Archive for the ‘Comment’ Category

Witchcraft practised by Jane Brooks

August 18, 2017

Rosaleen Norton

August 13, 2017

Andrew Steinmetz: From `The Gaming Table: Its Votaries and Victims, Vol II – Chapter IV: Atrocities, Duels, Suicides and Executions of Gamblers

Juli 4, 2017

The history of all nations is but the record of their cupidity; and when the fury of gaming appears on the scene, it has never failed to double the insolence and atrocities of tyranny.

The atrocious gambling of the Hindoo Rajas has been related;(14) and I have incidentally adverted to similar concomitants of the vice among all nations. I now propose to bring together a series of facts specially elucidative of the harrowing theme.

(14) Chapter II.

One of the Ptolemys, kings of Egypt, required all causes to be submitted to him whilst at play, and pronounced even sentence of death according to chance. On one occasion his wife, Berenice, pronounced thereanent those memorable words:—’There cannot be too much deliberation when the death of a man is concerned’—afterwards adopted by Juvenal—Nulla unquam de morte hominis cunctatio longa est.(15)

(15) Aelian, Var. Hist. lib. XLIV. c. xiii.; Juvenal, Sat. vi.

Tolomnius, King of the Veii, happened to be playing at dice when the arrival of Roman ambassadors was announced. At the very instant he uttered the word KILL, a term of the game; the word was misinterpreted by the hearers, and they went forthwith and massacred the ambassadors. Livy suggests that this was an excuse alleged AFTER the commission of the deed; but gamesters are subject to such absence of mind that there is really nothing incredible or astonishing in the act. ‚Sire,‘ exclaimed a messenger to the Caliph Alamin, ‚it is no longer time for play—Babylon is besieged!‘ ‚Silence!‘ said the caliph, ‚don’t you see I am on the point of giving checkmate?‘ The same story is told of a Duke of Normandy.

Wars have arisen from very trivial causes—among the rest gambling. Henry, the son of William the Conqueror, was playing at chess with Louis, the son of Philip, King of France. The latter, perceiving that he was losing the game got into a passion, and calling Henry the son of a bastard, flung the chess-board into his face. Henry took the chess-board and struck Louis with it so violently that he drew blood, and would have killed him if his brother, who happened to come in, had not prevented him. The two brothers took to flight, but a great and lasting war was the consequence of the gambling fracas.

A gaming quarrel was the cause of the slap in the face given by the Duc Rene to Louis XII., then only Duc d’Orleans. This slap was the origin of a ligue which was termed ‚the mad war.‘ The resentment of the outraged prince was not appeased until he mounted the throne, when he uttered these memorable words:—’A King of France does not avenge insults offered to a Duke of Orleans.‘

Many narratives of suicide committed by desperate gamblers are on record, some of which I now adduce.


Sir John Bland, of Kippax Park, flirted away his whole fortune at Hazard. ‚He, t’other night,‘ says Walpole, ‚exceeded what was lost by the late Duke of Bedford, having at one period of the night (though he recovered the greater part of it) lost two and thirty thousand pounds.‘ Sir John Kippax shot himself in 1705.


Lord Mountford came to a tragic end through his gambling. He had lost money; feared to be reduced to distress; asked for a government appointment, and determined to throw the die of life or death on the answer received from court. The answer was unfavourable. He consulted several persons, indirectly at first, afterwards pretty directly, on the easiest mode of finishing life; invited a dinner-party for the day after; supped at White’s, and played at Whist till one o’clock of the New Year’s morning. Lord Robert Bertie drank to him ‚a happy new year;‘ he clapped his hand strangely to his eyes. In the morning, he sent for a lawyer and three witnesses, executed his will, made them read it over twice, paragraph by paragraph, asked the lawyer if that will would stand good though a man were to shoot himself. Being assured it would, he said—’Pray stay, while I step into the next room;‘ went into the next room and shot himself, placing the muzzle of the pistol so close to his head that the report was not heard.


Gamblers have been known to set as coolly and deliberately about blowing out their brains as if they had only been going to light their cigars. Lord Orford, in his correspondence with Horace Walpole, mentions two curious instances.

One of the fashionable young men of Lord Orford’s day had been unhappily decoyed into a gambling house, where his passion for play became so great that he spent nearly the whole of his time in throwing the dice. He continued to gamble until he had not only lost a princely fortune, but had incurred a large amount of debt among his tradesmen. With the loss of his money, and the utter beggary which stared him in the face, the unfortunate victim of play lost all relish for life; and sought in death the only refuge he could fancy from the infamy and misery which he had brought upon himself. But whilst fully resolved on self-destruction, he thought, before carrying his fatal purpose into execution, he might as well do his tradesmen an act of justice, even if in so doing he should do injustice to others. He insured his life to the extent of his debts, amounting to several thousand pounds. Being acquainted with several of the directors of the company (he called them his life-and-death brokers) in which he insured, he invited them to dinner the following day, with the ostensible view of celebrating the completion of the insurance. The tradesmen also received strict orders to be present; and as the non-payment of their accounts for a long period to come was the penalty of not acceding to his wishes in this respect, it can scarcely be necessary to say that they were all ‚punctual as lovers to the moment sworn.‘ The dinner over, and a liberal allowance of wine having been quaffed, the ruined gambler desired the servant to call up all who were in the hall below. In a few seconds the dining-room was filled with tradesmen, all eager to receive payment of their accounts. ‚Now, gentlemen,‘ said the gambler, addressing his guests, and pointing to the little crowd of tradesmen,—’now, gentlemen, these are all my tradesmen; they are honest industrious men, to whom I am indebted, and as I see no other earthly means of being ever able to meet their just claims, you will be so kind as to pay them out of the sum for which I insured my life yesterday. Allow me, gentlemen, to bid you farewell.‘ And so saying, he pulled a pistol from his pocket, and placing it to his head, that instant blew out his brains. Of course his insurance office must have been one that undertook to pay insurances whatever might be the cause of death, not excepting suicide—which, like duelling, has usually been a bar to such claims.


The following is ‚A full and particular account of a person who threw himself into the Thames, from Blackfriars Bridge, on Wednesday, July 10, 1782; with the melancholy paper he left behind him, accounting to his wife and children for so rash an action.‘ It is said that several thousands of the papers were dispersed through London, and it is to be hoped that some of them might produce that good effect which seems to have been so anxiously desired by the person who wished them to be distributed.

                    'Midnight, July 10, 1782.

‚Whoever thou art that readest this paper, listen to the voice of one from the DEAD. While thine eyes peruse the lines their writer may be suffering the most horrid punishments which an incensed Creator can inflict upon the greatest sinner.

‚Reader, art thou of my own sex? Art thou a man? Oh, in whatever rank of life, whether high or low,—beware of gambling! Beware of so much as approaching an E O table! Had I ever met with such a dreadful warning as I now offer thee, I might perhaps have been saved from death—have been snatched from damnation. Reader, art thou a woman? Oh, whether rich or poor, whether wife, mother, sister, or daughter,—if thou suspect that the late hours, the feverish body, the disturbed mind, the ruffled temper, the sudden extravagance of him whom thou lovest, are caused by frequenting the gaming table, oh, fail not to discover thy suspicions—fail not to remonstrate! Had but my dear wife remonstrated with me, when she saw me, in consequence of my winnings, indulge in expense, which she must have known I could not honestly afford, she would not now, within the next hour, be deprived of her husband—of the only support of herself and her three poor children in this world,—and deprived of him in a manner which effectually cuts off all hopes of our ever meeting in the happiness of another. * * * *

‚Yes, in less than an hour, coward as I am, I shall have deserted my duty and my family in this world; and, wretch as I am, shall have rushed into all the horrors of hell in another world, by drowning myself.

‚By curiosity I was first led to the E O table. Ashamed to stand idle I put upon E, it came E; upon O, it came O. Fortune favoured me (as I foolishly called it), and I came away a winner.

Something worse than curiosity, though hardly more dangerous, carried me to another table another night. My view in going was answered. My view was to WIN, and again I WON in the course of the evening. Again I went, and again I won. For some weeks this was the constant story. Oh, happy had I lost at first! Now I went every night. Everything I ought to have done, neglected. Up all night, I was forced to lie in bed all day. The strength of my mind, which at THIS moment might save me, was hourly wasting away. My wife was deceived with continual falsehoods, to which nothing but her fondness for me blinded her. Even my winnings, with the expense and extravagance in which I indulged myself and family, were every day more than half exhausted. But I felt that I was always to win. Fortune favoured me. Fortune was now my deity. * * * *

‚But fortune, my new, my false deity, deserted me. My luck TURNED. I am undone! Ruined! A beggar! My wife and children will want a morsel of bread to eat. * * * * To destroy myself is the only way to preserve my family from want, and to keep myself from the GALLOWS. This morning I absolutely hesitated whether I should not procure a sum of money with which to try my luck by FORGERY. Gamesters, think of that—FORGERY! O my dear wife, is not anything better than seeing me conveyed to Tyburn? Yes, it is better that before many hours you and your three helpless daughters should be hanging in tears (I little merit) over my lifeless, cold, and swollen body.

‚Readers, farewell! From my sad and voluntary death, learn wisdom. In consequence of gaming I go to seek my destruction in the Thames. Oh, think in what manner he deserves to be punished who commits a crime which he is fully persuaded merits, and will not fail to meet, the severest punishment.‘

The narrative proceeds to state that, ‚between one and two o’clock in the morning he took a sad farewell of this world, and leaped over Blackfriars Bridge. It pleased Providence, however, that he should be seen committing this desperate action by two watermen, who found his body after it had been a considerable time under water. In consequence of the methods used by the men of the Humane Society, he was at length almost miraculously restored to life and to his family. It is further stated that—’In consequence of the advice of a worthy clergyman he was restored to reason and to religion. He now wonders how he could think of committing so horrid a crime; and is not without hope that by a life of continual repentance and exemplary religion, he may obtain pardon hereafter. The paper which he wrote before he set forth to drown himself he still desires should be made as public as possible, and that this narrative should be added to it.


In the year 1799, Sir W. L—, Bart., finding his eldest son extremely distressed and embarrassed, told him that he would relieve him from all his difficulties, on condition that he would state to him, without reserve, their utmost extent, and give him his honour never to play again for any considerable sum. The debts—amounting to L22,000—were instantly discharged. Before a week had elapsed he fell into his old habits again, and lost L5000 more at a sitting; upon which he next morning shot himself!


In 1816 a gentleman, the head of a first-rate concern in the city, put a period to his existence by blowing out his brains. He had gone to the Argyle Rooms a few nights before the act, and accompanied a female home in a coach, with two men, friends of the woman. When they got to her residence the two men proposed to the gentleman to play for a dozen champagne to treat the lady with, which the gentleman declined. They, however, after a great deal of persuasion, prevailed on him to play for small sums, and, according to the usual trick of gamblers, allowed him to win at first, till they began to play for double, when there is no doubt the fellows produced loaded dice, and the gentleman lost to the amount of L1800! This brought him to his senses—as well it might. He then invented an excuse for not paying that sum, by saying that he was under an agreement with his partner not to draw for a larger amount than L300 for his private account—and gave them a draft for that amount, promising the remainder at a future day. This promise, however, he did not attend to, not feeling himself bound by such a villainous transaction, especially after giving them so much. But the robbers found out who he was and his residence, and had the audacity to go, armed with bludgeons, and attack him publicly on his own premises, in the presence of those employed there, demanding payment of their nefarious ‚debt of honour,‘ and threatening him, if he did not pay, that he should fight!

This exposure had such an effect on his feelings that he made an excuse to retire—did so—and blew out his brains with a pistol!

This rash act was the more to be lamented because it prevented the bringing to condign punishment, the plundering villains who were the cause of it.(16)

(16) Annual Register, vol. lviii.


A gallant Dutch officer, after having lost a splendid fortune not long since (1823) in a gambling house at Aix-la-Chapelle, shot himself. A Russian general, also, of immense wealth, terminated his existence in the same manner and for the same cause. More recently, a young Englishman, who lost the whole of an immense fortune by gambling at Paris, quitted this world by stabbing himself in the neck with a fork. A short time previously another Englishman, whose birth was as high as his wealth had been considerable, blew his brains out in the Palais Royal, after having literally lost his last shilling. Finally, an unfortunate printer at Paris, who had a wife and five children, finished his earthly career for the same cause, by suffocating himself with the fumes of charcoal; he said, in his farewell note to his unhappy wife—’Behold the effect of gaming!'(17)

(17) Ubi supra.


A young man having gambled away his last shilling, solicited the loan of a few pounds from one of the proprietors of the hell in which he had been plundered. ‚What security will you give me?‘ asked the fellow. ‚My word of honour,‘ was the reply. ‚Your word of honour! That’s poor security, and won’t do,‘ rejoined the hellite; ‚if you can pawn nothing better than that, you’ll get no money out of me.‘ ‚Then you won’t lend me a couple of pounds?‘ ‚Not without security,‘ was the reply. ‚Why, surely, you won’t refuse me a couple of sovereigns, after having lost so much?‘ ‚I won’t advance you a couple of shillings without security.‘

Still bent upon play, and greedy for the means to gratify his passion, the unhappy man, as if struck by a sudden thought, exclaimed—’I’ll give you security—the clothes on my back are quite new, and worth eight guineas; you shall have them as security. Lend me two sovereigns on them.‘

‚Suppose you lose,‘ doggedly rejoined the other, ‚I cannot strip them off your back.‘ ‚Don’t trouble yourself on that head,‘ replied the desperate wretch; ‚if I lose I shall commit suicide, which I have been meditating for some time, and you shall surely have my clothes. I shall return to my lodgings before daylight, in the most worn-out and worthless dressing-gown or great-coat you can procure for me, leaving my clothes with you.‘

The two sovereigns were advanced, and in ten or twelve minutes were lost. The keeper of the table demanded the clothes, and the unfortunate man stripped himself with the utmost coolness of manner, and wrapping his body in a worn-out greatcoat, quitted the place with the full purpose of committing self-murder. He did not direct his steps homeward, however, but resolved to accomplish the horrid deed by suspending himself from a lamp-post in a dark lane near the place. While making the necessary preparations he was observed by a constable, who at once took him into custody, and on the following morning he was carried before the magistrate, where all the circumstances of the affair came out.


During the great French War, among other means resorted to in order to ease the English prisoners at Verdun of their loose cash, a gaming table was set up for their sole accommodation, and, as usual, led to scenes of great depravity and horror. For instance, a young man was enticed into this sink of iniquity, when he was tempted to throw on the table a five-franc piece; he won, and repeated the experiment several times successfully, until luck turned against him, and he lost everything he had. The manager immediately offered a rouleau of a thousand francs, which, in the heat of play, he thoughtlessly accepted, and also lost. He then drew a bill on his agent, which his captain (he was an officer in the English army) endorsed. The proceeds of this went the way of the rouleau. He drew two more bills, and lost again. The next morning he was found dead in his bed, with his limbs much distorted and his fingers dug into his sides. On his table was found an empty laudanum bottle, and some scraps of paper on which he had been practising the signature of Captain B——. On inquiry it was found that he had forged that officer’s name to the two last bills.


In 1819 an inquest was held on the body of a gentleman found hanging from one of the trees in St James’s Park. The evidence established the melancholy fact that the deceased was in the habit of frequenting gambling houses, and had sunk into a state of dejection on account of his losses; and it seemed probable that it was immediately after his departure from one of these receptacles of rogues and their dupes that he committed suicide. The son of the gate-keeper at St James’s saw several persons round the body at four o’clock in the morning, one of whom, a noted gambler, said: ‚Look at his face; why, have you forgotten last night? Don’t you recollect him now?‘ They were, no doubt, all gamblers—in at the death.‘

The three following stories, if not of actual suicide, relate crimes which bear a close resemblance to self-murder.


A clerk named Chambers, losing his monthly pay, which was his all, at a gaming table, begged to borrow of the manager’s; but they knew his history too well to lend without security, and therefore demanded something in pawn. ‚I have nothing to give but my ears,‘ he replied. ‚Well,‘ said one of the witty demons, ‚let us have them.‘ The youth immediately took a knife out of his pocket and actually cut off all the fleshy part of one of his cars and threw it on the table, to the astonishment of the admiring gamesters. He received his two dollars, and gambled on.


The following incident is said to have occurred in London:—Two fellows were observed by a patrol sitting at a lamp-post in the New Road; and, on closely watching them, the latter discovered that one was tying up the other, who offered no resistance, by the neck. The patrol interfered to prevent such a strange kind of murder, and was assailed by both, and very considerably beaten for his good offices; the watchmen, however, poured in, and the parties were secured. On examination next morning, it appeared that the men had been gambling; that one had lost all his money to the other, and had at last proposed to stake his clothes. The winner demurred—observing that he could not strip his adversary naked in the event of his losing. ‚Oh,‘ replied the other, ‚do not give yourself any uneasiness about that; if I lose I shall be unable to live, and you shall hang me, and take my clothes after I am dead, for I shall then, you know, have no occasion for them.‘ The proposed arrangement was assented to; and the fellow having lost, was quietly submitting to the terms of the treaty when he was interrupted by the patrol, whose impertinent interference he so angrily resented.


In the year 1812 an extraordinary investigation took place at Bow Street. Croker, the officer, was passing along Hampstead Road; he observed at a short distance before him two men on a wall, and directly after saw the tallest of them, a stout man, about six feet high, hanging by his neck from a lamp-post attached to the wall, being that instant tied up and turned off by the short man.

This unexpected and extraordinary sight astonished the officer; he made up to the spot with all speed, and just after he arrived there the tall man, who had been hanged, fell to the ground, the handkerchief with which he had been suspended having given way. Croker produced his staff, said he was an officer, and demanded to know of the other man the cause of such conduct; in the mean time the man who had been hanged recovered, got up, and on Croker’s interfering, gave him a violent blow on his nose, which nearly knocked him backward. The short man was endeavouring to make off; however, the officer procured assistance, and both were brought to the office, where the account they gave was that they worked on canals. They had been together on Wednesday afternoon, tossed for money, and afterwards for their CLOTHES; the tall man who was hanged won the other’s jacket, trousers, and shoes; they then tossed up which should HANG THE OTHER, and the short one won the toss. They got upon the wall, the one to submit, and the other to hang him on the lamp-iron. They both agreed in this statement. The tall one, who had been hanged, said if he had won the toss he would have hanged the other. He said he then felt the effects upon his neck of his hanging, and his eyes were so much swelled that he saw DOUBLE.

The magistrates, continues the report in the ‚Annual Register,‘ expressed their horror and disgust; and ordered the man who had been hanged to find bail for the violent and unjustifiable assault upon the officer; and the short one, for hanging the other—a very odd decision in the latter case—since the act was murder ‚to all intents and purposes‘ designed and intended. The report says, however, that, not having bail, they were committed to Bridewell for trial.(20) The result I have not discovered.

(20) Annual Register, 1812, vol. liv.

Innumerable duels have resulted from quarrels over the gaming table, although nothing could be more Draconic than the law especially directed against such duels. By the Act of Queen Anne against gaming, all persons sending a challenge on account of gaming disputes were liable to forfeit all their goods and to be committed to prison for two years. No case of the kind, however, was ever prosecuted on that clause of the Act, which was, in other respects, very nearly inoperative.


It so happened that almost every month of the year 1818 was ‚distinguished‘ by a duel or two, resulting from quarrels at gambling or in gambling houses.

January. ‚A meeting took place yesterday at an early hour, between Captain B—r—y and Lieutenant T—n—n, in consequence of a dispute at play. Wimbledon Common was the ground, and the parties fired twice, when the lieutenant was slightly wounded in the pistol hand, the ball grazing the right side; and here the affair ended.‘

January. ‚A meeting took place on the 9th instant, at Calais, between Lieut. Finch, 20th regiment of Dragoons, and Lieut. Boileau, on half-pay of the 41st regiment. Lieut. Finch was bound over, some days back, to keep the peace in England; in consequence of which he proceeded to Calais, accompanied by his friend, Captain Butler, where they were followed by Lieut. Boileau and his friend Lieut. Hartley. It was settled by Captain Butler, previous to Lieut. Finch taking his ground, that HE WAS BOUND IN HONOUR to receive LIEUT. BOILEAU’S FIRE as he had given so serious a provocation as a blow. This arrangement was, however, defeated, by Lieut. Finch’s pistol „accidentally“ going off, apparently in the direction of his opponent, which would probably have led to fatal consequences had it not been for the IMPLICIT RELIANCE placed by Lieut. Boileau’s friend on the STRICT HONOUR of Capt. Butler, whose anxiety, steadiness, and gentlemanly conduct on this and every other occasion, were too well known to leave a doubt on the minds of the opposite party, that Lieut. Finch’s pistol going off was ENTIRELY ACCIDENTAL. A reconciliation, therefore, immediately took place.‘

February 17. ‚Information was received at the public office, Marlborough Street, on Saturday last, that a duel was about to take place yesterday, in the fields contiguous to Chalk Farm, between Colonel Tucker and Lieut. Nixon, the latter having challenged the former in public company, for which and previous abuse the colonel inflicted severe chastisement with a thick stick. Subsequent information was received that the colonel’s friends deemed it unnecessary for him to meet the challenger, but that his remedy was to repeat the former chastisement when insulted. It was further stated that a few half-pay officers, of inferior rank, had leagued together for the purpose of procuring others to give a challenge, and which it was the determination to put down by adopting the colonel’s plan.‘

February. ‚A captain in the army shook hands with a gallant lieut.-colonel (who had distinguished himself in the Peninsula) at one of the West End gaming houses, and Lieut. N—, who was present, upbraided the colonel with the epithet of „poltroon.“ On a fit opportunity the colonel inflicted summary justice upon the lieutenant with a cane or horse-whip. This produced a challenge; but the colonel was advised that he would degrade himself by combat with the challenger, and he therefore declined it, but promised similar chastisement to that inflicted. It was then stated that the colonel was bound to fight any other person who would stand forth as the champion of Lieut. N—, to which the colonel consented,—when a Lieut. J—n—e appeared as the champion, and the meeting was appointed for Tuesday morning at Turnham Green. The information of the police was renewed, and Thomas Foy apprehended the parties at an inn near the spot, early in the morning. They were consequently bound over to keep the peace. It appears, however, that the lieutenant in this instance was not the champion of the former, but had been challenged by the colonel.‘

April. ‚A meeting was to have taken place yesterday in consequence of a dispute at play, between Captain R—n—s and Mr B—e—r, a gentleman of fortune; but it was prevented by the interference of the police, and the parties escaped. It took place, however, on the following day, on Wimbledon Common, and after exchanging a single shot the matter was adjusted.‘

May. ‚In consequence of a dispute at a gaming table, on Monday night, in the vicinity of Piccadilly, Mr M—, who was an officer in the British service at Brussels, and Mr B—n, a medical man, met, at three in the morning, on Tuesday, in the King’s Road. They fought at twelve paces. Mr B—n was wounded on the back part of the hand, and the affair was adjusted.‘

July. ‚A duel was fought yesterday morning, on Wimbledon Common, between a Mr Arrowsmith and Lieut. Flynn, which ended in the former being wounded in the thigh. The dispute which occasioned the meeting originated in a gaming transaction.‘

September. ‚A duel was fought this morning on Hounslow Heath, between Messrs Hillson and Marsden. The dispute arose in one of the stands at Egham races. The latter was seriously wounded in the left side, and conveyed away in a gig.‘

November. ‚A duel originating, over a dispute at play was fixed to take place on Wimbledon Common, at daybreak, yesterday morning, but information having been received that police officers were waiting, the parties withdrew.‘


A medical student, named Goulard, quarrelled at billiards with a fellow-student named Caire. Their mutual friends, having in vain tried every means of persuasion to prevent the consequences of the dispute, accompanied the young men without the walls of Paris. Goulard seemed disposed to submit to an arrangement, but Cairo obstinately refused. The seconds measured the ground, and the first shot having been won by Goulard, he fired, and Caire fell dead. Goulard did not appear during the prosecution that followed; he continued absent on the day fixed for judgment, and the court, conformably to the code of criminal proceedings, pronounced on the charge without the intervention of a jury. It acquitted Goulard of premeditation, but condemned him for contumacy, to perpetual hard labour, and to be branded; and this in spite of the fact that the advocate-general had demanded Goulard’s acquittal of the charge.


In 1788, a Scotch gentleman, named William Brodie, was tried and convicted at Edinburgh, for stealing bank-notes and money, with violence. This man, at the death of his father, twelve years before, inherited a considerable estate in houses, in the city of Edinburgh, together with L10,000 in money; but, by an unhappy connection and a too great propensity to gaming, he was reduced to the desperation which brought him at last to the scaffold. It is stated that his demeanour on receiving the dreadful sentence was equally cool and determined; moreover, that he was dressed in a blue coat, fancy vest, satin breeches, and white silk stockings; a cocked hat; his hair full dressed and powdered; and, lastly, that he was carried back to prison in a chair. Such was the respectful treatment of ‚gentlemen‘ prisoners in Scotland towards the end of the last century.


A Monsieur de Boisseuil, one of the Kings equerries, being at a card-party, detected one of the players cheating, and exposed his conduct.

