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The wandering Jew in English literature to 1850

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The wandering Jew in English literature to 1850
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Andrews, Samuel Gene, 1925-
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English thesis Ph. D
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Includes bibliographical references (leaves 160-164).
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Manuscript copy.
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Dissertation (Ph.D.) - University of Florida, 1953.
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Biography.

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Full Text
THE WANDERING JEW IN ENGLISH
LITERATURE TO 1850
By
SAMUEL GENE ANDREWS
A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE COUNCIL OF
THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE
DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
August, 1953


To
Lucy and Linda Lou


iii
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
The careful guidance and perceptive suggestions of Dr. Stephen
Fogle have proved invaluable in the organizing and writing of this
dissertation. 1 also wish to express my appreciation to Miss Florence
Clayton Carmichael, the librarian of Arkansas Agricultural and Mechni-
cal College, for her tireless efforts in securing for me microfilms
and inter-library loans of materials which were not easily accessible,
lastly, this dissertation could have never been completed without the
sympathy, understanding, and very hard work of my wife.


iv
COK TE 9 I S
CHAPTER PASE
Introduction 1
One Early Records of the Wandering Jew 7
Two The Warp and the Woof.... 32
Three Prom the Middle Ages to the Eighteenth
Century. 55
Pour The Romantic Movement... 84
Pive The Exploitation of the legend 119
Conclusion 145
Bibliography 160
Vita. 165


IHTRODUCTIOH
Treatments of the theme of the Wandering Jew may be divided
Into two broad classifications: the folklore versions and the art-
form or literary treatments of the story.^ Every indication points
to the fact that tales concerning the Wandering Jew had existed,
probably for many years, in the oral tradition of folklore before
the first written account of him appeared. Even this account.
^■Although there is no universal agreement as to the pre¬
cise scope of the term folklore, the majority of specialists seem
to agree upon certain fundamental characteristics which may be safely
ascribed to the term; (a) Folklore is transmitted primarily, although
not necessarily exclusively, by oral tradition. The simple transfer
of the oral tradition to writing, of course, does not invalidate it
as folklore, (b) Folklore is principally a communal product: that
is, its development is due to the additions and changes made by the
various individuals who transmit it. (c) The cradle of folklore
is the folk themselves—a group of people in a common culture pro¬
ducing their own expressions, (d) Folklore includes such forms
as myths, legends, proverbs, superstitions, songs, ritualistic
ceremonies, and magic.
In this study I am distinguishing between pure folklore and
the art-form or '’literary" treatment based upon a folklore theme.
The pure folk tale is a rather artless anonymous story which has
been told and re-told by various individuals over the span of many
years. The art-form or belletristic treatment of a folklore tale,
on the other hand, is a careful effort by a conscious artist who is
striving for "literary" effect. The pure folk tale is a communal
product; the art-form is characterized by the stamp of individuality
left upon it by its single author. Cf. the twenty-six definitions
by eminent folklore specialists in the .Dictionary of Folklore.
Mythology, and legend, ed. Maria leach (Hew York, 1949), I, 398-403,
sub voce "Folklore."
2Cf., for instance, infra,p. 12.


2
which appears in Roger of Wendover's Flores Historiaran! under the
year 1228, "belongs to the realm of folklore rather than to that of
literary art. For centuries afterwards numerous references indicate
that the story of the Wandering Jew was a popular one in the folk¬
lore of Europe, "but not until comparatively late were the literary
possibilities of the theme realized.
Extensive research has "been conducted on the theme of the
Wandering Jew in the literature of Europe. Careful studies have
been made of the German, French, Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese
variations of the legend. Even the Slavonic versions of the tale
have received some attention.4 Most of these investigations,
however, have been primarily concerned with the Wandering Jew in
folklore, although the art-form of the legend in the literature of
continental Europe has also received some attention.
Within recent years Professor G. K. Anderson has published
5
a number of illuminating articles on the Wandering Jew, but his
*^The most comprehensive bibliography is that of 1. Ueubar,
Zur Bibliographic der Sage vom Ewigen Juden (Leipzig, 1893-1911).
Also valuable is A. Soergel's bibliography in Ahasver-Dichtungen
sett Goethe (Leipzig, 1905). A list of the more important modern
works on the subject can be found in G. K. Anderson's "The
Wandering Jew Returns to England," The Journal of Engli sh and
Germanic Philology. XLV (1946), 237, n. 1.
4Avrahm Yarolensky, "The Wandering Jew," Studies in
Jewish Bibliography and Related Subjects in Memory of Abraham
Solomon Freidus (1929), pp. 319-328.
5"The Wandering Jew Returns to England" (Cf. supra, n. 3);
"Popular Survivals of the Wandering Jew in England," Journal of


3
studies have been confined for the most part either to folklore aspects
of tne tneme or else principally to continental literature on the sub¬
ject. On the other hand, a few studies nave been made of individual
C
works in English literature. As yet, however, there has been no
comprehensive treatment of the legend as it has appeared throughout
the literature of toe English language. Dorothy Scarborough and
Eino Bailo® each devote one chapter to the theme of the Wandering Jew,
but their accounts are limited to only tae better known literary works
on the subject and are therefore incomplete. Their discussions are
further limited by the fact that their main interest in tae theme is
confined to its use in the tale of te>rror.
The only work with any pretentions to completeness in exam¬
ining tne legend in both its folklore and belletristic forms is
Moncure Daniel Conway* s The Wandering Jew.® Although Conway* s work
English and Germanic Philology. XLVI (1947), 367-382; "The Neo-Classical
Chronicle of the Wandering Jew," PMiA. 1XIII (1948), 199-213.
®N. S. Bushneli, "The Wandering Jew and The Pardoner * s Tale."
Studies in Philology. XXVIII (1931), 450-460; Archer Taylor, "Notes
on the Wandering Jew." Modern language Notes. XXXIII (1918), 394-
395; G. X. Anderson, "The History of Israel Jobson," Philological
Quarterly. XXV (1946), 303-320.
7The Supernatural in EngH gh Eletlon (New York. 1917),
pp. 174-195.
®The Haunted Castle (London, 1927), pp. 191-217.
9New York, 1881,


4
Is valuable and should be consulted by all serious students of the
legend, its usefulness is limited because of its age. Conway was
one of the pioneers in the study of the Wandering Jew, and of
course did not have the advantages of modern scholarship on the
subject. His account would lead one to believe, for instance, that
the legend was unknown in England from the time of Matthew of Paris's
medieval chronicle until the middle of the seventeenth century—an
implication that is completely misleading. Furthermore, his work
was designed as a popular rather than a scholarly study. Practi¬
cally no documentation of any sort is provided. His study is useful
principally because he reprints many works which are not easily
accessible to the modern scholar.
On the other hand, Conway's investigation of the growth
of the legend in Europe up until the middle of the seventeenth cen¬
tury^® is confined for the most part to a simple translation of the
relevant texts. He provides practically no analysis of the new
features which were being added to the legend nor does he attempt to
point out the sources or significance of those added details.
In addition to lacking the advantages of modem scholarly dis¬
coveries about the Wandering Jew legend, Conway's work is also char¬
acterized by a technique of scholarship which is no longer in good
repute. In his examination of the materials from which the Wandering
Jew legend was formed, for instance, he cites several legends dealing
10
Pp. 5-28


5
with eternal life and then assumes that they are the direct ancestors
n
of the Wandering Jew. He fails to provide any additional connecting
links, however. Elsewhere he succumbs to the temptation of suggesting
that the Wandering Jew legend was ultimately dreived from a ’’creation
myth"!2 _«.a practice which enjoyed a great vogue among nineteenth
century scholars, but which is regarded with amusement by modern
folklorists.I3
A complete investigation of the entire literature which is
based upon the legend of the Wandering Jew would be beyond the hopes
of the most ambitious scholar. Even the number of treatments in
English literature would require a study of tremendous scope. I
therefore propose to make a comprehensive survey of the Wandering
Jew legend in the literature of the English language from the time
of the first «-opearanee of the legend in 1228 until the middle of the
nineteenth century. The limitations of these dates will permit not
only the inclusion of all English works down until the beginning of
the Victorian era, but will also include the first appearances of
the Wandering Jew in American literature.
The primary purpose of this investigation, then, is to examine
the art-form or belletristic treatment of the theme in English litera¬
ture. On the other hand, the folklore aspects of the legend cannot be
1]-Pp. 38-51.
12P. 50, n. 1.
13Cf. Stith Thompson, The Folktale (Hew York, 1946), pp. 371-375.


6
ignored. It will first te necessary to make a survey of the early appear¬
ances of the Wandering Jew, which are in the realm of folklore, in order
to determine the tradition within which later authors inevitably found
themselves to he working. In their treatments they sometimes deviated
sharply from the folklore tradition; hut they were none the less aware
of the existence of that tradition. The legend of the Wandering Jew was
already fairly well known hy the time of the first belletristic treat¬
ment of the theme, and a knowledge of the fundamental characteristics
of the theme in folklore is necessary in order to understand properly
the contributions of the individual literary artist.
The story of the Wandering Jew has not been confined, of course,
only to works in the English language. Actually the theme has proved
even more popular in the literature of continental Europe. A consid¬
eration of the Siropean literature on this subject is, however, not
within the scope of this work. Treatments of the theme in languages
other than English will be considered only when they appear to hare
had a direct influence upon the English literature dealing with the
legend of the Wandering Jew.


7
CHAPTER I
EARLY RECORDS OP THE WARDERING JEW
The story of the Wandering Jew is widespread throughout both
the folklore and the literature of the civilized world. Although the
basic theme of the folktale—that of a mortal who offends a deity and
who is punished by being given pr eterna tur ally long life—can be traced
back even to the pre-Christian era, the art form of the legend was not
developed until comparatively recent times. Once introduced, though,
the story was adopted by authors of all nations as one which was
flexible enough so that it could be readily adapted to many different
purposes. That is, the figure of the Wandering Jew has been all things
to all men. In the hands of some authors he has furnished the eye¬
witness authority for an imaginative account of the great historical
2
events of the last two thousand years. Philosophers have seen in him
^In attempting to establish a definition of the Wandering Jew
theme I have endeavored to reduce to a common denominator the various
materials which appear to have been influential in shaping the legend.
The basic theme as I have stated it—that of a mortal who offends a deity
and who is punished by being given preternaturally long life—is the
only feature common to all these early legends, I am using this basic
theme, therefore, as a frame of reference or a starting point from which
to build up my definition. Many of the details which today are considered
fundamental to the Wandering Jew story, such as the wandering element and
the Jewishness of the blasphemer, were not added until comparatively late
in the development of the legend, Cf. infra, pp. 16-17; 23-26.
^Por instance, George Croly, Tarry Thou Till I Come (Hew York,
1901); David Hoffman, Chronicles Selected from the Originals of Carta-
phi lus. the Wandering Jew (London. 1853); and others.


8
an impressive spokesman for their views on morality, religion, and the
3
great truths of the universe. Other writers have employed him primarily
A
for the purpose of fomenting racial and religious intolerance." And,
paradoxically enough, the same figure of the Wandering Jew has also teen
used as the central figure in a protest against racial and religious
g
intolerance.
Unlike its sister theme the Faust legend, with which it has
often "been combined, the story of the Wandering Jew has never been
crystallized into one definite form. Goethe took the materials óf the
Faust legend as he found them and forged out of them a drama which to
succeeding generations has served as a sort ofarchetype of the legend.
He made Faust perhaps for all time, the symbol of the thirst for knowl¬
edge and power. Goethe's Faust stands today as the standard to which
all other treatments of the theme are inevitably compared. Ho great
literary genius, on the other hand, has yet done as much for the Wan¬
dering Jew. The story has no one outstanding prototype. Each author
who has treated the theme has felt free to wring from it whatever meaning
he could. As a consequence, no one strong central idea has become
associated with the story.
g
Of., for instance, Conway's chapter "The Hew Ahasuerus in
Germany," pp. 166-203.
^"The Wandering Jew; or the Shooemaker ®f Jerusalem," The Rox¬
burgh Ballads, ed. Joseph Woodfall Ebsworth (Hertford, 1889), VI, 42-43.
5Herman Heijermans, Ahasverus. trans. Caroline Heijermans-Houwink
and J. J. Houwink, in Drama. XIX (1929), 145-147.


9
In English literature the motif is, at "best, only a by-path.
Ho great epic of the Wandering Jew has yet "been written. The story
appears only as a minor theme in the major works of English liter en¬
ture; it is the central theme only in works of minor importance. But
the influence of the story, nevertheless, has been stronger than it
6
would appear at first glance. Several major novels and poems, which
certainly are not simply further treatments of the Wandering Jew story,
were quite clearly influenced hy some aspect of the theme. While these
works are, properly speaking, only on the fringe of the legend, they do
represent some of the most artistic treatments of the story and are there¬
fore entitled to some consideration.
Inasmuch as there is neither a well-established, prototype nor
any one strong central idea which is universally accepted as the under¬
lying meaning of the legend, a clear definition of the theme itself is
difficult. But, since this discussion is to Include some works based
upon the theme only indirectly, some sort of definition is essential.
I propose to seek a definition in two ways: first, by investigating the
early records of the story and determining what features are common to
most of those records; and secondly, by examining the various themes and
legends from which the Wandering Jew legend itself seems to have been
formed, and attempting to determine the original meaning of the legend.
By far the most popular explanation of the legend today is that
the Wandering Jew himself is symbolic of the Jewish people as a whole:
C
Such as Coleridge’s The Ancient Mariner. Maturin’s Melmoth the
Wanderer, and others.


10
their sin against Christ, their interminable wandering over the face
of the earth, and their seeming indestructibility as a race. This
explanation certainly seems in accord with many modern versions of the
story. But such was not always the case. As a matter of fact, Jewish
nationality was not definitely attributed to the man who insulted Christ
until 1602. There are several other earlier versions extant of what is
demonstrably the same story—versions containing all of the essential
ingredients except Jewishness. There seem to have been, in fact, at
least three different popular versions of the legend before 1602: the
Cartaphilus legend, the Buttadeus legend, and the Malchus legend.
In the year 1228 according to Roger of Wendover, who was a monk
of St. Albans, a certain Armenian archbishop came to England in order
to visit the sacred places of that country and to see the relics of the
saints. He came well recommended, bearing letters of introduction from
the pope in which the churchmen of England were asked to entertain him
with all due reverence and honor. In the course of his sojourn in Eng¬
land he visited St. Albans, where, fatigued from his journey, he rested
for a few days. While he was there he asked questions, through an inter¬
preter, about the religion and religious practices of England, and he in
turn informed the monks of St. Albans of the practices of Eastern coun¬
tries. During one of these conversations someone asked him whether he
had ever seen or heard of one Joseph, "of whom there was much talk in
the world," a man who had been alive at the time of the crucifixion of
Christ and who still lived in evidence of the Christian religion. The


11
Armenian archbishop replied that he knew that man well and had often
conversed with him. As a matter of fact, the archbishop continued,
Joseph had eaten at the same table with him shortly before he began his
journey to England. He was then asked to relate exactly what had taken
place between Christ and that man. The archbishop replied that, when
Christ was seized by the Jews and brought before Pilate for judgment,
Pilate, unable to find any fault in him, said to them, "Take him and
judge him according to your law." The Jews were not satisfied with this
judgment, however, and, when their shouts increased, he released to them
Barabbas and turned Christ over to them to be crucified. As Christ was
being led out of the hall on the way to his crucifixion, one Cartaphilus,
who was a porter of Pilate’s hall, scornfully struck him on the back,
saying, "Co faster, Jesus! Go faster! Why dost thou loiter?H Jesus
turned to him severely and said, nI shall go, but you shall wait until
I return."
Even as the Lord commanded, this Cartaphilus is still waiting
for his return. At the time of the crucifixion he was a man of thirty
years of age, and whenever he reaches the age of one hundred he returns
to that same age. After the death of Christ, when the Catholic faith
became widespread he was baptized by Ananias (the same man who also
baptized the apostle Paul) and was renamed Joseph. He frequently
dwells in Armenia and other eastern countries, where he associates with
bishops and other holy men of the church. He is a man of sober aspect
and religious conversation. He seldom speaks at all unless questioned


12
"by the "bishops and other holy men. Then he tells of the events of olden
times, of the circumstances of the crucifixion and the resurrection, and
of those who were resurrected with Christ and accompanied him into Jeru¬
salem. He also tells of the preaching and deeds of the apostles. All
this he relates in a solemn manner, as one who is filled with the fear
of the Lord. He is always looking forward witn apprehension to the
second coming of Christ, fearing that he may find him still in anger and
full of Just vengeance. People flock to see him from all over the world,
and, if they are men of authority, he answers their questions and settles
their doubts on all matters. He is satisfied with meager food and clothing,
and refuses all gifts that are offered to him. His only hope of salva¬
tion is the fact that he sinned through ignorance, for he recalls that
the Lord himself prayed for his enemies, saying, "Father, forgive them,
7
for they know not what they do."
It should he noted that the monks of St. Alhans seem to have dis¬
played no incredulity whatsoever at the archbishop’s report. He was a
man of authority and came with letters of recommendation from the pope.
Furthermore, the manner in which the monks question him indicates that
the tale already had some currency. They ask him whether he had ever
seen or heard of one Joseph, "of whom there was much talk in the world."
Obviously the monks were already familiar with the legend and they were
only seeking a verification of a story that they had already heard.
7
Boger of Wendover, Flowers of History, trans. J. A. Giles
(London, 1849), II, 512-514.


13
One of tile most noteworthy features of this early account is
that, according to Roger of Wendover, the man who struck Christ and
who was still awaiting his return does not seem to have teen a Jew,
Cartaphilus was not one of the crowd of Jews who seized Christ and
brought him to Pilate for judgment. On the contrary, he was an employee
of Pilate himself, a doorkeeper—a fact which would seem to indicate that
he was a Roman, The very name nCartaphllusn seems to point to a Roman
Q
rather than Jewish nationality.
There is obviously no anti-Semitic prejudice displayed in this
account. Rot only was the man who struck Christ a Roman, apparently,
rather than a Jew, but the portrait of him is, on the whole, a sympa¬
thetic one. The famous Joseph, from what the archbishop reports, is not
regarded with horror or revulsion. On the contrary people from all over
the world flock to see him and talk to him. No one seems to have re¬
proached him or condemned him for his tragic mistake. He is regarded
simply as a living evidence of the Christian faith.
Cartaphilus himself, or Joseph, as he was later baptized, is
furthermore deeply repentant and conscious of his sin. Although he is
sober and penitent, he is not full of despair. Realizing that his pun¬
ishment is just, he has accepted his lot without complaint, and is doing
everything possible to work out his salvation. He himself has been
0
The latinity of the name is by itself not sufficient evidence
to establish the man's Roman nationality, of course. Inasmuch as the
chronicler was writing in Latin, he may simply have Latinized the name.
But see Chapter II, p. 40.


14
converted to Christianity, and he still hopes for ultimate forgiveness
because of the fact that he sinned through ignorance. Ho mention is
made of any inclination toward wandering.
The legend of Cartaphilns apparently never became very well
known in England. Only one further work in that country which contains
references to this particular version of the story has been found. Even
in this work, Matthew of Paris’s Chronica Ma.1ora. the only detailed
account of the legend is obviously based upon the earlier work of Soger
of Wendover, and very few changes were made. Matthew of Paris made his
account a bit more subjective by adding a few comments of his own and
occasionally quoting an appropriate passage of scripture, but the details
of the story are essentially unchanged. He does add, however, that one
Sicardus de Argentomio, who had traveled in the East, attested to the
Q
truth of this story. later, in 1252, the chronicler received a fur¬
ther confirmation when "certain Armenians" who were visiting St. Albans
stated that they knew "without doubt" (indubitanter) that Joseph Carta¬
philus, who saw Christ crucified, was still living. This, the chronicler
says, is one of the great marvels of the world and a great argument for
the Christian faith.10
Not many years afterwards, the same archbishop apparently passed
through Prance and Belgium and told his remarkable story there. Philippe
Mouskes, bishop of Tournai, briefly records the story in his Chroniaue
9Matthew of Paris, Chronica Ma.lora (London, 1876), III, 161-164.
10Matthew of Paris, V, 340.


15
Rimee. which was probably completed about 1243.^ The archbishop from
Armenia is again specifically cited as the authority for the tale. His
account is fundamentally the same one that he gave to Roger of Wendover,
with one significant exception. According to the story that Philippe
Mouskes records, when the false Jews were takingGod to be crucified,
that man (no name is given) said to them, ’’Wait for me; I am going
there if the false prophet is to be put on the cross." And the true God
looked at him and said! "They will not wait for you here, but know that
you will wait for me." And he is still waiting, for he did not die or
, 12
change.
It is noteworthy, I think, that all of the details mentioned by
Roger of Wendover which would tend to establish the Roman nationality
of the man who insulted Christ are omitted in the Ohronique Rimee.
Philippe Mouskes neglects to mention both his Roman name, Cartaphilus,
and his occupation as Pilate’s doorkeeper. There is nothing at all to
connect him with Pilate’s administration. In fact, although the point
is not overtly made, the logical inference, I think, is that "that man"
was a Jew. His Jewish nationality, however, is certainly not emphasized,
and no particular significance is attached to it. Whatever his nation¬
ality and religion had been, he too was later baptized by Ananias and
converted to the Christian faith.
•^Phillippe Mouskes, Chronloue Rinuie. ed. Baron de Reissenberg
(Bruxelles, 1836), I, Introduction, ccxlix.
12Mouskes, II, 491-493, lines 25485-25536.


16
The legend of Cartaphilus seems to have had a limited circulation,
for the three references to this story which have come to light all cite
the same authority, a "certain Armenian archbishop." The story either
died out at a fairly early date or else was considerably modified. For
the next reference to the man who had insulted Christ occurs in Italy,
IS
where he is called Johannes Buttadeus. In addition to the change in
name, however, the legend has undergone another important transformation.
It is in Italy that this living witness of the crucifixion of Christ be¬
came an eternal wanderer.
We have no way of knowing exactly in what form the legend first
appeared in Italy, for the early references to Buttadeus are tantaliz-
14
ingly brief and casual. Philippe of Novare, for instance, in 1250 and
1255 in his Assises of Jerusalem. Jokes about the legendary longevity
of one Jehan Boutedieu. Other old Italian poets refer to "L’om per
Fui Christo % atenduto" and allude to the longevity of this miracu¬
lous person. Thus, in speaking of his old father, Ceceo Angiolieri
complains:
II pessimo e’l crudelo odio ch’i* porto
a diritta ragione al padre meo
il farüt vivar pii che Botadeo,
a di cií, buon di me, ne sono accorto.
^3There are also a few allusions to Buttadeus in Middle English
literature. Cf. Chapter III, where the legend in England is traced from
the time of Matthew of Paris.
â– ^For the following summary of the Buttadeus legend in Italy I am
indebted to Alice M. Killen's excellent account in "L’Svolution de la
Legends du Juif Errant," Revue de Lltterature Comparte. V (1925), 14-16.
All quotations in English are my own translations of Killen’s French.


17
Even in the. thirteenth century, therefore, Buttadeus was
known, principally for his alleged longevity. Perhaps even then he had
already "begun his wanderings. One expression used hy Guido Bonatti
seems to indicate that he had. Bonatti speaks of one "Johannes Buttadeus,"
who scorned the Saviour when He was proceeding to His crucifixion and
who was told "by Christ, "You will wait until I come." Bonatti continues:
"This Giovanni passed "by Forli in 1267." Was he already on the move?
The most complete portrait of Buttadeus, though, is contained
in the early fifteenth century account of Antonio di Francesco di
Andrea. According to the author, although Buttadeo had "been known
in that country for less than a century, popular tradition had already
fixed his characteristic traits. He possessed a reputation for holiness,
for he did good everywhere he went, healing the sick and giving good
counsel to all. He was further credited with mysterious knowledge and
powers. It wps believed that he could predict the future and perform
other miracles. Although he w«s universally welcomed wherever he went,
he was not allowed to spend more than three days in any one -place, and
a hundred years had to elapse before he could return to a country.
Antonio claims to have known Giovanni Buttadeo personally and
to have conversed with him often. But in spite of their familiarity
Giovanni remained rather reticent about himself. Although he strongly
hinted that he was the famous legendary immortal, he did not overtly
say so. One day when Antonio asked him if he were really Giovanni
Buttadeo, his friend replied, "You should say Giovanni Batte'-Iddio,
that is Giovanni perchosse-Iddio." He then related the conventional


18
account of how Giovanni had affronted Christ and of the curse that had
"been bestowed upon him as a consequence. But when Antonio persisted in
asking him if he were really that man, Ms eyes filled with tears and
he would say nothing more.
It is with these same characteristics that the eternal wanderer
appears in the writings of various other European countries from the
thirteenth to the sixteenth centuries. He is known in Spain "by the
names of Juan Espera en Heos, Juan de Yoto-a-Dios, and Juan Servo di
15
Dios; in Portugual he is called Juao de Espera em Dios.
The legend of Buttadeus was fairly widely known throughout
the various countries of Europe, but it never became a truly popular
legend. One reason for its limited popularity, perhaps, was that it
shared renown with still another story concerning the fate of a man
who had offended Christ--the legend of Malchus. The scriptural founda¬
tion for this legend is found in John X7III:19-23. Jesus, having been
taken prisoner, is being questioned by the high priest:
The high priest then asked Jesus of his disciples and of his
doctrine.
Jesus answered him, I spake openly to the world; I ever taught
in the synagogue, and in the temple, whither the Jews always resort;
and in secret have I said nothing.
Why askest thou me? ask them which heard me, what I have said
unto them: behold, they know what I said.
And when he had thus spoken, one of the officers which stood by
struck Jesus with the palm of his hand, saying, Answerest thou the
high priest so?
Jesus answered him, If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the
evil: but if well, why smitest thou me?
15
I>icL. p. 13


19
The high priest’s servant is not identified hy name in this
passage, hut religious zeal soon discovered a name in John XVIII:10:
Then Simon Peter having a sword drew it, and smote the high
priest’s servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant's name
was Malchus.
This Malchus was easily identified with the servant who later struck
Christ in the interview with the high priest, and Christian indigna¬
tion at such an affront to the Son of God soon invented a series of
punishments suitable to the crime. He is sometimes pictured as re¬
volving forever under the earth around the pillar to which Christ him-
16
self was hound when he was scourged. Other variants of the story show
him pacing desperately hack and forth in a grotto or a dungeon.
The legend of the punishment of Malchus seems to have been first
spread during the sixteenth century by religious pilgrims returning
from the holy land who related the wonders that they had seen there.
One of the most circumstantial accounts is that related by Peter Brantius
Pennalius, who reported that one day when he was in Jerusalem he was
approached by a Turk, who had formerly been a slave in his father's
house. This Turk, who was at that time Police Captain of Jerusalem,
invited him to dine with him that evening. After a delicious meal, he
offered to show his guest "something which no other living nan knew,
except the Cantain uro temuore of the city of Jerusalem." After taking
16
Thomas Frederick Crane, Italian Popular Tales (Boston. 1885),
P. 196,


20
elaborate precautions to prevent their being seen by anyone else, he
escorted his guest through five iron doors into a large hall, at the
end of which a man was continuously pacing from one side of the hall
to the others
"This man," he said to me, "is the servant who struck your
Christ before the High Priest Annas. Por uunishment of his grie¬
vous crime he was condemned by your Christ to remain here. We
too believe im the old traditions. In this place he stays, never
eating, nor drinking, never sleeping nor taking rest; but always
walking as you see him, and always,—look, my friend,—always the
arm that struck, twitches!"17
Still other pilgrims claim to have seen Malchus embedded in the
ground up to his waist. It is in this way that he is punished in Brother
Dominique Auberton*s Recit veritable et miraculous de ce oui a este veu
en Jerusalem, par un Rellgleux de l*0rdre S.-Franc personnes de quallte (Paris. 1623). In this tale, as in the others, the
poor sinner shows every indication of boundless despair and remorse.
"That spectacle," the author reports, "is the most terrible and hideous
which is seen in Jerusalem."^
The strong similarities that exist between the legend of Malchus
and those of Cartaphilus and Buttadeus indicate that the Malchus story
may well be ethnically related to one or both of the other two. But it
is also apparent that the basic theme has undergone another metamorphosis.
The unfortunate sinner is now filled with boundless despair and misery.
17P. 9. Bagatti, "The Legend of the Wandering Jew," Franciscan
Studies. Vol. 9, No. 1 (March, 1949), pp. 3-4.
•^Killen, pp. 19-20.


21
neither of the other two legends is thus characterized. Both Cartaphilus
and Bnttadeus regret their rash actions; they are solemn in appearance
and restrained in manner. They have accepted their punishments sadly
hut philosophically, apparently determined to spend the remainder of
their long existence on earth working out their salvation through good
deeds and holy living. They still cherish the hope of ultimate forgive¬
ness through Divine Mercy.
Malchus, on the other hand, shows no indication of any such hope.
He has utterly given way to despair, a fact which is at least partly
understandable, since his punishment is more severe than that of the
other two sinners. Malchus groans and cries out in pain. Sometimes he
heats his own breast; sometimes he strikes his head against the pillar
around which he is revolving. Always he is suffering anguish, both physi¬
cal and mental. Never does he become resigned to his fate; never does
he show any hope of ultimate release from his punishment. Malchus is
not simply another testimony to the truth of the Christian religion.
He presents a terrible and frightening spectacle, and serves as a grim
reminder of what the wrath of an enraged divinity is capable of perform¬
ing.
By the end of the sixteenth century, then, there were at least
three different tales in general circulation concerning the fate of a
man who had insulted Christ: the legend of Cartaphilus, the legend of
Buttadeus, and the legend of Malchus. There are strong similarities
among all three tales, but the underlying purpose of each of them seems


22
to "be slightly different. The Cartaphilus legend was advanced as
another powerful testimony to support the truth of Christian "beliefs.
The story of Malchus served as a terrible illustration of the tor¬
tures of the damned which were visited upon "blasphemers. The princi¬
pal interest in Buttadeus lay in his supernatural powers as a prophet
and magician. As a matter of fact, the currency of all three can per¬
haps "best "be attributed to the medieval penchant for the marvelous.
And the legend of the eternal wanderer might well have followed the
path to oblivion with hundreds of other medieval "miracles," had it
not been for a slight but immensely interesting twist which was given
to the story in the first part of the seventeenth century.
In the year 1602 there appeared almost simultaneously through¬
out Germany a number of different accounts of a mysterious Wandering
Jew, who was said to have appeared in Hamburg in the 1540's. The
problem of which of these pamphlets was the the first to appear has not
yet been solved. The Leyden pamphlet entitled Eurtze Beschrelbung und
19
Erzehlung von einem Juden mit Mamen Ahasverus is generally credited
as the original. The fullest account, however, appears in a later work
(1613) entitled Hewe Zeltung von einem Juden von Jerusalem. Ahasuerua
genannt. welcher die Creutzigung unsers Berra Jhesu Ohrlsti gesehen.
und noch am leben 1st, aus Dantzlg an einem guten Freund geschrieben.
â– ^G. K. Anderson has reprinted the text of this rare pamphlet
as an appendix to his article "The Wandering Jew Returns to England,"
pp. 248-250.


23
The author, who signs his name "Herr Chrysostomus Dudlaus Westphalus,"
relates that Paulus von Eizen, Doctor and Bishop of Schleswig, informed
him that some years ago, while he was visiting his parents at Hamburg
in 1547, he had seen in church a very tall man, about fifty years of
age, who was listening to the sermon with great attention. This man
was barefooted, dressed in rags, and his hair fell down over his shoul¬
ders. Whenever the name of Christ was mentioned, this man bowed his
head humbly, beat his breast, and sighed.
Many of the nobility in Hamburg professed to have seen this man
in England, France, Italy, Hungary, Persia, Spain, Poland, Moscow,
Leiffland, Sweden, Denmark, and Scotland. His curiosity aroused, Dr.
von Eizen sought out this man and asked him about his history. The man
Informed him that he had been a Jewish shoemaker of Jerusalem and that
his name was Ahasuerus. At the time of the crucifixion, he, like many
others, had regarded Christ as a heretic, a misleader of the people.
Therefore, as soon as sentence had been passed upon Christ by Pontius
Pilate, Ahasue rus rushed to his own home, knowing that Christ would be
led by that way. As the procession passed, Ahasuerus took a child in
his arms and stood beside the door. Christ, weighed down by the heavy
cross that he was bearing, stopped in front of the house of Ahasuerus
and leaned against the wall. Then the Jewish shoemaker, full of sudden
anger and eager to gain credit with the rest of the Jews, rushed from
his house and ordered Christ to move on. Christ turned sternly to him


24
and said, "I will stand here and rest, but thou shalt move until the
last day!"
Immediately Ahasuerus put down the child and felt compelled to
leave his home. Be followed Jesus, witnessed the crucifixion, and then
left Jerusalem, never to see his wife and child again. He had since
traveled through many countries and was able to relate in detail many
of the changes in government that had taken place in those countries
throughout the centuries. Be could tell even more about the life and
sufferings of Christ than we know through the evangelists and historians.
Shis remarkable Wandering Jew led a very quiet and retired life,
seldom speaking at all unless he were asked a question. Whenever he
was Invited into a house, he ate and drank little. At Hamburg, Danzig,
and other places, when he was offered money he accepted only two
shillings, which he in turn gave to the poor. Ho one had ever seen him
laugh. He never stayed long in one place, but he always knew the lan¬
guage of whatever country he happened to be in. Many people came to
see him, even from distant places, believing that he was a miraculous
person; for he was always attentive to the word of God and sighed deeply
whenever the name of Christ was pronounced. Whenever the name of God
was uttered in a curse, he would sigh deeply and say:
"Miserable man, miserable creature! wilt thou take lightly
the name of thy lord and God, and of his great suffering and torture?
Hadst thou seen it as I did, hadst thou seen how hard the wound of
thy Saviour was for thee and me, thou wouidst rather do a great
harm to thyself than pronounce his name lightly."


25
Ahasuerus stated that he was unable to explain why God had
left him upon this earth, wandering around in such wretchedness,
"otherwise than that God wished him to remain until the Day of Judg¬
ment as a living sign against the Jews, hy which the unbelieving and
the godless might he reminded of Christ's death and he turned to re-
pentence." For his own part, he wished that he might he released from
this life.
The author of this pamphlet concludes hy citing several other
instances in which this mysterious Wandering Jew was reported to have
20
been seen in Spain, Austria, Poland, leiffland, and Eussia.
These early seventeenth century German pamphlets present hy
far the most complete account of the mysterious wanderer that had ap¬
peared up to that time. Obviously the author has slightly altered the
older legendary material and has made some additions to it. A rather
detailed description of the wanderer's physical appearance and behavior
is given for the first time. His occupation has been changed from that
of a doorkeeper of Pilate's hall to that of a shoemaker. He has been
supplied with a wife and child. And, most important of all, Jewish
nationality for the first time has definitely been attributed to him.
The differences that exist between the German pamphlets of the
early seventeenth century and the older legends of Cartaphllus, Butta-
deus, and Malchus have led some scholars to regard Ahasuerus as the
pA
Conway (pp. 6-12) has printed a translation of the complete
text of this pamphlet.


26
original creation of a seventeenth century German author. Eduard
Konig, for instance, discusses some of these points of disagreement and
concludes that "the absolute independence which clothes the Ahasuerus
of 1602 narrative renders it scarcely possible to suppose that it was
21 .#
evolved from earlier fables." Xonig is not alone in his belief. The
New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge states "There can
be no doubt as to the fact that the story of the Wandering Jew first
became known in the year of 1602; and it is probable that it originated
then." While the similarity between the Ahasuerus story and the older
legends is recognized, it is stated that "in its main outline the
story of the Wandering Jew is so distinctive that it must be regarded
as the independent invention of an individual. Had the author had any
inkling of those earlier tales he would have referred to them in some
22
way, as later editors expressly did..."
Certainly there are differences between the Ahasuerus of 1602
and the antecedent legends. They are, for the most part, however, dif¬
ferences of detail only. In fact, Ahasuerus is mainly a composite of
the characteristics which had already been attributed to Cartaphilus,
Buttadeus, and Male has. The similarities are far more striking than
the differences. All four tales concern an individual who Insulted
^Eduard Kffnig, "The Wandering Jew," The Nineteenth Century
Magazine. IX (1907), 3.
^"Wandering Jew," The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of
Religious Knowledge. XII, 261.


27
Christ and who was punished by being told to remain alive on earth
until His second advent* In all four instances the curse was pro¬
nounced after Christ had been taken prisoner by the Jews before His
crucifixion. Tne wandering motif which appears in the German version
was already a recognized characteristic of the Buttadeus legend* The
piety of Ahasuerus has its counterpart in both the Cartaphilus and
the Buttadeus legends* And lastly* the combination of remorse and
despair which Ahasuerus displays can probably be traced to the Malchus
story.
Even the objection that, if the author had "had any inkling of
those earlier tales he would have referred to them in some way," can
be surmounted. Entirely disregarding the fallacious reasoning involved
(Shakespeare's indebtedness to Plutarch for the story of Antony and
Cleonatra could be questioned on the same grounds), the fact remains
that in one of the German pamphlets of 1602 there is a direct reference
to Buttadeus. The title page of the Dantzig pamphlet reads as follows:
Kurtze Beschreibung und Erzehlung von einem Juden der sich nennet
Ahaszverus (Aber von Guidone Bonato einem furtrefflichen Astrónomo
auszursachen Johan. Buttadeus genennt wird) Welcher bey der Creut-
zigung Christi selbst personlich gewesen auch das Grucifige uber
Christum hab helffen schreyen und umb Barrabam bitten hab auch nach
der Creutzigung Christi nimmer gen Jerusalem kpnnen kommen auch
sein Weib und Kinder nimmer gesehen und seithero in Leben ge-
blieben und vor etlich Jahren gen Hamburg kommen auch Anno 1599 im
December zu Dantzig ankommen.
The conclusion, furthermore, refers to Buttadeus again:
Von diesem Juden schreibt auch Guido Bonatus und nennet jn
Johannem Buttadeum in seiner 141. Consideration de stellis flxls.
mit solchen Vorten: Et dlcebatur tunc, quod erat quídam, qul


28
fuerat tempore ¿ESP CHRISTI. et vocabatur Johannes Buttadeus eo.
gaod impuli bset Dominum. guando ducebatur ad patlbulum. Et
l-pse dixit: Tu expectable me, donee venero. Et ill&. Jflhflnnes
translvit ner Forlivitun. vgdeng ad sanctum Jacobum. Anno. ChrjL.gtl
1267.23
The author of the Dantzig pamphlet, then, directly Identifies
Ahasuerus with the Johannes Buttadeus of Guido Bonatti’s account.
Interestingly enough, although the matter has not yet "been definitely
established, there is some evidence that this Dantzig edition may be
34
the original of the nine German pamphlets which appeared in 1602.
The proof of its priority would furnish conclusive evidence that the
German Ahasuerus was based, at least in part, upon the Buttadeus
legend.
No such direct reference can be found in any of these early
seventeenth century German pamphlets to the older legend of Cartaphilus,
but it is significant, I think, that the Chronica Ma.lora of Matthew of
Paris, which contains the most complete account of the Cartaphilus story,
had been reprinted at Zurich in 1586.^ The story was known on the
continent.
The anti-Semitism of the German Ahasuerus story of 1602 has, I
think, been greatly exaggerated. Most scholars have concluded that
the purpose of the author in relating the story was to stir up animosity
against the Jews. This interpretation has been fostered, apparently,
^Anderson, "Wandering Jew Returns," p. 246.
^Ibld.. p. 238.
25
Conway, p. 23.


