, a host or a companion artisan or hunter recognizes a colleague, knows that he is in the company of a peer whom he can trust. Even robber bands, comparable, by poaching, to hunters, have devised a language full of poetic expressions and cultivated it since time out of mind. The ancient giants,ix heroes and dwarves, exchange questions and demand signs. Similarly, journeymen companions and hunters have represented the whole poetic, ludic side of their way of life in regular formulas, instructive and playful by turns, where the deeper, serious sense is concealed by good humor.

39Q. Brave hunter, what have you sniffed today? A. A noble stag and a wild boar; what more could I ask for? Q. Brave hunter, tell me: what is the best weather for you? A. Snow and thaw, that’s the best weather. Q. Tell me, brave hunter, what should the hunter do when he gets up early in the morning? A. He should ask God to make the day lucky, more lucky than ever; he should take his hound by the leash to find the best tracks; he should live according to God, and he’ll never have bad luck. Q. Brave hunter, tell me why a hunter is called a master hunter? A. A skilled hunter with sure aim obtains from the princes and barons the favor of being called master of the seven liberal arts [der freien Künste].

40Q. Tell me, my good hunter, where did you leave your fair, your excellent little lady? A. I left her beneath a majestic tree, under its green foliage, and I’ll go join her there. Long life to the girl all dressed in white who wishes me luck and prosperity every day! Every day, with the dew, I find her at the same spot. When I am hurt, it’s the fine girl who heals me. “I wish the hunter health and happiness,” she says. “May he find a good stag!”

41Q. Tell me, brave hunter, what the wolf says to the stag in winter. A. “Come closer, come closer, you stringy, skinny baby, you’re going down my throat. I’ll carry you off into the wild wood.”

42Q. Brave hunter, tell me please, what makes the noble stag leave the field for the forest? A. The light of day and the brightness of dawn. Q. Brave hunter, tell me, what did the noble stag do when he left the wood for the field? A. He trampled the oats and the rye, and the peasants are furious.

43Q. Brave hunter’s boy, do your duty and I’ll give you your hunter’s rights. Be quick and canny and you’ll be my favorite boy. On your feet, you lazy-bones, you sluggards who prefer to lie abed. And you, wise hunter, lay out the kit, do the work of your father. You, proud hunter, will lead my pack to the wood. And you, young whip, what have you scented? A. Good luck and good health will be our lot. I scent a stag and a boar. He just passed in front of me. It would be better to have taken him.

44Q. Brave hunter, not to annoy you, where are they running now? A. They are running on the fields and in the roads. So much the better for the ordinary game. So much the worse for the noble stag. Do you hear my dog’s voice? They are chasing in the hills and the glens. They’re on the right track. I hear them sound the horn. They are about to kill the noble stag. Yes, may God favor us. May the noble stag be lying on his side. May the horn be telling us that the stag has been taken, and we’ll come running with a great shout. God give us all long life.

45On your feet, cook and steward. Prepare a fine soup and a barrel of wine today, so that we can all live merrily.

46Q. Tell me, gentle hunter, where do you find the first track of the noble stag? A. When the noble stag leaves his mother’s side and leaps through the foliage and over the green. Q. Tell me, gentle hunter, what is the highest track? A. When the noble stag polishes his noble antlers, when he rubs the branches, when he has disturbed the foliage with his noble crown.

47Q. Tell me kindly and politely, which is the proudest, the highest, the noblest of the animals? A. I shall tell you. The noble stag is the proudest, the squirrel is the highest, and the hare is regarded as the most noble. One knows him by his track. Q. Brave hunter, tell me quickly, what is the hunter’s reward? A. I’ll tell you right away. The day is fine, and so all the hunters are merry and content; the weather is calm and clear, and so all the hunters are drinking good wine. So I’ll stay with them today and forever. Q. Tell me, brave hunter, who would be the least useful attendants for my prince or my lord? A. A well-outfitted hunter who will not laugh, a hound that trots around and takes nothing, a lay-about whippet: these are unuseful attendants. Q. Tell me, brave hunter, what goes ahead of the stag in the wood? A. His smoking breath goes ahead of him in the wood. Q. Tell me what the noble stag did in the clear running water? A. He quenched his thirst, he revived his young heart. Q. Brave hunter, tell me, what makes the noble stag’s horn so handsome? A. It’s little worms that make the noble stag’s horn so handsome. Q. Tell me, brave hunter, what makes the forest white, the wolf white, the sea wide, and where all wisdom comes from. A. I shall tell you. Age makes the wolf white and snow, the forests; water makes the sea wide, and all wisdom comes from fair maidens.

48Up, up, lords and ladies [further on: “all you pretty maidens”], we’ll go and see a noble stag. On your feet, lords and ladies, counts and barons, knights, pages, and you, too, boon companions who want to go with me into the forest. On your feet, in the name of the one who created the wild beast and the domestic animal. Up, up, rested and well disposed like the noble stag; up, rested and content like the hunters. Up, steward and cook.

49See him run, hunters, it’s a noble stag, I am certain. He is running, he pauses [wanks und schwanks]. The poor thing no longer thinks of his mother. He runs over the roads and the pastures. God save my sweetheart. The noble stag crosses the river and the valley. How I love my girl’s rosy mouth. Look, the noble stag makes a turn. I’d like to take my girl by the hand. The noble stag runs across the roads. I would like to lie on my true love’s bosom. The noble stag leaps over the heather. May God protect my beloved in the white dress. The noble stag runs over the morning dew. How I love to see my pretty girl.

50(The hunters drink after bringing down the stag.) Q. Hunter, tell me, brave hunter, what should the hunter keep from doing? A. From talking and chattering. It’s the undoing of the hunter.

51Q. Brave hunter, kind hunter, tell me when the noble stag is most well off? A. When the hunters sit and drink beer and wine, then the stag is usually very well off.

52When the hunters ask about their hounds. Q. Could you tell me, brave hunter, if you have seen my hounds running or heard them cry? A. Yes, brave hunter. They are on the right track, I assure you. There were three hounds. One was white, white, white and was chasing the stag with all his might. The other was pale, pale, pale and was following the stag over hill and dale. The third was red, red, red and was chasing the noble stag until he was dead.

53When the hunter gives the quarry to the hound, he says, Companion, fine companion, you chased the stag well today as he leapt over the fields and the roads. That’s why he gave us the hunter’s rights. Oh, oh, companion, all honor and thanks. Isn’t that a fine start? The hunters can relax and drink the wine of the Rhine and the Neckar. Much thanks, faithful companion, all honor and thanks.

54Artisans, far more closely associated than hunters, admitted new members to their corporations only after they had undergone solemn initiations, whose form the reader will find below. Excerpt from the book of Frisius, examiner at Altenberg, about 1700 (Altdeutsche Wälder, durch die Brüder Grimm, III, Cassel, 1813):

55Reception of a Companion Smith. The apprentice must appear before the companions on the day when they meet at the hostel. The speeches and procedures that take place are of three kinds: 1. fan the fire, 2. restore the fire, 3. instruct.

56A chair is placed in the middle of the room. An elder drapes a towel around his neck so that the two ends fall into a basin standing on the table. The one who wants to fan the fire rises and says: “May I be permitted to go fetch what is needed to fan the fire. One, two, three. May I be permitted to remove the companions’ basins. Companions, what fault do you find with me?”

  • 1 Two German words that sound alike and that one always finds together in the old songs to describe (...)

57Answer: The companions find lots of fault with you: you limp, you stink.1 If you can find someone who limps and stinks even more, stand up and hang your filthy rags around his neck.

58The companion pretends to search, and the one who wants to be received is brought in. As soon as the first man sees him, he hangs the towel around his neck and has him sit down on a chair. The elder then says to the apprentice: “Find three sponsors who will make you a companion.” One then restores the fire. The godson says to his sponsor: “Sponsor, how much must I pay for the honor of bearing your name?” A. A basket of prawns, a piece of boiling beef, a cup of wine, a slice of ham, so that we can be merry…

59Instruction. My dear godson, I’m going to teach you many customs of the trade, but you may well already know more than I myself have ever learned and forgotten. In any case, I’ll tell you when it’s good to go traveling. Between Easter and Whitsun, when one’s shoes are well sewn and one’s purse well furnished, one can set out. Take leave of your master politely one Sunday noon after dinner, never during the week. It’s not customary in the trade to leave work in the middle of the week. Say to him: “Master, I thank you for teaching me an honorable trade; may it please God that I make it good to you and yours some day.” Say to the mistress: “Mistress, I thank you for taking care of my laundry. If I return some day, I’ll pay you for your trouble.” Next, go find your friends and associates and say to them: “God protect you; no hard feelings.” If you have money, order a quart of beer and treat your friends and associates. When you reach the gates of the town, take three feathers in your hand and blow them away. One will fly over the walls, the other onto the water, and a third straight in front of you. Which one will you follow?

60If you followed the first over the walls, you might well fall and you would be done out of your life, your mother would be out a son, and we would be out a godson: that would make three misfortunes. If you followed the second onto the water, you could drown, etc. No, don’t be foolish. Follow the one that flies straight ahead, and you’ll come to a pond where you’ll see a group of men all dressed in green and seated on the shore, who’ll shout: “Woe! Woe!”

61Keep going. You’ll hear a mill that says endlessly: “Go back, go back!” Keep going until you reach the mill. If you’re hungry, go in and say: “Hello, good mother. Does the calf still have fodder? How is your dog? Is the cat strong and healthy? Do the hens lay well? How are the girls? Do they have many admirers? If they’re still honest, all the men will seek them out.” “Ah,” the good mother will say, “it’s a fine boy with good manners. He cares about my animals and my girls.” She’ll go to get a ladder to fetch you down a sausage from the flue. Don’t let her go up the ladder; go up yourself and bring down the sausage pole for her. Don’t be so rude as to take the longest one and stuff it in your sack; wait for her to give it to you. When you have it, thank her and go on your way. There may be a miller’s axe there that you stare at, thinking you’d like to make such a tool yourself, but the miller would think you want to steal it. Don’t look at it any longer, for millers are unfriendly people. They have long ear picks. If they should swat you on the ears with one, you’d be out of a life, your mother, etc.

62You’ll go on and find yourself in a deep forest where the birds sing, great and small, and you’ll want to be as merry as they are. Then you’ll see a fine merchant coming, dressed in red velvet and on horseback, who’ll say to you: “Good luck, comrade! Why so merry?”

63“Well,” you’ll say, “why should I not be merry, since I’m carrying my father’s whole worth?” He’ll think that you have some two thousand talers in your pocket and suggest a trade. Don’t do it, neither the first time nor the second. If he asks a third time, make a trade with him, but watch out, don’t give him your coat first. Let him give you his. Because if you gave him yours first, he could go off at a gallop. He has four feet, you have only two and you’d never catch up with him. After the trade, go on your way and don’t look back. If he should see you looking back, he might think that you have cheated him. He could double back and come after you and put your life in danger. Go your way.

  • 2 Each trade had its hostel at the home of a senior companion.

64Farther on you’ll find a spring. Have a drink and don’t muddy the water. Another companion might come and want a drink. Farther on you’ll see a gibbet. Will you be sad or happy? My godson, you should be neither sad nor happy, nor should you be afraid that you’ll be hanged, but you should be pleased that you’ve arrived in a town or a village. If it’s a town and they ask you at the gates where you’re coming from, don’t say that you’ve come a long way. Say, “From not far,” and name the closest village. In many places the watchmen won’t let anyone enter. One leaves one’s bundle at the gate and goes to get the token. Go to the hostel2 to request the token from the father of the companions. Say as you go in: “Hello, good luck, God save our honorable trade. Master and companions, let me see the father.”

65If the father is at home, say to him: “Father, I’d like to ask you to give me the token of the companions so that I can pick up my bundle at the town gate.” The father will give you a horseshoe or a large ring as a token, and you can fetch your bundle. On your way, you’ll see a little white dog with a fine curly tail. “Oh,” you’ll say, “I’d like to catch that little dog and cut off his tail to make me a fine plume.” Don’t do it, godson. You could lose your token if you throw it at him or you could kill him, and you would lose an honorable trade. When you’ve returned to the father at the hostel, say to him: “I wanted to ask you, by the honor of the trade, to give me lodging, me and my bundle.” The father will say to you: “Set down your bundle. But be careful and don’t hang it on the wall the way the peasants hang their baskets. Put it right under the workbench. If the father doesn’t lose his hammers, you’ll not lose your bundle either.”

66In the evening, when they’re going to table, stay in your place near the door. If the companion father says to you: “Smith, come and eat with us,” don’t accept right away. If he asks you a second time, go to table and eat. If you cut the bread, first cut a small slice without haste so that you’ll hardly be noticed, and in the end, cut a nice big slice and eat your fill, like the others.

67When the father drinks your health, you can drink, too. If there is a lot to drink, drink a lot; if little, drink little. But if you have a lot of money, drink up and ask if there’s an errand boy, say you’d like to stand them a pitcher of beer. When night comes, ask if the father has need of a smith who sleeps well. He’ll reply: “I sleep well myself. I don’t need a smith for that.” The next day, when you’ve gotten up early, the father will say to you: “Smith, what was all that noise about [at morning]?” Answer: “I don’t know a thing. The cats are fighting and I don’t dare stay in bed.”

68The elder will then say: “The one whose name does not appear in our letters, in the registers of the society, let him stand up and appear before the table of the masters and companions. Let him pay a groschen as scribe’s fee, a good tip for the secretary, and we’ll enroll him, like me and every other good companion, because these are the practices and customs of the trade, and the practices and customs of the trade should be preserved, whether here or elsewhere. No one is to talk about the customs and the stories of the trade, about anything the masters and companions, young and old, may have done at the hostel.”

