THE MYTH OF DEMETER AND PERSEPHONE: II  THE stories of the Greek mythology, like other things which belong to no man, and for which no one in particular is responsible, had their fortunes. In that world of floating fancies there was a struggle for life; there were myths which never emerged from that first stage of popular conception, or were absorbed by stronger competitors, because, as some true heroes have done, they lacked the sacred poet or prophet, and were never remodelled by literature; while, out of the myth of Demeter, under the careful conduct of poetry and art, came the little pictures, the idylls, of the Homeric hymn, and the gracious imagery of Praxiteles. The myth has now entered its second or poetical phase, then, in which more definite fancies are grouped about the primitive stock, in a conscious literary temper, and the whole interest settles round the images of the beautiful girl going down into the darkness, and the weary woman who seeks her lost daughter--divine persons, then sincerely believed in by the majority of the Greeks. The Homeric hymn  is the central monument of this second phase. In it, the changes of the natural year have become a personal history, a story of human affection and sorrow, yet with a far-reaching religious significance also, of which the mere earthly spring and autumn are but an analogy; and in the development of this human element, the writer of the hymn sometimes displays a genuine power of pathetic expression. The whole episode of the fostering of Demophoon, in which over the body of the dying child human longing and regret are blent so subtly with the mysterious design of the goddess to make the child immortal, is an excellent example of the sentiment of pity in literature. Yet though it has reached the stage of conscious literary interpretation, much of its early mystical or cosmical character still lingers about the story, as it is here told. Later mythologists simply define the personal history; but in this hymn we may, again and again, trace curious links of connexion with the original purpose of the myth. Its subject is the weary woman, indeed, our Lady of Sorrows, the mater dolorosa of the ancient world, but with a certain latent reference, all through, to the mystical person of the earth. Her robe of dark blue is the raiment of her mourning, but also the blue robe of the earth in shadow, as we see it in Titian's landscapes; her great age is the age of the immemorial earth; she becomes a nurse, therefore, holding Demophoon in her bosom;  the folds of her garment are fragrant, not merely with the incense of Eleusis, but with the natural perfume of flowers and fruit. The sweet breath with which she nourishes the child Demophoon, is the warm west wind, feeding all germs of vegetable life; her bosom, where he lies, is the bosom of the earth, with its strengthening heat, reserved and shy, offended if human eyes scrutinise too closely its secret chemistry; it is with the earth's natural surface of varied colour that she has, "in time past, given pleasure to the sun"; the yellow hair which falls suddenly over her shoulders, at her transformation in the house of Celeus, is still partly the golden corn;--in art and poetry she is ever the blond goddess; tarrying in her temple, of which an actual hollow in the earth is the prototype, among the spicy odours of the Eleusinian ritual, she is the spirit of the earth, lying hidden in its dark folds until the return of spring, among the flower-seeds and fragrant roots, like the seeds and aromatic woods hidden in the wrappings of the dead. Throughout the poem, we have a sense of a certain nearness to nature, surviving from an earlier world; the sea is understood as a person, yet is still the real sea, with the waves moving. When it is said that no bird gave Demeter tidings of Persephone, we feel that to that earlier world, ways of communication between all creatures may have seemed open, which are closed to us. It is Iris who brings to Demeter the message of Zeus;  that is, the rainbow signifies to the earth the good-will of the rainy sky towards it. Persephone springing up with great joy from the couch of Aidoneus, to return to her mother, is the sudden outburst of the year. The heavy and narcotic aroma of spring flowers hangs about her, as about the actual spring. And this mingling of the primitive cosmical import of the myth with the later, personal interests of the story, is curiously illustrated by the place which the poem assigns to Hecate. This strange Titaness is, first, a nymph only; afterwards, as if changed incurably by the passionate cry of Persephone, she becomes her constant attendant, and is even identified with her. But in the Homeric hymn her lunar character is clear; she is really the moon only, who hears the cry of Persephone, as the sun saw her, when Aidoneus carried her away. One morning, as the mother wandered, the moon appeared, as it does in its last quarter, rising very bright, just before dawn; that is, in the words of the Homeric hymn--"on the tenth morning Hecate met her, having a light in her hands." The fascinating, but enigmatical figure, "sitting ever in her cave, half-veiled with a shining veil, thinking delicate thoughts," in which we seem to see the subject of some picture of the Italian Renaissance, is but the lover of Endymion-- like Persephone, withdrawn, in her season, from the eyes of men. The sun saw her; the moon saw her not, but heard her cry, and is  ever after the half-veiled attendant of the queen of dreams and of the dead. But the story of Demeter and Persephone lends itself naturally to description, and it is in descriptive beauties that the Homeric hymn excels; its episodes are finished designs, and directly stimulate the painter and the sculptor to a rivalry with them. Weaving the names of the flowers into his verse, names familiar to us in English, though their Greek originals are uncertain, the writer sets Persephone before us, herself like one of them--kalykŰpis+--like the budding calyx of a flower,--in a picture, which, in its mingling of a quaint freshness and simplicity with a certain earnestness, reads like a description of some early Florentine design, such as Sandro Botticelli's Allegory of the Seasons. By an exquisite chance also, a common metrical expression connects the perfume of the newly-created narcissus with the salt odour of the sea. Like one of those early designs also, but with a deeper infusion of religious earnestness, is the picture of Demeter sitting at the wayside, in shadow as always, with the well of water and the olive-tree. She has been journeying all night, and now it is morning, and the daughters of Celeus bring their vessels to draw water. That image of the seated Demeter, resting after her long flight "through the dark continent," or in the house of Celeus, when she refuses the red wine, or again, solitary, in her newly-finished  temple of Eleusis, enthroned in her grief, fixed itself deeply on the Greek imagination, and became a favourite subject of Greek artists. When the daughters of Celeus come to