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The New Century's Goddess

The nurse has sung to her of Eivind Skalde-spiller and Firdausi, of the minnesingers, and what Heine, bold as a boy, sang from his poetic soul. Much, far too much, has the nurse told her; she knows the Edda, the old great-grandmother' s frightful tales, where horrors sweep the air with bloody wings. The whole of the Oriental Thousand and One Nights she heard in the quarter part of an hour.

The Goddess of the New Century is still a child, but she has sprung forth from her cradle and is governed by will, though she still doesn't know what she wants.

She is still at play in her vast nursery packed with treasures of art and the rococo. Greek tragedy and Roman comedy are carved there in marble. The folk songs of the nations cover the walls like withered vines; a kiss from her, and they blossom forth with freshness and sweet vapor. The mighty tones and thoughts of Beethoven, Mozart, Glück, and the other great masters surround her with eternal chords. On her bookshelves are many laid to rest who in their day were immortal; and there is yet room for many another whose name we hear clicking from the telegraph of immortality but who dies with the telegram.

She has read an awful lot, far too much, for is she not born in our time? And all too much must again be forgotten; but the Goddess will know how to forget.

She doesn't think of her song, which will flourish in thousands of years to come, beside the legends of Moses and Bidpai's golden fable about the craft and luck of the fox. She doesn't think of her mission or of her melodious future; she is still playing, while the struggles of nations shake the air and sound figures of pen and cannon rush to and fro - runes of mystic reading.

She wears a Garibaldi hat, and when she reads her Shakespeare she stops for a moment to think; he can still be played when I am grown! Calderón rests in the tomb of his works, beneath the tablet of his glory. The Goddess is cosmopolitan, for she has bound together Holberg with Molière, Plautus, and Aristophanes; but most she reads her Molière.

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