69Reception of a Companion Cooper. One first asks permission to admit before the assembled coopers the young man to be received as a companion, whom one calls Goatskin Apron. When he has been admitted, the companion who is to “plane” him speaks thus:

70Good fortune to you all. May God honor this honorable company, masters and companions both. I do declare, by your leave, someone—I don’t know who—is following me around with a goatskin: a hoop-murderer, a stave-wrecker, a knockabout, a traitor to our company. He comes to the threshold, pulls back, says he’s not to blame, comes in with me. He says that when he’s been “planed,” he’ll be as good a companion as any. So I do declare, gracious and valued masters and companions, Goatskin here present has come looking for me and has asked me please to “plane” him according to the customs of the trade, to accord his name honor, since it’s the practice of our company. I certainly thought that he would find a number of companions, with seniority, who have forgotten more of the customs of the trade than I, a youngster here, have ever learned, but then I didn’t want to refuse. I’ve consented because it would have been ridiculous to refuse and would have got him off on the wrong foot for his travels. So I’m going to “plane” him and instruct him the way my sponsor instructed me, and what I can’t teach him he can learn on his travels. But I beg you, masters and companions, if I get a few things wrong in the process, or many, not to hold it against me, but to correct me instead and teach me better.

71With your permission, I shall ask three questions. First, I’ll ask if there is a master or companion who knows something against me, or against Goatskin here present, or against his master. Let him stand up and make his declaration. If he knows something against me, I’ll submit to the discipline of this honorable company, as is the custom; if he knows something against Goatskin here present, then he will not be considered worthy of being received as a companion either by me or by all the honorable company; but if it’s against his master, the master will accept punishment, too, as is the custom. With your permission, I’ll climb up on the table.

72At this point the apprentice enters the room with his sponsor. He is carrying a stool on his shoulders and climbs, with the stool, on to the table. The other companions come up one after the other and pull him three times by the stool to make him fall on to the tabletop, but his sponsor comes to his rescue and holds him by the hair to keep him upright. This is what is called “planing.” Then he is repeatedly baptized in beer.

73The sponsor says: You can all see: the head I’m holding onto is as empty as a whistle. It has a pink mouth, for a certainty, that eats up many a morsel and knocks back many a slug. It’s trade custom here as elsewhere that the one being “planed” has, besides his sponsor, two other companion “planers.” Look at all the companions and choose two as your mates. What name will you take as your “plane” name? Choose a nice one, a short one, and one the girls will like. All the world likes a short name. They’ll drink your health with wine or beer. And now pay the same baptismal fee as everybody else, and the masters and companions will be pleased with you.

74By your leave, Master X, I ask if you vouch that your apprentice knows his trade. Has he trimmed and cut the staves well and the hoops? Did he go for beer and wine often and chasing after girls? Was he good at cards and contests? Did he sleep long, work little, eat much, and stretch out his Sundays and holidays? Did he complete his years of apprenticeship like a good apprentice? A. Yes. Q. Did you learn everything? A. Yes. Q. Oh, that’s not possible. Look at the masters and companions around you. There are good ones and old ones, but not a one of them knows everything, and you claim you do? You’re wide of the mark. Do you think you can become a master? A. Yes. Q. You’ll have to be a companion first. Do you want to go traveling? A. Yes.

75Q. On your way you’ll see a dung heap and black crows on top of it, who’ll cry: “He’s leaving! He’s leaving!” What to do? Ought you to turn back or go ahead? Answer yes or no... You should keep going and say to yourself: Black crows, you’ll not be my prophets. Farther on, before a village, three old women will look at you and say: “Ah, young companion, turn back, because in another quarter-mile you’ll come to a great forest where you’ll get lost and no one will know where you are.” Are you going to turn back? A. Yes. Q. Oh, no, don’t do it. It would be ridiculous for you to listen to the tales of three old women. At the end of the village, you’ll pass in front of a mill that says: “Go back! Go back!” What will you do? Three sorts of advisors: first the crows, then the three old women, and now the mill. Something bad is going to happen to you. Turn back or go on? A. Yes. Q. Keep to your way and say: “Mill, you go your way and I’ll go mine.” Farther on, you’ll come to the big, boundless forest that the three old women told you about, deep and dark. You’ll be white with fear as you cross it, but there is no other way. The birds will sing, great and small; a sharp cold wind will blow; the trees will bend, see and saw, clink and clank: they’ll crack and groan as if they were about to come crashing down and you will be in great danger. “Ah,” you’ll say, “if only I’d stayed home with mother.” Because in the end a tree could fall on you and crush you and you’d be out your young life, your mother would be out her son, and I’d be out my godson. Are you going to turn around? Or do you want to go on? You must.

76When you leave the forest you will find yourself in a fine meadow where you will see a fine pear tree standing covered with fine yellow pears, but the tree will be quite tall. Stand under it for a while and open your mouth. If a fresh breeze comes, the pears will fall into your mouth aplenty. Is this what one should do? (The apprentice answers Yes and one “planes” him and pulls his hair, as is proper.) Don’t try to climb the tree. The peasant could come and give you a beating. Peasants are crude people who will hit you two or three times on the same place. Pay attention: I’m going to give you a piece of advice. You are a strong young companion. Take the tree by the trunk and shake hard. The pears will fall, lots of them. Are you going to gather them all? A. Yes. Q. Oh, no. You should leave some and say to yourself: “Who knows? Perhaps another fine companion will come through the forest up to this pear tree. He’ll want to eat some pears, but he won’t be strong enough to shake the tree. It would be doing him a favor to leave some for him.”

77As you go on, you’ll come to a stream crossed by a very narrow bridge, and on the bridge you’ll meet a girl with a goat. But the bridge is so narrow that you can’t pass. What will you do? Well, push the girl and the goat into the water so that you have no trouble crossing. What do you say to that? A. Yes. Q. Oh, no. I’m going to give you different advice. Take the goat on your shoulders and the girl in your arms and cross with your bundle, and you’ll arrive all three on the other side. You can take the girl for your wife, since you need a wife, and slaughter the goat. Its meat is good for the wedding feast, and its skin will make you a fine apron or a satchel for your wife... (The apprentice is “planed” again.)

78Farther on you’ll see the town. When you’re close, stop a bit and put on shoes and clean stockings. Ask for the hostel kept by a master, go straight there, greet everyone and say: “Father of the companions, I would like to ask you to put me up, by the honor of the trade—me and my bundle, and to permit me to sit down on your bench and put my bundle underneath. Please don’t make me sit before the door. I’ll behave in keeping with the customs of the trade, as is becoming to a polite companion.”

79The father will say to you: “If you will be a good son, go inside and set down your bundle, for the love of God.” If you see the mother when you go inside, say to her: “Hello, good mother.” If the father has daughters, call them “sister” and call the companions “brother.” In many places they have a fine room with stags’ antlers mounted on the wall. Hang your bundle on one of those antlers; if it has rained and you’re wet, hang your coat near the stove, and your shoes and stockings, too, and dry them out so that they’ll be fresh and ready when you leave next day. Is that what you’ll do? A. Yes. Q. Oh, no. If the father is good enough to give you lodging, go inside, put your bundle underneath the bench by the door, sit down on the bench, and keep still.

80At evening the father will have you shown to bed, but if the sister wants to light your way up ... so that you’re not afraid , , , watch out. When you get upstairs and find your bed, thank her, wish her good night and tell her that she should go back downstairs, for the love of God, that you’ll soon be in bed.

81Next morning, when it’s light and the others get up, you can stay in bed until the sun strikes you. No one will come to wake you, and you can sleep as long as you please. What do you say to that? A. Yes. Q. Oh, no. When you see it’s time to get up, get out of bed, and when you come downstairs, say good morning to the father, the mother, the brothers and the sisters. They may ask you how you slept. Tell them your dream to make them laugh.

82If you want work in town ... sometimes the elder should look for a job for you, sometimes the brother, and sometimes you yourself, according to different local custom. Go find the elder and say: “Companion, I would like to ask you, according to the practice and custom of the trade, to please find me a job; I want to work here.” The elder will reply: “Companion, I’ll take care of it.” ... And at this point you will go out for a beer or to see the fine houses in town. Won’t you? A. Yes. Q. Oh, no. You should go back to the hostel until the elder returns, because it’s better for you to wait for him than to make him wait for you. But meanwhile you’ll meet three masters on your way. The first has lots of staves and hoops; the second has three pretty daughters and offers beer and wine; the third is poor. Which one will you go to work for? If you work for the first, you’ll become a strong cooper; with the second, who offers beer and wine and has pretty daughters, you’ll be happy, as they say; there one makes fine presents, one drinks well, and one hops about with pretty girls. And with the poor master?... I understand: you want to make your fortune. Which one will you work for? Don’t disdain anyone. You must work for the poor one as for the rich one... The elder will tell you when he returns: “Companion, I looked for a job and I found one.” Reply: “Just a minute, companion. I’ll send for a pitcher of beer.” But if you don’t have money, say to him: “Companion, I’m momentarily low on funds, but if we see each other again today or tomorrow, I’ll show you my appreciation.”

83The master will give you your task and your tools. When you have been at work for a while, your tools will stop cutting. “Master,” you’ll say, “I don’t know whether it’s because the tools won’t cut or because I’ve lost my taste for work. Turn the grindstone so that I can sharpen my tools.” Is that what you’ll do? A. Yes. Q. Oh, no. If you begin work and there are a number of other companions, you can’t feel stung when the master doesn’t place you above them right away. If he sees that you’re a good worker, he’ll know the right place for you.

84Ask the companions if they’re all going to the hostel and what a newcomer should contribute to the kitty. They’ll instruct you... The elder will tell you: “A groschen or nine pence, according to custom.” At the hostel the elder will say: “Here and elsewhere, it’s the custom to meet at the hostel every fortnight and each one pays the week’s dues.” If your mother has furnished your purse well, take the money and fling it on the table so that it bounces into the elder’s face, and say: “That’s for me, give me my change.” Is that what you’ll do? A. Yes. Q. Oh, no. Take the money in your right hand, put it politely in front of the elder, and say: “With your permission, here’s mine.” Don’t ask for change. The elder will know what change you’re owed if you have given more than necessary... (Here one “planes” him for the third time.)

85If the elder says to you, “Companion, for the pleasure of masters and companions, go and fetch some beer,” don’t refuse. If you run into a girl or a good friend, you’ll give them some of your beer, you understand? A. Yes. Q. Oh, no. If you want to do someone a kindness, take your money and say: “Here, go drink to my health. When the companions have broken up, I’ll come join you.” Otherwise, they’ll punish you. At the end of the meal, get up from the table and cry, “Fire!” The others will come to put it out...

86The sponsor returns at this point and says: with your permission, masters and companions, I declare: I just brought you a Goatskin, a hoop-murderer, a slat-wrecker, a knockabout, traitor to masters and companions. Now I hope to bring you a solid, honest companion... My godson, I wish you happiness and prosperity in your new estate and on your travels. May God protect you on land and sea. If today or tomorrow you come to a place where the customs of the trade are no longer kept, work to restore them. If you don’t have any money, try to earn some. Make the customs of the trade respected, don’t let them be neglected. Introduce ten fine companions, wherever you can find them, sooner than a single bad one. If you can’t find any at all, pick up your bundle and move on.

87The apprentice must now run into the street crying, “Fire!” The companions come after him with a great dousing of cold water. Then comes the meal. They crown him, give him the place of honor, and drink his health.

88To finish this introduction to the spirit of German companions let me introduce a number of their popular books, taken from Goerres, Volksbücher.

89The Miller’s Crown of Honor, revised and enlarged, or Complete Explanation of the true nature of the Circle, dedicated to the company of Millers by a miller’s assistant called Georg Bohrmann, presented to his companions that they might remember him well. His verses and writings have been printed because, as Sirak says, one knows the artisan by his work. Printed in the current year. (This title is in verse.) Written in Meissen. The best book produced in Germany by the guild spirit—a spirit of calm and dignified simplicity; easy versification. The initial woodcut represents a circle with mystical sayings. The explanation that follows tells us that everything was created by the circle. In the second illustration, the author attempts to show us the world within the cross. There follows a history of the miller’s profession according to Holy Scripture, then a satirical dialogue, a poetical voyage, and a description of the best mills in the Lausitz, Silesia, Moravia, Hungary, Bohemia, Thuringia, and Franconia; respects and good wishes for Nuremberg. In the form of a triangle, the names of the three best millers who ever were. The author concludes reverently with God, the architect of the world, and with praise of the miller’s estate. A book known apparently only in north Germany.

90Some fine new formulas of the honorable corps of Carpenters, customarily pronounced at the completion of a new building, when a bouquet or a wreath is hung in the presence of a number of spectators. Published for the first time in the current year. Cologne and Nuremberg. The house is considered to be the mystical image of the visible church. The ceremony for placing a bouquet on the completed house. The address to be delivered from the roof-ridge.

91Customs of the honorable trade of Bakers, how each one should conduct himself at the hostel and at work. Printed as an aid for those about to go traveling. Nuremberg.

92Origin, antiquity, and glory of the honorable company of Furriers. Exact description of all the formulas long observed in keeping with the statutes of the corporation in the engagement, initiation, and reception of a master, and of how one examines the companions. Faithfully described by Jacob Wahrmund [truthful mouth], printed for the first time. The furriers and tanners claim the distinction of having had God himself as their first companion, since it is written that God made coverings of skins for Adam and Eve—an honor unmatched by other companies. The companion must be a fully legitimate child.

93The symbolic genius of the books of companionage contrasts with Eulenspiegel, the popular book of the German peasants.