conduct her to Eleusis, they come as in a Greek frieze, full of energy and motion and waving lines, but with gold and colours upon it. Eleusis--coming--the coming of Demeter thither, as thus told in the Homeric hymn, is the central instance in Greek mythology of such divine appearances. "She leaves for a season the company of the gods and abides among men;" and men's merit is to receive her in spite of appearances. Metaneira and others, in the Homeric hymn, partly detect her divine character; they find charis+;--a certain gracious air--about her, which makes them think her, perhaps, a royal person in disguise. She becomes in her long wanderings almost wholly humanised, and in return, she and Persephone, alone of the Greek gods, seem to have been the objects of a sort of personal love and loyalty. Yet they are ever the solemn goddesses,--theai semnai,+ the word expressing religious awe, the Greek sense of the divine presence. Plato, in laying down the rules by which the poets are to be guided in speaking about divine things to the citizens of the ideal republic, forbids all those episodes of mythology which represent the gods as assuming various forms, and visiting the earth in disguise. Below the  express reasons which he assigns for this rule, we may perhaps detect that instinctive antagonism to the old Heraclitean philosophy of perpetual change, which forces him, in his theory of morals and the state, of poetry and music, of dress and manners even, and of style in the very vessels and furniture of daily life, on an austere simplicity, the older Dorian or Egyptian type of a rigid, eternal immobility. The disintegrating, centrifugal influence, which had penetrated, as he thought, political and social existence, making men too myriad-minded, had laid hold on the life of the gods also, and, even in their calm sphere, one could hardly identify a single divine person as himself, and not another. There must, then, be no doubling, no disguises, no stories of transformation. The modern reader, however, will hardly acquiesce in this "improvement" of Greek mythology. He finds in these stories, like that, for instance, of the appearance of Athene to Telemachus, in the first book of the Odyssey, which has a quite biblical mysticity and solemnity,--stories in which, the hard material outline breaking up, the gods lay aside their visible form like a garment, yet remain essentially themselves,--not the least spiritual element of Greek religion, an evidence of the sense therein of unseen presences, which might at any moment cross a man's path, to be recognised, in half disguise, by the more delicately trained eye, here or there, by one and not by  another. Whatever religious elements they lacked, they had at least this sense of subtler and more remote ways of personal presence. And as there are traces in the Homeric hymn of the primitive cosmical myth, relics of the first stage of the development of the story, so also many of its incidents are probably suggested by the circumstances and details of the Eleusinian ritual. There were religious usages before there were distinct religious conceptions, and these antecedent religious usages shape and determine, at many points, the ultimate religious conception, as the details of the myth interpret or explain the religious custom. The hymn relates the legend of certain holy places, to which various impressive religious rites had attached themselves--the holy well, the old fountain, the stone of sorrow, which it was the office of the "interpreter" of the holy places to show to the people. The sacred way which led from Athens to Eleusis was rich in such memorials. The nine days of the wanderings of Demeter in the Homeric hymn are the nine days of the duration of the greater or autumnal mysteries; the jesting of the old woman Iambe, who endeavours to make Demeter smile, are the customary mockeries with which the worshippers, as they rested on the bridge, on the seventh day of the feast, assailed those who passed by. The torches in the hands of Demeter are borrowed from the same source; and the shadow in which she is  constantly represented, and which is the peculiar sign of her grief, is partly ritual, and a relic of the caves of the old Chthonian worship, partly poetical-- expressive, half of the dark earth to which she escapes from Olympus, half of her mourning. She appears consistently, in the hymn, as a teacher of rites, transforming daily life, and the processes of life, into a religious solemnity. With no misgiving as to the proprieties of a mere narration, the hymn-writer mingles these symbolical imitations with the outlines of the original story; and, in his Demeter, the dramatic person of the mysteries mixes itself with the primitive mythical figure. And the worshipper, far from being offended by these interpolations, may have found a special impressiveness in them, as they linked continuously its inner sense with the outward imagery of the ritual. And, as Demeter and her story embodied themselves gradually in the Greek imagination, so these mysteries in which her worship found its chief expression, grew up little by little, growing always in close connexion with the modifications of the story, sometimes prompting them, at other times suggested by them. That they had a single special author is improbable, and a mere invention of the Greeks, ignorant of their real history and the general analogy of such matters. Here again, as in the story itself, the idea of development, of degrees, of a slow  and natural growth, impeded here, diverted there, is the illuminating thought which earlier critics lacked. "No tongue may speak of them," says the Homeric hymn; and the secret has certainly been kept. The antiquarian, dealing, letter by letter, with what is recorded of them, has left few certain data for the reflexion of the modern student of the Greek religion; and of this, its central solemnity, only a fragmentary picture can be made. It is probable that these mysteries developed the symbolical significance of the story of the descent into Hades, the coming of Demeter to Eleusis, the invention of Persephone. They may or may not have been the vehicle of a secret doctrine, but were certainly an artistic spectacle, giving, like the mysteries of the middle age, a dramatic representation of the sacred story,--perhaps a detailed performance, perhaps only such a conventional representation, as was afforded for instance by the medieval ceremonies of Palm Sunday; the whole, probably, centering in an image of Demeter--the work of Praxiteles or his school, in ivory and gold. There is no reason to suppose any specific difference between the observances of the Eleusinian festival and the accustomed usages of the Greek religion; nocturns, libations, quaint purifications, processions--are common incidents of all Greek worship; in all religious ceremonies there is an element of dramatic symbolism; and what we really do see, through those scattered notices,  are things which have their parallels in a later age, the whole being not altogether unlike a modern pilgrimage. The