The moment that I closed my eyes a vision of celestial glory burst upon me. I stood on the silver strand of a translucent, boundless lake, across whose bosom I seemed to have been just transported. A short way up the beach, a temple, modeled like the Parthenon, lifted its spotless and gleaming columns of alabaster sublimely into a rosy air — like the Parthenon, yet as much excelling it as the godlike ideal of architecture must transcend the ideal realized by man. – Fitz Hugh Ludlow – The Hasheesh Eater
(Eugene Delacroix-The Women of Algiers)
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On This Entry:
So here is part 2 of The Hasheesh Eater. I have included some quotes from The Hasheesh Eater Being Passages From The Life Of A Pythagorean – Fitz Hugh Ludlow… Which I discovered in the mid 70′s from the wonderful edition published by Michael Horowitz & Cynthia Palmer Illustrated by the late great Wilfred Sätty. (I still have my copy!) This of course is not the same, but a good companion to the article at hand.
We have some great Epigrams from Nossis, Music from Elizabeth Fraser and Art from various Orientalist. I hope you enjoy this edition!
On The Menu:
Elizabeth Fraser – Underwater
Nossis – The 12 Epigrams
The Hasheesh Eater Part 2
Elizabeth Fraser – Moses
Art: Various Orientalist
All machine and no ghost?
Teller Reveals His Secrets
WikiLeaks: Leaked Emails Expose Inner Workings of Private Intelligence Firm Stratfor, a “Shadow CIA”
Saudi Journalist Faces Threats from Militants
Elizabeth Fraser – Underwater
“The Scythians take kannabis seed, creep in under the felts, and throw it on the red-hot stones. It smolders and sends up such billows of steam-smoke that no Greek vapor bath can surpass it. The Scythians howl with joy in these vapor-baths, which serve them instead of bathing, for they never wash their bodies with water.”
– Herodotus, Histories IV
“Reefer makes darkies think they’re as good as white men.”
– Harry J. Anslinger, Federal Bureau of Narcotics Chief, 1929
“May 12-13: Sowed Hemp at Muddy hole by Swamp. August 7: Began to separate the Male from the Female at Do – rather too late.”
– George Washington, Diary
So long as large sums of money are involved – and they are bound to be if drugs are illegal – it is literally impossible to stop the traffic, or even to make a serious reduction in its scope.”
– Milton Friedman, Economist, Nobel prize winner, “Tyranny of the Status Quo”
“Marijuana is rejected all over the world. Damned. In England heroin is alright for out-patients, but marijuana? They’ll put your ass in jail. I wonder why that is? The only reason could be: To Serve the Devil – Pleasure! Pleasure, which is a dirty word in Christian culture.”
– Lenny Bruce
Nossis – The 12 Epigrams
(Nossis’ surviving work)
Nothing is sweeter than Love; every other joy
is second to it: even the honey I spit from my mouth.
Thus Nossis says: and who didn’t love Kypris,
knows nothing of what sort of roses her flowers are.
Away from the wretched shoulders threw these shields the Bruttium men,
beaten in the fray by the Locrians fast in the fight,
now, laid down in the temple, devote hymns to their bravery,
neither regret the arms of the cowards left without them.
Holy Hera you who often descend from the heavens
visit your Lacinian sanctuary sweet-scented with incense,
accept the byssus cloak which Teofilis, daughter of Kleochas,
wove for you with Nossis, her noble daughter.
Artemis, which reign over Delos and over the lovable Ortygia,
put back in the lap of the Charites the bow and the arrows intact,
purify your body in the waters of the Inopus and come
to the house of Alketis, to free her from the difficult labour pains.
With pleasure Aphrodite received the lovable offering
of the small bonnet which wound the head of Samyta:
It’s really of exquisite workmanship and it gently smells of the nectar
with which the goddess sprinkles the handsome Adonis.
There she is, Melinna in person! Look her lovely countenance
seems to turn to us the glance gently sweet;
really for all the daughter looks like the mother.
It’s wonderful that the children look like their parents.
Even from afar the effigy of Sabetides
appears recognizable, full of style and majesty.
Give yourself up to gaze at her: you seem to see
her sweetness and her wisdom. Praise to you, wonderful woman!
Pass by over me with a ringing laugh, and then tell me
a friend word: I am Rinthon, the one of Syracuse.
A small nightingale of the Muses; from the tragic phliaxes
I was able to pick an ivy different and mine.
Stranger, if you sail to Mitylene, land of beautiful dances,
to catch there the most out of Sappho’s graces,
tell that I was loved by the Muses, and that the Locrian land bore me
My name remember is Nossis. Now go!
Arrived in front of the temple we gaze at this statue of Aphrodite
embellished by a dress embroidered with gold.