94Eulenspiegel [mirror of owls] redivivus, surprising and marvelous history of Till Eulenspiegel, son of a peasant, born in Braunschweig, translated from the Saxon into good High German, revised and improved by several illustrations, a highly amusing work, followed by a comical addition: well embellished and reworked. Cologne and Nuremberg. Spirit of great mischief—the spirit of the peasant of the north personified. Eulenspiegel frequents all the social classes, exercises every trade. This is the people’s fool, by contrast with the princes’ fools. The first edition appeared in 1483. During the Reformation, the Eulenspiegel of the fourth edition (Strassburg) was, like Germany itself, half Catholic, half Protestant. In the latter capacity, he makes fun of popes and priests. Translated into French, into Latin iambics, and later into many other languages. The book was a great success among the peasants of interior Switzerland, those robust mountain men whose flesh is so strong and powerful and who take no offense at the obscenities of Eulenspiegel. It is said that the hero really existed and died in 1350. His grave, they say, is pointed out under the lime trees at Moellen near Lübeck. The gravestone is said to bear a chiseled owl and a mirror. The owl signifies the mischievous, gluttonous, thieving character of Eulenspiegel.

95Next to this national book stands the History of Faust. It is drawn from a larger work bearing the title: First part of the horrible and abominable sins and vices, and of the amazing miracles, that Dr. Johannes Faustus, celebrated magician and arch-sorcerer, effected by his magic until he met a terrible end, Hamburg, 1599. The depositions of a great number of eye witnesses prove the existence of Faust at the end of the fifteenth and beginning of the sixteenth century. A contemporary and a friend of Paracelsus and of Cornelius Agrippa, Faust is mentioned by Melanchton (in his letters), Conrad Gessner, and Manlius in Collectaneis locorum communium. Widmann cites Luther on the subject of Faust. The abbot Tritheim, in his private letters, treats him as a fool and an imposter: “Did he not dare to say that the books of Aristotle and of Plato, if they should all perish with their author, would be restored to the world by his genius, just as Esdras recovered the sacred books in his memory!” Every era had its Faust, to whom contemporaries always attributed something supernatural. All of these figures came together in the true and final Faust, who then became the chief of all previous sorcerers, perfected their great oeuvre, and did much else. Faust therefore is more a book than a person. Everything that his biography recounts about his feats of sorcery was transmitted by the tradition for centuries, and the image of Faust was merely imprinted like a seal on the universal collection. Widmann’s piece is based on an autograph manuscript of Faust that the three sons of a famous doctor in Leipzig found in their father’s library. The manuscript may well be by Waiger or Wagner, a disciple of Faust, who speaks of him in these terms: “Discreet, roguish and resourceful, smart enough, taken for mute at school with bakers and butchers, but a very good talker at home; a bastard, for all that.” Faust made Wagner his heir, left him all his books, and said to him before his death: “I bid you not to reveal my art and my methods until long after my death. Then gather the facts carefully and write a history. Your familiar spirit, the heath cock, will help you with this labor and will remind you of what you may have forgotten. For people will want to know my history as you have recorded it.”

96The popular literature of Germany comes to an end with the Reformation, or rather, it all comes together in Luther himself, the most popular writer of all time. Just before that period (around 1500), two poets stand out, the shoemaker Hans Sachs and the imperial preacher Murner. I shall not discuss Sebastian Brant, adviser to Maximilian, author of the Ship of Fools (Narrenschiff), which had so little merit and has known so little success, and which perhaps served as a model for the Emblemata of Alciatus. Brant puts the friends of the printing press into the first rank of fools, saying that the press “will soon fall into disrepute.”

97Hans Sachs is more interesting. (See his works, reprinted at Nuremberg, 1781, 5 vols.; his life, by Ranisch; and the works of Wagenseil, Schoeber, Hirsch, Dunkel, Will, and Riederer.) His life, however uneventful, nonetheless shows the mores and the singular culture of German artisans of the time. He was born in 1494 to a tailor in Nuremberg, sent at seven to the Latin school, apprenticed at fifteen to a shoemaker, and traveled at seventeen to Regensburg, Passau, Salzburg, and Innsbruck, where he was retained as chasseur to Emperor Maximilian (Unnutze Pflege der Frau, vol. I of his works in the edition of 1590, and vol. IV, p. 294.) He then went to Munich, stopped at Wurzburg and at Frankfurt, then at Koblenz, Cologne, and Aachen. His master of poetry was Leonard Nunnenbek, a weaver at Nuremberg. On his travels he learned a great number of meters, and when he reached Upper Austria, he decided to devote his life to letters (The Gifts of the Muses, vol. II).x Shortly afterwards, he kept his first school at Frankfurt. After visiting Leipzig, Lübeck, Osnabruck, Vienna, and Erfurt, he returned to Nuremberg, aged 22 (1516), at his father’s wish. Received as master shoemaker, he married in 1519, opened a small shop in a neighboring village, and returned shortly afterwards to the Frankfurt fair. He lived happily with his Kunegunde for more than forty years, had two sons and five daughters, who all predeceased him. He married again in 1561 (Künstliches Frauenlob, vol. V). He lost the use of his faculties at 76 and died at 82, in 1576.

98In 1523 he produced a panegyric to the Reformation, The Wittemberg Nightingale, which is now heard everywhere.xi In the woodcut one sees a nightingale with the sun, moon, and various animals and, on a mountain, a lamb with a victory standard. At the very end: Christus amator. Papa peccator. One Father Spee published a refutation entitled My Challenge to the Nightingale. Hans Sachs also wrote prose dialogues on the subject of the Reformation, 1524. The first is entitled Dispute between a Canon and a Shoemaker, wherein is defended the word of God and a Christian way of life. Hanus Sachs. MDXXIIII. The engraving represents, among other figures, a shoemaker with a pair of house slippers in his hand.

99The most curious of the works of Hans Sachs, which I shall summarize, is A Short Humorous Carnival Skit for three characters, to wit: a burgher, a peasant, and a nobleman. The Empty Cakes (ed. 1781, in-8, p. 290; ed. 1821, in-24, p. 161). The title is vague and the moral, placed at the end, has no connection with the skit. Perhaps the author found such precautions prudent for a work in which he gave the advantage to the peasant in the presence of the burghers of Nuremberg, at a time when the almost universal revolt of the German peasants was raising the most violent animosity against them. The play is not dated, contrary to the author’s usual practice, but a reference to Goetz von Berlichingen, leader of the revolting peasants, indicates that it was probably composed after 1525.

100The peasant wants to sit down beside the burgher and take part in the festivities; the burgher rejects him and insults him; the peasant then produces a burlesque genealogy and adds: “On my mother’s side, I am a Goetz (‘Goetz‘ for Klotz, a stump or block of wood). That’s why those who know me call me Goetz Toelp Fritz. Now that you know who I am, consider me one of the guests and let me take a seat at table.”

101Burgher: Out of here, you idiot. Don’t you see a nobleman coming? What are you doing here with us? Nobleman: What are you doing here, Toelp Fritz? Can’t you find a hostel in the village without coming here with the burghers? Burgher: That’s what I was telling him, chevalier. Peasant: May I tell you both what I think? Nobleman: Speak, Toelp, or you’ll explode. You’re a real peasant. Peasant: Anyone who opened the peasant veins that you have could easily bleed you to death. Nobleman: Do you hear this ass? Throw him down the stairs. Peasant: At least hear me out. Adam, says our priest, was the father of us all. We are all his children. Nobleman: True, but there’s a difference. Noah had three sons. One was a rascal called Cham and was a peasant. The lines of the burghers and the noblemen descend from Sem and Japhet. Peasant: I’ve also heard tell that nobility comes from virtue, that in the old days the nobles protected widows and orphans and defended poor travelers. Is that still your custom, chevalier? Nobleman: Well, you tell me: wasn’t it your custom in ancient times, you peasants, to be simple, just, and pious? Today you’re nothing but rogues and scoundrels. You’re hard-mouthed horses, you won’t take the bit. And you—you’re nothing but a boor. I am noble by birth. I can provide for myself without working; I have revenues and rents. I am polite and elegant when I go to the princes’ court. Peasant: My kind of politeness is to work the land, sow, harvest, and thresh the grain, to cut hay, pull weeds, and all the other things I do to keep you both fed... Oh, well do I know how you live, both of you. Tell me, noble sir, your horse, when you’re on the road, hasn’t he ever bitten into a peddler’s bag?

102The peasant then demonstrates by hilarious proofs that he is happier than the nobleman and the burgher—something that real peasants would doubtless never have granted. Then many details follow concerning the curious customs of dress and games of the people and the diet of different classes of society. The nobleman is persuaded and says at last: “Egad, the peasant’s right. Come, I’ll celebrate carnival with you. We’ll fill our glasses full, we’ll drink, we’ll gamble, and may the best man win.” The burgher concludes:

103Gentlemen, do not blame us if we have stopped too long with this crude peasant. He was as polite as he was able to be. As the saying goes, Put a peasant in a sack—his boots will always hang out. When you live among crude people, you become as crude as they are. Young people must therefore... etc. Hans Sachs wishes you Good Night.

104Nothing is as unlike the genius of Hans Sachs as that of Murner. The shoemaker of Nuremberg always aims at elegance; he speaks of flowers and dells and often falls into triteness. Murner, learned man, preacher, poet laureate, affects crudeness to make himself understood by the people. His biting satires, The Guild of Scoundrels (Schelmenzunft) and The Conspiracy of Fools (Narrenbeschwörung), inspired by the corruption among the merchants of Strasbourg, are not at all reminiscent of Old Germany. We shall cite only the following passages:

105“Some people want to decide what happens in the Empire, judge where the Emperor stands with Germany or with Italy, but on close inspection, no one has charged them with this task. Who do the Venetians borrow from? How do they intend to sell? How does the pope keep up his household? Why does the Frenchman not remain in the alliance of the king of the Romans? Whether we are eating or drinking, we deplore the power of that sly fox (Louis XII) who wants to fool us. The king of Aragon does not want to pay the Venetians too handsomely. The Turks cross the sea, to our dismay, to say nothing of the cities of the Empire that did this and that to us, but they won’t get away with it! ...

106“My dear friend, attend to your own business. Let the imperial cities be imperial cities. Have a glass of wine instead. It won’t cost the Empire a single city... Have little and spend much, take the buttons off the noblemen’s foils, fiddle secretly in one’s coat, throw rocks through windows, write anonymous pamphlets, spread lies, disguise oneself in the priest’s habit... Is it my fault that I mention these things here? I’m the current secretary of the Scoundrels’ Guild. Let them choose somebody else.”

107Page 38. Make himself the liege of another... Is a vassal permitted to spit, cough, sneeze, or blow his nose in the presence of his lord? Should he not be punished for not having stood up straight, for having swung his sword around in his lord’s presence? The Jus feudale Alemanicum asks these two questions. This dependency, servile in form, was usually ennobled by a sincerity of devotion that shows itself in touching fashion in these lines of Hartmann von Aue: “My joy was always uncertain until the day I gathered for myself the flowers of Christ that I now carry (insignia of the crusade). Since the day that death deprived me of my lord, he is the greater part of my joy, and half my pilgrimage is for him.” Goerres, Recueil des Minnesinger, quoted from the preface.

108Grimm (Über den altdeutschen Meistergesang, 1811) has amply established that the poet, like the knight, was the liege of the prince and lived from his lord’s largesse. The poetry of praise, it seems, was a feudal service, like service in the military and at the bar. In the following verses a meistersinger undertakes to stir the generosity of the poor and chivalrous emperor Rudolf of Hapsburg by praise mixed with reproach:

109“The king of the Romans gives nothing, and yet he is rich like a king; he gives nothing, but he is brave like a lion; he gives nothing, but he is very chaste; he gives nothing, but his life is irreproachable; he gives nothing, but he loves God and respects the virtue of women; he gives nothing, but never was a man more handsome; he gives nothing, but he is spotless; he gives nothing, but he is wise and pure; he gives nothing, but he judges fairly; he gives nothing, but he loves honor and fidelity; he gives nothing, but he is full of excellences. Alas! He gives nothing to anyone! What more shall I say? He gives nothing, but is a hero graceful and agile; he gives nothing, King Rudolf, whatever one may say or sing in his praise.”

110Page 39. Frau... the Virgin... It would be interesting to trace the long journey of the ideal of the Germanic woman from the ancient paganism of the North to the period of Christianity and chivalry, which placed her on the very altar and showed her transfigured at the right hand of God. At the outset, in the Nialsaga, woman has the beauty of a fierce purity; she is reared by a warrior who watches over her all his life and who kills pitilessly any mate wanting in respect for his daughter by adoption. Twice this fatal virgin thus costs her mate his life. In the Nibelungen, woman charms her barbarous lover as much by her strength as by her beauty.

111“Various rumors arose on the Rhine; on the Rhine, it was said, there is more than one beautiful maiden. Mighty King Gunther wanted to obtain one of these and the desire grew and grew in his heart. There was a queen who had an empire by the sea; it was common knowledge that she had not her equal; she was immeasurably beautiful (diu was unmazen schoene) and her limbs were strong and powerful; she would challenge by javelin the swift warriors who quested after her love. She could throw a rock a great distance and recover it in a single leap. Whoever sought her love had to conquer the noble woman in three contests without blanching. If he was vanquished in a match, he paid with his head. A thousand times she had emerged from these contests still a virgin. On the Rhine a handsome hero heard these things and turned his thoughts to this beauty; the heroes, and he, paid with their heads.

112“One day the king was in council with his men; they were considering which woman their master should make his wife and queen of a fine country. The chieftain of the Rhine then spoke: ‘I want to go down to the sea, to Brunnhilde, whatever happens to me. For her love I shall risk my life and lose it if she is not my wife.’ ‘And I am going to dissuade you,’ said Siegfried. ‘That queen has barbarous customs. Anyone who pretends to her love plays for high stakes. For you on this quest I have frank and sincere advice.’ ‘Never was there a woman so strong and so bold,’ said King Gunther. ‘With my own hands I’ll master her bodily in this contest.’ ‘Softly, softly; you don’t know how strong she is. Even if you were a foursome, you’d not emerge safe and sound from her terrible rage. Renounce your wish, I advise you as a friend, and if you do not want to die, do not run such a horrible risk for her love.’ ‘Whatever her strength, I’ll not renounce my quest. We’ll go to Brunnhilde, whatever happens to me. For her prodigious beauty one must risk everything. Whatever God has in store for me, follow me to the Rhine.’” Der Nibelungen Lied, ed. 1820.

