HIPPOLYTUS VEILED: A STUDY FROM EURIPIDES  CENTURIES of zealous archaeology notwithstanding, many phases of the so varied Greek genius are recorded for the modern student in a kind of shorthand only, or not at all. Even for Pausanias, visiting Greece before its direct part in affairs was quite played out, much had perished or grown dim--of its art, of the truth of its outward history, above all of its religion as a credible or practicable thing. And yet Pausanias visits Greece under conditions as favourable for observation as those under which later travellers, Addison or Eustace, proceed to Italy. For him the impress of life in those old Greek cities is not less vivid and entire than that of medieval Italy to ourselves; at Siena, for instance, with its ancient palaces still in occupation, its public edifices as serviceable as if the old republic had but just now vacated them, the tradition of their primitive worship still unbroken in its churches. Had the opportunities in which Pausanias was  fortunate been ours, how many haunts of the antique Greek life unnoticed by him we should have peeped into, minutely systematic in our painstaking! how many a view would broaden out where he notes hardly anything at all on his map of Greece! One of the most curious phases of Greek civilisation which has thus perished for us, and regarding which, as we may fancy, we should have made better use of that old traveller's facilities, is the early Attic deme-life--its picturesque, intensely localised variety, in the hollow or on the spur of mountain or sea-shore; and with it many a relic of primitive religion, many an early growth of art parallel to what Vasari records of artistic beginnings in the smaller cities of Italy. Colonus and Acharnae, surviving still so vividly by the magic of Sophocles, of Aristophanes, are but isolated examples of a widespread manner of life, in which, amid many provincial peculiarities, the first, yet perhaps the most costly and telling steps were made in all the various departments of Greek culture. Even in the days of Pausanias, Piraeus was still traceable as a distinct township, once the possible rival of Athens, with its little old covered market by the seaside, and the symbolical picture of the place, its Genius, visible on the wall. And that is but the type of what there had been to know of threescore and more village communities, each having its own altars, its special worship and  place of civic assembly, its trade and crafts, its name drawn from physical peculiarity or famous incident, its body of heroic tradition. Lingering on while Athens, the great deme, gradually absorbed into itself more and more of their achievements, and passing away almost completely as political factors in the Peloponnesian war, they were still felt, we can hardly doubt, in the actual physiognomy of Greece. That variety in unity, which its singular geographical formation secured to Greece as a whole, was at its utmost in these minute reflexions of the national character, with all the relish of local difference--new art, new poetry, fresh ventures in political combination, in the conception of life, springing as if straight from the soil, like the thorn-blossom of early spring in magic lines over all that rocky land. On the other hand, it was just here that ancient habits clung most tenaciously--that old-fashioned, homely, delightful existence, to which the refugee, pent up in Athens in the years of the Peloponnesian war, looked back so fondly. If the impression of Greece generally is but enhanced by the littleness of the physical scene of events intellectually so great--such a system of grand lines, restrained within so narrow a compass, as in one of its fine coins--still more would this be true of those centres of country life. Here, certainly, was that assertion of seemingly small interests, which brings into free play, and gives his utmost value  to, the individual; making his warfare, equally with his more peaceful rivalries, deme against deme, the mountain against the plain, the sea-shore, (as in our own old Border life, but played out here by wonderfully gifted people) tangible as a personal history, to the doubling of its fascination for those whose business is with the survey of the dramatic side of life. As with civil matters, so it was also, we may fairly suppose, with religion; the deme-life was a manifestation of religious custom and sentiment, in all their primitive local variety. As Athens, gradually drawing into itself the various elements of provincial culture, developed, with authority, the central religious position, the demes-men did but add the worship of Athene Polias, the goddess of the capital, to their own pre-existent ritual uses. Of local and central religion alike, time and circumstance had obliterated much when Pausanias came. A devout spirit, with religion for his chief interest, eager for the trace of a divine footstep, anxious even in the days of Lucian to deal seriously with what had counted for so much to serious men, he has, indeed, to lament that "Pan is dead":-- "They come no longer!"--"These things happen no longer!" But the Greek--his very name also, Hellen, was the title of a priesthood--had been religious abundantly, sanctifying every detail of his actual life with the religious idea; and as Pausanias goes on his way he finds many a remnant of that  earlier estate of religion, when, as he fancied, it had been nearer the gods, as it was certainly nearer the earth. It is marked, even in decay, with varieties of place; and is not only continuous but in situ. At Phigaleia he makes his offerings to Demeter, agreeably to the paternal rites of the inhabitants, wax, fruit, undressed wool "still full of the sordes of the sheep." A dream from heaven cuts short his notice of the mysteries of Eleusis. He sees the stone, "big enough for a little man," on which Silenus was used to sit and rest; at Athens, the tombs of the Amazons, of the purple-haired Nisus, of Deucalion;--"it is a manifest token that he had dwelt there." The worshippers of Poseidon, even at his temple among the hills, might still feel the earth fluctuating beneath their feet. And in care for divine things, he tells