Polyarchis offered it, having made out a large fortune
from the beauty of her own body.
The little picture shows the beautiful figure of Taumareta:
represented with skill the proud grace of the girl with the delicate eyelash
The dog watching the house could wag her tail
seeing you, believing you her own mistress.
In the temple of the blonde Aphrodite Kallò dedicated this picture
painted with a portrait exactly alike her.
What a tidy attitude! And which grace pervades her!
Hail! Of all your life nothing could be blamed.
The Hasheesh Eater Part 2
After that, I hastened wildly over earth, across many countries, and through many successive aaes, alone always, avoided always, an object of fear, of horror, of incredible detestation. Every one that saw me, knew me, and fled from my presence, even to certain death, if that were necessary, to evade my contact. I saw men of Gomorrah rush back into the flames of their perishing city, when they beheld me coming humbly to meet them. Egyptians, who had barely escaped from the Red Sea, leaped again into the foaming waters as I ran torward them along the shore. Everywhere that I went, populations, even of mighty cities, scattered from my track, like locusts rising in hurried flight before the feet of a camel. The loneliest shipwrecked sailor, on the most savage island of the sea, fled from his hut of reeds, and plunged into untracked and serpent-haunted marshes at the sight of my supplicating visage. Unable to obtain the companionship of men, I at last sought that of wild beasts and reptiles — of the gods of ancient mythology, and the monsters of fairydom; but, all to no purpose. The crocodiles buried themselves in the mid-current of the nile, as I stealthily approached its banks. I unavailingly chased the terrified speed of tigers and anacondas through the stifling heat of the jungles of Bengal. Memnon arose from his throne, and hid himself in the clouds, when he saw me kneeling at his granite feet. I followed in vain the sublime flight of Odin over the polar snows and ice-islands of both hemispheres. Satyrs hid from me; dragons and gorgons avoided me. The very ants and insects disappeared from my presence, taking refuge in dead trunks, and in the bowels of the earth. My punishment was constant and fearful — it was greater than I could bear; yet, I bore it for ages. I tried in many ways to escape from it by death; but always unsuccessfully. I sought to fling myself down precipices, but an unseen power drew me back; I endeavored to drown myself in the sea, but the billows upheld me, like a feather. It was not remorse that prompted me to these attempts at self-destruction. Remorse, penitence, and every other noble emotion had been swallowed up in mere anguish under the dreadfulness of my punishment. Sometimes I could not believe that all this was a reality, and struggled with wild, but useless ragings to break the dreadful presence of horror. At other times I felt convinced of its perfect truth; because I saw that the punishment was exactly suited to the offense, and that it reproved, with astonishing directness, that unsocial and almost misanthropic spirit which I had so long encouraged by my habits of life and temper of thought. Thus, dragging about with me a ghastly immortality, I wandered through miserable year after year, through desolation after desolation, until I stood once more on the deck of the steamer to Marseilles. now I again performed my journey homeward, passing, as before, through a succession of steamers, railroads, and diligences. But the steamers were empty; for the passengers and sailors leaped overboard at my appearance: and the vessel reeled on unguided, through wild, lonely seas that I knew not. Just in the same manner, every one fled before me from the rail-cars; and, through deserted plains and valleys, I arrived, at headlong speed, in great cities, as the only passenger. My diligence journeys were performed without companion, or conductor, or postillion, in shattering vehicles, drawn by horses which flew in the very lunacy of fright. Paris was a solitude When I entered it — without man, and without inhabitant, and without beast — silence in its streets, in its galleries, and in its palaces — the sentinels all fled from the gates, and the children from the gardens.
At last I arrived at the entrance of my native city; and now I hoped that in presence of this familiar spot my vision would break; but it did not, and so I paused in a most miserable stupor of despair. It was early dawn, and the sky was yet gray; nor had many people arisen from their sleep. I heard dogs barking in the streets, and birds singing in the orchards; but, as always, neither the one race nor the other ventured near the spot where I stood. I sat down behind a thicket, where I could see the road, but could not be seen from it, and wept for an hour over my terrible misery. It was the first time that tears had come to soften my terrible punishment; for, hitherto my anguish had been desperate and sullen, or wild and blasphemous; but now I wept easily, with some feeling of tender penitence, and speechless supplication. I looked wistfully down the street, longing to enter the town, yet dreading to see the universal terror which I knew would spread through the inhabitants the moment I stepped in among them.
At last persons began to pass me; chiefly, I believe, workmen, or market people; but among them were some whose faces I had seen before. I cannot describe the thrill of tremulous, fearful, painful pleasure with which I looked from so near upon these familiar human countenances. How I longed, yet dreaded, to have one of them turn his eyes upon me. At last I said to myself: “These people know of my crime; perhaps they will not fly from me, and will only kill me.”