29
137 one sentence In the text: Ahasuerus states that he does not know
why God has imposed this punishment upon him unless it is that He
wished him "to remain until the Day of Judgment as a living sign
against the Jews, "by which the unbelieving and the godless might be
reminded of Christ’s death and be turned to repentance," (Chen, too,
the religious turmoil and conflict of the sixteenth and early seven¬
teenth centuries certainly lends plausibility to such an explanation.
But to insist upon the anti-Semitism of the Ahasuerus story is to
ignore the bulk of the text itself, A careful reading will reveal
that Ahasuerus is, if anything, more sympathetically presented than
his predecessors in the antecedent legends had been. He is fully as
sober, pious, and repentant as Cartaphilus and Buttadeus. There is
nothing of defiance in his attitude; he is all humility. Further¬
more, in one respect at least the German author has attempted to
soften the role of Ahasuerus. Both Buttadeus and Cartaphilus were
reported to have struck Christ; nothing is said of a blow in the
Ahasuerus story. If this story be anti-Semitic, it is propaganda of the
subtlest kind; and the seventeenth century was not distinguished by the
subtlety of its propaganda.
The name of Ahasuerus itself presents somewhat of a problem.
It appears in the Bible as the name of a Persian king during whose
reign the story of Esther occurs. K&nig believes that the name Ahasu¬
erus which appears in the German pamphlet can be traced back to the
Purim Festival of the Jews. The dramatic reading aloud of the Book


30
of Esther was apparently a traditional part of this festival. During
this reading the Jews sometimes "became so filled with religious fervor
that they began to curse the memoers of other faiths—especially
Christians. The name Ahasuerus, Konig speculates, may have become
associated with a scornful, mocking attitude toward Christians.
Eventually it may have occurred to some Christian to compose a counter¬
piece in which Ahasuerus was deeply repentant for his former mocking
attitude toward Christ.^6
The anonymous German pamphlets of the early seventeenth
century were largely a fusion of materials which are to be found in
earlier legends. But it was these pamphlets which insured the sur¬
vival of the story. At least nine different editions were published
during the year 1602,^ and many more editions in the years following.
The legend was rapidly reaching its maturity. Only one more detail
was lacking. The German name for the mysterious wanderer has always
been and still is "der ewige Jude," the eternal Jew. It was in
France that he received the name by which he is most commonly known
today. In 1609 there appeared in Bordeaux a translation of one of
the German pamphlets under the title Pi scours Yeri table d*un Juif
errant. Leauel maintlent avec parolles -probables avoir esté*-present
a voir crucifier Jesus-Chrlst. et est demeuré* en vie iuscrues a present?**
26Konig, pp. 4-5.
^Anderson, "Wandering Jew Returns," p. 238, note 9.
28Killen, p. 24.


31
With, the addition, of this epithet, "Juif errant," "Wandering Jew,"
Ahasuerus had truly come of age.


32
CHAPTER II
THE WARP AMD THE WOOF
The legend of the Wandering Jew consists of three major
motifs'1’ which are always present in the advanced form of the legend:
the motif of earthly immortality; the motif of blasphemy, sacrilege, or
2
sin against deity; and the wandering motif. Various other minor motifs
are also occasionally present, of course.
First, the Wandering Jew story is only one of a large class of
legends dealing with beings who have been awarded earthly immortality
or preternaturally long life. The number of instances in which the
theme of immortality occurs in the folklore and religion of
^■Throughout this work, the term "motif" is used in the tech¬
nical sense as distinguished from the term "type." Professor Stlth
Thompson has explained the difference between the two terms as fol¬
lows: "A motif is the smallest element in a tale having a power to
persist in tradition. In order to have this power it must have some¬
thing unusual and striking about it. Host motifs fall into three
classes. First are the actors in a tale—gods, or unusual animals,
or marvelous creatures, like witches, ogres, or fairies, or even con¬
ventionalized human characters like the favorite child or the cruel
stepmother. Second come certain items in the background of the action-
magic objects, unusual customs, strange beliefs, and the like. In
the third place there are single incidents—and these comprise the
great majority of motifs...
"A type is a traditional tale that has an independent
existence. It may be told as a complete narrative and does not depend
for its meaning on any other tale...It may consist of only one motif
or of many." Thompson, pp. 415-416.
'Of. infra,, p. 53, n. 44.


33
various countries and civilizations leads one to conclude that it is
one of those basic motifs that are so simple that they occur every-
where.
Reluctance to accept the report of the death of a great hero
or prophet is a human impulse common to all people. Consequently,
religion and folklore are full of stories about great men who never
suffered death but who either remained living on earth or else were
translated directly into heaven. Conway cites one such legend which
can be traced back almost to the time of Zoroaster. This is the legend
of Tima, king of Persia during the golden age. During the reign of
Tima there was neither heat nor cold, death nor decay. Evil was unknown.
Working with Tima was Armaiti, a divine woman who promoted the clear¬
ing of forests, the development of agriculture, and the general advance¬
ment of civilization. Tima ruled over this Utopia for nine hundred
years. After winter came to his country, Tima retired with his friends
to a secluded spot, where they enjoy perfect contentment. Armaitl
still pursued her duties, struggling against the powers of evil. When
she is eventually victorious, Tima will return again to his people.4
2
In 1856 Wilhelm Grimm wrote: "There are, however, some situa¬
tions which are so simple and natural that they seem to occur every¬
where, just as there are thoughts which seem to present themselves of
their won accord, so that it is quite possible that the same or very
similar stories may have sprung up in the most different countries
quite independently of each other.9 Cited by Thompson, p. 368.
4
Conway, pp. 38-39. Conway believes that the Tima legend is eth¬
nically related to that of the Wandering Jew, although eternal life seems
to be the only feature that the legends have In common.


34
Christian tradition also provides several examples of holy men
who never suffered death. The first of these deathless patriarchs men¬
tioned in the Old Testament is Enoch, the father of Methuselah. It is
apparent from the wording of the Old Testament that Enoch did not die,
at least in the usual sense of the word. He is mentioned in an account
of the genealogy and age of the patriarchs, where the age. offspring,
and death of all the others are specifically stated, with each account
always ending, "and he dled.n The monotony and set order of these
accounts lends emphasis and significance to the change which is intro¬
duced into the record of Enoch's life:
And Enoch lived sixty and five years, and begat Methuselah.
And Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hun¬
dred years, and begat sons and daughters:
And all the days of Enoch were three hundred and sixty and five
years:
And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.5
The Talmud gives a much more circumstantial account of his life,
and the commentator explains the obscure language which is used in
Genesis in connection with Enoch's disappearance from the earth:
And it came to pass when the inhabitants of the world had
learned from Enoch the ways of the lord, an angel called to him from
heaven, saying:
"Ascend Enoch, ascend to heaven, and reign over the children of
God in heaven as thou hast reigned over the children of men on
earth.n
And on the seventh day Enoch ascended to heaven in a whirlwind,
with chariot and horses of fire.
And it came to pass after Enoch had gone up to heaven that the
people started out to search for those men who had followed after him.
5Genesis 5:21-24.


36
And on the spot where they had left them they found snow and lee.
They cut through the lee and they found there the dead todies of
the men for whom they were searching, tut Enoch they did not find.
Therefore is this the meaning of the words of Scripture, "And Enoch
walked with God; and he was not" (he was not where search was
made), nfor God had taken him" (Genesis 5:34).6
At any rate, whatever the exact meaning of the Scriptures may
have teen, it Is certain that in popular tradition Enoch remained as one
of the undying ones. In The Koran. It is said of Edris (who corresponds
to Enoch in the Old Testament) that "he was a just person, and a prophet,H
7
and nwe exalted him to a high place.1* In other sacred writings also,
8
Enoch is believed to have teen translated directly to heaven.
There is, however, no such ambiguity possible in the scrip¬
tural account of the last days of Elias, who is perhaps the test-known
Old Testament example of the holy man who was too good to die. For
Elias never suffered death, tut "went up by a whirlwind into heaven."®
The fiery chariot and fiery horses which are seen upon Elias's ascen¬
sion into heaven are reminiscent of the Talmudic account of the ascen¬
sion of Enoch.
Edward Gibbon cites still another example of a Christian legend
based upon the concept of preternatural longevity as a reward. The
^The Talmud, trena. H, Folano (Philadelphia, 1876), pp. 20-21.
7The Koran, trans. George Sale, 5th ed. (Philadelphia, 1868),
O
Ibid.. p. 252, n. a,
94 Kings 2:11
p. 252,


36
episode of the Seven Sleepers, which Gibbon numbers "among the Insipid
legends of ecclesiastical history," was said to have occurred during
the time of the persecution of the Christians by the Emperor Decius.
Seven youths of Ephesus concealed themselves in a cave in an effort to
escape from the tyrant, but Decius, discovering their hiding place,
sealed them in by covering the mouth of the cave with a pile of huge
stones. The seven youths immediately fell into a deep slumber, which
lasted for a period of one hundred and eighty-seven years. When, at
the end of that time, a group of workmen removed the stones, the
sleepers awoke. Thinking that he had only been asleep for a few hours,
one of the youths, Jamblichus, went into town to procure food. He was
puzzled at the unfamiliar sights which greeted him, and was amazed to
see a large cross erected over the gate of the city. When he attempted
to buy food, his antiquated dress and unusual manners aroused such sus¬
picion that he was taken before the Judge. The ensuing conversation
soon revealed the fact that almost two centuries had passed since
Jamblichus and his friends had concealed themselves from the pagan
tyrant. A deputation from the city immediately visited the cavern to
question the other Sleepers, who bestowed their blessings, related their
tales, and then peacefully died.
The story of the Seven Sleepers is also cited, with some varia¬
tions, in The Koran. In that account, however, a few minor human-interest
^Edward Gibbon, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, ed.
Oliphant Smeaton (Hew York, 1910), III, 340-342.


37
details are added which are missing In Gibbon'e account, Vith the
youths was their dog, who also fell into this miraculous slumber and
lay across the entrance to the cave with paws outstretched. The sun
never shone directly into the cave, a fact which The Koran calls "one
of the signs of God," furthermore, the youths seems to have slept
with their eyes open. And lastly, their slumber is extended to a
period of over three hundred and nine years.’*"*'
Stories of long life as a reward are not confined just to the¬
ology, of course. In British tradition, King Arthur is believed never
to have died but merely to have sailed away to Avalon to be healed of
IP
his wounds. In the folklore of the American Indian, the death of
Hiawatha is avoided by having him sail westward on a long journey into
the sunset, "to the Islands of the Blessed." In German folklore it
is believed that the Emperor Frederick Barbarossa still lives, with a
group of his companions inside the Eyffhauser mountain. Many believe
that he will continue to live until judgment day, at which time he will
11The Koran, up. 238-341.
l2"Iet some men say in many parts of England that King Arthur
is not dead, but had by the will of our lord Jesus into another place;
and men say that he shall come again, and he shall win the holy
cross." Sir Thomas Mallory, le Morte D»Arthur, ed. Ernest Rhys
(London, 1923), Vol. II, Bk, XH, Ch. VII, pp. 391.
13"The Song of Hiawatha," The Complete Poetical Works of Henry
Wadsworth Longfellow,» (Boston, 1893), pp. 162-164.


38
arise, conquer the holy sepulchre, and secure peace for all of the
14
Christendom.
All of these legends—those of Enoch, Elias, Arthur, the
Seven Sleepers, Hiawatha, and Barbarosma—deal with the theme of pro¬
longed life as a reward. It might seem at first that these legends have
little relevance to a discussion of the Wandering Jew, since longevity
in them is given as a reward, not as a punishment. But one legend of
this class, the legend of St. John, has almost certainly had a direct
influence upon the formation of the Wandering Jew legend.
The holy scriptures themselves doubtless furnished the basis
for the belief that one of the disciples would never die but would
remain on earth until the second advent of Christ. Por Jesus Himself
is reported to have said, "Amen I say to you that there are some of
them that stand here who shall not taste death till they see the king¬
dom of God coming in power.later, after Christ had been crucified
and had arisen from the dead, he appeared to his disciples to give them
further instructions. He questioned Peter and repeated His instructions
to him three times, which grieved Peters
Peter turning about, saw that disciple whom Jesus loved follow¬
ing, who also leaned on his breast at supper and said: Lord, who
14William J. Thoms, lavs and Legends of Various Nations (London,
1834), p. 1.
15
Mark 8:39. These words of Jesus appear at the head of the Ger¬
man Wandering Jew Pamphlet entitled Eurtze Beschreibung. which was pub¬
lished in Dantzig in 1602. Cf. the reprint in Anderson, p. 246.


39
is he that shall hetray theeT
Him therefore when Peter had seen, he saith to Jesus: lord,
and what shall this nan do?
Jesus saith to him: So I will have him to remain till 1
come, what is it to thee?1®
The failure to consider the conditional nature of this state-
meet later led to the belief that John would never die, even though
the point is explicitly made that such was not the meaning of Jesus’s
words:
This saying therefore went abroad among the brethren, that
that disciple should not die. And Jesus did not say to him: Hé
should not die; but: So I will have him to remain till I come,
what is it to thee?17
Sven when the actual event of John's death proved otherwise,
belief in his immortality persisted, Robert Browning, at the conclu¬
sion of ffA Death in the Desert," briefly alludes to this belief that
John never suffered death:
Por many look again to find that face,
Beloved John's, to whom I ministered.
Somewhere in life about the world; they err:
Either mistaking what was darkly spoke
At ending of his book, as he relates,
Or misconceiving somewhat of his speech
Scattered from mouth to mouth, as I suppose,1®
Sven as late as the seventeenth century there existed a religious sect
in England which believed that a forthcoming restoration of the church
16John 21:20-22.
17John 21:23,
18Robert Browning's Works. Centenary Edition (London, 1912),
IV, 290.


40
19
vas to be 'brought about by the reappearance of St. John.
According to still another belief, although John had been
burled at Ephesus, he was still lying In his grave alive, where he
would remain until the day of Judgment. A brief reference to this
legend Is preserved In the account of Sir John Mandevllle:
From Fathmos men gon vnto Bpheslm a faire cltee & nygh to the
see And />ere dyede seynte John & was buryed behynde the high awtiere
in a toumbe. And f>ere is a fair chirche For cristene men weren
wont to holden f»at place always. And in the tombe of seynt John
is nought but Manna /»at is clept Aungeles mete for his body was
translated In to paradys. And Turkes holden now all A at place
& the chirche And all Asie the lesse Is ycleped Turkye. And
¿ee schull vnderstonde feat seynt John leet make his graue Aere
in his lyf & leyd himself j?erejnne all quyk And perfore somme
men seyn feat he dyed nought, but feat he resteth feere til the
day of doom. And forsothe ¡¡ere is a gret merueyle for men may
see feere the erthe of the tombe apertly many tymes steren & meuen
as J>©r© weren quykke thinges vnder.^0
There may appear to be a vast gulf between the legend of the
Wandering Jew, who struck Christ and was punished with eternal life,
and the legend of the beloved disciple John, who rested on His bosom*
but the two stories show an almost unmistakable kinship. The very
name Cartaphilus, which appears in the chronicle of Roger of Wendover,
seems to link the legend to that of St. John. For in Creek, Cartaphilus
could perhaps best be translated as "dearly beloved"—a meaning which
on
reflects very well the merger of the two legends. The dearly
19Railo, p. 193.
20
"Mandevllle*s Travels," Early English Text Society. Original
Series, CLIII (1919), 14.
21Railo, p. 193.


41
teloved disciple of Jesus has fairly obviously become confused with
the blasphemer who struck Him,
In other versions of the legend the mysterious wanderer is
definitely called John, In Italy, of course, the John becomes
Giovanni, with the added name of Buttadeo. If this name was derived,
as it seems to have been, from a combination of the Italian buttare
(to strike) plus deo (God), the full name of the Wanderer might be
22
translated as "John the God-striker.* This apparent confusion be¬
tween the beloved disciple of Jesus and the scoffer who struck Him is
also revealed by the different names by which the wanderer is known in
various countries: Giovanni Buttadeo, Juan Espera en Déos, Juan Servo
di Dios, ete,^®
All of these legends which have been discussed so far have
dealt with the theme of immortality or supematurally prolonged life as
a reward, not as a punishment. There is, however, another class of
legends in which immortality is bestowed as a curse for some offense
against a deity. Three legends of this class—those of Pindóla, Judas,
and Pilate—appear to be closely related to that of the Wandering Jew.
22Railo, p. 193, Also see the account of Antonio dl Prancesco
di Andrea, where the Wanderer says that he should be called "Giovanni
Batte-Iddio" (battere, to strike, / Iddlo, God), or "Giovanni
perchosse-Iddlo" (percossa. blow, f- Iddlo, God), supra, p. 17
23Supra, p. 18.


42
Eumagusa Minakata has pointed out that many similarities exist
between the legends of the Wandering Jew and a group of legends of
24
ancient India concerning Pindóla, a disciple of Buddha. One of these
legends concerns King As*oka, who, after many unbelievably evil deeds,
was finally converted to Baddhism, After his conversion, he invited
to his palace a group of three hundred thousand Buddhist brothers.
Observing that none of them had occupied the seat of honor, the king
inquired as to the reason and was answered that the seat was reserved
for Pindola, the only living man who had personally seen Buddha. Pin-
dola entered presently with his Innumerable followers and occupied the
seat of honor. His hair was pure white, and his eyebrows were so over¬
grown that he had to lift them in order to see the king. During his
conversation with the king he explained his fate as follows:
"And further, when the Buddha was staying in the kingdom of
S'rtvasti with the five hundred arhats, a daughter of the merchant
prince AnSthapindada happened to live in the kingdom of Fundara-
varddhana, and invited thither the Buddha and his disciples. All
other monks, then, went gliding through the air, but I, exerting
my supernatural energy, held up a huge mount and there went.
Then the Buddha accursed me with these words: ’Wherefore do you
play such a miracle? For which offense I now punish you with
eternal existence in this world, incapable of reaching Hirvána,
thus to guard my doctrine against its destruction.*"
After citing several other variants of the Pindola legend,
Minakata concludes that there are several points of agreement between
it and that of the Wandering Jew. Both are guilty of some offense
against the founder of their religion. Both are consequently doomed
^Eumagusa Minakata, BThe Wandering Jew," Notes and Queries.
Series 9, IV (1899), 121-124.


43
to eternal life as a punishment. They are afterwards devout followers
of the deities whom they offended. They are both shabby in dress.
They are workers of tórneles and healers of disease.
The medieval legends that grew up around the figure of Judas
Iscariot also show several points of similarity to that of the Wandering
Jew. According to the usual version of the story, the parents of Judas
were named Reuben and Cyborea. One night Qyborea, his mother, dreamed
that she was about to conceive a child who would be the ruination of
the whole Jewish people. Accordingly, when the son, Judas, was born,
he was put into a chest and set adrift at sea. The chest floated
ashore on the island of Scariot, where Judas was found and adopted by
the queen of the island. The queen eventually bore a son of her own,
whom Judas one day in a fit of anger killed. He then fled to Jeru¬
salem, where he secured a position in the retinue of Pilate. One day
Pilate, looking into his neighbor’s garden, sent Judas to pick some of
the fruit for him. Unknown to Judas, the garden was that of his own
father, Reuben, When Reuben appeared an argument arose, and Judas
killed him. Afterwards, still ignorant of what he was doing, Judas
married Qyborea, his mother. She eventually told him enough of her
history to make him realize that he had committed not only parricide,
but also incest. At Qyborea1s suggestion, Judas went for forgiveness to
Jesus, whom he joined as a disciple. His inherent wickedness soon mani¬
fested itself again, though, and he betrayed his master for thirty


44
pieces of silver*
In spite of the fact that the death of Jadas is specifically
recorded in the Bible, he was not saved from the doom of eternal pun¬
ishment, According to one legend his soul is condemned always to
wander around the world; and on every tamarind shrub (the tree on
which he hanged himself) he sees his body hanging, torn by dogs and
vultures.2® In other legends, although Judas is confined to hell for
six days of the week, he is allowed to return to the earth on Sunday
for a day of rest,27
The similarities between this legend and that of the Wandering
Jew are obvious: both have to do with sins against Jesus; the element
of eternal punishment and wandering is present in both; and lastly,
the fact that Judas was employed as a member of Pilate's retinue con¬
nects the story with the Cartaphilus legend of Soger of Wendover,
where Cartaphilus is represented aB having been a doorkeeper at Pilate's
gate. As a matter of fact, the Judas legend appears in conjunction
with the Wandering Jew in the seventeenth century French pamphlet
Mstoire admirable d'um iulf errant.22 And in David Hoffman's
25Paull Franklin Baum, "The Medieval legend of Judas Iscariot,"
gMIA. XXXI (1916), pp, 482-483.
26Crane, pp. 196-196.
27Paull Franklin Baum, "Judas' Sunday Best," Modern Language
Review. X7ITI (April, 1923), 168-182.
'Anderson, p. 237, n. 3.


45
nineteenth century novel Chronicle a of Cartaphilus the author has
fairly obviously borrowed from the Judas legend to supply some of the
OQ
earlier details in the life of the Wandering Jew.
According to another Italian legend. Pontius Pilate met with
a similar fate for the part that he played in the crucifixion of Jesus.
This legend records that one day near Rome a wagon loaded with stones
was crossing a deserted section of the country when one of the wheels
sank into the earth. When the wagon was finally freed, it was dis¬
covered that the hole where the wheel had been led into a dark room
underneath the earth. One brave carter offered to allow himself to be
lowered into the room to investigate. After opening several doors, he
came to a room in which a man was sitting at a table. On the table
were paper, pen, and ink, and the man was reading something that he had
written. The carter twice asked him who he was, but received no reply.
Upon the third inquiry, the man offered to write his name on the car¬
ter’s back, but he cautioned him to let nobody but the Pope read what
he had written. The carter took off his shirt, and the man wrote a
few words on his back. Unable to get any further answers from the mys¬
terious man, the carter signaled to be drawn up again and immediately
went to the Pope. He explained what had happened and asked the Pope to
read the mysterious words. His Holiness read the words "I am Pilate,”
and even as he pronounced them the poor carter turned into a statue.
^According to Hoffman, for instance, the mother of Cartaphilus,
like that of Judas, dreams that the son that she is to bear will prove
to be a curse to the Jewish people. Consequently, after Cartaphilus is
born he is shunned by his own relatives. David Hoffman, Chronicles of
Cartaphilus (London. 1853), I, 9-10.


46
And It is said that the mysterious man who had written on the carter’s
back was Pontius Pilate, who was condemned always to stay in the cave
reading the sentence that he had pronounced upon Jesus Christ, with-
30
out ever being able to take his eyes up from the paper.
The element of eternal life, even as a curse, therefore, is
not uncommon in folklore. The legends of Judas and of Pilate pro¬
vide examples of individuals who were cursed with immortality because
of sins which they committed against the person of Christ—a theme
which is very close indeed to that of the Wandering Jew. But for the
emphasis on the wandering motif itself we must search elsewhere.
Sir Thomas Browne, in his inquiry into the origin of the
gypsy race, cites two legends which explain the reason for the wan¬
dering of the gypsies. First, Browne states, common opinion held that
the race of gypsies "first came out of lesser JJgypt, that having de¬
fected from the Christian rule, and relapsed unto pagan rites, some
of every family were enjoyned this penance, to wander about the
world." Browne then continues with another theory for the wandering
of the gypsies which is even closer to the Wandering Jew legend.
Some of the gypsies themselves, he says, "pretend for this vagabond
course, a judgement of Cod upon their forefathers, who refused to enter-
31
tain the Virgin Mary and Iesus, when she fled into their country."
30Crane, pp. 194-195.
3^Sir Thomas Browne, "Pseudodoxia Epidémica," Bk. VI, Ch. XIII,
The Works of Sir Thomas Browne, ed. Geoffrey Keynes, (London, 192$),
TIT, 255,


47
The corse of wandering In this Instance, of course, Is 'bestowed upon
a whole people rather than upon a single individual,
Earl Blind argues quite convincingly for a close relationship
between the Wandering Jew and the legend of the Wild Huntsman, who
refused to allow Christ to drink from a water-trough, telling him
that he should go drink from a horse-pond. Por this insult the Wild
Huntsman is doomed to wander about forever, feeding upon horse-flesh.
Whenever his wild chase goes hy, anyone who calls out to him will be
forced to eat horse-flesh also.
Blind believes, first of all, that the Wild Huntsman himself
"is probably a later mask of the chief Teutonic deity, Wodan, or Odin,
after the latter had been deposed from his high status through the
spread of Christianity." In support of this thesis, he points out
that they show many of the same characteristics: both Wodan and the
Wild Huntsman were known as great wanderers; both rode gray or white
horses; and even the very names by which they are known link the two
figures together. The Wild Huntsman is known in various European
countries as Wotn, Wat, Wode, Wod, and in Sweden as Oden. Finally,
the references to the horse-trough and to the eating of horse-flesh
are thinly veiled reminiscences of the old pagan religion, of the time
when our forefathers worshipped horses and ate horse-flesh.
Hext, there is a close relationship between the legend of the
Wild Huntsman and the Wandering Jew. Although in the legend of the
Wild Huntsman no mention is made of a Jew, the part that Christ plays


48
ie very similar to His role in the Ahasuerus story. In one legend
He is denied the right to drink from a water-trough; in the other he
is denied the right to rest in front of a house. The punishment which
he imposes is in both cases the same: eternal wandering.
finally, if further evidence is needed, in the Black forest,
at Rothenberg, and at other places in Swabia, people actually say that
the "Everlasting Hunter" (der ewige Jager) and the "Everlasting Jew"
(der ewige Jude) are the same person. The two expressions are used
Interchangeably. In other places in Germany and Switzerland, the
Eternal Hunter, the Eternal Jew, the Pilgrim from Rome, and the Wander-
32
ing Pilate are all names for the same legendary character.
This wandering motif is also present in the Mohammedan legend
of Sámeri, who is blamed for seducing his people into idolatry in the
absence of Moses. According to The Koran, it was al Sátaeri who per¬
suaded his people to carry their gold and silver and cast them into
the fire. He then fashioned from this metal a calf, which he claimed
was their God. In spite of the entreaties of Aaron, the people insisted
upon worshipping the calf until the return of Moses. When Moses re¬
turned and learned what had happened, he placed the following curse
upon al Sameri: "Get thee gone; for thy punishment in this life shall
33
be, that thou shalt say unto those who shall meet thee. Touch me not."
32Rarl Blind, "Wodan, the Wild Huntsman, and the Wandering
Jew," Gentlemen^ Magazine. CCXUX (1880), 32-48*
33The Koran, pp. 260-261.


49
Accordingly, al S&nerl vent out Into the desert, where he wandered
around like a wild "beast. And It was "believed that any man who
touched him "became infected with a "burning fever. He was therefore
34 .
shunned by all humanity. This last feature, the belief that Sameri
transmitted a burning fever to all who touched him, connects the
legend with the later belief that the Wandering Jew brought plague and
destruction wherever he went.
_ Still another interesting minor motif, in addition to the major
motif of wandering, may have been supplied by the legend of Cain. For
when the Lord discovered that Cain had slain his brother Abel, he pro¬
nounced the following curse upon him:
Now, therefore, cursed shalt thou be upon the earth, which
hath opened her mouth and received the blood of thy brother at
thy hand.
When thou shalt till it, it shall not yield to thee its fruit:
a fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be upon the earth.36
Elno Rallo insists that the legend of Cain and that of the Wander¬
ing Jew are mutually indebted; he even speculates that the two stories
may have a common origin. During the Middle Ages the fate of Cain was
commonly pictured as resembling that of the Wandering Jew. The fif¬
teenth century French mystery play Le Mistare de Flell Testament tell»
34Ibid.. p. 261, n. 1.
35Cf. R. G. Moulton, "The Wandering Jew Legend," Poet Lore.Ill
(1891), 322-335, for a discussion of the part of the plague in Eugene
Sue’s treatment of the story.
36
Genesis 4:11-12,


50
in detail the story of Cain. After the murder of Abel, the Lord sets
his mark upon Cain, who then begins his ceaseless wanderings, from
which he cannot be released until the Lord sets him free. He is
forced to suffer for the sins of the entire world, and he longs in
vain for death to end his torments.
nAnd the Lord set a mark upon Cain, that whosoever found him
38
should not kill him.M This mysterious mark of Cain has been the
subject of endless controversy. Sir James George Frazer cites many
instances among primitive peoples of the custom of placing a mark of
some kind upon a homicide, sometimes for the purpose of warning other
men away from him, sometimes in order to protect the homicide himself
39
against the ghost of his deceased victim. Frazer, apparently with
tongue in cheek, suggests that, if we may judge by the practices of
primitive peoples, the deity may have adorned Cain with red, white,
or black paint:
For example, he may have painted him red all over, like a
Fijian; or white all over, like a Ngoni; or black all over, like
an Arunta; or one half of his body red and the other half white,
like the Masai and the Nandi. Or if he confined his artistic
efforts to Cain’s countenance, he may have painted a red circle
round his right eye and a black circle round his left eye, in the
Wagogo style; or he may have embellished his face from the nose
to the chin, and from the mouth to the ears, with a delicate
37
°'Hallo, p. 237, n. 213.
®®Genesis 4:15.
39
"The Mark of Cain," Folklore in the Old Testament (London,
!919), I, 78-103.


51
shade of Vermillion, after the manner of the Tinneh Indians. Or
he may have plastered his head with mad, like the Fimas, or his
whole body with cow's dung, like the Kavirondo.^®
Bailo more seriously suggests that, just as those prophets
in the Old {Testament, such as Moses, who had seen the face of the lord
hore on their brows the reflection of His glory, so there gradually
developed a belief that the mark of Cain was a blazing light of some
41
sort on his brow. This detail further links the legend of Cain to
that of the Wandering Jew, who is sometimes pictured as bearing a
42
blazing cross which is imbedded in his forehead as a mark of his sin.
These three motifs, then, are the heart and soul of the Wan¬
dering Jew legend: earthly immortality or preternaturally long life;
blasphemy, sacrilege, or sin against deity; and the wandering motif.
Any legend containing these three motifs can, I think, be considered as
belonging to the same general type as that of the Wandering Jew, al¬
though the science of folklore has not yet reached the point where the
exact generic relationship of all legends of the same type can be def¬
initely determined.
It has also become apparent that the legend of the Wandering Jew
did not, like Minerva, spring forth fully developed at birth. It
^Ibid.. p. 100.
^Hailc, p* 237, n. 1.
42Infra. p. 91.


52
represents rather a fusion of motifs from various older legends, some
of which seem to he widely disassociated from it. The motif of eter¬
nal life, for instance, occurs several times in the Old Testament
and in other sacred hooks of the East. Traces of the legend of St.
John can almost unmistakably he discerned in the medieval and Renais¬
sance accounts of the Wandering Jew in Italy, Spain, and Portugal.
The legends of Findola, Judas, and Pilate even provide examples of
eternal life pronounced as a punishment for sin against deity» the
last two, still more significantly, dealing with offenses against the
person of Christ. The wandering motif Itself, which is a comparatively
late addition to the Wandering Jew legend, may have been suggested by
the wanderings of the Wild Huntsman, of Cain, or of SStaeri. All three
show evidence of being connected with the legend in other respects
also.
Although these three motifs constitute the general type of
legend to which the Wandering Jew belongs, the presence of these three
motifs alone does not justify the classification of a work as one based
directly upon the Wandering Jew theme itself. This story, even as it
appears in the thirteenth century, shows evidence of being a rather
highly developed form of legend. Specific details have been substituted
for generalities. The legend, which may have had a pagan origin, has
been thoroughly Christianized. The characters are named and the events
are localized, all of which Indicates that the legend is comparatively


53
43
well developed. The deity who is offended must be Christ; the man
who strikes or insults him must he a Jew; and the incident invariably
occurs during or shortly after the judgment of Christ by the Jews.
The curse that Christ imposes must be that of immortality or of pro¬
longed life. Finally, the wandering element must be present to some
44
extent. These conditions must be met before a story can be said to
be based directly upon the Wandering Jew theme itself.
On the other hand, a great deal of literature exists which is
based upon one or more of the general motifs which we have seen consti¬
tute the core of the legend. Bailo, Conway, Dorothy Scarborough, and
others include in their discussions of the Wandering Jew theme such
works as are concerned with immortality as it was sought in the al¬
chemical quest for the elixir of life. Logically they might also
include in their discussions works based upon the legends of the Flying
Dutchman and the Wild Huntsman. Admittedly there is a possibility
43Cf. Thompson, pp. 380-381.
44
In some instances, little emphasis is placed upon the wander-
ing motif. Usually the character is referred to as the "Wandering
Jew" (although the German name for him is der ewige Jude, "the eternal
Jew"), out sometimes the wandering element itself is present by impli¬
cation only.
45The sea captain, immortalized by Wagner's opera, who swore
that he would round the Cape of Good Hope, and who was therefore cursed
to wander the seas eternally in a phantom ship. Blind (p. 35) classi¬
fies this legend as a member of the same cycle as the Wandering Jew.


54
that all three legends were developed from a common ancestor. Even
if this theory he true, though, the fact remains that each one of the
legends has undergone a process of specialization and has developed
details peculiar to itself: the Plying Dutchman is the captain of a
phantom ship; the Wild Huntsman is invariably mounted on a horse. 1
choose, therefore, to regard such themes as the elixir vitae, the
Plying Dutchman, and the Wild Huntsman as separate themes which do not
properly fall within the province of this work.
On the other hand, literature which contains all three of the
major motifs of the Wandering Jew legend—immortality, sacrilege, and
wandering—will he considered as lying upon the fringe of the legend
and therefore entitled to some consideration, especially if other evi¬
dence indicates that the theme was suggested hy that of the Wandering
Jew.


55
CHAPTER III
FROM THE MIDDLE AGES TO THE EIGHTEENTH CENTORY
As we have seen, the earliest record of the Wandering Jew that
has survived is an English one, that of Roger of Wendover. neverthe¬
less, for several centuries the theme did not thrive as well In Eng¬
land as it did in other European countries. As a matter of fact,
several histories of the legend would lead one to "believe that it was
completely forgotten in England until it reappeared in the seventeenth
and eighteenth centuries. Dorothy Scarborough, after discussing
Roger of Wendover*s account, mentions no other record of the Wandering
Jew in England until 1797» Both Conway and Railo mention nothing
after Matthew of Paris's account in 1252 until the appearance in 1640
of the anonymous satire The Wandering Jew Telling Portones to Enffl*nh-
men. Actually, however, there are several distinct allusions to the
Wandering Jew in England during the Middle Ages and the early Renais¬
sance. Although the legend was not used as the central theme of any
long literary work during this time, these brief references indicate
that it was not completely forgotten.
The earliest reference in England to the Wandering Jew after
the entry in the chronicle of Matthew of Paris occurs in a manuscript
of The Northern Passion, a medieval versified account of the life of


56
Christ. Although The Northern Passion has survived in fourteen
different manuscripts, ^ only two of these, MS. Rawllnson C.655 and
Brit. Mas. Addit. MS. 31042, contain any reference to the Wandering
Jew. The earlier allusion occurs in Rawllnson C.655, which is be¬
lieved to have been written about the middle of the fourteenth cen¬
tury :2
J it lines a man & /at is f erliche
/at saw Zhesu bo/ dede & qwiked
Els name is Ion potedeu
Wan god was ded sore gan him rew
He saw wit ei^e & wi/^ojt
How Ihesu was to dede bro^t
He sale/ wl/ his mox/e & spekes
Buerich godman /er of recebes
He saw/e crols hole & sonde
How it was laide on/e gronde3
Here no mention is made of any insult to Christ or of any curse
of immortality and wandering. It is merely stated that one Ion Potedeu,
who saw the sufferings of Christ, is still living.
A much more circumstantial account is given in a later manu¬
script, Brit. Mus» Addit. 31042, written about the middle of the flf-
4
teenth century. Here the story of the blow which is struck Christ and
of the curse which He pronounces is briefly related:
dances A. Poster, The Northern Passion. BBTS 147, p. 9.
2Ibid., p. 10.
3Ibid.. p. 142, lines 1520a-1520j.
4
Ibid., pp. 11-12.


