Jurgen

Jurgen

JURGEN JAMES BRANCE CABELL TO BURTON RASCOE Before each tarradiddle Uncowed by sciolists Robuster persons twiddle Tremendously big fists. "Our gods are good" they tell us; "Nor will our gods defer Remission of rude fellows' Ability to err." So this your JURGEN travels Content to compromise Ordainments none unravels Explicitly ... and sighs. * * * * * "Others with better moderation do either entertain the vulgar history of Jurgen as a fabulous addition unto the true and authentic story of St. Iurgenius of Poictesme or else we conceive the literal acception to be a misconstruction of the symbolical expression: apprehending a veritable history in an emblem or piece of Christian poesy. And this emblematical construction hath been received by men not forward to extenuate the acts of saints." --PHILIP BORSDALE. "A forced construction is very idle. If readers of _The High History of Jurgen_ do not meddle with the allegory the allegory will not meddle with them. Without minding it at all the whole is as plain as a pikestaff. It might as well be pretended that we cannot see Poussin's pictures without first being told the allegory as that the allegory aids us in understanding _Jurgen_." --E. NOEL CODMAN. "Too urbane to advocate delusion too hale for the bitterness of irony this fable of Jurgen is as the world itself a book wherein each man will find what his nature enables him to see; which gives us back each his own image; and which teaches us each the lesson that each of us desires to learn." --JOHN FREDERICK LEWISTAM. * * * * * _CONTENTS_ A FOREWORD: WHICH ASSERTS NOTHING I WHY JURGEN DID THE MANLY THING II ASSUMPTION OF A NOTED GARMENT III THE GARDEN BETWEEN DAWN AND SUNRISE IV THE DOROTHY WHO DID NOT UNDERSTAND V REQUIREMENTS OF BREAD AND BUTTER VI SHOWING THAT SEREDA IS FEMININE VII OF COMPROMISES ON A WEDNESDAY VIII OLD TOYS AND A NEW SHADOW IX THE ORTHODOX RESCUE OF GUENEVERE X PITIFUL DISGUISES OF THRAGNAR XI APPEARANCE OF THE DUKE OF LOGREUS XII EXCURSUS OF YOLANDE'S UNDOING XIII PHILOSOPHY OF GOGYRVAN GAWR XIV PRELIMINARY TACTICS OF DUKE JURGEN XV OF COMPROMISES IN GLATHION XVI DIVERS IMBROGLIOS OF KING SMOIT XVII ABOUT A COCK THAT CROWED TOO SOON XVIII WHY MERLIN TALKED IN TWILIGHT XIX THE BROWN MAN WITH QUEER FEET XX EFFICACY OF PRAYER XXI HOW ANAITIS VOYAGED XXII AS TO A VEIL THEY BROKE XXIII SHORTCOMINGS OF PRINCE JURGEN XXIV OF COMPROMISES IN COCAIGNE XXV CANTRAPS OF THE MASTER PHILOLOGIST XXVI IN TIME'S HOUR-GLASS XXVII VEXATIOUS ESTATE OF QUEEN HELEN XXVIII OF COMPROMISES IN LEUKE XXIX CONCERNING HORVENDILE'S NONSENSE XXX ECONOMICS OF KING JURGEN XXXI THE FALL OF PSEUDOPOLIS XXXII SUNDRY DEVICES OF THE PHILISTINES XXXIII FAREWELL TO CHLORIS XXXIV HOW EMPEROR JURGEN FARED INFERNALLY XXXV WHAT GRANDFATHER SATAN REPORTED XXXVI WHY COTH WAS CONTRADICTED XXXVII INVENTION OF THE LOVELY VAMPIRE XXXVIII AS TO APPLAUDED PRECEDENTS XXXIX OF COMPROMISES IN HELL XL THE ASCENSION OF POPE JURGEN XLI OF COMPROMISES IN HEAVEN XLII TWELVE THAT ARE FRETTED HOURLY XLIII POSTURES BEFORE A SHADOW XLIV IN THE MANAGER'S OFFICE XLV THE FAITH OF GUENEVERE XLVI THE DESIRE OF ANAITIS XLVII THE VISION OF HELEN XLVIII CANDID OPINIONS OF DAME LISA XLIX OF THE COMPROMISE WITH KOSHCHEI L THE MOMENT THAT DID NOT COUNT A FOREWORD _"Nescio quid certe est: et Hylax in limine latrat."_ _A Foreword: Which Asserts Nothing._ In Continental periodicals not more than a dozen articles in all would seem to have given accounts or partial translations of the Jurgen legends. No thorough investigation of this epos can be said to have appeared in print anywhere prior to the publication in 1913 of the monumental _Synopses of Aryan Mythology_ by Angelo de Ruiz. It is unnecessary to observe that in this exhaustive digest Professor de Ruiz has given (VII p. 415 _et sequentia_) a summary of the greater part of these legends as contained in the collections of Verville and Buelg; and has discussed at length and with much learning the esoteric meaning of these folk-stories and their bearing upon questions to which the "solar theory" of myth explanation has given rise. To his volumes and to the pages of Mr. Lewistam's _Key to the Popular Tales of Poictesme_ must be referred all those who may elect to think of Jurgen as the resplendent journeying and procreative sun. Equally in reading hereinafter will the judicious waive all allegorical interpretation if merely because the suggestions hitherto advanced are inconveniently various. Thus Verville finds the Nessus shirt a symbol of retribution where Buelg with rather wide divergence would have it represent the dangerous gift of genius. Then it may be remembered that Dr. Codman says without any hesitancy of Mother Sereda: "This Mother Middle is the world generally (an obvious anagram of _Erda es_) and this Sereda rules not merely the middle of the working-days but the midst of everything. She is the factor of _middleness_ of mediocrity of an avoidance of extremes of the eternal compromise begotten by use and wont. She is the Mrs. Grundy of the Leshy; she is