I stepped out suddenly in front of a couple of ruddy countrymen, who were driving a market-cart from the city, and fell on my knees, with my hands uplifted toward their faces. For a moment they stared at me in ghastly horror, then, wheeling their rearing horse, they lashed him into violent flight. I rose in desperation, in fury, and, with the steps of a greyhound, leaped after them through streets now resonant with human footsteps. Oh, the wild terror! oh, the agonized shrieking! oh, the wide confusion! and oh, the swift vanishing of all life which marked my passage! I hastened on, panting, stamping, screaming, foaming in the uttermost extremity of despair and anguish, until I reached the house where my darling had once lived. As I neared the steps, I saw a person whom I knew to be Harry. He did not shriek and fly at my approach, but met me and looked me steadily in the face. His eyes, at first, were full of inquiry; but, in a moment, he seemed to gather the whole truth from my visage; and then, with a terrible tremor of abhorrence, he drew a pistol from his bosom. “It is right, Harry,” I said; “kill me, as I killed her.”
But with a quick motion which I could not arrest, he placed the muzzle to his own temple, drew the trigger, and fell a disfigured corpse at my feet. I howled as if I were a wild beast, and sprang over him into the door-way. I saw Ellen and her father and mother flying with uplifted hands out of the other end of the passage. I did not follow them, but turned into the parlor where I had committed my crime; and there, to my amazement, I saw Ida lying on the sofa in the same position in which I had left her; her head fallen backward, her eyes closed, her throat hidden by her long hair, and her hands clasped upon her bosom. On the floor lay my knife still open, just as it had fallen. I picked it up and passed my finger over the keen edge of the blade muttering: “Now, I know that all this is real; now I can kill myself, for this is the time and the place to die.”
Just as I was placing the knife to my throat, I saw a sweet smile stealing over Ida’s lips. She has become a seraph, I thought, and is smiling to see the eternal glory. But, suddenly, as I looked at her for this last time, she opened her eyes on me, and over her mouth stole that sweet pleading expression which was the outward sign of her gentle spirit. “Stop, Edward!” she cried, earnestly; and springing up, she caught my hand firmly, although I could feel that her own trembled. In that moment, my horrible dream began to fade from me, and I gazed around no longer utterly blinded by the hazes of the hasheesh demon. She was not harmed, then! No, and I was not her murderer; no, and I had not been the loathing of mankind. Nothing of the whole scene had been real, except her slumber on the sofa, and the knife which I held in my hand. I hung it fiercely from me; for I thought of what I might have done with it had my madness been only a little more persistent and positive. Then, struck by a sudden thought, half suspicion and half comprehension, I ran to the front door-way. Harry was not, indeed, lying there in his blood; but he was there, nevertheless, upright and in full health; and we exchanged a delighted greeting before the rest of the family could reach him.
“Why, Harry,” said the doctor, in the parlor again, “that was a most interesting substance you sent us — that hasheesh. I have made an extraordinary experiment with it upon Edward here. He muttered wonders for an hour or two in my study. He then went to sleep, and I missed him about two minutes ago. I really had no idea that he had come to.”
That closing dream of crime and punishment, then, had passed through my brain in less than two minutes; and I had been standing by the sleeping form of my little girl all the time that I seemed to be wandering through that eternity of horror.
“What!” said Harry, “has Edward gone back to the hasheesh again?”
“Yes,” I replied; “but I have taken my last dose, my dear fellow. With your permission, doctor, I will pitch that infernal drug into the fire.”
“Really,” said the doctor, “I–I–don’t know. I should like to reserve a few doses for experiments.”
“Oh! don’t throw it away,” urged Ellen. “It is such fun. Edward has been saying such queer things.”
“Where is it?” asked Harry resolutely. “I will settle that question.”
“It is in the fire, brother,” replied Ida. “I threw it there half an hour ago.”
I raised the little girl’s hand to my lips and kissed it; and since then I have taken no other hasheesh than such as that.
Elizabeth Fraser – Moses
They were all clad in flowing robes, like God’s high-priests, and each one held in his hand a lyre of unearthly workmanship. Presently one stops midway down a shady walk, and, baring his right arm, begins a prelude. While his celestial chords were trembling up into their sublime fullness, another strikes his strings, and now they blend upon my ravished ear in such a symphony as was never heard elsewhere, and I shall never hear again out of the Great Presence. A moment more, and three are playing in harmony; now the fourth joins the glorious rapture of his music to their own, and in the completeness of the chord my soul is swallowed up. I can bear no more. But yes, I am sustained, for suddenly the whole throng break forth in a chorus, upon whose wings I am lifted out of the riven walls of sense, and music and spirit thrill in immediate communion. – Fitz Hugh Ludlow – The Hasheesh Eater