exposition of the sacred places--the threshing-floor of Triptolemus, the rocky seat on which Demeter had rested in her sorrow, the well of Callichorus--is not so strange, as it would seem, had it no modern illustration. The libations, at once a watering of the vines and a drink-offering to the dead--still needing men's services, waiting for purification perhaps, or thirsting, like Dante's Adam of Brescia, in their close homes--must, to almost all minds, have had a certain natural impressiveness; and a parallel has sometimes been drawn between this festival and All Souls' Day. And who, everywhere, has not felt the mystical influence of that prolonged silence, the mystic silence, from which the very word "mystery" has its origin? Something also there undoubtedly was, which coarser minds might misunderstand. On one day, the initiated went in procession to the sea-coast, where they underwent a purification by bathing in the sea. On the fifth night there was the torchlight procession; and, by a touch of real life in him, we gather from the first page of Plato's Republic that such processions were popular spectacles, having a social interest, so that people made much of attending them. There was the procession of the sacred basket filled with poppy-seeds and pomegranates. There was the day of rest, after  the stress and excitement of the "great night." On the sixth day, the image of Iacchus, son of Demeter, crowned with myrtle and having a torch in its hand, was carried in procession, through thousands of spectators, along the sacred way, amid joyous shouts and songs. We have seen such processions; we understand how many different senses, and how lightly, various spectators may put on them; how little definite meaning they may have even for those who officiate in them. Here, at least, there was the image itself, in that age, with its close connexion between religion and art, presumably fair. Susceptibility to the impressions of religious ceremonial must always have varied with the peculiarities of individual temperament, as it varies in our own day; and Eleusis, with its incense and sweet singing, may have been as little interesting to the outward senses of some worshippers there, as the stately and affecting ceremonies of the medieval church to many of its own members. In a simpler yet profounder sense than has sometimes been supposed, these things were really addressed to the initiated only.* We have to travel a long way from the Homeric hymn to the hymn of Callimachus, who writes in the end of Greek literature, in the third century before Christ, in celebration of the procession of the sacred basket of Demeter, not  at the Attic, but at the Alexandrian Eleusinia. He developes, in something of the prosaic spirit of a medieval writer of "mysteries," one of the burlesque incidents of the story, the insatiable hunger which seized on Erysichthon because he cut down a grove sacred to the goddess. Yet he finds his opportunities for skilful touches of poetry;--"As the four white horses draw her sacred basket," he says, "so will the great goddess bring us a white spring, a white summer." He describes the grove itself, with its hedge of trees, so thick that an arrow could hardly pass through, its pines and fruit-trees and tall poplars within, and the water, like pale gold, running from the conduits. It is one of those famous poplars that receives the first stroke; it sounds heavily to its companion trees, and Demeter perceives that her sacred grove is suffering. Then comes one of those transformations which Plato will not allow. Vainly anxious to save the lad from his ruin, she appears in the form of a priestess, but with the long hood of the goddess, and the poppy in her hand; and there is something of a real shudder, some still surviving sense of a haunting presence in the groves, in the verses which describe her sudden revelation, when the workmen flee away, leaving their axes in the cleft trees. Of the same age as the hymn of Callimachus, but with very different qualities, is the idyll of Theocritus on the Shepherds' Journey. Although it is possible to define an epoch in mythological  development in which literary and artificial influences began to remodel the primitive, popular legend, yet still, among children, and unchanging childlike people, we may suppose that that primitive stage always survived, and the old, instinctive influences were still at work. As the subject of popular religious celebrations also, the myth was still the property of the people, and surrendered to its capricious action. The shepherds in Theocritus, on their way to celebrate one of the more homely feasts of Demeter, about the time of harvest, are examples of these childlike people; the age of the poets has long since come, but they are of the older and simpler order, lingering on in the midst of a more self-conscious world. In an idyll, itself full of the delightful gifts of Demeter, Theocritus sets them before us; through the blazing summer day's journey, the smiling image of the goddess is always before them; and now they have reached the end of their journey:-- "So I, and Eucritus, and the fair Amyntichus, turned aside into the house of Phrasidamus, and lay down with delight in beds of sweet tamarisk and fresh cuttings from the vines, strewn on the ground. Many poplars and elm-trees were waving over our heads, and not far off the running of the sacred water from the cave of the nymphs warbled to us; in the shimmering branches the sun-burnt grasshoppers were busy with their talk, and from afar the little owl cried softly, out of  the tangled thorns of the blackberry; the larks were singing and the hedge-birds, and the turtle-dove moaned; the bees flew round and round the fountains, murmuring softly; the scent of late summer and of the fall of the year was everywhere; the pears fell from the trees at our feet, and apples in number rolled down at our sides, and the young plum-trees were bent to the earth with the weight of their fruit. The wax, four years old, was loosed from the heads of the wine-jars. O! nymphs of Castalia, who dwell on the steeps of Parnassus, tell me, I pray you, was it a draught like this that the aged Chiron placed before Hercules, in the stony cave of Pholus? Was it nectar like this that made the mighty shepherd on Anapus' shore, Polyphemus, who flung the rocks upon Ulysses' ships, dance among his sheepfolds?