57
Jit lyties a mane It is ferlike
that Ihesu saughe bothe dede & qwlke
Iohn putte dieu was his name
he did his lord Mekill schame
he putt Ihesu with his hande
& saide traytour ga forthe here sail ¿baa not
stands
& Ihesu tomed hym />ane agayne
& had stand A>u still in snawe and rayne
& in o/dr wedirs ealde and harde
Tillfi&t I come ogayne warde5
The name nIohn putte dieu" (or "Ion potedeu") that appears in
these two manuscripts indicates that the account is not in the tradi¬
tion of the Cartaphilus legend of Roger of Wendover and Matthew of
Paris. On the contrary, the name indicates that the account is a
version of the legend of Buttadeus, who was also known as Boutedieu
or Botadieu in france.® It has already been demonstrated that the name
Buttadeus is probably a combination of the two Italian words meaning
7
"strike or blow" and "God," The Treneh form of the name appears to
be merely a translation of those two Italian words, so that the mean¬
ing "strike or blow" (bout) and "God" (dieu) is still preserved. The
English form "putte dieu" is, on the other hand, probably only a par¬
tial anglicization of the french form of the name, for the Hew Eng¬
lish Dictionary lists as one of the Middle English uses of "putt"
the meaning "to phsh, shove, or strike." Indeed, in the third line
5Ibld.. EBTS 145, p. 174, lines 1520a-1520j.
6Ibid.. SETS 147, pp. 72-73.
7 Supra, p. 40,


58
of the above passage, "he putt Ihesu with his hande," the word "putt"
is used with this meaning. Therefore it is fairly clear that "putte
dieu" represents merely a partially anglicized form of the French
"Boutedieu. "
These two manuscripts of The Northern Passion contain the only
references during the Middle Ages which can definitely he identified as
allusions to the Wandering Jew. Other tentative identifications have
been made, hut they rest upon much less certain evidence.
ft. S. Bushnell, for instance, has attempted to identify with
the Wandering Jew the old man in Chaucer's The Pardoner's Tale who
gave the three rioters directions for finding death. Although
Chaucer does not describe the old man at length, he does sharply indi¬
vidualize him with a few deft strokes. He is a very aged man, so old
that his body is almost wasted away. His body is completely "for-
wrapped" except for his face. He appears to be a very meek and pious
person. But his most striking characteristic is his inability to die:
This olde man gan looke in his visage,
And seyde thus, "For I ne kan nat fynde
A man, though that I walked into Tnde,
Neither in citee ne in no village,
That wolde chaunge his y out he for myn age;
And therefore moot I han myn age stille,
As longe time as it is Goddes ville.
Ne Deeth, alias! ne wol nat han my lyf.
Thus walke I, 3yk a resteless kaityf,
And on the ground, which is my moodres gate,
I knokke with my staf, bothe erly and late.
And seye, "leeve mooder, leet me in!8
8,
The Pardoner * s Tale. The Complete Works of Geoffrey Chaucer.
ed. F. ft. Bobinson (Boston, 1933), p. 184, lines 720-731.


59
Although he himself is seeking release from this life by death,
he appears to be doomed to a life of indefinite length unless he can
find someone who is willing to exchange his youth for the old man's
age. Bushnell attempts to connect this feature with the element of
rejuvenation which appears in some of the older treatments of the Wan¬
dering Jew legend.
The old man is certainly a wanderer. He himself states that
he walks about "lyk a resteless kaityf," and that although he has
traveled widely he has found no one willing to exchange youth for age.
Furthermore, Bushnell argues, the old man is "the one «Just figure in
an exemplum attacking drunkenness and gluttony," a fact which is
paralleled by Roger of Wendover's account that Cartaphllus was satis¬
fied with moderate food and clothing.
Chaucer's old man, of course, does not appear to have been a
Jew. But, as we have seen, neither was Cartaphllus or Buttadeus. In
the earlier stages of the development of the Wandering Jew legend
there is not a bit of evidence that the man who insulted Christ was a
Jew. The element of Jewishness was not introduced into the legend until
the early seventeenth century.
The thesis that Chaucer's old man in The Pardoner's Tale may
have been suggested by the figure of the Wandering Jew is not entirely
original with Bushnell, as he himself acknowledges. The connection
between the two figures had been previously suggested by Ten Brink and
^Bushnell, p. 454.


60
and H. S. Canty, among others. The only difficulty as Canty saw It,
was the lack of evidence that the Wandering Jew legend existed in
a form old enough for Chaucer to have had access to it. Bushnell,
therefore attempts to establish the fact that the legend of the Wan¬
dering Jew was by the time of Chaucer already highly enough developed
and sufficiently well known for Chaucer to have used it as a model for
his old man.
That the legend of the Wandering Jew was known before the
time of Chaucer is undeniable. As we have seen already, several ref¬
erences to the legend in one form or the other occur during the thir¬
teenth and fourteenth centuries.^® But the fact remains that the
legend was apparently not at all well known in England during the time
of Chaucer. Only one definite allusion to the story in the fourteenth
century has been found.
In conclusion Bushnell lists a nereuasive number of parallels
which he rather cavalierly assumes that he has established between the
two figures; piety, immortality, rejuvenation, and wandering. At
least one of these parallels—that of rejuvenation—i s weak and uncon¬
vincing. All that can really be said is that both the Wandering Jew
and Chaucer^ old man in The Pardoner^ Tale are pious old men who
wander around unable to die. Even this similarity between the two
figures, might be enough to suggest that Chaucer was influenced at
least in part by the figure of the Wandering Jew, were it not for the
10
3S2E2* PP. 10-17


61
fact that the legend was so little known in fourteenth century England}^
In short, until further evidence to the contrary Is uncovered, It seems
more likely that Chaucer was not familiar with the legend of the Wan¬
dering Jew, and Bushnell's theory remains only a remote possibility—
an interesting, hut unproved, hypothesis*
A much more likely identification of the Wandering Jew in med¬
ieval literature has been made by Archer Taylor, who finds what he be¬
lieves to be a reference to the eternal wanderer in William Dunbar*s
"Plyting of Dunbar and Kennedy.B At one point Dunbar gives a list of
scoundrels whom he considers appropriate relatives for "Deulbeir":
Hero thy nevow, Golyas thy grantslre,
Pharao thy fader, Egipya thy dame...
Termygantis temp J_ t_/ ise the, et Waspasius
thine erne;
Belzebub thy full brother will clame
To be tfcyne air and Cayphas thy sectour;
Pluto thy hede of kyn...
Herod thyne othir erne, and grete EgeaB,
Marciane, Máchemete, and Maxencius,
Thy trew kynnismen, Antenor et Eneas,
Throp thy nere nece, and austern Olibrius,
Puttidew, Baal and Hyobalus.^2
Practically all of these names which are enumerated have already
been satisfactorily identified, except Throp and Puttidew. Hone of
^There is, of course,, a possibility that Chaucer could have
encountered the legend on one of his trips to Italy, where the legend
of Buttadeus had a comparatively wide circulation, but there is no
evidence to support this conclusion.
^The Poems of William Dunbar, ed. W. Mackay Mackenzie (London,
1932), p. 19, lines 529-541.


62
Dunbar’s editors hare been able to explain the allusion to Puttidew,
although the usual explanation is that the word is a combination of
netlt and dieu. an explanation which does not throw much light on the
problem.^-3 Taylor suggests that Puttidew is really the Wandering Jew,
who had already appeared in The Northern Passion as "Iohn putte dieu,"
Taylor’s identification is, I think, convincing: the similarity in
names is striking, and the context in which the name appears lends
support to his theory. To the medieval mind the man who struck Christ
would certainly not be out of place in the company of such villains as
Hero, Cayphas /, Caiphas_7 and Herod,
Dunbar’s brief allusion to ’’Puttidew" is the only reference
to the Wandering Jew in sixteenth century England that has come to
light. After Dunbar there followed a period of over one hundred years
of literary silence in regard to the legend. There is not one shred
of evidence to Indicate that the legend was known at all in England
throughout the rest of the sixteenth century. It appears to have been
well on its way to oblivion and might well have died out completely
had it not been for the renewal of interest in the story which was fos¬
tered by the appearance of the Kurtze Beschrelbung and its offspring
in seventeenth century Germany. Por unquestionably the next work to
appear in England on the subject of the Wandering Jew was a product of
the early seventeenth century renaissance of the legend.
lsTaylor, p. 394, n. 2.


63
The Stationers Register records under the date of August 21,
1612, that one Edward Mar chant "Entred for his Copy vnder the hand
of Master Harrison Warden A hallad called Wonderfull strange newes
out of Germany of a Jewe that hath lyued Wandringe euer since the
passion of our Saul our Christ."^4 later, under the date of Octo¬
ber 9, 1620, John Harriot and John Grisman are recorded as having
entered "a ballett of the Wandringe Jew," The editor of The Rox¬
burgh Ballads believes this to be the same ballad as that which was
entered in 1612. Although no copies of either the 1612 or the 1620
issue are extant, he believes that the version that he reprints,
under the title "The Wandering Jew; or the Shooemaker of Jerusalem"
16
represents an "almost uncorrupted text." The same ballad also
17
appears in Percy*s Religues under the title "The Wandering Jew."
Whatever the title one chooses to assign to it, this ballad
represents the first English work to contain the new details which
were added to the legend during its revival in Germany in the early
seventeenth century. As a matter of fact, the English ballad seems
14A Transcript of the Registers of the Company of Stationers
SL London, ed. Edward Arber (London, 1876), III, sub voce August 21,
1612.
15Ibid>. IV, 16The Roxburgh Ballads^ VI, 688,
^Thomas Percy, Religues of Ancient English Poetry, ed, Robert
Aris Willmott (London, 1857), pp. 327-330.


64
to have been modeled directly after one of these German pamphlets or
perhaps a translation or adaptation thereof. The story follows the
pattern that we have already seen established: First a brief account
is given of the trial and sentencing of Christ. Then we are told how
Christ stopped in front of the Jewish shoemaker's house, of the blow
that he suffered, the curse that he pronounced, and of the shoemaker's
subsequent wanderings.
This general outline of the story, of course, could have been
taken from some version of the old Buttadeus legend, as the reference
in The Northern Passion was. It is not the general outline, but
rather the individual details which connect this ballad with the "new"
Ahasuerus story in Germany. The man who insulted Christ is in the
English ballad a Jewish shoemaker with a wife and a child. He, too,
like the German Ahasuerus, after wandering around for years following
the crucifixion, returns to Jerusalem only to find it destroyed. He,
too, when money is offered to him will accept only a pittance, which
he afterwards gives to the poor, saying that Christ will take care of
him. And lastly, his reproof to blasphemers is almost identical to
that of the German Ahasuerus:
He was not seen to laugh or smile, but weep
and make great moan,
lamenting still his miseries, and days fore
spent and gone.
If he hears any one Blaspheme, or take God's
name in vain;


65
He tells them that they crucify our Saviour
Christ again*
"If thou had'st seen grim Heath*" said he*
"as these mine eyes have done*
Ten thousand thousand times* would ye his
torments think upon;
And suffer for His sake all pains* all torments
and all woes."
These are his words and this his life, where'er
he comes and goes.
One detail which regularly appeared in the seventeenth century
German pamphlets* however* is omitted entirely in the English hallad.
The name Ahasuerus does not appear at all; the man who struck Christ
is simply called "the Jew," "the Wandering Jew," or "the shoemaker."
Ho satisfactory explanation has been offered for the omission of this
detail* hut the fact remains that the name Ahasuerus was not associ¬
ated in England with the Wandering Jew, so far as I can determine*
until the early part of the nineteenth century.
As we have already seen, there was hardly a trace of anti-
Semitism in the Ahasuerus story when it first appeared in Germany.
Similarly, there was no anti-Semitic purpose in the Cartaphllus and
Buttadeus legends as they were known in England prior to the seven¬
teenth century. The English hallad of 1612* though, contains the first
traces of anti-Semitism to he associated with the Wandering Jew legend
in England;
^®This same idea—that swearing and blasphemy are tantamount to
to crucifying Christ again—is also found in The Pardoner's Tale. Cf.
Chaucer, Works, p. 181, lines 472-475.
19
Roxburgh Ballads. VI. 43, lines 87-94


66
When as in fair Jerusalem our Saviour Christ did live,
And for the Sins of all the World his own dear life
did give;
The wicked Jews, with scoffs and scorns, did daily him
molest,
That never, till he left this life, our Saviour could
have rest.
Repent therefore. 0 England] Repent while you have
space?
M, 4a &*&) As.rn.Ug. SaHa
proffered grace. 20
Although the author of this hallad contributed little in the
way of new details to the development of the legend, the work never¬
theless has a certain amount of charm. The story is told in a simple,
straightforward manner, and there is no striving after effect. Not
as much can he said for The Wandering Jew1 s Chronicle, which first
appeared in 1634.2* The rather long metrical subtitle of this ballad
is a surprisingly accurate description of its contents?
The Old Historian, hie brief declaration.
Made in a mad fashion of each Coronation,
That pass'd in this Nation, since William's
Invasion,
Tor no great occasion, but meer Recreation,
To put off Vexation22
The Wandering Jew actually plays no organic part in the story
of this ballad, but only serves as a sort of framework for the story.
Nothing at all of the traditional legend is related; there is no men¬
tion of Christ or of the crucifixion, no insult or blow dealt to
^Ibid.. p. 42, lines 1-6. The italics appear in the text.
21Ibid., p. 697.
22Ibid.. p. 695.


67
Christ, no corse of wandering. Only one aspect of the theme is
utilized—that of immortality—and the Jew's immortality is seized
upon merely as a convenient vehicle for a rather tedious relation of
the vari ous kings of England since the time of William the Conquerer,
The opening few stanzas will suffice to indicate the general nature
of the contents
When William Duke of Bormandy with all his Bormana
gallantly
This Kingdom did subdue;
Tull fifteen years of age 1 was, and what e're since
hath come to pass,
I can repeat for true.
I can remember since he went from London for to
conquer Kent.
Where, with a walking Wood,
The men of Kent compassed him, and he for aye
confirm'd to them
King Edward's Lavs for good.
Likewise I William Rofus knew, and saw the Arrow
that him slew.
Hard by a Forrest side:
I well could tell /you_J if I list, or better tell
you if I wist.
Who next to him to ride.33
The Wandering Jew's Chronicle would be of little interest to
students of the legend were it not for the fact that is very omissions
are significant. The author mentions none of the circumstances of the
crucifixion which were commonly related as an introduction to the
figure of the Wandering Jew. He apparently feels safe in assuming that
his readers were already familiar with the general outlines of the
23
Ibid., p. 695, lines 1-12.


68
legend and would "be willing to accept his Immortality without question.
Numerous other allusions to the legend in English literature during
the first half of the seventeenth century Indicate that the story was
becoming well known and that the author’s assumption may have been
justified.
A comparatively detailed account of the legend, for instance,
has been found in a commonplace book belonging to the Shann family of
Methley, Yorkshire.®* The story, most of which is related in the
handwriting of William Shann, appears to be based ultimately upon the
Kurtze ~Bw nr.brnr one of its offspring in Germany. As a matter
of fact, Shann actually mentions nan Epistle, printed at Leiden in the
year 1602." Other details, such as the date 1542 for the appearance
of Ahasuerus in Hamburg, make it apparent that the Leiden pamphlet
was the ultimate source of at least part of his information, although
a Trench translation may have been his direct source. Other details
of . Shann1 s account indicate that he also drew from other sources! his
mention of the Wanderer in Paris and Chalons suggests the Trench
pamphlet "Les rencontres faist ces jours passez du Juif-Errant"; his
mention of Hungary and Tlanders suggests the Dudulaeus tale of 1613.
Actually Shann" s account contains no features which had not already
appeared in earlier reports of the legend; it does demonstrate, however,
®*Cf. G, K. Anderson, "Wandering Jew Returns," pp. 243-247.
The following summary is based upon Anderson's account.


69
that materials were not lacking for an Englishman who was interested
in the Wandering Jew.
There are also other distinct allusions to the Wandering Jew
during the first half of the seventeenth century—enough to Indicate
that the story had a fairly wide circulation. In 1632 William
Idthgow mentions the "Wandering Jew, the Shoomaker of Jerusalem...,
of whom in Rome, they have wrot ten thousand fahles and fopperies."2®
In 1635 John Taylor, in reporting the remarkable tale of a man from
Shropshire who was credited with being 152 years old, found ample
precedent for such longevity. He cites numerous examples of such
prolonged life, including that of the Wandering Jew:
Iohn Buttadeus (if report be true)
Is his name that is stil’d, The Wandering lew.
’Tis said, he saw our Saviour dye; and how
He was a man then, and is living now;
Whereof Relations you (that will) may reade;
But pardon me, ’tis no part of my Creed.
Even Sir Thomas Browne, in his Psendodoxla Epidémica, gives a brief
summary of Matthew of Paris’s account of the legend, adding that the
story "is very strange and will hardly obtain belief." He later
comments:
Surely were this true, he might be an happy arbitrator in many
Christian controversies; but must impardonably condemn the obstinacy
^^The Rare Adventures of William lithgow (Slasgow. 1906),
p. 304.
2®"The Old, Old, Very Old Man," Works of John Taylor (Manches-
ter, 1870), p. 26.


70
of the Jews, who can contemn the Rhetorick of such miracles, and
"blindly "behold so living and lasting conversions.27
All of these works, references, and allusions testify to the
popularity of the legend in England during the first half of the
seventeenth century. One other work—a pamphlet entitled The Wander-
28
ing Jew Telling Fortunes to Englishmen (1640)—is also usually cited
as one of the earliest literary adaptations of the legend. Conway
refers to it as "the earliest work" in England "based upon the new
Ahasuerus story, 0, K. Anderson calls it "the next important work
dealing with the Wandering Jew" after the early seventeenth century
30
ballads. Bailo also dutifully mentions it as one of the early
31
treatments of the legend. And it is mentioned by every bibliog¬
raphy on the legend which makes any pretentions to completeness, in¬
cluding that of Soergel. Scarcely a person who has attempted to trace
the development of the legend has neglected to mention this work. Yet,
a careful examination of The Wandering Jew Telling Fortunes to English¬
men will reveal that it is not connected in any way with the legend of
^Works. Ill, 321.
2®Malone has noted that the work must have been composed before
1630, "for on page 52 Spinola and Tilly are both spoken of as living.
Spinola died in 1630 and Tilly in 1632." Cf. Gwendolyn Murphy, £
Bibliography pf English Character Books (Oxford. 1925), p. 122, n. 3
^P. 225.
â– ^"Wandering Jew Returns," p. 247.
31P. 194.


71
the Wandering Jew. The work has "been mistakenly cited so many times
In bibliographies and histories of the legend, however, that a care¬
ful analysis of it is not out of place.
First of all, the work has little claim to originality. The
general outline of the story, several of the character sketches, and
often the very language itself was lifted from an earlier work en-
32
titled The Man in the Moone: or the English Fortune Teller. Indeed,
the parallels between the two works are so close that The Wandering
Jew Telling Fortunes to Englishmen has been referred to as merely "a
modernized adaptation of The Man in the Moone." And if the title
of The Wandering Jew Telling Fortunes to Englishmen is misleading,
as will be demonstrated later, it is no wonder. For in its parent
work, The Man in the Moone - there is no character represented as
being or pretending to be the man in the moon.
Since there is no available version of The Wandering Jew Tell¬
ing Fortunes to nsn^M^hm^n in j. o. Halliwe 11-Phillipps' rather
34
inaccessible edition of Books of Characters. a brief summary of the
story Itself is necessary.
The author, who tells the Btory in the first person, relates
that one afternoon while walking alone he found himself in a solitary
Reprinted in Early English Poetry. Ballads, and Popular
Literature of the Middle Ages, Percy Society (London, 1851), Yol. XXIX.
33Murphy, p. 121, n. 3.
^London, 1857.


72
field. Peeling in a melancholy frame of mind, he lay down on a "bank,
and, before he realized what was happening, he had fallen asleep.
When he awoke, it was already dark, and the gates to the city had been
closed. Slowly turning back into the fields, he eventually saw a light
burning in the window of a house, which he promptly entered. He was
met by a servant, who Informed him that his master, who was called
the Wandering Jew, could tell no more fortunes until morning. When
the visitor insisted, however, he was shown into a parlor, where there
was seated an old gentleman dressed in an odd Jewish habit. The old
gentleman received him kindly and Informed him that in spite of his
odd dress he was an Englishman also. He stated that he had traveled
widely in his life, but that he had returned to his own country,
England, in order to settle down in his old age. Tor some reason,
though, the people of the surrounding country thought that he was a
conjurer, a fortune-teller. He invites his guest to lodge there for
the night and then listen to the stories of his clients the follow¬
ing morning.
The next morning the guest asked the old man to tell him
his real name, and furthermore to explain to him why he was called
the Wandering Jew. The old man answered him as follows:
1 have beene a Traveller many yeares, and felt the heate of
the Sunne in change of countries: at my living in Venice, Z
came acquainted with an Italian Jew named Orlotto, whom meeting
often upon the Rialta, diverse Venetians noting his face and
mine, said we were so like, wee might very easily be taken for
brothers; the Jew being told this, sent for me to his house,
entertain'd me with curious complements, curtesle and cheere,


73
making me vow (for the equail likenesse we both carreyed,) to
call him brother. Nay, he did so affect my company, (I speak¬
ing as good pure Tuscane as he himselfe) and discoursing home
with him, that he wonne me to sojourne with him; and In the
end, (because I strove to please and humour him in all things,
his noble curtesies, binding me to doe so) he wrought me to
go In a rich Jewish habit (such as you see I sit in) so that
all Venice swore I was his brother, and I went (as he did,)
by the name of Orlotto, which name I retaine here still, albeit
my own true name is Egremont,35
Shortly afterwards, a courtier, the first of the old man's
clients, arrives to have his fortune told. Then follows a series of
what amounts to nineteen character sketches, which are directly in
the tradition of the seventeenth century "character," The only devia¬
tion lies in the fact that in this instance the description of each
character is divided into three different speeches: that of Joculo,
the servant who announces the client; that of the client himself, who
describes his condition; and that of the old man, who tells his
fortune.
It should be noted that nowhere in this tract is there any
indication that the old man (Egremont or Orlotto) was, pretended to
be, or was mistaken for the legendary Wandering Jew, He has none of
the essential characteristics which had grown up around the figure
of the Wandering Jew during the course of the last few hundred years.
He had not been living at the time of Christ, He had not dealt an
insult to Christ or to any other deity. He was not under any curse
of compulsory wandering; nor was he under any curse at all. He had
35Halliwell-Phillipps, p. 13


74
not been given eternal life or even unusually long life.
In short, there is nothing at all to connect the old man in
this tract with the legendary Wandering Jew except the name by which
he was known. His servant does state that he was known as the Wan¬
dering Jew. Orlotto himself, however, later makes it quite clear that
this title was not given to him because of any association with the
legendary Wandering Jew. He explains to his guest that he first be¬
gan wearing Jewish clothes in order to please a Jewish friend who
resembled him very closely. Eventually, of course, Orlotto himself
was mistaken for a Jew. He later acquired his reputation as a con¬
jurer or fortune-teller because of an innocent trick which he played
upon an ignorant man, whereby he appeared to find a lost dog.
In short, Orlotto is mistaken for a Jew who has wandered,
but not for the legendary Wandering Jew. There is not one bit of
evidence in this tract to indicate that Orlotto is in any way to be
associated with the man who Insulted Christ and who, as a result, was
cursed with compulsory wandering and eternal life. Why, then, does
the author of the tract choose to call him the Wandering Jew?
Two possibilities present themselves: First, it is possible,
although not likely, that the author himself was unfamiliar with the
legend of the Wandering Jew. The title Wandering Jew which he uses
in referring to Orlotto may be simply an unusual coincidence. Ad¬
mittedly, the allusions to the legend in England during the early
seventeenth century indicate that the story was widely known. It


75
seems unlikely that an English man of letters would he unfamiliar
with the legend. On the other hand, we have no evidence that a pro¬
fessional author is responsible for The Wandering Jew Telling Fortunes
to ffagllshmen. The work is, as we have seen largely an edited version
of an older tract, The Man in the Moone, with several new character
sketches added. It is possible that an uneducated printer or some
other non-literary man, seeking a framework for some "characters,"
seized upon The Man in the Mo one and made a few minor changes. He
may have been altogether unfamiliar with the legend of the Wandering
Jew, and the title by which he refers to Orlotto may be pure coinci¬
dence.
Secondly, and this seems the more likely explanation, the
title The Wandering Jew Telling Fortunes to Englishman may have been
deliberately misleading. The author or editor of this tract may have
introduced the term Wandering Jew into the title in order to capi¬
talize upon the current interest in the legend. Such a practice was
certainly not unheard of. As we have seen, the original author of
The Man in the Moone had also apparently chosen a deliberately mis¬
leading romantic title, for there is no mention of a man in the moon
in his tract.
The editor, then, who was responsible for The Wandering Jew
Telling Fortunes to Englishmen was probably trying deliberately to
mislead his prospective readers and make them believe that his tract


76
was one "based upon the popular legend of the Wandering Jew. He did
not take the trouble, on the other hand, to rework the old tract to
the extent of actually introducing into it the legend of the Wander¬
ing Jew. He merely substitutes as the fortune-teller an old man,
Orlotto, who was popularly believed to be a Jew.
The anonymous tract The Wandering Jew Telling fortunes to
TBqglishmen. therefore, is not based in amy way upon the legend of the
Wandering Jew and consequently should not be included in future his¬
tories and bibliographies of the legend.
After the initial flurry of interest during the early part
of the seventeenth century, the popularity of the legend in England
seems to have waned. There were no further significant appearances
of the Wandering Jew in English literature throughout the rest of
the century, although his memory was kept alive to some extent by
English translations of continental works in which he appeared. One
of the most popular translations, if we can judge by the number of
editions that it went through,®® was that of Giovanni Maraña1 s Letters
of a Turkish Spy. In a letter dated 1644, "the spy" states that he
met a man in Paris who claimed to be the Wandering Jew. The Jew
X. Anderson states that the English translation went
through twelve editions before 1748. Of. "The Neo-Classical
Chronicle," p. 200, n.6.


77
stated that his name was Michob Adler,37 and that he had "been cursed
with eternal life for the sin of thrusting Christ out of the hall of
Pilate. Although the learned believe that he is an impostor, many of
the ignorant and superstitious attribute miraculous powers to him,
such as the ability to heal diseases and escape from prisons. He
speaks many different languages and is full of interesting accounts
about the great events of history. He claims to have known person*»
ally such men as Mohamet, Solimán, and Tamerlane, and says that he
was in Home when Nero set fire to the city. "The spy" adds that, if
this man's pretentions are true, he is "A living chronology," and
might pass for "the younger brother of time."3®
The Vandering Jew also appears briefly in Simon Tjrssot de
Patot1 s Voyages et Aventures de Jacques Masse, which was translated
39
into English in 1733 as The Travels and Adventures of James Massey.
In this work the author claims to have had dinner with the Wandering
Jew, who once again calls himself Micob. He seems to possess most of
the characteristics of his namesake in Letters of a Turkish Spy? he
37This name also survives in later treatments of the story.
In the short story The Door of Unrest (in Sixes and Sevens) O'Henry
pons upon the name by calling his eternal wanderer by the Irish name
of Mike O'Bader.
3®Giovanni Maraña, Letters Written by a Turkish Spy (London,
1801), II, 352-357.
^Translated by "the Celebrated Monsieur Bayle" (London, 1743),
pp. 9-12. This work has not previously been noted as containing an
account of the Wandering Jew.


78
speaks many languages, has traveled all over the world, and is happy
to give a first-hand account of all the great events of history which
he has witnessed. One of his most Interesting stories was about the
saints who arose at the crucifixion of Christ. He stated that all
Jerusalem was alarmed when it was reported that those at the burial
ground had seen the earth shake, the graves open, and naked bodies
arise from their graves. Ho one was able to tell of what sex the
bodies were, for they all appeared to be the same size, the same age,
and of the same complexion, and there was no mark by which they could
be distinguished from one another. There was not a single hair upon
their bodies; several opened their mouths, but there were no teeth
to be seen; and their fingers seemed to be completely without nails.
All these observations led the Wandering Jew to conclude that the
excremental parts and those which serve to grind, swallow, and digest
food on this earth will not accompany us to the afterlife, where, of
course, they would be useless*
Up until the middle of the eighteenth century the Wandering
Jew, while having made several incidental appearances in English
literature, had not yet been the central figure in any long literary
work. Hé seems to have made his debut into English prose fiction with
the publication in 1757 of a ninety-five page pamphlet entitled The
B-story of Israel Jobaon. the Wandering Jew, "by M.W." who has been


79
40
identified as Miles Wilson, an English clergyman. In his preface
the author explains that he found this work written in the Chinese
language and has taken the trouble to translate it into English.
According to Wilson's story, Israel Jobson, the Wandering
Jew, was the son of a cordwainer. His wife’s parents, however,
believed that his occupation of shoemaker was below his dignity,
and persuaded him to sell his shop during the fair "held on the
Seventeenth Day of the Month Abib or Harvest Month." At this fair,
Christ passed by and asked to rest; upon being rebuffed by Israel
Jobson, he pronounced his famous curse "Thou shalt walk while I shall
rest."
Although, as usual, the Wandering Jew claims to have been
everywhere and seen everything, he does not insist, as some of his
predecessors in fiction had done, upon correcting the history books.
He has more Interesting things to relate. Tor on one occasion, while
in deep despair, he prayed to Cod that his sentence might be miti¬
gated. His prayer was heard, and an ethereal chariot with an angel
seated therein descended from heaven. Jobson’s sentence had been
mitigated to the extent that he was allowed to wander around for a
while in the heavens with the angel as his guide.
The first heavenly body to be visited is the Moon,vhich is
populated by a peculiar species of individuals made of "Pan Metal."
40Cf. C. K. Anderson, "History of Israel Jobson," pp. 303-320.
The following summary is based upon Anderson's account.


80
In his conversations with these moon-people Johson learns something
of their customs and society, and as he leaves he sees the little
moon-hoys leaping around on the rocks and occasionally breaking an
arm to provide business for their coppersmith-surgeons. Others
of the metal folk are asleep, snoring "like so many Organ Pipes or
Brazen Trumpeters."
In the same way Johson is treated to similar unusual spectacles
on the other planets. The inhabitants of Mars "are of the Neuter Gen¬
der, that is, they are of no Sex: They never remove from their Station,
and are as fix'd as Trees, and so will remain to the End of Time."
They possess two sets of eyes. While sleeping with one set, they can
with the other gaze on the beauties of creation. On Saturn, on the
other hand, the inhabitants are of immense size and have one eye in
J
the front of their heads and the other in the back.
During the intervals when the Wandering Jew and the angel are
traveling from one planet to the next, the angel (whose pedantry and
garrulity are reminiscent of Chaucer's eagle in the House of Fame)
undertakes to educate Jobson in the fields of science and astronomy.
Unfortunately, he is not always correct, light travels at 186,000
miles per second, not 2,103,475, as the angel states. And in his
description of the various important organs of the body, he falls
back upon the medieval doctrine of the natural, vital, and animal
spirits.


81
Both Johson and the angel appear to he confirmed deists.
The creation, the angel explains, is as it vas intended to he, and
is, therefore, as it should he. All things hare a proper function
and place, and everything fits into God's great scheme. Jobson is
continuously filled with awe and amazement at the perfection and
design of the universe. One of the most typically deistic passages
occurs in the angel's answer to Johson's question of how the inhab¬
itants of Jupiter fit into the Creator's design:
There is in this World as well as in all the other of your
System, an infinite Swarm of Anlmalculae, of which many Thousands
may Dance on the Point of a Needle, there is scarce an Atom that
is not peopled with life, every Green Leaf, every single Humour
in the Body of Man, abounds with ifyriads of living Creatures, and
the Surface of one Animal is the Basis of another that lives upon
it, and, as there is a Succession of these and other Animals from
the Minutest to the largest Monster, so there is a Gradation of
Reason from the vilest Anlmalculae, to the lord of the Planet.^
After traveling around throughout the Milky Way and even
visiting the very gates of heaven, where they are received by Moses
and the heavenly hosts, the Wandering Jew and the angel return to
the earth, where Johson is left to continue his wanderings. He
wanders on to China, where, in keeping with the tradition that he
knew all languages, he wrote his memoirs in Chinese. Miles Wilson
claims subsequently to have found them and to have translated them
for the benefit of the English-speaking public.
The History of Israel Johson is Interesting mainly as a
curiosity piece. It is certainly not distinguished by the skillful
41
2UUU p. 313


82
Way In which the legend of the Vandering Jew is dramatized. The
legend Itself serves only as a sort of framework for the story.
Throughout most of the story the legend itself remains in the "back¬
ground, only to come into prominence again at the conclusion. Func¬
tionally, Israel Johson simply plays the part of a privileged person
who is allowed to tour the heavens. The Inherent drama of the
legend of the Vandering Jew is deliberately restrained. The cruci¬
fixion itself is not directly mentioned, probably because the author
realized that it would not set the proper tone for the whimsical and
sometimes farcical attitude that he later assumes.
Yet The History of Israel Jobson remains the first English
work of any considerable length in which the Vandering Jew appears
as the central character. Still further, it is the first native Eng¬
lish literary adaptation (as distinguished from a simple redaction)
of the legend. Vhen the legend first appeared in England in the
chronicle of Roger of Vendover, it was regarded as one of many medie¬
val "miracles," a story whose purpose was to testify to the truth of
the Christian religion. It was, furthermore, a story which was re¬
lated as the truth. Throughout the middle ages and up until the early
seventeenth century scattered allusions indicate that it was still re¬
garded in the same light. The renaissance of the legend in seventeenth
century Germany also resulted in a brief revival of its popularity in
England. The new Ahasuerus story was related in fairly complete form
in the ballad "The Vandering Jew or the Shooemaker of Jerusalem" and


83
in the account of Bichard Shann. Both of these works, however, are
really redactions of the legend rather than literary adaptations.
Another work, The Vandering Jew felling Fortunes to Englishmen, has
been demonstrated not to he based upon the legend of the Wandering
Jew at all.
During the early part of the eighteenth century, though, more
imaginative accounts of the legend began to appear, at first in the
form of translations of continental works. The Wandering Jew appears
in The Turkish Spy as a person who, having lived for over 1600 years,
is well prepared to give a dramatic account of the great events of
history. In The Travels of James Massey he is introduced as a per¬
son who can make an authoritative pronouncement on a typical fine
point of medieval theology. Finally, in The History of Israel
Jobson, he appears as an inter-planetary traveler and a mouthpiece
for deistic philosophy.
The literary possibilities of the legend were vaguely begin¬
ning to be realized. Most of these early attempts were faltering,
uncertain experiments, but progress was being made. It remained, how¬
ever, until the last part of the eighteenth and the early nineteenth
centuries, in short, the Bomantic Movement, for the legend to burst
into full literary bloom.


84
CHAPTER IV
THE ROMANTIC MOVEMENT
Among the characteristics which are usually associated with
pre-Romantic and Romantic literature are a number which seem to pro¬
vide a favorable background for the flourishing of the Wandering Jew
legend. Many of these characteristics, of course, are also to be
found to some extent in earlier English literature, but during the
latter part of the eighteenth century there was an Increased empha¬
sis upon certain distinctive features. Those having special sig¬
nificance in regard to the study of the Wandering Jew are (l) a
love of the exotic and remote, (2) an increased Interest in the
supernatural, (3) a preoccupation with the theme of death, and (4) a
passionate devotion to liberty and a sympathy for the oppressed.
There is evidence, for instance, that authors were becoming
increasingly attracted to exotic settings, to stories of "old unhappy
far-off things and battles long ago." This interest extended not
only to the remote in time, as manifested by such works as MacPherson's
Osslan (1760)T Percy's Religues (1765). and Chatterton's ballads, but
also to the remote in a geographical sense. There was, for Instance,
a veritable flood of oriental literature: Beckford's Vathek (1786),
Johnson's Ráeselas (1759). Mrs. Sheridan's Nouriahad (1767). and
John Hawkesworth's Almoran and Hamet (1761), to name only a few works.


85
Secondly, there was a gradual revival of Interest in the
supernatural—in the witches, goblins, and fairies of Collin! s Ode
A
on the Popular Superstitions of the Highlands of Scotland; in the
ghosts, spectres, and chain-rattling of Walpole, Badcliffe, and lewis;
and in the Norse Fates and Destinies which appear in the poetry of
Cray. Even the Gothic novelists and poets of the supernatural, it
should be noted, usually contrive an exotic setting, one distant in
both space and time. But regardless of the setting, whether the
reader were mentally transported to a castle in the Italian Alps, back
into the Middle Ages, or into s ome modern nystery of science or re¬
ligion, the important object, apparently, was to escape from common¬
place reality.
Thirdly, one of the most striking characteristics of much of
the literature of the late eighteenth century is its preoccupation with
thoughts of death. In the more extreme cases, such as those of Young
and Blair, we find what is almost a reveling in gloom and macabre de¬
tail for their own sakes, in "talk of graves, of worms and epitaphs."
Other members of the "graveyard school," while eschewing the charnel-
house imagery, show a similar fascination with the subject of death.
It is significant that death was regarded by the various members of the
"graveyard school," not only as something to be feared and dreaded, but
sometimes as a beneficent fate—a release from the torment and troubles
of this world. It is the latter interpretation which has special rele¬
vance to the theme of the Wandering Jew.


86
Lastly, much of the literature of the Romantic movement is
characterized hy a passionate love of liberty and a sympathy for the
oppressed and downtrodden—for the outcasts of society. The typical
Bomanticist tended to glorify and befriend that man who had no friends.
The traditional concepts of justice were being questioned, and many of
the Romanticists found themselves in sharp disagreement with the exist¬
ing code. When William Godwin's Caleb Williams falls into a den of
robbers, even the thieves turn out to be modern-day Robin Hoods, de¬
fenders and supporters of the poor. Byron, Shelley, and others re¬
garded themselves as outcasts, men who had suffered deep wrongs under
the existing social structure. They were consequently ready to clasp
to their bosoms others who had, in their eyes, suffered similar wrongs.
Such Interests and attitudes as these provided a welcome cli¬
mate for the reception of the Wandering Jew legend. During the twenty-
five years from 1795 until 1830 the legend seized the fancy of several
prominent authors who experimented with it and adapted it for a sur¬
prisingly diverse number of uses.
The Wandering Jew first appears in the literature of the Ro¬
mantic Movement in Matthew Gregory Lewis's The Monk. Although The Monk
was first published in 1795, we learn from Lewis's letters that the
novel was actually written during the previous year, when he was only
nineteen years of age. In a letter to his mother dated September 23,
1794, he casually remarks:


87
They say that practice makes perfect; if so, I shall one day he
a perfect author, for I practice most furiously. What do you
think of my having written, in the space of ten weeks, a romance
of between three and four hundred pages octavo? I have even
written out half of it fair. It is called "The Monk," and I
am myself so much pleased with it that, if the booksellers will
not buy it, I shall publish it myself,*
The appearance of The Monk was immediately met with a storm
of protest. One critic spoke of it as having "neither originality,
morals, nor •probability" to recommend it; a society for the suppres¬
sion of vice asked the attorney-general to issue an injunction sup¬
pressing its sale. The principal objection to the work seems to have
been that in it lewis presents vice in a light which is entirely too
attractive. One reviewer, in speaking of the seduction of Ambrosio
by Matilda, humorously remarked:
Indeed the whole temptation is so artfully contrived, that
a man, it would seem, were he made as other men axe, would
deserve to be d—d who could resist such devilish spells, con¬
ducted with such address, and assuming such a heavenly form,**
The Wandering Jew makes only a fairly brief appearance in The
Monk, but the episode is one of the more impressive ones in the novel.
Even the reviewer in the critical review, who calls the romance "a
poison for youth and a provocative for the debauchee," admits that the
3
introduction of the Wandering Jew is "a bold and happy conception,"
*The Life and Corresuondence of M. G-. Lewis (London, 1839),
I, 133-134.
2Ibid.. pp. 151-154.
3Cited by Eailo, p. 92.


