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THE QUAKER MEERING - 1688,
THE MASTER'S CALL. [From "The Germantown Pilgrim," an unpublished They tell me a solemn story, but it is not sad poem.)
to me, BY JOHN G. WHITTIER.
For in its sweet unfolding my Saviour's love I
They say that, at any moment the Lord of life Warm, tender, restful, sweet with woodland To lift me from this cloud-land into the light of
may come, balm, Came to him like some mother-hallowed psalm
home. To the tired grinder at the noisy wheel
They say I may have no warning; I may not Of labor, winding off from memory's reel
even hear A golden thread of music, with no peal
The rustling of His garments as He softly draw.
eth near; Of bells to call them to the house of praise. Suddenly, in a moment, upon my ear may fall The scattered settlers through green forest ways The summons to leave our homestead, to answer Walked meeting ward. In reverent amaze.
the Master's call. The Indian trapper saw them from the dim
Pertraps He will come in the noontide of some Shade of the alders, on the rivulet's rim,
brigbt and sunny day, Seek the Great Spirit's house to talk with him. When, with dear ones all around me, my life There, through the gathered stillness, multiplied Pleasant must be the pathway, easy the shining
seems bright and gay, And made intense by sympathy, outside
road, The sparrows sang, and the gold-robin cried
Up from this dimmer sunlight into the light of A-swing upon his elm. A faint perfume
Perhaps He will come in the stillness of the mild
and quiet night, Thither, perchance, sore-tried professors came;
When the earth is calmly sleeping 'neath the Whose fervor jail nor pillory could tame
moonbeam's silvery light; Proud of the cropped ears meant to be their When the stars are softly shining o'er slumbershame.
ing land and sea,
Perhaps in the holy stillness the Master will Men who had eaten Slavery's bitter bread
come for me. In Indian isles; pale women, who had bled Under the hangman's lash and bravely said I think I would rather hear it, that Voice so low
and sweet, God's message through their prison's iron bars; And gray old soldier-converts, seamed with scars
Calling me out from the shadows, my blessed
Lord to meet, From every stricken field of England's wars.
Up through the glowing splendors of a starry, Lowly before the Unseen Presence knelt
earthly night, Lach waiting heart, till, haply, some one felt
To “ see the King in His beauty,” in a land of On his moved lips the seal of silence melt.
Parish Visitor. Or, without spoken words, low breathings stole Of a diviner life from soul to soul, Baptizing in one tender thought the whole.
DISCORDS. When shaken hands announced the meeting o'er,
It had some grains of truth, at least, The friendly group still lingered near the door,
That fable of the Sybarite, Greeting, inquiring, sharing all the store
For whom, because one leaf was creased, Of weekly tidings. Meanwhile youth and maid
The rose-strewn couch bad po delight. Down the green vistas of the woodland strayed,
I think not even sanguine youth
But this is still the sober truth :
'Tis pity, that one thwarting thought,
One adverse chance, one sudden fear And, greeting all with quiet smile and word, Or sharp regret, can turn to nought Pastorius went his way. The unscared bird
The full content that seemed so near ! Sang at his side, scarcely the squirrel stirred But this strange life of ours abounds
With notes so subtle, they afford At his hushed footstep on the mossy sod;
A thousand discords and harsh sounds And wheresoe'er the good man looked or trod For one harmonious perfect chord. He felt the peace of nature and of God.
From The Edinburgh Review. last four centuries; and although the maYULE'S EDITION OF MARCO POLO.
jority of such editions have been mere reTHE publication of Colonel Yule's productions or translations of a faulty text “ Marco Polo" is an epoch in geographi- without any serious effort at emendation cal literature. Never before, perhaps, did or explanation, still in some instances a book of travels appear under such ex- as in the Italian editions of Baldello-Boni, ceptionally favourable auspices; an editor of Lazari, and of Adolfo Bartoli — sound of a fine taste and ripe experience, and and able criticism has been exerted, by possessed with a passion for curious me- which Colonel Yule has duly profited; dieval research, having found a publisher and moreover, in two particular instances willing to gratify that passion without - the English edition of Marsden, pubstint on the score of expenditure ; and the lished in 1818, and the French edition of result being the production of a work Pauthier, published in 1865 — illustration which, in so far as it combines beauty of has been added of a comprehensive, if not typography and wealth of illustration with a very scholarly, character. Marsden's a rich variety of recondite learning, may edition of “ Marco Polo," an honest and be regarded as a phenomenon in these unpretentious work, represents the knowldays of thrifty and remunerative book- edge, or rather the want of knowledge, of making. Nor is it a slight praise thus to " Sixty Years since.” Pauthier's edition, pronounce Colonel Yule's edition to be a with very much more of pretension, is great success; for never, perhaps, has, hardly an improvement on Marsden in rethere been a more difficult book of the gard to the historical or geographical illusclass to expound than Marco Polo's trav- tration of Western and Central Asia ; els, since his great prototype, Herodotus, though it must be admitted that his Chirecited his history at Athens. Every page nese learning stands him in good stead, is a puzzle ; every chapter contains strange and has enabled him to furnish many val
which it is hard to recognize, uable extracts from original sources, restrange stories which it is harder still lating to Eastern Asia, in support or ex-, either to believe or to explain. And in- planation of Marco Polo's own notices. deed, when we remember Marco Polo's At any rate, we think the general impersonal character, and the peculiar cir- pression will be, on comparing the baldcumstances under which his very extraor- ness and inaccuracy of previous editors dinary experiences were reduced to writ- with the stores of solid, as well as curious, ing, our wonder must be, not that there is information poured forth by Colonel Yule so much requiring illustration in this ac- with an unsparing hand, that the edition count of his Eastern travels, but rather we are now considering was imperatively that the narrative should be in any degree called for. intelligible — and especially that a com- The story of Marco Polo's book is told mentator should have been found with with much liveliness and effect in Colonel the knowledge, the ingenuity, and the per- Yule's introduction. This introduction, severance requisite to place the book in a indeed, which extends to 160 pages, and is really attractive form before the reading of a very miscellaneous character, forms, public of the nineteenth century.