--A cup like this ye poured out now upon the altar of Demeter, who presides over the threshing-floor. May it be mine, once more, to dig my big winnowing-fan through her heaps of corn; and may I see her smile upon me, holding poppies and handfuls of corn in her two hands!" Some of the modifications of the story of Demeter, as we find it in later poetry, have been supposed to be due, not to the genuine action of the Greek mind, but to the influence of that so-called Orphic literature, which, in the generation succeeding Hesiod, brought, from Thessaly and Phrygia, a tide of mystical ideas into the Greek  religion, sometimes, doubtless, confusing the clearness and naturalness of its original outlines, but also sometimes imparting to them a new and peculiar grace. Under the influence of this Orphic poetry, Demeter was blended, or identified, with Rhea Cybele, the mother of the gods, the wilder earth-goddess of Phrygia; and the romantic figure of Dionysus Zagreus, Dionysus the Hunter, that most interesting, though somewhat melancholy variation on the better known Dionysus, was brought, as son or brother of Persephone, into her circle, the mystical vine, who, as Persephone descends and ascends from the earth, is rent to pieces by the Titans every year and remains long in Hades, but every spring-time comes out of it again, renewing his youth. This identification of Demeter with Rhea Cybele is the motive which has inspired a beautiful chorus in the Helena-- the new Helena--of Euripides, that great lover of all subtle refinements and modernisms, who, in this play, has worked on a strange version of the older story, which relates that Helen had never really gone to Troy at all, but sent her soul only there, apart from her sweet body, which abode all that time in Egypt, at the court of King Proteus, where she is found at last by her husband Menelaus, so that the Trojan war was about a phantom, after all. The chorus has even less than usual to do with the action of the play, being linked to it only by a sort of parallel, which may be understood,  between Menelaus seeking Helen, and Demeter seeking Persephone. Euripides, then, takes the matter of the Homeric hymn into the region of a higher and swifter poetry, and connects it with the more stimulating imagery of the Idaean mother. The Orphic mysticism or enthusiasm has been admitted into the story, which is now full of excitement, the motion of rivers, the sounds of the Bacchic cymbals heard over the mountains, as Demeter wanders among the woody valleys seeking her lost daughter, all directly expressed in the vivid Greek words. Demeter is no longer the subdued goddess of the quietly- ordered fields, but the mother of the gods, who has her abode in the heights of Mount Ida, who presides over the dews and waters of the white springs, whose flocks feed, not on grain, but on the curling tendrils of the vine, both of which she withholds in her anger, and whose chariot is drawn by wild beasts, fruit and emblem of the earth in its fiery strength. Not Hecate, but Pallas and Artemis, in full armour, swift-footed, vindicators of chastity, accompany her in her search for Persephone, who is already expressly, korÍ arrÍtos+--"the maiden whom none may name." When she rests from her long wanderings, it is into the stony thickets of Mount Ida, deep with snow, that she throws herself, in her profound grief. When Zeus desires to end her pain, the Muses and the "solemn" Graces are sent to dance and sing before her. It is then  that Cypris, the goddess of beauty, and the original cause, therefore, of her distress, takes into her hands the brazen tambourines of the Dionysiac worship with their Chthonian or deep-noted sound; and it is she, not the old Iambe, who with this wild music, heard thus for the first time, makes Demeter smile at last. "Great," so the chorus ends with a picture, "great is the power of the stoles of spotted fawn-skins, and the green leaves of ivy twisted about the sacred wands, and the wheeling motion of the tambourine whirled round in the air, and the long hair floating unbound in honour of Bromius, and the nocturns of the goddess, when the moon looks full upon them." The poem of Claudian on the Rape of Proserpine, the longest extant work connected with the story of Demeter, yet itself unfinished, closes the world of classical poetry. Writing in the fourth century of the Christian era, Claudian has his subject before him in the whole extent of its various development, and also profits by those many pictorial representations of it, which, from the famous picture of Polygnotus downwards, delighted the ancient world. His poem, then, besides having an intrinsic charm, is valuable for some reflexion in it of those lost works, being itself pre-eminently a work in colour, and excelling in a kind of painting in words, which brings its subject very pleasantly almost to the eye of the reader. The mind of this late votary  of the old gods, in a world rapidly changing, is crowded with all the beautiful forms generated by mythology, and now about to be forgotten. In this after-glow of Latin literature, lighted up long after their fortune had set, and just before their long night began, they pass before us, in his verses, with the utmost clearness, like the figures in an actual procession. The nursing of the infant Sun and Moon by Tethys; Proserpine and her companions gathering flowers at early dawn, when the violets are drinking in the dew, still lying white upon the grass; the image of Pallas winding the peaceful blossoms about the steel crest of her helmet; the realm of Proserpine, softened somewhat by her coming, and filled with a quiet joy; the matrons of Elysium crowding to her marriage toilet, with the bridal veil of yellow in their hands; the Manes, crowned with ghostly flowers yet warmed a little, at the marriage feast; the ominous dreams of the mother; the desolation of the home, like an empty bird's-nest or an empty fold, when she returns and finds Proserpine gone, and the spider at work over her unfinished embroidery; the strangely-figured raiment, the flowers in the grass, which were once blooming youths, having both their natural colour and the colour of their poetry in them, and the clear little fountain there, which was once the maiden Cyane;--all this is shown in a series of descriptions, like the designs in some unwinding tapestry, like Proserpine's own  embroidery, the description of which is the most brilliant of these pictures, and, in its quaint confusion of the images of philosophy with those of mythology, anticipates something of the fancy of the Italian Renaissance. "Proserpina, filling the house soothingly with her low song, was working a gift against the return of her mother, with labour all to be in vain. In it, she marked out with her needle the houses of the gods and the series of the elements, showing by what law, nature, the parent of all, settled the strife of ancient times, and the seeds of things disparted into their places; the lighter elements are borne aloft, the heavier fall to the centre; the air grows bright with heat, a blazing light whirls round the firmament; the sea flows; the earth hangs suspended in its place. And there were divers colours in it; she illuminated the stars with gold, infused a purple shade into the water, and heightened the shore with gems of flowers; and, under her skilful hand, the threads, with their inwrought lustre, swell up, in momentary counterfeit of the waves; you might think that the sea- wind flapped against the rocks, and that a hollow murmur came creeping over the thirsty sands. She puts in the five zones, marking with a red ground the midmost zone, possessed by burning heat; its outline was parched and stiff; the threads seemed thirsty with