113I have translated the passage in all its barbarous naiveté. It seems to me that Baron Eckstein, in his fine and eloquent translations from the Nibelungen published in Le Catholique, has softened its primitive, unpolished character, doubtless to accommodate the timidity of French taste.

114Little by little the ideal of woman becomes more refined. Carnal woman carries the name WEIB, while spiritual woman, moral woman, sets herself apart from her as FRAU. One of the most celebrated meistersinger, Frauenlob, received his name for having maintained that distinction in many a poetic contest and for having celebrated in songs of love and in hymns by turns the ladies of this world and the ladies of paradise. Those of this world showed a tender appreciation toward this panegyrist of woman. They wanted to prepare the funeral celebration of their poet themselves. The stone of the sepulcher, to be seen still today in Mainz cathedral, represents them carrying the coffin of the man whom they inspired so long and whom they cost so many tears.

115Page 39. The Virgin... See Grimm, Altdeutsche Wälder, introduction to “The Golden Forge” (a poem in honor of the Virgin) by Konrad von Würzburg, very interesting on account of the Christian myths of the Middle Ages. “One of the ideas that recurs most often among our meistersinger,” the learned editor notes, “is the comparison of the incarnation of Jesus Christ with the aurora of a new sun. Every religion had its sun god, and since the fourth century the western church has celebrated the birth of Jesus Christ on the day the sun begins to climb again, on 25 December, that is to say, on the day one celebrated the birth of the invincible sun. There is an obvious connection with the sun god Mithra.” (Creuzer, Symbolik, II, 220; Jablonski, Opuscula, III, 546 et seq.)

116Our poets still say that Jesus lay at birth on the breast of Mary, like a bird that takes refuge at evening in a nocturnal flower that has opened on the high sea. What a remarkable connection with the myth of the birth of Brahma, enclosed in the water lily, the lotus, until the flower was opened by the rays of the sun, which is to say, by Vishnu himself, who had created that flower (see Mayer and Kannexii)! The Christ, the new day, is born of night, that is, of the Black Virgin, whose feet rest on the moon and whose head is crowned by planets in brilliant diadem (see the pictures by Albrecht Dürer).

117Thus reappears, as in ancient cult, the great divinity variously called Maia Bhawani, Isis, Ceres, Proserpine, Persephone. Queen of the heavens, she is the night from which life emerges and to which all life returns—mysterious reunion of life and death. She is also called the dew, and in ancient German myth, dew represents the principle that reproduces and restores life. She is not only the night, but, as mother of the sun, also the dawn before which the planets shine and swarm, as they do for Persephone. When she signifies the earth as Ceres, she is represented carrying a wheat sheaf, just as Ceres wears a crown of wheat ears: she is Persephone, the seed grain. Like that goddess, she has a sickle, the half-moon lying beneath her feet. Finally, like the goddess of Ephesos, sorrowful Ceres and Proserpine, she is beautiful and brilliant and, at the same time, black and somber—in the words of the Song of Songs: “I am black and comely; the sun has burnt me”(Christ). Even today, the image of the mother of God is black at Naples and at Einsiedeln in Switzerland. Thus she combines day and night, joy and sorrow, sun and moon (warmth and moisture), the terrestrial and the celestial.

118Page 39. Flowers... The minnesinger sing tirelessly of flowers and always begin by speaking of the beauty of the forests and their joyful music. After the example of the Edda, which so charmingly calls the winter “the mourning, suffering, and misery of the birds,” one could group the subjects of most love songs into two classes, summer and winter: the joy, awakening, and life of the birds and flowers; the mourning, drowsiness, sleep and death of the flowers and birds. For the meanings of flowers and foliage, see Grimm, Altdeutsche Wälder, IV, after a fifteenth-century manuscript originally from Cologne, the Mosel valley, or perhaps from Flanders, Champagne, or Picardy, home of the Rederiker or Rhetors of the Middle Ages, who also often spoke of flowers. Here we find fixed positive rules about how lovers were to wear the foliage and flowers of their choosing or of their lady’s bidding.

119Oak. One who wears oak leaves announces his strength and indicates that nothing can break his will. If he wears oak by order of his lady, it is a sign that no one should attack him, since oak is harder than any other wood. Birch. One who himself chooses a single master and willingly submits to his discipline, whether mild or harsh, may wear leafless birch; one who is ordered to wear birch is to understand that he will not be treated too rigorously, though he will still be kept under the lash. Chestnut. One who cherishes his beloved more and more each day and is pleasing to his lady may wear prickly chestnuts, the more prickly the better. Heather. One who chooses heather with its foliage and flowers shows that his heart loves solitude, like the heather, which likes to grow in barren places and does not live close to other plants. If he is ordered to wear heather, he is advised to love only his own lady, to keep watch on himself, and to exalt his love and joy, just as heather and its like climb up hills and rocks, though hardly noble of itself. Bluet. One whose flighty heart itself does not know where it should light and fix its constancy should wear bluets, a pretty blue flower which, however, fades and cannot keep its color. Rose. One who cherishes in his beloved innocence and a fear of sin, and who protects her from himself may wear a rose with its thorns.”

120Page 39. Childlike and profound... See the charming collection entitled Des Knaben Wunderhorn (The Boy’s Wondrous Horn). Most of these popular songs, so sweet, so inspired by calm and solitude, are as dear to my heart and as known to my ear as the most delicious cradle songs that I ever heard on my mother’s knee. I would not dare attempt to translate any.

121Page 39. Wolfram’s Parsifal... Though it may cause the reader to smile, I will quote the entire passage on Parsifal in Grimm (Altdeutsche Wälder, I).

122“The noble hero, whose youth, as simple and naïve as his childhood, is sheltered and watched over by an excessively timid mother, continues to resist the secret voice that summons him more insistently every day to the service of God. Stung by the reproach of Sigunen, Parsifal sets out over forests and wilderness for the city of miracles. At daybreak one morning, snow conceals his way; he rides through underbrush and over rocky outcroppings. Soon the white forest has become brilliant in the sunshine. He approaches a field where a flock of wild geese has just alighted. A falcon swoops down and attacks one of them, which takes flight. Three drops of blood fall from its wounds—an object of sadness for Parsifal and his love. When he sees these drops of blood on the pure white snow, he says to himself: ‘Who has painted these vivid colors with such skill? Condviramurs, that color is like yours. God is protecting me; he wants me to see your image here. Praise be to God and all his creatures! Condviramurs, this is your coloring. The snow lends the blood its whiteness and the blood reddens the snow. It is the image of your lovely body.’ The hero’s eyes brim with tears; he remembers the day when two tears ran down Condviramurs’s cheeks and a third down her chin. This secret comparison occupies him and absorbs him entirely; he is no longer aware of what is happening around him; he stands still in a dreamlike state as if he were asleep.

123“A knight sent out to meet him calls to him, and he does not respond, does not move; and then he finds himself unhorsed. In getting up, he steps on the drops of blood and can no longer see them. At that point he comes to himself and unhorses his importunate enemy. Then, without a word, he returns to the drops of blood and contemplates them anew. A second horseman fares no better. The third is wiser: seeing that Parsifal does not respond to his polite, well-chosen greeting, he understands that he is in the thrall of love and searches for the object of his unwavering gaze. Then he takes a wildflower and lets it fall on the drops of blood. As soon as the flower has covered and concealed the droplets, the hero returns to himself and asks sorrowfully only who has snatched away his lady.

124“This shows us in singular, touching fashion how much he loves the woman whom he himself had been willing to give up for the sake of God and chivalry. In the middle of a remote wilderness, a memory of her overtakes him suddenly like a painful dream from which only force can tear him away. At the same spot where he saw the droplets on the snow rises the tent where five years later he finds his beloved wife sleeping on her couch with infant twins whom he does not yet know. In the three drops of blood he had recognized the three tears that he saw on Condviramurs’s face; he did not know that they foretold his wife with two infants in her arms, like three bright pearls…

125“In the old French poem by Chrétien de Troyes, Gawain, the hero’s friend, does not throw flowers on the drops of blood. The snow melts slowly in the sun. When two droplets have disappeared, Parsifal begins to emerge from his reverie. As the third disappears little by little, Gawain thinks it is time to greet him. This is the image of time, both kind and cruel, which, as peaceful as the sun, effaces, like the sun, the joys and sorrows of man.”

126There follows a reference to many passages on the opposition of red (birth), white (life, purity), and black (death).

127Page 39. With its immoral consequences. In attacking these consequences and citing the threat to liberty in this doctrine, I am fully aware of its deeply poetic character. Undeniably, this wedding song of spirit and matter, of man and nature magnifies them, makes them magical, one by the effect of the other. “The divine spirit,” Schelling says, “slumbers in the stone, dreams in the animal, and is awake in man.” Man is the word of the world; since nature is aware of herself and recognizes her identity with him, he finds himself in all things and, in turn, feels the universe breathing in him; everywhere life reflects life. “Live not the stars and mountains? Are waves/ Without a spirit? Are the dropping caves/ Without a feeling in their silent tears?” (Byron)xiii When one passes through forests and wild valleys preoccupied with these ideas, it is such a sweetness, a mystical sensuality to add to one’s own being the air, the waters, the green world, or rather, to let one’s personality go in avid nature, which draws it to her and seems to want to absorb it. The voice of the siren is so sweet that you would follow it, like Goethe’s fisherman, down into the deep, clear spring or, like Empedocles, to the bowels of Etna. O mihi tum quam molliter ossa quiescant!

128It is a marvelous thing how that doctrine has taken possession of dreamy Germany and infiltrated all her literature. You will find its influence in nearly every book, in art, criticism, philosophy, and song. I know one student song, very beautiful, but I prefer to cite the following, composed in France during the war of 1815. Amid the ardor of youth and the exaltation of combat, a philosophical turn of thought occurs willy-nilly.

129“Nothing in the world is more gay, more swift than are we, the hussars on the battlefield. Lightning flashes, thunder rumbles; red as flame, we fire at the foe; blood courses in our eyes; we make hail. They call to us: ‘Hussars, fire your pistols, strike, saber in hand, split the man before you.’ You don’t know French? Don’t let that bother you! He’ll speak his language no more when you cut off his head. If a loyal comrade remained on the field, the hussars would not mourn. The body rots in the grave, the uniform stays in the world, the soul is exhaled into air, under the deep blue dome.”

130Page 40. A wood, a meadow, a spring. Ne pati quidem inter se junctas sedes. Colunt discreti ac diversi; ut fons, ut campus, ut nemus placuit, etc. Tacitus, Germania, XVI.

131Page 40. Our good Nuremberg... The custom of decorating house fronts with fine quotations from the scriptures is practiced throughout Germany. I cite Nuremberg because it has preserved its ancient aspect like no other city. It is the Pompeii of the Middle Ages.

132Page 40. Stags coming to drink under the balconies of electors. Here I have yielded to a two-fold temptation: to the pleasure of mentioning the charming small town of Heidelberg, which leaves its visitors with so many memories and such longing, and to that of mentioning it in the terms of a great writer who is very dear to me, the translator of Herder and author of Voyage en Grèce, Edgar Quinet.

133Page 40. How many times has Germany not risen, only to fall back again... There is no more faithful image of this than the Rhine. A true symbol of the genius of that land, it reflects German history just as well as it does the trees and rocks of its banks. It rises from the depths of the Alps in a torrent and drowses again at Lake Constance. It surges once more over a bed broken by rock, rages and falls furiously at Schaffhausen, making both Swabia and Switzerland tremble. Never fear. It settles again and rolls, wide and deep as the Nibelungen, whose theater it crosses. Narrow again at Bingen, the heroic river cuts its way between basalt giants, past all the castles that command its banks and sometimes seem to have come down, armed to the teeth, to block its passage (in the Palatinate).

134Finally, when it has paid its respects to the never-to-be-finished cathedral of Cologne, weary of these noble efforts and disillusioned, it saunters past the prosaic flats of the Low Countries and if any reverberation is heard along its banks it is of a declamation by a Flemish Rederiker, the monotonous song of a Baenkelsaenger, a singing smith or carpenter hammering at his work from Cologne to Holland. Thus the Rhine reaches the ocean, into which it vanishes without regret. This too is an image of Germany resigned to being absorbed into Schelling’s absolute unity. Content to come to rest in infinity, she sounds one last poetic chord in Goethe and Goerres.

135Page 40. In Iceland the gods will die like us... See Geiers, Schwedens Geschichte. Only one volume has been translated into German as yet. I also eagerly await the publication of J.-J. Ampère’s important work, La Littérature du Nord. Prepared by much travel and deep, wide-ranging study, it will reveal a whole new world to the French public.

136Page 41. In Luther’s lifetime, at his very table, began the mysticism... Luther is little known. Bull-necked, of choleric aspect (see the fine portraits by Lucas Cranach), furiously violent in his style, he was, for all that, a gentle soul, very receptive to music, as responsive to friendship as he was to love. Nothing pained him more than to see his most cherished disciples, guests in his house, abandon his teachings, or rather, take them rigidly to their logical extreme. In his attacks on Rome he had written: “Let law perish and grace live!” After that, had he any right to complain that the Lutherans were disposed toward mysticism? In the first half of his life, he too had been prodigiously mystical.

137Page 41. That would triumph in Boehme... A shoemaker in Goerlitz, died 1624. Saint-Martin has translated three of his works: L’Aurore naissante, Les Trois Principes, and La Triple Vie or L’Éternel Engendrement sans origine, 1802. He undertook to translate all fifty volumes of Boehme. Many passages by this theosophist are highest poetry, for example, the entire beginning of the second volume of Les Trois Principes.

138I would not conclude these notes on Germany without citing certain observations by Mme de Staël, striking in their aptness and insight. They apply to contemporary German society, yet are marvelously confirmed by the ancient literature of this people, which the author did not know.

