The parable contained in the 8oth Psalm, wherein the house of Israel is likened to a vine, is also worthy of study: —

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"Thou hast brought a vine out of Egypt;
Thou hast cast out the heathen,

And planted it.

Thou preparedst room before it,

And didst cause it to take deep root,

And it filled the land.

The hills were covered with the shadow of it,

And the boughs thereof were like the goodly cedars.

She sent out her boughs unto the sea,

And her branches unto the river.

Why hast thou then broken down her hedges,

So that all they that pass by the way do pluck her?

The boar out of the wood doth waste it,

And the wild beast of the field doth devour it.

Allegory of the Vine.

Return, we beseech thee, O God of hosts:

Look down from heaven, and behold, and visit this vine,
And the vineyard which thy right hand hath planted,
And the branch that thou madest strong for thyself."

And so Christ, speaking to his disciples, likens himself to a vine:

and every

"I am the true vine and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away; branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. . . . As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches. He that abideth in me and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing."

The True

In the poetry of the Greeks allegory and myth go hand in hand. Athene counsels wisdom; Ares leads in war; Aphrodite inspires love; Heracles symbolizes strength; the Fates weave the woof of destiny; the Furies relentlessly pursue the evil-doer. Now and then, however, a pure allegory, freed from the entanglements of mythical embodiment, may be found. Observe, for example, the manner in which old Phoinix, in the "Iliad," personifies Prayers and their influence: —


"Prayers of penitence are daughters of Zeus, halting and wrinkled and of eyes askance, that have their tasks withal to go in the steps of Sin. For Sin is strong and fleet of foot, wherefore she far outrunneth all Prayers, and goeth before them over all the earth, making men fall, and Prayers follow behind to heal the harm. Now whosoever reverenceth Zeus's daughters when they draw near, him they greatly bless and hear his petitions; but


when one denieth them and stiffly refuseth, then depart they and make prayer unto Zeus the son of Kronos that Sin may come upon such an one, that he may fall and pay the price."

The story of Hera and Sleep in the XIVth Book of the "Iliad " is a good example of the intermingling of Allegory and Myth:

"Then Hera came to Lemnos, the city of godlike Thoas. There she met Sleep, the brother of Death,1 and clasped her hand in his, and spake and called his name: 'Sleep, lord of all gods and of all men, if ever thou didst hear my word, obey me again even now, and I will be grateful to thee always. Lull me, I pray thee, the shining eyes of Zeus beneath his brows, so soon as I have laid me down by him in love. And gifts I will give to thee, even a fair throne, imperishable forever, a golden throne, that Hephaistos the Lame, mine own child, shall fashion skilfully, and will set beneath it a footstool for the feet, for thee to set thy shining feet upon, when thou art at a festival.' . . .

"So she spake, and Sleep was glad, and answered and said: 'Come now, swear to me by the inviolable water of Styx, and with one of thy hands grasp the fertile earth and with the other the shining sea, that all may be witnesses to us, even all the gods below that are with Kronos, that verily thou wilt give me one of the younger Graces, even Pasithea, that myself do long for all my days.' "So spake he, nor did she disobey, the white-armed goddess Hera; she sware as he bade her, and called all the gods by name, even those below Tartaros that are called Titans. But when she had sworn and ended that oath, the twain left the citadel of Lemnos, and of Imbros, clothed on in mist, and swiftly they accomplished the way. To many-fountained Ida they came, the mother of wild beasts, to Lekton, where first they left the sea, and they twain fared above the dry land, and the topmost forest waved beneath their feet. There Sleep halted, ere the eyes of Zeus beheld him, and alighted on a tall pine-tree, the loftiest pine that then in all Ida rose through the near to the upper air. Therein sat he, hidden by the branches of the pine, in the likeness of the shrill bird that on the mountains the gods call chalkis, but men kymindis.”

A well-known allegory, so modern in spirit that it might be mistaken for the work of a nineteenth-century moralist, is the story of the choice of Heracles written by the famous Greek sophist, Prodicus, about 400 B.C., and preserved for us in the works of Xenophon. When young Heracles was approaching manhood he found

Hera and

1"How wonderful is Death!
Death and his brother Sleep."

·SHELLEY, Queen Mab.

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The Choice of

himself standing one day at the meeting of two roads, one of which he must needs travel. But as both appeared equally attractive he was unable at first to decide which he should take. Observing them more closely, however, he perceived Hercules. that one was apparently full of obstacles and that it led over barren hills and desert ways straight towards a distant range of mountains. The other wound in and out among the trees, or followed pleasant watercourses through green meadows and shaded dells, and at last disappeared from view. While the young man stood hesitating, two women appeared before him. Both were beautiful; but, while one was adorned with purity, modesty, and discretion, the other was bold and full of blandishments, and meretricious in appearance and dress. The latter, whose name was Pleasure, began at once to persuade him to follow the easier of the two roads, and she promised to lead him through pleasant ways directly to the attainment of every desire. "Come with me," she said, “and yours shall be a life of ease, unvexed with care, and never burdened with labor." Then the other lady, whose name was Virtue, began to speak. She first reminded the young man of his noble ancestry and of his own natural endowments, and told him that the gifts of the gods are bestowed only to those who truly deserve them. "The road which I would have you follow is steep and beset with obstacles, but if you would have eternal fame you must not shun the toil which is necessary for its attainment." Then Pleasure began to dilate upon the difficulties of the road which Virtue would have him follow; but Virtue replied by again admonishing him that there is no true excellence without labor, and that if he would enjoy the favor of Heaven he must make himself worthy of that favor. Thereupon Heracles decided without further hesitation to follow the path to which Virtue pointed him. "The road of labor and of honest effort shall be mine," he cried, "and I will shrink from no task which duty imposes upon me, or which the immortal gods desire me to perform.”