the constant sunshine; on either side lay the two zones proper for human life,  where a gentle temperance reigns; and at the extremes she drew the twin zones of numbing cold, making her work dun and sad with the hues of perpetual frost. She paints in, too, the sacred places of Dis, her father's brother, and the Manes, so fatal to her; and an omen of her doom was not wanting; for, as she worked, as if with foreknowledge of the future, her face became wet with a sudden burst of tears. And now, in the utmost border of the tissue, she had begun to wind in the wavy line of the river Oceanus, with its glassy shallows; but the door sounds on its hinges, and she perceives the goddesses coming; the unfinished work drops from her hands, and a ruddy blush lights up in her clear and snow-white face." I have reserved to the last what is perhaps the daintiest treatment of this subject in classical literature, the account of it which Ovid gives in the Fasti--a kind of Roman Calendar--for the seventh of April, the day of the games of Ceres. He tells over again the old story, with much of which, he says, the reader will be already familiar; but he has something also of his own to add to it, which the reader will hear for the first time; and, like one of those old painters who, in depicting a scene of Christian history, drew from their own fancy or experience its special setting and accessories, he translates the story into something very different from the Homeric hymn. The writer of the Homeric  hymn had made Celeus a king, and represented the scene at Eleusis in a fair palace, like the Venetian painters who depict the persons of the Holy Family with royal ornaments. Ovid, on the other hand, is more like certain painters of the early Florentine school, who represent the holy persons amid the more touching circumstances of humble life; and the special something of his own which he adds, is a pathos caught from homely things, not without a delightful, just perceptible, shade of humour even, so rare in such work. All the mysticism has disappeared; but, instead, we trace something of that "worship of sorrow," which has been sometimes supposed to have had no place in classical religious sentiment. In Ovid's well-finished elegiacs, Persephone's flower-gathering, the Anthology, reaches its utmost delicacy; but I give the following episode for the sake of its pathetic expression. "After many wanderings Ceres was come to Attica. There, in the utmost dejection, for the first time, she sat down to rest on a bare stone, which the people of Attica still call the stone of sorrow. For many days she remained there motionless, under the open sky, heedless of the rain and of the frosty moonlight. Places have their fortunes; and what is now the illustrious town of Eleusis was then the field of an old man named Celeus. He was carrying home a load of acorns, and wild berries shaken down from the  brambles, and dry wood for burning on the hearth; his little daughter was leading two goats home from the hills; and at home there was a little boy lying sick in his cradle. 'Mother,' said the little girl--and the goddess was moved at the name of mother--'what do you, all alone, in this solitary place?' The old man stopped too, in spite of his heavy burden, and bade her take shelter in his cottage, though it was but a little one. But at first she refused to come; she looked like an old woman, and an old woman's coif confined her hair; and as the man still urged her, she said to him, 'Heaven bless you; and may children always be yours! My daughter has been stolen from me. Alas! how much happier is your lot than mine'; and, though weeping is impossible for the gods, as she spoke, a bright drop, like a tear, fell into her bosom. Soft-hearted, the little girl and the old man weep together. And after that the good man said, 'Arise! despise not the shelter of my little home; so may the daughter whom you seek be restored to you.' 'Lead me,' answered the goddess; 'you have found out the secret of moving me;' and she arose from the stone, and followed the old man; and as they went he told her of the sick child at home--how he is restless with pain, and cannot sleep. And she, before entering the little cottage, gathered from the untended earth the soothing and sleep-giving poppy; and as she gathered it, it is said that she  forgot her vow, and tasted of the seeds, and broke her long fast, unaware. As she came through the door, she saw the house full of trouble, for now there was no more hope of life for the sick boy. She saluted the mother, whose name was Metaneira, and humbly kissed the lips of the child, with her own lips; then the paleness left its face, and suddenly the parents see the strength returning to its body; so great is the force that comes from the divine mouth. And the whole family was full of joy--the mother and the father and the little girl; they were the whole household.* Three profound ethical conceptions, three impressive sacred figures, have now defined themselves for the Greek imagination, condensed from all the traditions which have now been traced, from the hymns of the poets, from the instinctive and unformulated mysticism of primitive minds. Demeter is become the divine sorrowing mother. Kore, the goddess of summer, is become Persephone, the goddess of death, still associated with the forms and odours of flowers and fruit, yet as one risen from the dead also, presenting one side of her ambiguous nature to men's gloomier fancies. Thirdly, there is the image of Demeter enthroned, chastened by sorrow, and somewhat advanced in age, blessing the earth, in her joy at the return of Kore. The myth has  now entered on the third phase of its life, in which it becomes the property of those more elevated spirits, who, in the decline of the Greek religion, pick and choose and modify, with perfect freedom of mind, whatever in it may seem adapted to minister to their culture. In this way, the myths of the Greek religion become parts of an ideal, visible embodiments of the susceptibilities and intuitions of the nobler kind of souls; and it is to this latest phase of mythological development that the highest Greek sculpture allies itself. Its function is to give visible aesthetic expression to the constituent parts of that ideal. As poetry dealt chiefly with the incidents of the story, so it is with the personages of the story--with Demeter and Kore themselves--that sculpture has to do. For the myth of Demeter, like the Greek religion in general, had its unlovelier side, grotesque, unhellenic, unglorified by art, illustrated well enough by the description Pausanias gives us of his visit to the cave of the Black Demeter at Phigalia. In his time the image itself had vanished; but he tells us enough about it to enable us to realise its general characteristics, monstrous as the special legend with which it was connected, the black draperies, the horse's head united to the woman's body, with the carved reptiles creeping about it. If, with the thought of this gloomy image of our mother the earth, in our minds, we take up one