782 THE MUSE OP THE NEW CENTURY
She has been born in the great factory of the present age, where steam exerts its power, where * Master Bloodless ' and his workmen toil by day and night.
She has in her possession the great loving heart of woman, with the Vestal's flame and the fire of passion. She received the lightning flash of intellect, endowed with all the colours of the prism, changing from century to century, and estimated according to the colour most in fashion at the time. The glorious swan-plumage of fancy is her ornament and strength ; science wove it, and primitive forces gave it power to soar.
She is the child of the people on the father's side, sound in mind and thought, with seriousness in her eye and humour on her lips. Her mother is the nobly-born, highly educated daughter of the French refugee with recollections of the gilded rococo period. The Muse of the New Century has blood and soul in her from both of these.
Splendid christening gifts were laid upon her cradle. Like bonbons were strewed there in abundance the hidden riddles of Nature, and their answers ; from the diver's bell were shaken marvellous trinkets from the depths of ocean. As a coverlet there was spread over her a copy of the map of the heavens, that suspended ocean with its myriads of islands, each of them a world. The sun paints pictures for her; photography supplies her with playthings.
Her nurse has sung to her of Eyvind Skalda-spiller and Firdusi, of the Minnesingers and of what Heine in youthful wantonness sang of his own poetic soul. Much, too much, her nurse has told her ; she knows the old ancestral mother Edda's horror-waking sagas, where curses sweep along with blood-stained wings. All the Arabian Nights she has heard in a quarter of an hour.
The Muse of the New Century is still a child, yet she has leaped out of her cradle ; she is full of will, without knowing what she desires.
She still plays in her great nursery, which is full of art-treasures and rococo. Greek Tragedy, and Roman Comedy, stand there, hewn in marble ; the popular songs of the nations hang like dried plants on the walls ; print a kiss on them, and they swell again into freshness and fragrance. She is surrounded by eternal harmonies from the thoughts