What forest better than the forest of the satyr, whom he would en-chant, where he would be held as a demigod; a forest all joy, and dancing, and beauty, and voluptuousness; where nymphs and bacchantes were ever fondled and ever virginal; where there were grapes and roses and the noise of the sistrum, and where the goat-footed king danced drunk before his fauns, making gestures like Silenus?
He went with his wreath of laurel, his lyre, his proud poet’s mien, erect and radiant.
He came to where the wild and hairy satyr ruled, and at his request for hospitality, he sang. He sang of great Jove, of Eros and Aphrodite, of the graceful centaurs and of the ardent bacchantes; he sang the cup of Dionysus, and the thyrsus that strikes the joyous air, and of Pan, emperor of the mountains, sovereign of the woods, god-satyr who, too, could sing. He sang the intimacies of the air and earth, the great mother.
Thus he expounded the melody of andSolian harp, the murmu
He was a capricious satyr.
He had two court counselors: a lark and an ass. The first had lost her prestige when the satyr went deaf. Formerly, when, weary with lust, he softly played his flute, the lark accompanied him.
Afterward, in his great forest, where he could not hear even the voice of Olympian thunder, the patient animal of the long ears served him as mount, while the lark, at break of dawn, flew out of his hands, singing on her flight to the skies.
The forest was vast. To the lark belonged the tree-tops; to the ass, the pasture. The lark was greeted by the first gleams of dawn; she drank dew in the shoots; she awoke the oak, singing to it, “Old oak, awake.” She rejoice ‘ in a kiss from the sun; she was beloved by the morning star.
And the blue firmament so vast knew that she, so tiny, dwelt beneath its immensity. The ass (though he had not yet conversed with Kant) was an expert in philosophy, according to common report. The
Ruben Dario (1867-1916)
Ruben Dario is one of the few Spanish-American writers who have won international celebrity. He first became known as a boy poet, but soon after his sensational appearance in the field of literature, he became a journalist. His travels began at an early age. He was in the diplomatic service and represented his country in several cities abroad.
Of a rather melancholy and neurotic temperament, he had none the less an extremely varied and active career, and in spite of his diplomatic and other duties he continued to write. Though he is best known as a poet, he is the author of several short stories and books of travel. His volume of prose tales and poems called Azul (1888) attracted notice in Europe. It is from this collection that The Deaf Satyr is selected. This charming idyll exemplifies Dario’s outstanding qualities of style and literary form.
The present version is translated by Isaac Goldberg especia
“Many thanks, madam,” said Chwang, “for your deep conside- ation. But may I ask why you are dressed in such gay clothing.” “When I went to open your coffin, I had, as I say, a secret presentiment of my good fortune, and I dared not receive you back to life in mourning attire.”
“Oh,” replied her husband, “but there is one other circumstance which I should like to have explained. Why was not my coffin placed in the saloon, but tossed into a ruined barn?”
To this question Lady T’ien’s woman’s wit failed to supply an answer. Chwang looked at the cups and wine which formed the relics of the marriage feast, but made no other remark thereon, except to tell his wife to warm him some wine. This she did, employing all her most engaging wiles to win a smile from her husband; but he steadily rejected her advances, and presently, pointing with his finger over her shoulder, he said, “Look at those two men behind you.”
Chwang’s other s
The Lady T’ien, frantic with grief, embraced him, rubbed his chest, and when these remedies failed to revive him, called in his old servant. “Has your master ever had any fits like this before?” she hurriedly inquired. “Often,” replied the man, “and no medicine ever alleviates his sufferings; in fact, there is only one thing […]
“First,” answered the man, “my master says that the presence of the coffin in the saloon makes it difficult to conduct marriage festivities in accordance with usage; secondly, that the illustrious Chwang having so deeply loved his wife, and that affection having been so tenderly returned by her in recognition of his great qualities, he fears that a second husband would probalply not be held entitled to a like share of affection; and thirdly, that not having brought his luggage, he has neither the money nor the clothes necessary to play the part of a bridegroom.”
“These circumstances need form no obstacle to our marriage,” replied the lady. “As to the first objection, I can easily have the coffin removed into a shed at the back of the house; then as to the second, though my husband was a great Taoist authority, he was not by any means a very moral man. After his first wife’s death he married a second, whom he divorced, and just before his own decease, he fli
“My master,” replied the servant, “has never yet been married.”
“What qualities does he look for in the fortunate woman he will choose for his wife?” inquired the lady.
“My master says,” replied the servant, who had taken quite as much wine as was good for him, “that if he could obtain a renowned beauty like yourself, madam, his heart’s desire would be fulfilled.”
“Did he really say so? Are you sure you are telling me the truth?” eagerly asked the lady.
“Is it likely that an old man like me would tell you a lie?” replied the servant.
“If it be so, will you then act as a go-between and arrange a match between us?”
“My master has already spoken to me of the matter, and would desire the alliance above all things, if it were not for the respect due from a disciple to a deceased master, and for the animadversions to which such a marriage would give rise.”
“But as a matter of fact
“Some years ago I communicated to Chwang my desire to become his disciple. In furtherance of this purpose I came hither, and now, to my inexpressible regret, I find on my arrival that my master is dead.”
To evince his respectful sorrow, the Prince at once exchanged his colored clothing for mourning garments, and prostrating himself be-fore the coffin, struck his forehead four times on the ground, and sobbed forth, “Oh, learned Chwang, I am indeed unfortunate in not having been permitted to receive your instructions face to face. But to show my regard and affection for your memory, I will here remain and mourn for you a hundred days.”
Thrice declined to see
With these words he prostrated himself again four times, while he watered the earth with his tears. When more composed, he begged to be allowed to pay his respects to Lady T’ien, who, however, thrice declined to see him, and only at last consented when it was pointed out to her that, acco