us, the Athenians outdid all other Greeks. Even in the days of Nero it revealed itself oddly; and it is natural to suppose that of this temper the demes, as the proper home of conservatism, were exceptionally expressive. Scattered in those remote, romantic villages, among their olives or sea-weeds, lay the heroic graves, the relics, the sacred images, often rude enough amid the delicate tribute of later art; this too oftentimes finding in such retirement its best inspirations, as in some Attic Fiesole. Like a network over the land of gracious poetic tradition, as also of undisturbed ceremonial usage surviving late for those who cared to seek it, the  local religions had been never wholly superseded by the worship of the great national temples. They were, in truth, the most characteristic developments of a faith essentially earth-born or indigenous. And how often must the student of fine art, again, wish he had the same sort of knowledge about its earlier growth in Greece, that he actually possesses in the case of Italian art! Given any development at all in this matter, there must have been phases of art, which, if immature, were also veritable expressions of power to come, intermediate discoveries of beauty, such as are by no means a mere anticipation, and of service only as explaining historically larger subsequent achievements, but of permanent attractiveness in themselves, being often, indeed, the true maturity of certain amiable artistic qualities. And in regard to Greek art at its best--the Parthenon--no less than to the art of the Renaissance at its best-- the Sistine Chapel--the more instructive light would be derived rather from what precedes than what follows such central success, from the determination to apprehend the fulfilment of past effort rather than the eve of decline, in the critical, central moment which partakes of both. Of such early promise, early achievement, we have in the case of Greek art little to compare with what is extant of the youth of the arts in Italy. Overbeck's careful gleanings of its history form indeed  a sorry relic as contrasted with Vasari's intimations of the beginnings of the Renaissance. Fired by certain fragments of its earlier days, of a beauty, in truth, absolute, and vainly longing for more, the student of Greek sculpture indulges the thought of an ideal of youthful energy therein, yet withal of youthful self-restraint; and again, as with survivals of old religion, the privileged home, he fancies, of that ideal must have been in those venerable Attic townships, as to a large extent it passed away with them. The budding of new art, the survival of old religion, at isolated centres of provincial life, where varieties of human character also were keen, abundant, asserted in correspondingly effective incident-- this is what irresistible fancy superinduces on historic details, themselves meagre enough. The sentiment of antiquity is indeed a characteristic of all cultivated people, even in what may seem the freshest ages, and not exclusively a humour of our later world. In the earliest notices about them, as we know, the people of Attica appear already impressed by the immense antiquity of their occupation of its soil, of which they claim to be the very first flower. Some at least of those old demes-men we may well fancy sentimentally reluctant to change their habits, fearful of losing too much of themselves in the larger stream of life, clinging to what is antiquated as the work of centralisation goes on, needful as that work was,  with the great "Eastern difficulty" already ever in the distance. The fear of Asia, barbaric, splendid, hardly known, yet haunting the curious imagination of those who had borrowed thence the art in which they were rapidly excelling it, developing, as we now see, in the interest of Greek humanity, crafts begotten of tyrannic and illiberal luxury, was finally to suppress the rivalries of those primitive centres of activity, when the "invincible armada" of the common foe came into sight. At a later period civil strife was to destroy their last traces. The old hoplite, from Rhamnus or Acharnae, pent up in beleaguered Athens during that first summer of the Peloponnesian war, occupying with his household a turret of the wall, as Thucydides describes--one of many picturesque touches in that severe historian--could well remember the ancient provincial life which this conflict with Sparta was bringing to an end. He could recall his boyish, half-scared curiosity concerning those Persian ships, coming first as merchantmen, or with pirates on occasion, in the half-savage, wicked splendours of their decoration, the monstrous figure-heads, their glittering freightage. Men would hardly have trusted their women or children with that suspicious crew, hovering through the dusk. There were soothsayers, indeed, who had long foretold what happened soon after, giving shape to vague, supernatural terrors. And then he had crept  from his hiding-place with other lads to go view the enemies' slain at Marathon, beside those belated Spartans, this new war with whom seemed to be reviving the fierce local feuds of his younger days. Paraloi and Diacrioi had ever been rivals. Very distant it all seemed now, with all the stories he could tell; for in those crumbling little towns, as heroic life had lingered on into the actual, so, at an earlier date, the supernatural into the heroic. Like mist at dawn, the last traces of its divine visitors had then vanished from the land, where, however, they had already begotten "our best and oldest families." It was Theseus, uncompromising young master of the situation, in fearless application of "the modern spirit" of his day to every phase of life where it was applicable, who, at the expense of Attica, had given Athens a people, reluctant enough, in truth, as Plutarch suggests, to desert "their homes and religious usages and many good and gracious kings of their own" for this elect youth, who thus figures, passably, as a kind of mythic shorthand for civilisation, making roads and the like, facilitating travel, suppressing various forms of violence, but many innocent things as well. So it must needs be in a world where, even