Comstockery: and her shadow is common-sense." Yet Codman speaks with certainly no more authority than Prote when the latter in his _Origins of Fable_ declares this epos is "a parable of ... man's vain journeying in search of that rationality and justice which his nature craves and discovers nowhere in the universe: and the shirt is an emblem of this instinctive craving as ... the shadow symbolizes conscience. Sereda typifies a surrender to life as it is a giving up of man's rebellious self-centredness and selfishness: the anagram being _se dare_." Thus do interpretations throng and clash and neatly equal the commentators in number. Yet possibly each one of these unriddlings with no doubt a host of others is conceivable: so that wisdom will dwell upon none of them very seriously. With the origin and the occult meaning of the folklore of Poictesme this book at least is in no wise concerned: its unambitious aim has been merely to familiarize English readers with the Jurgen epos for the tale's sake. And this tale of old years is one which by rare fortune can be given to English readers almost unabridged in view of the singular delicacy and pure-mindedness of the Jurgen mythos: in all not more than a half-dozen deletions have seemed expedient (and have been duly indicated) in order to remove such sparse and unimportant outcroppings of mediaeval frankness as might conceivably offend the squeamish. Since this volume is presented simply as a story to be read for pastime neither morality nor symbolism is hereinafter educed and no "parallels" and "authorities" are quoted. Even the gaps are left unbridged by guesswork: whereas the historic and mythological problems perhaps involved are relinquished to those really thoroughgoing scholars whom erudition qualifies to deal with such topics and tedium does not deter.... In such terms and thus far ran the Foreword to the first issues of this book whose later fortunes have made necessary the lengthening of the Foreword with a postscript. The needed addition--this much at least chiming with good luck--is brief. It is just that fragment which some scholars since the first appearance of this volume have asserted--upon what perfect frankness must describe as not indisputable grounds--to be a portion of the thirty-second chapter of the complete form of _La Haulte Histoire de Jurgen_. And in reply to what these scholars assert discretion says nothing. For this fragment was of course unknown when the High History was first put into English and there in consequence appears here little to be won either by endorsing or denying its claims to authenticity. Rather does discretion prompt the appending without any gloss or scholia of this fragment which deals with _The Judging of Jurgen._ Now a court was held by the Philistines to decide whether or no King Jurgen should be relegated to limbo. And when the judges were prepared for judging there came into the court a great tumblebug rolling in front of him his loved and properly housed young ones. With the creature came pages in black and white bearing a sword a staff and a lance. This insect looked at Jurgen and its pincers rose erect in horror. The bug cried to the three judges "Now by St. Anthony! this Jurgen must forthwith be relegated to limbo for he is offensive and lewd and lascivious and indecent." "And how can that be?" says Jurgen. "You are offensive" the bug replied "because this page has a sword which I choose to say is not a sword. You are lewd because that page has a lance which I prefer to think is not a lance. You are lascivious because yonder page has a staff which I elect to declare is not a staff. And finally you are indecent for reasons of which a description would be objectionable to me and which therefore I must decline to reveal to anybody." "Well that sounds logical" says Jurgen "but still at the same time it would be no worse for an admixture of common-sense. For you gentlemen can see for yourselves by considering these pages fairly and as a whole that these pages bear a sword and a lance and a staff and nothing else whatever; and you will deduce I hope that all the lewdness is in the insectival mind of him who itches to be calling these things by other names." The judges said nothing as yet. But they that guarded Jurgen and all the other Philistines stood to this side and to that side with their eyes shut tight and all these said: "We decline to look at the pages fairly and as a whole because to look might seem to imply a doubt of what the tumblebug has decreed. Besides as long as the tumblebug has reasons which he declines to reveal his reasons stay unanswerable and you are plainly a prurient rascal who are making trouble for yourself." "To the contrary" says Jurgen "I am a poet and I make literature." "But in Philistia to make literature and to make trouble for yourself are synonyms" the tumblebug explained. "I know for already we of Philistia have been pestered by three of these makers of literature. Yes there was Edgar whom I starved and hunted until I was tired of it: then I