of those coins  which bear the image of Kore or Demeter,* we shall better understand what the function of sculpture really was, in elevating and refining the religious conceptions of the Greeks. Looking on the profile, for instance, on one of those coins of Messene, which almost certainly represent Demeter, and noting the crisp, chaste opening of the lips, the minutely wrought earrings, and the delicately touched ears of corn,--this trifling object being justly regarded as, in its aesthetic qualities, an epitome of art on a larger scale,--we shall see how far the imagination of the Greeks had travelled from what their Black Demeter shows us had once been possible for them, and in making the gods of their worship the objects of a worthy companionship in their thoughts. Certainly, the mind of the old workman who struck that coin was, if we may trust the testimony of his work, unclouded by impure or gloomy shadows. The thought of Demeter is impressed here, with all the purity and proportion, the purged and dainty intelligence of the human countenance. The mystery of it is indeed absent, perhaps could hardly have been looked for in so slight a thing, intended for no sacred purpose, and tossed lightly from hand to hand. But in his firm hold on the harmonies of the human face, the designer of this tranquil head of  Demeter is on the one road to a command over the secrets of all imaginative pathos and mystery; though, in the perfect fairness and blitheness of his work, he might seem almost not to have known the incidents of her terrible story. It is probable that, at a later period than in other equally important temples of Greece, the earlier archaic representation of Demeter in the sanctuary of Eleusis, was replaced by a more beautiful image in the new style, with face and hands of ivory, having therefore, in tone and texture, some subtler likeness to women's flesh, and the closely enveloping drapery being constructed in daintily beaten plates of gold. Praxiteles seems to have been the first to bring into the region of a freer artistic handling these shy deities of the earth, shrinking still within the narrow restraints of a hieratic, conventional treatment, long after the more genuine Olympians had broken out of them. The school of Praxiteles, as distinguished from that of Pheidias, is especially the school of grace, relaxing a little the severe ethical tension of the latter, in favour of a slightly Asiatic sinuosity and tenderness. Pausanias tells us that he carved the two goddesses for the temple of Demeter at Athens; and Pliny speaks of two groups of his in brass, the one representing the stealing of Persephone, the other her later, annual descent into Hades, conducted thither by the now pacified mother. All alike have perished; though perhaps some  more or less faint reflexion of the most important of these designs may still be traced on many painted vases which depict the stealing of Persephone,--a helpless, plucked flower in the arms of Aidoneus. And in this almost traditional form, the subject was often represented, in low relief, on tombs, some of which still remain; in one or two instances, built up, oddly enough, in the walls of Christian churches. On the tombs of women who had died in early life, this was a favourite subject, some likeness of the actual lineaments of the deceased being sometimes transferred to the features of Persephone. Yet so far, it might seem, when we consider the interest of this story in itself, and its importance in the Greek religion, that no adequate expression of it had remained to us in works of art. But in the year 1857, the discovery of the marbles, in the sacred precinct of Demeter at Cnidus, restored to us an illustration of the myth in its artistic phase, hardly less central than the Homeric hymn in its poetical phase. With the help of the descriptions and plans of Mr. Newton's book,* we can form, as one always wishes to do in such cases, a clear idea of the place where these marbles--three statues of the best style of Greek sculpture, now in the British Museum--were found. Occupying a ledge of rock, looking towards the sea, at the base of a  cliff of upheaved limestone, of singular steepness and regularity of surface, the spot presents indications of volcanic disturbance, as if a chasm in the earth had opened here. It was this character, suggesting the belief in an actual connexion with the interior of the earth (local tradition claiming it as the scene of the stealing of Persephone), which probably gave rise, as in other cases where the landscape presented some peculiar feature in harmony with the story, to the dedication upon it of a house and an image of Demeter, with whom were associated Kore and "the gods with Demeter"-- hoi theoi para Damatri+--Aidoneus, and the mystical or Chthonian Dionysus. The house seems to have been a small chapel only, of simple construction, and designed for private use, the site itself having been private property, consecrated by a particular family, for their own religious uses, although other persons, servants or dependents of the founders, may also have frequented it. The architecture seems to have been insignificant, but the sculpture costly and exquisite, belonging, if contemporary with the erection of the building, to a great period of Greek art, of which also it is judged to possess intrinsic marks--about the year 350 before Christ, the probable date of the dedication of the little temple. The artists by whom these works were produced were, therefore, either the contemporaries of Praxiteles, whose Venus was for many centuries the glory of  Cnidus, or belonged to the generation immediately succeeding him. The temple itself was probably thrown down by a renewal of the volcanic disturbances; the statues however remaining, and the ministers and worshippers still continuing to make shift for their sacred business in the place, now doubly venerable, but with its temple unrestored, down to the second or third century of the Christian era, its frequenters being now perhaps mere chance comers, the family of the original donors having become extinct, or having deserted it. Into this later arrangement, clearly divined by Mr. Newton, through those faint indications which mean much for true experts, the extant remains, as they were found upon the spot, permit us to enter. It is one of the graves of that old religion, but with much still fresh in it. We see it with its provincial superstitions, and its curious magic rites, but also with its means of really solemn impressions, in the culminating forms of Greek art; the two faces of the Greek religion confronting each other here, and the whole having that rare peculiarity of a kind of personal stamp upon it, the place having been designed to meet the fancies of one particular soul, or at least of one family. It is always difficult to bring the every- day aspect of Greek religion home to us; but even the slighter details of this little sanctuary help us to do this; and knowing so little, as we do, of the greater mysteries of  Demeter, this glance into an actual