I, then, tell you that Orpheus has sung well, and is of the elect of the gods. His music intoxicated the whole forest. The eagles drew near and flew above our heads, the flowering bushes gently swayed their mysterious censers, the bees left their cells to come and listen. As for me, O Master were I in your place I should yield to him my garland of vine-shoots and my thyrsus. There exist two powers: the real and the ideal. What Hercules would do with his wrists, Orpheus does with his inspiration. With a single blow the robust god could shatter Mount Athos itself. Orpheus, with the potency of his triumphant voice, could subdue Nemea’s lion and the wild boar of Erimanthus. Of men, some have been born to forge metals, others to wrest from the soil the ears of wheat, others to fight in bloody wars, and others still to teach, to glorify, and to sing. If I am your cupbearer and I give you wine, it is the joy of your palate; if I offer you a hymn, it is the joy of your soul.”
What forest better than the forest of the satyr, whom he would en-chant, where he would be held as a demigod; a forest all joy, and dancing, and beauty, and voluptuousness; where nymphs and bacchantes were ever fondled and ever virginal; where there were grapes and roses and the noise of the sistrum, and where the goat-footed king danced drunk before his fauns, making gestures like Silenus?
He went with his wreath of laurel, his lyre, his proud poet’s mien, erect and radiant.
He came to where the wild and hairy satyr ruled, and at his request for hospitality, he sang. He sang of great Jove, of Eros and Aphrodite, of the graceful centaurs and of the ardent bacchantes; he sang the cup of Dionysus, and the thyrsus that strikes the joyous air, and of Pan, emperor of the mountains, sovereign of the woods, god-satyr who, too, could sing. He sang the intimacies of the air and earth, the great mother.
Thus he expounded the melody of andSolian harp, the murmu
He was a capricious satyr.
He had two court counselors: a lark and an ass. The first had lost her prestige when the satyr went deaf. Formerly, when, weary with lust, he softly played his flute, the lark accompanied him.
Afterward, in his great forest, where he could not hear even the voice of Olympian thunder, the patient animal of the long ears served him as mount, while the lark, at break of dawn, flew out of his hands, singing on her flight to the skies.
The forest was vast. To the lark belonged the tree-tops; to the ass, the pasture. The lark was greeted by the first gleams of dawn; she drank dew in the shoots; she awoke the oak, singing to it, “Old oak, awake.” She rejoice ‘ in a kiss from the sun; she was beloved by the morning star.
And the blue firmament so vast knew that she, so tiny, dwelt beneath its immensity. The ass (though he had not yet conversed with Kant) was an expert in philosophy, according to common report. The
Ruben Dario (1867-1916)
Ruben Dario is one of the few Spanish-American writers who have won international celebrity. He first became known as a boy poet, but soon after his sensational appearance in the field of literature, he became a journalist. His travels began at an early age. He was in the diplomatic service and represented his country in several cities abroad.
Of a rather melancholy and neurotic temperament, he had none the less an extremely varied and active career, and in spite of his diplomatic and other duties he continued to write. Though he is best known as a poet, he is the author of several short stories and books of travel. His volume of prose tales and poems called Azul (1888) attracted notice in Europe. It is from this collection that The Deaf Satyr is selected. This charming idyll exemplifies Dario’s outstanding qualities of style and literary form.
The present version is translated by Isaac Goldberg especia
The trap was ingeniously contrived: a long rope fastened round a block of wood; lengthwise, at the place where the sawn panel had disappeared, was a spring-ring which Leiba held open with his left hand, while at the same time his right hand held the other end taut. At the psychological moment he sprang the ring, and rapidly seizing the free end of the rope with both hands he pulled the whole arm inside by a supreme effort.
In a second the operation was complete. It was accompanied by two cries, one of despair, the other of triumph: the hand is “pinned to the spot.” Footsteps were heard retreating rapidly: Gheorghe’s companions were abandoning to Leiba the prey so cleverly caught.
The Jew hurried into the inn, took the lamp and with a decided movement turned up the wick as high as it would go: the light concealed by the metal receiver rose gay and victorious, restoring definite outlines to the nebulous forms around.