88
The Wandering Jew, however, does not appear as part of the main plot
of the story, which concerns the gradual seduction and eventual damna¬
tion of Ambrosio through the wiles of Matilda, loosely woven into
this main plot are the two sub-plots of Son Raymond and Agnes, and
Lorenzo and Antonio. It is in the first of these sub-plot3 that the
Wandering Jew eventually appears.
The story of Son Raymond and Agnes has little to do with that
of the main plot, other than that Agnes, while a nun in Madrid, had
once inadvertently confessed to Ambrosio her love for Son Raymond,
for which she was severely punished. Afterwards Agnes returned to
Germany, where she was closely guarded by her parents, who had for¬
bidden her to see Son Raymond, nevertheless the resourceful Agnes
contrived the following plan for escape in order to elope with Son
Raymond: According to a family superstition, there appeared on a cer¬
tain night each year a mysterious Bleeding Run, clothed in a white
habit with a large blood spot on her breast. Traditionally, the gates
of the family castle were left open in order to allow the apparition
to walk out. Agnes proposed to disguise herself as the Bleeding Hun
on that night and to walk through the open gates into the arms of Son
Raymond, who would be waiting outside.
On the prearranged night, everything seemed to be going well.
Son Raymond saw the figure in white appear and walk through the gate.
After rushing to her and reassuring her of his love, he helped her into
his carriage and they hurried away. later Son Raymond learned to his


89
horror that he had actually ridden, not with Agnes, hut with the
Bleeding Hun herself, who thereafter insisted upon appearing to him
every night atttie stroke of one. The horror which Don Raymond experi¬
ences on these occasions leaves him weak, emaciated, and almost on the
verge of hysteria.
It is at this point that the Wandering Jew is introduced. He
mysteriously appears one day and declares that he alone can release
Don Raymond from his torment. Lewis's description of his personal
appearance is impressive!
He was a man of majestic presence; his countenance was strongly
marked, and his eyes were large, black, and sparkling; yet there
was something in his look, which, the moment that I saw him, in¬
spired me with a secret awe, not to say horror. He was dressed
plainly, his hair was unpowdered, and a hand of black velvet which
encircled his forehead, spread over his features an additional
gloom. His countenance wore the marks of profound melancholy^
his step was slow, and his manner grave, stately and solemn.
When he begins to speak it is evident that he already knows
of Don Raymond's nightly visitor. Hie declares that on the follówing
Sunday, just before the sabbath morning breaks, he can release Don
Baymond from the apparition of the Bleeding Hun and that she will never
again bother him.
Soon afterwards the subject of conversation was changed and he
began to speak of other matters. He spoke familiarly of persons who had
been dead for centuries as if he had personally known and conversed with
^Matthew Gregory Lewis, The Monk, ed. Lewis Y. Peck (Hew York,
1952), p. 177.


90
them. He appeared to hare traveled all over the face of the earth
and possessed an amazing amount of information. When Don Eaymond
remarked, though, that such wide travel and universal knowledge must
have given him infinite pleasure, he mournfully shook his head and
replied:
"Ho one is adequate to comprehending the misery of my
lot! Fate obliges me to be constantly in movement; I am not per¬
mitted to pass more than a fortnight in the same place. I have no
friend in the world, and, from the restlessness of my destiny I
can never acquire one. Fain would I lay down my miserable life,
for I envy those who enjoy the quiet of the grave: but death
eludes me, and flies from my embrace. In vain do I throw myself
in the way of danger. I plunge into the ocean; the waves throw
me back with abhorance upon the shore: I rush into fire; the
flames recoil at my approach: I oppose myself to the fury of
banditti; their swords become blunted, and break against my
breast. The hungry tiger shudders at my approach, and the
alligator flies from a monster more horrible than itself."
One of Lewis's finest touches is the way in which he arouses
the reader's suspense concerning the black band around the forehead
of the mysterious stranger, a detail which had not appeared in pre¬
vious treatments of the Wandering Jew legend. Curiosity is aroused
upon the stranger's first appearance:
"Sod has set his seal upon me, and all his creatures respect
this fatal mark.1'
He put his hand to the velvet which was bound around his fore¬
head. There was in his eyes an egression of ftjry, despair, and
malevolence that struck horror to my very soul.6
The following Saturday night, true to his promise, he returns
at midnight and begins to go through a strange ritual. He kisses his
5Ibid.. 178-179.
6IMsU


91
crucifix, pours upon the floor a liquid which appears to he hlood,
and then describes a circle in the middle of the room. Around this
circle he places various relics, such as skulls and thighbones, ar¬
ranging them all in the forms of crosses. He then instructs Don
Raymond to stand with him in the middle of the circle while he invokes
the spirit of the Bleeding Hun. She appears at the accustomed hour,
and he begins to question her. At first she shows little Inclination
to obey him. Then the mysterious stranger withdraws the sable band
from his forehead. Don Raymond cannot resist the impulse to looks
In spite of his injunctions to the contrary, curiosity would
not suffer me to keep my eyes off his faces I raised them and be¬
held a burning cross impressed upon his brow. Por the horror with
which this object inspired me I cannot account, but I never felt
its equal. My senses left me for some momentss a mysterious
dread overcame my courage; and had not the exorcizer caught my
hand, I should have fallen out of the circle.”
The spectre herself trembles at what she has seen and quickly explains
that when her bones have been buried in her family vault she will
cease to visit Don Raymond.
The stranger who was of such service to Don Raymond left town
the following morning before his true identity could be ascertained,
but Don Raymond later concluded that his singular benefactor was none
other than "the celebrated character known universally by the name of
Q
the wandering Jew."
7lbi¿L. p. 181.
8Ibld.. 185. In the 1798 and 1800 editions Lewis added the
following footnote:
I imagined the tradition of the Wandering Jew to be known


92
The appearance of the Wandering Jew in The Monk really
constitutes little more than an episode. The legend is not skillfully
incorporated into the organic structure of the novel as a whole; it
is, in fact, only one part of a long digression, lewis, in his effort
to write the most blood-curdling novel that had ever appeared in Eng¬
land, introduced almost every conceivable Gothic device and in so
doing seriously impaired in several instances the unity of his novel.
As if the hair-raising adventures of Ambrosio, Matilda, and Antonia
were not enough, he introduces, almost by way of digression, the
legends of the Bleeding Nun and the Wandering Jew, neither of which
has any intrinsic connection with his central story. They are merely
bits of Gothic machinery introduced as embroidery for his already
overiy-ornate back-drop. Unfortunately Lewis never learned the
effectiveness of restraint and of contrast. After mentally accom¬
panying his characters through catacombs and charnel-houses, through
a Gothic castle haunted by a ghost with a blood spot upon her gown,
after facing the devil himself in the last scene—the reader’s sensi¬
bilities are so benumbed that, in recollection, the incident of the
Wandering Jew loses much of its impressiveness,
universally. But, as many people have expressed to me their
ignorance on the subject, it may be as well to state, that the
Wandering Jew is said to have insulted our Saviour, while lead¬
ing to the Cross, saying, "Go, go, Thou King of the Jews!" on
which Christ, looking at him, answered "Yea, I will go; but thou
shalt tarry till I come again,"
Of. Ybid.. pp, 442-443.


93
The literary sources of The Monk hare "been the subject of a
great deal of investigation.® lewis himself made certain acknowledg¬
ments in the advertisement of his book and states that these were all
the plagiarisms of which he was aware.^ He does not, however, acknowl¬
edge any source for the legend of the Wandering Jew, and it may well
be that he was conscious of no one particular work as his model. On
the other hand, it is well recognized that lewis was heavily influenced
by the school of German Gothicism;^ and the figure of the Wandering
Jew as he appears in The Monk bears several striking similarities to
the mysterious Armenian of Schiller's Per Geisterseher. Even as
early as 1797 Coleridge noticed the resemblance:
The tale of the bleeding nun is truly terrific; and we could not
easily recollect a bolder or more happy conception than that of
the burning cross on the forehead of the wandering Jew (a mysteri¬
ous character, which though copied as to its more prominent
features from Schiller's incomprehensible Armenian, does,
nevertheless, display great vigour of fancy)*1-2
Schiller's Armenian like lewis's Wandering Jew is centuries
old, is a great wanderer, and also possesses the power to conjure up
spirits of the dead. He is also described as being unable to die:
9Cf. Hallo, p. 345, n. 97.
^The Monk, p. 34.
11Supra, n. 9.
â– ^Review of The Monk. The Critical Review (February, 1797),
pp. 194-200, reprinted in A Wllshire Parson and His Friends, ed.
Garland Greever (Boston, 1926), p. 192.


94
BNo sword can wound, no poison can hurt, no fire can burn him;
no vessel in which he embarks can be wrecked,"13
In short, Schiller's Armenian is fairly obviously modeled after the
Wandering Jew. One of the characters in Per Oelsterseher even suggests
that he is "the disciple of John, of whom it is said, 'He shall re¬
main until the last judgment.'"^4
It is significant that even Schiller's catalog of dangers to
which his Armenian has proven immune—fire, sword, and water—is par¬
alleled by the similar enumeration of Lewis's Wandering Jew. Finally,
the conclusive bit of proof is added by the fact that the very names
of the lovers in one of the sub-plots of The Monk—Lorenzo and Antonia—
are also to be found as the names of the lovers in the Sicilian's
15
tale, the principal sub-plot of Per Selsterseher.
Ho definite source has been found for what was perhaps the
most highly praised feature of Lewis's portrait of the Wandering Jew;
the blazing cross embedded in his forehead. It has been suggested,
though, that this detail may show the influence of the legend of Cain.^®
Begardless of the originality or lack of originality which
Lewis displayed, it must be acknowledged that his portrait of the
Works of Frederick Schiller, ed. Hathan Haskell Pole
(Boston, 1903), I, 310.
14Ibid.. pp. 311-313.
15Ibld.. pp. 313-337.
16Supra, p. 51. Cf. also Southey's suggestion, infra, p* 103*


95
Wandering Jew la V far the most Impressive that had appeared In
English literature up until that time. Previous references In English
had either simply repeated the traditional account of the legend, had
presented the Wandering Jew as a "living chronology," or else had used
the legend for some lighter purpose, such as In The History of Israel
Jobson. Lewis was the first Jtaglish man of letters to capture the
mystery and the fascination—the Bomanticism—of the theme.
Even if Lewis's use of the Wandering Jew had done nothing else,
it would have served a sufficiently valuable function in that It
helped to provide the atmosphere which made possible Coleridge's Thg
Ancient Mariner, -probably the finest and subtlest adaptation of the
theme that has yet been made. Professor John Livingstone Lowes has
17
made a careful study of Coleridge's use of the legend, and the fol¬
lowing summary is based largely upon his findings.
Coleridge's Interest in the legend of the Wandering Jew Is
indicated by an entry In the so-called dutch memorandum notebook—
"Wandering Jew, a romance"—the title of another one of his many plans
for literary projects that were never realized. Although Coleridge,
In characteristic fashion, never quite got around to writing his ro¬
mance, his interest In the theme did find expression, veiled as It may
be, in The Ancient Mariner. As Lowes points out, the ancient mariner
^The Road to Xanadu (Bouton. 1927), pp. 242-254. Since this
work is readily accessible, I have not attempted to give a detailed
account of Lowes' s arguments.


96
is not the Wandering Jew: he is Coleridge’s own creation. But in the
process of creating him, Coleridge, perhaps unconsciously, invested
him with characteristics which for hundreds of years had been gathering
about the figure of the Wandering Jew. Throughout the poem sometimes
the theme is so submerged as to he barely discernible; then again it
breaks forth into striking prominence:
I pass, like night, from land to land;
I have strange powers of speech;
Professor Lowes, perhaps a bit too readily, interprets that
"strange power of speech" as a reminiscence of that knowledge of all
tongues which was attributed to the Wandering Jew. Although a knowl¬
edge of many languages is Implicit in the mariner's statement, for
apparently he does tell his tale in many different countries, the
"strange power of (speech" may well refer to that hypnotic quality of
narration which, along with the glittering eye, holds the Wedding
Guest so that he "cannot choose but hear." Perhaps both meanings are
present, and that is why the two lines are so powerful. In addition
to the suggestion of the Wandering Jew, there are also overtones of
hypnosis and animal magnetism.
Even the wedding feast which is taking place in the background
at the opening of the poem has its significance. During the month
preceding the beginning of The Ancient Mariner Coleridge had been en¬
gaged in adapting for the stage Schiller's Per Gelsterseher. In his
adaptation, which he called Osorio. Coleridge did not include the
episode of the Sicilian's Tale. But the episode was not forgotten.


Full Text
THE WANDERING JEW IN ENGLISH
LITERATURE TO 1850
By
SAMUEL GENE ANDREWS
A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE COUNCIL OF
THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE
DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
August, 1953

To
Lucy and Linda Lou

iii
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
The careful guidance and perceptive suggestions of Dr. Stephen
Fogle have proved invaluable in the organizing and writing of this
dissertation. 1 also wish to express my appreciation to Miss Florence
Clayton Carmichael, the librarian of Arkansas Agricultural and Mechni-
cal College, for her tireless efforts in securing for me microfilms
and inter-library loans of materials which were not easily accessible,
lastly, this dissertation could have never been completed without the
sympathy, understanding, and very hard work of my wife.

iv
COK TE 9 I S
CHAPTER PASE
Introduction 1
One Early Records of the Wandering Jew 7
Two The Warp and the Woof.... 32
Three Prom the Middle Ages to the Eighteenth
Century. 55
Pour The Romantic Movement... 84
Pive The Exploitation of the legend 119
Conclusion 145
Bibliography 160
Vita. 165

IHTRODUCTIOH
Treatments of the theme of the Wandering Jew may be divided
Into two broad classifications: the folklore versions and the art-
form or literary treatments of the story.^ Every indication points
to the fact that tales concerning the Wandering Jew had existed,
probably for many years, in the oral tradition of folklore before
the first written account of him appeared. Even this account.
^■Although there is no universal agreement as to the pre¬
cise scope of the term folklore, the majority of specialists seem
to agree upon certain fundamental characteristics which may be safely
ascribed to the term; (a) Folklore is transmitted primarily, although
not necessarily exclusively, by oral tradition. The simple transfer
of the oral tradition to writing, of course, does not invalidate it
as folklore, (b) Folklore is principally a communal product: that
is, its development is due to the additions and changes made by the
various individuals who transmit it. (c) The cradle of folklore
is the folk themselves—a group of people in a common culture pro¬
ducing their own expressions, (d) Folklore includes such forms
as myths, legends, proverbs, superstitions, songs, ritualistic
ceremonies, and magic.
In this study I am distinguishing between pure folklore and
the art-form or '’literary" treatment based upon a folklore theme.
The pure folk tale is a rather artless anonymous story which has
been told and re-told by various individuals over the span of many
years. The art-form or belletristic treatment of a folklore tale,
on the other hand, is a careful effort by a conscious artist who is
striving for "literary" effect. The pure folk tale is a communal
product; the art-form is characterized by the stamp of individuality
left upon it by its single author. Cf. the twenty-six definitions
by eminent folklore specialists in the .Dictionary of Folklore.
Mythology, and legend, ed. Maria leach (Hew York, 1949), I, 398-403,
sub voce "Folklore."
2Cf., for instance, infra,p. 12.

2
which appears in Roger of Wendover's Flores Historiaran! under the
year 1228, "belongs to the realm of folklore rather than to that of
literary art. For centuries afterwards numerous references indicate
that the story of the Wandering Jew was a popular one in the folk¬
lore of Europe, "but not until comparatively late were the literary
possibilities of the theme realized.
Extensive research has "been conducted on the theme of the
Wandering Jew in the literature of Europe. Careful studies have
been made of the German, French, Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese
variations of the legend. Even the Slavonic versions of the tale
have received some attention.4 Most of these investigations,
however, have been primarily concerned with the Wandering Jew in
folklore, although the art-form of the legend in the literature of
continental Europe has also received some attention.
Within recent years Professor G. K. Anderson has published
5
a number of illuminating articles on the Wandering Jew, but his
*^The most comprehensive bibliography is that of 1. Ueubar,
Zur Bibliographic der Sage vom Ewigen Juden (Leipzig, 1893-1911).
Also valuable is A. Soergel's bibliography in Ahasver-Dichtungen
sett Goethe (Leipzig, 1905). A list of the more important modern
works on the subject can be found in G. K. Anderson's "The
Wandering Jew Returns to England," The Journal of Engli sh and
Germanic Philology. XLV (1946), 237, n. 1.
4Avrahm Yarolensky, "The Wandering Jew," Studies in
Jewish Bibliography and Related Subjects in Memory of Abraham
Solomon Freidus (1929), pp. 319-328.
5"The Wandering Jew Returns to England" (Cf. supra, n. 3);
"Popular Survivals of the Wandering Jew in England," Journal of

3
studies have been confined for the most part either to folklore aspects
of tne tneme or else principally to continental literature on the sub¬
ject. On the other hand, a few studies nave been made of individual
C
works in English literature. As yet, however, there has been no
comprehensive treatment of the legend as it has appeared throughout
the literature of toe English language. Dorothy Scarborough and
Eino Bailo® each devote one chapter to the theme of the Wandering Jew,
but their accounts are limited to only tae better known literary works
on the subject and are therefore incomplete. Their discussions are
further limited by the fact that their main interest in tae theme is
confined to its use in the tale of te>rror.
The only work with any pretentions to completeness in exam¬
ining tne legend in both its folklore and belletristic forms is
Moncure Daniel Conway* s The Wandering Jew.® Although Conway* s work
English and Germanic Philology. XLVI (1947), 367-382; "The Neo-Classical
Chronicle of the Wandering Jew," PMiA. 1XIII (1948), 199-213.
®N. S. Bushneli, "The Wandering Jew and The Pardoner * s Tale."
Studies in Philology. XXVIII (1931), 450-460; Archer Taylor, "Notes
on the Wandering Jew." Modern language Notes. XXXIII (1918), 394-
395; G. X. Anderson, "The History of Israel Jobson," Philological
Quarterly. XXV (1946), 303-320.
7The Supernatural in EngH gh Eletlon (New York. 1917),
pp. 174-195.
®The Haunted Castle (London, 1927), pp. 191-217.
9New York, 1881,

4
Is valuable and should be consulted by all serious students of the
legend, its usefulness is limited because of its age. Conway was
one of the pioneers in the study of the Wandering Jew, and of
course did not have the advantages of modern scholarship on the
subject. His account would lead one to believe, for instance, that
the legend was unknown in England from the time of Matthew of Paris's
medieval chronicle until the middle of the seventeenth century—an
implication that is completely misleading. Furthermore, his work
was designed as a popular rather than a scholarly study. Practi¬
cally no documentation of any sort is provided. His study is useful
principally because he reprints many works which are not easily
accessible to the modern scholar.
On the other hand, Conway's investigation of the growth
of the legend in Europe up until the middle of the seventeenth cen¬
tury^® is confined for the most part to a simple translation of the
relevant texts. He provides practically no analysis of the new
features which were being added to the legend nor does he attempt to
point out the sources or significance of those added details.
In addition to lacking the advantages of modem scholarly dis¬
coveries about the Wandering Jew legend, Conway's work is also char¬
acterized by a technique of scholarship which is no longer in good
repute. In his examination of the materials from which the Wandering
Jew legend was formed, for instance, he cites several legends dealing
10
Pp. 5-28

5
with eternal life and then assumes that they are the direct ancestors
n
of the Wandering Jew. He fails to provide any additional connecting
links, however. Elsewhere he succumbs to the temptation of suggesting
that the Wandering Jew legend was ultimately dreived from a ’’creation
myth"!2 _«.a practice which enjoyed a great vogue among nineteenth
century scholars, but which is regarded with amusement by modern
folklorists.I3
A complete investigation of the entire literature which is
based upon the legend of the Wandering Jew would be beyond the hopes
of the most ambitious scholar. Even the number of treatments in
English literature would require a study of tremendous scope. I
therefore propose to make a comprehensive survey of the Wandering
Jew legend in the literature of the English language from the time
of the first «-opearanee of the legend in 1228 until the middle of the
nineteenth century. The limitations of these dates will permit not
only the inclusion of all English works down until the beginning of
the Victorian era, but will also include the first appearances of
the Wandering Jew in American literature.
The primary purpose of this investigation, then, is to examine
the art-form or belletristic treatment of the theme in English litera¬
ture. On the other hand, the folklore aspects of the legend cannot be
1]-Pp. 38-51.
12P. 50, n. 1.
13Cf. Stith Thompson, The Folktale (Hew York, 1946), pp. 371-375.

6
ignored. It will first te necessary to make a survey of the early appear¬
ances of the Wandering Jew, which are in the realm of folklore, in order
to determine the tradition within which later authors inevitably found
themselves to he working. In their treatments they sometimes deviated
sharply from the folklore tradition; hut they were none the less aware
of the existence of that tradition. The legend of the Wandering Jew was
already fairly well known hy the time of the first belletristic treat¬
ment of the theme, and a knowledge of the fundamental characteristics
of the theme in folklore is necessary in order to understand properly
the contributions of the individual literary artist.
The story of the Wandering Jew has not been confined, of course,
only to works in the English language. Actually the theme has proved
even more popular in the literature of continental Europe. A consid¬
eration of the Siropean literature on this subject is, however, not
within the scope of this work. Treatments of the theme in languages
other than English will be considered only when they appear to hare
had a direct influence upon the English literature dealing with the
legend of the Wandering Jew.

7
CHAPTER I
EARLY RECORDS OP THE WARDERING JEW
The story of the Wandering Jew is widespread throughout both
the folklore and the literature of the civilized world. Although the
basic theme of the folktale—that of a mortal who offends a deity and
who is punished by being given pr eterna tur ally long life—can be traced
back even to the pre-Christian era, the art form of the legend was not
developed until comparatively recent times. Once introduced, though,
the story was adopted by authors of all nations as one which was
flexible enough so that it could be readily adapted to many different
purposes. That is, the figure of the Wandering Jew has been all things
to all men. In the hands of some authors he has furnished the eye¬
witness authority for an imaginative account of the great historical
2
events of the last two thousand years. Philosophers have seen in him
^In attempting to establish a definition of the Wandering Jew
theme I have endeavored to reduce to a common denominator the various
materials which appear to have been influential in shaping the legend.
The basic theme as I have stated it—that of a mortal who offends a deity
and who is punished by being given preternaturally long life—is the
only feature common to all these early legends, I am using this basic
theme, therefore, as a frame of reference or a starting point from which
to build up my definition. Many of the details which today are considered
fundamental to the Wandering Jew story, such as the wandering element and
the Jewishness of the blasphemer, were not added until comparatively late
in the development of the legend, Cf. infra, pp. 16-17; 23-26.
^Por instance, George Croly, Tarry Thou Till I Come (Hew York,
1901); David Hoffman, Chronicles Selected from the Originals of Carta-
phi lus. the Wandering Jew (London. 1853); and others.

8
an impressive spokesman for their views on morality, religion, and the
3
great truths of the universe. Other writers have employed him primarily
A
for the purpose of fomenting racial and religious intolerance." And,
paradoxically enough, the same figure of the Wandering Jew has also teen
used as the central figure in a protest against racial and religious
g
intolerance.
Unlike its sister theme the Faust legend, with which it has
often "been combined, the story of the Wandering Jew has never been
crystallized into one definite form. Goethe took the materials óf the
Faust legend as he found them and forged out of them a drama which to
succeeding generations has served as a sort ofarchetype of the legend.
He made Faust perhaps for all time, the symbol of the thirst for knowl¬
edge and power. Goethe's Faust stands today as the standard to which
all other treatments of the theme are inevitably compared. Ho great
literary genius, on the other hand, has yet done as much for the Wan¬
dering Jew. The story has no one outstanding prototype. Each author
who has treated the theme has felt free to wring from it whatever meaning
he could. As a consequence, no one strong central idea has become
associated with the story.
g
Of., for instance, Conway's chapter "The Hew Ahasuerus in
Germany," pp. 166-203.
^"The Wandering Jew; or the Shooemaker ®f Jerusalem," The Rox¬
burgh Ballads, ed. Joseph Woodfall Ebsworth (Hertford, 1889), VI, 42-43.
5Herman Heijermans, Ahasverus. trans. Caroline Heijermans-Houwink
and J. J. Houwink, in Drama. XIX (1929), 145-147.

9
In English literature the motif is, at "best, only a by-path.
Ho great epic of the Wandering Jew has yet "been written. The story
appears only as a minor theme in the major works of English liter en¬
ture; it is the central theme only in works of minor importance. But
the influence of the story, nevertheless, has been stronger than it
6
would appear at first glance. Several major novels and poems, which
certainly are not simply further treatments of the Wandering Jew story,
were quite clearly influenced hy some aspect of the theme. While these
works are, properly speaking, only on the fringe of the legend, they do
represent some of the most artistic treatments of the story and are there¬
fore entitled to some consideration.
Inasmuch as there is neither a well-established, prototype nor
any one strong central idea which is universally accepted as the under¬
lying meaning of the legend, a clear definition of the theme itself is
difficult. But, since this discussion is to Include some works based
upon the theme only indirectly, some sort of definition is essential.
I propose to seek a definition in two ways: first, by investigating the
early records of the story and determining what features are common to
most of those records; and secondly, by examining the various themes and
legends from which the Wandering Jew legend itself seems to have been
formed, and attempting to determine the original meaning of the legend.
By far the most popular explanation of the legend today is that
the Wandering Jew himself is symbolic of the Jewish people as a whole:
C
Such as Coleridge’s The Ancient Mariner. Maturin’s Melmoth the
Wanderer, and others.

10
their sin against Christ, their interminable wandering over the face
of the earth, and their seeming indestructibility as a race. This
explanation certainly seems in accord with many modern versions of the
story. But such was not always the case. As a matter of fact, Jewish
nationality was not definitely attributed to the man who insulted Christ
until 1602. There are several other earlier versions extant of what is
demonstrably the same story—versions containing all of the essential
ingredients except Jewishness. There seem to have been, in fact, at
least three different popular versions of the legend before 1602: the
Cartaphilus legend, the Buttadeus legend, and the Malchus legend.
In the year 1228 according to Roger of Wendover, who was a monk
of St. Albans, a certain Armenian archbishop came to England in order
to visit the sacred places of that country and to see the relics of the
saints. He came well recommended, bearing letters of introduction from
the pope in which the churchmen of England were asked to entertain him
with all due reverence and honor. In the course of his sojourn in Eng¬
land he visited St. Albans, where, fatigued from his journey, he rested
for a few days. While he was there he asked questions, through an inter¬
preter, about the religion and religious practices of England, and he in
turn informed the monks of St. Albans of the practices of Eastern coun¬
tries. During one of these conversations someone asked him whether he
had ever seen or heard of one Joseph, "of whom there was much talk in
the world," a man who had been alive at the time of the crucifixion of
Christ and who still lived in evidence of the Christian religion. The

11
Armenian archbishop replied that he knew that man well and had often
conversed with him. As a matter of fact, the archbishop continued,
Joseph had eaten at the same table with him shortly before he began his
journey to England. He was then asked to relate exactly what had taken
place between Christ and that man. The archbishop replied that, when
Christ was seized by the Jews and brought before Pilate for judgment,
Pilate, unable to find any fault in him, said to them, "Take him and
judge him according to your law." The Jews were not satisfied with this
judgment, however, and, when their shouts increased, he released to them
Barabbas and turned Christ over to them to be crucified. As Christ was
being led out of the hall on the way to his crucifixion, one Cartaphilus,
who was a porter of Pilate’s hall, scornfully struck him on the back,
saying, "Co faster, Jesus! Go faster! Why dost thou loiter?H Jesus
turned to him severely and said, nI shall go, but you shall wait until
I return."
Even as the Lord commanded, this Cartaphilus is still waiting
for his return. At the time of the crucifixion he was a man of thirty
years of age, and whenever he reaches the age of one hundred he returns
to that same age. After the death of Christ, when the Catholic faith
became widespread he was baptized by Ananias (the same man who also
baptized the apostle Paul) and was renamed Joseph. He frequently
dwells in Armenia and other eastern countries, where he associates with
bishops and other holy men of the church. He is a man of sober aspect
and religious conversation. He seldom speaks at all unless questioned

12
"by the "bishops and other holy men. Then he tells of the events of olden
times, of the circumstances of the crucifixion and the resurrection, and
of those who were resurrected with Christ and accompanied him into Jeru¬
salem. He also tells of the preaching and deeds of the apostles. All
this he relates in a solemn manner, as one who is filled with the fear
of the Lord. He is always looking forward witn apprehension to the
second coming of Christ, fearing that he may find him still in anger and
full of Just vengeance. People flock to see him from all over the world,
and, if they are men of authority, he answers their questions and settles
their doubts on all matters. He is satisfied with meager food and clothing,
and refuses all gifts that are offered to him. His only hope of salva¬
tion is the fact that he sinned through ignorance, for he recalls that
the Lord himself prayed for his enemies, saying, "Father, forgive them,
7
for they know not what they do."
It should he noted that the monks of St. Alhans seem to have dis¬
played no incredulity whatsoever at the archbishop’s report. He was a
man of authority and came with letters of recommendation from the pope.
Furthermore, the manner in which the monks question him indicates that
the tale already had some currency. They ask him whether he had ever
seen or heard of one Joseph, "of whom there was much talk in the world."
Obviously the monks were already familiar with the legend and they were
only seeking a verification of a story that they had already heard.
7
Boger of Wendover, Flowers of History, trans. J. A. Giles
(London, 1849), II, 512-514.

13
One of tile most noteworthy features of this early account is
that, according to Roger of Wendover, the man who struck Christ and
who was still awaiting his return does not seem to have teen a Jew,
Cartaphilus was not one of the crowd of Jews who seized Christ and
brought him to Pilate for judgment. On the contrary, he was an employee
of Pilate himself, a doorkeeper—a fact which would seem to indicate that
he was a Roman, The very name nCartaphllusn seems to point to a Roman
Q
rather than Jewish nationality.
There is obviously no anti-Semitic prejudice displayed in this
account. Rot only was the man who struck Christ a Roman, apparently,
rather than a Jew, but the portrait of him is, on the whole, a sympa¬
thetic one. The famous Joseph, from what the archbishop reports, is not
regarded with horror or revulsion. On the contrary people from all over
the world flock to see him and talk to him. No one seems to have re¬
proached him or condemned him for his tragic mistake. He is regarded
simply as a living evidence of the Christian faith.
Cartaphilus himself, or Joseph, as he was later baptized, is
furthermore deeply repentant and conscious of his sin. Although he is
sober and penitent, he is not full of despair. Realizing that his pun¬
ishment is just, he has accepted his lot without complaint, and is doing
everything possible to work out his salvation. He himself has been
0
The latinity of the name is by itself not sufficient evidence
to establish the man's Roman nationality, of course. Inasmuch as the
chronicler was writing in Latin, he may simply have Latinized the name.
But see Chapter II, p. 40.

14
converted to Christianity, and he still hopes for ultimate forgiveness
because of the fact that he sinned through ignorance. Ho mention is
made of any inclination toward wandering.
The legend of Cartaphilns apparently never became very well
known in England. Only one further work in that country which contains
references to this particular version of the story has been found. Even
in this work, Matthew of Paris’s Chronica Ma.1ora. the only detailed
account of the legend is obviously based upon the earlier work of Soger
of Wendover, and very few changes were made. Matthew of Paris made his
account a bit more subjective by adding a few comments of his own and
occasionally quoting an appropriate passage of scripture, but the details
of the story are essentially unchanged. He does add, however, that one
Sicardus de Argentomio, who had traveled in the East, attested to the
Q
truth of this story. later, in 1252, the chronicler received a fur¬
ther confirmation when "certain Armenians" who were visiting St. Albans
stated that they knew "without doubt" (indubitanter) that Joseph Carta¬
philus, who saw Christ crucified, was still living. This, the chronicler
says, is one of the great marvels of the world and a great argument for
the Christian faith.10
Not many years afterwards, the same archbishop apparently passed
through Prance and Belgium and told his remarkable story there. Philippe
Mouskes, bishop of Tournai, briefly records the story in his Chroniaue
9Matthew of Paris, Chronica Ma.lora (London, 1876), III, 161-164.
10Matthew of Paris, V, 340.

15
Rimee. which was probably completed about 1243.^ The archbishop from
Armenia is again specifically cited as the authority for the tale. His
account is fundamentally the same one that he gave to Roger of Wendover,
with one significant exception. According to the story that Philippe
Mouskes records, when the false Jews were takingGod to be crucified,
that man (no name is given) said to them, ’’Wait for me; I am going
there if the false prophet is to be put on the cross." And the true God
looked at him and said! "They will not wait for you here, but know that
you will wait for me." And he is still waiting, for he did not die or
, 12
change.
It is noteworthy, I think, that all of the details mentioned by
Roger of Wendover which would tend to establish the Roman nationality
of the man who insulted Christ are omitted in the Ohronique Rimee.
Philippe Mouskes neglects to mention both his Roman name, Cartaphilus,
and his occupation as Pilate’s doorkeeper. There is nothing at all to
connect him with Pilate’s administration. In fact, although the point
is not overtly made, the logical inference, I think, is that "that man"
was a Jew. His Jewish nationality, however, is certainly not emphasized,
and no particular significance is attached to it. Whatever his nation¬
ality and religion had been, he too was later baptized by Ananias and
converted to the Christian faith.
•^Phillippe Mouskes, Chronloue Rinuie. ed. Baron de Reissenberg
(Bruxelles, 1836), I, Introduction, ccxlix.
12Mouskes, II, 491-493, lines 25485-25536.

16
The legend of Cartaphilus seems to have had a limited circulation,
for the three references to this story which have come to light all cite
the same authority, a "certain Armenian archbishop." The story either
died out at a fairly early date or else was considerably modified. For
the next reference to the man who had insulted Christ occurs in Italy,
IS
where he is called Johannes Buttadeus. In addition to the change in
name, however, the legend has undergone another important transformation.
It is in Italy that this living witness of the crucifixion of Christ be¬
came an eternal wanderer.
We have no way of knowing exactly in what form the legend first
appeared in Italy, for the early references to Buttadeus are tantaliz-
14
ingly brief and casual. Philippe of Novare, for instance, in 1250 and
1255 in his Assises of Jerusalem. Jokes about the legendary longevity
of one Jehan Boutedieu. Other old Italian poets refer to "L’om per
Fui Christo % atenduto" and allude to the longevity of this miracu¬
lous person. Thus, in speaking of his old father, Ceceo Angiolieri
complains:
II pessimo e’l crudelo odio ch’i* porto
a diritta ragione al padre meo
il farüt vivar pii che Botadeo,
a di cií, buon di me, ne sono accorto.
^3There are also a few allusions to Buttadeus in Middle English
literature. Cf. Chapter III, where the legend in England is traced from
the time of Matthew of Paris.
â– ^For the following summary of the Buttadeus legend in Italy I am
indebted to Alice M. Killen's excellent account in "L’Svolution de la
Legends du Juif Errant," Revue de Lltterature Comparte. V (1925), 14-16.
All quotations in English are my own translations of Killen’s French.

17
Even in the. thirteenth century, therefore, Buttadeus was
known, principally for his alleged longevity. Perhaps even then he had
already "begun his wanderings. One expression used hy Guido Bonatti
seems to indicate that he had. Bonatti speaks of one "Johannes Buttadeus,"
who scorned the Saviour when He was proceeding to His crucifixion and
who was told "by Christ, "You will wait until I come." Bonatti continues:
"This Giovanni passed "by Forli in 1267." Was he already on the move?
The most complete portrait of Buttadeus, though, is contained
in the early fifteenth century account of Antonio di Francesco di
Andrea. According to the author, although Buttadeo had "been known
in that country for less than a century, popular tradition had already
fixed his characteristic traits. He possessed a reputation for holiness,
for he did good everywhere he went, healing the sick and giving good
counsel to all. He was further credited with mysterious knowledge and
powers. It wps believed that he could predict the future and perform
other miracles. Although he w«s universally welcomed wherever he went,
he was not allowed to spend more than three days in any one -place, and
a hundred years had to elapse before he could return to a country.
Antonio claims to have known Giovanni Buttadeo personally and
to have conversed with him often. But in spite of their familiarity
Giovanni remained rather reticent about himself. Although he strongly
hinted that he was the famous legendary immortal, he did not overtly
say so. One day when Antonio asked him if he were really Giovanni
Buttadeo, his friend replied, "You should say Giovanni Batte'-Iddio,
that is Giovanni perchosse-Iddio." He then related the conventional

18
account of how Giovanni had affronted Christ and of the curse that had
"been bestowed upon him as a consequence. But when Antonio persisted in
asking him if he were really that man, Ms eyes filled with tears and
he would say nothing more.
It is with these same characteristics that the eternal wanderer
appears in the writings of various other European countries from the
thirteenth to the sixteenth centuries. He is known in Spain "by the
names of Juan Espera en Heos, Juan de Yoto-a-Dios, and Juan Servo di
15
Dios; in Portugual he is called Juao de Espera em Dios.
The legend of Buttadeus was fairly widely known throughout
the various countries of Europe, but it never became a truly popular
legend. One reason for its limited popularity, perhaps, was that it
shared renown with still another story concerning the fate of a man
who had offended Christ--the legend of Malchus. The scriptural founda¬
tion for this legend is found in John X7III:19-23. Jesus, having been
taken prisoner, is being questioned by the high priest:
The high priest then asked Jesus of his disciples and of his
doctrine.
Jesus answered him, I spake openly to the world; I ever taught
in the synagogue, and in the temple, whither the Jews always resort;
and in secret have I said nothing.
Why askest thou me? ask them which heard me, what I have said
unto them: behold, they know what I said.
And when he had thus spoken, one of the officers which stood by
struck Jesus with the palm of his hand, saying, Answerest thou the
high priest so?
Jesus answered him, If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the
evil: but if well, why smitest thou me?
15
I>icL. p. 13

19
The high priest’s servant is not identified hy name in this
passage, hut religious zeal soon discovered a name in John XVIII:10:
Then Simon Peter having a sword drew it, and smote the high
priest’s servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant's name
was Malchus.
This Malchus was easily identified with the servant who later struck
Christ in the interview with the high priest, and Christian indigna¬
tion at such an affront to the Son of God soon invented a series of
punishments suitable to the crime. He is sometimes pictured as re¬
volving forever under the earth around the pillar to which Christ him-
16
self was hound when he was scourged. Other variants of the story show
him pacing desperately hack and forth in a grotto or a dungeon.
The legend of the punishment of Malchus seems to have been first
spread during the sixteenth century by religious pilgrims returning
from the holy land who related the wonders that they had seen there.
One of the most circumstantial accounts is that related by Peter Brantius
Pennalius, who reported that one day when he was in Jerusalem he was
approached by a Turk, who had formerly been a slave in his father's
house. This Turk, who was at that time Police Captain of Jerusalem,
invited him to dine with him that evening. After a delicious meal, he
offered to show his guest "something which no other living nan knew,
except the Cantain uro temuore of the city of Jerusalem." After taking
16
Thomas Frederick Crane, Italian Popular Tales (Boston. 1885),
P. 196,

20
elaborate precautions to prevent their being seen by anyone else, he
escorted his guest through five iron doors into a large hall, at the
end of which a man was continuously pacing from one side of the hall
to the others
"This man," he said to me, "is the servant who struck your
Christ before the High Priest Annas. Por uunishment of his grie¬
vous crime he was condemned by your Christ to remain here. We
too believe im the old traditions. In this place he stays, never
eating, nor drinking, never sleeping nor taking rest; but always
walking as you see him, and always,—look, my friend,—always the
arm that struck, twitches!"17
Still other pilgrims claim to have seen Malchus embedded in the
ground up to his waist. It is in this way that he is punished in Brother
Dominique Auberton*s Recit veritable et miraculous de ce oui a este veu
en Jerusalem, par un Rellgleux de l*0rdre S.-Franc personnes de quallte (Paris. 1623). In this tale, as in the others, the
poor sinner shows every indication of boundless despair and remorse.
"That spectacle," the author reports, "is the most terrible and hideous
which is seen in Jerusalem."^
The strong similarities that exist between the legend of Malchus
and those of Cartaphilus and Buttadeus indicate that the Malchus story
may well be ethnically related to one or both of the other two. But it
is also apparent that the basic theme has undergone another metamorphosis.
The unfortunate sinner is now filled with boundless despair and misery.
17P. 9. Bagatti, "The Legend of the Wandering Jew," Franciscan
Studies. Vol. 9, No. 1 (March, 1949), pp. 3-4.
•^Killen, pp. 19-20.