hand in hand with a god-assisted hero, Justice goes blindfold. He slays the bull of Marathon and many another local tyrant, but also exterminates that delightful creature, the Centaur. The Amazon, whom Plato will  reinstate as the type of improved womanhood, has no better luck than Phaea, the sow-pig of Crommyon, foul old landed-proprietress. They exerted, however, the prerogative of poetic protest, and survive thereby. Centaur and Amazon, as we see them in the fine art of Greece, represent the regret of Athenians themselves for something that could never be brought to life again, and have their pathos. Those young heroes contending with Amazons on the frieze of the Mausoleum had best make haste with their bloody work, if young people's eyes can tell a true story. A type still of progress triumphant through injustice, set on improving things off the face of the earth, Theseus took occasion to attack the Amazons in their mountain home, not long after their ruinous conflict with Hercules, and hit them when they were down. That greater bully had laboured off on the world's highway, carrying with him the official girdle of Antiope, their queen, gift of Ares, and therewith, it would seem, the mystic secret of their strength. At sight of this new foe, at any rate, she came to a strange submission. The savage virgin had turned to very woman, and was presently a willing slave, returning on the gaily appointed ship in all haste to Athens, where in supposed wedlock she bore King Theseus a son. With their annual visit--visit to the Gargareans!--for the purpose of maintaining their  species, parting with their boys early, these husbandless women could hardly be supposed a very happy, certainly not a very joyous people. They figure rather as a sorry measure of the luck of the female sex in taking a hard natural law into their own hands, and by abnegation of all tender companionship making shift with bare independence, as a kind of second-best--the best practicable by them in the imperfect actual condition of things. But the heart-strings would ache still where the breast had been cut away. The sisters of Antiope had come, not immediately, but in careful array of battle, to bring back the captive. All along the weary roads from the Caucasus to Attica, their traces had remained in the great graves of those who died by the way. Against the little remnant, carrying on the fight to the very midst of Athens, Antiope herself had turned, all other thoughts transformed now into wild idolatry of her hero. Superstitious, or in real regret, the Athenians never forgot their tombs. As for Antiope, the conscience of her perfidy remained with her, adding the pang of remorse to her own desertion, when King Theseus, with his accustomed bad faith to women, set her, too, aside in turn. Phaedra, the true wife, was there, peeping suspiciously at her arrival; and even as Antiope yielded to her lord's embraces the thought had come that a male child might be the instrument of her anger, and one day judge her cause.  In one of these doomed, decaying villages, then, King Theseus placed the woman and her babe, hidden, yet secure, within the Attic border, as men veil their mistakes or crimes. They might pass away, they and their story, together with the memory of other antiquated creatures of such places, who had had connubial dealings with the stars. The white, paved waggon-track, a by-path of the sacred way to Eleusis, zigzagged through sloping olive-yards, from the plain of silvered blue, with Athens building in the distance, and passed the door of the rude stone house, furnished scantily, which no one had ventured to inhabit of late years till they came there. On the ledges of the grey cliffs above, the laurel groves, stem and foliage of motionless bronze, had spread their tents. Travellers bound northwards were glad to repose themselves there, and take directions, or provision for their journey onwards, from the highland people, who came down hither to sell their honey, their cheese, and woollen stuff, in the tiny market-place. At dawn the great stars seemed to halt a while, burning as if for sacrifice to some pure deity, on those distant, obscurely named heights, like broken swords, the rim of the world. A little later you could just see the newly opened quarries, like streaks of snow on their russet-brown bosoms. Thither in spring-time all eyes turned from Athens devoutly, intent till the first shaft of lightning gave signal for the departure of the  sacred ship to Delos. Racing over those rocky surfaces, the virgin air descended hither with the secret of profound sleep, as the child lay in its cubicle hewn in the stone, the white fleeces heaped warmly round him. In the wild Amazon's soul, to her surprise, and at first against her will, the maternal sense had quickened from the moment of his conception, and (that burst of angry tears with which she had received him into the world once dried up), kindling more eagerly at every token of manly growth, had at length driven out every other feeling. And this animal sentiment, educating the human hand and heart in her, had become a moral one, when, King Theseus leaving her in anger, visibly unkind, the child had crept to her side, and tracing with small fingers the wrinkled lines of her woebegone brow, carved there as if by a thousand years of sorrow, had sown between himself and her the seed of an undying sympathy. She was thus already on the watch for a host of minute recognitions on his part, of the self-sacrifice involved in her devotion to a career of which she must needs drain out the sorrow, careful that he might taste only the joy. So far, amid their spare living, the child, as if looking up to the warm broad wing of her love above him, seemed replete with comfort. Yet in his moments of childish sickness, the first passing shadows upon the deep joy of her motherhood, she teaches him betimes to soothe  or cheat pain-- little bodily pains only, hitherto. She ventures sadly to assure him of the harsh necessities of life: "Courage, child! Every one must take his share of suffering. Shift not thy body so vehemently. Pain, taken quietly, is easier to bear." Carefully inverting the habits of