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THE BOYHOOD OF RALEIGH. By Sir John Millais Frontispiece
A VOYAGE TO THESE STRANGELY PEOPLED COUNTRIES OF
THE WORLD's YESTERDAYS WOULD BE A VOYAGE
HUMAN MIND IN ITS STATES OF DREAM
THE CATHOLIC AND ISABELLA OF CASTILE. By V. von
FROM THE ROOTS OF THE TREE AND THE VAPORS
MEN FIND WITHIN A LITTLE BEAST AS THOUGH IT
WERE A LAMB WITHOUT WOOL
TURES AS WARFARE AGAINST STONE GIANTS
THUSNELDA AT THE TRIUMPHAL ENTRY OF GERMANICUS
INTO ROME. By C. T. von Piloty
AND DWARFS AND GRIFFINS—FOR CITIES OF ENCHANT-
THE ENCHANTED WOODS OF ROMANCE WITH THEIR
GOBLIN GLOOMS AND TALKING TREES FADED FROM THE
“Build Us, O DOUL-KARNAIN," THEY BEGGED, “A RAM
PART BETWEEN US AND THEM"
REACH FELICITY ONE Must CROSS WATER
THE QUESTS IT FOLLOWED BESIDE THE STILL WATERS
OF THE LAKES OF DREAM .
MARCO TALKS WITH HIS NEIGHBORS
THE TIME: 1295 A.D.
THE SPEAKER: Marco Polo.
“I FARED,” said Marco, “as far as one may,
From Astrakhan to the ports of Cathay,
And Russia lies where the north winds be;
In the Thousand Islands of Spicery.”
"Far are these lands and fair is their sheen, But tell us, Polo, what have you seen?”
“I saw," said Marco, “the pagans at masses
And oil from the ground, and black stones, blazing.
And bales of silk that were past appraising.
But the grunting ox was most amazing.'
“Much have you seen where the wild capes curve, But tell us, Polo, whom did you serve?”
"I served,” said Marco, "the Khan of Khans.
As far as the east is from the west.
Yet Kublai welcomes the stranger guest.
And his thousand damsels are Asia's best."
“Him must a thousand matters perplex, But, Polo, speak yet more of the sex.'
MARCO TALKS WITH
TALKS WITH HIS NEIGHBORS
"The men of Gobi," said Marco, "require
And make his favor the tribal boast.
Ambassadors from the Pepper Coast.
The women of Persia please the most.”
“Whimsical, Marco, your travel word.
“I heard,” said Marco, "but do not know,
And suns shine not for the Samoyed.
Which licks its victims until they are dead.
Their foolish husbands hie them to bed."
Rose, then, a shout from a hundred lips:
Marco, Marco, Milioni!”
“Which the catcher, and who the coney?
Thus to himself, with a secret mirth,
The book gives a view of the earth and its inhabitants as seen through the haze of distance, whether of space or of time. Its purpose is to present those myths and half-myths of geography which are loosely and yet significantly called travel tales. It treats of various countries and races and animals which are, or were, or might have been. Although their true domain is the imagination, their supposed domain is, or was, somewhere on the earth. The Coasts of Illusion, as glimpsed here, are nowhere the shores of the supernatural.
Always the two tend to merge and the problem has been to keep them apart. The travel tales of the race have grown out of, or become entangled with, myths in which men sought to figure the creation of the world, the journeys of the sun from dawn to darkness, the conflicts of light with storm and night and winter, the high places of the gods and their incarnations and agents. Yet the tales are touched with reality, while the myths are unearthly.
Ulysses tarried among the Phacakians, and these were a cloud people; but he skirted the land of the lotus-eaters, and these were a mundane folk. Who were the lotus-eaters? Achilles fought with Memnon, son of the Dawn, but also with Penthesilea, the Amazon queen. Who were the Amazons? Hercules was of the progeny of Olympian Zeus, but wandering on earth he passed through the land of the pygmies. Who were the pygmies? What reality lies back of the fabulous animals and Deformed Folk that peopled the mountains and deserts?
For thousands of years men accepted the realms and races of prodigy. It was only about a century ago that these disappeared from the maps and natural histories. The frontiers of ignorance had been pushed back so far that the never-never countries dropped off into the sea. There was no longer room for the phenix to flap its wings, the dragon to hiss and roar, the giants to stalk, the kangaroo-men to hop.