GODFATHER'S PICTURE-BOOK 961
alms, can attain to the long black gown and sing before the citizens' doors.
* Close to the hall of learning, where all is in Latin, lies a little house ; in it Danish rules, both in language and in customs. There is ale-porridge for breakfast, and dinner is at ten o'clock in the forenoon. The sun- shines in through the small panes on cupboards and bookcases ; in the latter lie written treasures, Master Mikkel's " Rosary " and " Godly Comedies ", Henrik Harpestreng's " Leech-book ", and Denmark's " Rhyming Chronicle " by Brother Niels of Soro. " Every man of breeding ought to know these," says the master of the house, and he is the man to make them known. He is Denmark's first printer, the Dutchman, Gotfred van Gehmen. He practises the blessed black art of book-printing.
' And books come into the King's castle, and into the houses of the burghers. Proverbs and songs get eternal life. Things which men dare not say in sorrow and pleasure are sung by the Bird of Popular Song, darkly and yet clearly ; it flies so free, it flies so wide, through the common sitting-room, through the knightly castle ; it sits like a falcon on the hand of the noble lady and twitters ; it steals in like a little mouse, and squeaks in the dungeon to the enslaved peasant.
' " It is all mere words ! " says the sharp north-east wind.
' " It is spring-time ! " say the sunbeams. " See how the green buds are peeping ! "
' Now we will go forward in our picture-book ! ' said Godfather.
' How Copenhagen glitters! There are tournaments and sports ; there are splendid processions ; look at the gallant knights in armour, at the noble ladies in silk and gold ! King Hans is giving his daughter Elizabeth to the Elector of Brandenburg ; how young she is, and how happy! she treads on velvet; there is a future in her thoughts, a life of household happiness. Close beside her stands her royal brother, Prince Christian, with the melancholy eyes and the hot, surging blood. He is dear to the townsfolk ; he knows their burdens ; he has the poor man's future in his thoughts. God alone decides our fortunes !
ANDERSEN J i