The insulted ‚gentleman‘ demanded satisfaction, when Boisseuil replied that he did not fight with a person who was a rogue.

‚That MAY be,‘ said the other, ‚but I do not like to be CALLED one.‘

They met on the ground, and Boisseuil received two desperate wounds from the sharper.

This man’s plea against Boisseuil is a remarkable trait. Madame de Stael has alluded to it in her best style. ‚In France,‘ she says, ‚we constantly see persons of distinguished rank, who, when accused of an improper action, will say—“It may have been wrong, but no one will dare assert it to my face!“ Such an expression is an evident proof of confirmed depravity; for, what would be the condition of society if it was only requisite to kill one another, to commit with impunity every evil action,—to break one’s word and assert falsehood—provided no one dared tell you that you lied?‘

In countries where public opinion is more severe on the want of probity and fair-dealing, should a man transgress the laws of these principles of human conduct, ten duels a day would not enable him to recover the esteem he has forfeited.


This duel originated as follows:—It appears that a Major Oneby, being in company with a Mr Gower and three other persons, at a tavern, in a friendly manner, after some time began playing at Hazard; when one of the company, named Rich, asked if any one would set him three half-crowns; whereupon Mr Gower, in a jocular manner, laid down three half-pence, telling Rich he had set him three pieces, and Major Oneby at the same time set Rich three half-crowns, and lost them to him.

Immediately after this, Major Oneby, in a angry manner, turned about to Mr Gower and said—’It was an impertinent thing to set down half-pence,‘ and called him ‚an impertinent puppy‘ for so doing. To this Mr Gower answered—’Whoever calls me so is a rascal. ‚Thereupon Major Oneby took up a bottle, and with great force threw it at Mr Gower’s head, but did not hit him, the bottle only brushing some of the powder out of his hair. Mr Gower, in return, immediately tossed a candlestick or a bottle at Major Oneby, which missed him; upon which they both rose to fetch their swords, which were then hung in the room, and Mr Gower drew his sword, but the Major was prevented from drawing his by the company. Thereupon Mr Gower threw away his sword, and the company interposing, they sat down again for the space of an hour.

At the expiration of that time, Mr Gower said to Major Oneby—’We have had hot words, and you were the aggressor, but I think we may pass it over’—at the same time offering him his hand; but the Major replied—’No, d—n you, I WILL HAVE YOUR BLOOD.‘

After this, the reckoning being paid, all the company, excepting Major Oneby, went out to go home, and he called to Mr Gower, saying—’Young man, come back, I have something to say to you.‘ Whereupon Mr Gower returned to the room, and immediately the door was closed, and the rest of the company excluded—when a clashing of swords was heard, and Major Oneby gave Mr Gower a mortal wound. It was found, on the breaking up of the company, that Major Oneby had his great coat over his shoulders, and that he had received three slight wounds in the fight. Mr Gower, being asked on his death-bed whether he had received his wounds in a manner among swordsmen called fair, answered—’I think I did.‘ Major Oneby was tried for the offence, and found guilty of murder, ‚having acted upon malice and deliberation, and not from sudden passion.‘


In 1813, the nephew of a British peer was executed at Lisbon. He had involved himself by gambling, and being detected in robbing the house of an English friend, by a Portuguese servant, he shot the latter dead to prevent discovery. This desperate act, however, did not enable him to escape the hands of justice. After execution, his head was severed from his body and fixed on a pole opposite the house in which the murder and robbery were committed.

The following facts will show the intimate connection between gambling and Robbery or Forgery.


Edward Wortley Montagu was the only son of the celebrated Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, whose eccentricities he inherited without her genius. Montagu, together with Lords Taffe and Southwell, was accused of having invited one Abraham Payba, alias James Roberts, a Jew, to dine with them at Paris, in the year 1751; and of having plied him with wine till he became intoxicated, and so lost at play the sum of 800 louis d’ors. It was affirmed that they subsequently called at his house, and that on his exhibiting an evident disinclination to satisfy their demands, they threatened to cut him across the face with their swords unless he instantly paid them. Terrified by their violence, and, at the same time, unwilling to part with his gold, the Jew had cunning enough to give them drafts on a Paris banker, by whom, as he had no dealings with him, he well knew that his bills would be dishonoured; and, to escape the vengeance of those whom he had outwitted, quitted Paris. On ascertaining how completely they had been duped, Montagu, with his associates Lords Taffe and Southwell, repaired to the house of the Jew, and after ransacking his drawers and strong boxes, are said to have possessed themselves of a very considerable sum of money, in addition to diamonds, jewels, and other valuable articles. The Jew had it now in his power to turn on his persecutors, and accordingly he appealed to the legislature for redress. Lord Southwell contrived to effect his escape, but Lord Taffe and Montagu were arrested, and were kept in separate dungeons in the Grand Chatelet, for nearly three months. The case was subsequently tried in a court of law, and decided in favour of the accused,—the Jew being adjudged to make reparation and defray the costs! Against the injustice of this sentence he appealed to the high court of La Tournelle at Paris, which reversed it. Lord Taffe and Montagu afterwards appealed, in their turn, but of the definitive result there is no record.


Le Sage, in his ‚Gil Blas,‘ says that ‚the devil has a particular spite against private tutors;‘ and he might have added, against popular preachers. By popular preachers I do not mean such grand old things as Bossuet, Massillon, and Bourdaloue. All such men were proof against the fiery darts of the infernal tempter. From their earliest days they had been trained to live up to the Non nobis Domine, ‚Not unto us, O Lord, but unto thy name, give glory.‘ All of them had only at heart the glory of their church-cause; though, of course, the Jesuit Bourdaloue worked also for his great Order, then culminating in glory.

The last-named, too, was another La Fontaine in simplicity, preparing for his grandest predications by sorrily rasping on an execrable fiddle. So, if the devil had lifted him up to a high mountain, showing him all he would give him, he would have simply invited him to his lonely cell, to have a jig to the tune of his catguts.

Your popular preachers in England have been, and are, a different sort of spiritual workers. They have been, and are, individualities, perpetually reminded of the fact, withal; and fiercely tempted accordingly. The world, the flesh, and the devil, incessantly knock at their door. If they fall into the snare it is but natural, and much to be lamented.

Dr Dodd had many amiable qualities; but his reputation as a scholar, and his notoriety as a preacher, appear to have entirely turned his head.

He had presented to him a good living in Bedfordshire; but the income thereof was of no avail in supplying his wants: he was vain, pompous, in debt, a gambler. Temptation came upon him. To relieve himself he tried by indirect means to obtain the rectory of St George’s, Hanover Square, by sending an anonymous letter to Lady Apsley, offering the sum of L3000 if by her means he could be presented to the living; the letter was immediately sent to the chancellor, and, after being traced to the sender, laid before the king. His name was ordered to be struck out of the list of chaplains; the press abounded with satire and invective; Dodd was abused and ridiculed, and even Foote, in one of his performances at the Haymarket, made him a subject of entertainment. Dodd then decamped, and went to his former pupil, Lord Chesterfield, in Switzerland, who gave him another living; but his extravagance being undiminished, he was driven to schemes which covered him with infamy. After the most extravagant and unseemly conduct in France, he returned to England, and forged a bond as from his pupil, Lord Chesterfield, for the sum of L4200, and, upon the credit of it, obtained a large sum of money; but detection instantly following, he was committed to prison, tried and convicted at the Old Bailey, Feb. 24, and executed at Tyburn, June 27 (after a delay of four months), exhibiting every appearance of penitence. The great delay between the sentence and execution was owing to a doubt for some time respecting the admissibility of an evidence which had been made use of to convict him.

Lord Chesterfield has been accused of a cold and relentless disposition in having deserted his old tutor in his extremity. But Mr Jesse says that he heard it related by a person who lived at the period, that at a preliminary examination of the unfortunate divine, Lord Chesterfield, on some pretence, placed the forged document in Dodd’s hands, with the kind intention that he should take the opportunity of destroying it, but the latter wanted either the courage or the presence of mind enough to avail himself of the occasion. This, however, is scarcely an excuse, for, certainly, it was not for Dr Dodd to destroy the fatal document. If Lord Chesterfield had wished to suppress that vital evidence he could have done so.

Dr Johnson exerted himself to the utmost to try and save poor Dodd; but George III. was inexorable. Respecting this benevolent attempt of the Doctor, Chalmers writes as follows:—

Dr Johnson appears indeed in this instance to have been more swayed by popular judgment than he would perhaps have been willing to allow. The cry was—“the honour of the clergy;“ but if the honour of the clergy was tarnished, it was by Dodd’s crime, and not his punishment; for his life had been so long a disgrace to his cloth that he had deprived himself of the sympathy which attaches to the first deviation from rectitude, and few criminals could have had less claim to such a display of popular feeling.‘

All applications for the Royal mercy having failed, Dr Dodd prepared himself for death, and with a warmth of gratitude wrote to Dr Johnson as follows:—

                                'June 25, Midnight.

‚Accept, thou GREAT and GOOD heart, my earnest and fervent thanks and prayers for all thy benevolent and kind efforts in my behalf.—Oh! Dr Johnson! as I sought your knowledge at an early hour in my life, would to Heaven I had cultivated the love and acquaintance of so excellent a man!—I pray God most sincerely to bless you with the highest transports—the infelt satisfaction of HUMANE and benevolent exertions!—And admitted, as I trust I shall be, to the realms of bliss before you, I shall hail YOUR arrival there with transport, and rejoice to acknowledge that you were my comforter, my advocate, and my FRIEND. God be EVER with YOU!‘

Dr Johnson’s reply.

‚To the Reverend Dr Dodd.

‚Dear Sir,—That which is appointed to all men is now coming upon you. Outward circumstances, the eyes and thoughts of men, are below the notice of an immortal being about to stand the trial for eternity, before the Supreme Judge of heaven and earth. Be comforted: your crime, morally or religiously considered, has no very deep dye of turpitude. It corrupted no man’s principles. It attacked no man’s life. It involved only a temporary and reparable injury. Of this, and of all other sins, you are earnestly to repent; and may God, who knoweth our frailty, and desireth not our death, accept your repentance, for the sake of His Son Jesus Christ our Lord!

‚In requital of those well-intended offices which you are pleased so emphatically to acknowledge, let me beg that you make in your devotions one petition for my eternal welfare. ‚I am, dear Sir,

          'Your affectionate servant,

                              'SAM. JOHNSON.

Next day, 27th June, Dr Dodd was executed.


Captain Davis was some time in the Life Guards, and a lieutenant in the Yeomen of the Household—a situation which placed him often about the persons of the Royal family. He was seldom known to play for less stakes than L50, often won or lost large sums, and was represented as a gentleman of extensive and independent fortune, although some of his enemies declared otherwise, and repeated anecdotes to confirm the assertion. He was at length committed for forgeries to an immense amount. To the fidelity of a servant he owed his escape from Giltspur Street prison—another fatal example of the sure result of gambling. Heir to a title—moving in the first society—having held a commission in the most distinguished of the Royal regiments—he was reduced to the alternative of an ignominious flight with outlawry, or risking the forfeiture of his wretched life, to the outraged laws of his country. When in Paris, he at one time had won L30,000, and on his way home he dropped into another gambling house, where he lost it all but L3000. He set out in life with L20,000 in money!


Henry Weston was nephew to the distinguished Admiral Sir Hugh Palliser.

Having unlimited control of the large property of his employer, a Mr Cowan, during the absence of the latter from town, he was tempted first to gamble in the funds, wherein being unfortunate, he next went to a gambling house in Pall Mall, and lost a very large sum; and at length, gamed away nearly all his master’s property.

In this tremendous result—lost to all intents and purposes—he made a supreme effort to ‚patch up‘ the ruin he had made. He forged the name of General Tonyn; and so dexterously, that he obtained from the Bank of England the sum of L10,000.

This huge robbery from Peter was not to pay Paul. Not a bit of it. It was to try the fickle goddess of gaming once more—a Napoleonic stroke for an Austerlitz of fortune.

He lost this L10,000 in two nights.

Did he despair at this hideous catastrophe? Did he tear his hair—rush out of the room—blow his brains out or drown himself?

Not a bit of it. He ’set his wits to work‘ once more. He procured a woman to personate General Tonyn’s sister—forged again—and again obtained from the Bank of England another large supply of ready cash—with which, however, he ‚went off‘ this time.

He was caught; and then only he thought of self-murder, and cut his throat—but not effectually. He recovered, was tried at the Old Bailey, and hanged on the 6th of July, 1796.

No doubt the reader imagines that the man of such a career was an OLD stager—some long-visaged, parchment-faced fellow the OTHER side of forty at least. Well, this hero of the gaming table, Henry Weston, was aged only TWENTY-THREE years! What terrible times those must have been to produce such a prodigy!

To the judge who tried him Henry Weston sent a list of a number of PROFESSIONAL GAMBLERS, among them was a person of high rank. Weston, at different times, lost above L46,000 at play; and at a house in Pall Mall, where he lost a considerable part of it, three young officers also lost no less than L35,000.


It seems that the wretched traitor Arthur Thistlewood, who paid the forfeit of his life for his crimes, had dissipated by gaming the property he had acquired by a matrimonial connection—L12,000. An unfortunate transaction at cards, during the Lincoln races, involved him in difficulties, which he found it impossible to meet; and he fled to avoid the importunities of his more fortunate associates. He was afterwards known only as the factious demagogue and the professed gambler!


Henry Fountleroy was a gentleman of rank, a partner in the banking house of Marsh, Sibbold, and Co., of Berners Street. He was convicted of having forged a deed for the transfer of L5450 long annuities, in fraud of a certain Frances Young. Like Thurtell, Fountleroy defended himself, and battled with the prejudicial reports circulated against him—among the rest his addiction to gambling. ‚I am accused,‘ he said, ‚of being an habitual gambler, an accusation which, if true, might easily account for the diffusion of the property. I am, indeed, a member of two clubs, the Albion and the Stratford, but never in my life did I play in either at cards, or dice, or any game of chance; this is well known to the gentlemen of these clubs; and my private friends, with whom I more intimately associated, can equally assert my freedom from all habit or disposition to play.'(21)

(21) See the case in ‚Celebrated Trials,‘ vol. vi

I close this record of crime and misery by a few narratives of a more miscellaneous character.


Marshal Grammont used to tell a story of three soldiers, who, having committed offences punishable by death, it was ordered that one of them should be hanged as an example, and the three were directed to decide which of them should suffer by throwing dice. The first threw fourteen, the second seventeen, and the last, taking up the dice as coolly as though he were engaged in a trivial game, threw eighteen! Thereupon he exclaimed, with an expression of vexation, ‚Ah, now! if I had been playing for money I should not have been so lucky!‘

This may appear ‚taking it very cool;‘ but I think the following cases of Englishmen‘ rather stronger.‘


In the Times of February 11th, 1819, mention is made of a gang of nearly thirty persons, male and female, and all presenting the most shocking appearance of both want and depravity, who were brought to the Marlborough Street Office. Among these wretched beings was a woman named Hewitt, said to be the wife of one Captain Hewitt, a leader of the ton, who, after ruining himself and family at the gambling table, ran away from them, and was not since heard of. His wife being left to herself, and having probably been tainted by his evil example, by an easy gradation became first embarrassed, then a prostitute, then a thief, and on the occasion above mentioned exhibited one of the most distressing spectacles of vice and misery that could be conceived.


This man, it is well known, was executed for the murder of Weare.

Thurtell was evidently no common man. His spoken defence, as reported, is one of the finest specimens of impassioned eloquence—perfectly Demosthenic. His indignation at the reports circulated in prejudice of his case was overwhelming. Nothing can be finer than the turn of the following sentence:—’I have been represented by the Press—WHICH CARRIES ITS BENEFITS OR CURSES ON RAPID WINGS from one extremity of the kingdom to the other—as a man more depraved, more gratuitously and habitually profligate and cruel, than has ever appeared in modern times.‘

Touching his gambling pursuits, he said:—’I have been represented to you as a man who was given to gambling, and the constant companion of gamblers. To this accusation in some part my heart, with feeling penitence, pleads guilty. I have gambled; I have been a gambler, but not for the last three years. During that time I have not attended or betted upon a horse-race, or a fight, or any public exhibition of that nature. If I have erred in these things, half of the nobility of the land have been my examples; some of the most enlightened statesmen of the country have been my companions in them. I have, indeed, been a gambler; I have been an unfortunate one. But whose fortune have I ruined?—whom undone? My own family have I ruined; I have undone myself!'(22)

(22) See the entire speech in ‚Celebrated Trials,‘ vol. vi. 547.


In the Annual Register for the year 1766 occurs the following ‚circumstantial and authentic account of the memorable case of Richard Parsons,‘ transmitted by the high sheriff of Gloucestershire to his friend in London.

On the 20th of February, 1766, Richard Parsons and three more met at a private house in Chalfold, in order to play at cards, about six o’clock in the evening. They played at Loo till about eleven or twelve that night, when they changed their game for Whist. After a few deals a dispute arose about the state of the game. Parsons asserted with oaths that they were six, which the others denied; upon which he wished ‚that he might never enter the kingdom of heaven, and that his flesh might rot upon his bones, if there were not six in the game.‘ These wishes were several times repeated both then and afterwards. Upon this the candle was put out by a party present, who said he was shocked with the oaths and expressions he heard, and that he put out the candle with a design to put an end to the game. Presently upon this they adjourned to another house, and there began a fresh game, when Parsons and his partner had great success. They then played at Loo again till four in the morning. During the second playing Parsons complained to one Rolles, his partner, of a bad pain in his leg, which from that time increased. There was an appearance of a swelling, and afterwards the colour changing to that of a mortified state. On the following Sunday he took advice of a surgeon, who attended him until his death. Notwithstanding all the applications that were made the mortification increased, and showed itself in different parts of the body. He was visited by a clergyman, who administered the sacrament to him, without any knowledge of what had happened before—the man appearing to be extremely ignorant of religion, having been accustomed to swear, to drink, to game, and to profane the Sabbath. After receiving the sacrament he said—’Now, I must never sin again.‘ He hoped God would forgive him, having been wicked not above six years, and that whatever should happen he would not play at cards again.

After this he was in great agony—chiefly delirious; spoke of his companions by name, and seemed as if his imagination was engaged at cards. He started, had distracted looks and gestures, and in a dreadful fit of shaking and trembling died on the 4th of March, just about a fortnight after the utterance of his terrible imprecation.

The worthy sheriff of Gloucestershire goes on to say that the man’s eyes were open when he died, and could not be closed by the common method, so that they remained open when he was put into the coffin. From this circumstance arose a report that he WISHED HIS EYES MIGHT NEVER CLOSE; ‚but,‘ says the sheriff, ‚this is a mistake; for, from the most creditable witnesses, I am fully convinced no such wish was uttered; and the fact is, that he did close his eyes after he was taken with the mortification, and either dozed or slept several times.

‚When the body came to be laid out, it appeared all over discoloured or spotted; and it might, in the most literal sense, be said, that his flesh rotted on his bones before he died.‘

At the request of the sheriff, the surgeon (a Mr Pegler) who attended the unfortunate man, sent in the following report:—’Sir,—You desire me to acquaint you, in writing, with what I know relating to the melancholy case of the late Richard Parsons; a request I readily comply with, hoping that his sad catastrophe will serve to admonish all those who profane the sacred name of God.

‚February 27th last I visited Richard Parsons, who, I found, had an inflamed leg, stretching from the foot almost to the knee, tending to a gangrene. The tenseness and redness of the skin was almost gone off, and became of a duskish and livid colour, and felt very lax and flabby. Symptoms being so dangerous, some incisions were made down to the quick, some spirituous fomentations made use of, and the whole limb dressed up with such applications as are most approved in such desperate circumstances, joined with proper internal medicines. The next day he seemed much the same; but on March the 1st he was worse, the incisions discharged a sharp fetid odor (which is generally of the worst consequence). On the next day, which was Sunday, the symptoms seemed to be a little more favourable; but, to my great surprise, the very next day I found his leg not only mortified up to the knee, but the same began anew in four different parts, viz., under each eye, on the top of his shoulder, and on one hand; and in about twelve hours after he died. I shall not presume to say there was anything supernatural in the case; but, however, it must be confessed, that such cases are rather uncommon in subjects so young, and of so good a habit as he had always been previous to his illness.‘

On one occasion Justice Maule was about to pass sentence on a prisoner, who upon being asked to say why judgment should not be pronounced, ‚wished that God might strike him dead if he was not innocent of the crime.‘ After a pause, the judge said:—’As the Almighty has not thought proper to comply with your request, the sentence of the court is,‘ &c.


Every Englishman recollects the fate of that unhappy heiress, the richest of all Europe, married to a man of rank and family, who was plundered in the course of a few years of the whole of his wealth, in one of those club houses, and was obliged to surrender himself to a common prison, and ultimately fly from his country, leaving his wife with her relations in the greatest despair and despondency.'(23)

(23) Rouge et Noir: the Academicians of 1823.

GEORGE IV. There are few departments of human distinction in which Great Britain cannot boast a ‚celebrity’—genteel or ungenteel. In the matter of gambling we have been unapproachable—not only in the ‚thorough‘ determination with which we have exhausted the pursuit—but in the vast, the fabulous millions which make up the sum total that Englishmen have ‚turned over‘ at the gaming table.

I think that many thousands of millions would be ‚within the mark‘ as the contribution of England to the insatiate god of gambling.

I have presented to the reader the record of gambling all the world over—the gambling of savages—the gambling of the ancient Persians, Greeks, and Romans—the gambling of the gorgeous monarchs of France and their impassioned subjects; but I have now to introduce upon the horrible stage a Prince Royal, who surpassed all his predecessors in the gaming art, having right royally lost at play not much less than a million sterling, or, as stated, L800,000—before he was twenty-one years of age!

If the following be facts, vouched for by a writer of authority,(24) the results were most atrocious.

(24) James Grant (Editor of the Morning Advertiser), Sketches in London.

‚Every one is aware that George IV., when Prince of Wales, was, as the common phrase is, over-head-and-ears in debt; and that it was because he would thereby be enabled to meet the claims of his creditors, that he consented to marry the Princess Caroline of Brunswick. But although this is known to every one, comparatively few people are acquainted with the circumstances under which his debts were contracted. Those debts, then, were the result of losses at the gaming table. He was an inveterate gambler—a habit which he most probably contracted through his intimacy with Fox. It is a well-ascertained fact that in two short years, after he attained his majority, he lost L800,000 at play.

‚It was with the view and in the hope that marriage would cure his propensity for the gaming table, that his father was so anxious to see him united to Caroline; and it was solely on account of his marriage with that princess constituting the only condition of his debts being paid by the country, that he agreed to lead her to the hymeneal altar.