139“There is a certain physical well-being that turns one’s thoughts to sensations in the south of Germany and to ideas in the north. Vegetative existence in the south of Germany corresponds in some ways to contemplative existence in the north: there is repose, idleness, and reflection in both.”

140“Tyrolean farce, which amuses both the nobility and the people in Vienna, is much more akin to the buffoonery of the Italians than to the mockery of the French.”

141“In Germany, anyone who does not concern himself with the universe has nothing to do.”

142“For the superior men of the respective countries to attain the highest degree of perfection, the Frenchman must become religious and the German a bit worldly.”

143“There is more sensibility in English poetry and more imagination in German poetry. The Germans, being more independent in all things because they do not carry the imprint of any political institution, depict the sentiments as they depict ideas: through a scrim. One could say that the universe shimmers before their eyes and the very uncertainty of their gaze multiplies the number of objects that their talent can make use of.”

144“Among the Latin nations one has often seen a politics singularly adroit in the art of escaping one’s obligations; the German nation, be it said to its credit, is almost incapable of this barefaced deviousness, which will bend any verity for the sake of interest and sacrifices every kind of engagement to calculated advantage.”

145“Tile stoves, beer and tobacco smoke build a kind of dense, warm atmosphere around the popular classes in Germany, from which they do not like to emerge. When the climate is only half rigorous and it is still possible to escape the insults of the heavens by means of household measures, those measures themselves make men more sensitive to the physical sufferings of war.”

146“Imagination, which is the dominant quality of Germany, both artistic and literary, inspires a fear of danger, unless the force of opinion and an exaltation of honor combat this natural reaction.”

147“The French, quite unlike the Germans, consider actions with the liberty of art and ideas with the servitude of custom.”

148“Since the Germans have more imagination than true passion (in matters of love), the most bizarre events take place there in a curious tranquility. And yet it is thus that custom and character lose all firmness. A spirit of paradox shakes the most sacred institutions and there are no fixed rules in any matter.”


149Page 41. Italy can plead the languor of the climate, the disproportionate forces of the conquerors, etc. But the best excuse of this unhappy land is that its fatal beauty has always aroused the desires and the brutal love of all the barbarian peoples. The icy giants that nature placed at its portals, as if for defense, have served for nothing. The conquerors have never been deterred by the extreme difficulty of passage. Only recently, one still descended Mount Cenis by a slope so rapid that it carried the traveler’s sledge a distance of two leagues in ten minutes.

150One may cross the Alps from the side, either through Savoy or through Germany, or one may go through the center of Switzerland. This last passage, the Simplon, is short and abrupt. From the gloomy Valais, where you leave behind the men of the North and the chalets of painted wood, you drop down into Milan amid noise, brilliant light, and Italian bustle, among orange trees and houses of marble. The Simplon is the triumphal entry into Italy. The artist and the poet will choose this route. The historian will prefer to enter from the east or from the west; these are effectively the two routes that the armies and the great emigrations have followed. The Gauls, Hannibal, Bonaparte, countless French armies went by Mt. Cenis or the St. Bernard; the Goths of Alaric and Theodoric, the Germans of Othon the Great, of Frederick Barbarossa, and of so many emperors entered by the defiles of Tyrol.

151Even today, when one sees the terrible barrier of the Alps, one shudders to think what men once risked and suffered in order to penetrate into this garden of the Hesperides. Hannibal entered the Alps with 50,000 men and emerged with 25,000. No matter: all the nations of the world by turns have wanted to pitch their tents on that ground, to enjoy its fruits and its skies, even at the price of being buried there. The Gauls were in search of the vine, the Normans of the lemon tree. There Louis XII and Francis I consumed their lives and their subjects to regain “their lovely betrothed,” as they called Naples and Milan. The Goths thought they would find their Asgard here, the mysterious and much blessed city from which they said their ancestors had been exiled. Alaric claimed that an invisible fatality was drawing him toward Rome and that he would die on leaving it.

152Effectively, nature has laid invincible seductions upon that land. “I feel sure,” Goethe says in his memoirs, “that I was born there and that I am returning after a whale hunt that took me to Greenland”: Kennst du das Land, wo die Zitronen blühn, etc. (Goethe, Wilhelm Meister)xiv

153Another of the seductions of Italy is that peril there lies close to pleasure almost everywhere. You have only just escaped glaciers and avalanches when you come upon the Borromean isles and the magic of Lago Maggiore. The fertile plains of the Po are only just protected, by dikes, from the incursions of the most impetuous of rivers. The Tuscan maremma and the Roman campagna are as notable for their murderous insalubrity as for their fertility. “In the maremma,” goes a Tuscan proverb, “one becomes rich in a year’s time and one dies in six months.” On Vesuvius, see my Histoire Romaine, ch. 2.

154Page 41. The Italian makes God come down to him, seeks here an objet d’art. And even in the ceremonies of religious observance he often succeeds in doing this with admirably dramatic genius. At the feast of the Assumption in Messina, the Virgin is carried all through the city in search of her son, just as the goddess of ancient Sicily searched for Proserpine. Finally, at the moment when she is about to enter the central square, she comes face-to-face with the image of the Savior. She trembles and draws back in surprise, and twelve birds fly from her bosom, carrying her burst of maternal joy toward God. How could cruel Mr. Blunt have seen in this nothing more than ridiculous mummery? (Vestiges of Ancient Manners and Customs discoverable in modern Italy and Sicily, by the reverend John James Blunt, fellow of St. John’s College, Cambridge, and later one of the travelling bachelors of that university. London, J. Murray, 1823, p. 158.)

155Page 42. The prayers and formulas of augury are veritable contracts with the gods... In the inscriptions one reads: “Aedem tempestatibus dedit merito… Pompeius votum merito Minervae.” Solvere vota indicates discharge of a contractual obligation. The formula of the vow of a ver sacrum (Livy, XXII) and the formula of the consul Licinius against Antiochus (Livy, XXXVI) are veritable contracts with Jupiter.

156Servius ad Aen. III (ad versum: Da, pater, augurium). Legum dictio apellatur, cum condictio ipsius argurii certa nuncupatione verborum dicitur, quali conditione augurium peracturus sit... tunc enim quasi legitimo jure legem adscribit.

157Varro has preserved the augural formula by which the site of the Capitol was chosen (in my Histoire Romaine, Book I).

158Page 42. To find the finest fruits, to recover a lost bird... Cicero, De Divinatione. For those Romans, famous for their gravity, therefore, religion was often an object of as little seriousness as it is for the Italians of today.

159Page 42. The popes were legists... “better than you men of law.” Expression by Philip of Valois, who sent the decision of the University of Paris on a question of dogma to Pope John XXII in 1333: “Mandans sibi a latere, quatenus sententiam magistrorum de Parisiis, qui melius sciunt quid debet teneri et credi in fide quam juristae et alii clerici, qui parum aut nihil sciunt de theologia, approbaret, etc.” Cont. chron. Guil. de Nangis, p. 97. According to Pierre d’Ailly (Concil. Eccl. Gall., 1406), the king went further; he ordered that the pope, who favored the opinion condemned by the university, be told: “qu’il se révoquast, ou qu’il le feroit ardre.”

160Page 42. Pontifex... “Pontifices ego a ponte arbitror; nam ab iis Sublicius est factus primum et restitutus saepe, cum ideo sacra et ultra et cis Tiberim non mediocri ritu fiant.” Varro, De Lingua latina, IV, 15.

161Page 42. Etruscan monuments... See the great work of Inghirami, the Atlas of Micali (L’Italia Avanti, etc.); Otfried Müller, Die Etrusker, etc.xv

162Page 42. Many churches, but these were the venues of political assemblies. And the scene of countless political crises. Giuliano de’ Medici and Gian Galeazzo Sforza were stabbed in churches. Among other passages that make the political character of the medieval churches vivid, see in our own Villehardouin the admirable scene where the ambassadors of the crusades implore, on their knees and in tears, aid for the people of Venice gathered in Saint Mark’s. One could also cite any number of passages in Villani. The Duomo of Pisa, Santa Maria del Fiore at Florence, and all the old Italian churches that I recall have no tribune, because from a tribune one would have dominated the assembly of the sovereign people.

163Page 42. Strasbourg architects to close the vaults of the Milan cathedral. The autograph letter exists, dated 1481. See Fiorillo, I.xvi

164Page 42. Never the very essence of feudalism, one man’s pledged faith to another. See, in Roman history and in medieval times, how readily clients and vassals turn against their patrons and their lords.

165Page 42. It knows how to die... but to die for an idea. I cannot refrain from offering here the admirable account of the murder of Galeazzo Sforza (see Sismondi, Rép. it., vol. XI, ch. 84, at year 1476), which was dictated between interrogation and torture by the young Girolamo Olgiati, one of those who committed the act. The Milanese could no longer endure this execrable tyrant, who took pleasure in having his victims buried alive and in letting them die slowly, fed only on human excrement. Three young men, Olgiati, Lampugnani, and Visconti (who was a priest), swore to avenge the insults they had suffered and to deliver their fatherland. Their first meeting took place in the garden of the basilica of Saint Ambrose.

166“I then went into the church and threw myself at the feet of the statue of the holy pontiff with the following prayer: ‘Great Saint Ambrose, keeper of this city, hope and defender of the people of Milan, if the undertaking that your fellow citizens have planned in order to expel tyranny, impurity, and monstrous debauchery is worthy of your approbation, favor us amid the dangers we incur in order to deliver our land.’ After praying, I returned to my companions and exhorted them to take courage, assuring them that I felt full of hope and strength since I had invoked the protection of the patron saint of our homeland. In the following days we trained in fencing with daggers to acquire greater agility and to accustom ourselves to the perilous prospect before us... At the sixth hour of the night before Saint Stephen’s Day, our designated day to execute our plan, we met once more, expecting never to meet again. We chose the hour, the role of each of us, all the details of execution, to the extent that one could anticipate them. Early the following morning we went to Saint Stephen’s and entreated the saint to favor the great deed that we were about to accomplish in his sanctuary and not to take offense if we should defile his altars with blood, since that blood was intended to deliver the city and the fatherland. After the prayers in the missal of that first martyr, we recited another that Carlo Visconti had composed. Then we attended the mass celebrated by the arch-priest of the basilica, and I requested the keys to the residence of that priest, to which we retired.”

167The conspirators were gathered around the fire in that house because fierce cold had driven them from the church, when the noise of the crowd announced the approach of the prince. It was the day after Christmas, 26 December 1476. Galeazzo seemed to be kept back by presentiment: he had decided to leave the house only reluctantly. He now proceeded to the festival, flanked by the ambassadors of Ferrara and of Mantua. Inside the church Gian-Andrea Lampugnani advanced toward him until he reached the Rock of the Innocents, parting the crowd with his hand and his voice. When he stood before him, he laid his left hand, as if with respect, on the toque that Galeazzo held in his hand; he dropped to one knee, as if to present a petition, and with his right hand holding a short dagger that he had concealed in his sleeve, he slit the duke’s belly from bottom to top. Simultaneously, Olgiati attacked his chest and throat, and Visconti his shoulder and the middle of the back. Sforza fell into the arms of the two ambassadors who accompanied him, crying: “Oh, God.” The blows were struck so quickly that the ambassadors themselves did not yet know what had happened. At the moment when the duke was killed, violent disorder broke out in the church. A number of men pulled their swords; some fled, others came running up. No one yet knew the aim of the conspirators or their number. But the guards and the courtiers who recognized the murderers set out in pursuit. In attempting to leave the church, Lampugnani plunged into a group of kneeling women and caught his spurs in their robes; he fell and a Moorish groom of the duke overtook him and killed him. Visconti was stopped shortly afterward and also killed by the guards. Olgiati escaped from the church and appeared before his own door, but his father would not receive him and closed the house against him. A friend gave him refuge, where he was not safe for long. He was, as he says himself, about to leave the house and to rally the people to a freedom that the Milanese no longer knew, when he heard a raging mob as it came dragging the broken body of his friend Lampugnani through the muddy streets. He froze in horror, lost courage, and waited for the fatal moment when he would be found. He was put to terrible torture. His body broken, his joints dislocated, he composed the detailed account required of him, which has come down to us. He ends with these words: “And now, holy mother of our Lord, and you, O Princess Bona [the widow of Galeazzo], I beg that your goodness and mercy provide for the salvation of my soul. I ask only that one leave enough life in this miserable body to let me confess my sins in keeping with the rites of the Church and then to undergo my fate.”

168Olgiati was twenty-two years old at the time. He was condemned to be tortured with hot pincers and to be dismembered alive. In the midst of these atrocious torments, a priest exhorted him to repent. Olgiati replied: “I know that I have deserved these torments by many errors, and worse, if my feeble body could support them. But as for the noble feat for which I must die, it reassures my conscience: far from believing that I have deserved my punishment by it, I place in it my hope that the supreme judge will pardon my other sins. No culpable cupidity led me to that deed, only the desire to remove from our midst a tyrant whom we could no longer endure. If I should be revived ten times to die again ten times in the same torment, I would nonetheless dedicate all my blood and all my strength to an end so noble.” The executioner, ripping his skin from his chest, caused him to cry out, but he quickly recovered his composure. “This death is hard,” he said in Latin, “but the glory of it is eternal!” Mors acerba, fama perpetua; stabit vetus memoria facti. (Confessio Hieronymi Olgiati morientis, apud Ripamontium, Historiae ecclesiae mediolanensis, I, 6, p. 649.)

169Page 43. Genius passionate but stern... artificial world of the city. I am aware of the objections that can be raised in light of the present state of Italy. But my task here is to characterize each people by the whole of its development and its history. Even today everything I describe exists, if one does not see all of Italy in terms of Florentine sweetness, Milanese sensuality, and the languor of the Bay of Naples.