her own rude childhood, she learned to spin the wools, white and grey, to clothe and cover him pleasantly. The spectacle of his unsuspicious happiness, though at present a matter of purely physical conditions, awoke a strange sense of poetry, a kind of artistic sense in her, watching, as her own long-deferred recreation in life, his delight in the little delicacies she prepared to his liking--broiled kids' flesh, the red wine, the mushrooms sought through the early dew--his hunger and thirst so daintily satisfied, as he sat at table, like the first-born of King Theseus, with two wax-lights and a fire at dawn or nightfall dancing to the prattle and laughter, a bright child, never stupidly weary. At times his very happiness would seem to her like a menace of misfortune to come. Was there not with herself the curse of that unsisterly action? and not far from him, the terrible danger of the father's, the step-mother's jealousy, the mockery of those half- brothers to come? Ah! how perilous for happiness the sensibilities which make him so exquisitely happy now! Before they started on their dreadful visit to the Minotaur, says Plutarch, the women told their  sons many tales and other things to encourage them; and, even as she had furnished the child betimes with rules for the solace of bodily pain, so now she would have brought her own sad experience into service in precepts for the ejection of its festering power out of any other trouble that might visit him. Already those little disappointments which are as the shadow beside all conscious enjoyment, were no petty things to her, but had for her their pathos, as children's troubles will have, in spite of the longer chance before them. They were as the first steps in a long story of deferred hopes, or anticipations of death itself and the end of them. The gift of Ares gone, the mystic girdle she would fain have transferred to the child, that bloody god of storm and battle, hereditary patron of her house, faded from her thoughts together with the memory of her past life--the more completely, because another familiar though somewhat forbidding deity, accepting certainly a cruel and forbidding worship, was already in possession, and reigning in the new home when she came thither. Only, thanks to some kindly local influence (by grace, say, of its delicate air), Artemis, this other god she had known in the Scythian wilds, had put aside her fierce ways, as she paused awhile on her heavenly course among these ancient abodes of men, gliding softly, mainly through their dreams, with abundance of salutary touches. Full, in truth, of  grateful memory of some timely service at human hands! In these highland villages the tradition of celestial visitants clung fondly, of god or hero, belated or misled on long journeys, yet pleased to be among the sons of men, as their way led them up the steep, narrow, crooked street, condescending to rest a little, as one, under some sudden stress not clearly ascertained, had done here, in this very house, thereafter for ever sacred. The place and its inhabitants, of course, had been something bigger in the days of those old mythic hospitalities, unless, indeed, divine persons took kindly the will for the deed--very different, surely, from the present condition of things, for there was little here to detain a delicate traveller, even in the abode of Antiope and her son, though it had been the residence of a king. Hard by stood the chapel of the goddess, who had thus adorned the place with her memories. The priests, indeed, were already departed to Athens, carrying with them the ancient image, the vehicle of her actual presence, as the surest means of enriching the capital at the expense of the country, where she must now make poor shift of the occasional worshipper on his way through these mountain passes. But safely roofed beneath the sturdy tiles of grey Hymettus marble, upon the walls of the little square recess enclosing the deserted pedestal, a series of crowded imageries, in the devout spirit  of earlier days, were eloquent concerning her. Here from scene to scene, touched with silver among the wild and human creatures in dun bronze, with the moon's disk around her head, shrouded closely, the goddess of the chase still glided mystically through all the varied incidents of her story, in all the detail of a written book. A book for the delighted reading of a scholar, willing to ponder at leisure, to make his way surely, and understand. Very different, certainly, from the cruel-featured little idol his mother had brought in her bundle--the old Scythian Artemis, hanging there on the wall, side by side with the forgotten Ares, blood-red,--the goddess reveals herself to the lad, poring through the dusk by taper-light, as at once a virgin, necessarily therefore the creature of solitude, yet also as the assiduous nurse of children, and patroness of the young. Her friendly intervention at the act of birth everywhere, her claim upon the nursling, among tame and wild creatures equally, among men as among gods, nay! among the stars (upon the very star of dawn), gave her a breadth of influence seemingly coextensive with the sum of things. Yes! his great mother was in touch with everything. Yet throughout he can but note her perpetual chastity, with pleasurable though half-suspicious wonder at the mystery, he knows not what, involved therein, as though he awoke suddenly in some distant, unexplored region of her person and activity.  