we think, in a literary point of view, the The attempt has often been made be- most important, as it certainly forms the fore to bring Marco Polo into notice. Ac- most interesting, portion of Colonel Yule's cording to a list, indeed, compiled by two portly volumes. Besides ample disColonel Yule, and given in the appendix sertations on such general topics as the to his work, twenty-seven different edi- state of the East in the thirteenth century, tions of these travels have been published the jealousies and wars of Genoa and in various European languages during the Venice, a digression on the war-galleys
of the Middle Ages, &c. &c., it comprises all • The Book of Ser Marco Polo, the Venetian. that can be recovered of the personal bisNewly translated and edited, with notes, by Colonel HENRY YULE, C.B. Two volumes 8vo. London: tory of the Polo family, of the individual
travellers, of their appearance, their char
acter, and their objects; their singular re- / veracity,” no one can doubt but that Marception at Venice on their return from co was disposed to exaggeration in his the East after twenty-four years' absence, phraseology, and indulged in a very high which reads, as has been said, like a colouring in all his descriptions. He seems, chapter from the Arabian Nights; their indeed, mainly to have risen into favour subsequent adventures; Marco's partici- with the Emperor from his skill in bring. pation in the great defeat of the Vene-ling back sensational reports of the wontians at Curzola; his captivity at Genoa, ders which he saw when employed on depand dictation of his memoirs to a fellow-utation in strange countries — such reports prisoner, Rustician of Pisa; and finally, contrasting agreeably with the dry matit suggests how Rustician's notes, jotted ter-of-fact relations of the ordinary comdown in the “ Lingua franca " in which missioners; and we may well understand they were probably communicated, were that it was this proneness to extravagant enlarged, and amended, and annotated, talk, this habitual indulgence in “ traveleither by Marco himself, or possibly by lers' tales,” which gave him the nickname his uncle Maffeo, who had been his com- of “ Master Millions among his countrypanion throughout his travels; and how men, and which in fact discredited his genfrom these original notes the various texts eral authority. The process of dictation, were formed which are now extant in it may also be suggested, is of itself unseventy-five different manuscript copies of favourable to a very rigid accuracy of dea more or less authentic character.
scription. In telling his stories viva voce It is clear that Marco Polo, with little or to Rustician, as he paced the floor of his no preliminary education, must still have prison cell at Genoa, he may be forgiven possessed considerable natural abilities, if he occasionally warmed up his flagging since on his arrival at the Mongol court he memory by a few free touches of lively roacquired without difficulty the current lan- domontade.* That he did not designedly guages of the country together with four invent or falsify is all, we presume, that different modes of writing (probably Mon- Colonel Yule contends for; and for this golian, Ouiguor, Persian, and Thibetan *), qualified acquittal there is ample authority and further ingratiated himself with the Emperor, so as to be employed by him on
• The following are a few instances of Marco confidential affairs of state in preference Polo's proneness to exaggeration in reporting what to the officers of his own household; but it be heard as well as what he saw:- A ruc's feather is equally clear that he fully shared in the brought from Madagascar measured, he was told, 90
while the quill part was 2 palms in circumfer. credulity and superstition of the age; and ence; and two boars' tasks from the same place although Colonel Yule does not scruple to weighed more than 14 lbs. a-piece, the boars themavow his “entire confidence in the man's the bamboos were 3 palms in girth and 15 paces
selves being as big as buffaloes (il. 347). In Thibet
in length, and in burning made a report that could This is Colonel Yule's proposed identification of again, were as big as donkeys (ii. 32). The serpents
be heard ten miles off (ii, 26). The Thibet mastiffs, the four" written characters " which were learnt by (.e. alligators) of Carajan were 10 paces in length Marco; but instead of Thibetan it is likely enough and 10 palms in girth, with eyes bigger than a great that he learnt the Baspa alphabet, which was estab. lished, by orders of Kublai in 1269, as the
official loaf of bread, and a mouth large enough to swallow
a man whole (ii 45). The elephants of Birma car. Mongolian character, in contradistinction to the old writing which, like the Ouigour and the Man- ried from twelve to sixteen well-armed fighting men chu, was of Nestorian origin. At first sight it may tall as elephants (ii. 78). For "travellers' tales”
(ii. 63); and the oxen of the same province were as seem hazardous to include Persian in this series, as it has no etymological or geographical connexion
we may quote the story of the unicorn (or rhinocewith Mongolian or Chinese, but Colonel Yule has ros) of Sumatra which licked its victim to death shown good reason for suspecting that Persian must with its prickly tongue (ii. 227); the tailed men of have been the common tongue of foreigners at the Lambri on the same island (ii. 243); the dog-headed court of the Mongols (vol. i. p. cxxxv). In addition men of the Andamans (ii. 251); the famous Ceylon to the examples cited by Colonel Yule of such pure man's arm (ii. 254); and especially the couvade of
ruby, which was a palm in length and as thick as a Persian names as Pul-i-sangin, Zar-dandan, &c. used by Marco Polo, it may be of interest to remark the Zar-dandan or “golden teeth” (ii. 62), which that in the famous Kitab-el-Fihrist, recently pub- gave rise to the famous lines in Butler's "Hudi.