‚The unfortunate results of this union are but too well known, not only as regarded the parties themselves, but as regarded society generally. To the gambling habits, then, of the Prince of Wales are to be ascribed all the unhappiness which he entailed on the unfortunate Caroline, and the vast amount of injury which the separation from her, and the subsequent trial, produced on the morals of the nation generally.´

Thomas De Quincey: From `The Caesars´

Juli 4, 2017


The three next emperors, Caligula, Claudius, and Nero, were the last princes who had any connection by blood [Footnote: And this was entirely by the female side. The family descent of the first six Cæsars is so intricate, that it is rarely understood accurately; so that it may be well to state it briefly. Augustus was grand nephew to Julius Cæsar, being the son of his sister’s daughter. He was also, by adoption, the son of Julius. He himself had one child only, viz. the infamous Julia, who was brought him by his second wife Scribonia; and through this Julia it was that the three princes, who succeeded to Tiberius, claimed relationship to Augustus. On that emperor’s last marriage with Livia, he adopted the two sons whom she had borne to her divorced husband. These two noblemen, who stood in no degree of consanguinity whatever to Augustus, were Tiberius and Drusus. Tiberius left no children; but Drusus, the younger of the two brothers, by his marriage with the younger Antonia, (daughter of Mark Anthony,) had the celebrated Germanicus, and Claudius, (afterwards emperor.) Germanicus, though adopted by his uncle Tiberius, and destined to the empire, died prematurely. But, like Banquo, though he wore no crown, he left descendants who did. For, by his marriage with Agrippina, a daughter of Julia’s by Agrippa, (and therefore grand-daughter of Augustus,) he had a large family, of whom one son became the Emperor Caligula; and one of the daughters, Agrippina the younger, by her marriage with a Roman nobleman, became the mother of the Emperor Nero. Hence it appears that Tiberius was uncle to Claudius, Claudius was uncle to Caligula, Caligula was uncle to Nero. But it is observable, that Nero and Caligula stood in another degree of consanguinity to each other through their grandmothers, who were both daughters of Mark Anthony the triumvir; for the elder Antonia married the grandfather of Nero; the younger Antonia (as we have stated, above) married Drusus, the grandfather of Caligula; and again, by these two ladies, they were connected not only with each other, but also with the Julian house, for the two Antonias were daughters of Mark Anthony by Octavia, sister to Augustus.] with the Julian house. In Nero, the sixth emperor, expired the last of the Cæsars, who was such in reality. These three were also the first in that long line of monsters, who, at different times, under the title of Cæsars, dishonored humanity more memorably, than was possible, except in the cases of those (if any such can be named) who have abused the same enormous powers in times of the same civility, and in defiance of the same general illumination. But for them it is a fact, than some crimes, which now stain the page of history, would have been accounted fabulous dreams of impure romancers, taxing their extravagant imaginations to create combinations of wickedness more hideous than civilized men would tolerate, and more unnatural than the human heart could conceive. Let us, by way of example, take a short chapter from the diabolic life of Caligula: In what way did he treat his nearest and tenderest female connections? His mother had been tortured and murdered by another tyrant almost as fiendish as himself. She was happily removed from his cruelty. Disdaining, however, to acknowledge any connection with the blood of so obscure a man as Agrippa, he publicly gave out that his mother was indeed the daughter of Julia, but by an incestuous commerce with her father Augustus. His three sisters he debauched. One died, and her he canonized; the other two he prostituted to the basest of his own attendants. Of his wives, it would be hard to say whether they were first sought and won with more circumstances of injury and outrage, or dismissed with more insult and levity. The one whom he treated best, and with most profession of love, and who commonly rode by his side, equipped with spear and shield, to his military inspections and reviews of the soldiery, though not particularly beautiful, was exhibited to his friends at banquets in a state of absolute nudity. His motive for treating her with so much kindness, was probably that she brought him a daughter; and her he acknowledged as his own child, from the early brutality with which she attacked the eyes and cheeks of other infants who were presented to her as play-fellows. Hence it would appear that he was aware of his own ferocity, and treated it as a jest. The levity, indeed, which he mingled with his worst and most inhuman acts, and the slightness of the occasions upon which he delighted to hang his most memorable atrocities, aggravated their impression at the time, and must have contributed greatly to sharpen the sword of vengeance. His palace happened to be contiguous to the circus. Some seats, it seems, were open indiscriminately to the public; consequently, the only way in which they could be appropriated, was by taking possession of them as early as the midnight preceding any great exhibitions. Once, when it happened that his sleep was disturbed by such an occasion, he sent in soldiers to eject them; and with orders so rigorous, as it appeared by the event, that in this singular tumult, twenty Roman knights, and as many mothers of families, were cudgelled to death upon the spot, to say nothing of what the reporter calls „innumeram turbam ceteram.“

But this is a trifle to another anecdote reported by the same authority:—On some occasion it happened that a dearth prevailed, either generally of cattle, or of such cattle as were used for feeding the wild beasts reserved for the bloody exhibitions of the amphitheatre. Food could be had, and perhaps at no very exorbitant price, but on terms somewhat higher than the ordinary market price. A slight excuse served with Caligula for acts the most monstrous. Instantly repairing to the public jails, and causing all the prisoners to pass in review before him (custodiarum seriem recognoscens), he pointed to two bald-headed men, and ordered that the whole file of intermediate persons should be marched off to the dens of the wild beasts: „Tell them off,“ said he, „from the bald man to the bald man.“ Yet these were prisoners committed, not for punishment, but trial. Nor, had it been otherwise, were the charges against them equal, but running through every gradation of guilt. But the elogia or records of their commitment, he would not so much as look at. With such inordinate capacities for cruelty, we cannot wonder that he should in his common conversation have deplored the tameness and insipidity of his own times and reign, as likely to be marked by no wide-spreading calamity.“ Augustus,“ said he, „was happy; for in his reign occurred the slaughter of Varus and his legions. Tiberius was happy; for in his occurred that glorious fall of the great amphitheatre at Fidenæ. But for me—alas! alas!“ And then he would pray earnestly for fire or slaughter—pestilence or famine. Famine indeed was to some extent in his own power; and accordingly, as far as his courage would carry him, he did occasionally try that mode of tragedy upon the people of Rome, by shutting up the public granaries against them. As he blended his mirth and a truculent sense of the humorous with his cruelties, we cannot wonder that he should soon blend his cruelties with his ordinary festivities, and that his daily banquets would soon become insipid without them. Hence he required a daily supply of executions in his own halls and banqueting rooms; nor was a dinner held to be complete without such a dessert. Artists were sought out who had dexterity and strength enough to do what Lucan somewhere calls ensem rotare, that is, to cut off a human head with one whirl of the sword. Even this became insipid, as wanting one main element of misery to the sufferer, and an indispensable condiment to the jaded palate of the connoisseur, viz., a lingering duration. As a pleasant variety, therefore, the tormentors were introduced with their various instruments of torture; and many a dismal tragedy in that mode of human suffering was conducted in the sacred presence during the emperor’s hours of amiable relaxation.

The result of these horrid indulgences was exactly what we might suppose, that even such scenes ceased to irritate the languid appetite, and yet that without them life was not endurable. Jaded and exhausted as the sense of pleasure had become in Caligula, still it could be roused into any activity by nothing short of these murderous luxuries. Hence, it seems, that he was continually tampering and dallying with the thought of murder; and like the old Parisian jeweller Cardillac, in Louis XIV.’s time, who was stung with a perpetual lust for murdering the possessors of fine diamonds—not so much for the value of the prize (of which he never hoped to make any use), as from an unconquerable desire of precipitating himself into the difficulties and hazards of the murder,—Caligula never failed to experience (and sometimes even to acknowledge) a secret temptation to any murder which seemed either more than usually abominable, or more than usually difficult. Thus, when the two consuls were seated at his table, he burst out into sudden and profuse laughter; and, upon their courteously requesting to know what witty and admirable conceit might be the occasion of the imperial mirth, he frankly owned to them, and doubtless he did not improve their appetites by this confession, that in fact he was laughing, and that he could not but laugh, (and then the monster laughed immoderately again,) at the pleasant thought of seeing them both headless, and that with so little trouble to himself, (uno suo nutu,) he could have both their throats cut. No doubt he was continually balancing the arguments for and against such little escapades; nor had any person a reason for security in the extraordinary obligations, whether of hospitality or of religious vows, which seemed to lay him under some peculiar restraints in that case above all others; for such circumstances of peculiarity, by which the murder would be stamped with unusual atrocity, were but the more likely to make its fascinations irresistible. Hence he dallied with the thoughts of murdering her whom he loved best, and indeed exclusively—his wife Cæsonia; and whilst fondling her, and toying playfully with her polished throat, he was distracted (as he half insinuated to her) between the desire of caressing it, which might be often repeated, and that of cutting it, which could be gratified but once.

Nero (for as to Claudius, he came too late to the throne to indulge any propensities of this nature with so little discretion) was but a variety of the same species. He also was an amateur, and an enthusiastic amateur of murder. But as this taste, in the most ingenious hands, is limited and monotonous in its modes of manifestation, it would be tedious to run through the long Suetonian roll-call of his peccadilloes in this way. One only we shall cite, to illustrate the amorous delight with which he pursued any murder which happened to be seasoned highly to his taste by enormous atrocity, and by almost unconquerable difficulty. It would really be pleasant, were it not for the revolting consideration of the persons concerned, and their relation to each other, to watch the tortuous pursuit of the hunter, and the doubles of the game, in this obstinate chase. For certain reasons of state, as Nero attempted to persuade himself, but in reality because no other crime had the same attractions of unnatural horror about it, he resolved to murder his mother Agrippina. This being settled, the next thing was to arrange the mode and the tools. Naturally enough, according to the custom then prevalent in Rome, he first attempted the thing by poison. The poison failed: for Agrippina, anticipating tricks of this kind, had armed her constitution against them, like Mithridates; and daily took potent antidotes and prophylactics. Or else (which is more probable) the emperor’s agent in such purposes, fearing his sudden repentance and remorse on first hearing of his mother’s death, or possibly even witnessing her agonies, had composed a poison of inferior strength. This had certainly occurred in the case of Britannicus, who had thrown off with ease the first dose administered to him by Nero. Upon which he had summoned to his presence the woman employed in the affair, and compelling her by threats to mingle a more powerful potion in his own presence, had tried it successively upon different animals, until he was satisfied with its effects; after which, immediately inviting Britannicus to a banquet, he had finally dispatched him. On Agrippina, however, no changes in the poison, whether of kind or strength, had any effect; so that, after various trials, this mode of murder was abandoned, and the emperor addressed himself to other plans. The first of these was some curious mechanical device, by which a false ceiling was to have been suspended by bolts above her bed; and in the middle of the night, the bolt being suddenly drawn, a vast weight would have descended with a ruinous destruction to all below. This scheme, however, taking air from the indiscretion of some amongst the accomplices, reached the ears of Agrippina; upon which the old lady looked about her too sharply to leave much hope in that scheme: so that also was abandoned. Next, he conceived the idea of an artificial ship, which, at the touch of a few springs, might fall to pieces in deep water. Such a ship was prepared, and stationed at a suitable point. But the main difficulty remained, which was to persuade the old lady to go on board. Not that she knew in this case who had been the ship-builder, for that would have ruined all; but it seems that she took it ill to be hunted in this murderous spirit, and was out of humor with her son; besides, that any proposal coming from him, though previously indifferent to her, would have instantly become suspected. To meet this difficulty, a sort of reconciliation was proposed, and a very affectionate message sent, which had the effect of throwing Agrippina off her guard, and seduced her to Baiæ for the purpose of joining the emperor’s party at a great banquet held in commemoration of a solemn festival. She came by water in a sort of light frigate, and was to return in the same way. Meantime Nero tampered with the commander of her vessel, and prevailed upon him to wreck it. What was to be done? The great lady was anxious to return to Rome, and no proper conveyance was at hand. Suddenly it was suggested, as if by chance, that a ship of the emperor’s, new and properly equipped, was moored at a neighboring station. This was readily accepted by Agrippina: the emperor accompanied her to the place of embarkation, took a most tender leave of her, and saw her set sail. It was necessary that the vessel should get into deep water before the experiment could be made; and with the utmost agitation this pious son awaited news of the result. Suddenly a messenger rushed breathless into his presence, and horrified him by the joyful information that his august mother had met with an alarming accident; but, by the blessing of Heaven, had escaped safe and sound, and was now on her road to mingle congratulations with her affectionate son. The ship, it seems, had done its office; the mechanism had played admirably; but who can provide for every thing? The old lady, it turned out, could swim like a duck; and the whole result had been to refresh her with a little sea-bathing. Here was worshipful intelligence. Could any man’s temper be expected to stand such continued sieges? Money, and trouble, and infinite contrivance, wasted upon one old woman, who absolutely would not, upon any terms, be murdered! Provoking it certainly was; and of a man like Nero it could not be expected that he should any longer dissemble his disgust, or put up with such repeated affronts. He rushed upon his simple congratulating friend, swore that he had come to murder him, and as nobody could have suborned him but Agrippina, he ordered her off to instant execution. And, unquestionably, if people will not be murdered quietly and in a civil way, they must expect that such forbearance is not to continue for ever; and obviously have themselves only to blame for any harshness or violence which they may have rendered necessary.

It is singular, and shocking at the same time, to mention, that, for this atrocity, Nero did absolutely receive solemn congratulations from all orders of men. With such evidences of base servility in the public mind, and of the utter corruption which they had sustained in their elementary feelings, it is the less astonishing that he should have made other experiments upon the public patience, which seem expressly designed to try how much it would support. Whether he were really the author of the desolating fire which consumed Rome for six [Footnote: But a memorial stone, in its inscription, makes the time longer: „Quando urbs per novem dies arsit Neronianis temporibus.“] days and seven nights, and drove the mass of the people into the tombs and sepulchres for shelter, is yet a matter of some doubt. But one great presumption against it, founded on its desperate imprudence, as attacking the people in their primary comforts, is considerably weakened by the enormous servility of the Romans in the case just stated: they who could volunteer congratulations to a son for butchering his mother, (no matter on what pretended suspicions,) might reasonably be supposed incapable of any resistance which required courage even in a case of self-defence, or of just revenge. The direct reasons, however, for implicating him in this affair, seem at present insufficient. He was displeased, it seems, with the irregularity and unsightliness of the antique buildings, and also with the streets, as too narrow and winding, (angustiis flexurisque vicorum.) But in this he did but express what was no doubt the common judgment of all his contemporaries, who had seen the beautiful cities of Greece and Asia Minor. The Rome of that time was in many parts built of wood; and there is much probability that it must have been a picturesque city, and in parts almost grotesque. But it is remarkable, and a fact which we have nowhere seen noticed, that the ancients, whether Greeks or Romans, had no eye for the picturesque; nay, that it was a sense utterly unawakened amongst them; and that the very conception of the picturesque, as of a thing distinct from the beautiful, is not once alluded to through the whole course of ancient literature, nor would it have been intelligible to any ancient critic; so that, whatever attraction for the eye might exist in the Rome of that day, there is little doubt that it was of a kind to be felt only by modern spectators. Mere dissatisfaction with its external appearance, which must have been a pretty general sentiment, argued, therefore, no necessary purpose of destroying it. Certainly it would be a weightier ground of suspicion, if it were really true, that some of his agents were detected on the premises of different senators in the act of applying combustibles to their mansions. But this story wears a very fabulous air. For why resort to the private dwellings of great men, where any intruder was sure of attracting notice, when the same effect, and with the same deadly results, might have been attained quietly and secretly in so many of the humble Roman coenacula?

The great loss on this memorable occasion was in the heraldic and ancestral honors of the city. Historic Rome then went to wreck for ever. Then perished the domus priscorum ducum hostilibus adhuc spoliis adornatæ; the „rostral“ palace; the mansion of the Pompeys; the Blenheims and the Strathfieldsays of the Scipios, the Marcelli, the Paulli, and the Cæsars; then perished the aged trophies from Carthage and from Gaul; and, in short, as the historian sums up the lamentable desolation, „quidquid visendum atque memorabile ex antiquitate duraverat.“ And this of itself might lead one to suspect the emperor’s hand as the original agent; for by no one act was it possible so entirely and so suddenly to wean the people from their old republican recollections, and in one week to obliterate the memorials of their popular forces, and the trophies of many ages. The old people of Rome were gone; their characteristic dress even was gone; for already in the time of Augustus they had laid aside the toga, and assumed the cheaper and scantier pænula, so that the eye sought in vain for Virgil’s

  "Romanes rerum dominos gentemque togatam."

Why, then, after all the constituents of Roman grandeur had passed away, should their historical trophies survive, recalling to them the scenes of departed heroism, in which they had no personal property, and suggesting to them vain hopes, which for them were never to be other than chimeras? Even in that sense, therefore, and as a great depository of heart-stirring historical remembrances, Rome was profitably destroyed; and in any other sense, whether for health or for the conveniences of polished life, or for architectural magnificence, there never was a doubt that the Roman people gained infinitely by this conflagration. For, like London, it arose from its ashes with a splendor proportioned to its vast expansion of wealth and population; and marble took the place of wood. For the moment, however, this event must have been felt by the people as an overwhelming calamity. And it serves to illustrate the passive endurance and timidity of the popular temper, and to what extent it might be provoked with impunity, that in this state of general irritation and effervescence, Nero absolutely forbade them to meddle with the ruins of their own dwellings—taking that charge upon himself, with a view to the vast wealth which he anticipated from sifting the rubbish. And, as if that mode of plunder were not sufficient, he exacted compulsory contributions to the rebuilding of the city so indiscriminately, as to press heavily upon all men’s finances; and thus, in the public account which universally imputed the fire to him, he was viewed as a twofold robber, who sought to heal one calamity by the infliction of another and a greater.

The monotony of wickedness and outrage becomes at length fatiguing to the coarsest and most callous senses; and the historian, even, who caters professedly for the taste which feeds upon the monstrous and the hyperbolical, is glad at length to escape from the long evolution of his insane atrocities, to the striking and truly scenical catastrophe of retribution which overtook them, and avenged the wrongs of an insulted world. Perhaps history contains no more impressive scenes than those in which the justice of Providence at length arrested the monstrous career of Nero.

It was at Naples, and, by a remarkable fatality, on the very anniversary of his mother’s murder, that he received the first intelligence of the revolt in Gaul under the Proprætor Vindex. This news for about a week he treated with levity; and, like Henry VII. of England, who was nettled, not so much at being proclaimed a rebel, as because he was described under the slighting denomination of „one Henry Tidder or Tudor,“ he complained bitterly that Vindex had mentioned him by his family name of Ænobarbus, rather than his assumed one of Nero. But much more keenly he resented the insulting description of himself as a „miserable harper,“ appealing to all about him whether they had ever known a better, and offering to stake the truth of all the other charges against himself upon the accuracy of this in particular. So little even in this instance was he alive to the true point of the insult; not thinking it any disgrace that a Roman emperor should be chiefly known to the world in the character of a harper, but only if he should happen to be a bad one. Even in those days, however, imperfect as were the means of travelling, rebellion moved somewhat too rapidly to allow any long interval of security so light-minded as this. One courier followed upon the heels of another, until he felt the necessity for leaving Naples; and he returned to Rome, as the historian says, prætrepidus; by which word, however, according to its genuine classical acceptation, we apprehend is not meant that he was highly alarmed, but only that he was in a great hurry. That he was not yet under any real alarm (for he trusted in certain prophecies, which, like those made to the Scottish tyrant „kept the promise to the ear, but broke it to the sense,“) is pretty evident, from his conduct on reaching the capitol. For, without any appeal to the senate or the people, but sending out a few summonses to some men of rank, he held a hasty council, which he speedily dismissed, and occupied the rest of the day with experiments on certain musical instruments of recent invention, in which the keys were moved by hydraulic contrivances. He had come to Rome, it appeared, merely from a sense of decorum.

Suddenly, however, arrived news, which fell upon him with the force of a thunderbolt, that the revolt had extended to the Spanish provinces, and was headed by Galba. He fainted upon hearing this; and falling to the ground, lay for a long time lifeless, as it seemed, and speechless. Upon coming to himself again, he tore his robe, struck his forehead, and exclaimed aloud—that for him all was over. In this agony of mind, it strikes across the utter darkness of the scene with the sense of a sudden and cheering flash, recalling to us the possible goodness and fidelity of human nature—when we read that one humble creature adhered to him, and, according to her slender means, gave him consolation during these trying moments; this was the woman who had tended his infant years; and she now recalled to his remembrance such instances of former princes in adversity, as appeared fitted to sustain his drooping spirits. It seems, however, that, according to the general course of violent emotions, the rebound of high spirits was in proportion to his first despondency. He omitted nothing of his usual luxury or self-indulgence, and he even found spirits for going incognito to the theatre, where he took sufficient interest in the public performances, to send a message to a favorite actor. At times, even in this hopeless situation, his native ferocity returned upon him, and he was believed to have framed plans for removing all his enemies at once—the leaders of the rebellion, by appointing successors to their offices, and secretly sending assassins to dispatch their persons; the senate, by poison at a great banquet; the Gaulish provinces, by delivering them up for pillage to the army; the city, by again setting it on fire, whilst, at the same time, a vast number of wild beasts was to have been turned loose upon the unarmed populace—for the double purpose of destroying them, and of distracting their attention from the fire. But, as the mood of his frenzy changed, these sanguinary schemes were abandoned, (not, however, under any feelings of remorse, but from mere despair of effecting them,) and on the same day, but after a luxurious dinner, the imperial monster grew bland and pathetic in his ideas; he would proceed to the rebellious army; he would present himself unarmed to their view; and would recall them to their duty by the mere spectacle of his tears. Upon the pathos with which he would weep he was resolved to rely entirely. And having received the guilty to his mercy without distinction, upon the following day he would unite his joy with their joy, and would chant hymns of victory (epinicia)—“which by the way,“ said he, suddenly, breaking off to his favorite pursuits, „it is necessary that I should immediately compose.“ This caprice vanished like the rest; and he made an effort to enlist the slaves and citizens into his service, and to raise by extortion a large military chest. But in the midst of these vascillating purposes fresh tidings surprised him—other armies had revolted, and the rebellion was spreading contagiously. This consummation of his alarms reached him at dinner; and the expressions of his angry fears took even a scenical air; he tore the dispatches, upset the table, and dashed to pieces upon the ground two crystal beakers—which had a high value as works of art, even in the Aurea Domus, from the sculptures which adorned them.

He now prepared for flight; and, sending forward commissioners to prepare the fleet at Ostia for his reception, he tampered with such officers of the army as were at hand, to prevail upon them to accompany his retreat. But all showed themselves indisposed to such schemes, and some flatly refused. Upon which he turned to other counsels; sometimes meditating a flight to the King of Parthia, or even to throw himself on the mercy of Galba; sometimes inclining rather to the plan of venturing into the forum in mourning apparel, begging pardon for his past offences, and, as a last resource, entreating that he might receive the appointment of Egyptian prefect. This plan, however, he hesitated to adopt, from some apprehension that he should be torn to pieces in his road to the forum; and, at all events, he concluded to postpone it to the following day. Meantime events were now hurrying to their catastrophe, which for ever anticipated that intention. His hours were numbered, and the closing scene was at hand.

In the middle of the night he was aroused from slumber with the intelligence that the military guard, who did duty at the palace, had all quited their posts. Upon this the unhappy prince leaped from his couch, never again to taste the luxury of sleep, and dispatched messengers to his friends. No answers were returned; and upon that he went personally with a small retinue to their hotels. But he found their doors every where closed; and all his importunities could not avail to extort an answer. Sadly and slowly he returned to his own bedchamber; but there again he found fresh instances of desertion, which had occurred during his short absence; the pages of his bedchamber had fled, carrying with them the coverlids of the imperial bed, which were probably inwrought with gold, and even a golden box, in which Nero had on the preceding day deposited poison prepared against the last extremity. Wounded to the heart by this general desertion, and perhaps by some special case of ingratitude, such as would probably enough be signalized in the flight of his personal favorites, he called for a gladiator of the household to come and dispatch him. But none appearing,—“What!“ said he, „have I neither friend nor foe?“ And so saying, he ran towards the Tiber, with the purpose of drowning himself. But that paroxysm, like all the rest, proved transient; and he expressed a wish for some hiding-place, or momentary asylum, in which he might collect his unsettled spirits, and fortify his wandering resolution. Such a retreat was offered to him by his libertus Phaon, in his own rural villa, about four miles distant from Rome. The offer was accepted; and the emperor, without further preparation than that of throwing over his person a short mantle of a dusky hue, and enveloping his head and face in a handkerchief, mounted his horse, and left Rome with four attendants. It was still night, but probably verging towards the early dawn; and even at that hour the imperial party met some travellers on their way to Rome (coming up, no doubt, [Footnote: At this early hour, witnesses, sureties, &c., and all concerned in the law courts, came up to Rome from villas, country towns, &c. But no ordinary call existed to summon travellers in the opposite direction; which accounts for the comment of the travellers on the errand of Nero and his attendants.] on law business)—who said, as they passed, „These men are certainly in chase of Nero.“ Two other incidents, of an interesting nature, are recorded of this short but memorable ride; at one point of the road, the shouts of the soldiery assailed their ears from the neighboring encampment of Galba. They were probably then getting under arms for their final march to take possession of the palace. At another point, an accident occurred of a more unfortunate kind, but so natural and so well circumstantiated, that it serves to verify the whole narrative; a dead body was lying on the road, at which the emperor’s horse started so violently as nearly to dismount his rider, and under the difficulty of the moment compelled him to withdraw the hand which held up the handkerchief, and suddenly to expose his features. Precisely at this critical moment it happened that an old half-pay officer passed, recognised the emperor, and saluted him. Perhaps it was with some purpose of applying a remedy to this unfortunate rencontre, that the party dismounted at a point where several roads met, and turned their horses adrift to graze at will amongst the furze and brambles. Their own purpose was, to make their way to the back of the villa; but, to accomplish that, it was necessary that they should first cross a plantation of reeds, from the peculiar state of which they found themselves obliged to cover successively each space upon which they trode with parts of their dress, in order to gain any supportable footing. In this way, and contending with such hardships, they reached at length the postern side of the villa. Here we must suppose that there was no regular ingress; for, after waiting until an entrance was pierced, it seems that the emperor could avail himself of it in no more dignified posture, than by creeping through the hole on his hands and feet, (quadrupes per angustias receptus.)