21
neither of the other two legends is thus characterized. Both Cartaphilus
and Bnttadeus regret their rash actions; they are solemn in appearance
and restrained in manner. They have accepted their punishments sadly
hut philosophically, apparently determined to spend the remainder of
their long existence on earth working out their salvation through good
deeds and holy living. They still cherish the hope of ultimate forgive¬
ness through Divine Mercy.
Malchus, on the other hand, shows no indication of any such hope.
He has utterly given way to despair, a fact which is at least partly
understandable, since his punishment is more severe than that of the
other two sinners. Malchus groans and cries out in pain. Sometimes he
heats his own breast; sometimes he strikes his head against the pillar
around which he is revolving. Always he is suffering anguish, both physi¬
cal and mental. Never does he become resigned to his fate; never does
he show any hope of ultimate release from his punishment. Malchus is
not simply another testimony to the truth of the Christian religion.
He presents a terrible and frightening spectacle, and serves as a grim
reminder of what the wrath of an enraged divinity is capable of perform¬
ing.
By the end of the sixteenth century, then, there were at least
three different tales in general circulation concerning the fate of a
man who had insulted Christ: the legend of Cartaphilus, the legend of
Buttadeus, and the legend of Malchus. There are strong similarities
among all three tales, but the underlying purpose of each of them seems

22
to "be slightly different. The Cartaphilus legend was advanced as
another powerful testimony to support the truth of Christian "beliefs.
The story of Malchus served as a terrible illustration of the tor¬
tures of the damned which were visited upon "blasphemers. The princi¬
pal interest in Buttadeus lay in his supernatural powers as a prophet
and magician. As a matter of fact, the currency of all three can per¬
haps "best "be attributed to the medieval penchant for the marvelous.
And the legend of the eternal wanderer might well have followed the
path to oblivion with hundreds of other medieval "miracles," had it
not been for a slight but immensely interesting twist which was given
to the story in the first part of the seventeenth century.
In the year 1602 there appeared almost simultaneously through¬
out Germany a number of different accounts of a mysterious Wandering
Jew, who was said to have appeared in Hamburg in the 1540's. The
problem of which of these pamphlets was the the first to appear has not
yet been solved. The Leyden pamphlet entitled Eurtze Beschrelbung und
19
Erzehlung von einem Juden mit Mamen Ahasverus is generally credited
as the original. The fullest account, however, appears in a later work
(1613) entitled Hewe Zeltung von einem Juden von Jerusalem. Ahasuerua
genannt. welcher die Creutzigung unsers Berra Jhesu Ohrlsti gesehen.
und noch am leben 1st, aus Dantzlg an einem guten Freund geschrieben.
â– ^G. K. Anderson has reprinted the text of this rare pamphlet
as an appendix to his article "The Wandering Jew Returns to England,"
pp. 248-250.

23
The author, who signs his name "Herr Chrysostomus Dudlaus Westphalus,"
relates that Paulus von Eizen, Doctor and Bishop of Schleswig, informed
him that some years ago, while he was visiting his parents at Hamburg
in 1547, he had seen in church a very tall man, about fifty years of
age, who was listening to the sermon with great attention. This man
was barefooted, dressed in rags, and his hair fell down over his shoul¬
ders. Whenever the name of Christ was mentioned, this man bowed his
head humbly, beat his breast, and sighed.
Many of the nobility in Hamburg professed to have seen this man
in England, France, Italy, Hungary, Persia, Spain, Poland, Moscow,
Leiffland, Sweden, Denmark, and Scotland. His curiosity aroused, Dr.
von Eizen sought out this man and asked him about his history. The man
Informed him that he had been a Jewish shoemaker of Jerusalem and that
his name was Ahasuerus. At the time of the crucifixion, he, like many
others, had regarded Christ as a heretic, a misleader of the people.
Therefore, as soon as sentence had been passed upon Christ by Pontius
Pilate, Ahasue rus rushed to his own home, knowing that Christ would be
led by that way. As the procession passed, Ahasuerus took a child in
his arms and stood beside the door. Christ, weighed down by the heavy
cross that he was bearing, stopped in front of the house of Ahasuerus
and leaned against the wall. Then the Jewish shoemaker, full of sudden
anger and eager to gain credit with the rest of the Jews, rushed from
his house and ordered Christ to move on. Christ turned sternly to him

24
and said, "I will stand here and rest, but thou shalt move until the
last day!"
Immediately Ahasuerus put down the child and felt compelled to
leave his home. Be followed Jesus, witnessed the crucifixion, and then
left Jerusalem, never to see his wife and child again. He had since
traveled through many countries and was able to relate in detail many
of the changes in government that had taken place in those countries
throughout the centuries. Be could tell even more about the life and
sufferings of Christ than we know through the evangelists and historians.
Shis remarkable Wandering Jew led a very quiet and retired life,
seldom speaking at all unless he were asked a question. Whenever he
was Invited into a house, he ate and drank little. At Hamburg, Danzig,
and other places, when he was offered money he accepted only two
shillings, which he in turn gave to the poor. Ho one had ever seen him
laugh. He never stayed long in one place, but he always knew the lan¬
guage of whatever country he happened to be in. Many people came to
see him, even from distant places, believing that he was a miraculous
person; for he was always attentive to the word of God and sighed deeply
whenever the name of Christ was pronounced. Whenever the name of God
was uttered in a curse, he would sigh deeply and say:
"Miserable man, miserable creature! wilt thou take lightly
the name of thy lord and God, and of his great suffering and torture?
Hadst thou seen it as I did, hadst thou seen how hard the wound of
thy Saviour was for thee and me, thou wouidst rather do a great
harm to thyself than pronounce his name lightly."

25
Ahasuerus stated that he was unable to explain why God had
left him upon this earth, wandering around in such wretchedness,
"otherwise than that God wished him to remain until the Day of Judg¬
ment as a living sign against the Jews, hy which the unbelieving and
the godless might he reminded of Christ's death and he turned to re-
pentence." For his own part, he wished that he might he released from
this life.
The author of this pamphlet concludes hy citing several other
instances in which this mysterious Wandering Jew was reported to have
20
been seen in Spain, Austria, Poland, leiffland, and Eussia.
These early seventeenth century German pamphlets present hy
far the most complete account of the mysterious wanderer that had ap¬
peared up to that time. Obviously the author has slightly altered the
older legendary material and has made some additions to it. A rather
detailed description of the wanderer's physical appearance and behavior
is given for the first time. His occupation has been changed from that
of a doorkeeper of Pilate's hall to that of a shoemaker. He has been
supplied with a wife and child. And, most important of all, Jewish
nationality for the first time has definitely been attributed to him.
The differences that exist between the German pamphlets of the
early seventeenth century and the older legends of Cartaphllus, Butta-
deus, and Malchus have led some scholars to regard Ahasuerus as the
pA
Conway (pp. 6-12) has printed a translation of the complete
text of this pamphlet.

26
original creation of a seventeenth century German author. Eduard
Konig, for instance, discusses some of these points of disagreement and
concludes that "the absolute independence which clothes the Ahasuerus
of 1602 narrative renders it scarcely possible to suppose that it was
21 .#
evolved from earlier fables." Xonig is not alone in his belief. The
New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge states "There can
be no doubt as to the fact that the story of the Wandering Jew first
became known in the year of 1602; and it is probable that it originated
then." While the similarity between the Ahasuerus story and the older
legends is recognized, it is stated that "in its main outline the
story of the Wandering Jew is so distinctive that it must be regarded
as the independent invention of an individual. Had the author had any
inkling of those earlier tales he would have referred to them in some
22
way, as later editors expressly did..."
Certainly there are differences between the Ahasuerus of 1602
and the antecedent legends. They are, for the most part, however, dif¬
ferences of detail only. In fact, Ahasuerus is mainly a composite of
the characteristics which had already been attributed to Cartaphilus,
Buttadeus, and Male has. The similarities are far more striking than
the differences. All four tales concern an individual who Insulted
^Eduard Kffnig, "The Wandering Jew," The Nineteenth Century
Magazine. IX (1907), 3.
^"Wandering Jew," The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of
Religious Knowledge. XII, 261.

27
Christ and who was punished by being told to remain alive on earth
until His second advent* In all four instances the curse was pro¬
nounced after Christ had been taken prisoner by the Jews before His
crucifixion. Tne wandering motif which appears in the German version
was already a recognized characteristic of the Buttadeus legend* The
piety of Ahasuerus has its counterpart in both the Cartaphilus and
the Buttadeus legends* And lastly* the combination of remorse and
despair which Ahasuerus displays can probably be traced to the Malchus
story.
Even the objection that, if the author had "had any inkling of
those earlier tales he would have referred to them in some way," can
be surmounted. Entirely disregarding the fallacious reasoning involved
(Shakespeare's indebtedness to Plutarch for the story of Antony and
Cleonatra could be questioned on the same grounds), the fact remains
that in one of the German pamphlets of 1602 there is a direct reference
to Buttadeus. The title page of the Dantzig pamphlet reads as follows:
Kurtze Beschreibung und Erzehlung von einem Juden der sich nennet
Ahaszverus (Aber von Guidone Bonato einem furtrefflichen Astrónomo
auszursachen Johan. Buttadeus genennt wird) Welcher bey der Creut-
zigung Christi selbst personlich gewesen auch das Grucifige uber
Christum hab helffen schreyen und umb Barrabam bitten hab auch nach
der Creutzigung Christi nimmer gen Jerusalem kpnnen kommen auch
sein Weib und Kinder nimmer gesehen und seithero in Leben ge-
blieben und vor etlich Jahren gen Hamburg kommen auch Anno 1599 im
December zu Dantzig ankommen.
The conclusion, furthermore, refers to Buttadeus again:
Von diesem Juden schreibt auch Guido Bonatus und nennet jn
Johannem Buttadeum in seiner 141. Consideration de stellis flxls.
mit solchen Vorten: Et dlcebatur tunc, quod erat quídam, qul

28
fuerat tempore ¿ESP CHRISTI. et vocabatur Johannes Buttadeus eo.
gaod impuli bset Dominum. guando ducebatur ad patlbulum. Et
l-pse dixit: Tu expectable me, donee venero. Et ill&. Jflhflnnes
translvit ner Forlivitun. vgdeng ad sanctum Jacobum. Anno. ChrjL.gtl
1267.23
The author of the Dantzig pamphlet, then, directly Identifies
Ahasuerus with the Johannes Buttadeus of Guido Bonatti’s account.
Interestingly enough, although the matter has not yet "been definitely
established, there is some evidence that this Dantzig edition may be
34
the original of the nine German pamphlets which appeared in 1602.
The proof of its priority would furnish conclusive evidence that the
German Ahasuerus was based, at least in part, upon the Buttadeus
legend.
No such direct reference can be found in any of these early
seventeenth century German pamphlets to the older legend of Cartaphilus,
but it is significant, I think, that the Chronica Ma.lora of Matthew of
Paris, which contains the most complete account of the Cartaphilus story,
had been reprinted at Zurich in 1586.^ The story was known on the
continent.
The anti-Semitism of the German Ahasuerus story of 1602 has, I
think, been greatly exaggerated. Most scholars have concluded that
the purpose of the author in relating the story was to stir up animosity
against the Jews. This interpretation has been fostered, apparently,
^Anderson, "Wandering Jew Returns," p. 246.
^Ibld.. p. 238.
25
Conway, p. 23.

29
137 one sentence In the text: Ahasuerus states that he does not know
why God has imposed this punishment upon him unless it is that He
wished him "to remain until the Day of Judgment as a living sign
against the Jews, "by which the unbelieving and the godless might be
reminded of Christ’s death and be turned to repentance," (Chen, too,
the religious turmoil and conflict of the sixteenth and early seven¬
teenth centuries certainly lends plausibility to such an explanation.
But to insist upon the anti-Semitism of the Ahasuerus story is to
ignore the bulk of the text itself, A careful reading will reveal
that Ahasuerus is, if anything, more sympathetically presented than
his predecessors in the antecedent legends had been. He is fully as
sober, pious, and repentant as Cartaphilus and Buttadeus. There is
nothing of defiance in his attitude; he is all humility. Further¬
more, in one respect at least the German author has attempted to
soften the role of Ahasuerus. Both Buttadeus and Cartaphilus were
reported to have struck Christ; nothing is said of a blow in the
Ahasuerus story. If this story be anti-Semitic, it is propaganda of the
subtlest kind; and the seventeenth century was not distinguished by the
subtlety of its propaganda.
The name of Ahasuerus itself presents somewhat of a problem.
It appears in the Bible as the name of a Persian king during whose
reign the story of Esther occurs. K&nig believes that the name Ahasu¬
erus which appears in the German pamphlet can be traced back to the
Purim Festival of the Jews. The dramatic reading aloud of the Book

30
of Esther was apparently a traditional part of this festival. During
this reading the Jews sometimes "became so filled with religious fervor
that they began to curse the memoers of other faiths—especially
Christians. The name Ahasuerus, Konig speculates, may have become
associated with a scornful, mocking attitude toward Christians.
Eventually it may have occurred to some Christian to compose a counter¬
piece in which Ahasuerus was deeply repentant for his former mocking
attitude toward Christ.^6
The anonymous German pamphlets of the early seventeenth
century were largely a fusion of materials which are to be found in
earlier legends. But it was these pamphlets which insured the sur¬
vival of the story. At least nine different editions were published
during the year 1602,^ and many more editions in the years following.
The legend was rapidly reaching its maturity. Only one more detail
was lacking. The German name for the mysterious wanderer has always
been and still is "der ewige Jude," the eternal Jew. It was in
France that he received the name by which he is most commonly known
today. In 1609 there appeared in Bordeaux a translation of one of
the German pamphlets under the title Pi scours Yeri table d*un Juif
errant. Leauel maintlent avec parolles -probables avoir esté*-present
a voir crucifier Jesus-Chrlst. et est demeuré* en vie iuscrues a present?**
26Konig, pp. 4-5.
^Anderson, "Wandering Jew Returns," p. 238, note 9.
28Killen, p. 24.

31
With, the addition, of this epithet, "Juif errant," "Wandering Jew,"
Ahasuerus had truly come of age.

32
CHAPTER II
THE WARP AMD THE WOOF
The legend of the Wandering Jew consists of three major
motifs'1’ which are always present in the advanced form of the legend:
the motif of earthly immortality; the motif of blasphemy, sacrilege, or
2
sin against deity; and the wandering motif. Various other minor motifs
are also occasionally present, of course.
First, the Wandering Jew story is only one of a large class of
legends dealing with beings who have been awarded earthly immortality
or preternaturally long life. The number of instances in which the
theme of immortality occurs in the folklore and religion of
^■Throughout this work, the term "motif" is used in the tech¬
nical sense as distinguished from the term "type." Professor Stlth
Thompson has explained the difference between the two terms as fol¬
lows: "A motif is the smallest element in a tale having a power to
persist in tradition. In order to have this power it must have some¬
thing unusual and striking about it. Host motifs fall into three
classes. First are the actors in a tale—gods, or unusual animals,
or marvelous creatures, like witches, ogres, or fairies, or even con¬
ventionalized human characters like the favorite child or the cruel
stepmother. Second come certain items in the background of the action-
magic objects, unusual customs, strange beliefs, and the like. In
the third place there are single incidents—and these comprise the
great majority of motifs...
"A type is a traditional tale that has an independent
existence. It may be told as a complete narrative and does not depend
for its meaning on any other tale...It may consist of only one motif
or of many." Thompson, pp. 415-416.
'Of. infra,, p. 53, n. 44.

33
various countries and civilizations leads one to conclude that it is
one of those basic motifs that are so simple that they occur every-
where.
Reluctance to accept the report of the death of a great hero
or prophet is a human impulse common to all people. Consequently,
religion and folklore are full of stories about great men who never
suffered death but who either remained living on earth or else were
translated directly into heaven. Conway cites one such legend which
can be traced back almost to the time of Zoroaster. This is the legend
of Tima, king of Persia during the golden age. During the reign of
Tima there was neither heat nor cold, death nor decay. Evil was unknown.
Working with Tima was Armaiti, a divine woman who promoted the clear¬
ing of forests, the development of agriculture, and the general advance¬
ment of civilization. Tima ruled over this Utopia for nine hundred
years. After winter came to his country, Tima retired with his friends
to a secluded spot, where they enjoy perfect contentment. Armaitl
still pursued her duties, struggling against the powers of evil. When
she is eventually victorious, Tima will return again to his people.4
2
In 1856 Wilhelm Grimm wrote: "There are, however, some situa¬
tions which are so simple and natural that they seem to occur every¬
where, just as there are thoughts which seem to present themselves of
their won accord, so that it is quite possible that the same or very
similar stories may have sprung up in the most different countries
quite independently of each other.9 Cited by Thompson, p. 368.
4
Conway, pp. 38-39. Conway believes that the Tima legend is eth¬
nically related to that of the Wandering Jew, although eternal life seems
to be the only feature that the legends have In common.

34
Christian tradition also provides several examples of holy men
who never suffered death. The first of these deathless patriarchs men¬
tioned in the Old Testament is Enoch, the father of Methuselah. It is
apparent from the wording of the Old Testament that Enoch did not die,
at least in the usual sense of the word. He is mentioned in an account
of the genealogy and age of the patriarchs, where the age. offspring,
and death of all the others are specifically stated, with each account
always ending, "and he dled.n The monotony and set order of these
accounts lends emphasis and significance to the change which is intro¬
duced into the record of Enoch's life:
And Enoch lived sixty and five years, and begat Methuselah.
And Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hun¬
dred years, and begat sons and daughters:
And all the days of Enoch were three hundred and sixty and five
years:
And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.5
The Talmud gives a much more circumstantial account of his life,
and the commentator explains the obscure language which is used in
Genesis in connection with Enoch's disappearance from the earth:
And it came to pass when the inhabitants of the world had
learned from Enoch the ways of the lord, an angel called to him from
heaven, saying:
"Ascend Enoch, ascend to heaven, and reign over the children of
God in heaven as thou hast reigned over the children of men on
earth.n
And on the seventh day Enoch ascended to heaven in a whirlwind,
with chariot and horses of fire.
And it came to pass after Enoch had gone up to heaven that the
people started out to search for those men who had followed after him.
5Genesis 5:21-24.

36
And on the spot where they had left them they found snow and lee.
They cut through the lee and they found there the dead todies of
the men for whom they were searching, tut Enoch they did not find.
Therefore is this the meaning of the words of Scripture, "And Enoch
walked with God; and he was not" (he was not where search was
made), nfor God had taken him" (Genesis 5:34).6
At any rate, whatever the exact meaning of the Scriptures may
have teen, it Is certain that in popular tradition Enoch remained as one
of the undying ones. In The Koran. It is said of Edris (who corresponds
to Enoch in the Old Testament) that "he was a just person, and a prophet,H
7
and nwe exalted him to a high place.1* In other sacred writings also,
8
Enoch is believed to have teen translated directly to heaven.
There is, however, no such ambiguity possible in the scrip¬
tural account of the last days of Elias, who is perhaps the test-known
Old Testament example of the holy man who was too good to die. For
Elias never suffered death, tut "went up by a whirlwind into heaven."®
The fiery chariot and fiery horses which are seen upon Elias's ascen¬
sion into heaven are reminiscent of the Talmudic account of the ascen¬
sion of Enoch.
Edward Gibbon cites still another example of a Christian legend
based upon the concept of preternatural longevity as a reward. The
^The Talmud, trena. H, Folano (Philadelphia, 1876), pp. 20-21.
7The Koran, trans. George Sale, 5th ed. (Philadelphia, 1868),
O
Ibid.. p. 252, n. a,
94 Kings 2:11
p. 252,

36
episode of the Seven Sleepers, which Gibbon numbers "among the Insipid
legends of ecclesiastical history," was said to have occurred during
the time of the persecution of the Christians by the Emperor Decius.
Seven youths of Ephesus concealed themselves in a cave in an effort to
escape from the tyrant, but Decius, discovering their hiding place,
sealed them in by covering the mouth of the cave with a pile of huge
stones. The seven youths immediately fell into a deep slumber, which
lasted for a period of one hundred and eighty-seven years. When, at
the end of that time, a group of workmen removed the stones, the
sleepers awoke. Thinking that he had only been asleep for a few hours,
one of the youths, Jamblichus, went into town to procure food. He was
puzzled at the unfamiliar sights which greeted him, and was amazed to
see a large cross erected over the gate of the city. When he attempted
to buy food, his antiquated dress and unusual manners aroused such sus¬
picion that he was taken before the Judge. The ensuing conversation
soon revealed the fact that almost two centuries had passed since
Jamblichus and his friends had concealed themselves from the pagan
tyrant. A deputation from the city immediately visited the cavern to
question the other Sleepers, who bestowed their blessings, related their
tales, and then peacefully died.
The story of the Seven Sleepers is also cited, with some varia¬
tions, in The Koran. In that account, however, a few minor human-interest
^Edward Gibbon, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, ed.
Oliphant Smeaton (Hew York, 1910), III, 340-342.

37
details are added which are missing In Gibbon'e account, Vith the
youths was their dog, who also fell into this miraculous slumber and
lay across the entrance to the cave with paws outstretched. The sun
never shone directly into the cave, a fact which The Koran calls "one
of the signs of God," furthermore, the youths seems to have slept
with their eyes open. And lastly, their slumber is extended to a
period of over three hundred and nine years.’*"*'
Stories of long life as a reward are not confined just to the¬
ology, of course. In British tradition, King Arthur is believed never
to have died but merely to have sailed away to Avalon to be healed of
IP
his wounds. In the folklore of the American Indian, the death of
Hiawatha is avoided by having him sail westward on a long journey into
the sunset, "to the Islands of the Blessed." In German folklore it
is believed that the Emperor Frederick Barbarossa still lives, with a
group of his companions inside the Eyffhauser mountain. Many believe
that he will continue to live until judgment day, at which time he will
11The Koran, up. 238-341.
l2"Iet some men say in many parts of England that King Arthur
is not dead, but had by the will of our lord Jesus into another place;
and men say that he shall come again, and he shall win the holy
cross." Sir Thomas Mallory, le Morte D»Arthur, ed. Ernest Rhys
(London, 1923), Vol. II, Bk, XH, Ch. VII, pp. 391.
13"The Song of Hiawatha," The Complete Poetical Works of Henry
Wadsworth Longfellow,» (Boston, 1893), pp. 162-164.

38
arise, conquer the holy sepulchre, and secure peace for all of the
14
Christendom.
All of these legends—those of Enoch, Elias, Arthur, the
Seven Sleepers, Hiawatha, and Barbarosma—deal with the theme of pro¬
longed life as a reward. It might seem at first that these legends have
little relevance to a discussion of the Wandering Jew, since longevity
in them is given as a reward, not as a punishment. But one legend of
this class, the legend of St. John, has almost certainly had a direct
influence upon the formation of the Wandering Jew legend.
The holy scriptures themselves doubtless furnished the basis
for the belief that one of the disciples would never die but would
remain on earth until the second advent of Christ. Por Jesus Himself
is reported to have said, "Amen I say to you that there are some of
them that stand here who shall not taste death till they see the king¬
dom of God coming in power.later, after Christ had been crucified
and had arisen from the dead, he appeared to his disciples to give them
further instructions. He questioned Peter and repeated His instructions
to him three times, which grieved Peters
Peter turning about, saw that disciple whom Jesus loved follow¬
ing, who also leaned on his breast at supper and said: Lord, who
14William J. Thoms, lavs and Legends of Various Nations (London,
1834), p. 1.
15
Mark 8:39. These words of Jesus appear at the head of the Ger¬
man Wandering Jew Pamphlet entitled Eurtze Beschreibung. which was pub¬
lished in Dantzig in 1602. Cf. the reprint in Anderson, p. 246.

39
is he that shall hetray theeT
Him therefore when Peter had seen, he saith to Jesus: lord,
and what shall this nan do?
Jesus saith to him: So I will have him to remain till 1
come, what is it to thee?1®
The failure to consider the conditional nature of this state-
meet later led to the belief that John would never die, even though
the point is explicitly made that such was not the meaning of Jesus’s
words:
This saying therefore went abroad among the brethren, that
that disciple should not die. And Jesus did not say to him: Hé
should not die; but: So I will have him to remain till I come,
what is it to thee?17
Sven when the actual event of John's death proved otherwise,
belief in his immortality persisted, Robert Browning, at the conclu¬
sion of ffA Death in the Desert," briefly alludes to this belief that
John never suffered death:
Por many look again to find that face,
Beloved John's, to whom I ministered.
Somewhere in life about the world; they err:
Either mistaking what was darkly spoke
At ending of his book, as he relates,
Or misconceiving somewhat of his speech
Scattered from mouth to mouth, as I suppose,1®
Sven as late as the seventeenth century there existed a religious sect
in England which believed that a forthcoming restoration of the church
16John 21:20-22.
17John 21:23,
18Robert Browning's Works. Centenary Edition (London, 1912),
IV, 290.

40
19
vas to be 'brought about by the reappearance of St. John.
According to still another belief, although John had been
burled at Ephesus, he was still lying In his grave alive, where he
would remain until the day of Judgment. A brief reference to this
legend Is preserved In the account of Sir John Mandevllle:
From Fathmos men gon vnto Bpheslm a faire cltee & nygh to the
see And />ere dyede seynte John & was buryed behynde the high awtiere
in a toumbe. And f>ere is a fair chirche For cristene men weren
wont to holden f»at place always. And in the tombe of seynt John
is nought but Manna /»at is clept Aungeles mete for his body was
translated In to paradys. And Turkes holden now all A at place
& the chirche And all Asie the lesse Is ycleped Turkye. And
¿ee schull vnderstonde feat seynt John leet make his graue Aere
in his lyf & leyd himself j?erejnne all quyk And perfore somme
men seyn feat he dyed nought, but feat he resteth feere til the
day of doom. And forsothe ¡¡ere is a gret merueyle for men may
see feere the erthe of the tombe apertly many tymes steren & meuen
as J>©r© weren quykke thinges vnder.^0
There may appear to be a vast gulf between the legend of the
Wandering Jew, who struck Christ and was punished with eternal life,
and the legend of the beloved disciple John, who rested on His bosom*
but the two stories show an almost unmistakable kinship. The very
name Cartaphilus, which appears in the chronicle of Roger of Wendover,
seems to link the legend to that of St. John. For in Creek, Cartaphilus
could perhaps best be translated as "dearly beloved"—a meaning which
on
reflects very well the merger of the two legends. The dearly
19Railo, p. 193.
20
"Mandevllle*s Travels," Early English Text Society. Original
Series, CLIII (1919), 14.
21Railo, p. 193.

41
teloved disciple of Jesus has fairly obviously become confused with
the blasphemer who struck Him,
In other versions of the legend the mysterious wanderer is
definitely called John, In Italy, of course, the John becomes
Giovanni, with the added name of Buttadeo. If this name was derived,
as it seems to have been, from a combination of the Italian buttare
(to strike) plus deo (God), the full name of the Wanderer might be
22
translated as "John the God-striker.* This apparent confusion be¬
tween the beloved disciple of Jesus and the scoffer who struck Him is
also revealed by the different names by which the wanderer is known in
various countries: Giovanni Buttadeo, Juan Espera en Déos, Juan Servo
di Dios, ete,^®
All of these legends which have been discussed so far have
dealt with the theme of immortality or supematurally prolonged life as
a reward, not as a punishment. There is, however, another class of
legends in which immortality is bestowed as a curse for some offense
against a deity. Three legends of this class—those of Pindóla, Judas,
and Pilate—appear to be closely related to that of the Wandering Jew.
22Railo, p. 193, Also see the account of Antonio dl Prancesco
di Andrea, where the Wanderer says that he should be called "Giovanni
Batte-Iddio" (battere, to strike, / Iddlo, God), or "Giovanni
perchosse-Iddlo" (percossa. blow, f- Iddlo, God), supra, p. 17
23Supra, p. 18.

42
Eumagusa Minakata has pointed out that many similarities exist
between the legends of the Wandering Jew and a group of legends of
24
ancient India concerning Pindóla, a disciple of Buddha. One of these
legends concerns King As*oka, who, after many unbelievably evil deeds,
was finally converted to Baddhism, After his conversion, he invited
to his palace a group of three hundred thousand Buddhist brothers.
Observing that none of them had occupied the seat of honor, the king
inquired as to the reason and was answered that the seat was reserved
for Pindola, the only living man who had personally seen Buddha. Pin-
dola entered presently with his Innumerable followers and occupied the
seat of honor. His hair was pure white, and his eyebrows were so over¬
grown that he had to lift them in order to see the king. During his
conversation with the king he explained his fate as follows:
"And further, when the Buddha was staying in the kingdom of
S'rtvasti with the five hundred arhats, a daughter of the merchant
prince AnSthapindada happened to live in the kingdom of Fundara-
varddhana, and invited thither the Buddha and his disciples. All
other monks, then, went gliding through the air, but I, exerting
my supernatural energy, held up a huge mount and there went.
Then the Buddha accursed me with these words: ’Wherefore do you
play such a miracle? For which offense I now punish you with
eternal existence in this world, incapable of reaching Hirvána,
thus to guard my doctrine against its destruction.*"
After citing several other variants of the Pindola legend,
Minakata concludes that there are several points of agreement between
it and that of the Wandering Jew. Both are guilty of some offense
against the founder of their religion. Both are consequently doomed
^Eumagusa Minakata, BThe Wandering Jew," Notes and Queries.
Series 9, IV (1899), 121-124.

43
to eternal life as a punishment. They are afterwards devout followers
of the deities whom they offended. They are both shabby in dress.
They are workers of tórneles and healers of disease.
The medieval legends that grew up around the figure of Judas
Iscariot also show several points of similarity to that of the Wandering
Jew. According to the usual version of the story, the parents of Judas
were named Reuben and Cyborea. One night Qyborea, his mother, dreamed
that she was about to conceive a child who would be the ruination of
the whole Jewish people. Accordingly, when the son, Judas, was born,
he was put into a chest and set adrift at sea. The chest floated
ashore on the island of Scariot, where Judas was found and adopted by
the queen of the island. The queen eventually bore a son of her own,
whom Judas one day in a fit of anger killed. He then fled to Jeru¬
salem, where he secured a position in the retinue of Pilate. One day
Pilate, looking into his neighbor’s garden, sent Judas to pick some of
the fruit for him. Unknown to Judas, the garden was that of his own
father, Reuben, When Reuben appeared an argument arose, and Judas
killed him. Afterwards, still ignorant of what he was doing, Judas
married Qyborea, his mother. She eventually told him enough of her
history to make him realize that he had committed not only parricide,
but also incest. At Qyborea1s suggestion, Judas went for forgiveness to
Jesus, whom he joined as a disciple. His inherent wickedness soon mani¬
fested itself again, though, and he betrayed his master for thirty

44
pieces of silver*
In spite of the fact that the death of Jadas is specifically
recorded in the Bible, he was not saved from the doom of eternal pun¬
ishment, According to one legend his soul is condemned always to
wander around the world; and on every tamarind shrub (the tree on
which he hanged himself) he sees his body hanging, torn by dogs and
vultures.2® In other legends, although Judas is confined to hell for
six days of the week, he is allowed to return to the earth on Sunday
for a day of rest,27
The similarities between this legend and that of the Wandering
Jew are obvious: both have to do with sins against Jesus; the element
of eternal punishment and wandering is present in both; and lastly,
the fact that Judas was employed as a member of Pilate's retinue con¬
nects the story with the Cartaphilus legend of Soger of Wendover,
where Cartaphilus is represented aB having been a doorkeeper at Pilate's
gate. As a matter of fact, the Judas legend appears in conjunction
with the Wandering Jew in the seventeenth century French pamphlet
Mstoire admirable d'um iulf errant.22 And in David Hoffman's
25Paull Franklin Baum, "The Medieval legend of Judas Iscariot,"
gMIA. XXXI (1916), pp, 482-483.
26Crane, pp. 196-196.
27Paull Franklin Baum, "Judas' Sunday Best," Modern Language
Review. X7ITI (April, 1923), 168-182.
'Anderson, p. 237, n. 3.

45
nineteenth century novel Chronicle a of Cartaphilus the author has
fairly obviously borrowed from the Judas legend to supply some of the
OQ
earlier details in the life of the Wandering Jew.
According to another Italian legend. Pontius Pilate met with
a similar fate for the part that he played in the crucifixion of Jesus.
This legend records that one day near Rome a wagon loaded with stones
was crossing a deserted section of the country when one of the wheels
sank into the earth. When the wagon was finally freed, it was dis¬
covered that the hole where the wheel had been led into a dark room
underneath the earth. One brave carter offered to allow himself to be
lowered into the room to investigate. After opening several doors, he
came to a room in which a man was sitting at a table. On the table
were paper, pen, and ink, and the man was reading something that he had
written. The carter twice asked him who he was, but received no reply.
Upon the third inquiry, the man offered to write his name on the car¬
ter’s back, but he cautioned him to let nobody but the Pope read what
he had written. The carter took off his shirt, and the man wrote a
few words on his back. Unable to get any further answers from the mys¬
terious man, the carter signaled to be drawn up again and immediately
went to the Pope. He explained what had happened and asked the Pope to
read the mysterious words. His Holiness read the words "I am Pilate,”
and even as he pronounced them the poor carter turned into a statue.
^According to Hoffman, for instance, the mother of Cartaphilus,
like that of Judas, dreams that the son that she is to bear will prove
to be a curse to the Jewish people. Consequently, after Cartaphilus is
born he is shunned by his own relatives. David Hoffman, Chronicles of
Cartaphilus (London. 1853), I, 9-10.

46
And It is said that the mysterious man who had written on the carter’s
back was Pontius Pilate, who was condemned always to stay in the cave
reading the sentence that he had pronounced upon Jesus Christ, with-
30
out ever being able to take his eyes up from the paper.
The element of eternal life, even as a curse, therefore, is
not uncommon in folklore. The legends of Judas and of Pilate pro¬
vide examples of individuals who were cursed with immortality because
of sins which they committed against the person of Christ—a theme
which is very close indeed to that of the Wandering Jew. But for the
emphasis on the wandering motif itself we must search elsewhere.
Sir Thomas Browne, in his inquiry into the origin of the
gypsy race, cites two legends which explain the reason for the wan¬
dering of the gypsies. First, Browne states, common opinion held that
the race of gypsies "first came out of lesser JJgypt, that having de¬
fected from the Christian rule, and relapsed unto pagan rites, some
of every family were enjoyned this penance, to wander about the
world." Browne then continues with another theory for the wandering
of the gypsies which is even closer to the Wandering Jew legend.
Some of the gypsies themselves, he says, "pretend for this vagabond
course, a judgement of Cod upon their forefathers, who refused to enter-
31
tain the Virgin Mary and Iesus, when she fled into their country."
30Crane, pp. 194-195.
3^Sir Thomas Browne, "Pseudodoxia Epidémica," Bk. VI, Ch. XIII,
The Works of Sir Thomas Browne, ed. Geoffrey Keynes, (London, 192$),
TIT, 255,

47
The corse of wandering In this Instance, of course, Is 'bestowed upon
a whole people rather than upon a single individual,
Earl Blind argues quite convincingly for a close relationship
between the Wandering Jew and the legend of the Wild Huntsman, who
refused to allow Christ to drink from a water-trough, telling him
that he should go drink from a horse-pond. Por this insult the Wild
Huntsman is doomed to wander about forever, feeding upon horse-flesh.
Whenever his wild chase goes hy, anyone who calls out to him will be
forced to eat horse-flesh also.
Blind believes, first of all, that the Wild Huntsman himself
"is probably a later mask of the chief Teutonic deity, Wodan, or Odin,
after the latter had been deposed from his high status through the
spread of Christianity." In support of this thesis, he points out
that they show many of the same characteristics: both Wodan and the
Wild Huntsman were known as great wanderers; both rode gray or white
horses; and even the very names by which they are known link the two
figures together. The Wild Huntsman is known in various European
countries as Wotn, Wat, Wode, Wod, and in Sweden as Oden. Finally,
the references to the horse-trough and to the eating of horse-flesh
are thinly veiled reminiscences of the old pagan religion, of the time
when our forefathers worshipped horses and ate horse-flesh.
Hext, there is a close relationship between the legend of the
Wild Huntsman and the Wandering Jew. Although in the legend of the
Wild Huntsman no mention is made of a Jew, the part that Christ plays

48
ie very similar to His role in the Ahasuerus story. In one legend
He is denied the right to drink from a water-trough; in the other he
is denied the right to rest in front of a house. The punishment which
he imposes is in both cases the same: eternal wandering.
finally, if further evidence is needed, in the Black forest,
at Rothenberg, and at other places in Swabia, people actually say that
the "Everlasting Hunter" (der ewige Jager) and the "Everlasting Jew"
(der ewige Jude) are the same person. The two expressions are used
Interchangeably. In other places in Germany and Switzerland, the
Eternal Hunter, the Eternal Jew, the Pilgrim from Rome, and the Wander-
32
ing Pilate are all names for the same legendary character.
This wandering motif is also present in the Mohammedan legend
of Sámeri, who is blamed for seducing his people into idolatry in the
absence of Moses. According to The Koran, it was al Sátaeri who per¬
suaded his people to carry their gold and silver and cast them into
the fire. He then fashioned from this metal a calf, which he claimed
was their God. In spite of the entreaties of Aaron, the people insisted
upon worshipping the calf until the return of Moses. When Moses re¬
turned and learned what had happened, he placed the following curse
upon al Sameri: "Get thee gone; for thy punishment in this life shall
33
be, that thou shalt say unto those who shall meet thee. Touch me not."
32Rarl Blind, "Wodan, the Wild Huntsman, and the Wandering
Jew," Gentlemen^ Magazine. CCXUX (1880), 32-48*
33The Koran, pp. 260-261.