170Page 43. Indestructible Roman law... One sees in the third volume of Gans (Erbrecht) how forcefully that law combated the spirit of the Goths, the Lombards, and the Franks. The influence of the popes themselves modified it less than one would like to believe. This ingenious author remarks that Catholicism in Italy is like a duomo that can be seen throughout the land, toward which one turns to pray but which one does not notice when one is busy with other things. The work being prepared by M. Forti (of Florence) will show us still more completely how this particularly Italian form of Roman law developed in the Middle Ages. I have the greatest hopes of the efforts of this knowledgeable young jurisconsult. Not for nothing does one carry in one’s veins the blood of the Sismondi.

171Page 43. Cardano and Tartaglia... Campanella and the unfortunate Bruno. Nowhere has destiny been more cruel toward genius than in Italy. This is explained by the contradiction of a strong personality injured and broken under the yoke of the citadel or of the church. The misfortunes of Dante are known to us, as is the inelegant, painful epitaph that he himself composed for his tomb at Ravenna:

Hic condor Dantes, patriis extorris ab oris,
Quem genuit parvi Florentia mater amoris.

172All the great men of Italy have come to know, as he did, what it is to go up and down the stranger’s stair and to taste how salty is the bread of other people. Campanella, that heroic monk who wanted to arm all the monasteries of Calabria and who negotiated with the Turks to deliver his land from the Spanish, spent twenty-seven years in a dungeon. The sonnets he composed there, which we have today, show just how powerless captivity was to break his spirit. He managed to recover his freedom, took refuge in France, and died there a friend of Cardinal Richelieu, who often came to consult him in his cloister in the rue Saint-Honoré.

173Tartaglia received this ridiculous name (“the Stammerer”) because at age twelve he was slashed by the French at the sack of Brescia, in a church where his mother had sought asylum. The blow split his lip; if it had struck higher, that would have been the end of the restorer of mathematics.

174Cardano, among other misfortunes, knew that of seeing his son executed for murder by poison. The life of this extraordinary man, which he wrote himself, is inferior in style, but not in the interest of its psychological observations, to the Confessions of Saint Augustine, of Montaigne, and of Rousseau.

175What can one say of the painful life and horrible death of poor Giordano Bruno? One cannot see without emotion the sweet and suffering face (at the beginning of the Life by Silber and Rixner) of this man who was tracked through all Europe like a wild beast. After wandering from Geneva to Wittenberg and from Paris to London, this poor Italian wanted to see once more the sun of his own country and let himself be seized at Venice. We know that he was condemned as an atheist at Rome and died at the stake. One could criticize an immoral tendency in his doctrine, but how can he be accused of atheism? This “atheist” has left us countless religious poems, among other things a lovely sonnet, in the manner of Petrarch, to love. By this he always means divine love.

176Page 43. Venetian palette, Lombard grace... Lombardy, Celtic by origin and situated between France and Italy, between movement and beauty, expresses itself in painting by the beauty of movement, by grace. The Venetian school is distinguished by its palette, the Florentine and Roman schools by design. Thus painting, proceeding from Venice to Naples, loses its concrete character and spiritualizes itself, to coin a phrase. It reaches its highest degree of abstraction and spiritualization in Salvator Rosa. The paintings of this great artist have neither brilliance of color nor severity of design, but they are full of life and of ingenious touches. The school of Bologna, coming after all the others, shows an admirable eclecticism.

177Italian art early lost its symbolic genius, smothered practically at birth by a feeling for form, by an adoration of physical beauty. Germany, by contrast, sees in art only symbolism; wholly dedicated to idea, it makes form accessory. Thus the honest ugliness present almost everywhere in German art; but the charm of its moral beauty is often so affecting that the soul denies the judgment of the eyes. When Germany unites idea and form, it equals or surpasses Italy. Who can decide between the Virgins of Cologne and those of the Campo Santo of Pisa?

178No memory and no regret of Italy has remained more vivid for me than that of the city of Pisa. Florence is quite splendid and Rome quite majestic and tragic, but, for all that, I think it would be sweet to live and die at Pisa and to sleep in the Campo Santo. Not only, I avow, because its earth was brought from Jerusalem by I know not how many galleys; but also because that Arab architecture is so weightless, those black and white marbles are in such sweet harmony, by their shadings into yellow, with the sky and the greensward; and that marble tower leans with such a compassionate air over the poor little old town, which has preserved nothing else of its one-time splendor. Ah! Those stones have feeling, have life. In the cloister, where so many mystic faces observed me with a critical eye, I noticed, among the ancient Etruscan tombs and those of Italian crusaders, the pensive statue of the German Henry VII, the chivalrous and devout emperor who was poisoned at communion and chose to die rather than reject the host.

179Page 43. The agrimensor and the haruspex measured and mapped the open fields... the jurist and the military strategist... See my Histoire and the collection by Goesius.xvii In the judgment of Sulla himself, Marius was one of the most skillful farmers on earth.

180Page 43. The Italian gives his name to his estate. Villae Tullianae at Tusculum, Formies, Arpinum, Calvi, Puteoli, Pompeii, etc. Today the ruins of these villas of Cicero are a subject of diligent research. The Villa Manzoni will excite the interest of future travelers no less.

181Page 44. The founders of military architecture... Castriotto and Felice Paciotto, of the duchy of Urbino, who built the famous citadels of Antwerp and of Turin. The classic work on military architecture by the Bolognese Marchi is well known. Another Bolognese, Antonio Alberti, was the first to think of the cadastre.

182Page 44. Judge France by the canuts of Lyon. The name given in that city to the degenerate race that vegetates among its manufactures, particularly of silk.

183Page 44. The continuity of the Italian genius from ancient to modern times ... See on this subject the work of Blunt, cited above, and that of Carlo Denina (Milan, 1807, in-8). Relevant also is the letter of Dr. Middleton following La Conformité des Cérémonies by P. Mussard (Amsterdam, 1744, 2 vols. in-12).

184Page 45. The national costume is almost the same... Juvenal, Sat., XIV, 186; III, 170; Plin., Hist. N., IX, p. xxiii, 1. Narrow streets. Juv., III, 236. Prandium at midday, the siesta, and the evening promenade. Suet., Aug., 78; Plin. Jun., Epistulae, III, 5; Plin., Hist. N., VII, 44; X, 8; Mart., VI, 77, 10; Suet., Aug., 43; Colum. praef.

185Page 45. The improviser... whether he is called Statius or Dante or Sgricci... Juven., VII, 85. One still points out the stone opposite the cathedral of Florence where Dante would sit down among the people (Sasso di Dante). I resent those who set that venerable stone among the flags of a walkway: one must step aside to avoid treading on it. Dante, like Petrarch, declaimed his verses on the Poggio imperiale at the city gate toward Rome.

186Page 45. The filosofi of Venice... the open-air literati. F.J.L. Meyer, Darstellungen aus Italien, 1784-85? Suet., De Ill. Gr.; Aul. G., II, 5.

187Page 45. The plow is the one that Virgil describes... Incumbere aratro has always been the practice. A medal by Enna shows the plowman standing on a plank over the plowshare to impose his weight (Hunter’s Medals, plate 25).

188Page 45. The savage type of the Bruttians... Séjour d’un officier français en Calabre, 1820, p. 242. If we are to believe the witness of the Count of Zurlo, cited by Niebuhr, Greek is still spoken today in the area around Locrum. It is well understood that these are not Albanian colonies.

189Page 45. In the south, idealism, speculation, and the Greeks; in the north, sensualism, action, and the Celts... See, below, one of the notes on France. The Italians are reproached, among other things, for being noisy and big talkers. This would be applicable only to the Italians of the north and of the south, i.e., to the Celts of Lombardy and the Greeks of the kingdom of Naples.

190Page 45. Bergamo, home of Harlequin... Harlequin and Pulcinella have claim to an antiquity remote indeed if it is true that altogether analogous figurines have been found in Etruscan tombs.

191Page 45. The mysterious name of Rome... The mysterious name of Rome was Eros or Amor; the sacerdotal name was Flora or Anthusa; the civil name was Roma. See Plin., H. N., III, 5; Frederik C.C.H. Münter, “De occulto urbis Romae nomine,” no. I of his Antiquarische Abhandlungen (Copenhagen, 1816).

192Page 46. Questa provincia pare nata a risuscitare le cose morte... Machiavelli, Arte della Guerra, L, VIII, subfin.

193Page 46. Rome’s sole export is earth itself, rags, and antiquities... I refer to the pozzolana, which is sought from afar at Rome and used to make a durable cement. Rags are also exported in quantity and used in winter to wrap tender saplings, vines, and orange trees. As for antiquities, Rome has a market to which peasants come on an appointed day to sell what they have dug up during the week. Medals, figurines, etc., are sold there like fruits, vegetables, and other products of the soil.

194Page 46. The praetor and the tribune collecting the sportula from door to door... This, as is known, was the basket of foodstuffs that the grandees of Rome had distributed at their gates to the clients who came to greet them. See Martial, III, 7, 2; Suet., Claud., 32, and the fine passage from Juvenal:

Nunc sportula primo
Limine parva sedet, turbae rapienda togatae
Ille tamen faciem prius inspicit, et trepidat ne
Suppositus venias, ac falso nomine poscas.
Agnitus accipies; jubet a praecone vocari
Ipsos Trojugenas, nam vexant limen et ipsi
Nobiscum: da Praetori, da deinde Tribuno.
Sed libertinus prior est: prior, inquit, ego adsum, etc.

195Page 46. The staple food is still pork... Polybius already speaks of the great number of pigs being raised in Italy, “whether for ordinary consumption or as provisions for war” (lib. II). The meat later distributed to the people was furnished by herds of pigs for whose fodder the emperors reserved the oak forests of Lucania.

196Page 46. Bullfights. Only in Rome, in Spoleto, and in the Romagna does the people take pleasure in bullfights. They are unknown in Naples, despite the long presence of the Spanish. I note in passing that in Naples, for all its corruption, murder is as rare as it is common in Rome. Naples still has something of the gentleness of its Greek descent.

197Page 46. A knife thrust is a frequent, natural gesture in Rome... An abbot kills a man; the people exclaim: Poverino! Ha ammazzato un uomo! Their compassion is with the murderer. After a festival, Meyer found 160 men with knife wounds at La Consolazione.

198Page 46. Death to my lord abbot... “Che la bella principezza sia ammazzata! Che il signore abate sia ammazzato!” And kings among the crowd... I am speaking not only of illustrious travelers, like the present king of Bavaria and many others, but also of the kings living in Rome: of Christina, the Stuarts, Prince Henry of Prussia, the Napoleons. Rome is still a place of refuge. The churches are open to receive brigands, as in the asylum of Romulus. An encounter with a cardinal saves a condemned man, as in ancient times an encounter with a Vestal... The air of that city carries a whiff of something stormy, frenzied, and immoral... Hoffmann made Rome the setting of some of his tales.

199Page 47. Urbanitas... Emptiness of the environs of Rome... War feeding on itself... See on all these matters my Histoire Romaine. Caesar already was charged with draining the Pontine Marshes. (Dion. Plut. Suet., 44). Cicero makes fun of the undertaking (Philip. 3).

200To conclude these parallels between ancient and modern Italy, I add a few details on certain persistent beliefs. The people of the Roman campagna still fear the sorceress Circe and do not dare enter the cave of Circeio (Bonstetten, Voyage sur le théâtre de l’Énéïde). The Romans are perfectly certain that bella Tarpeia lives at the bottom of an ancient well on the Capitoline, seated and covered with diamonds (Niebuhr). I confess that I searched there in vain for both the well and the tradition. All the Sabelli, especially the Marsi, interpreted omens, particularly the flight of birds. The Marsi charmed serpents and healed their bite. Still today jongleurs come to Rome and to Naples from the same countrysides. The Giravoli from the environs of Syracuse claim, like the ancient Psylli, to cure snakebite by their saliva. Like the statues of Eskapuleios and Hygieia, they carry a serpent in their hands. The people of the kingdom of Naples today attribute to San Domenico di Cullino what their ancestors attributed to Medea (Micali, Italia, etc., and Grimaldi, Annali del R. di Napoli, IV, p. 328. 38).

201In ancient Rome, 420 temples; in modern Rome, more than 150 churches. The temple of Vesta is today the church of the Madonna del Sole; the temple of Romulus and Remus has become the church of Saints Cosmas and Damian, the twin brothers. It is believed that the temple of Salus has given way to San Vitale. Near Lavinium (Pratica) stands the chapel of Santa Anna Petronilla, on the very shore of the Nimicius from which Anna Perenna, the sister of Dido, hurled herself; she returned in the form of an old woman to feed the Roman people on the Mons Sacer. In the Forum Boarium, near the square of the Ara Maxima, where oaths were sworn (Mehercle), stands the church of Santa Maria in Cosmedin, better known to the people as Bocca della Verità.

202Page 47. The German, or Ghibelline, party... If a Guelph wants to make himself a tyrant, Matteo Villani observes, he must switch and become a Ghibelline.

203Page 48. The radicalism of the Roman church... I hope one day to prove and clarify what I content myself with merely stating here.

204Page 48. Local influences of race and climate... It was Dr. Edwards, I believe, who first fully elucidated the fruitful principle of the persistence of race. I hope that this illustrious physiologist will eventually lay out his ideas on the crossing of races more extensively. He alone perhaps is capable of raising that particular part of physiology to the level of science, because he alone will take account of an element that has been too much neglected by those who address themselves to these studies. A combination of anatomy and chemistry is not yet physiology. The very same elements produce different products; the mystery of basic life, of life itself, introduces infinite variation into the outcomes. The combination of hydrogen and carbon produces both oil and sugar. From the Celto-Latino-Germanic mélange come both France and England.