Now, then, after such anxiety, alarm, and hardship, Nero had reached a quiet rural asylum. But for the unfortunate concurrence of his horse’s alarm with the passing of the soldier, he might perhaps have counted on a respite of a day or two in this noiseless and obscure abode. But what a habitation for him who was yet ruler of the world in the eye of law, and even de facto was so, had any fatal accident befallen his aged competitor! The room in which (as the one most removed from notice and suspicion) he had secreted himself, was a cella, or little sleeping closet of a slave, furnished only with a miserable pallet and a coarse rug. Here lay the founder and possessor of the Golden House, too happy if he might hope for the peaceable possession even of this miserable crypt. But that, he knew too well, was impossible. A rival pretender to the empire was like the plague of fire—as dangerous in the shape of a single spark left unextinguished, as in that of a prosperous conflagration. But a few brief sands yet remained to run in the emperor’s hour-glass; much variety of degradation or suffering seemed scarcely within the possibilities of his situation, or within the compass of the time. Yet, as though Providence had decreed that his humiliation should pass through every shape, and speak by every expression which came home to his understanding, or was intelligible to his senses, even in these few moments he was attacked by hunger and thirst. No other bread could be obtained (or, perhaps, if the emperor’s presence were concealed from the household, it was not safe to raise suspicion by calling for better) than that which was ordinarily given to slaves, coarse, black, and, to a palate so luxurious, doubtless disgusting. This accordingly he rejected; but a little tepid water he drank. After which, with the haste of one who fears that he may be prematurely interrupted, but otherwise, with all the reluctance which we may imagine, and which his streaming tears proclaimed, he addressed himself to the last labor in which he supposed himself to have any interest on this earth—that of digging a grave. Measuring a space adjusted to the proportions of his person, he inquired anxiously for any loose fragments of marble, such as might suffice to line it. He requested also to be furnished with wood and water, as the materials for the last sepulchral rites. And these labors were accompanied, or continually interrupted by tears and lamentations, or by passionate ejaculations on the blindness of fortune, in suffering so divine an artist to be thus violently snatched away, and on the calamitous fate of musical science, which then stood on the brink of so dire an eclipse. In these moments he was most truly in an agony, according to the original meaning of that word; for the conflict was great between two master principles of his nature: on the one hand, he clung with the weakness of a girl to life, even in that miserable shape to which it had now sunk; and like the poor malefactor, with whose last struggles Prior has so atrociously amused himself, „he often took leave, but was loath to depart.“ Yet, on the other hand, to resign his life very speedily, seemed his only chance for escaping the contumelies, perhaps the tortures, of his enemies; and, above all other considerations, for making sure of a burial, and possibly of burial rites; to want which, in the judgment of the ancients, was the last consummation of misery. Thus occupied, and thus distracted—sternly attracted to the grave by his creed, hideously repelled by infirmity of nature—he was suddenly interrupted by a courier with letters for the master of the house; letters, and from Rome! What was their import? That was soon told—briefly that Nero was adjudged to be a public enemy by the senate, and that official orders were issued for apprehending him, in order that he might be brought to condign punishment according to the method of ancient precedent. Ancient precedent! more majorum! And how was that? eagerly demanded the emperor. He was answered—that the state criminal in such cases was first stripped naked, then impaled as it were between the prongs of a pitchfork, and in that condition scourged to death. Horror-struck with this account, he drew forth two poniards, or short swords, tried their edges, and then, in utter imbecility of purpose, returned them to their scabbards, alleging that the destined moment had not yet arrived. Then he called upon Sporus, the infamous partner in his former excesses, to commence the funeral anthem. Others, again, he besought to lead the way in dying, and to sustain him by the spectacle of their example. But this purpose also he dismissed in the very moment of utterance; and turning away despairingly, he apostrophized himself in words reproachful or animating, now taxing his nature with infirmity of purpose, now calling on himself by name, with adjurations to remember his dignity, and to act worthy of his supreme station: ou prepei Neroni, cried he, ou prepeu næphein dei en tois toidætois ale, eleire seauton—i.e. „Fie, fie, then Nero! such a season calls for perfect self-possession. Up, then, and rouse thyself to action.“

Thus, and in similar efforts to master the weakness of his reluctant nature—weakness which would extort pity from the severest minds, were it not from the odious connection which in him it had with cruelty the most merciless—did this unhappy prince, jam non salutis spem sed exitii solatium quærens, consume the flying moments, until at length his ears caught the fatal sounds or echoes from a body of horsemen riding up to the villa. These were the officers charged with his arrest; and if he should fall into their hands alive, he knew that his last chance was over for liberating himself, by a Roman death, from the burthen of ignominious life, and from a lingering torture. He paused from his restless motions, listened attentively, then repeated a line from Homer—

  Ippon m' ochupodon amphi chtupos ouata ballei

(The resounding tread of swift-footed horses reverberates upon my ears);—then under some momentary impulse of courage, gained perhaps by figuring to himself the bloody populace rioting upon his mangled body, yet even then needing the auxiliary hand and vicarious courage of his private secretary, the feeble-hearted prince stabbed himself in the throat. The wound, however, was not such as to cause instant death. He was still breathing, and not quite speechless, when the centurion who commanded the party entered the closet; and to this officer, who uttered a few hollow words of encouragement, he was still able to make a brief reply. But in the very effort of speaking he expired, and with an expression of horror impressed upon his stiffened features, which communicated a sympathetic horror to all beholders.

Such was the too memorable tragedy which closed for ever the brilliant line of the Julian family, and translated the august title of Cæsar from its original purpose as a proper name to that of an official designation. It is the most striking instance upon record of a dramatic and extreme vengeance overtaking extreme guilt; for, as Nero had exhausted the utmost possibilities of crime, so it may be affirmed that he drank off the cup of suffering to the very extremity of what his peculiar nature allowed. And in no life of so short a duration, have there ever been crowded equal extremities of gorgeous prosperity and abject infamy. It may be added, as another striking illustration of the rapid mutability and revolutionary excesses which belonged to what has been properly called the Roman stratocracy then disposing of the world, that within no very great succession of weeks that same victorious rebel, the Emperor Galba, at whose feet Nero had been self-immolated, was laid a murdered corpse in the same identical cell which had witnessed the lingering agonies of his unhappy victim. This was the act of an emancipated slave, anxious, by a vindictive insult to the remains of one prince, to place on record his gratitude to another. „So runs the world away!“ And in this striking way is retribution sometimes dispensed.

In the sixth Cæsar terminated the Julian line. The three next princes in the succession were personally uninteresting; and, with a slight reserve in favor of Otho, whose motives for committing suicide (if truly reported) argue great nobility of mind, [Footnote: We may add that the unexampled public grief which followed the death of Otho, exceeding even that which followed the death of Germanicus, and causing several officers to commit suicide, implies some remarkable goodness in this Prince, and a very unusual power of conciliating attachment.] were even brutal in the tenor of their lives and monstrous; besides that the extreme brevity of their several reigns (all three, taken conjunctly, having held the supreme power for no more than twelve months and twenty days) dismisses them from all effectual station or right to a separate notice in the line of Cæsars. Coming to the tenth in succession, Vespasian, and his two sons, Titus and Domitian, who make up the list of the twelve Cæsars, as they are usually called, we find matter for deeper political meditation and subjects of curious research. But these emperors would be more properly classed with the five who succeed them—Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian, and the two Antonines; after whom comes the young ruffian, Commodus, another Caligula or Nero, from whose short and infamous reign Gibbon takes up his tale of the decline of the empire. And this classification would probably have prevailed, had not the very curious work of Suetonius, whose own life and period of observation determined the series and cycle of his subjects, led to a different distribution. But as it is evident that, in the succession of the first twelve Cæsars, the six latter have no connection whatever by descent, collaterally, or otherwise, with the six first, it would be a more logical distribution to combine them according to the fortunes of the state itself, and the succession of its prosperity through the several stages of splendor, declension, revival, and final decay. Under this arrangement, the first seventeen would belong to the first stage; Commodus would open the second; Aurelian down to Constantine or Julian would fill the third; and Jovian to Augustulus would bring up the melancholy rear. Meantime it will be proper, after thus briefly throwing our eyes over the monstrous atrocities of the early Cæsars, to spend a few lines in examining their origin, and the circumstances which favored their growth. For a mere hunter after hidden or forgotten singularities; a lover on their own account of all strange perversities and freaks of nature, whether in action, taste, or opinion; for a collector and amateur of misgrowths and abortions; for a Suetonius, in short, it may be quite enough to state and to arrange his cabinet of specimens from the marvellous in human nature. But certainly in modern times, any historian, however little affecting the praise of a philosophic investigator, would feel himself called upon to remove a little the taint of the miraculous and preternatural which adheres to such anecdotes, by entering into the psychological grounds of their possibility; whether lying in any peculiarly vicious education, early familiarity with bad models, corrupting associations, or other plausible key to effects, which, taken separately, and out of their natural connection with their explanatory causes, are apt rather to startle and revolt the feelings of sober thinkers. Except, perhaps, in some chapters of Italian history, as, for example, among the most profligate of the Papal houses, and amongst some of the Florentine princes, we find hardly any parallel to the atrocities of Caligula and Nero; nor indeed was Tiberius much (if at all) behind them, though otherwise so wary and cautious in his conduct. The same tenor of licentiousness beyond the needs of the individual, the same craving after the marvellous and the stupendous in guilt, is continually emerging in succeeding emperors—in Vitellius, in Domitian, in Commodus, in Caracalla—every where, in short, where it was not overruled by one of two causes, either by original goodness of nature too powerful to be mastered by ordinary seductions, (and in some cases removed from their influence by an early apprenticeship to camps,) or by the terrors of an exemplary ruin immediately preceding. For such a determinate tendency to the enormous and the anomalous, sufficient causes must exist. What were they?

In the first place, we may observe that the people of Rome in that age were generally more corrupt by many degrees than has been usually supposed possible. The effect of revolutionary times, to relax all modes of moral obligation, and to unsettle the moral sense, has been well and philosophically stated by Mr. Coleridge; but that would hardly account for the utter licentiousness and depravity of Imperial Rome. Looking back to Republican Rome, and considering the state of public morals but fifty years before the emperors, we can with difficulty believe that the descendants of a people so severe in their habits could thus rapidly degenerate, and that a populace, once so hardy and masculine, should assume the manners which we might expect in the debauchees of Daphne (the infamous suburb of Antioch) or of Canopus, into which settled the very lees and dregs of the vicious Alexandria. Such extreme changes would falsify all that we know of human nature; we might à priori pronounce them impossible; and in fact, upon searching history, we find other modes of solving the difficulty. In reality, the citizens of Rome were at this time a new race, brought together from every quarter of the world, but especially from Asia. So vast a proportion of the ancient citizens had been cut off by the sword, and partly to conceal this waste of population, but much more by way of cheaply requiting services, or of showing favor, or of acquiring influence, slaves had been emancipated in such great multitudes, and afterwards invested with all the rights of citizens, that, in a single generation, Rome became almost transmuted into a baser metal; the progeny of those whom the last generation had purchased from the slave merchants. These people derived their stock chiefly from Cappadocia, Pontus, &c., and the other populous regions of Asia Minor; and hence the taint of Asiatic luxury and depravity, which was so conspicuous to all the Romans of the old republican severity. Juvenal is to be understood more literally than is sometimes supposed, when he complains that long before his time the Orontes (that river which washed the infamous capital of Syria) had mingled its impure waters with those of the Tiber. And a little before him, Lucan speaks with mere historic gravity when he says—

  ———"Vivant Galatæque Syrique
  Cappadoces, Gallique, extremique orbis Iberi,
  Armenii, Cilices: nam post civilia bella
  Hic Populus Romanus erit."

[Footnote: Blackwell, in his Court of Augustus, vol. i. p. 382, when noticing these lines upon occasion of the murder of Cicero, in the final proscription under the last triumvirate, comments thus: „Those of the greatest and truly Roman spirit had been murdered in the field by Julius Cæsar; the rest were now massacred in the city by his son and successors; in their room came Syrians, Cappadocians, Phrygians, and other enfranchised slaves from the conquered nations;“—“these in half a century had sunk so low, that Tiberius pronounced her very senators to be homines ad sermtutem natos, men born to be slaves.“]

Probably in the time of Nero, not one man in six was of pure Roman descent. [Footnote: Suetonius indeed pretends that Augustus, personally at least, struggled against this ruinous practice—thinking it a matter of the highest moment, „Sincerum atque ab omni colluvione peregrini et servilis sanguinis incorruptum servare populum.“ And Horace is ready with his flatteries on the same topic, lib. 3, Od. 6. But the facts are against them; for the question is not what Augustus did in his own person, (which at most could not operate very widely except by the example,) but what he permitted to be done. Now there was a practice familiar to those times; that when a congiary or any other popular liberality was announced, multitudes were enfranchised by avaricious masters in order to make them capable of the bounty, (as citizens,) and yet under the condition of transferring to their emancipators whatsoever they should receive; ina ton dæmosios d domenon siton lambanontes chata mæna—pherosi tois dedochasi tæn eleutherian says Dionysius of Halicarnassus, in order that after receiving the corn given publicly in every month, they might carry it to those who had bestowed upon them their freedom. In a case, then, where an extensive practice of this kind was exposed to Augustus, and publicly reproved by him, how did he proceed? Did he reject the new-made citizens? No; he contented himself with diminishing the proportion originally destined for each, so that the same absolute sum being distributed among a number increased by the whole amount of the new enrolments, of necessity the relative sum for each separately was so much less. But this was a remedy applied only to the pecuniary fraud as it would have affected himself. The permanent mischief to the state went unredressed.] And the consequences were suitable. Scarcely a family has come down to our knowledge that could not in one generation enumerate a long catalogue of divorces within its own contracted circle. Every man had married a series of wives; every woman a series of husbands. Even in the palace of Augustus, who wished to be viewed as an exemplar or ideal model of domestic purity, every principal member of his family was tainted in that way; himself in a manner and a degree infamous even at that time. [Footnote: Part of the story is well known, but not the whole. Tiberius Nero, a promising young nobleman, had recently married a very splendid beauty. Unfortunately for him, at the marriage of Octavia (sister to Augustus) with Mark Anthony, he allowed his young wife, then about eighteen, to attend upon the bride. Augustus was deeply and suddenly fascinated by her charms, and without further scruple sent a message to Nero—intimating that he was in love with his wife, and would thank him to resign her. The other, thinking it vain, in those days of lawless proscription, to contest a point of this nature with one who commanded twelve legions, obeyed the requisition. Upon some motive, now unknown, he was persuaded even to degrade himself farther; for he actually officiated at the marriage in character of father, and gave away the young beauty to his rival, although at that time six months advanced in pregnancy by himself. These humiliating concessions were extorted from him, and yielded (probably at the instigation of friends) in order to save his life. In the sequel they had the very opposite result; for he died soon after, and it is reasonably supposed of grief and mortification. At the marriage feast, an incident occurred which threw the whole company into confusion: A little boy, roving from couch to couch among the guests, came at length to that in which Livia (the bride) was lying by the side of Augustus, on which he cried out aloud,—“Lady, what are you doing here? You are mistaken—this is not your husband—he is there,“ (pointing to Tiberius,) „go, go—rise, lady, and recline beside him.“] For the first 400 years of Rome, not one divorce had been granted or asked, although the statute which allowed of this indulgence had always been in force. But in the age succeeding to the civil wars men and women „married,“ says one author, „with a view to divorce, and divorced in order to marry. Many of these changes happened within the year, especially if the lady had a large fortune, which always went with her, and procured her choice of transient husbands.“ And, „can one imagine,“ asks the same writer, „that the fair one, who changed her husband every quarter, strictly kept her matrimonial faith all the three months?“ Thus the very fountain of all the „household charities“ and household virtues was polluted. And after that we need little wonder at the assassinations, poisonings, and forging of wills, which then laid waste the domestic life of the Romans.

2. A second source of the universal depravity was the growing inefficacy of the public religion; and this arose from its disproportion and inadequacy to the intellectual advances of the nation. Religion, in its very etymology, has been held to imply a religatio, that is, a reiterated or secondary obligation of morals; a sanction supplementary to that of the conscience. Now, for a rude and uncultivated people, the Pagan mythology might not be too gross to discharge the main functions of a useful religion. So long as the understanding could submit to the fables of the Pagan creed, so long it was possible that the hopes and fears built upon that creed might be practically efficient on men’s lives and intentions. But when the foundation gave way, the whole superstructure of necessity fell to the ground. Those who were obliged to reject the ridiculous legends which invested the whole of their Pantheon, together with the fabulous adjudgers of future punishments, could not but dismiss the punishments, which were, in fact, as laughable, and as obviously the fictions of human ingenuity, as their dispensers. In short, the civilized part of the world in those days lay in this dreadful condition; their intellect had far outgrown their religion; the disproportions between the two were at length become monstrous; and as yet no purer or more elevated faith was prepared for their acceptance. The case was as shocking as if, with our present intellectual needs, we should be unhappy enough to have no creed on which to rest the burden of our final hopes and fears, of our moral obligations, and of our consolations in misery, except the fairy mythology of our nurses. The condition of a people so situated, of a people under the calamity of having outgrown its religious faith, has never been sufficiently considered. It is probable that such a condition has never existed before or since that era of the world. The consequences to Rome were—that the reasoning and disputatious part of her population took refuge from the painful state of doubt in Atheism; amongst the thoughtless and irreflective the consequences were chiefly felt in their morals, which were thus sapped in their foundation.

3. A third cause, which from the first had exercised a most baleful influence upon the arts and upon literature in Rome, had by this time matured its disastrous tendencies towards the extinction of the moral sensibilities. This was the circus, and the whole machinery, form and substance, of the Circensian shows. Why had tragedy no existence as a part of the Roman literature? Because—and that was a reason which would have sufficed to stifle all the dramatic genius of Greece and England—there was too much tragedy in the shape of gross reality, almost daily before their eyes. The amphitheatre extinguished the theatre. How was it possible that the fine and intellectual griefs of the drama should win their way to hearts seared and rendered callous by the continual exhibition of scenes the most hideous, in which human blood was poured out like water, and a human life sacrificed at any moment either to caprice in the populace, or to a strife of rivalry between the ayes and the noes, or as the penalty for any trifling instance of awkwardness in the performer himself? Even the more innocent exhibitions, in which brutes only were the sufferers, could not but be mortal to all the finer sensibilities. Five thousand wild animals, torn from their native abodes in the wilderness or forest, were often turned out to be hunted, or for mutual slaughter, in the course of a single exhibition of this nature; and it sometimes happened, (a fact which of itself proclaims the course of the public propensities,) that the person at whose expense the shows were exhibited, by way of paying special court to the people and meriting their favor, in the way most conspicuously open to him, issued orders that all, without a solitary exception, should be slaughtered. He made it known, as the very highest gratification which the case allowed, that (in the language of our modern auctioneers) the whole, „without reserve,“ should perish before their eyes. Even such spectacles must have hardened the heart, and blunted the more delicate sensibilities; but these would soon cease to stimulate the pampered and exhausted sense. From the combats of tigers or leopards, in which the passions could only be gathered indirectly, and by way of inference from the motions, the transition must have been almost inevitable to those of men, whose nobler and more varied passions spoke directly, and by the intelligible language of the eye, to human spectators; and from the frequent contemplation of these authorized murders, in which a whole people, women [Footnote: Augustus, indeed, strove to exclude the women from one part of the circension spectacles; and what was that? Simply from the sight of the Athletæ, as being naked. But that they should witness the pangs of the dying gladiators, he deemed quite allowable. The smooth barbarian considered; that a license of the first sort offended against decorum, whilst the other violated only the sanctities of the human heart, and the whole sexual character of women. It is our opinion, that to the brutalizing effect of these exhibitions we are to ascribe not only the early extinction of the Roman drama, but generally the inferiority of Rome to Greece in every department of the fine arts. The fine temper of Roman sensibility, which no culture could have brought to the level of the Grecian, was thus dulled for every application.] as much as men, and children intermingled with both, looked on with leisurely indifference, with anxious expectation, or with rapturous delight, whilst below them were passing the direct sufferings of humanity, and not seldom its dying pangs, it was impossible to expect a result different from that which did in fact take place,—universal hardness of heart, obdurate depravity, and a twofold degradation of human nature, which acted simultaneously upon the two pillars of morality, (which are otherwise not often assailed together,) of natural sensibility in the first place, and, in the second, of conscientious principle.

4. But these were circumstances which applied to the whole population indiscriminately. Superadded to these, in the case of the emperor, and affecting him exclusively, was this prodigious disadvantage—that ancient reverence for the immediate witnesses of his actions, and for the people and senate who would under other circumstances have exercised the old functions of the censor, was, as to the emperor, pretty nearly obliterated. The very title of imperator, from which we have derived our modern one of emperor, proclaims the nature of the government, and the tenure of that office. It was purely a government by the sword, or permanent stratocracy having a movable head. Never was there a people who inquired so impertinently as the Romans into the domestic conduct of each private citizen. No rank escaped this jealous vigilance; and private liberty, even in the most indifferent circumstances of taste or expense, was sacrificed to this inquisitorial rigor of surveillance exercised on behalf of the State, sometimes by erroneous patriotism, too often by malice in disguise. To this spirit the highest public officers were obliged to bow; the consuls, not less than others. And even the occasional dictator, if by law irresponsible, acted nevertheless as one who knew that any change which depressed his party, might eventually abrogate his privilege. For the first time in the person of an imperator was seen a supreme autocrat, who had virtually and effectively all the irresponsibility which the law assigned, and the origin of his office presumed. Satisfied to know that he possessed such power, Augustus, as much from natural taste as policy, was glad to dissemble it, and by every means to withdraw it from public notice. But he had passed his youth as citizen of a republic; and in the state of transition to autocracy, in his office of triumvir, had experimentally known the perils of rivalship, and the pains of foreign control, too feelingly to provoke unnecessarily any sleeping embers of the republican spirit. Tiberius, though familiar from his infancy with the servile homage of a court, was yet modified by the popular temper of Augustus; and he came late to the throne. Caligula was the first prince on whom the entire effect of his political situation was allowed to operate; and the natural results were seen—he was the first absolute monster. He must early have seen the realities of his position, and from what quarter it was that any cloud could arise to menace his security. To the senate or people any respect which he might think proper to pay, must have been imputed by all parties to the lingering superstitions of custom, to involuntary habit, to court dissimulation, or to the decencies of external form, and the prescriptive reverence of ancient names. But neither senate nor people could enforce their claims, whatever they might happen to be. Their sanction and ratifying vote might be worth having, as consecrating what was already secure, and conciliating the scruples of the weak to the absolute decision of the strong. But their resistance, as an original movement, was so wholly without hope, that they were never weak enough to threaten it.

The army was the true successor to their places, being the ultimate depository of power. Yet, as the army was necessarily subdivided, as the shifting circumstances upon every frontier were continually varying the strength of the several divisions as to numbers and state of discipline, one part might be balanced against the other by an imperator standing in the centre of the whole. The rigor of the military sacramentum, or oath of allegiance, made it dangerous to offer the first overtures to rebellion; and the money, which the soldiers were continually depositing in the bank, placed at the foot of their military standards, if sometimes turned against the emperor, was also liable to be sequestrated in his favor. There were then, in fact, two great forces in the government acting in and by each other—the Stratocracy, and the Autocracy. Each needed the other; each stood in awe of each. But, as regarded all other forces in the empire, constitutional or irregular, popular or senatorial, neither had any thing to fear. Under any ordinary circumstances, therefore, considering the hazards of a rebellion, the emperor was substantially liberated from all control. Vexations or outrages upon the populace were not such to the army. It was but rarely that the soldier participated in the emotions of the citizen. And thus, being effectually without check, the most vicious of the Cæsars went on without fear, presuming upon the weakness of one part of his subjects, and the indifference of the other, until he was tempted onwards to atrocities, which armed against him the common feelings of human nature, and all mankind, as it were, rose in a body with one voice, and apparently with one heart, united by mere force of indignant sympathy, to put him down, and „abate“ him as a monster. But, until he brought matters to this extremity, Cæsar had no cause to fear. Nor was it at all certain, in any one instance, where this exemplary chastisement overtook him, that the apparent unanimity of the actors went further than the practical conclusion of „abating“ the imperial nuisance, or that their indignation had settled upon the same offences. In general the army measured the guilt by the public scandal, rather than by its moral atrocity; and Cæsar suffered perhaps in every case, not so much because he had violated his duties, as because he had dishonored his office.

It is, therefore, in the total absence of the checks which have almost universally existed to control other despots, under some indirect shape, even where none was provided by the laws, that we must seek for the main peculiarity affecting the condition of the Roman Cæsar, which peculiarity it was, superadded to the other three, that finally made those three operative in their fullest extent. It is in the perfection of the stratocracy that we must look for the key to the excesses of the autocrat. Even in the bloody despotisms of the Barbary States, there has always existed in the religious prejudices of the people, which could not be violated with safety, one check more upon the caprices of the despot than was found at Rome. Upon the whole, therefore, what affects us on the first reading as a prodigy or anomaly in the frantic outrages of the early Cæsars—falls within the natural bounds of intelligible human nature, when we state the case considerately. Surrounded by a population which had not only gone through a most vicious and corrupting discipline, and had been utterly ruined by the license of revolutionary times, and the bloodiest proscriptions, but had even been extensively changed in its very elements, and from the descendants of Romulus had been transmuted into an Asiatic mob;—starting from this point, and considering as the second feature of the case, that this transfigured people, morally so degenerate, were carried, however, by the progress of civilization to a certain intellectual altitude, which the popular religion had not strength to ascend—but from inherent disproportion remained at the base of the general civilization, incapable of accompanying the other elements in their advance;—thirdly, that this polished condition of society, which should naturally with the evils of a luxurious repose have counted upon its pacific benefits, had yet, by means of its circus and its gladiatorial contests, applied a constant irritation, and a system of provocations to the appetites for blood, such as in all other nations are connected with the rudest stages of society, and with the most barbarous modes of warfare, nor even in such circumstances without many palliatives wanting to the spectators of the circus;—combining these considerations, we have already a key to the enormities and hideous excesses of the Roman Imperator. The hot blood which excites, and the adventurous courage which accompanies, the excesses of sanguinary warfare, presuppose a condition of the moral nature not to be compared for malignity and baleful tendency to the cool and cowardly spirit of amateurship, in which the Roman (perhaps an effeminate Asiatic) sat looking down upon the bravest of men, (Thracians, or other Europeans,) mangling each other for his recreation. When, lastly, from such a population, and thus disciplined from his nursery days, we suppose the case of one individual selected, privileged, and raised to a conscious irresponsibility, except at the bar of one extra-judicial tribunal, not easily irritated, and notoriously to be propitiated by other means than those of upright or impartial conduct, we lay together the elements of a situation too trying for poor human nature, and fitted only to the faculties of an angel or a demon; of an angel, if we suppose him to resist its full temptations; of a demon, if we suppose him to use its total opportunities. Thus interpreted and solved, Caligula and Nero become ordinary men.