bras": lished, we find the Chinese commander-in-chief in the ninth century to have been named Sir-aspah,
Chineses go to bed which is Persian for “head of the army."
And lie in in their ladies stead.”
in the contemporary evidence that “whening false readings or tedious repetitions Marco was asked by his friends on his à discrétion ; but the result is certainly to death-bed to correct the book by remov- the advantage of the general reader; and ing everything that went beyond the facts, if a thorough dependence can be placed he replied, that he had not told one-half on the knowledge and judgment of the of what he had really seen.”
editor, there will be also felt an assurance Colonel Yule has allowed himself the that the “eclectic” text presents what fullest latitude in his adoption of a text. the author said, or would have desired to He calls his text "eclectic,” which means say. This, at any rate, is what Colonel that he has selected from several types Yule has aimed at, and we are bound to the readings and expressions of which he say that we think on the whole he has approves, and has onnitted those of which been successful. he disapproves. The basis of his transla- Incidently at the outset of Marco Polo's tion is the same text which was used by narrative, a geographical question arises Mons. Pauthier, and which is supposed to which well deserves a little careful considrepresent the version made from ti-eration, since it involves the existence, or cian's barbarous “ patois” into French non-existence, at that period of history of of the period, during Marco Polo's life, one of the great inlaud seas of Central and subject to his own curtailment, cor- Asia. The elder Poli, in their first journey rection, and revision ; but he has not to the East, in A.D. 1260, are said to have slavishly followed this version, of which passed directly from the Volga to Bokháthere are exemplars at Paris, at Berne, rá by a route which, according to the presand at Oxford. He has admitted variant ent physical configuration of the country, readings of names, and many “ expressions must have led them along the northern, of special interest and character” from or the southern border of the Sea of Aral; Rustician's original notes, published by yet neither in Marco's brief notice of this the Geographical Society of Paris in 1824; | journey, nor in any other part of his work, and also in some instances he has bor- is there the slightest allusion to the sea. rowed from other versions that were made in question; and a doubt therefore naturfrom that text (apparently during Marco ally arises in the reader's mind as to Polo's lifetime), first into Italian, and then whether the Aral could have been in exinto Latin - Pipino's Latin text, under istence in the thirteenth century. Colonel date A.D. 1320, being the type of this class Yule does not enter on the discussion of of MSS.; * and finally, he has introduced this curious question in either of his great between brackets, as indicative of their works, “ Marco Polo ” or “Cathay;" but supplementary character, a very large in another place he has casually considnumber of additional paragraphs, some of ered it, and the result of his investigation the highest interest and importance, which is that he supports the opinion of his disbear internal marks of emanating either tinguished relation, Sir Roderick Murchifrom Marco Polo or his uncle, but which son, to the effect that — notwithstanding are only known at present from their be- certain admitted temporary deviations of ing included, without comment or expla- the Oxus, and notwithstanding much amnation, in Ramusio's famous posthumous higuity both of nomenclature and descriptranslation in Italian, which was published tion, which is due, they think, to the carein A.D. 1559, nearly 240 years after Marco lessness or ignorance of the early geoPolo's decease. It is hardly perhaps con- graphers - the relative condition of the sistent with the strict canons of criticism Caspian and Aral has in reality never mathus to blend several texts into one, cull- terially varied during the historic period. ing the best passages of each, and correct- A strong array of authorities, including
the honoured names of Saint Martin, Colonel Yule mentions as a literary curiosity of Malte Brun, Hugh Murray, Baillie Fraser, some interest an Irish version which was made and Burnes, are even more positive in their “with an astounding freedom” from this Latin text, and which is included in the famous Book of Lis- opinions, maintaining that any such variamore, written about A.D. 1450.
i tion has been simply impossible, since the