Why the lighted torch always, and that long straight vesture rolled round so formally? Was it only against the cold of these northern heights? To her, nevertheless, her maternity, her solitude, to this virgin mother, who, with no husband, no lover, no fruit of her own, is so tender to the children of others, in a full heart he devotes himself- -his immaculate body and soul. Dedicating himself thus, he has the sense also that he becomes more entirely than ever the chevalier of his mortal mother, of her sad cause. The devout, diligent hands clear away carefully the dust, the faded relics of her former worship; a worship renewed once more as the sacred spring, set free from encumbrance, in answer to his willing ministries murmurs again under the dim vault in its marble basin, work of primitive Titanic fingers--flows out through its rocky channel, filling the whole township with chaste thoughts of her. Through much labour at length he comes to the veritable story of her birth, like a gift direct from the goddess herself to this loyal soul. There were those in later times who, like Aeschylus, knew Artemis as the daughter not of Leto but of Demeter, according to the version of her history now conveyed to the young Hippolytus, together with some deepened insight into her character. The goddess of Eleusis, on a journey, in the old days when, as Plato says,  men lived nearer the gods, finding herself with child by some starry inmate of those high places, had lain down in the rock-hewn cubicle of the inner chamber, and, certainly in sorrow, brought forth a daughter. Here was the secret at once of the genial, all-embracing maternity of this new strange Artemis, and of those more dubious tokens, the lighted torch, the winding-sheet, the arrow of death on the string--of sudden death, truly, which may be thought after all the kindest, as prevenient of all disgraceful sickness or waste in the unsullied limbs. For the late birth into the world of this so shadowy daughter was somehow identified with the sudden passing into Hades of her first-born, Persephone. As he scans those scenes anew, an awful surmise comes to him; his divine patroness moves there as death, surely. Still, however, gratefully putting away suspicion, he seized even in these ambiguous imageries their happier suggestions, satisfied in thinking of his new mother as but the giver of sound sleep, of the benign night, whence--mystery of mysteries!--good things are born softly, from which he awakes betimes for his healthful service to her. Either way, sister of Apollo or sister of Persephone, to him she should be a power of sanity, sweet as the flowers he offered her gathered at dawn, setting daily their purple and white frost against her ancient marbles. There was more certainly than the first breath of day in them. Was there  here something of her person, her sensible presence, by way of direct response to him in his early devotion, astir for her sake before the very birds, nesting here so freely, the quail above all, in some privileged connexion with her story still unfathomed by the learned youth? Amid them he too found a voice, and sang articulately the praises of the great goddess. Those more dubious traits, nevertheless, so lightly disposed of by Hippolytus (Hecate thus counting for him as Artemis goddess of health), became to his mother, in the light of her sad experience, the sum of the whole matter. While he drew only peaceful inducements to sleep from that two-sided figure, she reads there a volume of sinister intentions, and liked little this seemingly dead goddess, who could but move among the living banefully, stealing with her night-shade into the day where she had no proper right. The gods had ever had much to do with the shaping of her fortunes and the fortunes of her kindred; and the mortal mother felt nothing less than jealousy from the hour when the lad had first delightedly called her to share his discoveries, and learn the true story (if it were not rather the malicious counterfeit) of the new divine mother to whom he has thus absolutely entrusted himself. Was not this absolute chastity itself a kind of death? She, too, in secret makes her gruesome midnight offering with averted eyes. She dreams one night he is in danger; creeps to his cubicle  to see; the face is covered, as he lies, against the cold. She traces the motionless outline, raises the coverlet; with the nice black head deep in the fleecy pillow he is sleeping quietly, he dreams of that other mother gliding in upon the moonbeam, and awaking turns sympathetically upon the living woman, is subdued in a moment to the expression of her troubled spirit, and understands. And when the child departed from her for the first time, springing from his white bed before the dawn, to accompany the elders on their annual visit to the Eleusinian goddess, the after-sense of his wonderful happiness, tranquillising her in spite of herself by its genial power over the actual moment, stirred nevertheless a new sort of anxiety for the future. Her work in life henceforward was defined as a ministry to so precious a gift, in full consciousness of its risk; it became her religion, the centre of her pieties. She missed painfully his continual singing hovering about the place, like the earth itself made audible in all its humanities. Half-selfish for a moment, she prays that he may remain for ever a child, to her solace; welcomes now the promise of his chastity (though chastity were itself a kind of death) as the pledge of his abiding always with her. And these thoughts were but infixed more deeply by the sudden stroke of joy at his return home in ceremonial trim and grown more manly, with much increase of self-confidence in that brief absence among his fellows.  For, from the first, the unwelcome child, the outcast, had been successful, with that special good fortune which sometimes attends the outcast. His happiness, his invincible happiness, had been found engaging, perhaps by the gods, certainly by men; and when King Theseus came to take note how things went in that rough life he had assigned them, he felt a half liking for the boy, and bade him come down to Athens and see the sights, partly by way of proof to his already somewhat exacting wife of the difference between the old love and the new as measured by the present condition of their respective offspring. The fine nature, fastidious by instinct, but bred with frugality enough to find the charm of continual surprise in that delicate new Athens, draws, as he goes, the full savour of its novelties; the marbles, the space and finish, the busy gaiety of its streets, the elegance of life there, contrasting with while it adds some mysterious endearment to the thought of his own rude home. Without envy, in hope only one day to share, to win them by kindness, he gazes on the motley garden-plots, the soft bedding, the showy toys, the delicate keep of the children of