But, finally, what if, after all, the worst of the Cæsars, and those in particular, were entitled to the benefit of a still shorter and more conclusive apology? What if, in a true medical sense, they were insane? It is certain that a vein of madness ran in the family; and anecdotes are recorded of the three worst, which go far to establish it as a fact, and others which would imply it as symptoms—preceding or accompanying. As belonging to the former class, take the following story: At midnight an elderly gentleman suddenly sends round a message to a select party of noblemen, rouses them out of bed, and summons them instantly to his palace. Trembling for their lives from the suddenness of the summons, and from the unseasonable hour, and scarcely doubting that by some anonymous delator they have been implicated as parties to a conspiracy, they hurry to the palace—are received in portentous silence by the ushers and pages in attendance—are conducted to a saloon, where (as in every where else) the silence of night prevails, united with the silence of fear and whispering expectation. All are seated—all look at each other in ominous anxiety. Which is accuser? Which is the accused? On whom shall their suspicion settle—on whom their pity? All are silent—almost speechless—and even the current of their thoughts is frost-bound by fear. Suddenly the sound of a fiddle or a viol is caught from a distance—it swells upon the ear—steps approach—and in another moment in rushes the elderly gentleman, grave and gloomy as his audience, but capering about in a frenzy of excitement. For half an hour he continues to perform all possible evolutions of caprioles, pirouettes, and other extravagant feats of activity, accompanying himself on the fiddle; and, at length, not having once looked at his guests, the elderly gentleman whirls out of the room in the same transport of emotion with which he entered it; the panic-struck visitors are requested by a slave to consider themselves as dismissed: they retire; resume their couches:—the nocturnal pageant has „dislimned“ and vanished; and on the following morning, were it not for their concurring testimonies, all would be disposed to take this interruption of their sleep for one of its most fantastic dreams. The elderly gentleman, who figured in this delirious pas seul—who was he? He was Tiberius Cæsar, king of kings, and lord of the terraqueous globe. Would a British jury demand better evidence than this of a disturbed intellect in any formal process de lunatico inquirendo? For Caligula, again, the evidence of symptoms is still plainer. He knew his own defect; and purposed going through a course of hellebore. Sleeplessness, one of the commonest indications of lunacy, haunted him in an excess rarely recorded. [Footnote: No fiction of romance presents so awful a picture of the ideal tyrant as that of Caligula by Suetonius. His palace—radiant with purple and gold, but murder every where lurking beneath flowers; his smiles and echoing laughter—masking (yet hardly meant to mask) his foul treachery of heart; his hideous and tumultuous dreams—his baffled sleep—and his sleepless nights—compose the picture of an Æschylus. What a master’s sketch lies in these few lines: „Incitabatur insomnio maxime; neque enim plus tribus horis nocturnis quiescebat; ac ne his placida quiete, at pavida miris rerum imaginibus: ut qui inter ceteras pelagi quondam speciem colloquentem secum videre visus sit. Ideoque magna parte noctis, vigilse cubandique tsedio, nunc toro residens, nunc per longissimas porticus vagus, invocare identidem atque exspectare lucem consueverat:“—i. e., But, above all, he was tormented with nervous irritation, by sleeplessness; for he enjoyed not more than three hours of nocturnal repose; nor these even in pure untroubled rest, but agitated by phantasmata of portentous augury; as, for example, upon one occasion he fancied that he saw the sea, under some definite impersonation, conversing with himself. Hence it was, and from this incapacity of sleeping, and from weariness of lying awake, that he had fallen into habits of ranging all the night long through the palace, sometimes throwing himself on a couch, sometimes wandering along the vast corridors, watching for the earliest dawn, and anxiously invoking its approach.] The same, or similar facts, might be brought forward on behalf of Nero. And thus these unfortunate princes, who have so long (and with so little investigation of their cases) passed for monsters or for demoniac counterfeits of men, would at length be brought back within the fold of humanity, as objects rather of pity than of abhorrence, would be reconciled to our indulgent feelings, and, at the same time, made intelligible to our understandings.

P.H. Ditchfield: Astrology, Alchemy, and Magic, from `Books Fatal to Their Authors´, 1884

Juli 4, 2017

Henry Cornelius Agrippa—Joseph Francis Borri—Urban Grandier—Dr. Dee—Edward Kelly—John Darrell.

Superstition is a deformed monster who dies hard; and like Loki of the Sagas when the snake dropped poison on his forehead, his writhings shook the world and caused earthquakes. Now its power is well-nigh dead. „Superstition! that horrible incubus which dwelt in darkness, shunning the light, with all its racks and poison-chalices, and foul sleeping-draughts, is passing away without return.“ [Footnote: Carlyle.] But society was once leavened with it. Alchemy, astrology, and magic were a fashionable cult, and so long as its professors pleased their patrons, proclaimed „smooth things and prophesied deceits,“ all went well with them; but it is an easy thing to offend fickle-minded folk, and when the philosopher’s stone and the secret of perpetual youth after much research were not producible, the cry of „impostor“ was readily raised, and the trade of magic had its uncertainties, as well as its charms.

Our first author who suffered as an astrologer, though it is extremely doubtful whether he was ever guilty of the charges brought against him, was Henry Cornelius Agrippa, who was born at Cologne in 1486, a man of noble birth and learned in Medicine, Law, and Theology. His supposed devotion to necromancy and his adventurous career have made his story a favourite one for romance-writers. We find him in early life fighting in the Italian war under the Emperor Maximilian, whose private secretary he was. The honour of knighthood conferred upon him did not satisfy his ambition, and he betook himself to the fields of learning. At the request of Margaret of Austria, he wrote a treatise on the Excellence of Wisdom, which he had not the courage to publish, fearing to arouse the hostility of the theologians of the day, as his views were strongly opposed to the scholasticism of the monks. He lived the roving life of a mediaeval scholar, now in London illustrating the Epistles of St. Paul, now at Cologne or Pavia or Turin lecturing on Divinity, and at another time at Metz, where he resided some time and took part in the government of the city. There, in 1521, he was bereaved of his beautiful and noble wife. There too we read of his charitable act of saving from death a poor woman who was accused of witchcraft. Then he became involved in controversy, combating the idea that St. Anne, the mother of the Blessed Virgin, had three husbands, and in consequence of the hostility raised by his opinions he was compelled to leave the city. The people used to avoid him, as if he carried about with him some dread infection, and fled from him whenever he appeared in the streets. At length we see him established at Lyons as physician to the Queen Mother, the Princess Louise of Savoy, and enjoying a pension from Francis I. This lady seems to have been of a superstitious turn of mind, and requested the learned Agrippa, whose fame for astrology had doubtless reached her, to consult the stars concerning the destinies of France. This Agrippa refused, and complained of being employed in such follies. His refusal aroused the ire of the Queen; her courtiers eagerly took up the cry, and „conjurer,“ „necromancer,“ etc., were the complimentary terms which were freely applied to the former favourite. Agrippa fled to the court of Margaret of Austria, the governor of the Netherlands under Charles V., and was appointed the Emperor’s historiographer. He wrote a history of the reign of that monarch, and during the life of Margaret he continued his prosperous career, and at her death he delivered an eloquent funeral oration.

But troubles were in store for the illustrious author. In 1530 he published a work, De Incertitudine et Vanitate Scientiarum et Artium, atque Excellentiâ Verbi Dei Dedamatio (Antwerp). His severe satire upon scholasticism and its professors roused the anger of those whom with scathing words he castigated. The Professors of the University of Louvain declared that they detected forty-three errors in the book; and Agrippa was forced to defend himself against their attacks in a little book published at Leyden, entitled Apologia pro defencione Declamationis de Vanitate Scientiarum contra Theologistes Lovanienses. In spite of such powerful friends as the Papal Legate, Cardinal Campeggio, and Cardinal de la Marck, Prince Bishop of Liège, Agrippa was vilified by his opponents, and imprisoned at Brussels in 1531. The fury against his book continued to rage, and its author declares in his Epistles: „When I brought out my book for the purpose of exciting sluggish minds to the study of sound learning, and to provide some new arguments for these monks to discuss in their assemblies, they repaid this kindness by rousing common hostility against me; and now by suggestions, from their pulpits, in public meetings, before mixed multitudes, with great clamourings they declaim against me; they rage with passion, and there is no impiety, no heresy, no disgrace which they do not charge me with, with wonderful gesticulations—namely, with clapping of fingers, with hands outstretched and then suddenly drawn back, with gnashing of teeth, by raging, by spitting, by scratching their heads, by gnawing their nails, by stamping with their feet, they rage like madmen, and omit no kind of lunatic behaviour by means of which they may arouse the hatred and anger of both prince and people against me.“

The book was examined by the Inquisition and placed by the Council of Trent on the list of prohibited works, amongst the heretical books of the first class. Erasmus, however, spoke very highly of it, and declared it to be „the work of a man of sparkling intellect, of varied reading and good memory, who always blames bad things, and praises the good.“ Schelhorn declares that the book is remarkable for the brilliant learning displayed in it, and for the very weighty testimony which it bears against the errors and faults of the time.

Our author was released from his prison at Brussels, and wrote another book, De occulta Philosophia (3 vols., Antwerp, 1533), which enabled his enemies to bring against him the charge of magic. Stories were told of the money which Agrippa paid at inns turning into pieces of horn and shell, and of the mysterious dog which ate and slept with him, which was indeed a demon in disguise and vanished at his death. They declared he had a wonderful wand, and a mirror which reflected the images of persons absent or dead.

The reputed wizard at length returned to France, where he was imprisoned on a charge of speaking evil of the Queen Mother, who had evidently not forgotten his refusal to consult the stars for her benefit. He was, however, soon released, and after his strange wandering life our author ended his labours in a hospital at Grenoble, where he died in 1535. In addition to the works we have mentioned, he wrote De Nobilitate et Proecellentia Faeminei Sexus (Antwerp, 1529), in order to flatter his patroness Margaret of Austria, and an early work, De Triplici Ratione Cognoscendi Deum (1515). The monkish epigram, unjust though it be, is perhaps worth recording:—

„Among the gods there is Momus who reviles all men; among the heroes there is Hercules who slays monsters; among the demons there is Pluto, the king of Erebus, who is in a rage with all the shades; among the philosophers there is Democritus who laughs at all things, Heraclitus who bewails all things, Pyrrhon who is ignorant of all things, Aristotle who thinks that he knows all things, Diogenes who despises all things. But this Agrippa spares none, despises all things, knows all things, is ignorant of all things, bewails all things, laughs at all things, rages against all things, reviles all things, being himself a philosopher, a demon, a hero, a god, everything.“

The impostor Joseph Francis Borri was a very different character. He was a famous chemist and charlatan, born at Milan in 1627, and educated by the Jesuits at Rome, being a student of medicine and chemistry. He lived a wild and depraved life, and was compelled to retire into a seminary. Then he suddenly changed his conduct, and pretended to be inspired by God, advocating in a book which he published certain strange notions with regard to the existence of the Trinity, and expressing certain ridiculous opinions, such as that the mother of God was a certain goddess, that the Holy Spirit became incarnate in the womb of Anna, and that not only Christ but the Virgin also are adored and contained in the Holy Eucharist. In spite of the folly of his teaching he attracted many followers, and also the attention of the Inquisition. Perceiving his danger, he fled to Milan, and thence to a more safe retreat in Amsterdam and Hamburg. In his absence the Inquisition examined his book and passed its dread sentence upon its author, declaring that „Borri ought to be punished as a heretic for his errors, that he had incurred both the ‚general‘ and ‚particular‘ censures, that he was deprived of all honour and prerogative in the Church, of whose mercy he had proved himself unworthy, that he was expelled from her communion, and that his effigy should be handed over to the Cardinal Legate for the execution of the punishment he had deserved.“ All his heretical writings were condemned to the flames, and all his goods confiscated. On the 3rd of January, 1661, Borri’s effigy and his books were burned by the public executioner, and Borri declared that he never felt so cold, when he knew that he was being burned by proxy. He then fled to a more secure asylum in Denmark. He imposed upon Frederick III., saying that he had found the philosopher’s stone. After the death of this credulous monarch Borri journeyed to Vienna, where he was delivered up to the representative of the Pope, and cast into prison. He was then sent to Rome, and condemned to perpetual imprisonment in the Castle of St. Angelo, where he died in 1685. His principal work was entitled La Chiave del gabineito del cavagliere G. F. Borri (The key of the cabinet of Borri). Certainly the Church showed him no mercy, but perhaps his hard fate was not entirely undeserved.

The tragic death of Urban Grandier shows how dangerous it was in the days of superstition to incur the displeasure of powerful men, and how easily the charge of necromancy could be used for the purpose of „removing“ an obnoxious person. Grandier was curé of the Church of St. Peter at Loudun and canon of the Church of the Holy Cross. He was a pleasant companion, agreeable in conversation, and much admired by the fair sex. Indeed he wrote a book, Contra Caelibatum Clericorum, in which he strongly advocated the marriage of the clergy, and showed that he was not himself indifferent to the charms of the ladies. In an evil hour he wrote a little book entitled La cordonnière de Loudun, in which he attacked Richelieu, and aroused the undying hatred of the great Cardinal. Richelieu was at that time in the zenith of his power, and when offended he was not very scrupulous as to the means he employed to carry out his vengeance, as the fate of our author abundantly testifies.

In the town of Loudun was a famous convent of Ursuline nuns, and Grandier solicited the office of director of the nunnery, but happily he was prevented by circumstances from undertaking that duty. A short time afterwards the nuns were attacked with a curious and contagious frenzy, imagining themselves tormented by evil spirits, of whom the chief was Asmodeus. [Footnote: This was the demon mentioned in Tobit iii. 8, 17, who attacked Sarah, the daughter of Raguel, and killed her seven husbands. Rabbinical writers consider him as the chief of evil spirits, and recount his marvellous deeds. He is regarded as the fire of impure love.] They pretended that they were possessed by the demon, and accused the unhappy Grandier of casting the spells of witchcraft upon them. He indignantly refuted the calumny, and appealed to the Archbishop of Bordeaux, Charles de Sourdis. This wise prelate succeeded in calming the troubled minds of the nuns, and settled the affair.

In the meantime the vengeful eye of Richelieu was watching for an opportunity. He sent his emissary, Councillor Laubardemont, to Loudun, who renewed the accusation against Grandier. The amiable cleric, who had led a pious and regular life, was declared guilty of adultery, sacrilege, magic, witchcraft, demoniacal possession, and condemned to be burned alive after receiving an application of the torture. In the market-place of Loudun in 1643 this terrible sentence was carried into execution, and together with his book, Contra Caelibatum Clericorum, poor Grandier was committed to the flames. When he ascended his funeral pile, a fly was observed to buzz around his head. A monk who was standing near declared that, as Beelzebub was the god of flies, the devil was present with Grandier in his dying hour and wished to bear away his soul to the infernal regions. An account of this strange and tragic history was published by Aubin in his Histoire des diables de Loudun, ou cruels effets de la vengeance de Richelieu (Amsterdam, 1693).

Our own country has produced a noted alchemist and astrologer, Dr. Dee, whose fame extended to many lands. He was a very learned man and prolific writer, and obtained the office of warden of the collegiate church of Manchester through the favour of Queen Elizabeth, who was a firm believer in his astrological powers. His age was the age of witchcraft, and in no county was the belief in the magic power of the „evil eye“ more prevalent than in Lancashire. Dr. Dee, however, disclaimed all dealings with „the black art“ in his petition to the great „Solomon of the North,“ James I., which was couched in these words: „It has been affirmed that your majesty’s suppliant was the conjurer belonging to the most honourable privy council of your majesty’s predecessor, of famous memory, Queen Elizabeth; and that he is, or hath been, a caller or invocater of devils, or damned spirits; these slanders, which have tended to his utter undoing, can no longer be endured; and if on trial he is found guilty of the offence imputed to him, he offers himself willingly to the punishment of death; yea, either to be stoned to death, or to be buried quick, or to be burned unmercifully.“ In spite of his assertions to the contrary, the learned doctor must have had an intimate acquaintance with „the black art,“ and was the companion and friend of Edward Kelly, a notorious necromancer, who for his follies had his ears cut off at Lancaster. This Kelly used to exhume and consult the dead; in the darkness of night he and his companions entered churchyards, dug up the bodies of men recently buried, and caused them to utter predictions concerning the fate of the living. Dr. Dee’s friendship with Kelly was certainly suspicious. On the coronation of Queen Elizabeth, he foretold the future by consulting the stars. When a waxen image of the queen was found in Lincoln’s-Inn-Fields, which was a sure sign that some one was endeavouring to cast spells upon her majesty, Dr. Dee pretended that he was able to defeat the designs of such evil-disposed persons, and prevent his royal mistress feeling any of the pains which might be inflicted on her effigy. In addition his books, of which there were many, witness against him. These were collected by Casaubon, who published in London in 1659 a résumé of the learned doctor’s works.

Manchester was made too hot, even for the alchemist, through the opposition of his clerical brethren, and he was compelled to resign his office of warden of the college. Then, accompanied by Kelly, he wandered abroad, and was received as an honoured guest at the courts of many sovereigns. The Emperor Rodolphe, Stephen, King of Poland, and other royal personages welcomed the renowned astrologers, who could read the stars, had discovered the elixir of life, which rendered men immortal, the philosopher’s stone in the form of a powder which changed the bottom of a warming-pan into pure silver, simply by warming it at the fire, and made the precious metals so plentiful that children played at quoits with golden rings. No wonder they were so welcome! They were acquainted with the Rosicrucian philosophy, could hold correspondence with the spirits of the elements, imprison a spirit in a mirror, ring, or stone, and compel it to answer questions. Dr. Dee’s mirror, which worked such wonders, and was found in his study at his death in 1608, is now in the British Museum. In spite of all these marvels, the favour which the great man for a time enjoyed was fleet and transient. He fell into poverty and died in great misery, his downfall being brought about partly by his works but mainly by his practices.

Associated with Lancashire demonology is the name of John Darrell, a cleric, afterwards preacher at St. Mary’s, Nottingham, who published a narrative of the strange and grievous vexation of the devil of seven persons in Lancashire. This remarkable case occurred at Clayworth in the parish of Leigh, in the family of one Nicholas Starkie, whose house was turned into a perfect bedlam. It is vain to follow the account of the vagaries of the possessed, the howlings and barkings, the scratchings of holes for the familiars to get to them, the charms and magic circles of the impostor and exorcist Hartley, and the godly ministrations of the accomplished author, who with two other preachers overcame the evil spirits.

Unfortunately for him, Harsnett, Bishop of Chichester, and afterwards Archbishop of York, doubted the marvellous powers of the pious author, Dr. Darrell, and had the audacity to suggest that he made a trade of casting out devils, and even went so far as to declare that Darrell and the possessed had arranged the matter between them, and that Darrell had instructed them how they were to act in order to appear possessed. The author was subsequently condemned as an impostor by the Queen’s commissioners, deposed from his ministry, and condemned to a long term of imprisonment with further punishment to follow. The base conduct and pretences of Darrell and others obliged the clergy to enact the following canon (No. 73): „That no minister or ministers, without license and direction of the bishop, under his hand and seal obtained, attempt, upon any pretence whatsoever, either of possession or obsession, by fasting and prayer, to cast ‚out any devil or devils, under pain of the imputation of imposture, or cozenage, and deposition from the ministry.“ This penalty at the present day not many of the clergy are in danger of incurring.

Frank T. Zumbach: James Joyce, 1907

Juni 24, 2017


Am Abend des 27. April 1907 hatte Joyce seinen ersten großen öffentlichen Auftritt an der Università Populare in Triest. Er hielt sich und seine Lebensgefährtin Nora damals notdürftig durch Sprachunterricht an der Berlitz School und Nachhilfestunden über Wasser, und sie verdiente ein wenig durch Näh- und Bügelarbeiten hinzu. Die zwanzig Kronen, die er für seinen Irland-Vortrag erhalten sollte, waren nur das übliche Volkshochschulhonorar, aber hochwillkommen. Joyce konnte mit Geld nicht umgehen. In letzter Zeit gab er das wenige, was er verdiente, immer häufiger in Kneipen aus, frustriert darüber, daß es mit seiner Karriere nicht so recht vorangehen wollte. Er flirtete mit anderen Frauen herum, stritt mit Nora, wenn er frühmorgens heimkehrte und erschien verkatert im Klassenraum.

Ein Monolog, mit dem er einmal seine Schüler unterhielt, läßt ihn in keinem besonders guten Licht erscheinen:

„Wenn auf irgend etwas, dann versteht meine Frau sich aufs Kinderkriegen und Seifenblasenpusten… Wir haben George the First. Wenn ich nicht aufpasse, kann man sich darauf verlassen, daß sie mir noch den zweiten Erben der Dynastie aufhalst. Nein, nein, Nora, Mädchen. Diesem Spiel kann ich so gar nichts abgewinnen. Folglich denke ich mir, solange es in Triest Kneipen gibt, ist es besser, wenn dein Ehemann die Nächte außer Haus verbringt, so daß er ordentlich weiche Knie kriegt.“ Man muß allerdings auch seine Liebesbriefe und –gedichte an Nora gelesen haben – etwa die in seinem ersten, im gleichen Jahr veröffentlichten Gedichtband `Chamber Music´ – um ermessen zu können, an welchem Tiefpunkt Joyce angelangt war. Er stand, wie es seine Romanfigur Leopold Bloom später in Bezug auf sein alter ego Stephen Dedalus ausdrückte, wieder mal im Begriffe, „liederlich zu werden.“

Bei seinem Vortrag ging es auch darum, etwas von dem Prestige zurückzugewinnen, das er schon zu einem Gutteil verspielt hatte. Den Anzug hatte er sich vom Schulleiter Almidano Artifoni (den er später als seinen `Gesangslehrer´ im `Ulysses´ verewigte), den Übermantel von seinem Bruder `Stannie´ geliehen, der gerade zu Besuch war. Nora besaß kein Kostüm, das dem Anlass angemessen gewesen wäre. „Die Triestiner,“ schrieb er in einem Brief, „legen großen Wert darauf, `modisch´auf der Höhe zu sein, oft hungern sie, um in guten Kleidern auf dem Pier prunken zu können, und sie“ (Nora)“… mit ihrem kurzen Vier-Kronen-Rock und ihrem über die Ohren gekämmten Haar wird ständig gehänselt und ausgeladen.“ Stannie fand es klüger, sie mit Baby Giorgio ins Kino zu schicken, in eines der flimmernden Melodramen, die sie so mochte. Außerdem hatte Joyce offenbar `nicht aufgepasst´: Sie war gerade zum zweiten Male schwanger geworden.

In der Salla del Borsa wartete schon eine größere Menschenmenge, darunter viele Bekannte und Schüler von Joyce, von denen wiederum ein Großteil Anhänger der irredenta war – jener nationalistischen Bewegung, die Gebiete des österreichischen Kaiserreiches mit italienisch sprechener Bevölkerung – wie Istrien, Dalmatien und das südliche Tirol – für Italien zurückforderten. Die bedeutende Hafenstadt Triest, als `Schlüssel zur Adria´ für Österreich von hoher strategischer Bedeutung, war ihre Hochburg, ihrer organisierten Demonstrationen und ihren immer lauter werdenden Rufen nach Selbstverwaltung. Es brodelte längst auch hier, am südwestlichen Ende des Vielvölkerstaats, und Italien schloß sich acht Jahre später im 1. Weltkrieg der Entente gegen Deutschland-Österreich an ( Triest gewann es allerdings erst 1919 im Frieden von St. Germain zurück).

Diese Hintergründe muß man wissen, um zu verstehen, daß sich Joyce mit seinem Thema auf vermintem Terrain bewegte. Die Parallele zum britisch besetzten Irland lag auf der Hand, und die meisten versprachen sich von seinem Vortrag, daß er sie auch ziehen würde, in aller Schärfe. In einer Artikelserie, die in den vorangegangenen Monaten im Il Piccolo della Sera erschienen war, einer keineswegs kleinen, sondern vielgelesenen und -beachteten Tageszeitung, hatte er sich bereits bedenklich weit aus dem Fenster gelehnt, seine Sympathien für die irische Fenier-Bewegung, die terroristische Vorläufer-organisation der IRA bekundet und durchblicken lassen, daß er Gewalt keineswegs per se verabscheue, sondern in bestimmten Konstellationen für durchaus vertretbar halte. Kaum eine Dubliner Zeitung hätte seiner Zeit solche Ansichten zu drucken gewagt. Das junge Jahrhundert vibrierte von der erst kürzlich errungenen Presse- und Versammlungsfreiheit, den frühen Gewerkschaftsbewegungen, den immer schärfer werdenden politischen Debatten. Die Obrigkeiten, auch die österreichische, waren auf der Hut und befanden sich oftmals in einer brutal reagierenden Defensive, Polizeigewalt gegen den Mob der Straße, und Intellektuelle, die das Maul zu weit aufrissen.

