mistakin day for nicht in the delirium o' fever, and thinkin that it had been the moonshinin down on his green pastures aneath the Loch, when it was but the shadow of a lurid cloud. But I soon vanished into distance.

Tickler. Where the deuce were your clothes all this time, my dear, matter-of-fact Shepherd?

Shepherd. Aye, there was the rub. In the enthusiasm of the moment I had forgotten them-nay, such was the state of excitement to which I had worked myself up, that, till I met the three gigfu's af ladies and gentlemen-a marriage party-full in the face, I was not, Mr. De Quinshy, aware af being so like the truth. Then I felt, all in a moment, that I was a Mazeppa. But had I turned back, they would have supposed that I had intended to accompany them to Silkirk, and therefore, to allay all such fears, I made a show o' fleein far awa' into the interior-into the cloud-land of Loch Skene and the Grey Mare's Tail.

-“Noctes Ambrosianæ.”

Thomas De Quincey

Murder as One of the Fine Arts

THE first murder is familiar to you all. As the inventor of murder, and the father of the art, Cain must have been a man of first-rate genius. All the Cains were men of genius. Tubal Cain invented tubes, I think, or some such thing. But, whatever might be the originality and genius of the artist, every art was then in its infancy, and the works must be criticised with the recollection of that fact. Even Tubal's work would probably be little approved at this day in Sheffield; and therefore of Cain (Cain senior, I mean) it is no disparagement to say, that his performance was but so-so. Milton, however, is supposed to have thought differently. By his way of relating the case, it should seem to have been rather a pet murder with him, for he retouches it with an apparent anxiety for its picturesque effect:

"Whereat he inly raged; and, as they talk'd,
Smote him into the midriff with a stone

That beat out life. He fell; and, deadly pale,
Groan'd out his soul with gushing blood effused."

Upon this, Richardson the painter, who had an eye for effect, remarks as follows, in his "Notes on Paradise Lost," p. 497: "It has been thought," says he, "that Cain beat—as the common saying is—the breath out of his brother's body with a great stone; Milton gives in to this, with the addition, however, of a large wound." In this place it was a

judicious addition; for the rudeness of the weapon, unless raised and enriched by a warm, sanguinary colouring, has too much of the naked air of the savage school; as if the deed were perpetrated by a Polypheme without science, premeditation, or anything but a mutton bone. However, I am chiefly pleased with the improvement, as it implies that Milton was an amateur. As to Shakespeare, there never was a better; witness his description of the murdered Duncan, Banquo, etc.; and, above all, witness his incomparable miniature, in "Henry VI," of the murdered Gloucester.

The foundation of the art having been once laid, it is pitiable to see how it slumbered without improvement for ages. In fact, I shall now be obliged to leap over all murders, sacred and profane, as utterly unworthy of notice, until long after the Christian era. Greece, even in the age of Pericles, produced no murder, or at least none is recorded, of the slightest merit; and Rome had too little originality of genius in any of the arts to succeed where her model failed her. In fact, the Latin language sinks under the very idea of murder. "The man was murdered "-how will this sound in Latin? Interfectus est, interemptus est-which simply expresses a homicide; and hence the Christian Latinity of the middle ages was obliged to introduce a new word, such as the feebleness of classic conceptions never ascended to. Murdratus est, says the sublimer dialect of the Gothic


To come now to the dark ages (by which we that speak with precision mean, par excellence, the tenth century as a meridian line, and the two centuries immediately before and after, full midnight being from A.D. 888 to A.D. IIII)—these ages ought naturally to be favourable to the art of murder, as they were to church architecture, to stained glass, etc.;

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and, accordingly, about the latter end of this period, there arose a great character in our art, I mean the Old Man of the Mountains. He was a shining light, indeed, and I need not tell you, that the very word "assassin" is deduced from him. So keen an amateur was he, that on one occasion, when his own life was attempted by a favourite assassin, he was so much pleased with the talent shown, that, notwithstanding the failure of the artist, he created him a duke upon the spot, with remainder to the female line, and settled a pension on him for three lives. Assassination is a branch of the art which demands a separate notice; and it is possible that I may devote an entire lecture to it. Meantime, I shall only observe how odd it is, that this branch of the art has flourished by intermitting fits. It never rains but it pours. Our own age can boast of some fine specimens, such, for instance, as the Bellingham affair with the prime minister Percival, the Duc de Berri's case at the Parisian Opera House, the Maréchal Bessières's case at Avignon; and about two and a half centuries ago, there was a most brilliant constellation of murders in this class. I need hardly say, that I allude especially to those seven splendid works:

The assassinations of William I, of Orange; of the three French Henrys, viz.: Henri, Duke of Guise (that had a fancy for the throne of France), of Henry III (last prince in the line of Valois, who then occupied that throne), and finally of Henri IV (his brother-in-law, who succeeded to that throne as first prince in the line of Bourbon); not eighteen years later came the fifth on that roll, viz., that of our Duke of Buckingham (which you will find excellently described in the letters published by Sir Henry Ellis, of the British Museum); sixthly, of Gustavus Adolphus; seventhly, of Wallenstein. What a glorious Pleiad of murders! And

it increases one's admiration that this bright constellation of artistic displays, comprehending three majesties, three serene highnesses, and one excellency, all lay within so narrow a field of time as between A.D. 1588 and 1635. The King of Sweden's assassination, by-the-bye, is doubted by many writers, Harte amongst others; but they are wrong. He was murdered; and I consider his murder unique in its excellence; for he was murdered at noon-day, and on the field of battle-a feature of original conception, which occurs in no other work of art that I remember. To conceive the idea of a secret murder on private account, as inclosed within a little parenthesis on a vast stage of public battle-carnage, is like Hamlet's subtle device of a tragedy within a tragedy. Indeed, all of these assassinations may be studied with profit by the advanced connoisseur. They are all of them exemplaria model murders, pattern murders.

In these assassinations of princes and statesmen, there is nothing to excite our wonder; important changes often depend on their deaths; and, from the eminence on which they stand, they are peculiarly exposed to the aim of every artist who happens to be possessed by the craving for scenical effect. But there is another class of assassinations, which has prevailed from an early period of the seventeenth century, that really does surprise me: I mean the assassination of philosophers. For, gentlemen, it is a fact, that every philosopher of eminence for the last two centuries has either been murdered, or, at the least, been very near it; insomuch, that if a man calls himself a philosopher, and never had his life attempted, rest assured there is nothing in him; and against Locke's philosophy in particular, I think it an unanswerable objection (if we needed any) that, although he carried his throat about with him in this world

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