Phaedra, who turn curiously to their half-brother, venture to touch his long strange gown of homespun grey, like the soft coat of some wild creature who might let one stroke it. Close to their dainty existence for a while, he regards it as from afar; looks forward all day to the lights, the prattle, the laughter, the white  bread, like sweet cake to him, of their ordinary evening meal; returns again and again, in spite of himself, to watch, to admire, feeling a power within him to merit the like; finds his way back at last, still light of heart, to his own poor fare, able to do without what he would enjoy so much. As, grateful for his scanty part in things--for the make-believe of a feast in the little white loaves she too has managed to come by, sipping the thin white wine, he touches her dearly, the mother is shocked with a sense of something unearthly in his contentment, while he comes and goes, singing now more abundantly than ever a new canticle to her divine rival. Were things, after all, to go grudgingly with him? Sensible of that curse on herself, with her suspicions of his kinsfolk, of this dubious goddess to whom he has devoted himself, she anticipates with more foreboding than ever his path to be, with or without a wife--her own solitude, or his--the painful heats and cold. She fears even these late successes; it were best to veil their heads. The strong as such had ever been against her and hers. The father came again; noted the boy's growth. Manliest of men, like Hercules in his cloak of lion's skin, he has after all but scant liking, feels, through a certain meanness of soul, scorn for the finer likeness of himself. Might this creature of an already vanishing world, who for all his hard rearing had a manifest distinction of character, one day become his rival, full of  loyalty as he was already to the deserted mother? To charming Athens, nevertheless, he crept back, as occasion served, to gaze peacefully on the delightful good fortune of others, waiting for the opportunity to take his own turn with the rest, driving down thither at last in a chariot gallantly, when all the town was assembled to celebrate the king's birthday. For the goddess, herself turning ever kinder, and figuring more and more exclusively as the tender nurse of all things, had transformed her young votary from a hunter into a charioteer, a rearer and driver of horses, after the fashion of his Amazon mothers before him. Thereupon, all the lad's wholesome vanity had centered on the fancy of the world-famous games then lately established, as, smiling down his mother's terrors, and grateful to his celestial mother for many a hair-breadth escape, he practised day by day, fed the animals, drove them out, amused though companionless, visited them affectionately in the deserted stone stables of the ancient king. A chariot and horses, as being the showiest outward thing the world afforded, was like the pawn he moved to represent the big demand he meant to make, honestly, generously, on the ample fortunes of life. There was something of his old miraculous kindred, alien from this busy new world he came to, about the boyish driver with the fame of a scholar, in his grey fleecy cloak and hood of soft  white woollen stuff, as he drove in that morning. Men seemed to have seen a star flashing, and crowded round to examine the little mountain-bred beasts, in loud, friendly intercourse with the hero of the hour--even those usually somewhat unsympathetic half-brothers now full of enthusiasm for the outcast and his good fight for prosperity. Instinctively people admired his wonderful placidity, and would fain have shared its secret, as it were the carelessness of some fair flower upon his face. A victor in the day's race, he carried home as his prize a glittering new harness in place of the very old one he had come with. "My chariot and horses!" he says now, with his single touch of pride. Yet at home, savouring to the full his old solitary happiness, veiled again from time to time in that ancient life, he is still the student, still ponders the old writings which tell of his divine patroness. At Athens strange stories are told in turn of him, his nights upon the mountains, his dreamy sin, with that hypocritical virgin goddess, stories which set the jealous suspicions of Theseus at rest once more. For so "dream" not those who have the tangible, appraisable world in view. Even Queen Phaedra looks with pleasure, as he comes, on the once despised illegitimate creature, at home now here too, singing always audaciously, so visibly happy, occupied, popular. Encompassed by the luxuries of Athens, far from those peaceful mountain places, among people  further still in spirit from their peaceful light and shade, he did not forget the kindly goddess, still sharing with his earthly mother the prizes, or what they would buy, for the adornment of their spare abode. The tombs of the fallen Amazons, the spot where they had breathed their last, he piously visited, informed himself of every circumstance of the event with devout care, and, thinking on them amid the dainties of the royal table, boldly brought them too their share of the offerings to the heroic dead. Aphrodite, indeed--Aphrodite, of whom he had scarcely so much as heard--was just then the best-served deity in Athens, with all its new wealth of colour and form, its gold and ivory, the acting, the music, the fantastic women, beneath the shadow of the great walls still rising steadily. Hippolytus would have no part in her worship; instead did what was in him to revive the neglected service of his own goddess, stirring an old jealousy. For Aphrodite too had looked with delight upon the youth, already the centre of a hundred less dangerous human rivalries among the maidens of Greece, and was by no means indifferent to his indifference, his instinctive distaste; while the sterner, almost forgotten Artemis found once more her great moon-shaped cake, set about with starry tapers, at the appointed seasons. They know him now from afar, by his emphatic, shooting, arrowy movements; and on  the day of the great chariot races "he goes in and wins." To the surprise of all he compounded his handsome prize for