Es ist eine irrige Vorstellung, den 1. Weltkrieg als plötzlichen, ja beinahe zufälligen Einschnitt in eine vorher friedliche und saturierte Zivilisation zu begreifen. Es brodelte eigentlich überall, auch in der Kultur und zwischen den Geschlechtern, und Joyce steckte mittendrin in diesem Kessel. Als Künstler nahm er das Köcheln um sich herum intensiver wahr als seine Zeitgenossen, aber er war nun einmal nicht der Koch, sondern Teil des Menues. 1907 sah er sich noch als Sozialist und bekannte sich auch offen dazu, schien also für die Bougeoisie zu allem fähig. Er war Ausländer, noch dazu in einem Lehrberuf tätig, trank zuviel, lebte in wilder Ehe, machte keinen Hehl aus seiner Verehrung für verpönte naturalistische Schriftsteller wie Henrik Ibsen und Gerhart Hauptmann und vertrat auch sonst gefährliche Ansichten. Er und Nora waren vor drei Jahren, genau: am 20. Oktober 1904, gerade erst mit dem Zug in Triest angekommen, als er, sie am Bahnhof zurücklassend auf der Suche nach einer Bleibe, kaum eine Vertelstunde später auch schon verhaftet wurde, weil er sich partout auf die Seite von ein paar betrunkenen, herumpöbelnden englischen Matrosen schlagen mußte, die gerade Ärger mit der Polizei bekamen. Die Sache lief damals glimpflich ab, aber seine Freunde und Schüler kannten inzwischen seine Neigung, kein Blatt vor den Mund zu nehmen. Nicht wenige Besucher rechneten bei diesem Vortrag zumindest mit einem kleinen Skandal, daß sich so etwas wie eine politische Kundgebung daraus entwickeln könnte: Freiheit für Irland und Italien, auf die Stühle steigen, Fahnen schwenken, Auflösung der Versammlung, Trillerpfeifen, anschließende Saalschlacht und was eben so dazugehörte. Man darf davon ausgehen, daß die Österreicher auch diesmal auf der Hut waren und den einen oder anderen Agenten in die Universitá Populare eingeschleust hatten, die sich emsig Notizen machten. Sie alle wurden enttäuscht. Es gab nicht den Hauch eines Eklats. Joyce betrat in seinem geborgten Anzug blass und fahrig die Bühne und las seinen Vortrag vom Blatt ab. Er traute seinem Italienisch noch nicht genug, um frei zu sprechen. Was er sagte, war geschliffen formuliert, historisch nur bedingt haltbar, aber immerhin von dem lauteren Vorsatz beseelt, die Triestiner mit der komplexen Geschichte und Kultur seines Volkes vertraut zu machen und mit mancherlei Klischees aufzuräumen, die damals in der öffentlichen Meinung, nicht nur in Österreich und Italien, über Irland grassierten und seine Bewohner als eine Mischung aus keltischen Heroen und Dorftrotteln wahrnahmen. Seine Bemühungen um eine Differenzierung langweilte die meisten zu Tränen, übrigens auch seinen Bruder `Stannie´ in der vordersten Stuhlreihe, dem das Ganze „zu lang und eine Spur aufschneiderisch“ vorkam. Er und Joyce wurden dann beide offenbar überrascht von dem freundlichen, „lang anhaltenden“ Applaus, der nach Beendigung dieser Ausführungen erschallte. Der Skandal war ausgeblieben, die eklatante Parallele zwischen dem irischen und italienischen Freiheitskampf, dem beiderseitigen Ringen um Selbstverwaltung und ein eigenes Schulsystem nicht einmal angeklungen, aber man ging zufrieden nach Hause, in dem Bewußtsein, ein wenig mehr über die verrückten Iren und ihren Unabhängigkeitskampf erfahren zu haben, der nun etwas weniger mit dem eigenen zu tun hatte – denn im Gegensatz zum von England kolonialisierten Irland hatten die von Österreich besetzten bzw. protegierten Teile Italiens bisher von ihren `Unterdrückern´ wirtschaftlich und auch kulturell eher profitiert. Für diejenigen, der Joyce´s Rede überhaupt verstanden, machte die Gleichsetzung von italienischem und irischem Freiheitskampf eigentlich keinen rechten Sinn mehr – sie mußten am Sinn von jeglichem Nationalismus zweifeln.

Umso besser. Joyce, Stannie und ihre Freunde, Bekannte, Schüler und Anhänger trafen sich danach noch in einer Bar, um zu begießen, das alles überstanden war, und so ging wieder einmal alles glimpflich aus. Ende der Geschichte. Aber nein, der Vortrag ist ja erhalten geblieben, er ist immer noch nachlesbar, auf deutsch in den `Kleinen Schriften´ bei Suhrkamp, und es lohnt sich, lohnt sich sogar sehr, wieder einen Blick darauf zu werfen. Er heißt `Irlanda, Isola dei Santi e dei Savi´– Irland, Insel der Heiligen und Weisen, und ist vor allem  deshalb so interessant, weil Joyce darin wie in allen seinen Werken in erster Linie über sich selbst spricht.

The Wild Bunch Revisited

Juni 15, 2017

Helena Blavatsky: Vampires, from `Isis Reveiled´

Mai 18, 2017

Von gestorbenen Leuten, etc., aus Johannes Prätorius, `Anthropodemus plutonicus. Eine neue Welt-Beschreibung´

Mai 13, 2017

VII. Von gestorbenen Leuten / oder Larvis, welche der Apulejus nennet noctium occursacula, Bustorum formidamina, sepulchrorum terriculamenta. vide Reiner. Neuhus. I c. in Exam. Philol: p. m. 264.

Hierzu gehören nachfolgende Exempel: Als spricht Christoph Richter in Spectac. Histor: c. 92. pag. 543. etc. Screckliche Toden-Erscheinung. Martinus Zeilerus in seinen Lehrpunckten über die traurige Geschichten des Rossetti erzehlet folgende erschreckliche Geschichte. Es hat sich vor etlichen Jahren zu Erwanschitz in Mähren (wie ich solches Anno 1617 und 18. zu unterschiedlichen mahlen von glaubwürdigen Bürgern allda hab erzehlen hören / mir auch der Ort ist gewiesen worden) begeben / das dem ansehen nach ein ehrlicher Bürger daselbst auff den Kirchhoff in der Stadt ist begraben worden / welcher stets bey der Nacht auffgestanden ist / und etliche umbgebracht hat: Seinen Sterbekittel ließ er allezeit bey dem Grabe liegen / und wenn er sich wieder niederlegete / so zog er den / Sterbekittel wieder an. Einsmahls aber / als er also vom grabe hinweg gienge / und die Wächter auff dem Kirchthurm solches ersahen / haben sie ihm den Sterbekittel unterdessen hinweggetragen. Als er num wieder zum Grabe kam / und seinen Kittel nicht fand / ruffte er den Wächtern / sie solten ihm den Kittel geben / oder er wolle sie alle erwürgen / welches sie haben thun müssen: Hernach aber ward er von dem Hencker außgegraben / und in Stücken zerhauen / da hörete das Ubel auff: Und da er auß dem Grabe gekommen wurde / sagete er: Sie hetten es anitzo wohl recht getroffen / sonsten weil ihm sein Weib gestorben / und zu ihme geleget worden wär / wolten sie beyde die halbe Stadt umb gebracht haben. Der Hencker zoge ihm auß dem Maul einen langen grossen Schleyer / welchen er seinem Weibe vom Kopffe hinweg gessen hatte / denselben hat der Nachrichter dem beystehenden Volcke gezeiget / und gesaget: Schauet / wie der Schelm so geitzig gewesen. Im ersten Theil in der ersten Traurgeschichte.

2. Christian Minsicht im Schauplatze nachdenckl: Geschichte p. 4. Anno 1567. hat in Böhmen ein reicher Mann gelebet / welchen man überall den reichen Hübner genannt: welcher wie er verstorben / hat man ihn / wie andere begraben. Es hat aber nach seinem Tode / eine Gestalt / so ihme ähnlich / sich sehen lassen / zu vielen Leuten in die Häuser gegangen / und sie erwürget und umbbracht / auch dieses Dinges so viel gemachet / daß man vor dem reichen Hübner / an keinem Ort / sicher seyn können. Da endlich vor rathsam erkannt / sein Grab öffnen zu lassen; hat man also seinen Cörper außgegraben / dem Hencker ihm an öffentlicher Gerichtsstelle den Hals abschlagen / und nachmahls mit dem Cörper verbrennen lassen. Nach solcher Execution hat das würgen auffgehöret / und die Gestalt nicht mehr gesehen worden. Es hat aber der Cörper viel Blut von sich gegeben / welches auch so frisch gewesen / als ob er erst gestorben were; wiewohl er schon 5. Monat in der erden gelegen. Bestehe hievon mit mehrern die Böhmische Chronic. it. Hondorff Theat. Histor. tit. de Potest. Satan. in 2. Præcept.

3. Christoph Richter d. l. Erzehlete Geschichte erinnert mich zweyer anderer / so mit derselben übereinst immen / und von Wenceslao Hageco in seiner Böhmischen Chronicke angemercket sind part. 1. pag. 411. beym Zeiler. d. l. pag. 31. etc. Anno 1337. ward ein Hirte eine Meilweges von der Stadt Cadan in Böhmen begraben: derselbe stunde alle Nachte auff / gieng in die Dörffer / erschreckete die Leute / und redete mit ihnen nicht anders / als wenn er lebete / hat auch ihrer etliche gar ermordet: Und welchen er mit Nahmen genennet / der ist in acht Tagen hernach gestorben. Die Nachbahrn haben ihm einen Pfal durch den Leib geschlagen / dessen er aber nur gelacht / und gesprochen: Ich meyne / ihr habt nur einen Wiederwillen zugefüget / indem ihr nur einen Stecken gegeben / daß ich mich desto besser der Hunde wehren kan: Hernach wurde er von zweyen Henckern verbrennet / da er die Füsse an sich gezogen / und eine weile wie ein Ochse / das ander mahl wie ein Esel geschrien: Als auch der Hencker ihm in die Seiten stach / runne das Blut mildiglich herauß: Endlich aber hörte das Ubel auff.

4. Also schreibet gedachter Autor / das Anno 1345. eine Zauberin / eines Töpffers Weib / eines gehlingen Todes gestorben / und auff einen Scheideweg begraben worden / sey aber vielen Leuten in mancherley / auch Viehes-Gestalt / erschienen / und habe etliche umbgebracht. Als man sie außgegraben / habe sie den Schleyer in der Zeit halb gefressen / welcher ihr blutig auß dem Halse gezogen wurde: Darauff schlug man ihr zwischen die Brust einen eichenen Pfal / und bald darauff floß ihr das Blut auß dem Leibe / und ward wieder verscharret. Aber sie risse den Pfal herauß / und brachte mehr Leute umb / als zuvor: Hernacher ward sie mit sambt dem Pfal verbrannt / und die Aschen ins Grab sambt der Erden geleget: Da hörete das Ubel auff: Aber an dem Orte / da man sie verbrennet / hat man etliche Tage einen Wirdelbind gesehen. (Biß hieher jene Historie: Darbey noch dieses zu erwehnen wehnen ist / das an etlichen Orten / als zu Hall in Sachsen und Leipzig / gebräuchlich ist / wenn man auff den Gottesäckern die Todten bey ihren Gräbern / drinnen sie itzt sollen hinein gesencket werden /zu guter letzte / beschauen lässet und ihre Särcke er öffnet / daß man auß der Erden einen halb-Circkel rundten grünen Erd-Torff oder Rasen herauß gräbet / und solchen euserlich dem gestorbenen Menschen / umb den Kinn unterm Hals schiebet / und also begräbet: Solches / sprechen sie / soll darumb geschehen / damit die Todten weder sich selbst noch andere verzehren können: Denn man will verspüret haben / daß sich etliche selbst rund herumb / (etwan wie die Erdlämmer in Tartariâ) befressen / und ziemliche Stücke vom Sterbkittel / ja vom Fleische der Brust und Händen hinein geschlungen haben: Darauff auß der gantzen Freundschafft immer einer nach dem andern darzu soll abgestorben seyn. Umb solches aber zuverhüten / soll das Erdreich gut seyn / daß der Todte drinne seine Lust büssen und seinen Muth kühlen möge. Weiter sollens solche Leute seyn / welche von ihren Müttern / wenn sie einmal gewehnet / und von dem Pitze abgesetzet worden / wieder zum andern mahl fort seynd gestillet worden: Davon ein mehres in einer gewissen Centaria meiner Weiber Philosophie.

5. Es beschreibet Petrus Lojerus in seinem Buch von Gespenstern / unter andern eine wunderbahre Geschicht / auß Æliano Phlegonte, Käysers Adriani Freygegebenen / das nehmlich zu seiner Zeit zu Tralles einer Stadt in Syrien ein vornehmer Adelicher Geschlechter Demostrates, gelebet / so mit seinem Gemahl Charito, eine vortreffliche schöne Tochter / Philinion gezeuget / welche von vielen vornehmen Personen zur Ehe begehret / aber in blühendem Alter mit grossem unauffhörlichen Trauren beyder Eltern / Tods verschieden: und von ihnen stattlich balsamiret / mit köstlichen Kleidern angezogen / bestattet worden. Es begab sich aber bey 6. Monat hernach / daß Machates ein vortrefflicher Jüngling bey gemeldten Demostrate eingekehret / dieweil auch seine Eltern vormahls seines Hospitii und Freudschafft sich gebrauchet: Da er denn von ihm freundlich empfangen / und zu oberst des Hauses in eine Kammer eingewiesen worden. Als er nun umm die Nacht ein zeitlang in allerley Gedancken gesessen / höret er in dem nechsten Saal seines Wirts Tochter / (so damahl vor 6. Monaten Todes verblichen) reden / welche auch so bald zu ihme in die Kammer eingetreten / ihn mit frölichem Angesicht gegrüsset / und bey seinem Nahmen genennet: darüber er erschrocken / wiewohl ihm unbewust / daß die Jungfrau / (deren Gestalt / Kleidung / Rede und Geberden dieses Gespenst gantz an sich genommen /) vorlängst gestorben. Darauff sie denn bald zu ihm getreten / und mit lachendem Munde / folgender Gestalt angeredet: Lasse dich es nicht verwundern / lieber Machates / ich bin deines Wirths Tochter / und dieweil ich deine Zukunft vernommen / bin ich ansehung deiner Vortreffligkeit und Tugenden / vorlängst in Liebe gegen dir entzündet und bewegt worden /wiewohl es meinem Weiblichen Geschlecht nicht wol geziemen wollen / dich unterthänig zuersuchen / daß du dich meiner Beywohnung nicht entziehen wollest / denn ich im wiedrigen Fall und dessen Verbleibung / mich wegen deiner Unfreundligkeit und Bäurischen Grobheit füglich würde beklagen können / zu dem Ende aber unserer beyder Liebe desto füglicher zu geniessen / habe ich diese bequeme Stunde zu unserm Beyschlaff ersehen / in dem niemand mehr wachend / und beyde Eltern zu Bette sich allbereit verfügt haben. Der Jüngling liesse sich durch die Schöne der Jungfrau leichtlich bewegen / bewilligt in alles / und verbargen sich mit einander in dem beystehenden weichen Bettlein: Befahle auch seinem Diener / den Tisch und Speise zuzurichten / damit er nach vollbrachtem Streit ein Erquicktrüncklein mit seiner Liebhaberin thun möchte. Durch das Getümmel nun / wurde die Mutter Charito erwecket / das sie einer ihrer Magd befahl / zu besehen / was in des Gastes Zimmer vor ein Getümmel / ob ihm vielleicht was frembdes zugestanden were. Als nun die Magd zu der Kammer kommen / findet sie die Thüre halb offen / wolte aber / dieweil sie ein Weibsbild drinnen reden höret / nicht hinein gehen / siehet also ihre Haußtochter Philionem bey Machate an dem Tische sitzen / und sich erlustigen / welches sie mit grossem Schrecken eilend ihrer Frauen berichtet / aber von ihr schlecht geglaubet worden / mit vermeldung / ob ihr nicht wissend / wie ihre Tochter vor allbereit etlichen Monaten Todes sey verfahren / darauff die Magd geantwortet: Es ist mir zwar unserer Tochter tödtlicher Abschied nicht unbewust / ich habe sie aber anitzo mit meinen Augen und Ohren gesehen und gehöret / mit dem Machate reden / als sie nun nicht nachlassen wolte / gehet endlich die Mutter auch zusampt der Magd hinauff vor die Kammer / und weil es alles still / (denn sich die beyde Liebhabende wiederumb zu Bette begeben und entschlaffen) hat sie den Machatem auch nicht von dem Schlaff auffwecken wollen / iedoch bey dem brennenden Lichtschein ihrer Tochter Angesicht / Kleidung und Geschmeid erkennet. Ist also / mit Furcht / Freud und Schrecken umbgeben / auß der Kammer eilend gewichen / in willens / auff den Morgen weiter bey ihrer Tochter / wegen ihrer Wiederkunfft / Nachforschung zu haben: Die Tochter aber nach offtmahls wiederholten Küssen und Vermischung / hat gegen angehenden Tag ihren Abschied von Machate genommen und gesprochen / mein geliebter Machates, ich muß mich vor Tage wiederumb in meine Kammer begeben / damit nit meine Eltern etwas von unserer Liebe vermerckē mögen: Ich will aber künfftige Nacht widerumb bey euch erscheinen / und unsern Lüsten ein völliges gnügen leisten. Damit ihr mich aber auch danckbar erkennet / will ich euch dieses mein Brusttuch und güldenen Ring verehren / mit bitt / meiner darbey zu gedencken. Dieses Geschenck nun hat Machates freundlich angenomen / und hingegen ihr einen eisernen Ring / so er am Finger getragen / zusampt einer silbernen Schalen / mit Gold durchtrieben / und Künstlich zugerichtet / verehret. Als nun der Tag eingebrochen / ist die Mutter eilends in des Machatis Kammer kommen / und mit vielen weinen nach ihrer Tochter / wo sie hinkommen / gefragt / auch was er mit ihr getrieben / und was sie unter einander geredet hetten / welches denn Machates ordentlich erzehlet / das Brusttuch und Ring / so er von ihr empfangen /vorgezeigt / so denn die Mutter mit weinenden Augen empfangen / und vor ihrer Tochter Kleinod erkennet. Unterdessen hat Machates versprochen / er wolle verschaffen / daß wenn die Tochter folgende Nacht wiederumb keme / der Mutter solches so bald angezeiget würde / welches denn auch geschehen / indem die Tochter folgende Nacht wiederumb zu der Stunde / wie die vorig / zu ihrem Liebhaber kommen / der Diener aber solches so bald der Mutter angezeiget / so denn beneben dem Vater mit grosser Verwunderung die Tochter in dem Bette bey dem Machate gefunden / und mit vielen Weinen angeredet: denen die Tochter mit traurigem Angesicht geantwortet: Ach ihr meine unglückselige Eltern / wie habt ihr mir eine so geringe Freude mißgönnet / und nicht nur 3. Tag euch mit meinem Liebhaber Machate zu ergetzen gestattet? Ach es wird euch diese Sorgfältigkeit großen Schmertzen und weinen verursachen. Darauff sie so bald als ein Cörper liegen blieben / dadurch die Eltern von neuen zu weinen und zuklagen anfingen / ach allerliebste Tochter Philinion, wie hastu uns durch dieses traurige Spectacul zu deinen dir von den Göttern wieder zugestellts Leben / beweget / warumb verlessestu uns nun zum andern mahl / in solchen grossen Aengsten / hastu darumb müssen von den Toden wiederumb herfür kommen / daß wir dein Ableiben zum andern mahl sehen musten? warumb sind wir nicht vielmehr aus diesem Leben abgefordert worden / daß wir dich in den heiligen Elysischen Feldern besuchen möchten? Abeer wir sind zu gar unglückhäfftig / es ist uns das Glück iederzeit hefftig zuwieder / und hat uns in dermassen große Schmertzen / und Angst werffen wollē / daß uns der Todt lieblicher denn das Leben were. Zu diesem Geschrey ist das Haußgesinde zugelaufen / und endlich in der gantzen Stadt ruchtbau worden. Der Oberste aber der Stadt kame gleichfalls mit der Gvardi und damit in der finstere kein Aufflauff / oder zusammen Rottierung geschehen könnte / ließe das Hauß biß auff den Morgen bewachen: Da denn das Volck von der vergangenen Geschicht sich besprachet / unterdessen hat der Oberste das Grab besichtiget / und darinn allein die silberne Schalen und Ring / so ihr von Machate verehret / gefunden; Zu Hauß aber von den Eltern der Leichnam vor ihre Tochter erkennet worden / wie derselbe in dem Bett liegen blieben / welches grossen Schrecken gebracht / derwegen der Wahrsager Hillus gerathen / den Cörper außer der Stadt den Thieren vorzuwerffen / die Stadt und Bürger mit sonderlichen Opffer zuversöhnen / die Eumenides und Mercuriū, Chronium mit Opffern zuverehren / die Tempel zu heiligen / und gewisse Spiel den Höllischen Göttern zu halten / auch daß der Oberste / so bald immer möglich / dem Jovi Hospitali, Mercurio und Marti absonderlichen wegen Wohlfahrt des Keysers ein Opffer thun solte. Welchem allem nachgelebet worden. Ist auch Machates bald darauff gestorben. Bißdaher gedachter Autor. Daraus des Teuffels Begierde sich mit den Menschen zuvermischen gnugsam erscheinet / anderer unzehlicher Exempel zugeschweigen: wie er aber zu solchem der Abgestorbenē / oder auch am Galgen justificirten Cörper gebrauchet / ist durch die Erfahrung gnugsamb bekant. 6. Zeilerus im Zusatze zur ersten Historie der Trauer Geschichten p. 30. 31. In Böhmen hat man mich für gewiß berichtet / daß so offt iemands aus dem fürnehmē Geschlecht der Herren von Rosenberg (so numehr abgestorben /) hat sterben sollen / man allezeit eine Weibes Person / mit einem großem Böhmischē Schleyer / im Schloß zu Crumau in Böhmen / gesehen habe. Ein fast gleichformiges Exempel hat auch Crusius in Annal. Svev. part. 3. lib. 12. cap. 37. von dem Schloß Hohen Rochberg. Von des Theodori Gazæ Meyer einem / in Apuliâ, schreibet Peucerus in loco de Magia, p. m. 152. a. und Manlius in Collectan, p. m. 30. 31. Daß er ohngefähr ein Todengeschirr ausgegraben / und solches auff dem Acker liegen gelassen. Bey der Nacht erscheint ihm etwas / und befiehlt / er solle dasselbe begraben / wo nicht / so werde sein Sohn begraben werden. Weils aber der Meyer nicht thut / so stirbt ihm des andern Tages sein Sohn / Er wird darauff wieder ermahnt / das gedachte Grab wieder zuzudecken; da ers aber nicht thut / so wird ihm der ander Sohn auch kranck / darauff er im Schrecken solches seinem Herrn Theodoro angezeigt / der mit ihme auffs Feld gehet und das Geschirr zu begraben befiehlt / darüber der Sohn gleich wieder gesund / und der Vater vom Gespenst erledigt wird. Solche Geschicht / als Theodorus hernach etlichen Gelehrten Freunden zu Rom erzehlete / hat er seine Rede mit des Propertii Vers beschlossen. Sunt aliquid Manes, Lethum non omnia fiint. Eine andere Histori erzehlet Agathias lib. 2. circa fin. von etlichen Philosophis, die auff ihrer Reise einen neulich verstorbenen und unbegrabenen Cörper am Wege liegend / angetroffen / und solchen auß Barmhertzigkeit auffgehoben und begraben haben. Als sie aber bey der Nacht ruheten / ist ihnen etwas erschienen / so ihnen befohlen / daß / so sie gefunden / unbegraben liegen zu lassen: Denn die Erde könne einen solchen / der mit seiner Mutter Unzucht getrieben nicht dulden. Des andern Tages haben sie gedachten Cörper wieder außgegraben und blosser gefunden.