49
Accordingly, al S&nerl vent out Into the desert, where he wandered
around like a wild "beast. And It was "believed that any man who
touched him "became infected with a "burning fever. He was therefore
34 .
shunned by all humanity. This last feature, the belief that Sameri
transmitted a burning fever to all who touched him, connects the
legend with the later belief that the Wandering Jew brought plague and
destruction wherever he went.
_ Still another interesting minor motif, in addition to the major
motif of wandering, may have been supplied by the legend of Cain. For
when the Lord discovered that Cain had slain his brother Abel, he pro¬
nounced the following curse upon him:
Now, therefore, cursed shalt thou be upon the earth, which
hath opened her mouth and received the blood of thy brother at
thy hand.
When thou shalt till it, it shall not yield to thee its fruit:
a fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be upon the earth.36
Elno Rallo insists that the legend of Cain and that of the Wander¬
ing Jew are mutually indebted; he even speculates that the two stories
may have a common origin. During the Middle Ages the fate of Cain was
commonly pictured as resembling that of the Wandering Jew. The fif¬
teenth century French mystery play Le Mistare de Flell Testament tell»
34Ibid.. p. 261, n. 1.
35Cf. R. G. Moulton, "The Wandering Jew Legend," Poet Lore.Ill
(1891), 322-335, for a discussion of the part of the plague in Eugene
Sue’s treatment of the story.
36
Genesis 4:11-12,

50
in detail the story of Cain. After the murder of Abel, the Lord sets
his mark upon Cain, who then begins his ceaseless wanderings, from
which he cannot be released until the Lord sets him free. He is
forced to suffer for the sins of the entire world, and he longs in
vain for death to end his torments.
nAnd the Lord set a mark upon Cain, that whosoever found him
38
should not kill him.M This mysterious mark of Cain has been the
subject of endless controversy. Sir James George Frazer cites many
instances among primitive peoples of the custom of placing a mark of
some kind upon a homicide, sometimes for the purpose of warning other
men away from him, sometimes in order to protect the homicide himself
39
against the ghost of his deceased victim. Frazer, apparently with
tongue in cheek, suggests that, if we may judge by the practices of
primitive peoples, the deity may have adorned Cain with red, white,
or black paint:
For example, he may have painted him red all over, like a
Fijian; or white all over, like a Ngoni; or black all over, like
an Arunta; or one half of his body red and the other half white,
like the Masai and the Nandi. Or if he confined his artistic
efforts to Cain’s countenance, he may have painted a red circle
round his right eye and a black circle round his left eye, in the
Wagogo style; or he may have embellished his face from the nose
to the chin, and from the mouth to the ears, with a delicate
37
°'Hallo, p. 237, n. 213.
®®Genesis 4:15.
39
"The Mark of Cain," Folklore in the Old Testament (London,
!919), I, 78-103.

51
shade of Vermillion, after the manner of the Tinneh Indians. Or
he may have plastered his head with mad, like the Fimas, or his
whole body with cow's dung, like the Kavirondo.^®
Bailo more seriously suggests that, just as those prophets
in the Old {Testament, such as Moses, who had seen the face of the lord
hore on their brows the reflection of His glory, so there gradually
developed a belief that the mark of Cain was a blazing light of some
41
sort on his brow. This detail further links the legend of Cain to
that of the Wandering Jew, who is sometimes pictured as bearing a
42
blazing cross which is imbedded in his forehead as a mark of his sin.
These three motifs, then, are the heart and soul of the Wan¬
dering Jew legend: earthly immortality or preternaturally long life;
blasphemy, sacrilege, or sin against deity; and the wandering motif.
Any legend containing these three motifs can, I think, be considered as
belonging to the same general type as that of the Wandering Jew, al¬
though the science of folklore has not yet reached the point where the
exact generic relationship of all legends of the same type can be def¬
initely determined.
It has also become apparent that the legend of the Wandering Jew
did not, like Minerva, spring forth fully developed at birth. It
^Ibid.. p. 100.
^Hailc, p* 237, n. 1.
42Infra. p. 91.

52
represents rather a fusion of motifs from various older legends, some
of which seem to he widely disassociated from it. The motif of eter¬
nal life, for instance, occurs several times in the Old Testament
and in other sacred hooks of the East. Traces of the legend of St.
John can almost unmistakably he discerned in the medieval and Renais¬
sance accounts of the Wandering Jew in Italy, Spain, and Portugal.
The legends of Findola, Judas, and Pilate even provide examples of
eternal life pronounced as a punishment for sin against deity» the
last two, still more significantly, dealing with offenses against the
person of Christ. The wandering motif Itself, which is a comparatively
late addition to the Wandering Jew legend, may have been suggested by
the wanderings of the Wild Huntsman, of Cain, or of SStaeri. All three
show evidence of being connected with the legend in other respects
also.
Although these three motifs constitute the general type of
legend to which the Wandering Jew belongs, the presence of these three
motifs alone does not justify the classification of a work as one based
directly upon the Wandering Jew theme itself. This story, even as it
appears in the thirteenth century, shows evidence of being a rather
highly developed form of legend. Specific details have been substituted
for generalities. The legend, which may have had a pagan origin, has
been thoroughly Christianized. The characters are named and the events
are localized, all of which Indicates that the legend is comparatively

53
43
well developed. The deity who is offended must be Christ; the man
who strikes or insults him must he a Jew; and the incident invariably
occurs during or shortly after the judgment of Christ by the Jews.
The curse that Christ imposes must be that of immortality or of pro¬
longed life. Finally, the wandering element must be present to some
44
extent. These conditions must be met before a story can be said to
be based directly upon the Wandering Jew theme itself.
On the other hand, a great deal of literature exists which is
based upon one or more of the general motifs which we have seen consti¬
tute the core of the legend. Bailo, Conway, Dorothy Scarborough, and
others include in their discussions of the Wandering Jew theme such
works as are concerned with immortality as it was sought in the al¬
chemical quest for the elixir of life. Logically they might also
include in their discussions works based upon the legends of the Flying
Dutchman and the Wild Huntsman. Admittedly there is a possibility
43Cf. Thompson, pp. 380-381.
44
In some instances, little emphasis is placed upon the wander-
ing motif. Usually the character is referred to as the "Wandering
Jew" (although the German name for him is der ewige Jude, "the eternal
Jew"), out sometimes the wandering element itself is present by impli¬
cation only.
45The sea captain, immortalized by Wagner's opera, who swore
that he would round the Cape of Good Hope, and who was therefore cursed
to wander the seas eternally in a phantom ship. Blind (p. 35) classi¬
fies this legend as a member of the same cycle as the Wandering Jew.

54
that all three legends were developed from a common ancestor. Even
if this theory he true, though, the fact remains that each one of the
legends has undergone a process of specialization and has developed
details peculiar to itself: the Plying Dutchman is the captain of a
phantom ship; the Wild Huntsman is invariably mounted on a horse. 1
choose, therefore, to regard such themes as the elixir vitae, the
Plying Dutchman, and the Wild Huntsman as separate themes which do not
properly fall within the province of this work.
On the other hand, literature which contains all three of the
major motifs of the Wandering Jew legend—immortality, sacrilege, and
wandering—will he considered as lying upon the fringe of the legend
and therefore entitled to some consideration, especially if other evi¬
dence indicates that the theme was suggested hy that of the Wandering
Jew.

55
CHAPTER III
FROM THE MIDDLE AGES TO THE EIGHTEENTH CENTORY
As we have seen, the earliest record of the Wandering Jew that
has survived is an English one, that of Roger of Wendover. neverthe¬
less, for several centuries the theme did not thrive as well In Eng¬
land as it did in other European countries. As a matter of fact,
several histories of the legend would lead one to "believe that it was
completely forgotten in England until it reappeared in the seventeenth
and eighteenth centuries. Dorothy Scarborough, after discussing
Roger of Wendover*s account, mentions no other record of the Wandering
Jew in England until 1797» Both Conway and Railo mention nothing
after Matthew of Paris's account in 1252 until the appearance in 1640
of the anonymous satire The Wandering Jew Telling Portones to Enffl*nh-
men. Actually, however, there are several distinct allusions to the
Wandering Jew in England during the Middle Ages and the early Renais¬
sance. Although the legend was not used as the central theme of any
long literary work during this time, these brief references indicate
that it was not completely forgotten.
The earliest reference in England to the Wandering Jew after
the entry in the chronicle of Matthew of Paris occurs in a manuscript
of The Northern Passion, a medieval versified account of the life of

56
Christ. Although The Northern Passion has survived in fourteen
different manuscripts, ^ only two of these, MS. Rawllnson C.655 and
Brit. Mas. Addit. MS. 31042, contain any reference to the Wandering
Jew. The earlier allusion occurs in Rawllnson C.655, which is be¬
lieved to have been written about the middle of the fourteenth cen¬
tury :2
J it lines a man & /at is f erliche
/at saw Zhesu bo/ dede & qwiked
Els name is Ion potedeu
Wan god was ded sore gan him rew
He saw wit ei^e & wi/^ojt
How Ihesu was to dede bro^t
He sale/ wl/ his mox/e & spekes
Buerich godman /er of recebes
He saw/e crols hole & sonde
How it was laide on/e gronde3
Here no mention is made of any insult to Christ or of any curse
of immortality and wandering. It is merely stated that one Ion Potedeu,
who saw the sufferings of Christ, is still living.
A much more circumstantial account is given in a later manu¬
script, Brit. Mus» Addit. 31042, written about the middle of the flf-
4
teenth century. Here the story of the blow which is struck Christ and
of the curse which He pronounces is briefly related:
dances A. Poster, The Northern Passion. BBTS 147, p. 9.
2Ibid., p. 10.
3Ibid.. p. 142, lines 1520a-1520j.
4
Ibid., pp. 11-12.

57
Jit lyties a mane It is ferlike
that Ihesu saughe bothe dede & qwlke
Iohn putte dieu was his name
he did his lord Mekill schame
he putt Ihesu with his hande
& saide traytour ga forthe here sail ¿baa not
stands
& Ihesu tomed hym />ane agayne
& had stand A>u still in snawe and rayne
& in o/dr wedirs ealde and harde
Tillfi&t I come ogayne warde5
The name nIohn putte dieu" (or "Ion potedeu") that appears in
these two manuscripts indicates that the account is not in the tradi¬
tion of the Cartaphilus legend of Roger of Wendover and Matthew of
Paris. On the contrary, the name indicates that the account is a
version of the legend of Buttadeus, who was also known as Boutedieu
or Botadieu in france.® It has already been demonstrated that the name
Buttadeus is probably a combination of the two Italian words meaning
7
"strike or blow" and "God," The Treneh form of the name appears to
be merely a translation of those two Italian words, so that the mean¬
ing "strike or blow" (bout) and "God" (dieu) is still preserved. The
English form "putte dieu" is, on the other hand, probably only a par¬
tial anglicization of the french form of the name, for the Hew Eng¬
lish Dictionary lists as one of the Middle English uses of "putt"
the meaning "to phsh, shove, or strike." Indeed, in the third line
5Ibld.. EBTS 145, p. 174, lines 1520a-1520j.
6Ibid.. SETS 147, pp. 72-73.
7 Supra, p. 40,

58
of the above passage, "he putt Ihesu with his hande," the word "putt"
is used with this meaning. Therefore it is fairly clear that "putte
dieu" represents merely a partially anglicized form of the French
"Boutedieu. "
These two manuscripts of The Northern Passion contain the only
references during the Middle Ages which can definitely he identified as
allusions to the Wandering Jew. Other tentative identifications have
been made, hut they rest upon much less certain evidence.
ft. S. Bushnell, for instance, has attempted to identify with
the Wandering Jew the old man in Chaucer's The Pardoner's Tale who
gave the three rioters directions for finding death. Although
Chaucer does not describe the old man at length, he does sharply indi¬
vidualize him with a few deft strokes. He is a very aged man, so old
that his body is almost wasted away. His body is completely "for-
wrapped" except for his face. He appears to be a very meek and pious
person. But his most striking characteristic is his inability to die:
This olde man gan looke in his visage,
And seyde thus, "For I ne kan nat fynde
A man, though that I walked into Tnde,
Neither in citee ne in no village,
That wolde chaunge his y out he for myn age;
And therefore moot I han myn age stille,
As longe time as it is Goddes ville.
Ne Deeth, alias! ne wol nat han my lyf.
Thus walke I, 3yk a resteless kaityf,
And on the ground, which is my moodres gate,
I knokke with my staf, bothe erly and late.
And seye, "leeve mooder, leet me in!8
8,
The Pardoner * s Tale. The Complete Works of Geoffrey Chaucer.
ed. F. ft. Bobinson (Boston, 1933), p. 184, lines 720-731.

59
Although he himself is seeking release from this life by death,
he appears to be doomed to a life of indefinite length unless he can
find someone who is willing to exchange his youth for the old man's
age. Bushnell attempts to connect this feature with the element of
rejuvenation which appears in some of the older treatments of the Wan¬
dering Jew legend.
The old man is certainly a wanderer. He himself states that
he walks about "lyk a resteless kaityf," and that although he has
traveled widely he has found no one willing to exchange youth for age.
Furthermore, Bushnell argues, the old man is "the one «Just figure in
an exemplum attacking drunkenness and gluttony," a fact which is
paralleled by Roger of Wendover's account that Cartaphllus was satis¬
fied with moderate food and clothing.
Chaucer's old man, of course, does not appear to have been a
Jew. But, as we have seen, neither was Cartaphllus or Buttadeus. In
the earlier stages of the development of the Wandering Jew legend
there is not a bit of evidence that the man who insulted Christ was a
Jew. The element of Jewishness was not introduced into the legend until
the early seventeenth century.
The thesis that Chaucer's old man in The Pardoner's Tale may
have been suggested by the figure of the Wandering Jew is not entirely
original with Bushnell, as he himself acknowledges. The connection
between the two figures had been previously suggested by Ten Brink and
^Bushnell, p. 454.

60
and H. S. Canty, among others. The only difficulty as Canty saw It,
was the lack of evidence that the Wandering Jew legend existed in
a form old enough for Chaucer to have had access to it. Bushnell,
therefore attempts to establish the fact that the legend of the Wan¬
dering Jew was by the time of Chaucer already highly enough developed
and sufficiently well known for Chaucer to have used it as a model for
his old man.
That the legend of the Wandering Jew was known before the
time of Chaucer is undeniable. As we have seen already, several ref¬
erences to the legend in one form or the other occur during the thir¬
teenth and fourteenth centuries.^® But the fact remains that the
legend was apparently not at all well known in England during the time
of Chaucer. Only one definite allusion to the story in the fourteenth
century has been found.
In conclusion Bushnell lists a nereuasive number of parallels
which he rather cavalierly assumes that he has established between the
two figures; piety, immortality, rejuvenation, and wandering. At
least one of these parallels—that of rejuvenation—i s weak and uncon¬
vincing. All that can really be said is that both the Wandering Jew
and Chaucer^ old man in The Pardoner^ Tale are pious old men who
wander around unable to die. Even this similarity between the two
figures, might be enough to suggest that Chaucer was influenced at
least in part by the figure of the Wandering Jew, were it not for the
10
3S2E2* PP. 10-17

61
fact that the legend was so little known in fourteenth century England}^
In short, until further evidence to the contrary Is uncovered, It seems
more likely that Chaucer was not familiar with the legend of the Wan¬
dering Jew, and Bushnell's theory remains only a remote possibility—
an interesting, hut unproved, hypothesis*
A much more likely identification of the Wandering Jew in med¬
ieval literature has been made by Archer Taylor, who finds what he be¬
lieves to be a reference to the eternal wanderer in William Dunbar*s
"Plyting of Dunbar and Kennedy.B At one point Dunbar gives a list of
scoundrels whom he considers appropriate relatives for "Deulbeir":
Hero thy nevow, Golyas thy grantslre,
Pharao thy fader, Egipya thy dame...
Termygantis temp J_ t_/ ise the, et Waspasius
thine erne;
Belzebub thy full brother will clame
To be tfcyne air and Cayphas thy sectour;
Pluto thy hede of kyn...
Herod thyne othir erne, and grete EgeaB,
Marciane, Máchemete, and Maxencius,
Thy trew kynnismen, Antenor et Eneas,
Throp thy nere nece, and austern Olibrius,
Puttidew, Baal and Hyobalus.^2
Practically all of these names which are enumerated have already
been satisfactorily identified, except Throp and Puttidew. Hone of
^There is, of course,, a possibility that Chaucer could have
encountered the legend on one of his trips to Italy, where the legend
of Buttadeus had a comparatively wide circulation, but there is no
evidence to support this conclusion.
^The Poems of William Dunbar, ed. W. Mackay Mackenzie (London,
1932), p. 19, lines 529-541.

62
Dunbar’s editors hare been able to explain the allusion to Puttidew,
although the usual explanation is that the word is a combination of
netlt and dieu. an explanation which does not throw much light on the
problem.^-3 Taylor suggests that Puttidew is really the Wandering Jew,
who had already appeared in The Northern Passion as "Iohn putte dieu,"
Taylor’s identification is, I think, convincing: the similarity in
names is striking, and the context in which the name appears lends
support to his theory. To the medieval mind the man who struck Christ
would certainly not be out of place in the company of such villains as
Hero, Cayphas /, Caiphas_7 and Herod,
Dunbar’s brief allusion to ’’Puttidew" is the only reference
to the Wandering Jew in sixteenth century England that has come to
light. After Dunbar there followed a period of over one hundred years
of literary silence in regard to the legend. There is not one shred
of evidence to Indicate that the legend was known at all in England
throughout the rest of the sixteenth century. It appears to have been
well on its way to oblivion and might well have died out completely
had it not been for the renewal of interest in the story which was fos¬
tered by the appearance of the Kurtze Beschrelbung and its offspring
in seventeenth century Germany. Por unquestionably the next work to
appear in England on the subject of the Wandering Jew was a product of
the early seventeenth century renaissance of the legend.
lsTaylor, p. 394, n. 2.

63
The Stationers Register records under the date of August 21,
1612, that one Edward Mar chant "Entred for his Copy vnder the hand
of Master Harrison Warden A hallad called Wonderfull strange newes
out of Germany of a Jewe that hath lyued Wandringe euer since the
passion of our Saul our Christ."^4 later, under the date of Octo¬
ber 9, 1620, John Harriot and John Grisman are recorded as having
entered "a ballett of the Wandringe Jew," The editor of The Rox¬
burgh Ballads believes this to be the same ballad as that which was
entered in 1612. Although no copies of either the 1612 or the 1620
issue are extant, he believes that the version that he reprints,
under the title "The Wandering Jew; or the Shooemaker of Jerusalem"
16
represents an "almost uncorrupted text." The same ballad also
17
appears in Percy*s Religues under the title "The Wandering Jew."
Whatever the title one chooses to assign to it, this ballad
represents the first English work to contain the new details which
were added to the legend during its revival in Germany in the early
seventeenth century. As a matter of fact, the English ballad seems
14A Transcript of the Registers of the Company of Stationers
SL London, ed. Edward Arber (London, 1876), III, sub voce August 21,
1612.
15Ibid>. IV, 16The Roxburgh Ballads^ VI, 688,
^Thomas Percy, Religues of Ancient English Poetry, ed, Robert
Aris Willmott (London, 1857), pp. 327-330.

64
to have been modeled directly after one of these German pamphlets or
perhaps a translation or adaptation thereof. The story follows the
pattern that we have already seen established: First a brief account
is given of the trial and sentencing of Christ. Then we are told how
Christ stopped in front of the Jewish shoemaker's house, of the blow
that he suffered, the curse that he pronounced, and of the shoemaker's
subsequent wanderings.
This general outline of the story, of course, could have been
taken from some version of the old Buttadeus legend, as the reference
in The Northern Passion was. It is not the general outline, but
rather the individual details which connect this ballad with the "new"
Ahasuerus story in Germany. The man who insulted Christ is in the
English ballad a Jewish shoemaker with a wife and a child. He, too,
like the German Ahasuerus, after wandering around for years following
the crucifixion, returns to Jerusalem only to find it destroyed. He,
too, when money is offered to him will accept only a pittance, which
he afterwards gives to the poor, saying that Christ will take care of
him. And lastly, his reproof to blasphemers is almost identical to
that of the German Ahasuerus:
He was not seen to laugh or smile, but weep
and make great moan,
lamenting still his miseries, and days fore
spent and gone.
If he hears any one Blaspheme, or take God's
name in vain;

65
He tells them that they crucify our Saviour
Christ again*
"If thou had'st seen grim Heath*" said he*
"as these mine eyes have done*
Ten thousand thousand times* would ye his
torments think upon;
And suffer for His sake all pains* all torments
and all woes."
These are his words and this his life, where'er
he comes and goes.
One detail which regularly appeared in the seventeenth century
German pamphlets* however* is omitted entirely in the English hallad.
The name Ahasuerus does not appear at all; the man who struck Christ
is simply called "the Jew," "the Wandering Jew," or "the shoemaker."
Ho satisfactory explanation has been offered for the omission of this
detail* hut the fact remains that the name Ahasuerus was not associ¬
ated in England with the Wandering Jew, so far as I can determine*
until the early part of the nineteenth century.
As we have already seen, there was hardly a trace of anti-
Semitism in the Ahasuerus story when it first appeared in Germany.
Similarly, there was no anti-Semitic purpose in the Cartaphllus and
Buttadeus legends as they were known in England prior to the seven¬
teenth century. The English hallad of 1612* though, contains the first
traces of anti-Semitism to he associated with the Wandering Jew legend
in England;
^®This same idea—that swearing and blasphemy are tantamount to
to crucifying Christ again—is also found in The Pardoner's Tale. Cf.
Chaucer, Works, p. 181, lines 472-475.
19
Roxburgh Ballads. VI. 43, lines 87-94

66
When as in fair Jerusalem our Saviour Christ did live,
And for the Sins of all the World his own dear life
did give;
The wicked Jews, with scoffs and scorns, did daily him
molest,
That never, till he left this life, our Saviour could
have rest.
Repent therefore. 0 England] Repent while you have
space?
M, 4a &*&) As.rn.Ug. SaHa
proffered grace. 20
Although the author of this hallad contributed little in the
way of new details to the development of the legend, the work never¬
theless has a certain amount of charm. The story is told in a simple,
straightforward manner, and there is no striving after effect. Not
as much can he said for The Wandering Jew1 s Chronicle, which first
appeared in 1634.2* The rather long metrical subtitle of this ballad
is a surprisingly accurate description of its contents?
The Old Historian, hie brief declaration.
Made in a mad fashion of each Coronation,
That pass'd in this Nation, since William's
Invasion,
Tor no great occasion, but meer Recreation,
To put off Vexation22
The Wandering Jew actually plays no organic part in the story
of this ballad, but only serves as a sort of framework for the story.
Nothing at all of the traditional legend is related; there is no men¬
tion of Christ or of the crucifixion, no insult or blow dealt to
^Ibid.. p. 42, lines 1-6. The italics appear in the text.
21Ibid., p. 697.
22Ibid.. p. 695.

67
Christ, no corse of wandering. Only one aspect of the theme is
utilized—that of immortality—and the Jew's immortality is seized
upon merely as a convenient vehicle for a rather tedious relation of
the vari ous kings of England since the time of William the Conquerer,
The opening few stanzas will suffice to indicate the general nature
of the contents
When William Duke of Bormandy with all his Bormana
gallantly
This Kingdom did subdue;
Tull fifteen years of age 1 was, and what e're since
hath come to pass,
I can repeat for true.
I can remember since he went from London for to
conquer Kent.
Where, with a walking Wood,
The men of Kent compassed him, and he for aye
confirm'd to them
King Edward's Lavs for good.
Likewise I William Rofus knew, and saw the Arrow
that him slew.
Hard by a Forrest side:
I well could tell /you_J if I list, or better tell
you if I wist.
Who next to him to ride.33
The Wandering Jew's Chronicle would be of little interest to
students of the legend were it not for the fact that is very omissions
are significant. The author mentions none of the circumstances of the
crucifixion which were commonly related as an introduction to the
figure of the Wandering Jew. He apparently feels safe in assuming that
his readers were already familiar with the general outlines of the
23
Ibid., p. 695, lines 1-12.

68
legend and would "be willing to accept his Immortality without question.
Numerous other allusions to the legend in English literature during
the first half of the seventeenth century Indicate that the story was
becoming well known and that the author’s assumption may have been
justified.
A comparatively detailed account of the legend, for instance,
has been found in a commonplace book belonging to the Shann family of
Methley, Yorkshire.®* The story, most of which is related in the
handwriting of William Shann, appears to be based ultimately upon the
Kurtze ~Bw nr.brnr one of its offspring in Germany. As a matter
of fact, Shann actually mentions nan Epistle, printed at Leiden in the
year 1602." Other details, such as the date 1542 for the appearance
of Ahasuerus in Hamburg, make it apparent that the Leiden pamphlet
was the ultimate source of at least part of his information, although
a Trench translation may have been his direct source. Other details
of . Shann1 s account indicate that he also drew from other sources! his
mention of the Wanderer in Paris and Chalons suggests the Trench
pamphlet "Les rencontres faist ces jours passez du Juif-Errant"; his
mention of Hungary and Tlanders suggests the Dudulaeus tale of 1613.
Actually Shann" s account contains no features which had not already
appeared in earlier reports of the legend; it does demonstrate, however,
®*Cf. G, K. Anderson, "Wandering Jew Returns," pp. 243-247.
The following summary is based upon Anderson's account.

69
that materials were not lacking for an Englishman who was interested
in the Wandering Jew.
There are also other distinct allusions to the Wandering Jew
during the first half of the seventeenth century—enough to Indicate
that the story had a fairly wide circulation. In 1632 William
Idthgow mentions the "Wandering Jew, the Shoomaker of Jerusalem...,
of whom in Rome, they have wrot ten thousand fahles and fopperies."2®
In 1635 John Taylor, in reporting the remarkable tale of a man from
Shropshire who was credited with being 152 years old, found ample
precedent for such longevity. He cites numerous examples of such
prolonged life, including that of the Wandering Jew:
Iohn Buttadeus (if report be true)
Is his name that is stil’d, The Wandering lew.
’Tis said, he saw our Saviour dye; and how
He was a man then, and is living now;
Whereof Relations you (that will) may reade;
But pardon me, ’tis no part of my Creed.
Even Sir Thomas Browne, in his Psendodoxla Epidémica, gives a brief
summary of Matthew of Paris’s account of the legend, adding that the
story "is very strange and will hardly obtain belief." He later
comments:
Surely were this true, he might be an happy arbitrator in many
Christian controversies; but must impardonably condemn the obstinacy
^^The Rare Adventures of William lithgow (Slasgow. 1906),
p. 304.
2®"The Old, Old, Very Old Man," Works of John Taylor (Manches-
ter, 1870), p. 26.

70
of the Jews, who can contemn the Rhetorick of such miracles, and
"blindly "behold so living and lasting conversions.27
All of these works, references, and allusions testify to the
popularity of the legend in England during the first half of the
seventeenth century. One other work—a pamphlet entitled The Wander-
28
ing Jew Telling Fortunes to Englishmen (1640)—is also usually cited
as one of the earliest literary adaptations of the legend. Conway
refers to it as "the earliest work" in England "based upon the new
Ahasuerus story, 0, K. Anderson calls it "the next important work
dealing with the Wandering Jew" after the early seventeenth century
30
ballads. Bailo also dutifully mentions it as one of the early
31
treatments of the legend. And it is mentioned by every bibliog¬
raphy on the legend which makes any pretentions to completeness, in¬
cluding that of Soergel. Scarcely a person who has attempted to trace
the development of the legend has neglected to mention this work. Yet,
a careful examination of The Wandering Jew Telling Fortunes to English¬
men will reveal that it is not connected in any way with the legend of
^Works. Ill, 321.
2®Malone has noted that the work must have been composed before
1630, "for on page 52 Spinola and Tilly are both spoken of as living.
Spinola died in 1630 and Tilly in 1632." Cf. Gwendolyn Murphy, £
Bibliography pf English Character Books (Oxford. 1925), p. 122, n. 3
^P. 225.
â– ^"Wandering Jew Returns," p. 247.
31P. 194.

71
the Wandering Jew. The work has "been mistakenly cited so many times
In bibliographies and histories of the legend, however, that a care¬
ful analysis of it is not out of place.
First of all, the work has little claim to originality. The
general outline of the story, several of the character sketches, and
often the very language itself was lifted from an earlier work en-
32
titled The Man in the Moone: or the English Fortune Teller. Indeed,
the parallels between the two works are so close that The Wandering
Jew Telling Fortunes to Englishmen has been referred to as merely "a
modernized adaptation of The Man in the Moone." And if the title
of The Wandering Jew Telling Fortunes to Englishmen is misleading,
as will be demonstrated later, it is no wonder. For in its parent
work, The Man in the Moone - there is no character represented as
being or pretending to be the man in the moon.
Since there is no available version of The Wandering Jew Tell¬
ing Fortunes to nsn^M^hm^n in j. o. Halliwe 11-Phillipps' rather
34
inaccessible edition of Books of Characters. a brief summary of the
story Itself is necessary.
The author, who tells the Btory in the first person, relates
that one afternoon while walking alone he found himself in a solitary
Reprinted in Early English Poetry. Ballads, and Popular
Literature of the Middle Ages, Percy Society (London, 1851), Yol. XXIX.
33Murphy, p. 121, n. 3.
^London, 1857.

72
field. Peeling in a melancholy frame of mind, he lay down on a "bank,
and, before he realized what was happening, he had fallen asleep.
When he awoke, it was already dark, and the gates to the city had been
closed. Slowly turning back into the fields, he eventually saw a light
burning in the window of a house, which he promptly entered. He was
met by a servant, who Informed him that his master, who was called
the Wandering Jew, could tell no more fortunes until morning. When
the visitor insisted, however, he was shown into a parlor, where there
was seated an old gentleman dressed in an odd Jewish habit. The old
gentleman received him kindly and Informed him that in spite of his
odd dress he was an Englishman also. He stated that he had traveled
widely in his life, but that he had returned to his own country,
England, in order to settle down in his old age. Tor some reason,
though, the people of the surrounding country thought that he was a
conjurer, a fortune-teller. He invites his guest to lodge there for
the night and then listen to the stories of his clients the follow¬
ing morning.
The next morning the guest asked the old man to tell him
his real name, and furthermore to explain to him why he was called
the Wandering Jew. The old man answered him as follows:
1 have beene a Traveller many yeares, and felt the heate of
the Sunne in change of countries: at my living in Venice, Z
came acquainted with an Italian Jew named Orlotto, whom meeting
often upon the Rialta, diverse Venetians noting his face and
mine, said we were so like, wee might very easily be taken for
brothers; the Jew being told this, sent for me to his house,
entertain'd me with curious complements, curtesle and cheere,

73
making me vow (for the equail likenesse we both carreyed,) to
call him brother. Nay, he did so affect my company, (I speak¬
ing as good pure Tuscane as he himselfe) and discoursing home
with him, that he wonne me to sojourne with him; and In the
end, (because I strove to please and humour him in all things,
his noble curtesies, binding me to doe so) he wrought me to
go In a rich Jewish habit (such as you see I sit in) so that
all Venice swore I was his brother, and I went (as he did,)
by the name of Orlotto, which name I retaine here still, albeit
my own true name is Egremont,35
Shortly afterwards, a courtier, the first of the old man's
clients, arrives to have his fortune told. Then follows a series of
what amounts to nineteen character sketches, which are directly in
the tradition of the seventeenth century "character," The only devia¬
tion lies in the fact that in this instance the description of each
character is divided into three different speeches: that of Joculo,
the servant who announces the client; that of the client himself, who
describes his condition; and that of the old man, who tells his
fortune.
It should be noted that nowhere in this tract is there any
indication that the old man (Egremont or Orlotto) was, pretended to
be, or was mistaken for the legendary Wandering Jew, He has none of
the essential characteristics which had grown up around the figure
of the Wandering Jew during the course of the last few hundred years.
He had not been living at the time of Christ, He had not dealt an
insult to Christ or to any other deity. He was not under any curse
of compulsory wandering; nor was he under any curse at all. He had
35Halliwell-Phillipps, p. 13

74
not been given eternal life or even unusually long life.
In short, there is nothing at all to connect the old man in
this tract with the legendary Wandering Jew except the name by which
he was known. His servant does state that he was known as the Wan¬
dering Jew. Orlotto himself, however, later makes it quite clear that
this title was not given to him because of any association with the
legendary Wandering Jew. He explains to his guest that he first be¬
gan wearing Jewish clothes in order to please a Jewish friend who
resembled him very closely. Eventually, of course, Orlotto himself
was mistaken for a Jew. He later acquired his reputation as a con¬
jurer or fortune-teller because of an innocent trick which he played
upon an ignorant man, whereby he appeared to find a lost dog.
In short, Orlotto is mistaken for a Jew who has wandered,
but not for the legendary Wandering Jew. There is not one bit of
evidence in this tract to indicate that Orlotto is in any way to be
associated with the man who Insulted Christ and who, as a result, was
cursed with compulsory wandering and eternal life. Why, then, does
the author of the tract choose to call him the Wandering Jew?
Two possibilities present themselves: First, it is possible,
although not likely, that the author himself was unfamiliar with the
legend of the Wandering Jew. The title Wandering Jew which he uses
in referring to Orlotto may be simply an unusual coincidence. Ad¬
mittedly, the allusions to the legend in England during the early
seventeenth century indicate that the story was widely known. It

75
seems unlikely that an English man of letters would he unfamiliar
with the legend. On the other hand, we have no evidence that a pro¬
fessional author is responsible for The Wandering Jew Telling Fortunes
to ffagllshmen. The work is, as we have seen largely an edited version
of an older tract, The Man in the Moone, with several new character
sketches added. It is possible that an uneducated printer or some
other non-literary man, seeking a framework for some "characters,"
seized upon The Man in the Mo one and made a few minor changes. He
may have been altogether unfamiliar with the legend of the Wandering
Jew, and the title by which he refers to Orlotto may be pure coinci¬
dence.
Secondly, and this seems the more likely explanation, the
title The Wandering Jew Telling Fortunes to Englishman may have been
deliberately misleading. The author or editor of this tract may have
introduced the term Wandering Jew into the title in order to capi¬
talize upon the current interest in the legend. Such a practice was
certainly not unheard of. As we have seen, the original author of
The Man in the Moone had also apparently chosen a deliberately mis¬
leading romantic title, for there is no mention of a man in the moon
in his tract.
The editor, then, who was responsible for The Wandering Jew
Telling Fortunes to Englishmen was probably trying deliberately to
mislead his prospective readers and make them believe that his tract

76
was one "based upon the popular legend of the Wandering Jew. He did
not take the trouble, on the other hand, to rework the old tract to
the extent of actually introducing into it the legend of the Wander¬
ing Jew. He merely substitutes as the fortune-teller an old man,
Orlotto, who was popularly believed to be a Jew.
The anonymous tract The Wandering Jew Telling fortunes to
TBqglishmen. therefore, is not based in amy way upon the legend of the
Wandering Jew and consequently should not be included in future his¬
tories and bibliographies of the legend.
After the initial flurry of interest during the early part
of the seventeenth century, the popularity of the legend in England
seems to have waned. There were no further significant appearances
of the Wandering Jew in English literature throughout the rest of
the century, although his memory was kept alive to some extent by
English translations of continental works in which he appeared. One
of the most popular translations, if we can judge by the number of
editions that it went through,®® was that of Giovanni Maraña1 s Letters
of a Turkish Spy. In a letter dated 1644, "the spy" states that he
met a man in Paris who claimed to be the Wandering Jew. The Jew
X. Anderson states that the English translation went
through twelve editions before 1748. Of. "The Neo-Classical
Chronicle," p. 200, n.6.

77
stated that his name was Michob Adler,37 and that he had "been cursed
with eternal life for the sin of thrusting Christ out of the hall of
Pilate. Although the learned believe that he is an impostor, many of
the ignorant and superstitious attribute miraculous powers to him,
such as the ability to heal diseases and escape from prisons. He
speaks many different languages and is full of interesting accounts
about the great events of history. He claims to have known person*»
ally such men as Mohamet, Solimán, and Tamerlane, and says that he
was in Home when Nero set fire to the city. "The spy" adds that, if
this man's pretentions are true, he is "A living chronology," and
might pass for "the younger brother of time."3®
The Vandering Jew also appears briefly in Simon Tjrssot de
Patot1 s Voyages et Aventures de Jacques Masse, which was translated
39
into English in 1733 as The Travels and Adventures of James Massey.
In this work the author claims to have had dinner with the Wandering
Jew, who once again calls himself Micob. He seems to possess most of
the characteristics of his namesake in Letters of a Turkish Spy? he
37This name also survives in later treatments of the story.
In the short story The Door of Unrest (in Sixes and Sevens) O'Henry
pons upon the name by calling his eternal wanderer by the Irish name
of Mike O'Bader.
3®Giovanni Maraña, Letters Written by a Turkish Spy (London,
1801), II, 352-357.
^Translated by "the Celebrated Monsieur Bayle" (London, 1743),
pp. 9-12. This work has not previously been noted as containing an
account of the Wandering Jew.