the old wooden image taken from the chapel at home, lurking now in an obscure shrine in the meanest quarter of the town. Sober amid the noisy feasting which followed, unashamed, but travelling by night to hide it from their mockery, warm at his bosom, he reached the passes at twilight, and through the deep peace of the glens bore it to the old resting-place, now more worthy than ever of the presence of its mistress, his mother and all the people of the village coming forth to salute her, all doors set mystically open, as she advances. Phaedra too, his step-mother, a fiery soul with wild strange blood in her veins, forgetting her fears of this illegitimate rival of her children, seemed now to have seen him for the first time, loved at last the very touch of his fleecy cloak, and would fain have had him of her own religion. As though the once neglected child had been another, she tries to win him as a stranger in his manly perfection, growing more than an affectionate mother to her husband's son. But why thus intimate and congenial, she asks, always in the wrong quarter? Why not compass two ends at once? Why so squeamishly neglect the powerful, any power at all, in a city so full of religion? He might find the image of her sprightly goddess everywhere, to his  liking, gold, silver, native or stranger, new or old, graceful, or indeed, if he preferred it so, in iron or stone. By the way, she explains the delights of love, of marriage, the husband once out of the way; finds in him, with misgiving, a sort of forwardness, as she thinks, on this one matter, as if he understood her craft and despised it. He met her questions in truth with scarce so much as contempt, with laughing counter-queries, why people needed wedding at all? They might have found the children in the temples, or bought them, as you could buy flowers in Athens. Meantime Phaedra's young children draw from the seemingly unconscious finger the marriage-ring, set it spinning on the floor at his feet, and the staid youth places it for a moment on his own finger for safety. As it settles there, his step-mother, aware all the while, suddenly presses his hand over it. He found the ring there that night as he lay; left his bed in the darkness, and again, for safety, put it on the finger of the image, wedding once for all that so kindly mystical mother. And still, even amid his earthly mother's terrible misgivings, he seems to foresee a charming career marked out before him in friendly Athens, to the height of his desire. Grateful that he is here at all, sharing at last so freely life's banquet, he puts himself for a moment in his old place, recalling his old enjoyment of the pleasure of others;  feels, just then, no different. Yet never had life seemed so sufficing as at this moment- -the meat, the drink, the drives, the popularity as he comes and goes, even his step-mother's false, selfish, ostentatious gifts. But she, too, begins to feel something of the jealousy of that other divine, would-be mistress, and by way of a last effort to bring him to a better mind in regard to them both, conducts him (immeasurable privilege!) to her own private chapel. You could hardly tell where the apartments of the adulteress ended and that of the divine courtesan began. Haunts of her long, indolent, self-pleasing nights and days, they presented everywhere the impress of Phaedra's luxurious humour. A peculiar glow, such as he had never before seen, like heady lamplight, or sunshine to some sleeper in a delirious dream, hung upon, clung to, the bold, naked, shameful imageries, as his step-mother trimmed the lamps, drew forth her sickly perfumes, clad afresh in piquant change of raiment the almost formless goddess crouching there in her unclean shrine or stye, set at last her foolish wheel in motion to a low chant, holding him by the wrist, keeping close all the while, as if to catch some germ of consent in his indifferent words. And little by little he perceives that all this is for him--the incense, the dizzy wheel, the shreds of stuff cut secretly from his sleeve, the sweetened cup he drank at her offer, unavailingly;+  and yes! his own features surely, in pallid wax. With a gasp of flighty laughter she ventures to point the thing out to him, full as he is at last of visible, irrepressible dislike. Ah! it was that very reluctance that chiefly stirred her. Healthily white and red, he had a marvellous air of discretion about him, as of one never to be caught unaware, as if he never could be anything but like water from the rock, or the wild flowers of the morning, or the beams of the morning star turned to human flesh. It was the self-possession of this happy mind, the purity of this virgin body, she would fain have perturbed, as a pledge to herself of her own gaudy claim to supremacy. King Theseus, as she knew, had had at least two earlier loves; for once she would be a first love; felt at moments that with this one passion once indulged, it might be happiness thereafter to remain chaste for ever. And then, by accident, yet surely reading indifference in his manner of accepting her gifts, she is ready again for contemptuous, open battle. Is he indeed but a child still, this nursling of the forbidding Amazon, of that Amazonian goddess--to be a child always? or a wily priest rather, skilfully circumventing her sorceries, with mystic precautions of his own? In truth, there is something of the priestly character in this impassible discretion, reminding her of his alleged intimacy with the rival goddess, and redoubling her curiosity, her fondness.