The Spirit of Orpheus


H. J. C., “Messages from the Spirits. From Spirits through a Writing Medium,” Brittan’s Journal (New York), October 1874: 559-561.


MAIDEN OF THE PLANET EARTH:—I am the lyrist Orpheus.  I was myself a native of your world, but my female partner, passed her mortal life upon the planet Mars.  She had become immortal before my mortal life commenced.  After I had attained to my seventeenth year, she came to Earth to visit me.  And on one occasion there came with her, a band of six musicians, with shining harps and viols in their hands, attuned to the heavenly harmonies.  When I first saw them, I was seated on a block of marble, in the Isle of Paros in the Sea of Aegea, near where the billows, capped with fleecy foam, came rushing to the shore, and played among the marble rocks of various colors, which abounded there—black, green, and white, and variegated, and some of them were amber-colored and translucent.  These last were very rare, and none of them exist at present on our native world.  The acrid waters of the sea in part dissolved them, and the remaining part became disintegrated and mixed with sand and earth.

When the musicians had reached a spot at a short distance from me, my Delva left them, and came and took her seat beside me on the rock.  While she sat there, I experienced feelings of happiness ineffable.  And when the band began to sing, touching in unison their stringed instruments, I joined the choir, in singing a hymn to Deity.

Question by the Medium.—Could you then understand and speak the words which they pronounced?

Orpheus.—Yes, I could; by inspiration, as I since have learned.  When the band withdrew, one of them left his viol with me, and lest it might be stolen from me, I never suffered any one on Earth to see it, but kept it concealed in a dark cavern near the sea.  I never played upon it, except at night, by the light of the moon, in concert with the sound of the waves among the rocks of marble, at my favorite place of resort.  The angel Galen will now dictate to you a translation of the Hymn to Deity, which I joined the Spirit-band in singing.

The Power that rules the wide-spread land,
The hills, the plains, the rocky strand,
Is the all-bounteous Deity.

The Power that rules the spheres above,
In justice, mercy, and in love,
Is the omniscient Deity.

And He whose eye alone can trace,
The depths of unimagined space,
Is the all-seeing Deity.

All beings in all worlds sublime,
Existing in unreckoned time,
Are cared for by the Deity.

Praise Him whose power compels, controls,
All matter, and all sentient souls,
The omnipotent Deity.

Medium.—Will Orpheus please describe to me the viol which was presented to him by the spirit-musician?

Orpheus.—Yes, I will.  It was formed of a kind of metal, which does not now exist, either on Earth or on Mars, which was semi-pellucid and of a silvery appearance.  It was an instrument of four strings, but the sounds might be made to vary, by touching the strings in different places.  They were elastic, but not very slender, and they appeared to be composed of glass, or rather of diamond, of a bluish tint.  I formed another instrument, making my highly valued gift my model, from an ingot of gold, beating it into the form desired, with stones of flinty hardness.  For strings, I used the sinews of the deer.  And finding that the sounds could not be varied, by touching them in different places, I added three other strings to my viol, more slender than the others, and more tightly drawn, seven being the number of strings the Spirits’ harps were furnished with.  With this harp of gold I went from place to place, to gain a livelihood by playing on it.  Sometimes I was absent from my home for weeks together.  But I never met my Delva at any other place, than by the sea of Aegea, among the rocks of marble.


Delva, my loved one of celestial birth,
Is lovelier far, than maidens of the Earth;
And as she comes to meet me from above,
Her look inspires me with ecstatic love.
Her form is graceful, and her lustrous eyes,
Are of the deepest hue of summer skies,
Her auburn hair, formed into shining braids,
Heightens the beauty of the brow it shades.
O! Delva, Delva, being pure and bright,
Thy coming brings me ravishing delight.
No mortal maiden’s most alluring charms,
Can make me wish to take her to my arms.
Day after day, in hopes of meeting thee,
I wander lonely by the murmuring sea,
Night after night, when Luna gilds the waves,
I seek the shore the briny water laves,
And take my shining viol from its place,
To sound thy praise, form of celestial grace.

[The planet Mars, by its inhabitants, is called Celesti.]


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