78
speaks many languages, has traveled all over the world, and is happy
to give a first-hand account of all the great events of history which
he has witnessed. One of his most Interesting stories was about the
saints who arose at the crucifixion of Christ. He stated that all
Jerusalem was alarmed when it was reported that those at the burial
ground had seen the earth shake, the graves open, and naked bodies
arise from their graves. Ho one was able to tell of what sex the
bodies were, for they all appeared to be the same size, the same age,
and of the same complexion, and there was no mark by which they could
be distinguished from one another. There was not a single hair upon
their bodies; several opened their mouths, but there were no teeth
to be seen; and their fingers seemed to be completely without nails.
All these observations led the Wandering Jew to conclude that the
excremental parts and those which serve to grind, swallow, and digest
food on this earth will not accompany us to the afterlife, where, of
course, they would be useless*
Up until the middle of the eighteenth century the Wandering
Jew, while having made several incidental appearances in English
literature, had not yet been the central figure in any long literary
work. Hé seems to have made his debut into English prose fiction with
the publication in 1757 of a ninety-five page pamphlet entitled The
B-story of Israel Jobaon. the Wandering Jew, "by M.W." who has been

79
40
identified as Miles Wilson, an English clergyman. In his preface
the author explains that he found this work written in the Chinese
language and has taken the trouble to translate it into English.
According to Wilson's story, Israel Jobson, the Wandering
Jew, was the son of a cordwainer. His wife’s parents, however,
believed that his occupation of shoemaker was below his dignity,
and persuaded him to sell his shop during the fair "held on the
Seventeenth Day of the Month Abib or Harvest Month." At this fair,
Christ passed by and asked to rest; upon being rebuffed by Israel
Jobson, he pronounced his famous curse "Thou shalt walk while I shall
rest."
Although, as usual, the Wandering Jew claims to have been
everywhere and seen everything, he does not insist, as some of his
predecessors in fiction had done, upon correcting the history books.
He has more Interesting things to relate. Tor on one occasion, while
in deep despair, he prayed to Cod that his sentence might be miti¬
gated. His prayer was heard, and an ethereal chariot with an angel
seated therein descended from heaven. Jobson’s sentence had been
mitigated to the extent that he was allowed to wander around for a
while in the heavens with the angel as his guide.
The first heavenly body to be visited is the Moon,vhich is
populated by a peculiar species of individuals made of "Pan Metal."
40Cf. C. K. Anderson, "History of Israel Jobson," pp. 303-320.
The following summary is based upon Anderson's account.

80
In his conversations with these moon-people Johson learns something
of their customs and society, and as he leaves he sees the little
moon-hoys leaping around on the rocks and occasionally breaking an
arm to provide business for their coppersmith-surgeons. Others
of the metal folk are asleep, snoring "like so many Organ Pipes or
Brazen Trumpeters."
In the same way Johson is treated to similar unusual spectacles
on the other planets. The inhabitants of Mars "are of the Neuter Gen¬
der, that is, they are of no Sex: They never remove from their Station,
and are as fix'd as Trees, and so will remain to the End of Time."
They possess two sets of eyes. While sleeping with one set, they can
with the other gaze on the beauties of creation. On Saturn, on the
other hand, the inhabitants are of immense size and have one eye in
J
the front of their heads and the other in the back.
During the intervals when the Wandering Jew and the angel are
traveling from one planet to the next, the angel (whose pedantry and
garrulity are reminiscent of Chaucer's eagle in the House of Fame)
undertakes to educate Jobson in the fields of science and astronomy.
Unfortunately, he is not always correct, light travels at 186,000
miles per second, not 2,103,475, as the angel states. And in his
description of the various important organs of the body, he falls
back upon the medieval doctrine of the natural, vital, and animal
spirits.

81
Both Johson and the angel appear to he confirmed deists.
The creation, the angel explains, is as it vas intended to he, and
is, therefore, as it should he. All things hare a proper function
and place, and everything fits into God's great scheme. Jobson is
continuously filled with awe and amazement at the perfection and
design of the universe. One of the most typically deistic passages
occurs in the angel's answer to Johson's question of how the inhab¬
itants of Jupiter fit into the Creator's design:
There is in this World as well as in all the other of your
System, an infinite Swarm of Anlmalculae, of which many Thousands
may Dance on the Point of a Needle, there is scarce an Atom that
is not peopled with life, every Green Leaf, every single Humour
in the Body of Man, abounds with ifyriads of living Creatures, and
the Surface of one Animal is the Basis of another that lives upon
it, and, as there is a Succession of these and other Animals from
the Minutest to the largest Monster, so there is a Gradation of
Reason from the vilest Anlmalculae, to the lord of the Planet.^
After traveling around throughout the Milky Way and even
visiting the very gates of heaven, where they are received by Moses
and the heavenly hosts, the Wandering Jew and the angel return to
the earth, where Johson is left to continue his wanderings. He
wanders on to China, where, in keeping with the tradition that he
knew all languages, he wrote his memoirs in Chinese. Miles Wilson
claims subsequently to have found them and to have translated them
for the benefit of the English-speaking public.
The History of Israel Johson is Interesting mainly as a
curiosity piece. It is certainly not distinguished by the skillful
41
2UUU p. 313

82
Way In which the legend of the Vandering Jew is dramatized. The
legend Itself serves only as a sort of framework for the story.
Throughout most of the story the legend itself remains in the "back¬
ground, only to come into prominence again at the conclusion. Func¬
tionally, Israel Johson simply plays the part of a privileged person
who is allowed to tour the heavens. The Inherent drama of the
legend of the Vandering Jew is deliberately restrained. The cruci¬
fixion itself is not directly mentioned, probably because the author
realized that it would not set the proper tone for the whimsical and
sometimes farcical attitude that he later assumes.
Yet The History of Israel Jobson remains the first English
work of any considerable length in which the Vandering Jew appears
as the central character. Still further, it is the first native Eng¬
lish literary adaptation (as distinguished from a simple redaction)
of the legend. Vhen the legend first appeared in England in the
chronicle of Roger of Vendover, it was regarded as one of many medie¬
val "miracles," a story whose purpose was to testify to the truth of
the Christian religion. It was, furthermore, a story which was re¬
lated as the truth. Throughout the middle ages and up until the early
seventeenth century scattered allusions indicate that it was still re¬
garded in the same light. The renaissance of the legend in seventeenth
century Germany also resulted in a brief revival of its popularity in
England. The new Ahasuerus story was related in fairly complete form
in the ballad "The Vandering Jew or the Shooemaker of Jerusalem" and

83
in the account of Bichard Shann. Both of these works, however, are
really redactions of the legend rather than literary adaptations.
Another work, The Vandering Jew felling Fortunes to Englishmen, has
been demonstrated not to he based upon the legend of the Wandering
Jew at all.
During the early part of the eighteenth century, though, more
imaginative accounts of the legend began to appear, at first in the
form of translations of continental works. The Wandering Jew appears
in The Turkish Spy as a person who, having lived for over 1600 years,
is well prepared to give a dramatic account of the great events of
history. In The Travels of James Massey he is introduced as a per¬
son who can make an authoritative pronouncement on a typical fine
point of medieval theology. Finally, in The History of Israel
Jobson, he appears as an inter-planetary traveler and a mouthpiece
for deistic philosophy.
The literary possibilities of the legend were vaguely begin¬
ning to be realized. Most of these early attempts were faltering,
uncertain experiments, but progress was being made. It remained, how¬
ever, until the last part of the eighteenth and the early nineteenth
centuries, in short, the Bomantic Movement, for the legend to burst
into full literary bloom.

84
CHAPTER IV
THE ROMANTIC MOVEMENT
Among the characteristics which are usually associated with
pre-Romantic and Romantic literature are a number which seem to pro¬
vide a favorable background for the flourishing of the Wandering Jew
legend. Many of these characteristics, of course, are also to be
found to some extent in earlier English literature, but during the
latter part of the eighteenth century there was an Increased empha¬
sis upon certain distinctive features. Those having special sig¬
nificance in regard to the study of the Wandering Jew are (l) a
love of the exotic and remote, (2) an increased Interest in the
supernatural, (3) a preoccupation with the theme of death, and (4) a
passionate devotion to liberty and a sympathy for the oppressed.
There is evidence, for instance, that authors were becoming
increasingly attracted to exotic settings, to stories of "old unhappy
far-off things and battles long ago." This interest extended not
only to the remote in time, as manifested by such works as MacPherson's
Osslan (1760)T Percy's Religues (1765). and Chatterton's ballads, but
also to the remote in a geographical sense. There was, for Instance,
a veritable flood of oriental literature: Beckford's Vathek (1786),
Johnson's Ráeselas (1759). Mrs. Sheridan's Nouriahad (1767). and
John Hawkesworth's Almoran and Hamet (1761), to name only a few works.

85
Secondly, there was a gradual revival of Interest in the
supernatural—in the witches, goblins, and fairies of Collin! s Ode
A
on the Popular Superstitions of the Highlands of Scotland; in the
ghosts, spectres, and chain-rattling of Walpole, Badcliffe, and lewis;
and in the Norse Fates and Destinies which appear in the poetry of
Cray. Even the Gothic novelists and poets of the supernatural, it
should be noted, usually contrive an exotic setting, one distant in
both space and time. But regardless of the setting, whether the
reader were mentally transported to a castle in the Italian Alps, back
into the Middle Ages, or into s ome modern nystery of science or re¬
ligion, the important object, apparently, was to escape from common¬
place reality.
Thirdly, one of the most striking characteristics of much of
the literature of the late eighteenth century is its preoccupation with
thoughts of death. In the more extreme cases, such as those of Young
and Blair, we find what is almost a reveling in gloom and macabre de¬
tail for their own sakes, in "talk of graves, of worms and epitaphs."
Other members of the "graveyard school," while eschewing the charnel-
house imagery, show a similar fascination with the subject of death.
It is significant that death was regarded by the various members of the
"graveyard school," not only as something to be feared and dreaded, but
sometimes as a beneficent fate—a release from the torment and troubles
of this world. It is the latter interpretation which has special rele¬
vance to the theme of the Wandering Jew.

86
Lastly, much of the literature of the Romantic movement is
characterized hy a passionate love of liberty and a sympathy for the
oppressed and downtrodden—for the outcasts of society. The typical
Bomanticist tended to glorify and befriend that man who had no friends.
The traditional concepts of justice were being questioned, and many of
the Romanticists found themselves in sharp disagreement with the exist¬
ing code. When William Godwin's Caleb Williams falls into a den of
robbers, even the thieves turn out to be modern-day Robin Hoods, de¬
fenders and supporters of the poor. Byron, Shelley, and others re¬
garded themselves as outcasts, men who had suffered deep wrongs under
the existing social structure. They were consequently ready to clasp
to their bosoms others who had, in their eyes, suffered similar wrongs.
Such Interests and attitudes as these provided a welcome cli¬
mate for the reception of the Wandering Jew legend. During the twenty-
five years from 1795 until 1830 the legend seized the fancy of several
prominent authors who experimented with it and adapted it for a sur¬
prisingly diverse number of uses.
The Wandering Jew first appears in the literature of the Ro¬
mantic Movement in Matthew Gregory Lewis's The Monk. Although The Monk
was first published in 1795, we learn from Lewis's letters that the
novel was actually written during the previous year, when he was only
nineteen years of age. In a letter to his mother dated September 23,
1794, he casually remarks:

87
They say that practice makes perfect; if so, I shall one day he
a perfect author, for I practice most furiously. What do you
think of my having written, in the space of ten weeks, a romance
of between three and four hundred pages octavo? I have even
written out half of it fair. It is called "The Monk," and I
am myself so much pleased with it that, if the booksellers will
not buy it, I shall publish it myself,*
The appearance of The Monk was immediately met with a storm
of protest. One critic spoke of it as having "neither originality,
morals, nor •probability" to recommend it; a society for the suppres¬
sion of vice asked the attorney-general to issue an injunction sup¬
pressing its sale. The principal objection to the work seems to have
been that in it lewis presents vice in a light which is entirely too
attractive. One reviewer, in speaking of the seduction of Ambrosio
by Matilda, humorously remarked:
Indeed the whole temptation is so artfully contrived, that
a man, it would seem, were he made as other men axe, would
deserve to be d—d who could resist such devilish spells, con¬
ducted with such address, and assuming such a heavenly form,**
The Wandering Jew makes only a fairly brief appearance in The
Monk, but the episode is one of the more impressive ones in the novel.
Even the reviewer in the critical review, who calls the romance "a
poison for youth and a provocative for the debauchee," admits that the
3
introduction of the Wandering Jew is "a bold and happy conception,"
*The Life and Corresuondence of M. G-. Lewis (London, 1839),
I, 133-134.
2Ibid.. pp. 151-154.
3Cited by Eailo, p. 92.

88
The Wandering Jew, however, does not appear as part of the main plot
of the story, which concerns the gradual seduction and eventual damna¬
tion of Ambrosio through the wiles of Matilda, loosely woven into
this main plot are the two sub-plots of Son Raymond and Agnes, and
Lorenzo and Antonio. It is in the first of these sub-plot3 that the
Wandering Jew eventually appears.
The story of Son Raymond and Agnes has little to do with that
of the main plot, other than that Agnes, while a nun in Madrid, had
once inadvertently confessed to Ambrosio her love for Son Raymond,
for which she was severely punished. Afterwards Agnes returned to
Germany, where she was closely guarded by her parents, who had for¬
bidden her to see Son Raymond, nevertheless the resourceful Agnes
contrived the following plan for escape in order to elope with Son
Raymond: According to a family superstition, there appeared on a cer¬
tain night each year a mysterious Bleeding Run, clothed in a white
habit with a large blood spot on her breast. Traditionally, the gates
of the family castle were left open in order to allow the apparition
to walk out. Agnes proposed to disguise herself as the Bleeding Hun
on that night and to walk through the open gates into the arms of Son
Raymond, who would be waiting outside.
On the prearranged night, everything seemed to be going well.
Son Raymond saw the figure in white appear and walk through the gate.
After rushing to her and reassuring her of his love, he helped her into
his carriage and they hurried away. later Son Raymond learned to his

89
horror that he had actually ridden, not with Agnes, hut with the
Bleeding Hun herself, who thereafter insisted upon appearing to him
every night atttie stroke of one. The horror which Don Raymond experi¬
ences on these occasions leaves him weak, emaciated, and almost on the
verge of hysteria.
It is at this point that the Wandering Jew is introduced. He
mysteriously appears one day and declares that he alone can release
Don Raymond from his torment. Lewis's description of his personal
appearance is impressive!
He was a man of majestic presence; his countenance was strongly
marked, and his eyes were large, black, and sparkling; yet there
was something in his look, which, the moment that I saw him, in¬
spired me with a secret awe, not to say horror. He was dressed
plainly, his hair was unpowdered, and a hand of black velvet which
encircled his forehead, spread over his features an additional
gloom. His countenance wore the marks of profound melancholy^
his step was slow, and his manner grave, stately and solemn.
When he begins to speak it is evident that he already knows
of Don Raymond's nightly visitor. Hie declares that on the follówing
Sunday, just before the sabbath morning breaks, he can release Don
Baymond from the apparition of the Bleeding Hun and that she will never
again bother him.
Soon afterwards the subject of conversation was changed and he
began to speak of other matters. He spoke familiarly of persons who had
been dead for centuries as if he had personally known and conversed with
^Matthew Gregory Lewis, The Monk, ed. Lewis Y. Peck (Hew York,
1952), p. 177.

90
them. He appeared to hare traveled all over the face of the earth
and possessed an amazing amount of information. When Don Eaymond
remarked, though, that such wide travel and universal knowledge must
have given him infinite pleasure, he mournfully shook his head and
replied:
"Ho one is adequate to comprehending the misery of my
lot! Fate obliges me to be constantly in movement; I am not per¬
mitted to pass more than a fortnight in the same place. I have no
friend in the world, and, from the restlessness of my destiny I
can never acquire one. Fain would I lay down my miserable life,
for I envy those who enjoy the quiet of the grave: but death
eludes me, and flies from my embrace. In vain do I throw myself
in the way of danger. I plunge into the ocean; the waves throw
me back with abhorance upon the shore: I rush into fire; the
flames recoil at my approach: I oppose myself to the fury of
banditti; their swords become blunted, and break against my
breast. The hungry tiger shudders at my approach, and the
alligator flies from a monster more horrible than itself."
One of Lewis's finest touches is the way in which he arouses
the reader's suspense concerning the black band around the forehead
of the mysterious stranger, a detail which had not appeared in pre¬
vious treatments of the Wandering Jew legend. Curiosity is aroused
upon the stranger's first appearance:
"Sod has set his seal upon me, and all his creatures respect
this fatal mark.1'
He put his hand to the velvet which was bound around his fore¬
head. There was in his eyes an egression of ftjry, despair, and
malevolence that struck horror to my very soul.6
The following Saturday night, true to his promise, he returns
at midnight and begins to go through a strange ritual. He kisses his
5Ibid.. 178-179.
6IMsU

91
crucifix, pours upon the floor a liquid which appears to he hlood,
and then describes a circle in the middle of the room. Around this
circle he places various relics, such as skulls and thighbones, ar¬
ranging them all in the forms of crosses. He then instructs Don
Raymond to stand with him in the middle of the circle while he invokes
the spirit of the Bleeding Hun. She appears at the accustomed hour,
and he begins to question her. At first she shows little Inclination
to obey him. Then the mysterious stranger withdraws the sable band
from his forehead. Don Raymond cannot resist the impulse to looks
In spite of his injunctions to the contrary, curiosity would
not suffer me to keep my eyes off his faces I raised them and be¬
held a burning cross impressed upon his brow. Por the horror with
which this object inspired me I cannot account, but I never felt
its equal. My senses left me for some momentss a mysterious
dread overcame my courage; and had not the exorcizer caught my
hand, I should have fallen out of the circle.”
The spectre herself trembles at what she has seen and quickly explains
that when her bones have been buried in her family vault she will
cease to visit Don Raymond.
The stranger who was of such service to Don Raymond left town
the following morning before his true identity could be ascertained,
but Don Raymond later concluded that his singular benefactor was none
other than "the celebrated character known universally by the name of
Q
the wandering Jew."
7lbi¿L. p. 181.
8Ibld.. 185. In the 1798 and 1800 editions Lewis added the
following footnote:
I imagined the tradition of the Wandering Jew to be known

92
The appearance of the Wandering Jew in The Monk really
constitutes little more than an episode. The legend is not skillfully
incorporated into the organic structure of the novel as a whole; it
is, in fact, only one part of a long digression, lewis, in his effort
to write the most blood-curdling novel that had ever appeared in Eng¬
land, introduced almost every conceivable Gothic device and in so
doing seriously impaired in several instances the unity of his novel.
As if the hair-raising adventures of Ambrosio, Matilda, and Antonia
were not enough, he introduces, almost by way of digression, the
legends of the Bleeding Nun and the Wandering Jew, neither of which
has any intrinsic connection with his central story. They are merely
bits of Gothic machinery introduced as embroidery for his already
overiy-ornate back-drop. Unfortunately Lewis never learned the
effectiveness of restraint and of contrast. After mentally accom¬
panying his characters through catacombs and charnel-houses, through
a Gothic castle haunted by a ghost with a blood spot upon her gown,
after facing the devil himself in the last scene—the reader’s sensi¬
bilities are so benumbed that, in recollection, the incident of the
Wandering Jew loses much of its impressiveness,
universally. But, as many people have expressed to me their
ignorance on the subject, it may be as well to state, that the
Wandering Jew is said to have insulted our Saviour, while lead¬
ing to the Cross, saying, "Go, go, Thou King of the Jews!" on
which Christ, looking at him, answered "Yea, I will go; but thou
shalt tarry till I come again,"
Of. Ybid.. pp, 442-443.

93
The literary sources of The Monk hare "been the subject of a
great deal of investigation.® lewis himself made certain acknowledg¬
ments in the advertisement of his book and states that these were all
the plagiarisms of which he was aware.^ He does not, however, acknowl¬
edge any source for the legend of the Wandering Jew, and it may well
be that he was conscious of no one particular work as his model. On
the other hand, it is well recognized that lewis was heavily influenced
by the school of German Gothicism;^ and the figure of the Wandering
Jew as he appears in The Monk bears several striking similarities to
the mysterious Armenian of Schiller's Per Geisterseher. Even as
early as 1797 Coleridge noticed the resemblance:
The tale of the bleeding nun is truly terrific; and we could not
easily recollect a bolder or more happy conception than that of
the burning cross on the forehead of the wandering Jew (a mysteri¬
ous character, which though copied as to its more prominent
features from Schiller's incomprehensible Armenian, does,
nevertheless, display great vigour of fancy)*1-2
Schiller's Armenian like lewis's Wandering Jew is centuries
old, is a great wanderer, and also possesses the power to conjure up
spirits of the dead. He is also described as being unable to die:
9Cf. Hallo, p. 345, n. 97.
^The Monk, p. 34.
11Supra, n. 9.
â– ^Review of The Monk. The Critical Review (February, 1797),
pp. 194-200, reprinted in A Wllshire Parson and His Friends, ed.
Garland Greever (Boston, 1926), p. 192.

94
BNo sword can wound, no poison can hurt, no fire can burn him;
no vessel in which he embarks can be wrecked,"13
In short, Schiller's Armenian is fairly obviously modeled after the
Wandering Jew. One of the characters in Per Oelsterseher even suggests
that he is "the disciple of John, of whom it is said, 'He shall re¬
main until the last judgment.'"^4
It is significant that even Schiller's catalog of dangers to
which his Armenian has proven immune—fire, sword, and water—is par¬
alleled by the similar enumeration of Lewis's Wandering Jew. Finally,
the conclusive bit of proof is added by the fact that the very names
of the lovers in one of the sub-plots of The Monk—Lorenzo and Antonia—
are also to be found as the names of the lovers in the Sicilian's
15
tale, the principal sub-plot of Per Selsterseher.
Ho definite source has been found for what was perhaps the
most highly praised feature of Lewis's portrait of the Wandering Jew;
the blazing cross embedded in his forehead. It has been suggested,
though, that this detail may show the influence of the legend of Cain.^®
Begardless of the originality or lack of originality which
Lewis displayed, it must be acknowledged that his portrait of the
Works of Frederick Schiller, ed. Hathan Haskell Pole
(Boston, 1903), I, 310.
14Ibid.. pp. 311-313.
15Ibld.. pp. 313-337.
16Supra, p. 51. Cf. also Southey's suggestion, infra, p* 103*

95
Wandering Jew la V far the most Impressive that had appeared In
English literature up until that time. Previous references In English
had either simply repeated the traditional account of the legend, had
presented the Wandering Jew as a "living chronology," or else had used
the legend for some lighter purpose, such as In The History of Israel
Jobson. Lewis was the first Jtaglish man of letters to capture the
mystery and the fascination—the Bomanticism—of the theme.
Even if Lewis's use of the Wandering Jew had done nothing else,
it would have served a sufficiently valuable function in that It
helped to provide the atmosphere which made possible Coleridge's Thg
Ancient Mariner, -probably the finest and subtlest adaptation of the
theme that has yet been made. Professor John Livingstone Lowes has
17
made a careful study of Coleridge's use of the legend, and the fol¬
lowing summary is based largely upon his findings.
Coleridge's Interest in the legend of the Wandering Jew Is
indicated by an entry In the so-called dutch memorandum notebook—
"Wandering Jew, a romance"—the title of another one of his many plans
for literary projects that were never realized. Although Coleridge,
In characteristic fashion, never quite got around to writing his ro¬
mance, his interest In the theme did find expression, veiled as It may
be, in The Ancient Mariner. As Lowes points out, the ancient mariner
^The Road to Xanadu (Bouton. 1927), pp. 242-254. Since this
work is readily accessible, I have not attempted to give a detailed
account of Lowes' s arguments.

96
is not the Wandering Jew: he is Coleridge’s own creation. But in the
process of creating him, Coleridge, perhaps unconsciously, invested
him with characteristics which for hundreds of years had been gathering
about the figure of the Wandering Jew. Throughout the poem sometimes
the theme is so submerged as to he barely discernible; then again it
breaks forth into striking prominence:
I pass, like night, from land to land;
I have strange powers of speech;
Professor Lowes, perhaps a bit too readily, interprets that
"strange power of speech" as a reminiscence of that knowledge of all
tongues which was attributed to the Wandering Jew. Although a knowl¬
edge of many languages is Implicit in the mariner's statement, for
apparently he does tell his tale in many different countries, the
"strange power of (speech" may well refer to that hypnotic quality of
narration which, along with the glittering eye, holds the Wedding
Guest so that he "cannot choose but hear." Perhaps both meanings are
present, and that is why the two lines are so powerful. In addition
to the suggestion of the Wandering Jew, there are also overtones of
hypnosis and animal magnetism.
Even the wedding feast which is taking place in the background
at the opening of the poem has its significance. During the month
preceding the beginning of The Ancient Mariner Coleridge had been en¬
gaged in adapting for the stage Schiller's Per Gelsterseher. In his
adaptation, which he called Osorio. Coleridge did not include the
episode of the Sicilian's Tale. But the episode was not forgotten.

97
Tot the Sicilian describes a mysterious Armenian, haring, as we have
seen, most of the essential characteristics of the Wandering Jew, who
appears at a wedding and holds the wedding guests spellbound by his
look. It was not mere accident, then, that Coleridge's Ancient Mariner
related his tale to a wedding guest.
At times Coleridge's materials are so combined, shaped, and
changed by his imagination that his original sources are completely
obscured; at other times, perhaps, a faint suggestion of the genesis
of an idea or an image still remains. Such may be the case in the
rather puzzling lines:
Instead of the cross, the albathross
About my neck was hung.
Most readers assume that these lines indicate that the crucifix which
the mariner wore about his neck was removed and that an albatross was
hong there in its place. If such be the true meaning, however, the
thought has been rather awkwardly expressed. But the two lines as
they stand offer an alternate interpretation: they could mean that
the mariner's shipmates, instead of marking him for his sin by means
of a cross, marked him by hanging an albatross around his neck. Such
an Interpretation is the more logical one from the syntax of the sen¬
tence. But what suggested to Coleridge the marking of a man for his
sin by means of a cross? Does this meaning make good sense in the con¬
text of the poem? Hot unless we remember that the Wandering Jew, as
Coleridge knew him through his reading of The Monk, bore the mark of

98
God In the form of a blazing cross impressed upon his forehead. In
short, as Lowes suggests, quite properly with due caution, the phrase
"instead of the cross" may he another reminiscence of the Vandering
Jew, a figure who furnished part of the raw material for one of
Coleridge's greatest creations.
Throughout the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, it will
he remembered, the striker of Christ was believed to have been cursed
with eternal life and compulsory wandering, but there is no indica^
tion that he experienced any sort of physical pain. The lonely wan¬
dering of the Jew throughout the centuries was apparently sufficient
punishment. In The Ancient Mariner, though, we can see the begins
nings of the physical agony which is a characteristic Homan tic con¬
tribution to the legend;
Forthwith this frame of mine was wrenched
With a woful agony,
Which forced me to begin my tale;
And then it left me free.
Since then at an uncertain hour,
That agony returns:
And till my ghastly tale is told,
This heart within me burns.
The Wanderer in Coleridge's poem, it should be noted, is
afflicted with this "romantic agony" only periodically, and he gains
relief from his pain by telling his "ghastly tale." In the hands of
later Romantic authors this pain, which afflicts the Ancient Mariner
only "at an uncertain hour," develops into an excruciating and

99
everlasting torment—a ‘burning in the heart or "brain from which
there is no release.
During the same year that Coleridge began his composition of
The Ancient Mariner. there was being performed on the stage at Drury
lane Theatre another work which is based upon the theme of the Wan¬
dering Jew. The theme that was to lewis only another Gothic device,
that was to Coleridge the raw material for one of his greatest imagi¬
native creations, became in the hands of Andrew Franklin the basis for
a farce. But his The Wandering Jew or love's Masquerade sometimes
rises above the level of simple farce and displays elements of serious
satire. Briefly, the story concerns an eccentric old gentleman who
announces that he is determined to marry his daughter, lydla, to the
1 oldest lover that he can finds
"And now not a man shall enter ay doors, a s the lover of lydia,
whose life is worth three years' purchase. One foot in the house,
and one in the grave, that shall be my rule."18
lydia's lover, Atall, and his friend, Marall, therefore seek to impose
upon the "monstrous credulity" of Sir Solomon by inserting a notice
in the newspaper to the effect that the rich old Wandering Jew has
just arrived in town. Atall then disguises himself as Mr. Mathusalem,
the Wandering Jew, and his friend Marall assumes the part of the Jew's
servant, Juba. When they call upon Sir Solomon he, of course, is de¬
lighted to receive such an old man as lydia* s suitor. Marall, however,
1®Andrew Franklin, The Wandering Jew or love's Masquerade
(Iondon, 1797), pp. 9-10.

100
cannot resist the temptation to overplay his part, and his wild
stories and anachronisms almost espose their Imposture. He claims
that on his master's first trip to London he had dined with Julius
Caesar and the Lord Mayor on the occasion of laying the cornerstone
of the Tower. Later he remarks that the mother of Bomulus and Bemus
once threw a ‘basin of tea at Mr. Mathusalem for saying that Bemus
was the prettier of the two hoys.
Franklin's play is usually dismissed hy students of the
Vandering Jew legend with the casual observation that even as late
as 1797 the legend could he regarded In a humorous light. But the
play assumes added significance when it is regarded, not simply as
a frivolous comedy, hut partly as a satire on the Gothic novel.
Sir Solomon points out on several occasions that Camilla has her head
so full of romantic novels that it has affected her judgment. One
of Camilla's speeches is especially significant:
Camilla
/Beads_y "At this dread moment the whole distorted face of
nature, smote with convulsive sympathy, appear'd to share the hor¬
rors of the scene." Oh] how 1 admire this new glorious German
stile of novel writing] Bleeding Huns, flirting Friars, caves
and daggers, ghosts on horseback, and everything that's de¬
lightfully charming, and sublimely unintelligible.^®
The allusion to "Bleeding Huns" is, of course, a direct
reference to The Monk. Such comments as this lift The Wandering Jew
or Love's Masquerade from the ranks of pure farce and place it in the
tradition of such works as Horthanger Abbey and Nightmare Abbey as
19Ibid.. pp. 33-34.

101
a satire on the Gothic novel. It is quite possible, in fact, that
Franklin based his play upon the Wandering Jew theme, not because he
thought that the theme was particularly suitable for comedy, but be¬
cause he wanted to burlesque what he regarded as Lewis's overiy-
serious treatment of the legend in The Monk.
If Franklin* s play was intended to burlesque the use of the
Wandering Jew in serious literature, he certainly did not succeed in
dealing the legend its death-blow. Even Wordsworth could not resist
the temptation of the theme. Us Song for the Wandering Jew (1800),
however, added little stature to the legend. Elvers, clouds, the
chamois, the sea-horse, the raven, even the "fleet Ostrich"—all,
Wordsworth says, pause at times to rest. Only the Wandering Jew is
forever moving, "Fever nearer to the goal." One can hardly read the
poem without wishing that Wordsworth had continued to observe his
original intention of letting Coleridge compose those poems which
dealt with the supernatural. Sea-horses and ostriches, in the final
analysis, are simply not fit company for as grave a figure as the Wan¬
dering Jew.
The next Eomantlc poet whose imagination was fired by the theme
of the Wandering Jew was another member of the Wordsworth-Coleridge
circle—Robert Southey. His familiarity with the theme as early as
July 31, 1793, which was even before the publication of The Monk, is
is established by a letter to a friend, in which he states: "Like

102
the Wandering Jew, yon see I am here, and there, and everywhere,"*®
His interest in the theme as a possible subject for literary treat¬
ment is indicated by two entries in his Commonplace Book under the
section entitled "Ideas and Studies for Literary Compositions." His
first entry, which was obviously made after the appearance of The Monk.
has to do with the "mark of God" which appears on the forehead of the
Wandering Jews
See the legend of Judas and St. Brandon. How much more humanly
ig this conceived than Monti's Sonnet, Vol. 17, p. 77, who de¬
scribes Justice as writing upon the traitor's forehead as soon as
he has expired, sentence of eternal damnation, with the blood of
Christ! dipping her finger In the blood. This is hideous! The
angels, says the second sonnet, made fans of their wings to shut
out the sight.
"Per spavento
Si fer de l'ale a gil occhl una vlsiera."
I thought I had done when at the end of the first sonnet, but
it seems there is yet a third, to tell us that as the soul had
resumed flesh and bone, the sentence appeared in red letters,—it
frightened the damned—he tried to tear it out, but God had fixed
it there.
"He sillaba di Mió mal si cancella!"
Per hat) 8 this horrible absurdity suggested to lewis his fine
picture of the Wandering Jew.^
Southey's next entry concerns an imposter of the Wandering Jew
who had appeared in England:
Ljf e and. Corragp.oB.deR.qa. SL the Souther, ed.
Charles Cuthbert Southey (London, 1849), I, 183.
Slsouthev's Common-Place Book. Fourth Series, ed. John Wood
Warter (London, 1851), p. 9.

103
In 1797 there was a fellow, an old man, who professed himself
to he the Wandering Jew, He did not adhere to the legend, hat
laid claim to higher antiquity; he had "been with Noah in the Ark"
he said, and "received from the he-goat a blow on the forehead"
of which the scar still remained. Some person asked him what
country he preferred of all that he had visited. He answered
"Spain." The questioner remarked that that was singular as he
was a Jew. "God bless you," replied the ready rogue,—"it was a
long time before Christianity that I was in Spain, and I shall
not go there again till it is all over." Mr. Sloper told me these
circumstances on the faith of the person who asked him this
question.
These two entries of "Ideas and Studies for literary Composi¬
tions" did not develop into a great epic of the Wandering Jew; in fact
they did not develop into any poem about the Wandering Jew at all. The
theme was not discarded by Southey, however, but is subtly adapted in a
strange and surprising manner. Tor the Wandering Jew, in disguised
form, next appears in a poem which is completely foreign to the Chris¬
tian tradition—The Curse of Kehama.
The Curse of Kahama (1810), as Southey states in his preface
to the poem, is based upon a peculiar belief in the Hindu religion:
Prayers, penances, and sacrifices are supposed to possess an
inherent and actual value, in no degree depending upon the
disposition or motive of the person who performs them. They
are drafts upon heaven, for which the Gods cannot refuse pay¬
ment. The worst men, bent upon the worst designs, have in
this manner obtained power which has made them formidable to
the Supreme Deities themselves.**
Such a man is the evil Xehama, hated and feared by men and Gods alike.
JdLii.
S2Ibid.. p. 360.
2 for he Poetical Works of Robert Southey (London. 1838), VIII,

104
The poem opens with a description of the funeral procession
of Kehama's son Arralan. Arralan, while attempting to rape Kailyal,
a virtuous peasant girl, had been killed by the girl’s father,
ladurlad, who sought to protect her. The wrathful and almost all-
powerful Kehama finally decides upon suitable punishment for the slayer
of his son and pronounces the following curse upon ladurlad:
I charm thy life
from the weapons of strife,
from stone and from wood,
from fire and from flood,
from the serpent's tooth,
And the beasts of blood:
from Sickness I charm thee,
And Time shall not harm thee;
But Earth which is mine,
Its fruits shall deny thee:
And Water shall hear me,
And know thee and fly thee,
And the Winds shall not touch thee
When they pass by thee
And the Dews shall not wet thee,
When they fall nigh thee
And thou shalt seek death
To release thee, In rain;
Thou shalt lire In thy pain
While Kehama shall reign,
With a fire in thy heart,
And a fire in thy brain;
And Sleep shall obey me.
And visit thee never,
And the curse shall be on thee
for ever and ever.^
This eternal life, not as a reward but as a punishment, is
perhaps the most essential motif of the theme of the Wandering Jew.
ladurlad's efforts to seek death are in vain:
^bld.. pp. 14-15

105
Even in the grave there Is no rest for me,
Out off from that last hope—the wretch's
Joy,25
Be cannot drown; when he plunges Into the river to save his daughter,
The Water knew Bahama's spell.
The Water shrunk before him,26
He walks "unharmed through smoke and flames." He prays for the Thun¬
der (rod, Indra, to strike him dead in mercy, hut there is no relief
for him. He even tries to provoke Bahama into striking him dead in a
fit of anger, hut Kehama "with ferocious smile" cries:
"Let him go free..,he hath his Curse,
And Vengeance upon him can wreak no
worse.b27
like the Wandering Jew, who in Schiller's Per Gel star seller
was never known to sleep, Iadurlad too is denied the blessing of slum¬
ber:
Sleep, blessed SleepJ must never light on me;28
Although compulsory wandering is not a part of Iadurlad* s
curse, in his efforts to escape from Kehama's vengeance he first flees,
then aimlessly wanders, and throughout the poem the wandering motif
is almost always present:
25Ibid,, p. 25.
26Ibid.. p. 19.
27Ibid., p. 65.
28Ibid.. p. 21.

106
Behold them wandering on their hopeless way.
Unknowing where they stray,
Yet sure where'er they stop to find no rest,29
In The Purse of Kehama. the element of physical pain, that
Romantic contribution which was introduced into the legend hy Coleridge,
receives a new emphasis. Kehama's curse was that
Thou shalt live in thy pain
While Kehama shall reign
With a fire in thy heart
And a fire in thy brain.
The pain that returned to the Ancient Mariner only "at an uncertain
hour" becomes in The Curse of Bahama »n unspeakable everlasting tor¬
ment. The line "A fire is in his heart and brain" becomes almost a
refrain as the poem progresses. This pain is the ultimate in agony—
a pain so severe that Kehama is unable to think of any additional pun¬
ishment for ladurlad when he foils him the second time. Even when
the ghost of the evil Arvalan seizes the sunbeams and turns their
concentrated stream upon ladurlad, it is a
Tain cruelty! the stake
Tell in white ashes from his hold,
but he
Endured no added pain; his agony
Was full, and at the height;
The burning stream of radiance
nothing harmed him;
A fire was in his heart and in
his brain.
And from all other pain
Kehama's Curse had charm'd him.30
^IMd.. p. 29.
30Ibld.. p. 71.

107
This emphasis on the characteristic of physical suffering
reaches Its height in The Curse of Kehama. The Wandering Jew when
he next appears In English literature, In the poetry of Shelley, has
not lost this "fire...In his heart and hraln,n hut the emphasis on
this aspect of his curse is not nearly so pronounced,
1 1
In the same year that The Curse of Eeheina armaarad the youth¬
ful Shelley submitted his poem The Wandering Jew for publication to
an Edinburgh publishing house. Shelley had first become Interested
in the theme, through a German fragment he picked up, "dirty and
tom.,,in Lincoln's Inn Fields," This fragment, parts of which
Shelley translated in notes to The Wandering Jew and to Queen Mab.
was, unknown to Shelley, Schubert's poem,
Shelley'8 imagination seems to have been fired by the figure
of the Wandering Jew, for the character appears in no less than six
poems composed over a period of more than ten years. It is interest¬
ing to follow the development of the figure in Shelley's poetry,
for no other author better illustrates the variety of uses which the
theme can be made to serve.
*^Cf. Shelley's notes to Queen Mab. The Works of Percy Bysshe
Shelley, ed, Harry Buxton Forman (London, 1880), IF, 506. All cita¬
tions to Shelley's works are to the Buxton Ferman edition (hereafter
cited as Works) with the exception of references to Shelley's The
Wandering Jew and The Wandering Jew's Soliloquy, which Buxton Forman
¿oes not include. Therefore references to these two poems are to
The Complete Poetical Works of Percy Bysshe Shelley, ed. George
Edward Woodberry (London, 1892), hereafter cited as Poetical Works.