+  Phaedra, love-sick, feverish, in bodily sickness at last, raves of the cool woods, the chase, the steeds of Hippolytus, her thoughts running madly on what she fancies to be his secret business; with a storm of abject tears, foreseeing in one moment of recoil the weary tale of years to come, star-stricken as she declares, she dared at last to confess her longing to already half-suspicious attendants; and, awake one morning to find Hippolytus there kindly at her bidding, drove him openly forth in a tempest of insulting speech. There was a mordant there, like the menace of misfortune to come, in which the injured goddess also was invited to concur. What words! what terrible words! following, clinging to him, like acrid fire upon his bare flesh, as he hasted from Phaedra's house, thrust out at last, his vesture remaining in her hands. The husband returning suddenly, she tells him a false story of violence to her bed, and is believed. King Theseus, all his accumulated store of suspicion and dislike turning now to active hatred, flung away readily upon him, bewildered, unheard, one of three precious curses (some mystery of wasting sickness therein) with which Poseidon had indulged him. It seemed sad that one so young must call for justice, precariously, upon the gods, the dead, the very walls! Admiring youth dared hardly bid farewell to their late comrade; are generous, at most, in  stolen, sympathetic glances towards the fallen star. At home, veiled once again in that ancient twilight world, his mother, fearing solely for what he may suffer by the departure of that so brief prosperity, enlarged as it had been, even so, by his grateful taking of it, is reassured, delighted, happy once more at the visible proof of his happiness, his invincible happiness. Duly he returned to Athens, early astir, for the last time, to restore the forfeited gifts, drove back his gaily painted chariot to leave there behind him, actually enjoying the drive, going home on foot poorer than ever. He takes again to his former modes of life, a little less to the horses, a little more to the old studies, the strange, secret history of his favourite goddess,--wronged surely! somehow, she too, as powerless to help him; till he lay sick at last, battling one morning, unaware of his mother's presence, with the feverish creations of the brain; the giddy, foolish wheel, the foolish song, of Phaedra's chapel, spinning there with his heart bound thereto. "The curses of my progenitors are come upon me!" he cries. "And yet, why so? guiltless as I am of evil." His wholesome religion seeming to turn against him now, the trees, the streams, the very rocks, swoon into living creatures, swarming around the goddess who has lost her grave quietness. He finds solicitation, and recoils, in the wind, in the sounds of the rain; till at length delirium  itself finds a note of returning health. The feverish wood-ways of his fancy open unexpectedly upon wide currents of air, lulling him to sleep; and the conflict ending suddenly altogether at its sharpest, he lay in the early light motionless among the pillows, his mother standing by, as she thought, to see him die. As if for the last time, she presses on him the things he had liked best in that eating and drinking she had found so beautiful. The eyes, the eyelids are big with sorrow; and, as he understands again, making an effort for her sake, the healthy light returns into his; a hand seizes hers gratefully, and a slow convalescence begins, the happiest period in the wild mother's life. When he longed for flowers for the goddess, she went a toilsome journey to seek them, growing close, after long neglect, wholesome and firm on their tall stalks. The singing she had longed for so despairingly hovers gaily once more within the chapel and around the house. At the crisis of that strange illness she had supposed her long forebodings about to be realised at last; but upon his recovery feared no more, assured herself that the curses of the father, the step-mother, the concurrent ill-will of that angry goddess, have done their utmost; he will outlive her; a few years hence put her to a rest surely welcome. Her misgivings, arising always out of the actual spectacle of his profound happiness, seemed at an end in this meek bliss, the more as  she observed that it was a shade less unconscious than of old. And almost suddenly he found the strength, the heart, in him, to try his fortune again with the old chariot; and those still unsatisfied curses, in truth, going on either side of him like living creatures unseen, legend tells briefly how, a competitor for pity with Adonis, and Icarus, and Hyacinth, and other doomed creatures of immature radiance in all story to come, he set forth joyously for the chariot-races, not of Athens, but of Troezen, her rival. Once more he wins the prize; he says good-bye to admiring friends anxious to entertain him, and by night starts off homewards, as of old, like a child, returning quickly through the solitude in which he had never lacked company, and was now to die. Through all the perils of darkness he had guided the chariot safely along the curved shore; the dawn was come, and a little breeze astir, as the grey level spaces parted delicately into white and blue, when in a moment an earthquake, or Poseidon the earth-shaker himself, or angry Aphrodite awake from the deep betimes, rent the tranquil surface; a great wave leapt suddenly into the placid distance of the Attic shore, and was surging here to the very necks of the plunging horses, a moment since enjoying so pleasantly with him the caress of the morning air, but now, wholly forgetful of their old affectionate habit of obedience, dragging their leader headlong over the rough pavements.  Evening and the dawn might seem to have met on that hapless day through which they drew him home entangled in the trappings of the chariot that had been his ruin, till he lay at length, grey and haggard, at the rest he had longed for dimly amid the buffeting of those murderous stones, his mother watching impassibly, sunk at once into the condition she had so long anticipated. Later legend breaks a supernatural light over that great desolation, and would fain relieve the reader by introducing the kindly Asclepius, who presently restores the youth to life, not, however, in the old form or under familiar conditions. To her, surely, counting the wounds, the disfigurements, telling over the pains which had shot through that dear head now insensible to her touch among the pillows under the harsh broad daylight, that would have been no more of a solace than if, according to the fancy of Ovid, he flourished still, a little deity, but under a new name and veiled now in old age, in the haunted grove of Aricia, far from his old Attic home, in a land which had never seen him as he was.