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King Midas: a Romance   By: (1878-1968)

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I dreamed that Soul might dare the pain, Unlike the prince of old, And wrest from heaven the fiery touch That turns all things to gold.

New York and London



In the course of this story, the author has had occasion to refer to Beethoven's Sonata Appassionata as containing a suggestion of the opening theme of the Fifth Symphony. He has often seen this stated, and believed that the statement was generally accepted as true. Since writing, however, he has heard the opinion expressed, by a musician who is qualified to speak as an authority, that the two themes have nothing to do with each other. The author himself is not competent to have an opinion on the subject, but because the statement as first made is closely bound up with the story, he has allowed it to stand unaltered.

The two extracts from MacDowell's "Woodland Sketches," on pages 214 and 291, are reprinted with the kind permission of Professor MacDowell and of Arthur P. Schmidt, publisher.


In the merry month of May.



"O Madchen, Madchen, Wie lieb' ich dich!"

It was that time of year when all the world belongs to poets, for their harvest of joy; when those who seek the country not for beauty, but for coolness, have as yet thought nothing about it, and when those who dwell in it all the time are too busy planting for another harvest to have any thought of poets; so that the latter, and the few others who keep something in their hearts to chime with the great spring music, have the woods and waters all for their own for two joyful months, from the time that the first snowy bloodroot has blossomed, until the wild rose has faded and nature has no more to say. In those two months there are two weeks, the ones that usher in the May, that bear the prize of all the year for glory; the commonest trees wear green and silver then that would outshine a coronation robe, and if a man has any of that prodigality of spirit which makes imagination, he may hear the song of all the world.

It was on such a May morning in the midst of a great forest of pine trees, one of those forests whose floors are moss covered ruins that give to them the solemnity of age and demand humility from those who walk within their silences. There was not much there to tell of the springtime, for the pines are unsympathetic, but it seemed as if all the more wealth had been flung about on the carpeting beneath. Where the moss was not were flowing beds of fern, and the ground was dotted with slender harebells and the dusty, half blossomed corydalis, while from all the rocks the bright red lanterns of the columbine were dangling.

Of the beauty so wonderfully squandered there was but one witness, a young man who was walking slowly along, stepping as it seemed where there were no flowers; and who, whenever he stopped to gaze at a group of them, left them unmolested in their happiness. He was tall and slenderly built, with a pale face shadowed by dark hair; he was clad in black, and carried in one hand a half open book, which, however, he seemed to have forgotten.

A short distance ahead was a path, scarcely marked except where the half rotted trees were trodden through. Down this the young man turned, and a while later, as his ear was caught by the sound of falling water, he quickened his steps a trifle, until he came to a little streamlet which flowed through the forest, taking for its bed the fairest spot in that wonderland of beauty. It fled from rock to rock covered with the brightest of bright green moss and with tender fern that was but half uncurled, and it flashed in the sunlit places and tinkled from the deep black shadows, ever racing faster as if to see what more the forest had to show. The young man's look had been anxious before, but he brightened in spite of himself in the company of the streamlet.

Not far beyond was a place where a tiny rill flowed down from the high rocks above, and where the path broadened out considerably... Continue reading book >>

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