7. Für allen Dingen muß ich hier nothwendig die allerverwunderlichste Histori hinzuthun von den gestorbenen Menschen / wie sie gefunden wird beym Casp. Henneberg. in Chronic. Prussiæ. p. 254. Zu Leunenburg in Preussen / war ein sehr behender Dieb / der einem ein Pferd stehlen kunte / wie fürsichtig er auch war. Nun hatte ein Dorff Pfarrer ein schönes Pferd / das hatte er dem Fischmeister zu Angerburg verkaufft / aber noch nicht gewehret: Da wettete der Dieb / er wolte solches auch stehlen / und darnach auffhören. Aber der Pfarrer erfuhr es / liesse es so verwahren / und verschliessen / daß er nicht darzu kommen kunte. Da aber der Pfarrer mit dem Pferd in die Stadt ritte / kam der Dieb auch / in Bettlers Kleidern / und mit zweyen Krücken / in die Herberge allda zu betteln. Da er nun merckete / daß der Pfarrer schier wolte auff seyn / machet er sich zuvor auff das Feld / wirfft die Krücken auff einen Baum / leget sich darunter / des Pfarrern wartende. Der Pfarrer kompt hernacher / wohl bezecht / findet den allda liegen und sagt: Bruder / auff / auff! es kömpt die Nacht herbey / um Leuten zu / die Wölffe möchten dich zerreissen! Der Dieb saget: Ach lieber Herr / es waren böse Buben jetzt allhier / die haben mir meine Krücken auff den Baum geworffen: Nun muß ich allhier verderben und sterben / denn ohne Krücken kan ich nirgend hinkommen. Der Pfarrer erbarmete sich seiner / sprang vom Pferde; giebt das Pferd dem Schalcke / das mir dem Zügel zu halten / zeucht seinen Reit-Rock auß / leget ihn auff das Pferd / steiget auff den Baum die Krücken abzugewinnen: Indessen springet dieser auff das Pferd / rennet davon / wirfft die Bettlers Kleider weg / und lässet den Pfarrer zu Fusse nach Hause gehen. Diß kompt für den Pfleger / der bekompt den Dieb / und läß ihn an den Galgen hencken. Nun wuste jederman von seiner Listigkeit und Behendigkeit zu sagen. Einsmahls ritten etliche Edelleute auf den Abend allda vorbey / seyn wohl bezecht / reden von seiner Behendigkeit und lachen darüber: Unter diesen war einer ein versoffener und wüster spottischer Mensch / sagend: O du behender und kluger Dieb! du must ja viel wissen / komm auff den Donnerstag mit deinen Gesellen zu mir zu Gaste / und lehre mich auch Listigkeit. Dessen lachten die andern / und redeten auff dem Wege von seiner Behendigkeit. Auff den Donnerstag / als der Edelman die Nacht über gesoffen hatte / lag er lang schlaffend: Da kamen die Diebe umb Glocke 9. des Morgens in den Hoff / mit ihren Ketten / gehen zur Frauen / grüssen sie und sagen: wie sie der Juncker zu Gaste gebeten / sie solte ihn auffwecken: Dessen sie gar hart erschrickt / gehet zum Juncker für das Bette / und saget: Ach! ich habe euch längst gesagt / ihr wurdet mit eurem Sauffen und spöttischen Worten Schande einlegen: Stehet auff / und empfahet eure Gäste. Und erzehlete ihm / was sie in der Stuben gesaget hetten. Er erschricket / stehet auff / und heisset sie willkommen / und daß sie sich setzen solten: Lässet essen vortragen / so viel er in eile vermag / welches alles verschwindet. Unterdessen sagte der Edellman zum gerichteten Pferde-Diebe: Lieber / es ist deiner Behendigkeit viel gelachet worden / aber zwar itzunder ist mirs nicht lächerlich / doch verwundert mich / wie du so behend bist gewesen / so du doch so ein grober Mensch scheinest? Derselbe antwortete: Der Satan / wenn er siehet / daß ein Mensch GOttes Wort verläst / kan einen leicht behende machen / sintemal die Warheit gesaget hat: wie die Kinder der Welt witziger seynd in ihren Geschäfften / denn die Kinder des Lichts. Der Edellman fragte andere Dinge mehr / darauff er antwortete / biß die Mahlzeit entschieden war. Da stunsten sie auff / dancketen ihm für den guten Willen / und sprachen weiter: So bitten wir euch auch auß dem Himmlischen Gericht GOttes / an das Holtz / da wir / umb unser Missethat willen / von der Welt getödtet worden / und da solt ihr mit uns auffnehmen das Gerichte zeitlicher Schmach / und diß sol seyn heute über vier Wochen: Und schieden also von ihm. Dessen erschrack er sehr / ward hefftig betrübet / sagte es vielen Leuten: der eine sagte diß / der andere das dazu. Er tröstete sich aber dessen / daß er niemand nichts genommen hette / und daß solcher Tag auff Allerheiligen Tag gefiel / auff welchen / umb des Fests willen / man nicht zu richten pfleget. Doch bliebe er zu Hause / lude stets Gäste zu sich / ob was geschehe / daß er Zeugnüß hette / er were nicht außkommen. Denn damahls war Rauberey im Lande / sonderlich Greger Maternen Reuterey / auß welcher einer den Hauß Comtor D. Eberehard von Empten erstochen hatte. Derohalben der Comtor befehl bekam / wo solche Reuter oder Compans zu finden / man solte sie fangen und richten / ohne einige Audienz. Nun war der Mörder verkuntschaffet / und der Comtor eilete ihm mit den Seinigen nach: Und weil jenes Edellmannes der letzte Tag nun war / und darzu Allerheiligen Tag / gadachte er / er were nun frey: will sich einmahl gegen Abend / auff das lange Einsitzen / etwas erlustigen / ritte in das Feld: Indessen / als seiner des Comtors Leute gewahr werden / deucht sie / es sey des Mörders Pferd und Kleid / und ritten flugs auff ihn zu. Dieser stellet sich zur wehre / und ersticht einen jungen Edelman / des Comtors Freund: Derohalben er gefangen wird / drin gen ihn für Leunenburg / geben einem Littauen Geld / der hencket ihn zu seinen Gästen an den Galgen: Und wolte ihn nicht helffen / daß er sagte / er keme auß seiner Behausung erst geritten: sondern muß hören: Mit ihm fort! ehe andere kommen und sich seiner annehmen / denn er will sich nur also außreden. Siehe / also konten von diesem Elenden keine Bitte den Galgen und Tod nicht abwenden. Casp. Hennebergicus in Chronico Prussiæ pag: 254.

8. Ein Verstorbener schicket seinem Bruder einen Brieff. Zwey Welsche Kauffleute reiseten auß Piemont in Franckreich: Unterwegens begegnete ihnen ein Mann / der viel länger war als andere: Derselbe ruffte sie zu sich / und redete sie also an: Kehret zurück / zu meinem Bruder Ludovic / und gebet ihm diesen Brieff / den ich ihm sende. Sie wurden sehr bestürtzt /und frageten / wer seyd ihr? Ich bin / sagte er / Galeatius Sforcia: und alsbald verschwand er. Sie wendeten ihren Zügel gen Meiland / und dar gen Vigevena / da Ludovic damahls war / sie baten / man wolte sie vor den Hertzog lassen kommen; Sie hetten Brieffe / ihm zu überantworten von seinem Bruder. Die Hoffleute spotteten ihrer / und weil sie immer ferner deßwegen anhielten / legete man sie gesangen / und stellte ihnen die scharffe Frage für: Aber sie blieben beständig auff ihrer ersten Rede. Unterdessen rathschlageten die Räthe des Hertzogs / was man mit diesem Brieffe machen solte / und wusten nicht zu antworten / so waren sie bestürtzet. Einer unter ihnen / mit Nahmen Vincente Galeatius / nahm den Brieff in seine Hände / der war geschrieben auff ein Pappier /welches in der Form eines Briefes von Rom zusammen geleget war / und war mit Dünnen Messengen Draht vermahret / darinnen stunde geschrieben: Ludovic / Ludovic / siehe dich wohl für: die Venediger und Frantzosen werden sich mit einander verbinden / dich zu ruiniren / und dem Vorhaben gantz und gar zurück zu treiben. Aber so du mir wirst dreytausend Kronen verschaffen / will ich Ordre geben / daß sich die Hertzen sollen sänfftigen / und daß das Unglück / so dir dräuet / sich weit abwende: Ich habe das gute Vertrauen / ich wills zu Wercke richten / so du mir wollst glauben. Hiemit GOtt befohlen. Die Unterschrifft war diese: der Geist deines Bruders Galeatii. Etliche verstarreten über den seltzamen Handel: Etliche aber machten nur ein Gespotte darauß: Ihrer viel riethen / man solte die drey tausend Kronen in depositum legen / damit man der Meynung des Galeatii am nechsten käme: Der Hertzog aber vermeynete / man würde seiner spotten / so er die Hand so sehr sincken liesse /wolte demnach das Geld nicht außzahlen / und es in frembde Hände überlieffern: darauff ließ er die Kauffleute wieder nach Hause ziehen. Aber über etliche Zeit ist er von seinem Hertzogthum Meiland verjaget / und gefangen genommen worden. Arluno in dem ersten Theil der Meilandischen Historien / oculatus testis.

Mercke schlüßlich / daß die Jüden und ihre Rabbinen / ins gemeine / nicht alleine davor halten / als wenn alle Mormilycia, Empusæ, Pythonos, Sympytæ, Pythonissæ, Lycanthropi, Cobboldi, homunculi Domestici, das ist / Weerwolffen / Kobbolde / guegen Ollten / Edder Oelrikken / etc. die Mahre / oder Synonym: das Drucken oder Reiten der Mahre / das Rätzel / Nacht-Rätzel / etc. [nachn Joh. Awen / in Disput. de Incubo, thes. 2. und 19. 20. Argentorat: 1666.] und die übrigen Phantasmata, von Adams Samen herkommen sollen / als welche drauß gebohren worden in selbigen 130. Jahren / drinnen Er sich seines Weibes enthalten hat / nach deme Cain von seinem Bruder ermordet worden. Sondern daß sie auch / als zu einem sonderbahren Mittel / und Abwehre / befehlen; man müsse sieben Circul ümbs Grab machen / damit solche Gespenster nicht in einen todten Cörper kriechen / sich in solchem verstellen / und Schaden bringen mögen. Wie solches d. l. Joh. Awen anführet: Hinzuthuende von dem Alpe / thes. 20. daß manche Leute etlichen alten Weibern am Gesichte abmercken wollen / welche des Nachts zu Mahren werden; als wenn ihre Augenbranen gantz gleich zu gehen / und das Plätzgen / über der Nase / Glabella genannt / als das sonsten glat ist / auch rauch mit Haaren bewachsen außsiehet. Anderer närrischer Kennezeichen will er geschweigen / als derer er sich schämet sie vorzubringen. In übrigen daß es des Teuffels Spückerey sey / ist unleuchbar / wiewohl das Mauschlische bemühen wenig darwieder vermag: und so viel hilfft / als der Egyptier ihre Isides, so sie / von Thon / Ertz / Messing etc. gemachet / denen Mumien / oder auch todten Cörpern / insinuiret / und noch von so sehr vielen 100. Jahren her / itzt drinnen gefunden werden. vide B. Gryphii tractatulum de Mumiâ Wratislaviæ: so vor ein paar Jahren herauß kam. Und ist glaublich bey der Historie / so ich pag: 43. 44. vorgebracht / daß der Teuffel gewust / wie jene Magd / plötzlich etwan vom Schlage damahlen sterben sollen: derentwegen er sich in einen Götzen Mausim, oder Mäuselein / flugs verwandelt / und hernach sein drücken über den Knecht / nachgelassen hat: Damit durch diesen scheinbahren process oder Folgerunge der Aberglaube gestärcket / und nicht geschwächet würde. Die in dem HErren sterben / ruhen ohne daß wohl / so mit der Seelen als dem begrabenen Leibe. Und ist also freylich auch wohl dieses ein ludibrium satanæ gewesen (oder verhält sichs hiemit / nach der Schrifft / da auch GOtt der HErr / durch den gestorbenen Samuel / Wunder und Warnung gethan?) da 1664. umb den Advent zu Lützen im Stiffte Merburg / eine plötzliche und wunderliche Feuersbrunst entstanden ist. vide pag: hic 197. daß kurtz vorher / solches sey angedeutet worden / durch den / etwan noch nicht ein viertel Jahr vorher / vorstorbenen Sel: Herrn M. Johann: Lysthenium gewesenen Pfarrern und Seniorem, wohl 80. Jährigen / als der bey hellem Tage an seine vorige Stube / von aussen / gekommen / das Fenster auffgethan / und etliche mahl mit gewöhnlicher Stimme geruffen habe: Wehe dir / Lützen! welches flugs in selbiger Stube etliche versammlete Priester und andere Leute gehöret haben / nebenst dem Herren Sohne / auch einem Pfarrern / so damahlen zugegen gewesen / der aufgestanden und hingegangen ist; aber nichtes gesehen hat; in deme solchem das Fenster vor der Nase vom Gespenste war zugeschlagen worden. Welches alles Er umbständlich / nachm erschollenem Gerüchte / vorm hohen Gerichte gestanden / und außgesaget hat. Sonsten wegen des erwehneten Kobolden anderswo im Lützen /ward mir noch dieses von einem Landsmanne erzehlet / daß / nach selbigen Gesichte / wie es aber nit so wol gegossen / als sich soll gebadet etc. gehabt haben / der Mann im Hause verstorben sey. etc. Ich habe ohnegefehr etwas berühret von den Mahren: behalte noch dieses darzu / wegen der Mahrenflechten: (in Thüringen heisset man es Sael-locken / in übrigen kenne ich hier ein grosses Weibesbild / welches etliche solche verwirrete Flechten auffn Kopffe hat.) Davon also Johann: Tröster / 1666. Nürnberg: im Polnischen Adlers-Neste / lib. 3. c. 16. pag: 289. 290. von Anno Christi 1296. da die Tartarn in Pohlen gefallen / und solche Menge Volcks weggetrieben / das sich zu Ulodomir in Russenland / mehr als 20000. Polnische Jungfrauen gefunden haben. Doch haben sie es auch denen Russen / welche doch ihre Wegweiser gewesen waren / keines weges geschencket: denn sie den Gefangenen die Hertzen außschnitten / und mit Gifft aufülleten / und den Russen heimlich in die Wasserbrunnen einfrisseten / davon ihr viel sterben müsten. Ja man hält dafür / daß auch die Polnische Flechte / daß mahl / und auß dieser Vergifftung entstanden / so noch heutiges Tages / manchem die schöne Haar wunderlich zusammen picht. ibidem cap. seq: 17. 18. Vom Uladislao, Loctico, so von seiner kurtzen Person / Cubitalis, oder Ellenman Polnisch Lockieteck geheissen worden. etc. welches zu mein letztes Capitt. gehöret.


Sectio secunda.


Eine andere Beschaffenheit hat es mit folgenden. Als lieset man dieses bey Johann Lassenio in Adelichen Tischreden Dial. 3. pag. 80. etc. Sonsten befinden sich / bey dem Menschlichen Cörper / solche Eigenschafften / oder vielmehr Schwachheiten / welche solche Dinge bey ihnen verursachen können: Absonderlich aber befinden sich solche Sachen mehr bey Weibs- als Manns-Personen. Dannenhero man auch bey theils Orten die todten Cörper / nicht als biß in den dritten oder vierdten Tag begräbt / inner welcher Zeit die Naturkündiger meynen / daß sich eine solche consternatio oder retētio spirituū äussern müsse. Hierauff fieng Mons. Charles an. Es ist war / Mons. Basse-court, was ihr geredet / und wie ich mich besinne / so schreibet man mir / daß es eine Kindbetterin gewesen / und gebe ich wohl zu / daß es auff diese weise geschehen könne / wie ihr saget. Freylich / antwortete Mons. Basse-court, muß es auff solche weise geschehen / denn ich nicht absehe / wie man es sonsten behaupten könne. Ich will nur ein Exempel erzehlen: darauß ihr vielleicht mehr glauben diesem Dinge zustellen werdet. Er erwehnet der vornehme Holländische Poet J. Catz in seinen Sinnreichen Gedichten / genannt Heurath auß dem Grabe; daß an einem Ort in Holland / eine Jungfrau gewesen / umb welche zwey junge Gesellen / bey ihren Eltern angehalten / der eine ein Kauffmann / der ander ein Apothecker. Die Jungfrau habe zwar mehr Liebe zu dem Apothecker getragen / als zu dem Kauffmann / nichts desto weniger aber habe sie den Kauffmann / auff gutachten ihrer Eltern / nehmen müssen / alldieweil er reicher als der Apothecker. Weil nun dieser seines Wunsches nicht theilhafftig werden mögen / und sehen müssen / das ihm ein anderer mit dem Fleisch durchgehe / habe er auch ein Gelübde gethan / nimmermehr zu heurathen. Die Jungfrau habe mit ihrem begüterten Kauffmanne gelebet ein Jahr / sey aber in Kindesnöthen verstorben / und man habe sie dem Gebrauch nach / annoch vor 24. Stunden begraben; der Apothecker aber / habe den Todtengräber gebeten / ihm das Grab vor Darreichung eines gewissen Geldes zu öffnen / damit er die verstorbene / die er auch im Tod liebe / nur einmahl sehen möge. Der Todtengräber habe sich leicht dazu bereden lassen / und sey der Apothecker des Nachts zu dem Grabe kommen / den Todtenkosten eröffnet / und den Cörper gesehen / und in dem er wieder hinweg gehen wollen / habe er mit Vergiessung vieler Thränen / den todten Mund geküsset / da er denn befunden / daß derselbige einen Athem von sich gabe / worüber er zwar anfangs erschrocken / aber nachmahls ihm besser nachgedacht / nach Hause gelauffen / und allerhand Artzney geholet / auch endlich so viel zu wege gebracht / daß die Frau die Augen wieder eröffnet / sich auffgerichtet / und gefraget / wo sie sey? worauff der Apothecker ihr / jedoch mit Bescheidenheit / den gantzen Handel berichtet / und sey sie mit ihm / in ihrem Todenhembde /wiederumb zu ihres Mannes Hause gegangen / welcher sie endlich / aber mit grosser Furcht und Schrecken eingelassen / ihr aber die Hände nicht geben wollen: Des andern Tages / habe er lassen alle seine Freunde / und einen Geistlichen zu sich erbitten / diesem Apothecker / sampt seinem Haab und Gut / auch die Frau geschencket: Und sey er alsobald darauff gestorben / die Frau aber mit dem Apothecker / annoch fünff Kinder gezeuget.

Das ist eine wunderliche Geschicht / sagte Don Roderigo, aber ich erinnere mich / das man mir in der Churfürstlichen Sächsischen Residentz-Stadt Dreßden / auf dem Kirchhofe zu S. Maria / einen Stein gewiesen / darunter / wie man berichtet / eine Frau begraben sey / welche nach dem sie einmahl allbereit beygesetzet gewesen / wieder ewachet / und annoch 7. Kinder gezeuget. Sie sey aber durch den Todtengräber erwecket / welches ihr in der Nacht die Ringe von dem Finger ziehen wollen / und zweiffels ohne ziemlich hart wird gezogen haben; und halt ich es mit euch / daß dergleichen Sachen in der Natur viel seyn / und auß denen Ursachen / wie ihr angezeiget / wohl geschehen können. Ich gestehe es / das in der Natur viel verborgen / so wir nicht alles eigentlich begreiffen oder ergründen können; Man könte von diesen Sachen / einen weitläuffeigen Discurs führen. Denn ich bilde mir ein / wo die Seele im Menschlichen Cörper ist / so müsse sie auch ihre Wirckung haben / und könne der Geist des Menschen nicht ruhen; wo sie aber die Wirckung habe / so könne man dieselbe auch an dem Menschlichen Cörper abnehmen; Allein ich will lieber den Naturkündigern schlecht glauben / als den Kopff hiemit martern.

Was des Lassenii letzt-berührte Geschichte antrift / solche erzehlet viel vollständiger Herr Grundman inn seiner Geist und Weltl. Geschicht Schul: p. m. 221. etc. die wiederlebende Kinderbetterin Philippus Salmuth Cent. 2. num. 87. Obs. Medd. erzehlet einen denckwürdigen wunderbahren Fall / der sich mit einer Kindsbetterin / Matthæi Harnisches / Buchdruckers zu N. Eheweibe / zugetragen. Diese befiel in ihrem Kindbett oder 6. Wochen mit einer hefftigen und anhaltenden Schwachheit und ohnmacht / daß man kein Leben bey ihr vermerckte / sondern sie gantz für tod hielte / und als eine Leiche zur Erden bestatten ließ. Wie nun des Orts brauch ist / daß der Sarg vor dem Einsencken ins Grab eröffnet / und die Leiche männiglich zu schauen dargestellt wird / sind die Todtengräber an dieser Frauen etwas von Schmuck und güldenē Ringen ansichtig worden / deßwegen sie den Anschlag machen / auff die Nacht sie wieder außzugraben / und ihr den Schmuck abzunehmen / richten auch denselben ins Werck. Als sie nun das Grab und Sarg eröffnet / unn der Frauen die Ringe abziehen wollen /zeucht sie ihre Hand zurück / und fängt sich an zu regen / wovon diese Buben solche Furcht und Schrecken ankompt / daß sie ablassen und davon lauffen. Die Frau ermahnet sich / und kompt wiederumb zu ihr selber / weiß nicht / was mit ihr fürgangen / richtet sich auff / und rufft umb hülffe. Nach dem sie aber vermittelst des Lichts / so in einer Laternen die Todtengräber aus Furcht hinter sich gelassen / gewahr wird / an was für Ort sie sey / steigt sie mit grosser Mühe aus dem Grabe / nimmt die Leuchte zur hand / und kommt darmit zu ihres Mannes Hause / klopffet da an / und begehret sich ein zulassen. Das Gesinde / wie auch der Haußwirth selbst / da es ihm wird angezeigt / halt es mehr für ein Gespenst / als seine wiederlebende Haußfrau / und weisen sie mit harten Worten ab. Als sie aber mit ruffen und anklopffen weiter anhielt / und ihr Ehemann sie endlich an der Stimme erkennete / sie ihm auch beweglich zuredte / er möchte bedencken / was ihr Zustand / und wie sie in so kalten Wetter nicht lange tauern könne / hat man sie eingelassen / und von ihr allen verlauff / nicht ohne Entsetzen / vernommen. Auch hat sie ihr Haußwirth mit grossen Freuden nebenst dem gantzen Hause erkennt und auffgenommen / GOtt darüber hertzlich gedancket. Was aber folgenden Tages für wundern / heimsuchen und glückwünschen bey der gantzen Stadt gewesen / ist leicht zuerachten. Sie hat ihre gäntzliche Gesundheit wieder erlanget / noch viel Jahre gelebet / und mit ihrem Ehemanne / durch GOttes Segen / noch etliche Kinder erzeuget. Die Todtengräber / nach dem aller Verdacht auff sie gefallen / sind eingezogen / und nach Verdienst abgestraffet worden.

Psalm. 71/19. Du thust grosse Dinge / GOtt / wer ist dir gleich? Denn du lässest mich erfahren viel und grosse Angst / und machst mich wieder lebendig / und holest mich wieder aus der tieffen Erden herauff. Uber diese Wort ist Lutheri merckwürdige Erklärung zu finden Tom 12. Witt. p. 389 / in den Summ. über diesen Psalm / den er außgelegt von der Person der gantzen Christenheit / sonderlich vom letzten Alter der Welt / da gefährliche Zeitē seyn / und der Glaube mit dem Evangelio niedergeschlagen werden solten etc. Es mag uns wohl eine köstliche Weissagung seyn / daß GOttes Wort für der Welt Ende hat müssen wiederkommen / damit er uns wiederumb (sagt er) tieff auß der Erden holet / und höchlich tröstet / wie denn darauff lautet die gemeine Rede / bey den Christen / daß Elias und Henoch sollen kommen / und des Antichrists Lügen offenbahren / und alles wieder zu rechte bringen.

