Billeder på siden

Several authorities ? give this as follows: “Falkenberg was a nobleman, who murdered his brother and his bride in a fit of passion, and was condemned therefor forever to wander toward the north. On arriving at the seashore, he found awaiting him a boat, with a man in it, who said, 'Expectamus te.' He entered the boat, attended by his good and his evil spirit, and went on board a spectral bark in the harbor. There he still lingers, while these spirits play dice for his soul. For six hundred years the ship has wandered the seas, and mariners still see her in the German ocean, sailing northward, without helm or helmsman. She is painted gray, has colored sails, a pale flag, and no crew. Flames issue from the masthead at night."

Some of the features of this tale seem to be borrowed from a Norse tradition, that Stöte, a Viking, stole a ring from the gods, and when they sought him they found him a skeleton, in a robe of fire, seated on the mainmast of a black spectral ship, seen in a cavern by the sea. This legend is embodied in Bishop Tegnér's Fridthjof's Saga.

Marryat,a facile princeps in matters maritime, has woven out of the legend the plot of his phantom ship. The captain of the ship, Vanderdecken, relates to his wife in Holland the cause of his wandering. He had tried for nine weeks to weather the stormy cape, but after battling against adverse winds and currents, and after throwing overboard the pilot, who opposed him, he finally swore on a relic of the true cross that in spite of wind and weather-storms, seas, lightning, etc.—he

1 Bechstein.-Deutches Sagenbuch. Wolf.—Niederländische Sagen, No, 130. Thorpe.-Northern Mythology, III, 295.

2 Phantom Ship, Passim.

would beat until the day of judgement, to pass the cape. His oath brought upon him the punishment. The hero of the tale, his son, finds a letter describing all this, after his mother's death, and, in addition, saying that a return of the cross-relic on board by a mortal would insure the termination of the punishment. To the execution of this task, the son, Philip, devotes his life. The phantom ship appears in the story many times in the son's search after her, and embodies the main points of the legend. One says that to meet the phantom ship is worse than to see the devil, such ill luck follows thereby. Others, that letters must not be taken, or the vessel receiving them will be lost. Her first appearance is in a cloud at sunset, surrounded by a pale-blue light. It was fine weather, but she was under storm-sail, pitching and tumbling about as in a sea. The whistles of the mates were heard, and orders from her decks, but she soon disappeared in the gloom and mist. Again she was seen in a good breeze, , only the loom of her hull appearing in a fog, but a gun was fired, and voices heard. Again she came in a gale, sailing tranquilly with all sail set, and still again she sails over the bar and shore, decoying the pursuers on shoals, and again in a typhoon, when she ran right through the pursuing son's vessel.

In her last appearance she rises gradually out of the water, a true demon-ship, and heaves to, awaiting a message. A boat appears, boards the pursuing ship with letters, which are thrown overboard. As a result of the machinations of Philip's evil spirit, he is set adrift by the superstitious sailors of his ship, and finally gains the deck of the phantom ship, restores his father the relic, and terminates the wanderings of the blaspheming captain.

In a poem 1 by Leyden, the ship is thus described. It is thought to be a slave-ship attacked by the plague, and refused a refuge in the various ports,

"Repelled from port to port, they sue in vain
And track with slow, unsteady sail the main,
Where ne'er the bright and buoyant wave is seen
To streak with wandering foam the sea-weeds green.

The Spectre-Ship, in livid glimpsing light,
Glares baleful on the shuddering watch at night,
Unblest of God and man!”

Brewer ? says the Phantom ship is called Carmilhan, and the goblin Klaboterman sits on the bowsprit smoking his pipe. Longfellow 8 sings of

"A ship of the dead that sails the sea,
And is called the Carmilhan,
A ghostly ship, with a ghostly crew.
In tempests she appears.
And before the gale or against the gale
She sails, without a rag of sail,
Without a helmsman steers.

And ill betide the luckless ship
That meets the Carmilhan!
Over her decks the seas will leap,
She must go down into the deep,
And perish, mouse and man."

And so sings O'Reilly, 1 Scenes of Infancy, * Reader's Hand-book. 8 Poems.-Tales of a Wayside Inn. * J. Boyle O'Reilly. Songs of Southern Seas.

"But Heaven help the ship near which the demon sailor steers The doom of those is sealed, to whom the Phantom Ship appears, They'll never reach their destin'd port, they'll see their homes no

more, They who see the Flying Dutchman never, never reach the shore."

Brachvogel has written a tale, “Die Fliegende Holländer,” 1 of the time of the Spanish Armada. In Dietrichson's career is reproduced the tale of Vanderdecken.

There is another English tale,2 "The Flying Dutchman,” in which mutineers seize a man-of-war and rig her to simulate the spectre-ship, by so arranging her sails that they are but networks of rope and canvas, while they seem firm and substantial. This is done to terrify a pursuing vessel, but the real spectre-ship is encountered by her, terrifying the mutineers, and furnishing an omen of their final capture and condemnation.

Thomas Gibbons, in an interesting volume : recently published, gives a poem from some nautical pen recapitulating the main events of the usual tale.

Cooper says 4 she is said to be a double-decker, and is always to windward, sometimes in a fog during clear weather, often under all sail in a gale, and even sailing among the clouds.

H. Fitzball dramatized the story, and it was performed many times in New York. The usual story, with slight variations, is embodied in the drama. The story has also furnished a theme for opera. In Wagner's "Fliegende Holländer," a Norwegian brig meets the spectre-ship at sea, on his own coast. He is induced, 1 Die Fliegende Holländer. 2 Monroe's Seaside Library, No. 503. 3 Boxing the Compass. 4 “Red Rover," Chapter xiv. $"The Flying Dutchman," a Drama.

by promises of great treasure, to pledge his daughter to the captain of the "Flying Dutchman," here nameless. The captain says, relating his tale, that he must wander seven years without ceasing, but may now, a respite being at hand, claim an earthly bride.

The ships proceed to port, where we find the intended bride and her maidens. In a ballad, Senta recalls the Dutchman's fate.

"There sails a ship o'er stormy main,

With blackened mast and blood-red sail;
On deck, and ever suffering pain,

The captain watches without fail.
Around a cape he once would sail,
He strove, and swore 'gainst wind and hail,
'Forever will I strive to pass.'"1

But he is to be saved if he finds a true maiden. The lover appears, and endeavors to dissuade the maiden, in an impassioned duet. Finally the maiden hesitates, when the captain of the spectre-ship, thinking her faithless, goes to sea again, revealing himself thus:

'Thou knowest me not; thou think'st not what I am;
Go ask the seas of every zone;
Go ask the sailor who those seas doth roam;
He knows this ship, the subject of his tales,
The Flying Dutchman am I nam'd.'”

Such are the main features of the story of the Flying Dutchman, with its many variants. But there are a host of other legends concerning spectral ships, which serve to illustrate the ideas of the seafaring man concerning such illusions.

1 R. Wagner.

Die Fliegende Holländer,

« ForrigeFortsæt »