chased him up a back alley one night and knocked out those annoying brains of his. And there was Walt whom I chivvied and battered from place to place and made a paralytic of him: and him too I labelled offensive and lewd and lascivious and indecent. Then later there was Mark whom I frightened into disguising himself in a clown's suit so that nobody might suspect him to be a maker of literature: indeed I frightened him so that he hid away the greater part of what he had made until after he was dead and I could not get at him. That was a disgusting trick to play on me I consider. Still these are the only three detected makers of literature that have ever infested Philistia thanks be to goodness and my vigilance but for both of which we might have been no more free from makers of literature than are the other countries." "Now but these three" cried Jurgen "are the glory of Philistia: and of all that Philistia has produced it is these three alone whom living ye made least of that to-day are honored wherever art is honored and where nobody bothers one way or the other about Philistia." "What is art to me and my way of living?" replied the tumblebug wearily. "I have no concern with art and letters and the other lewd idols of foreign nations. I have in charge the moral welfare of my young whom I roll here before me and trust with St. Anthony's aid to raise in time to be God-fearing tumblebugs like me delighting in what is proper to their nature. For the rest I have never minded dead men being well-spoken-of. No no my lad: once whatever I may do means nothing to you and once you are really rotten you will find the tumblebug friendly enough. Meanwhile I am paid to protest that living persons are offensive and lewd and lascivious and indecent and one must live." Then the Philistines who stood to this side and to that side said in indignant unison: "And we the reputable citizenry of Philistia are not at all in sympathy with those who would take any protest against the tumblebug as a justification of what they are pleased to call art. The harm done by the tumblebug seems to us very slight whereas the harm done by the self-styled artist may be very great." Jurgen now looked more attentively at this queer creature: and he saw that the tumblebug was malodorous certainly but at bottom honest and well-meaning; and this seemed to Jurgen the saddest thing he had found among the Philistines. For the tumblebug was sincere in his insane doings and all Philistia honored him sincerely so that there was nowhere any hope for this people. Therefore King Jurgen addressed himself as his need was to submit to the strange customs of the Philistines. "Now do you judge me fairly" cried Jurgen to his judges "if there be any justice in this mad country. And if there be none do you relegate me to limbo or to any other place so long as in that place this tumblebug is not omnipotent and sincere and insane." And Jurgen waited.... * * * * * JURGEN ... _amara lento temperet risu_ 1. Why Jurgen Did the Manly Thing It is a tale which they narrate in Poictesme saying: In the 'old days lived a pawnbroker named Jurgen; but what his wife called him was very often much worse than that. She was a high-spirited woman with no especial gift for silence. Her name they say was Adelais but people by ordinary called her Dame Lisa. They tell also that in the old days after putting up the shop-windows for the night Jurgen was passing the Cistercian Abbey on his way home: and one of the monks had tripped over a stone in the roadway. He was cursing the devil who had placed it there. "Fie brother!" says Jurgen "and have not the devils enough to bear as it is?" "I never held with Origen" replied the monk; "and besides it hurt my great-toe confoundedly." "None the less" observes Jurgen "it does not behoove God-fearing persons to speak with disrespect of the divinely appointed Prince of Darkness. To your further confusion consider this monarch's industry! day and night you may detect him toiling at the task Heaven set him. That is a thing can be said of few communicants and of no monks. Think too of his fine artistry as evidenced in all the perilous and lovely snares of this world which it is your business to combat and mine to lend money upon. Why but for him we would both be vocationless! Then too consider his philanthropy! and deliberate how insufferable would be our case if you and I and all our fellow parishioners were to-day hobnobbing with other beasts in the Garden which we pretend to desiderate on Sundays! To arise with swine and lie down with the hyena?--oh intolerable!" Thus he ran on devising reasons for not thinking too harshly of the Devil. Most of it was an abridgement of some verses Jurgen had composed in the shop when business was slack. "I consider that to be stuff and nonsense" was the monk's glose. "No doubt your notion is sensible" observed the pawnbroker: "but mine is the prettier." Then Jurgen passed the Cistercian Abbey and was approaching Bellegarde when he met a black gentleman who saluted him and said: ...