205Page 50. The originalities of the provinces... I have always been much affected by the sight of the endlessly renewed generations that my teaching brings before me every year. They soon escape me again and go their way, but each one leaves some interesting recollection. This sight was particularly striking at the École Normale. These students, coming from every province and so naively representing their types, offered in the aggregate a synopsis of France. It was then that I began to understand better the diverse nationalities of which the nationality of my country is composed. While I recounted the stories of past times to my young listeners, their features, their gestures, the forms of their language offered me, without their knowledge, another story, far deeper and more true. In some I recognized the ingenious races of the South, the Roman and Iberian blood of Provence and Languedoc, by which France binds herself to Italy and Spain and which shall one day unite under its influence all the peoples of the Latin languages. In others I found the tough Celtic race, the resistant element of the ancient world, those hard heads with their enduring poetry and their insular nationality even on the continent. Elsewhere I recognized the conquering, quarrelsome people of Normandy, the most heroic of heroic times, the most industrious of the industrial era. Some, in their feeling for history, denoted good strong Flanders, land of fine deeds and fine lays, which gave Constantinople historians and emperors by turns. The blue eyes and blond heads of others made me think hopefully of that French Germany thrown like a bridge between two civilizations and two races. Finally, the absence of an indigenous character, imprecise features, a quick grasp, and a universal capacity announced Paris, the mind and the intellect of France.

206Page 50. Swift sword... This is Gernot of the Nibelungen. Wherever sword thrusts are to be given or received, I wager there is a Frenchman present. At the battle of Nicopolis the captured crusaders found in the circle of Bajazet a Picard who had served Tamerlane before joining the Turks. The general of the armies of Cochin China today is one of our countrymen. The Frenchman is that naughty child that the mother of Duguesclin characterized: the one who always hits the others. In the history of our popular movements an essential element found only in France has been forgotten: the gamin. Let this careless, fearless child grow up; if he hasn’t worn himself out prematurely, the little rascal can save the fatherland. In a military era, the gamin, formed, disciplined, tempered like steel by fatigue and by action in every climate, ultimately became that terrible guardsman, Bonaparte’s grognard, presuming to judge his commander and following him always. In these two types, the gamin and the grognard, reside all the military genius of France.

207Page 51. The legislative people of modern times... The science of law has two countries of origin, Rome and France, two eras, the second century and the seventeenth, and two authorities, Papinianus and Cujas. In the days of Cujas, the Germans doffed their hats at the mention of his name (see the Life by Berryat Saint-Prix). In our own time, also among the Germans, the historical school has restored the altars of Cujas. From the thirteenth century, France, with Italy, was regarded as the land of the law. An ancient German poet, having traveled through all the infidel Welsch lands, specifies the singularities of each: “I did not want to study magic under the necromancers of Dol, but I’ll tell you how many lawyers there are in Vienne in the Dauphiné” (Tanhuser, cited by Goerres, Altteutsche Volks- und Meisterlieder, aus den Handschriften. der Heidelberger Bibliothek, 1817).

208Page 52. One should see what-all our men do in the ancient chronicles... See, for example, L’Histoire de Jean de Paris, roi de France, printed at Troyes, and many other popular books. This is probably the most shameless bit of boasting put forward by any people.

209Page 52. The literature of France is eloquence and rhetoric... the people of rhetors and of prose writers... All this is generally true. France lacks a poetry of images, but I am far from denying her a poetry of movement, which is also eloquence.

210I cannot abandon this subject without observing how struck the ancients were by the rhetorical instinct and noisiness of the Gauls. Nata in vanos tumultus gens (Livy on the taking of Rome). Public criers, trumpeters, advocates were often Gauls. Insuber, id est, Mercator et praeco (Cicero, In Pisonem). See also the entire oration Pro Fonteio. “Pleraque Gallia duas res industriosissime persequitur, virtutem bellicam et argute loqui” (Cato, In Charisio? I cite from memory). Ἀπειληταὶ, καὶ ἀνατατικοὶ, καὶ τετραγῳδημένοι. (Diod. Sic., lib. IV.)

211In the political assemblies of the Gauls, the orators often refused to yield the floor. Whereupon an usher, having twice demanded silence, approached the recalcitrant one, sword in hand, and cut off a panel of his cloak, enough to make the rest useless. Ὅσον ἄχρηστον ποιῆσαι τὸ λοιπόν. (Strab., VI, p. 197.)

212The Rederiker or rhetoricians of the Low Countries were imitating France, not Germany (Grimm, Über den Meistergesang). By this very term Belgium avowed what France believed but had not understood: that literature is rhetoric. In the chambers of the rhetoricians, the poet was made to kneel and was obliged to reach the end of his poetic work before he could stand up again. These ridiculous conditions, and the prodigiously complicated metrics of the troubadours, show that rhetoricians and poets alike were mainly preoccupied with the merits of difficulty overcome.

213Page 53. Louis le Débonnaire... Charles the Bald wrote of his brothers: “If only they had brought me before the tribunal of the bishops, my natural judges.” But for the Norman invasions, which obliged France to take on a military and feudal character, the rule by bishops would have gone on.

214Page 53. Priests and kings then contrive to create communes and to gather there an anti-feudal army... “Tum communitas in Francia popularis statuta est a praesulibus, ut presbyteri comitarentur regi ad obsidionem vel pugnam, cum vexillis et parochianis omnibus” (Orderic Vital., p. 836, ed. Duchesne).

215Page 53. At the same time that the local privileges of the communes are collapsing, the Estates General are established... Deputies of the third estate summoned to the assembly of barons in 1302. From 1320 to 1375, suppression of the communes of Laon, Soissons, Meulan, Tournai, Péronne, Neuville, Roye, etc.

216Page 54. As adversary to the head of feudalism, the Emperor, France elevates and stands by the pontiff of Rome... In a harangue before the Diet assembled at Besançon in 1162, the archbishop of Cologne and chancellor of Frederick Barbarossa called the kings of France and of England provincial kings (Saxo Gramm., I, 14). Emperor Henry VI wanted to require an oath of fidelity of the king of France (Innoc. III, ep. 64). In the cloisters of Germany the monks produced a play where all the kings of the world submitted to the emperor; the king of France resisted, aided by the antichrist (Thesaur. Anecdot., II, pt. III, p. 187).

217Page 54. Confiscate the pontificate... See above, in one of the notes on Italy, what tyranny Philip the Fair and Philip of Valois exercised over the popes during their time in Avignon. The house of France, which disposed over the authority of the Holy See, possessed the kingdom of Naples, and claimed that of Aragon, attracted the hatred and the jealousy of all Europe. Edward I and Edward III were regarded as the avengers of Christianity. One can gauge the animosity of the Italians by the famous passage in which Dante lets Hugues Capet speak. The poet takes the blind violence of his invective to the point of letting the founder of the third race be told that he is the son of a butcher of Paris:

Io fui radice della mala pianta
Che la terra Cristiana tutta aduggia,
Si che buon frutto rado se ne schianta.
Ma se Doaggio, Guanto, Lilla et Bruggia
Potesser, tosto ne saria vendetta:
Ed io la cheggio a lui che tutto giuggia.
Chiamato fui di là Ugo Ciapetta:
Di me son nati i Filippi, et i Luigi,
Per cui novellamente è Francia retta:
Figliuol fui d’un beccajo di Parigi,
Quando li regi antichi venner meno
Tutti, fuor ch’un renduto in panni bigi.
Trovami stretto nelle mani il freno
Del governo del regno e tanta possa
Di nuovo acquisto, e più d’amici pieno,
Ch’alla corona vedova promossa
La testa di mio figlio fu, dal quale
Cominciar di costor le sacrate ossa.
Mentre che la gran dote Provenzale
Al sangue mio non tolse la vergogna,
Poco valea, ma pur non facea male.
Lì cominciò con forza et con menzogna
La sua rapina; et poscia per ammenda
Ponti et Normandi prese e Guascogna.
Carlo venne in Italia e per ammenda
Vittima fe’ di Corradino, e poi
Ripinse al ciel Tommaso per ammenda.
Tempo vegg’io non molto dopo ancoi,
Che tragge un altro Carlo fuor di Francia
Per far conoscer meglio e se e I suoi.
Senz’arme n’esce, e solo con la lancia
Con la qual giostrò Giuda, e quella ponta,
Si, ch’a Fiorenza fa scoppiar la pancia.
Quindi non terra, ma peccato e onta
Guadagnerà per se, tanto più grave
Quanto più lieve simil danno conta.
L’altro che ci già usù, presso di nave.
Veggio vender sua figlia e patteggiarne,
Come fan li Corsar dell’ altre schiave.
O avarizia, che puoi tu più farne,
Poi c’hai il sangue mio a te si tratto,
Che non si cura della propria carne?
Perchè men paja il mal futuro, e’l fatto.
Veggio in Alagna entrar lo fiordaliso,
E nel vicario suo Cristo esser catto.
Veggiolo un altra volta esser deriso:
Veggio rinnovellar l’aceto e’l fele,
E tra vivi ladroni essere anciso.
Veggio’l nuova Pilato si crudele,
One cio nol sazia, ma senza decreto
Porta nel tempio le cupide vele.
O signor mio, quando sarò io lieto,
A veder la vendetta, que nascosa
Fa dolce l’ira tua nel tuo segreto?
Dante, Purgatorio, XX

218Page 54. A saying in Provence in the twelfth century... See Sismondi, Littératures du midi de l’Europe.

219Page 54. The king of France is presented as a citizen king. Fleury says: “In France all private persons are free [he means, no doubt, in comparison with the rest of Europe]; there is no slavery; there is liberty of domicile, travel, commerce, marriage, choice of profession, acquisition and disposition of property, inheritance.” In a curious passage Machiavelli makes the same judgment: “There have been many kings and very few good kings. I mean among absolute sovereigns, among whom one may not count the kings of Egypt of the most remote times, when that land was governed by laws; nor those of Sparta; nor those of France in modern times, where the government of the kingdom is the most tempered by law that we know of” (Disc. Sopr. Tit. Liv., I, c. 8). Elsewhere he says: “The kingdom of France is content and peaceful because the king is subject to any number of laws that protect the peoples. The one who set up that government wanted kings to dispose freely over arms and the treasury; but for other matters, he put them under the rule of law” (Disc., I, 16). Commines (V, ch. 19): “Is there king or baron on earth who has power except in his own demesnes to impose any levy on his subjects without the authorization and consent of those who are to pay it, unless it be by tyranny and violence? ... Our king is the lord who has least occasion to use the formula: I have privilege of imposing what I please on my subjects. For neither he nor another has such privilege; and they do him no honor who say he does, to make him seem more grand.”

220Page 54. To disobey on pain of disobedience... This order, given parliament by Louis XII, has been renewed more than once on other terms. It is not at all contradictory. In a prince there are two persons: the king and the man. The former forbade obedience to the latter.

221Page 55. England explains France, but by opposition... See, in L’Histoire de la Guerre de la Péninsule, vol. I, by General Foy, an admirable tableau of the contrasts between the French and the English armies.

222Page 55. Human pride made flesh... obstacle to the fusion of the races and to the convergence of social station, , , the Satanic school... The truest formula concerning an extremely complex subject must ignore numerous exceptions; precisely because it ignores exceptions, it is a formula and a true formula. England, to be sure, is trying to emerge from the state I have described, but the difficulty she has doing so proves my assertions. Consideration of the Reform Bill was ratified by a majority of one vote. In matters of religion, I see that England is making unbelievable efforts to believe. The ones fasten upon the letter, upon the Bible; the others let themselves be guided by the spirit—across wilderness and precipice. Nations themselves are often deceived about the state of their religious faith. For a certainty, the century of Louis XIV believed that it believed; Bossuet triumphed from the chancel. But behind triumphant Bossuet, somber Pascal was murmuring, and he alone had the pulse of the times, with a steady view into the abyss between Montaigne and Voltaire. As to England, her turn of mind is determined by her unvarying predilection for the three poets I have named. Her poetry is in three acts: doubt, evil, and despair. Shakespeare stands at the beginning of this terrible trilogy. As soon as England comes to herself again after the French wars, the Wars of the Roses, and the Reformation, her first cry is a bitter irony upon this world. Shakespeare mirrors the universe—minus God. Situated in the extreme west, England has felt the breath of the East less than any other people. Her literature is the most western, the most heroic, which is to say, the most dedicated to the pride of self. Western development reached its furthest point in Fichte, Byron, and the French Revolution. The moment of correction is about to arrive. The Germanic race, having come from India, has already returned there aboard the ships of England. Bonaparte, so French, so Italian, nonetheless already sympathizes with the East, above all with Muslim radicalism. Fatality pushed humanity from the East into the West; today we are returning voluntarily toward the East. English India will do for Asia what ancient India did for Europe.

223Page 55. The unbridled life of coursing and adventure... rulers of the sea, of a world without law and without limit... Possession of the barren element (ἀτρυγέτοιο θαλάσσης) always produced that fierce pride. It explodes in Aeschylus. But in the Greek city the individual was too constrained to be able to reach full development. In addition, the Greek navy was extremely timid; those who never lost sight of the shore, who saw a fine temple atop every promontory were always well guided by the gods. On the boundless, solitary Ocean, by contrast... The Corsair of Byron and the first volume of Thierry (Conquête de l’Angleterre, etc.) are the true commentary on all this.

224Page 55. Egoism... Sometimes egoism is a product of greed for pleasure, sometimes of the pride that disdains pleasure. Hence the prosaic tendencies of English industrialism alongside such sublime poetry. This explains how gentle Tuscany and industrial Florence could have bred Michelangelo, whose inspiration seems to have come from rage and disdain.

225Page 55. Evil, be thou my good...

Evil, be thou my good!...
Down to bottomless perdition…
Milton, Paradise Lost, IV, 5, line 110; I, 5, line 17

226Page 55. The Gaul sings of the fast approaching humiliation of England... See Thierry, Conquête de l’Angleterre, IV.

227Page 56. The iconoclastic warrior aristocracies of Persia and of Rome... Plutarch (Life of Numa) tells us that the Romans did not worship images in the early centuries. I have pointed to certain other analogies between Persia and Rome elsewhere.