religious place dedicated to her, and with the air of her worship still about it, is doubly interesting. The little votive figures of the goddesses, in baked earth, were still lying stored in the small treasury intended for such objects, or scattered about the feet of the images, together with lamps in great number, a lighted lamp being a favourite offering, in memory of the torches with which Demeter sought Persephone, or from some sense of inherent darkness in these gods of the earth; those torches in the hands of Demeter being indeed originally the artificial warmth and brightness of lamp and fire, on winter nights. The dirae or spells,--katadesmoi+- -binding or devoting certain persons to the infernal gods, inscribed on thin rolls of lead, with holes, sometimes, for hanging them up about those quiet statues, still lay, just as they were left, anywhere within the sacred precinct, illustrating at once the gloomier side of the Greek religion in general, and of Demeter and Persephone especially, in their character of avenging deities, and as relics of ancient magic, reproduced so strangely at other times and places, reminding us of the permanence of certain odd ways of human thought. A woman binds with her spell the person who seduces her husband away from her and her children; another, the person who has accused her of preparing poison for her husband; another devotes one who has not restored a borrowed  garment, or has stolen a bracelet, or certain drinking-horns; and, from some instances, we might infer that this was a favourite place of worship for the poor and ignorant. In this living picture, we find still lingering on, at the foot of the beautiful Greek marbles, that phase of religious temper which a cynical mind might think a truer link of its unity and permanence than any higher aesthetic instincts--a phase of it, which the art of sculpture, humanising and refining man's conceptions of the unseen, tended constantly to do away. For the higher side of the Greek religion, thus humanised and refined by art, and elevated by it to the sense of beauty, is here also. There were three ideal forms, as we saw, gradually shaping themselves in the development of the story of Demeter, waiting only for complete realisation at the hands of the sculptor; and now, with these forms in our minds, let us place ourselves in thought before the three images which once probably occupied the three niches or ambries in the face of that singular cliff at Cnidus, one of them being then wrought on a larger scale. Of the three figures, one probably represents Persephone, as the goddess of the dead; the second, Demeter enthroned; the third is probably a portrait-statue of a priestess of Demeter, but may perhaps, even so, represent Demeter herself, Demeter Achaea, Ceres Deserta, the mater dolorosa of the Greeks, a type not as yet  recognised in any other work of ancient art. Certainly, it seems hard not to believe that this work is in some way connected with the legend of the place to which it belonged, and the main subject of which it realises so completely; and, at least, it shows how the higher Greek sculpture would have worked out this motive. If Demeter at all, it is Demeter the seeker,--DÍŰ+--as she was called in the mysteries, in some pause of her restless wandering over the world in search of the lost child, and become at last an abstract type of the wanderer. The Homeric hymn, as we saw, had its sculptural motives, the great gestures of Demeter, who was ever the stately goddess, as she followed the daughters of Celeus, or sat by the well-side, or went out and in, through the halls of the palace, expressed in monumental words. With the sentiment of that monumental Homeric presence this statue is penetrated, uniting a certain solemnity of attitude and bearing, to a profound piteousness, an unrivalled pathos of expression. There is something of the pity of Michelangelo's mater dolorosa, in the wasted form and marred countenance, yet with the light breaking faintly over it from the eyes, which, contrary to the usual practice in ancient sculpture, are represented as looking upwards. It is the aged woman who has escaped from pirates, who has but just escaped being sold as a slave, calling on the young for pity. The sorrows of her long wanderings seem to have passed into the marble;  and in this too, it meets the demands which the reader of the Homeric hymn, with its command over the resources of human pathos, makes upon the sculptor. The tall figure, in proportion above the ordinary height, is veiled, and clad to the feet in the longer tunic, its numerous folds hanging in heavy parallel lines, opposing the lines of the peplus, or cloak, which cross it diagonally over the breast, enwrapping the upper portion of the body somewhat closely. It is the very type of the wandering woman, going grandly, indeed, as Homer describes her, yet so human in her anguish, that we seem to recognise some far descended shadow of her, in the homely figure of the roughly clad French peasant woman, who, in one of Corot's pictures, is hasting along under a sad light, as the day goes out behind the little hill. We have watched the growth of the merely personal sentiment in the story; and we may notice that, if this figure be indeed Demeter, then the conception of her has become wholly humanised; no trace of the primitive cosmical import of the myth, no colour or scent of the mystical earth, remains about it. The seated figure, much mutilated, and worn by long exposure, yet possessing, according to the best critics, marks of the school of Praxiteles, is almost undoubtedly the image of Demeter enthroned. Three times in the Homeric hymn she is represented as sitting, once by the fountain at the wayside, again in the house of Celeus, and  again in the newly finished temple of Eleusis; but always in sorrow; seated on the petra agelastos,+ which, as Ovid told us, the people of Attica still called the stone of sorrow. Here she is represented in her later state of reconciliation, enthroned as the glorified mother of all things. The delicate plaiting of the tunic about the throat, the formal curling of the hair, and a certain weight of over-thoughtfulness in the brows, recall the manner of Leonardo da Vinci, a master, one of whose characteristics is a very sensitive expression of the sentiment of maternity. It reminds one especially of a work by one of his scholars, the Virgin of the Balances, in the Louvre, a picture which has been thought to represent, under a veil, the blessing of universal nature, and in which the sleepy-looking heads, with a peculiar grace and refinement of somewhat advanced life in them, have just this half-weary posture. We see here, then, the Here of the world below, the Stygian Juno, the chief of those Elysian matrons who come crowding, in the poem of Claudian, to the marriage toilet of Proserpine, the goddess of the fertility of the earth and of all creatures, but still of fertility as arisen out of death;* and therefore she is not without a certain pensiveness, having seen the seed fall into the ground