Hierzu könte einer auch viel Historien setzen derer / so gehencket gewesen / und wiederumb lebendig geworden seyn / davon was sonderliches zu lesen ist / beym Schenckio in Observat: Medicin: lib: 2. c. 17. etc. p. 32. etc. Eras. Francisci in seiner Schaubühne der curiositäten part. 5. p. 840. etc. Unterdessen gebe ich gerne zu / daß man einen sterbenden / wie des Herren Cronenthals Worte fielen / zu Zeiten wol wieder auffruffen möge: aber einen verstorben / oder verblichenen / wie mein Herr Vetter Berrintho redete /wiederumb durchzuruffen zu erwecken; das brauchet einen Künstler / der bey der Allmacht GOttes in die Schuel gangen / oder / durch eine besondere Gnade / es von derselben / wie ein geschencktes Handwerck /überkommen. Denn die / so man wieder / durch Geschrey / ermuntert / sind annoch im Leben; Ob es gleich die Umbstehenden nicht mercken: Weil auff das wenigste das Hertz bey dem Menschen annoch lebet; ohn angesehen alle andere Glieder erkaltet / und ihre Regung verlohren haben. Ich habe einen gesehen / und offters mit ihm geredet / der in aller Zuseher Augen nicht allein verschieden / besondern auch allbereit etliche gantze Stunden / auff der Todtenbahre gestanden / aber hernach unvermuthlich sich wiederumb ergetstert / und vielleicht noch biß auff diese Stundelebet; wieviel er eben nit wieder auffgeschryen; gestaltsamb man ihn schon für todt gehalten / und zu waschen angefangen. So findet man beym Thuano ein seltzames Exempel / von einem Julio Civili / der / in der Belägerung Rovan in Franckreich / von einer Kugel getroffen / daß er für todt vom Woll herunter gefallen / und nicht allein begraben; sondern auch noch ein anderer erschossener im Grabe auff ihn gelegt; nach Art und Gelegenheit solcher Kriegs und Sturm-Zeiten / da man mit den Todten wenig Gepränge macht / besondern sie / so bald ihnen der Athem kaum entwichen / in die Gruben senckt. Nach dem Civilis unterm Grunde / und zwischen den Todten gantzer sechs Stunden zugebracht; kompt sein Diener / und läst ihm den Ort zeigen / da sein HErr begraben liegt; weil er demselbigen / bey seinem Leben versprechen müssen / seinen Cörper abzuholen. Man willfahrt ihm / unn wird die Grube geöffnet; Aber er kunte seinen Herrn / dem das Angesicht mit Blut aller besudelt war / vor andern nicht unterscheiden: scharrete ihn derowegen wider ein und wolte seines Weges reiten. Aber es blieb noch eine Hand unbedeckt über der Erden / an deren Finger ein köstlich grosser Demant-Ring saß / und funckelte: Hieran erkannte er ihn / hub ihn wieder auß der Grufft / auff sein Pferd / und fühlte / daß er noch aller warm warm wäre; welches ihm auch nicht geringe Freude erregte. Er brachte ihn ins Quartier: da man ihn auffs fleißigste labete / ob irgend die Lebensgeister sich bey ihm wolten erholen: welches zwar innerhalb 5. Tagen / darinnen er ohne Red und Bewegung geblieben / nicht geschehen. Ja / ob ihm gleich der Wund-Artzt / durch den Halß / einen Faden / durch die Wunden gezogen / hat ers doch nicht gefühlet. Gleichwol hat man ihm den Mund auffgebrochē / und ein wenig warme Fleischbrühe hinein gegossen. Gegen Abend kömpt darauff der Puls wieder / aber zugleich mit einem starcken Fieber. Am sechsten Tage schleuft er endlich die Augen auff / und hebt sich an zu bewegen: ist also nach gerade zu völliger Gesundheit gelanget; wiewohl hernach noch mit vieler Gefahr und harter Verletzung / auffs neue beschwert worden: welche aber hiebey zu melden / unserer Sache nicht fürderlich. Dieser Art wüste ich viel andere Begebenheiten mehr anzudeuten; da es die Noth erfoderte. Worauß erscheinet / daß nicht alle die jenigen gleich gestorben / die man davor anfiecht; besondern nur zu weilen in einer Ohnmacht / und Krafftlosigkeit liegen. Und also muß man auch von den wieder auffgeschrieenen urtheilen; daß sie nicht todt /wiewohl dem Tode gar nahe gewesen. Was nun solches auffschreien für natürliche Wirckung und Ursachen / bey dem Patenten / habe: davon fragte der Herr besser die gelehrten Naturkündiger und Aertzte / die ihm vielleicht eine gründliche scheinbahre Erklärung darüber machen könten. Mein einfältiges Concept aber [damit ich dem Herren meine Gedancken gleichwohl nicht vorenthalte] ist davon dieses: daß / in dem das starcke Geschrey durch die Ohren des Sterbenden dringt / das verstorbene Geblüt durch den Schall in etwas alterirt / erregt und zertheilet / und den zu dem Hertzen geflüchteten Lebensgeistern der Paß nach andern Gliedern / bevorab den Nerven des Haupts / als dem Ursprunge der Empfindligkeit / hiemit geöffnet werde; dadurch der Patient wieder ein wenig zu ihm selber kommt. Wiewohl solche auffgeruffene nachmahls überauß wunder- und unerträglich seyn sollen: welches / meines bedünckens / ebensfalls von den schädlichen Feuchtigkeiten / und verdorbenem Geblüt herrühret. Jedoch gebe ich dieses vor keine Regul auß; sondern will es dem Nachsinnen anderer verständigerer Leute unterworffen haben. Herr Lilienfeld fieng an: Es stehet wohl in glauben / daß solchen Leuten nur eine tieffe Schwachheit und Sinnlose Ohnmacht zugestanden: Von welcher sie / durch das laute Weheklagen der Stimme / die ihnen zugerufft / wieder auffgemuntert werden. Aber dieses begreiffe nicht / warumb solche Personen wieder auffgeschryen / gemeiniglich anzudeuten pflegen / sie weren an einem Ort gewesen / und hetten eine gar holdselige Music gehöret: Davon man sie ietzt / mit ihrem grossen Unwillen / habe verstört und abgerissen? Es ist nicht anders / (antwortete Herr Neander) weder eine phantasey der verworrenen Einbildung / bey dergleichen Leute: in dem zwar die annoch verhandene Seel äusserlich kein Merckzeichen einigerley Wirckung von ihr giebt; innerlich aber dennoch nichts desto weniger / gleich wie sonst im Traum / in der menschlichen Phantaser / also spielet. Idem d. l. p. 379. etc. In dem der Patiente starb; (welches billich vorher hette sollen gemeldet seyn) thaten die Umbstehenden ein Geschrey; die außfahrende Seele auffzuhalten; oder ermuntern / dafern sie etwan noch im Leibe verborgen were. Welches letztere fast glaubwürdiger scheinet / und den Worten Plinii gemeß / welcher schreibt: Die Abwaschung der Todten mit warmen Wasser / und daß man zu unterschiedlichen Mahlen dieselbige beschreye / geschehe der Ursachen halben; weil gar offt die Zuschauer sich verwirreten / in dem sie vermeinten / es sey kein lebendiger Geist bey den Menschen mehr verhanden. Darüber dermaleins einer hefftig zu kurtz gekommen; welcher sich unter dem Holtzhauffen noch wider auffgerichtet / aber weil das Feuer schon lichte Flamme gegeben / nicht mehr zu retten gewest / sondern lebendig müssen verbrennen. Darumb man desto vorsichtiger zu spielen / die Leichnam 8. Tage über der Erden stehen lassen / und mit heissem Wasser gewaschen / und denn allererst nach der letzten Beschreyung / verbrannt. So hör ich wohl sprach Mons. Gaston / daß wir nicht allein / sondern auch die Antiquität erfahren / und gewust / daß einer für todt außgetragen / und dennoch wieder zu ihm selber kommen sey? Freylich / antwortete Herr Cronenthal: die Leute haben so wohl / zu der / als nach der Zeit / sich übereilen können. Zu Rom ist einem Nahmens Corsidius / der seiner Mütter Schwester zur Ehe gehabt / sein Geist wiederkommen; Nach dem ihm allbereit alles / was zur Begräbnüß gehöret / bestellet gewest: Und hat er nachmahls eben denselbigen seinen Grabbesteller helffen außtragen. Bey Capua theileten zwantzig Männer etliche Aecker: und wurden gewahr / daß einer / welchen man auff der Todtenbaare für todt hinauß getragen / sich erholet / und zu Fuß wider hinein gieng: gestaltsam solches Varro bezeuget. Plutarchus de ser. Num. Vind. erzehlet / es sey einer auß der Höhe herab auff den Hals gestürtzet / und zwar kein Blut noch Wunde an ihm / aber doch auch gantz kein Leben mehr in ihm gespürt; und dennoch derselbige / nach dreyen Tagen / als man ihn herauß zur Begräbnüß getragen / plötzlich wieder zu Kräfften kommen: habe aber nach der Zeit eine unglaubliche andre Manier zu leben fürgenommen. Es wird der Mühe werth seyn / hiebey anzuziehen die zugleich lustige und denckwürdige Betreffung / so beym Apulejo lib. 6. Flor. zu finden / und also lautet. Als ungefehr Asclepiades sich wieder nach der Stadt verfügte / und von seinem Landgut heimkehrte: wird er vor der Stadt-Psorten bey einer Leichen / eines gewaltigen Gedrengs vom Volck ansichtig / das alles in schlechten Trauer-Kleidern / umb die Baar herumb stehet. Das Verlangen / zu wissen / wer der Verstorbene sey / bewegt ihn / näher hinzu zu tretten: weil ihm / auff sein vielfältiges nachforschen / dennoch keiner hatte geantwortet. Des Verblichenen Glieder waren allbereit gesalbet / der Mund mit köstlichem Balsam bestrichen. Asclepiades beschaute ihn recht und wohl / ob er irgend / vermöge seiner Kunst / etwas mangelhafftes an dem Todten finden möchte: rühret und betrachte hin und wieder den erblasten Leichnam: und fängt geschwinde an zu ruffen / der Mensch lebe noch; man solle die Fackeln und das Feuer auff die Seiten thun / den Scheiterhauffen abwerffen / und die Leich-Tractamenten von der Grabstädte / heim zu Tische tragen. Hierüber entstehet unter dem Volck unterschiedliche Meynung: Theils sehen für gut an / man solle ihm / als einem Artzt / Glauben geben / und folgen: Theils verlachen ihn / mit seiner Kunst / auff das eusserste. Endlich erlangt Asclepiades einen Auffschub; wiewohl mit grossem Unwillen der nahen Anverwandten / die ihm es mit dem Hencker danckten / daß er ihren Begierden die fast verschlungene Erbschafft / wieder außm Rachen risse; Und wird der Mensch / von der Schwellen des Todes / wieder zurück heimgeführt / und von ihm alsobald mit etlichen kräfftigen Mitteln erquicket; der sonst / bey lebendigem Leibe / hette müssen brennen. Es soll auch Heraclides ein eigenes Buch geschrieben haben / von einer Frauen / die nach 7. Tagen wieder auffgelebet. Wie denn etliche wollen / der subtile Philosophus Scotus sey von seinen Discipuln / als er über seine tieffsinnige Betrachtungen eins / (wie zwar mehrmahls vorhin) gar in Verzuckung gerathen / und lange darinnen beharrete; für Todt herauß getragen / und im Jahr 1308. zu Cölln begraben: es müsse denn ein anderer Scotus gewest seyn; das ich nicht weiß. Solches nun / nehmlich / daß ein annoch unvermerckt und heimlich lebender / (vide quæ suprà hâc de re disseruimus,) nicht seines Lebens beraubt würde / zuverhüten; hat man nach seiner Scheidung / etliche (Garzon setzet drey) mahl / besagter massen geruffen.

Wir haben von vielen Verstorbenen Leuten allhier geredet / theils so ferne sie von sich selbst wieder auffgewacht seynd / oder durch sie dere wiederumb zum Leben gebracht worden: Anitzund kömmt von einer Mittel-art / nehmlich von dem Käyser Friedrichen: davon also Kornmannus de mirac. mort. cap. 40. part. 4. Nachdem der Käyser Friedrich zehen Jahr todt gewesen / da hat sich ein anderer gleichförmigter Anno Christi 1261. hervor gethan / mit einem grossen Krieges-Heer / der sich für denselbigen Kayser Friedrich außgeben wollen / und vom Manfredo das Reich Sicilien wieder gefodert hat / aber drüber von vielen Fürsten im Kriege ist erschlagen worden. Hernach ist von diesem Käyser Friedrich eine neue Ketzerey entstanden / welche noch heutiges Tages im schwange gehet: Nehmlich sie bilden ihnen feste ein / er sey noch nicht todt / sondern lebe biß am jüngsten Tage / und sey auch kein rechter Käyser nach ihm mehr auffkommen. Er selber wandelte in Thüringen in einem alten verfallenen Schlosse Kyfhausen genannt / und rede mit den Leuten / ja er lasse sich auch bißweilen sehen. Weiter wird auch von vielen dafür gehalten / daß selbiger Kayser noch vorm Jüngsten Tage werde wieder kommen / und der Christenheit den vollständigen Frieden wiederbringen / er werde weit übers Meer mit sie hinüber ziehen / das heilige Grab wieder einnehmen / und das gelobte Land gewinnen. Und solchen nennen sie deßwegen Friederich / wegen der Liebe zum Frieden / nicht daß er also mit Nahmen getaufft sey. Ex MSS. anni 1284. Sonsten spricht Aventin. l. 7. und Chron. Alberti Crantz l. 8. c. 34. daß ein alter Mann nach Cölln gekommen sey / sprechend / daß er der Käyser Friedrich were / der vor 34. Jahren gestorben sey / und hat einen trefflichen applausum bekommen von denen Novesiis und Wezflariensibus, die ihn in grossen Ehren gehalten haben / biß der Betrug endlich entdeckt / und er ist verbrannt worden. Biß hieher Kornmannus. Sonsten habe ich von alten Thüringischen Leuten sagen gehöret / daß solcher Käyser Friederich tieff unter der Erden in einem Berge / auff der Banck bey einem rundten Tische sitze und stets schlaffe / und habe einen greulichen grossen grauen Bart / der ihm biß an die Erde herunter gewachsen sey: wie ihn einer also gestalt will angetroffen haben.

Hierzu könte man außm Kotnmanno d.l. c. 1. dieses setzen außm Rogero in Chron. Angl. Es soll in einer Insel Deyser ein Mägden gewesen seyn / mit eben diesem Nahmen / welche von einem Soldaten sehr geliebt worden / dessen Begierde sie aber nie gnügen leisten wollen biß an ihren Todt. Dessentwegen der Soldat / umb seinen Muth zu kühlen / sich dennoch übern todten Leichnam gemachet / und selbigen mit diesen Worten genothzüchtiget hat: Was ich mit dir in deinem Leben nicht habe können vollbringen / das will ich in deinem Tode nicht unterlassen. Und in dem hat sich der böse Feind in sie hinein gemachet / sprechende: Siehe / du hast mit mir einen Sohn gezeuget / den will ich zu dir bringen / wenn er wird gebohren seyn. Und nach 9 Monat da die Geburtszeit vorhanden gewesen / hat der Leib einen Sohn gebohren / und solchen dem Soldaten hingebracht / mit dieser Anrede: Siehe / hier ist dein Sohn / den du mit mir gezeuget hast / schneide ihme den Kopffe / unn verwahre solchen: Denn wenn du deinen Feind wilst überwinden / oder sein Land verstören wollen / so bedecke dessen Gesichte / und wende es entweder deinem Feinde oder seinem Lande entgegen; so werden sie von Stund an zu nicht werden: willstu aber hernach / daß die Straffe soll wieder auffhören / so kehre das Gesichte zu dir. Solches soll richtig eingetroffen seyn / und hat der Soldate das Ding lang getriebē / hat auch drüber eine rechte Heyrath gethan / da denn seine Frau ihn öffters gefraget; durch was für Mittel er seine Feinde ohne Waffen ängstigen und verderben könte; da hat er sich allezeit geweigert solches zu bekennen / biß es endlich geschehen / daß er auff einen Tag verreiset gewesen / da ist sie über seinen Kasten gekommen / und das verborgene Schelmstücke angetroffen / nehmlich den heßlichen Kopff / den sie von Stund an genommen und ins Wasser geworffen hat. Diese Histori habe ich mit fleiß dem Ricardo Argentino Anglo. l. 1. de præstig: c. 56. zu schreiben wollen / damit der Leser möchte mercken /wie der böse Feind so geschäfftig sey / allerhand Schelmstücke zu treiben / und mit einem Todte viel tausend andere zu tödten vorhabe. (Sonsten suche d.l. beym Kornmanno part. 9. c. 41. ein schön Capittel von der Straffe / so solchen Leuten zukömpt / die mit todten Leibern zu thun haben.) Zeilerus zur ersten Hist. seiner Traur Gesch. p. 20 Anno 1625. habe ich ein geschrieben Consilium eines / mir wohlbekanten / gelehrten Mannes / [so nun todt] gelesen / welcher von einem Pfarrer ist Raths ersuchet worden / wessen er sich gegen einem jungen Soldaten von Adel zuverhalten / der ihme / Pfarrern / entdeckt / wie er nun lange zeit hiero mit einer Weibs Person zu thun gehabt / welche bißweilen verschwinde / bißweilen wie der komme / und an statt einer Concubinen sich auffhalte: die ihr auch den Gottesdienst nicht zu wieder seyn lasse: Ihn selbsten bißweilen zum Gebet ermahne / und ihn vor ihren Ehemann halte / und nicht zulassen wolle / daß er sich gegen einer andern Person verheurathe / ihn auch freundlich umbfange und fürgebe / daß sie durch solche Ehe von etlichen sonderbahren Flüchen könne erlediget / und zu einem vollkommenen Menschen werden. Sie verhindere ihn auch am Gebrauch des heiligen Abendmahls / und andern Christlichen Ubungen durchauß nicht / sondern erzeige sich also / daß er sie für keine Teuffelin halten könne. Besiehe drey Exempel beym Hermann Hamelmann / part. 1. c. 10. f. 20. Chron. Oldenburg. und in meinen neuen Observat. ad Itiner. Germ. c. 17. num. 6. in Beschreibung der Oldenburgschen Graffen Herkommen. Hactenus Zeilerus, darüber des Herrn Minsichts Glossa d.l. p. 46. kan vernommen werden: Ob nun wohl / wie schon gesagt / zuweiln auch eine Frucht entstehet / aus solchen beywohnen / so ist es doch eine solche / welche allerhand Schaden und Unheil anrichtet / und endlich wieder verschwindet: und ob der Teuffel gleich auch gute Dinge redet / und die Menschen darzu ermahnet / so suchet er sie nur dadurch ie mehr und mehr zu betrügen. So ist es auch kein Wunder / denn er sich in einem Engel des Lichts verstellen kan / und stehet man in allen seinen Actionen, daß es ein liederlich Ende nimmet / und weder mit der Vernunfft / noch heil. Schrifft übereinkommet. Als daß jemand von einem Fluche könne erlöset und selig werden / der des Beyschlaffes sich gebrauchet / und dergleichen mehr; der Satan suchet auff allerley Weise die leichtgleubigen zuverführen. Hactenus ille: der auch p. 36. d.l. also gar schön von der Sache redet: Es fället unter den Gelehrten die Frage vor /woher es komme / oder wie es der Satan machen könne / daß er sich in Gestalt der Verstorbenen sehen lasse / oder auch wohl gar in deren Gestalt / mit andern noch lebendigen Unzucht treibe; Unn wollen die meisten / daß der Satan die Cörper aus der Erden nehme / und ihnen ein Athem einblase / und also sie herumb führe / und mit ihnen allerhand Muthwillen treibe. Ich lasse auch billich einem jeglichen hierinne seine Meinung. Und gestehe es endlich / daß es wohl seyn könne / daß der Satan über die Cörper derer / die in diesem Leben ihme gedienet / und von Rechts wegen ihme doch zukommen / Macht habe / und dieses wohl thun könne. Allein man befindet / daß er auch in heilig und selig verstorbener Leute Gestalt /viel Ding thue: Da sage ich nun / daß er mit dergleichen heiligen und auff das Verdienst JEsu Christi verstorbenen Cörpern / es nimmermehr thun könne / als derer Seelen in GOttes Hand / und deren Cörper in GOtt ruhen. Halte es demnach vor lauter Phantasey und teufflische Verblendung / welche der leidige Satan seinen Gesellen wohl machen kan / weiln ihn die Schrifft selbsten einen tausendkünstler nennet. Also verstellet er sich in allerhand Arten der unvernünfftigen Thier / als Katzen / Hund etc.

Schließlich ist hier noch beyzusügen auß Zeilero d.l. p. 29. von wegen / daß sich die Teuffel in die Toden Cörper begeben / und sie vorstellen / als wenn sie lebten / außm Peucer. de divinat. gener. p.m. 10. b. seq. daß zu Bononiâ eine Harpffenschlägerin solle gestorben / und von einem Zauberer / mit Hülff des Teuffels / also zugerichtet worden seyn / als wenn sie noch lebete: wie sie denn unter die Leute gangen / und bey Gastereyen mit ihrer Music sich gebrauchen lassen. Als aber auff eine Zeit / ein ander Zauberer / auff Ermahnung des Teuffels / den Betrug entdeckt / sey sie gleich nieder gefallen / und habe kein Leben gehabt. Hondorff. in Theat. Hist. Von einem von Adel aus Beyern / deßen sein verstorbenes und sehr beklagtes Ehegemahl / in einer Nacht wieder gekommen / den Mann beredet / etliche Jahr bey ihm gelebet / und Kinder mit ihm gezeüget habe. Wegen einer andern Historien besiehe Majol. in dieb. Canic. Tom. 2. Colloq. 3. p. 208. Andere rechte Historien von wieder Auffgelebten / suche bey Christoph Richtern in Spectac. Hist. p.m. 149. etc. cent.

Vampyrsagen, aus Otto Knoop, Sagen aus Kujawien

Mai 7, 2017


Die Vampyrsagen haben erst kürzlich eingehende Behandlung erfahren (vgl. oben 14, 322 ff.); doch ist wohl die Mitteilung weiterer Sagen, wenn sie auch nichts besonders Neues bringen, nicht überflüssig. Es sei mir gestattet, hier zunächst eine Sage wiederzugeben, die mir (aus polnischer Quelle) in Rogasen mitgeteilt wurde. »Nahe an der von Gnesen nach Wreschen führenden Chaussee steht in einem Walde eine Hütte, die vor Jahren ein Förster bewohnte. Diesem starb ein erwachsener Sohn. In der Mitternacht nach dem Tode desselben ertönte vor der Hütte ein grässliches Gewinsel, und gleichzeitig wurde an die Fensterscheibe geklopft. Die Schwester, die bei dem Verstorbenen betete, schaute nach dem Fenster und sah darin ein scheussliches Antlitz mit langen Zähnen, die aus dem Munde hervorragten. Das Gespenst schrie: Daj mi go (gieb ihn mir)! Als die Schwester aber den Rosenkranz hervorzog, verschwand das Gespenst. Am folgenden Tage zogen Zigeuner auf der Chaussee, und diesen erzählte der Förster das Ereignis. Eine alte Zigeunerin gab ihm die Antwort, die Erscheinung sei ein Upior gewesen, der sich dreimal dort zeige, wo jemand gestorben sei, um des Gestorbenen Herz aufzufressen. Um es zu vertreiben, müssten die Angehörigen bei der Bahre Kerzen anstecken, die am Feste Mariä Lichtmess geweiht wären (gromnice), und den Rosenkranz beten.«

Der Erzähler fügte noch folgendes hinzu: »Es gibt nicht blos schlechte, sondern auch gute Gespenster. Einem Knechte, der im Walde an derselben Chaussee die Pferde hütete, näherte sich einmal ein Gespenst, dem die Zähne aus dem Munde hervorragten, und berührte das Zaumzeug. Als der Knecht nach Hause kam und das Zaumzeug an einen Nagel hängte, flossen zwei Eimer Milch daraus hervor.« Nach Angabe des Erzählers war auch dieses Gespenst ein Upior, doch ist wohl eher an eine wohltätige Waldfrau zu denken.

Die folgenden Stücke, von denen das erste aus deutscher Quelle stammt, wurden mir durch Herrn Lehrer A. Szulczewski in Brudzyn mitgeteilt.

In Kaiserthal (Kujawien) lebte ein Bauer, der eine zahlreiche Familie hatte. Da starb der älteste Sohn und wurde auf dem Kirchhofe begraben. Er wurde ein Vampyr, aber niemand wusste davon. Nach einiger Zeit starb der zweite Sohn, bald der dritte, und nach einigen Wochen starben alle Familienmitglieder, so dass nur der Vater übrig blieb. Man klagte und jammerte über das Unglück, doch niemand wusste zu helfen. Da kam der alte Wächter des Ortes auf den Gedanken, dass ein Vampyr all die Todesfälle hervorgerufen habe, und er beredete den Bauer, dass er das Grab seines ältesten Sohnes öffnen liess. Und wirklich fand man diesen ganz unversehrt, nur war das Fleisch an seinem ganzen Leibe abgebissen. Ein Vampyr findet nämlich im Grabe keine Ruhe; er muss sich selbst verzehren und ruft dann seine nächsten Verwandten in das Grab. Dem Vampyr wurde jetzt eine kleine Münze in den Mund zwischen die Zähne gesteckt. Auf diese Weise konnte er nicht mehr beissen, und die Verwandten blieben seit der Zeit am Leben.

Die Leute erzählen, dass in der Kellergruft des Klosters zu Markowitz ein Upior begraben liege. Es war das ein Mensch, der mit Zähnen auf die Welt gekommen war. Er wurde nach seinem Tode in jener Gruft beigesetzt. Hier verweste er nicht wie andere Tote, sondern blieb frisch erhalten. In der Nacht aber stand er auf, bestieg den Glockenturm und läutete. So weit dieses Glockengeläute zu hören war, in dem Umkreis mussten alle diejenigen sterben, welche das Alter erreicht hatten, das der Upior bei seinem Tode erreicht hatte. Die Leute erfuhren von dem nächtlichen Treiben des Upior und beschlossen, dem ein Ende zu machen. Sie machten den Sarg auf und legten dem noch unversehrten Leichnam eine scharfe Sichel über den Hals. So konnte der Upior nicht mehr aufstehen. Wäre er aufgestanden, so hätte er sich den Kopf abgeschnitten, und dann erst wäre er ganz tot gewesen.

Auch in Chelmce soll in einer Gruft ein Upior begraben liegen. Dieser stand in der Nacht aus seinem Sarge auf und zerbiss alle Lichter, die auf dem Altar standen. Endlich des Unfugs überdrüssig, sah man in dem Grabe nach und fand die Leiche noch unversehrt, obwohl sie schon mehrere Jahre gelegen hatte. Das Tuch aber, in das sie gehüllt war, war ganz zerbissen. Man legte den Upior nun mit dem Rücken nach oben, und seit der Zeit war man vor ihm sicher.