228Page 56. The one who always says, No... See the speech of the shah (?) ... in Saint-Martin, Histoire d’Arménie.

229Page 57. Commonplace, prosaic... my name is legion. Those who find this observation a bit harsh might recall that it is considered unforgivably ridiculous to be what we call original in matters of language and custom.

230Page 57. How the unmixed races eagerly drink up corruption... To cite only one example, consider how our Merovingians bastardize themselves in short order. They reach the point where the last of them almost all die at age twenty.

231Page 58. And may this word be heard in Italy! It may have been heard too well. Unhappy Bologna, in what condition will this book find you when it crosses the Alps? Alas! A French city at heart! Which Dante longed to see supreme in language and spirit in Italy!

232Page 59. The child must quit its mother... Here the somber and discouraging picture that the Ossian of German philosophy paints of this solemn moment:

233“After the art of painting had cast its last ray of light, after Shakespeare had closed the gates of heaven, came a long sleep of death. The Antichrist was born... Earth had hung upon heaven as a nursling hangs upon its mother’s breast; it was time for her, having become strong, to separate; the Reformation undertook to wean her. Today the earth spirit sorts through entrails of gold and of iron, searching for the bezoar that will heal it; the pallor of death marks its face; its bones ache; how could it think of the songs and the sounds of the lyre?... It is touching to see that the poets will not relent; the leaves have all turned yellow; each gust of wind strews the ground with them, and the child of poetry, not budging from its bough, still sings its sorrows, its hopes; the sun sinks further and further, the nights become longer and longer, the cold, dark powers dominate life more and more...”

234Page 59. Like Werner... Or rather, Jean-Paul (Richter), I believe.

235Page 60. For nearly forty years... It does seem that time has not been lost during this agitated period, not even for our well-being. In 1789 the average life span was 28 ¾ years; in 1831 it is 31 ½ years (Annuaire du Bureau des Longitudes, 1831).

236Page 60. Order will return... Nowhere are there more landowners than here; nowhere are proletarians more free in their activity and therefore more able to cease to be proletarians; nowhere are the need and the instinct for centralization stronger. France is as if made to act upon the world and will enjoy central power longer than any other people; she, more than any other people, is a political person; action requires personality; personality does not exist without unity: a further guaranty of public order.

237Page 60. The Athenian said: Hail! City of Cecrops!... I restore the entire passage here. It is perhaps the most beautiful of Marcus Aurelius:

238Πᾶν μοι συναρμόζει ὃ σοὶ εὐάρμοστόν ἐστι, ὦ κόσμε οὐδέν μοι πρόωρον, οὐδὲ ὄψιμον, τὸ σοὶ εὔκαιρον πᾶν καρπὸς ὃ ϕέρουσιν αἱ σαὶ ὧραι, ὦ ϕύσις ἐκ σοῦ πάντα, ἐν σοὶ πάντα, εἰς σὲ πάντα. Ἐκεῖνος μέν ϕησι, πόλι ϕίλη Κέκροπος σὺ δὲ οὐκ ἐρεῖς, ὦ πόλι ϕίλη Δίος.

239O world, all that is in harmony with you is in harmony with me. For me nothing is too early, nothing too late that is in good time for you. O nature, whatever your seasons bring is fruitful. All things come from you, all things are in you, all things are for you. And the other said: “Beloved city of Cecrops.” Do you then not say: “O beloved city of Jupiter!” (Lib. IV, 23.)

240Page 61. The Word of the social world... The ancient world bequeathed to the modern as testament two expressions of admirable profundity: “Knowledge is the demonstration of faith” (Saint Clement of Alexandria) and “Man is liberty” (Proclus). It was the destiny of man to move by means of liberty from faith to knowledge. And knowledge itself is the most powerful means of liberty. Popularized knowledge is the means of an equal liberty, of a free equality, an ideal that humankind will approach more and more but never attain. With the result that another life is always necessary to complete the full development of man.

241Page 63. By placing ourselves on the summit of the Capitoline... This is the lovely image of the elegant and ingenious author of L’Histoire du Droit de succession, which I have already cited (Gans, Erbrecht, vol. I).

242Page 63. The genius of Italy and of France... Rome is the crux of the drama...This publication will be followed immediately by that of my history of Italy (République Romaine, pt. 1). May I therefore take the occasion to point out the unity of spirit that has presided in my work thus far and may I be forgiven for speaking, necessarily, of myself. In matters of method, questions proliferate; individuals matter little.

243Having begun teaching early (since 1817) and without having enjoyed the advantage of courses at the École Normale, I was obliged to find my own way. For better or worse, my direction was my own. Obliged to teach successively, and often simultaneously, philosophy, history, and languages, I became aware of the intimate relationship, constantly before me, of the study of ideas and of facts, of the ideal and of the real. In the first enthusiasm that such a point of view could not fail to inspire in a young man, I conceived and prepared an Essai sur l’histoire de la civilisation trouvée dans les langues. But my serious and sustained work began only in 1824, in a treatment of L’Unité des sciences qui font l’objet de l’enseignement classique (printed but not published). In 1827 I produced simultaneously a piece on the philosophy of history and several essays on history or criticism (Principes de la philosophie de l’histoire, traduits de la Scienza nuova de Vico; Précis de l’Histoire moderne; Vie de Zénobie in Biographie universelle, etc.); I published similar work in 1831. The short philosophical essay that this note concludes will be followed by various more extensive historical studies. (L’Histoire de la République romaine, Précis d’Histoire de France, and the first two volumes of L’Histoire de France have appeared subsequently.)

244No one will fail to see the connection between Vico’s publication and the present one. In the philosophy of history, Vico has placed himself between Bossuet and Voltaire, both of whom he dominates. Bossuet had confined world history within a narrow frame and set an immutable limit to the development of humankind. Voltaire had denied this development and scattered history to the four winds by delivering it to blind chance. In the work of the Italian philosopher, the god of all ages and of all peoples shone for the first time over history: Providence. Vico is superior even to Herder. He understands humanity not as a plant that springs from the earth by organic development under the dew of heaven, but as the harmonic system of the civil world. To see man, Herder placed himself in nature; Vico places himself in man, in man making himself more human by means of society. This is what makes my good Vico the true prophet of the new order that is beginning and it is thus that his book deserves the name he dared to give it: Scienza nuova.


245i The reference is to Voyages de monsieur le chevalier Chardin en Perse et autres lieux de l’Orient (first edn., Amsterdam 1711). [Ed.]

246ii Ayeen-Akbery: or The Institutes of the Emperor Akber, translated by Francis Gladwin (Calcutta: William Mackay, 1774; London: G. Auld, 1800). [Ed.]

247iii The play Sakontala or Shakuntala was translated from the Sanskrit into English by Sir William Jones and published in London in 1789 and again in 1807. It was known to Goethe and is the title of an opera by Franz Schubert. [Ed.]

248iv Joseph Guigniaut’s translation of Georg Friedrich Creuzer’s Symbolik und Mythologie der Alten Völker (1810-1812) was published in four volumes as Religions de l’antiquité considérées principalement dans leurs formes symboliques et mythologiques (Paris: Treuttel et Würtz, 1825-1841). [Ed.]

249v Michelet does not specify any one of many editions, from the seventeenth to the nineteenth century, of Panegyrici veteres. “Zozim.” probably refers to Historiarum Herodianicas subsequentium libri II, or Herodiani Historiarum Romanorum libri VIII, ed. Henricus Stephanus Zozimus. [Ed.]

250vi Probably Dei gesta per Francos by Guibert de Nogent (eleventh—twelfth century). [Ed.]

251vii Historiarum libri quinque by Rudolph Glaber (985-1047). [Ed.]

252viii Michelet does not indicate clearly that—as pointed out by Aurélien Aramini in endnote ix below—this long note/clarification consists of a translation, freely adapted, from the German text in Brüder Grimm, Altdeutsche Wälder, vol. 1 (Cassel: Thurneissen, 1813) and vol. 3 (Frankfurt: Bernhard Körner, 1816). In addition, Michelet does not distinguish clearly between his translations of short passages from the Grimms’ introduction (vol. 3, pp. 97-108) and his translations of the texts reproduced by the Grimms (vol. 3, pp. 109-148). Nor is the reader informed that the old texts about the hunter, given in a prose translation, are in rhyming verse in the original or that what is given in French translation is a selection, separated by large gaps, of verses that occupy over 40 pages in the original. Some verses have even been removed from their place in the original and resituated in the translation (e.g. “On your feet, cook and steward. Prepare a fine soup and a barrel of wine today, so that we can all live merrily”). The Reception of a Companion Smith and the Reception of a Companion Cooper, also much abbreviated (though omissions are here sometimes indicated by ellipses) are taken from vol. 1 of Altdeutsche Wälder (pp. 88-99 and pp. 100-122 respectively). On Michelet’s free appropriation of his sources, see Stephen Bann, The Clothing of Clio (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1984), pp. 33-35, 48. [Ed.]

253ix Original French: les anciens joete, héros et nains, échangent des questions et se demandent des signes. The word joete was not found in any dictionary of French or Old French, German (including Grimm), Dutch, Danish, Italian, Spanish, or Old Provençal. Nor is it the object of an explanatory note in any edition of the Introduction à l’histoire universelle, including that of Paul Viallaneix in volume 2 of his great 21-volume Oeuvres complètes (Paris: Flammarion, 1971-1987). An explanation of the term was solicited from Professor Paule Petitier, Professor of French Literature at the University of Paris Diderot-Paris 7, the author of many books and articles on Michelet and the co-editor, with Paul Viallaneix, of a multi-volume re-edition of Michelet’s Histoire de France (Sainte-Marguerite sur Mer: Editions des Équateurs, 2006-2008). Several weeks after offering her own interpretation of the mysterious term, Professor Petitier communicated the following explanation of it, which had been sent to her by Aurélien Aramini, a doctoral candidate at the University of Besançon, and which she judged more convincing than her own. The editor and translator are grateful to both Professor Petitier and Aurélien Aramini for generously sharing the results of their research. Aurélien Aramini’s note, freely translated by the editor and with some added references, follows [Ed.].

254The term “joete” does not exist either in French or in German. For good reason. It was created by Michelet. Or, rather, he transcribed a German word into French. The long note in which the term appears is itself in large measure a translation—without quotation marks, as was often the practice of the philosopher-historian—of passages from Altdeutsche Wälder, vol. 3, by the brothers Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm (Frankfurt: Körner, 1816). The original German text runs as follows: “Wie die alten Jöten, Zwerge und Helden Rede wechseln und sich sichere Zeichen abfragen u.s.w.” (p. 102).

255Who are these “Jöten”? As the topic under discussion where the term appears is poetic symbolism, it probably refers to characters in Germanic mythology. There is no mention of “Jöten” or “Joete” in any French work of the Restoration period. On the other hand, the pagan pantheon of the Germanic tribes is described in several books in German. We know from an entry in his “Journal de mes lectures” [Écrits de jeunesse: Journal (1820-1823), Mémorial, Journal des idées, ed. P Viallaneix (Paris: Gallimard, 1959), p. 330] that in September 1828 Michelet read the Wolsunga Saga in [the first volume of] Friedrich von der Hagen’s collection [of Nordische Heldenromane uebersetzt durch Friedrich Heinrich von der Hagen (Breslau: Josef Max und Kemp, 1815)]. He also translated passages from Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm in the notes to the Introduction à l’histoire universelle. There is no reason to believe that the philosopher-historian had not read or did not know of the German-language works on Germanic mythology that did exist. And “Jöten” are indeed part of Germanic mythology. In his Mythologie der alten Teutschen und Slaven (Znaim: Hofmann, 1827) Anton Tkany explains (p. 147) that the terms “Jetten, Jöten, or Jotun” refer “in Scandinavian mythology to giants who are also called Thussen and Krymthussen.” Thus, like the “dwarves” or the “heroes,” the “Jöten” are mythical figures, “perpetual enemies of the Ases (Gods),” according to Tkany, whose work, incidentally, was not unknown in France, since it is mentioned in the Journal général de la littérature étrangère in 1827. There is no doubt that Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm are referring to these mythical figures. Michelet’s French version of the German “Jöten” as “joete” thus refers to those giants of Germanic and Scandinavian mythology.

256x Ein Gespräch, die neun Gab-Musä oder Kunstgöttin betreffend (1536). [Ed.]

257xi Die Wittembirgisch Nachtigall die man yetz höret vberall. [Ed.]

258xii “Mayer” probably refers to Johann Friedrich von Meyer (1772-1849), a German jurist and theosophist, author of a German translation of Cicero’s De natura deorum (1806) and of a short volume Zur Aegyptologie (1840). “Kanne” is almost certainly Johann Arnold Kanne, author of Pantheum der Aeltesten Naturphilosophie: Die Religion aller Völker (1811). [Ed.]

259xiii Byron, The Island, II, xvii, 17-19. [Tr.]

260xiv Michelet quotes the first line of “Mignons Lied” from Wilhelm Meisters Lehrjahre, in “the elegant translation of M. Toussenel.” [Tr.]

261xv Francesco Inghirami, Monumenti etruschi o di etrusco nome (Fiesole, 1821); Giuseppe Micali, L’Italia avanti il dominio dei Romani (Florence, 1810); Karl Otfried Müller, Die Etrusker (Breslau, 1828). [Ed.]

262xvi J.D. Fiorillo, Geschichte der Künste und Wissenschaften (Göttingen, 1798). [Ed.]

263xvii Wilelmus Goesius, Rei agrariae auctores legesque variae (Amsterdam, 1674). [Ed.]


1 Two German words that sound alike and that one always finds together in the old songs to describe what is unpleasant. E.g., in a ranz (Recueil de J.-R. Wyss, Berne, 1826): “Tryh yha, allsamma:/Die hinket, die stinket,” etc. [Michelet’s footnote; translator’s and editor’s notes, indicated by Roman numerals, are given as endnotes. —Ed.]

2 Each trade had its hostel at the home of a senior companion.

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