and die, many times. Persephone is returned to her, and the hair  spreads, like a rich harvest, over her shoulders; but she is still veiled, and knows that the seed must fall into the ground again, and Persephone descend again from her. The statues of the supposed priestess, and of the enthroned Demeter, are of more than the size of life; the figure of Persephone is but seventeen inches high, a daintily handled toy of Parian marble, the miniature copy perhaps of a much larger work, which might well be reproduced on a magnified scale. The conception of Demeter is throughout chiefly human, and even domestic, though never without a hieratic interest, because she is not a goddess only, but also a priestess. In contrast, Persephone is wholly unearthly, the close companion, and even the confused double, of Hecate, the goddess of midnight terrors,--Despoena,--the final mistress of all that lives; and as sorrow is the characteristic sentiment of Demeter, so awe of Persephone. She is compact of sleep, and death, and flowers, but of narcotic flowers especially,--a revenant, who in the garden of Aidoneus has eaten of the pomegranate, and bears always the secret of decay in her, of return to the grave, in the mystery of those swallowed seeds; sometimes, in later work, holding in her hand the key of the great prison-house, but which unlocks all secrets also; (there, finally, or through oracles revealed in dreams;) sometimes, like Demeter, the poppy, emblem of sleep and death by its  narcotic juices, of life and resurrection by its innumerable seeds, of the dreams, therefore, that may intervene between falling asleep and waking. Treated as it is in the Homeric hymn, and still more in this statue, the image of Persephone may be regarded as the result of many efforts to lift the old Chthonian gloom, still lingering on in heavier souls, concerning the grave, to connect it with impressions of dignity and beauty, and a certain sweetness even; it is meant to make men in love, or at least at peace, with death. The Persephone of Praxiteles' school, then, is Aphrodite-Persephone, Venus-Libitina. Her shadowy eyes have gazed upon the fainter colouring of the under- world, and the tranquillity, born of it, has "passed into her face"; for the Greek Hades is, after all, but a quiet, twilight place, not very different from that House of Fame where Dante places the great souls of the classical world; Aidoneus himself being conceived, in the highest Greek sculpture, as but a gentler Zeus, the great innkeeper; so that when a certain Greek sculptor had failed in his portraiture of Zeus, because it had too little hilarity, too little, in the eyes and brow, of the open and cheerful sky, he only changed its title, and the thing passed excellently, with its heavy locks and shadowy eyebrows, for the god of the dead. The image of Persephone, then, as it is here composed, with the tall, tower-like head-dress, from which the veil depends--the corn-basket,  originally carried thus by the Greek women, balanced on the head--giving the figure unusual length, has the air of a body bound about with grave- clothes; while the archaic hands and feet, and a certain stiffness in the folds of the drapery, give it something of a hieratic character, and to the modern observer may suggest a sort of kinship with the more chastened kind of Gothic work. But quite of the school of Praxiteles is the general character of the composition; the graceful waving of the hair, the fine shadows of the little face, of the eyes and lips especially, like the shadows of a flower--a flower risen noiselessly from its dwelling in the dust--though still with that fulness or heaviness in the brow, as of sleepy people, which, in the delicate gradations of Greek sculpture, distinguish the infernal deities from their Olympian kindred. The object placed in the hand may be, perhaps, a stiff, archaic flower, but is probably the partly consumed pomegranate--one morsel gone; the most usual emblem of Persephone being this mystical fruit, which, because of the multitude of its seeds, was to the Romans a symbol of fecundity, and was sold at the doors of the temple of Ceres, that the women might offer it there, and bear numerous children; and so, to the middle age, became a symbol of the fruitful earth itself; and then of that other seed sown in the dark under-world; and at last of that whole hidden region, so thickly sown, which Dante visited, Michelino painting him,  in the Duomo of Florence, with this fruit in his hand, and Botticelli putting it into the childish hands of Him, who, if men "go down into hell, is there also." There is an attractiveness in these goddesses of the earth, akin to the influence of cool places, quiet houses, subdued light, tranquillising voices. What is there in this phase of ancient religion for us, at the present day? The myth of Demeter and Persephone, then, illustrates the power of the Greek religion as a religion of pure ideas--of conceptions, which having no link on historical fact, yet, because they arose naturally out of the spirit of man, and embodied, in adequate symbols, his deepest thoughts concerning the conditions of his physical and spiritual life, maintained their hold through many changes, and are still not without a solemnising power even for the modern mind, which has once admitted them as recognised and habitual inhabitants; and, abiding thus for the elevation and purifying of our sentiments, long after the earlier and simpler races of their worshippers have passed away, they may be a pledge to us of the place in our culture, at once legitimate and possible, of the associations, the conceptions, the imagery, of Greek religious poetry in general, of the poetry of all religions. NOTES 117. +Transliteration: kalykŰpis. Liddell and Scott definition: "Like a flower-bud, blushing, roseate." 118. +Transliteration: charis. Liddell and Scott definition: "favour, grace ... loveliness." 118. +Transliteration: theai semnai. Translation: "august goddesses." 124. *The great Greek myths are, in truth, like abstract forces, which ally themselves to various conditions. 129. +Transliteration: korÍ arrÍtos. Translation: "KorÍ the mysterious, the horrible." Another meaning of arrÍtos, as Pater points out, is "unsaid, not to be spoken." 136. *With this may be connected another passage of Ovid-- Metamorphoses, v. 391-408. 138. *On these small objects the mother and daughter are hard to distinguish, the latter being recognisable only by a greater delicacy in the features and the more evident stamp of youth. 140. *A History of Discoveries at Halicarnassus, Cnidus, and Branchidae. 141. +Transliteration: hoi theoi para Damatri. Pater's translation: "the gods with Demeter." 143. +Transliteration: katadesmoi. Liddell and Scott definition: "a tie or band: a magic knot, love-knot." 145. +Transliteration: DÍŰ. Liddell and Scott definition: the verb dÍŰ means "I shall find," while the proper noun refers to Demeter. 147. +Transliteration: petra agelastos. Translation: "sullen rock." 147. *Pallere ligustra, / Exspirare rosas, decrescere lilia vidi.