The literature of our Anglo-Saxon ancestors is particularly rich in allegory. Crude and childish notions, facts imperfectly understood, current superstitions, fanciful interpretations of natural phenomena, are all curiously commingled in stories manifestly designed to illustrate religious or moral truths. The allegory of the "Phoenix," probably the work of the Northumbrian Anglo-Saxon Allegories. poet Cynewulf, is a poem of no little beauty, grace, and harmony, in which the writer portrays, under the similitude of a phonix, the life, trials, and triumphs of the faithful Christian. Although doubtless suggested by the Latin poem, "Carmen de Phoenice," of

Lactantius (A.D. 260–325), it is so full of original thought that it can scarcely be regarded as a paraphrase, much less as a translation.

The story of "The Whale," also ascribed to Cynewulf, is an allegorical poem intended to convey a warning against hypocrisy, and a caution to beware of deceptive appearances. "The whale calleth the little fishes around him by the sweet odor of his mouth; then suddenly around the prey the grim gums crash together. So it is to every man who often and negligently in this stormy world lets himself be deceived by sweet odor. Hell's barred doors have not return or escape, or any outlet for those who enter, any more than the fishes sporting in the ocean can turn back from the whale's grip."


The name "Physiologus" was sometimes applied in a general way to these examples of moralized natural history. It was also sometimes used ignorantly in reference to their supThe "Physi- posed originator. Such stories were employed by religious teachers, priests, and monks, as the easiest and most natural means of explaining practical truths to their untutored hearers or disciples. The origin of these stories may be traced to the Christian Fathers of the fourth century. The fabulous qualities of certain animals were made to represent some feature of human experience, and from the results attendant upon the former, the ingenious fabulist derived rules for the regulation of the latter. A "Physiologus" ascribed sometimes to Bishop Theobaldus, and written about the beginning of the thirteenth century, is a notable example of this kind of allegorical teaching. It is called "the English Bestiary," and describes the supposed distinguishing qualities of twelve familiar creatures, the lion, eagle, serpent, ant, stag, wolf, spider, whale, siren, elephant, turtle-dove, and panther, — and from each of these the writer derives some practical moral application. A thirteenth creature, the culver, or pigeon, is described in eighteen lines which are added as a kind of supplement. Four lines of this addendum are used for introduction, one for each of the bird's seven qualities, and one for the moral application of each of these qualities. "She has no gall—we also should be simple and soft; she does not live on prey we also should not rob; she leaves the worm, and lives upon the seed we need the love of Christ; she is as a mother to other birds so should we be to each other; her song is like lament — let us lament we have done wrong; she sees the hawk's coming mirrored in the water- - and we are warned in sacred books against the seizure by the devil; she makes her nest in a hole of the rock- and our best hope is in Christ's mercy."

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The most remarkable compilation of fables intended for moral instruction is the "Gesta Romanorum," a volume of stories written in Latin, and derived from Roman, German, and oriental sources. These stories were very popular among the monks of the middle ages, who used them for the purpose of arousing attention and stimulating that blind and uninquiring devotion which was so remarkable a characteristic of the times. Of the influence which they have had on English poetry we have abundant evidence. Chaucer, Gower, Lydgate, and all the earlier writers borrowed from them. The poets and dramatists of the Elizabethan Age make frequent mention of them. George Chapman in his "May-Day" (1606) refers to some one who has read Marcus Aurelius and the "Gesta Romanorum," and yet suffers himself "to be led by the nose like a blind beare that has read nothing." From some of the stories Shakespeare doubtless derived no little material for his plays. The poetry and romance of later writers occasionally bear the marks of indebtedness to this mediæval storehouse of fiction. Of course only a limited portion of the one hundred and eighty-one tales comprised in the collection are, strictly speaking, allegories; yet all were so regarded by the monks who used them, and an ingenious moralization was subjoined to each, for the purpose of reducing it into a religious or moral lesson. The following is a fair sample of these stories:


TALE XXX. - "A certain king determined on the occasion of some victory to appoint three special honors and an equal number of disagreeable accompaniments. The first of the honors was that the people should meet the conqueror with acclamations and every other testimony of pleasure. The second, that all the captives, bound hand and foot, should attend the victor's chariot. The third honor was that, enwrapped in the tunic of Jupiter, he should sit upon a triumphal car, drawn by four white horses, and be thus brought to the capital. But lest these exalted rewards should swell the heart and make the favorite of fortune forget his birth and mortal character, three causes of annoyance were attached to them. First, a slave sat on his right hand in the chariot - which served to hint that poverty and unmerited degradation were no bars to the subsequent attainment of the highest dignities. The second annoyance was that the slave should inflict upon him several severe blows, to abate the haughtiness which the applause of his countrymen might tend to excite at the same time saying to him 'Nosce te ipsum' (that is, know thyself), 'and permit not thy exaltation to render thee proud. Look behind thee and remember that thou art mortal.' The third annoyance was this, that free license was given

The "Gesta

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