Zibal went into the passage with
In a few moments, this same gimlet would cause the destruction of Leiba and his domestic hearth. The two executioners would hold the victim prostrate on the ground, and Gheorghe, with heel upon his body, would slowly bore the gimlet into the bone of the living breast as he had done into the dead wood, deeper and deeper, till it reached the heart, silencing its wild beatings and pinning it to the spot.
Leiba broke into a cold sweat; the man was overcome by his own imagination, and sank softly to his knees as though life were ebbing from him under the weight of this last horror, overwhelmed by the thought that he must abandon now all hope of saving himself.
“Yes! Pinned to the spot,” he said, despairingly. “Yes! Pinned to the spot.”
He stayed a moment, staring at the light by the window. For some moments he stood aghast, as though in some other world, then he repeated with quivering eyelids:
“Yes! Pinned to the spot.”
His throat was parched. He was thirsty. He washed a small glass in a three-legged tub by the side of the bar and tried to pour some good brandy out of a decanter; but the mouth of the decanter began to clink loudly on the edge of the glass. This noise was still more irritating. A second attempt, in spite of his effort to conquer his weakness, met with no greater success.
Then, giving up the idea of the glass, he let it fall gently into the water, and drank several times out of the decanter. After that he pushed the decanter back into its place; as it touched the shelf it made an alarming clatter. For a moment he waited, appalled by such a catastrophe. Then he took the lamp, and placed it in the niche of the window which lighted the passage: the door, the pavement, and the wall which ran at right angles to the passage, were illuminated by almost imperceptible streaks of light.
He seated himself near the doorway and listened intently.
From the hill came t
Then he had passed under the portico, and had listened at the top of the stone steps by the door which was secured with a bar of wood. He shook so that he could scarcely stand, but he would not rest. The most distressing thing of all was that he had answered Sura’s persistent questions sharply, and had sent her to bed, ordering her to put out the light at once. She had protested meanwhile, but the man had repeated the order curtly enough, and she had had unwillingly to submit, resigning herself to postponing to a later date any explanation of his conduct.
Sura had put out the lamp, had gone to bed, and now slept by the side of Strul.
The woman was right. Leiba was really ill.
Night had fallen. For a long time Leiba had been sitting, listening by the doorway which gave on to the passage.
What is that?
Indistinct sounds came from the distance—horses trotting, the noise of heavy blows, mysterious and agitated conversations. The effo
What followed must have undoubtedly filled the driver with respect. The young passengers were two students, one of philosophy, the other of medicine; they were returning to amuse themselves in their native town. They embarked upon a violent academic discussion upon crime and its causes, and, to give him his due, the medical student was better informed than the philosopher.
Atavism; alcoholism and its pathological consequences; defective birth; deformity; Paludism; then nervous disorders! Such and such conquest of modern science—but the case of reversion to type! Darwin, Hackel, Lombroso. At the case of reversion to type, the driver opened wide his eyes in which shone a profound admiration for the conquests of modern science.
“It is obvious,” added the medical student. “The so-called criminal proper, taken as a type, has unusually long arms, and very short feet, a flat and narrow forehead, and a much developed occiput. To the e
On the main road there was a good deal of traffic, an unceasing noise of wheels accompanied by -the rhythmic sound of horses’ hoofs trotting upon the smooth asphalt.
But suddenly the traffic stopped, and from Copou a group of people could be seen approaching, gesticulating and shouting excitedly.
The crowd appeared to be escorting somebody: soldiers, a guard and various members of the public. Curious onlookers appeared at every door of the inn.
“Ah,” thought Leiba, “they have laid hands on a thief.”
The procession drew nearer. Sura detached herself from the others, and joined Leiba on the steps of the inn.
“What is it, Sura?” he asked.
“A madman escaped from Golia.”
“Let us close the inn so that he cannot get at us.”
“He is bound now, but a while ago he escaped. He fought with all the soldiers. A rough Gentile in the crowd pushed a Jew against the madman and he bit him on the chee