108
The poem The Wandering Jaw has been omitted from many editions
of Shelley's works "because of the statements of Thomas Medwin, who
claims that the work was almost entirely his own and that Shelley's
32
contributions to it were very small. Bertram Dobell, on the other
band, has made a careful study of the evidence relating to the author¬
ship of the poem, and has demonstrated that Medwin is an extremely un¬
reliable authority, Medwin f lrst speaks of the poem as having been
written in "six or seven cantos,.,of which the first four, with the
exception of a very few lines, were exclusively mine." Still later
he speaks of "seven or eight cantos" having been "perpetrated," of
which the last few cantos were thought by Fraser not worth publishing.
It appears from this account that Medwin had such a vague
memory of the poem that he believed that it consisted of six, seven,
or eight cantos, whereas both Fraser's Magazine and the Edinburgh
literary Journal, where the poem first appeared, specifically state
that it is complete in four cantos. Furthermore, Medwin first states
that Shelley's portion was "strange and incomprehensible" and thought
by Fraser not to be worth publishing, later, in his Life of Shelley
we find a sharp contradiction: "It must be confessed that Shelley's
contributions to this juvenile attempt were far the best..." Dobell
also shows that Medwin was inaccurate in his account of the literary
^^Introduction to The Vandering Jew (London, 1887), pp. xili-
sxxiii. The following evidence for Shelley's authorship of the poem
Is a summary of Dobell's arguments.

109
sources of the poem and that he appeared to know nothing about the
early attempts to get It published.
On the other hand, disregarding Medwin's confused statements,
there is every other reason to believe that the poem should be attribu¬
ted to Shelley. In 1810 Shelley submitted the poem to Ballantyne and
Company, stating that he vas depending upon their honor as gentlemen
to offer him a fair price for the copyright. When Ballantyne declined
to accept the poem. Shelley submitted it to Stocfcdale, who also did
not see fit to publish It. It vas rediscovered in 1831. when a re¬
view, with copious extracts, appeared in the Edinburgh literary Jour¬
nal. which attributed the poem to Shelley, stating that the manuscript
was "entirely written in his own hand." Two years later when the
poem was published, under Shelley's name, in Eraser's Magazine, the
editors specifically stated that "we have the sanction of Mrs. Shelley"
for the publication. In short, if we are to believe Medwln's account
we must convict Shelley of plagiarism, Sot on at least two occasions
he attempted to publish the poem as his own. These facts, together
with the contradictions and misinformation in Medwln's own history of
the poem, justify the assumption that The Wandering Jew was written
principally by Shelley, perhaps with a little assistance from Medwin.
The story itself is little more than an episode in the life
of the Wandering Jew. At the opening of the poem, a young girl, Bosa,
is being compelled against her will to take the vows of a nun. At the

no
rzn
crucial moment, Paulo, the Wandering Jew, mounted on horseback,
rushes to her rescue. Then, for the first time in his long career,
the Wandering Jew appears as a lover, he and Rosa retiring to lead a
life of happiness and contentment. But at times a dark cloud of unhap¬
piness seems to separate Paulo from Rosa. On one such occasion Paulo
confesses the reason for his despair. His account of the crucifixion
scene and of the insult to Christ is a perfectly traditional one:
I mocked our Saviour, and I cried,
«Go, go," "AhJ I will go," said he,
"Where scenes of endless bliss Invite;
To the blest regions of the light
I go, but thou shalt here remain—
Thou dlest not till I come again."34 x
Immediately after the crucifixion he had begun his wanderings, tor-
fTC
men ted by a burning fire in his breast and brain.
The complication in the story occurs when Victorio, Paulo's
best friend, also falls in love with Rosa. Realizing that she belongs
to Paulo, Victorio succumbs to temptation and invokes the devil to aid
him. He is given a philtre of poison and informed that the only way
that he can take Rosa away from Paulo is to kill her. The poem ends
when Rosa dies from the poison, and Paulo once again begins to wander
on his miserable way.
33This is, incidentally, the first time the Wandering Jew has
appeared other than on foot.
^Poetical Works. IV, 363, lines 16-21.
*°or, gaza, pp. 106-107.

Ill
Medwin called the poem “a thing such as hoys usually write,
a cento from different favorite authors."^® The work is certainly
filled with literary echoes. Shelley himself acknowledged that his
catalogue of attempted suicides isa poetic translation of “the Ger-
man author" ¿Schubart/. On the other hand, it is obvious that The
Monk served as a model for several details? the abbess's cold and
unsympathetic Virtue; the appearance of the devil in the form of a
beautiful woman, the blazing cross on the forehead concealed by a band
of cloth—all have their counterparts in The Monk.
It is not the originality of The Wandering Jew that is remark¬
able; it is rather the surprising conventionality of the work as a
whole. The passage at the beginning of Canto IT, for instance, shows
no hint of that rebellion against orthodox religious views which was
later to become so characteristic of Shelley;
Ah! idly does man, whom God has sent
As the Creation's ornament,
Who stands amid his works confessed
The first—the noblest—and the best,
Whose vast—whose comprehensive eye,
I8 bounded only by the sky.
O'er look the charms which Sature yields.
The garniture of woods and fields,
The sun's all vivifying light.
The glory of the moon by night,
And to himself alone a foe,
Forget from whom these blessings flow!
Such joys as these to man are given,
^foPhe Idfe of Percy Bysshe Shelley (London. 1913), p. 40.
•^Poetical Works, IT, 369, n. 1.

112
And yet you dare to rail at heaven;
Vainly oppose the Almighty Cause,
Transgress His universal laws;
Forfeit the pleasures that await
The virtuous in this mortal state,,.3®
Still again Shelley's Wandering Jew, in relating his own sufferings
and despair, tells of a Faustian temptation; a fallen angel once
appeared to him, scroll in hand, and hade him smear the scroll with
his hlood, telling him that hy so doing all his earthly sufferings
would cease. He was sorely tempted for a moment.
Uncertain for a while 1 stood—
The dagger's point was in my hlood
When suddenly what horrors flew,
Quick as the lightnings, through my
frame;
Flashed on my mind the Infernal deed,
The deed which would condemn my soul
To torments of eternal flame
At length I cried, "AvauntI thou
fiend of Hell,
Avounti thou minister of death."39
Shelley's Wandering Jew, then, suffering as he is under the
wrath of G-od, still refuses to sign away his right to divine grace.
Miserable wretch that he is, he still shows no sign of defiance or
opposition to the God who is the author of his woes. It is interesting
to note that in this poem Shelley, while sympathizing with the Wander¬
ing Jew, does not attempt to vindicate him or to defend his insult to
Christ. At this point his interest seems to have been drawn to the
38Ibid., p. 377, lines 1-25.
39Ibid., p. 375, lines 396-408.

113
legend because of that sympathy with the outcast which was always
strong in Shelley and which was later intensified by the social in¬
justice that he imagined himself to hare suffered.
Bat when the miserable Wanderer next appears in Shelley's
poetry, in The Wandering Jeglg... gg.Uloguy,.40 what a change has come
over him’ Ho longer is he the suffering but submissive and even some¬
what repentant figure of the poet's earlier youth. How he defiantly
hurls out challenges to the "Tyrant of Earth," accuses Him of injustice,
and tries to provoke Him into a "vengeful violent hate" which will
bring an end, however horrible, to his sufferings. Where, he asks,
is the
...Angel's two edged sword of fire
that urged
Our primal parents from their bower
of bliss
(Beared by thine hand) for errors not
their own
By Thine omniscient mind foredoomed,
foreknown?
YesJ I would court a ruin such as this,
Almighty Tyrant J4*
% then the Wandering Jew had become a symbol to Shelley of the object
of unjust persecution, and it seems likely that Shelley, with his own
persecution complex, had begun to Identify himself with this symbolic
^"Written probably about the time Shelley began Queen Mgb"
(1813). Hewman Ivey White, Shelley (Hew York, 1940), I, 653.
41Poetlcal Works. IV, 335-336.

114
figure. As a matter of fact, this identification in Shelley's mind
had already begun as early as 1811, when in a letter to Thomas
Jefferson Hogg Shelley wrote:
Oh ChristianityJ When I pardon this last, this severest of thy
persecutions, may God (if there he a God) blast me] Has ven¬
geance, in its armour of wrath, a punishment more dreadful?
This last sentence is a literal quotation from Shelley's trans¬
lation of Schubart's poem on the Wandering Jew, which he later pub¬
lished in his notes to Queen Mat. Even this early, therefore, Shelley
had begun to identify himself with the greatest of all legendary
sufferers tinder Christianity,42
When the Wandering Jew next appears in Shelley's poetry, in
Queen Mab. his resistance and defiant attitude have still increased.
The Deity, in Ahasuerus's eyes, is a God, "an almighty God, and
vengeful as almighty," who rules the earth in "tyrannous omnipotence."
He placed man in Paradise, but planted the tree of evil there
...eo that he
Might eat and perish and Jfy soul procure
Wherewith to sate its malice....4®
Jesus Christ is a "parish demagogue" who
...blest the sword
Be brought on earth to satiate with the blood
Of truth and freedom his malignant soul.44
42White, I, 105-106.
4gWorks. IV, 440, lines 110-112
^Ibld.. p. 442, lines 170-172.

115
tkho«íwriia has now become a noble figure symbolic of Promethean-like
resistance. Although confronted with unsurmountable odds, although
his opponent is omnipotent and almighty, he has
Resolved to wage unwearlable war
With. ,£hig/ almighty Tyrant, and
to hurl
The Wandering Jew, like Milton's Satan, is one who prefers "Hell's
46
freedom to the servitude of Heaven." Heroic in his hopeless strug¬
gle for Independence, he symbolized for Shelley that love of liberty
and spirit of resistance which he so admired:
"Thus have I stood,—through a
wild waste of years
Struggling with whirlwinds of
mad agony,
Yet peaceful, and serene, and
se If -en shrined.
Mocking my powerless Tyrant's
horrible curse
With stubborn and ^alterable
will..."
later in The Assassins, which was begun in 1814 but never
48
completed, the Wandering Jew haB lost none of his spirit of re¬
sistance. Even as he lies impaled upon the broken branch of a tree.
45Ibid.. p. 443, lines 199-202.
46Ibid., line 195.
47Ibld.. p. 445, lines 254-258
48White, I, 357.

116
his whole body "bent and "braised into frightful distortion," he
still breathes defiance to the tyrant who is oppressing him:
"The great tyrant is baffled, even in success. Joy! Joy!
to his tortured foej Triumph to the worm whom he tramples under
his feet! Ha! His suicidal hand might dare as well abolish the
mighty frame of things! Delight and exaltation sit before the
closed gates of death!—I fear not to dwell beneath their black
and ghastly shadow. Here thy power may not avail! Thou createst—
'tls mine to ruin and destroy.—I was thy slave—I am thy equal,
and thy foe.—Thousands tremble before thy throne, who at my
voice, shall dare to pluck the golden crown from thine unholy
head!«49
In the line "I was thy slave—I am thy equal and thy foe,"
there is an interesting hint of a possible use which Shelley may have
intended to make of the themet God, in cursing the Wandering Jew with
eternal life, had created a being whom he could not destroy, could not
control. The Wandering Jew, by virtue of his immortality, has become
the equal of God and is determined to wage unrelenting war against His
tyranny. Unfortunately the fragmentary state of The Assassins does
not permit us to see exactly how Shelley Intended to use the theme,
although it is apparent that the Wandering Jew was to play an important
role in the story.
Later, however, perhaps realizing that unsubmitting resistance
and unconquerable will were qualities completely foreign to the picture
of the meek and submissive penitent who had appeared in traditional
treatments of the story, Shelley transferred to Prometheus the symbo¬
lism of the struggle against tyranny. The Wandering Jew as he appears
49Worke. 71, 235

117
in Shelley^ later poetry loses much of his force and power. He la
briefly mentioned in Alastor (1816). but as a pitiable object, not
an unconquerable hero:
...a slave that feels
Ho proud exemption in the blighting
curse
He bears..,60
By the time of composition of Hellas (1832), he has become a philos¬
opher—a type of ageless, patient wisdom, who, through his knowledge
of past history, is able to prophesy to Mahmud the downfall of his
empire.
The figure of the Wandering Jew was one that appealed to the
Romantic mind for a variety of reasons. He came out of the mysteri¬
ous shadow of the supernatural from a romantic and exotic past. The
power of his mysterious eye and the awfulness of the blazing cross
on his forehead were elements that captured the imagination of an
England that was becoming Increasingly aware of the fascination of
mesmerism and animal magnetism.5'*’ These awful attributes, together
with his supernatural powers as a conjurer, made him Ideally suited
for a role in the Gothic novel.
The implications of bestowing eternal life upon Ahasuerus
as a curse were also appealing to the Romantic spirit. The denial
of death to Ahasuerus was an acknowledgment of the comfort and
50Ibld.. I, 45, lines 678-680.
5^lowes, pp. 252-254.

118
ralease from misery which is to he found in the grave—a favorite theme
in Romantic literature. The figure of Ahasuerus stood as a constant
reminder that death was a fate, not to he dreaded, hut rather some¬
times "a consummation devoutly to he wished,"
Lastly, the Wandering Jew was to the Romantic mind also a
symbol of the social outcast, the object of unjust persecution. The
sympathies of such a man as Shelley, who felt himself to have been
persecuted by Christianity, instinctively went out to that greatest
of all sufferers under the Christian yoke. later, in The Wandering
Jew’s Soliloquy and in Queen Mab. Ahasuerus symbolized to Shelley
that Promethean spirit of unrelenting resistance to tyranny and
oppression.
Ho author has ever demonstrated more of a preoccupation with
the story of the Wandering Jew than Shelley did. He encountered the
theme early in his life, and his repeated allusions to it in his
poetry and prose show that it was seldom out of his mind. Through¬
out a period of over ten years he struggled to use the legend as a
medium of expression. The figure of Ahasuerus in Shelley's hands
gradually grew in strength and vigor until he reached his height in
his powerful appearance in Queen Mab. But in his later appearances
in Shelley's works the Wandering Jew declines in power. And after
Shelley's death the legend fell into weaker hands than his.

119
CHAPTER 7
THE EXPLOITATION OF THE LEGEND
The Homantic Movement In England was a highly complex
phenomenon which was characterized, not hy any one dominant Indis¬
pensable idea, but rather by a group of individual ideas. It has even
been suggested that our understanding of the period might be increased
if we ceased to think of "Bomanticism" as if it were a clearly defined
attitude, and began to think in terms of "Bomanticisms," the unit-
ideas which are the constituent parts of the whole.^ Certainly it
is true that the Bomantic Movement displayed such a great variety of
different facets that two works containing practically nothing in
common are sometimes described by the same adjective—"Bomantic."
The legend of the Wandering Jew was, as we have seen, a
story which appealed to a number of Bomantic authors. One reason for
its appeal was that the story was flexible enough so that it could be
adapted as a vehicle of expression for any one of a number of "Bomanti-
ci sms "—those new ideas and attitudes which were flourishing at that
time. The Wandering Jew legend was, in short, ideally suited for the
expression of many of the favorite Bomantic doctrines. And during
the latter part of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries the
legend achieved the height of its literary popularity. But the
â– ^Arthur 0. Love joy, "On the Discrimination of Homanticisms,"
PMIA. XXXIX (1934), 329-253.

120
history of the rise and decline of Romanticism is also paralleled by
the rise and decline of the legend of the Wandering Jew. The popu¬
larity of the legend itself was largely dependent upon the popularity
of the ideas which it could he made to express. When the force of
the Romantic Morement was spent and the Gothici sts and members of the
graveyard school, for instance, had exhausted the novelty of their
themes, the favorable background for the Wandering Jew legend was
also destroyed. Sven the interest in eternal life was, for the most
p
part, directed into other channels. With one or two exceptions, the
history of the Wandering Jew after the time of Shelley is a record of
the exploitation of the theme. Inasmuch as the legend by this time
was widely known, there was little interest in the bare details of the
story itself. Authors seem to have felt that the literary possibili¬
ties of the traditional legend had been exhausted. Accordingly, most
of the works after 1820 manifest little Interest in the older story:
usually the events of the crucifixion are alluded to only in order
to identify the Wandering Jew himself. The main interest, however
lies in what might be called "The Further Adventures of the Wandering
Jew." The legend, that is, serves only as a sort of framework—for
history, for romantic adventure, or for a love story.
^Dorothy Scarborough (p. 181) points out that the interest in
eternal life did not die out with the legend of the Wandering Jew,
but that it was transferred to other themes, such as that of the
lUxir vitae.

121
Bat "before this rapid final—and eventually fatal—expíoitac¬
tion of the theme began, the figure of the Wandering Jew made one
last powerful appearance—in Charles Bobert Maturin's Melmoth the
Wanderer (1820). Maturin's novel, which is really a belated member
of the late eighteenth century school of Gothicism, has been de»
scribed as "the masterpiece of the school of terror." Although
Maturin resorts neither to the putrid corpses and bloody bones of
the Lewis school, nor to the literary deception of Hadcliffe and
her followers, he manages to outdo them both in blood»curdllng
effects. He more nearly anticipates the technique of Edgar Allan
Poe in his use of the power of suggestion for the creation of
psychological terror. But Maturin himself has probably best de¬
fined his own characteristic powers. In the preface to The Milesian
Chief he states:
If I possess any talent it is that of darkening the gloomy,
and of deepening the sad; of painting life in extremes, and
representing those struggles of passion when the soul trembles
on the verge of the unlawful and the unhallowed.4
The genesis of the idea on which Melmoth the Wanderer was
based is explained by Maturin in his preface to the novel:
The hint of this Homance (or Tale) was taken from a passage
in one of my Sermons, which (as it is to be presumed very few
have read) I shall here take the liberty to quote. The passage
is this.
^Ernest Baker, The History of the English Kovel (London, 1924-
1939), 7, 219.
%iilo Idman, Charles Bobert Maturin. His life and Works
(London, 1923), p, 67.

122
"At this moment is there one of us present, however we may
have departed from the lord, disobeyed his will, and disregarded
his word—is there one of us who would, at this moment, accept
all that man could bestow, or earth afford, to resign the hope
of his salvation?—No, there is not one—not such a fool on
earth, were the enemy of mankind to traverse it with the
offer««5
This passage, however, served only as the general suggestion
g
for the novel, for Melmoth the Wanderer is not the devil himself,
but is rather a poor mortal who, filled with the thirst for knowledge,
sold his soul to the devil in exchange for certain powers and privi¬
leges. Among these privileges are a life prolonged far beyond the
ordinary span of existence and the ability to traverse great distan¬
ces with remarkable speed and to appear wherever he wishes, unhindered
by locks and doors. Melmoth soon repents of his bargain, however, and
tires of his supernaturally prolonged life; but according to the con¬
ditions of his contract he may be released from his agreement only if
he can find another mortal who is willing to exchange destinies with
him. It soon becomes Melmoth's sole object in life to find such a
person.
5Charles Robert Maturin, Melmoth the Wanderer (Edinburgh.
1821) I, ix-x, hereafter cited as Melmoth.
®When Don Francisco loosely refers to him as "the devis¬
or his agent,—or something," Melmoth grimly replies, "Senhor, I beg
you will not confound personages who have the honour to be so nearly
allied, and yet so perfectly distinct as the devil and his agent..."
Ibid.. IT, 164.

123
Melmoth the Wanderer is first introduced into the story by
means of a portrait vhlch is found by one of his descendants, John
Melmoth. Although the date on the portrait is 1646, John Melmoth
afterwards is informed by his dying uncle that the original subject
of that portrait is still alive, almost a hundred and fifty years
later. After his uncle's death, John Melmoth finds among his belong¬
ings an old manuscript relating the adventures of an Englishman,
Stanton, who had encountered the Wanderer in 1676. This tale is the
first of six episodes in the life of his mysterious ancestor that
John Melmoth eventually discovers. In each case, it seems, Melmoth
the Wanderer has deliberately sought out individuals who were at the
lowest ebb of human fortunes. Then, as his Intended victim totters
on the brink of disaster, the Wanderer proposes to save him if he
will only agree to one "unspeakable condition." Por purposes of sus¬
pense, that condition, although hinted at, is not completely revealed
until the closing pages of the novel. In no instance, though, is
Melmoth able to find a wretch so miserable that he is willing to save
himself at the cost of his own eternal salvation. When the Wanderer,
his own period of existence upon earth finally having expired, appears
in the home of his descendant at the close of the novel, he is filled
with hopeless despair:
"It has been reported of me, that I obtained from the enemy
of souls a range of existence beyond the period allotted to mor¬
tality—a power to pass over space without disturbance or delay,
and visit remote regions with the swiftness of thought—to en¬
counter tempests without the hone of their blasting me, and

124
penetrate into dungeons, whose holts were as flax and tow at nor
touch. It has heen said that this power was accorded to me, that
I might he enabled to tempt wretches in their fearful hour of
extremity, with the promise of deliverance and immunity, on con¬
dition of their exchanging situations with me. If this he true,
it hears attestation to a truth uttered hy the lips of one I may
not name, and echoed hy every human heart in the habitable world.
"Ho one has ever exchanged destinies with Melmoth the Wan¬
derer. I have traversed the world in the search, and no one. t¿
gain that world, would lose his own soull—Wot Stanton in his
cell—nor you, Moneada, in the prison of the Inquisition—nor
Walherg, who saw his children perishing with want—nor—another"...
Soon afterwards it becomes apparent that Melmoth*s time is
drawing near. Although he had always before been youthful in appear¬
ance, within a few hours his hair turns as white as snow and his shin
becomes wrinkled. He then shuts himself in his room, after warning
everyone not to eater that room under any conditions. After a night
filled with sounds of indescribable horror, John Melmoth hastens to
the apartment of his ancestor, only to find it completely empty. There
were traces of footsteps, leading out through a small door. John
Melmoth follows these footprints to a high precipice overlooking the
ocean. From the disturbance of the earth it appears that a body has
been dragged over the latter portion of the path. On a rocky crag
beneath the precipice, John Melmoth finds the handkerchief which his
ancestor wore around his neck on the preceding night.
The general plan of Melmoth the Wanderer is an impressive one,
and the novel contains several striking and well-written episodes. The
chief fault of the book is its incredibly complex structure. George
7Ibid.. IT, 440-441.
%

125
Saintsbury has said of it that "a considerable part of the hook
consists of a story told to a certain person, who is a character in
a longer story, found in a manuscript which is delivered to a third
person, who narrates the greater part of the novel to a fourth per-
son, who is the namesake and descendent of the title hero," Fre¬
quently the reader finds it almost impossible to trace his way back
through, such intricate involutions* Even such complexity of structure,
though, is not altogether undesirable. For the atmosphere of Melmoth
is that of an oppressive nightmare, The horrors that fill its pages
are seldom clear and distinct, but are rather the vague, shadowy ter¬
rors of the unknown. In such an atmosphere one hardly expects an
orderly plan, but looks for abrupt shifts from horror to horror. In
a sense, then, the very complexity of Melmoth contributes to its
nightmarish effect,
Melmoth the Wanderer, of course, is not simply the Wandering
Jew: his literary ancestry is much more complex than that and can
probably never be traced in all its details. But for the most part,
he appears to be an artful blend of Mephistopheles, the tempter;
Faust, the tempted; and the Wandering Jew, Melmoth contains all
three of the motifs which are fundamental to the Wandering Jew story:
the wandering motif; the element of supernatural longevity; and the
offense against deity. The last of these motifs—that of the offense
against deity—has obviously suffered "a sea-change." Melmoth does
°George Saintsbury. The English Novel (London, 1927), p. 185.

126
not strike or directly Insult a god. His offense consists of his
having entered Into league with the enemy of God. This blending of
the Faust and Wandering Jew legends was not altogether original with
Matarla. Both motifs had already appeared In lewis's The Monk, hut
there they are to he found In separate episodes concerning entirely
different characters. It Is with Maturin that the two legends for
the first time are fused into one basic theme and represented by the
same person.
Sven a surprising number of the minor concomitants of the
Wandering Jew are presented In the story of Melmoth. When the ill-
fated Wanderer appears to Moneada In the prison of the Inquisition,
he "constantly alluded to events and personages beyond his possible
Q
memory."—to the Restoration In England, to the death of the Duchess
d'Orleans, and to events of the reign of Louis the Thirteenth. This
aspect of presenting the Wanderer as a "living chronicle" of history,
was, as we have seen, a fairly common feature of the Wandering Jew
story. On another occasion Melmoth refers to himself as "doomed to
bear...attestation to the truth of the gospel,"*® a fate which ex¬
presses very well the evident purpose of the medieval legend of the
Wandering Jew. And lastly, there are even several references to the
11
"mark of Cain" on Melmoth's brow.
9Melmoth. II, 277.
10Ibld.. IV, 36.
11
Ibid-. Ill, 153; III, 342; IV, 400

127
Although Faust, Mephistopheles, and the Wandering Jew appear
to he the three direct ancestors of Melmoth, he Is not simply a com¬
posite of their characteristics. In the hands of Maturin he is hu¬
manized and individual!zed. Melmoth is far from being completely
evil: in the episode of Immalee he displays many admirable qualities.
And it is evident that his keenest sufferings are due, not to the
realization that he is shut out from Paradise, but rather to the thought
that he is excluded from the company of all good human beings. He is
doomed to a life of utter loneliness, "mingling with, yet distinct
from all his species."'*'2 This sense of isolation and of loneliness,
of being among men and yet peculiarly set apart from them, is a feel¬
ing, of course, which permeates much of the literature of the Romantic
Movement. Maturin's splendid exposition of this theme in Melmoth
the Wanderer represents his finest achievement.
The year 1820 was also marked by still another work dealing
with the Wandering Jew. But no longer does he appear as a mysterious
figure of romance or as a symbol of unjust persecution. In John
13
Galt'8 The Travels and Observations of Hareaeh. the Wandering Jew
(1820) the legend is utilized merely as the slightest sort of
12Ibid.. Ill, 317.
l^This work appeared under the pseudonym of "Rev. T. Clark,"
because of Galt's "borrowing in it from his own letters from the
levant." which had also appeared under that name. Dictionary of
Rational Biography, sub voce "Galt, John."

128
framework for an extended lesson in history and geography. The
introduction to this work states that many years ago a mysterious
stranger visited a small monastery on the side of Mount Parnassus.
Although he remained there for several days, he indicated hy his
reserved manners that he wished to he left to himself. In addition
to being anti-social, he also appeared to he irreligious, for he was
never seen to make his devotions, and he flew into a rage when the
monks requested him to kiss a picture representing God the Father.
One night as the monks sat together, they heard a low rustling
noise, as if the wings of a demon were brushing past the door of the
refectory. The next morning the stranger was discovered to have disap¬
peared. The monks finally concluded from his singular behavior that
their guest must have been "no other than Hareach the Jew, destined
to wander friendless over the face of the earth till the day of Judg¬
ment." Their opinion was confirmed when an English traveler who
later visited the convent examined a large volume which the mysterious
stranger had written during his sojourn there. This volume was found
to contain "a carious account of different nations and people, and
comprehending historical incidents and circumstances, which the author
described as if he had been present when they took place, although
scattered over a period of nearly eighteen hundred years. The
Englishman obtained the monks' permission to take the volume home
**â– %. Clark /pseud. John Galt/, The Travels and Observations of
Hareach. the Wandering Jew (London. 1830), p. xviii.

129
with him, and from its contents he composed The Travels and Observa¬
tions of Hareach. the Wandering Jew* Such is the fiction upon which
the work as a whole is based.
The main body of this history, however, is not devoted to the
adventures of the Wandering Jew. Galt's work is actually a loosely
connected historical travelogue, in which Hareach serves as the nar¬
rator. He manages to travel throughout most of the countries of Bur-
ope and eastern Asia, and he gives a painstaking account of everything
from the agriculture to the principal historical events of each. In
Galt's work the Wandering Jew is not a character in a story—at least
not in the ordinary sense of the term. He is never a participant in
the action that occurs around him, but only a spectator. The reader
who hopes to learn something about the Wandering Jew will be disap¬
pointed in Galt's narrative, for after the introduction the author
seems to forget completely who is supposed to be relating his story.
One keeps expecting Hareach to allude to his own fate, but there is
never even the slightest reference to the events of the crucifixion
or to the curse of immortality under which he is suffering. His
account is always completely objective: Even when he discusses the
doctrine of the immortality of the soul, he is apparently not reminded
of his own immortality. Hareach is, in short, another example of the
"living chronicle," but here he displays even less personality than
was his wont in such works.

130
Galt's history is the first and probably the most brazen of
the several exploitations of the Wandering Jew that appeared between
1820 and 1850. In his next appearance, in George Croly's Salathlel.
a Story of the Past, the Present, and the Future (1827).the Wan¬
dering Jew has certainly not regained his original vigor; but on the
other hand he is something more than a mouthpiece for a chronicle
history. During its own day Croly's novel was highly praised and
enjoyed considerable popularity, judging from the number of editions
it went through.Eren as late as 1900 General lew Wallace stated
that in his opinion Croly's romance deserved to be ranked among the
six greatest English novels.^ Wallace, however, would probably find
few modem readers who would agree with him.
Although Wallace preferred to think of Salathlel as "a reli¬
gious novel" it is actually more of a historical romance in which
the Wandering Jew appears as the principal character. The story
opens with the words "Tarry thou till I come," the words which Christ
had just uttered to Salathiel. Salathlel*s eyes were immediately
opened, and he was filled with remorse. He felt his fate at once,
^Croly's work also appeared as Salathlel the Immortal, or
the Wandering Jew, and again as Tarry Thou Till I_ Come.
16By 1901 five editions had appeared. Cambridge Bibliography
of English Literature, sub voce "Croly, George."
•^Introductory letter to George Croly's Tarry Thou Till I
Come (New York, 1901), p. v.

131
and left the shouting crowd of Jews to "begin his wanderings.
But the Wandering Jew in Croly's romance does not "become a
lonely outcast; on the contrary, he is pictured as a great leader of
the Jewish people, a general of the army. His corse is known oniy
to himself, and for many years he serves as the inspiration and guid¬
ing spirit of his people, a dux "bellomm in battle and a wise states¬
man in time of peace. As a matter of fact, the emphasis upon his
traditional fate is quite subdued after the first few pages of the
novel and remains in the background until the concluding chapter.
Throughout the greater part of the work Salathiel is merely a color¬
ful figure of romance.
Most of the events depicted in this novel occur between the
time of the crucifixion and the time of the destruction of Jerusalem.
Although many pages are devoted to the personal adventures of Salathiel,
he also invariably plays an important role in the historical events
connected with the Jewish people. In a sense, therefore, he is a
symbolic representative of the Jewish people themselves—a role which
was by no means uncommon for the figure of the Wandering Jew.
It has already been pointed out that the traditional fate of
the Wandering Jew plays a subdued part in the story. As a matter of
fact, Croly sometimes seems to forget that part of Salathiel's curse
is that of eternal life, for he repeatedly seeks to arouse suspense
by means of the threat of death. Salathiel is forever finding himself
in such dangerous situations that it seems that his death is inevitable.

132
He is lifted up "by a whirlwind, thrown into a den of pirates, trapped
on a burning ship, caught in a whirlpool, and captured by enemy
troops; but Croly always manages to rescue him by perfectly natural
means. His repeated escapes from death are never attributed to his
curse of immortality; on the contrary, Croly uses every method at
his disposal to convince the reader that Salathiel is in real danger.
The only miraculous feature of Salathiel* s adventures lies in the
number of times that he narrowly escapes death.
There are several elements in Croly*s novel that are remin¬
iscent of the picaresque tale. Salathiel. of course, is not pica¬
re sqpue in the sense of being a rogue story, but it does share several
features in common with that type of tale. The most obvious similarity
lies in the wandering element. Salathiel never has a home as such,
and he is seldom found in the same place a very long time. Secondly,
Salathiel is episodic rather than unified in structure. The events
do not naturally evolve, one from the other. The story is really a
series of separate episodes which are related only by the presence
of one central figure. And thirdly, the author depends to a large
extent upon coincidence for his effects. For Instance, the hero and
his friends are repeatedly separated and then again miraculously re¬
united at a later date. Secondary characters who appear in one epi¬
sode surprisingly turn up later in another entirely unrelated adventure.
It is evident that Salathiel himself bears little resemblance
to the traditional picture of the Wandering Jew. Throughout most of

133
the novel the conditions of his corse are subdued almost to the point
of being forgotten. He is not a sober and remorseful penitent. He
does not lead a lonely or solitary life. He does not display any of
those miraculous powers which were commonly attributed to the Wander-
lng Jew. Only at the close of the novel does Croly return to a
familiar aspect of the legend. After the destruction of Jerusalem,
Salathiel did not retire to lead a quiet life, but seems to have been
present at most of the great histofical events of the past 1800 years:
In revenge for the fall of Jerusalem, I traversed the globe
to seek out an enemy of Home, I found in the northern snows a
man of blood; I stirred up the soul of Alaric and led him to the
rock of Rome. In revenge for the insults heaped on the Jew by
the dotards and dastards of the city of Constantine, I Bought
out an Instrument of compendious ruin: I found him In the
Arabian sands, and poured ambition into the soul of the enthusiast
of Mecca. In revenge for the pollution of the ruins of the Temple,
I roused the iron tribes of the West, and at the head of the cru¬
saders expelled the Saracens. I fed full on the revenge, and I
felt the misery of revenge]
A passion for the mysteries of nature seized me. I toiled
with the alchemist; I wore away years in perplexities of the
schoolmen; and I felt the guilt and emptiness of unlawful knowl¬
edge...
I lived with Petrarch, among his glorious relics of the genius
of Greece and Rome. 1 stood enraptured beside the easel of Angelo
and Raphael. I conversed with the merchant kings of the Mediter¬
ranean. I stood at Mentz beside the wonder-working machine that
makes knowledge imperishable and sends it with winged speed
through the earth. At the pulpit of the mighty man of Wittenberg
I knelt; Israelite as I was, and am, I did voluntary homage to
the mind of Lather] 18
Although Croly's romance suffers from its lack of unity and
its frequently bombastic style, as a story of adventure Salathiel is
not entirely without merit. Croly knew the art of story-telling, and
l^Croly, pp. 532-533

134
he certainly provides enough excitement for several novels. On the
other hand he does not make a very artistic use of the legend of the
Wandering Jew. The rich possibilities of the theme are completely
ignored, and the legend is exploited in order to serve the purposes
of romance and adventure.
The next appearance of the Wandering Jew is somewhat of a
return to the traditional picture of the lonely wanderer. In 1830
there was published a poem entitled The Undying One, by Caroline
Sheridan Norton, the granddaughter of Richard Brinsley Sheridan, the
dramatist. Although the family of Mrs. Norton occupied a good posi¬
tion in London society, their finances had been seriously impaired
19
when the old Drury lane Theatre was destroyed by fire in 1809.
Consequently, when Caroline married George Norton in 1827, she was
able to bring with her practically no dowry at all, a fact which her
husband never let her forget. Their marriage was not a happy one,
and George Norton never hesitated to remind his wife that, inasmuch
as she had come to him penniless, she was bound "to give more and
20
expect less than a wife with a better dower." It was largely a
sense of Injured pride, therefore, that first led Mrs. Norton to seek
publishers for her poetry.
^9Jane Gray Perkins, The life of Mrs. Norton (London, 1909),
P» 2»
20Ibid.. p. 21.

135
The Undying One vas Mrs. Horton's second volume of poetry
to he published, the first volume having appeared in 1827, It is a
long poem on the subject of the Wandering Jew, consisting of four
cantos running well over a hundred pages. It is exactly the sort of
thing that one would expect from a young lady brought up in the gen¬
teel tradition of early nineteenth century England, The poem is
graceful, melancholy, and full of sentimentality. In it the Wander¬
ing Jew appears as a sort of frustrated Don Juan, a man who through¬
out the ages has sought to be loved. But always, he finds, the dark
shadow of his fate comes between him and his loved one, and the pass¬
age of time eventually betrays him. As the years pass by the hair
of hi8 beloved, turns white and her skin becomes wrinkled; but Isbal,
as Mrs. Norton calls him, still remains in the full bloom of youth.
The poem really consists of four separate episodes in the
love-life of the Wandering Jew. His first love, Edith, dies when she
learns the secret of his awful fate. Isbal himself kills his second
love, Xs&rifa, rather than let her slowly fill with doubt and sus¬
picion as the years pass by and his appearance remains the same.
Isbal's melancholy and despair slowly drive his third love, Miriam,
to the grave. And his fourth love, Linda, is drowned in a storm at
sea.
In Mrs. Norton's poem the Wandering Jew also appears for the
first time as a doting father. She seems to take special delight in
describing the scene in which his son, having discovered the awful

136
secret of Isbal's past, seeks to drive him forth. Isbal's plea for
forgiveness is representative of the general temper of the work as
a whole:
Bat I—I had hut theeI I had hut theeí
And thou wert precious to my weary heart;
For thee I bow'd the head and hent the knee—
For thee I toil'd till the strong vein would start.
And thou didst pay me then with many a smile,
And broken words by joy-touch'd lips breathed forth;
And many a little playful Infant wile—
Dear to my soul—to others little worth.
The lip that now hath quiver'd forth its corse.
The shuddering hand that bade my form obey—
The trembling limbs that shrink as if from worse
Than death could threaten to his human prey—
All—all have clung to me, with each fond sign:
The tottering feeble step hath sought my aid:
And oft have gently nestled, close to mine,
The clustering curls of that indignant head]
I am but human, though the tale be true
Which curses me with life, while life may last;
And the long future which doth mock my view,
But makes me cling more closely to the past.
Leave me not!—leave me not!—whate'er I be,
Thou surely shouldst not judge me, nor forsake.,..
Even though Isbal sometimes enjoys brief periods of happiness,
he always finds that his dark fate sets him apart from the rest of
his race, that he is "amongst men, but not with them." The worst
feature of his curse, in the eyes of Mrs. Norton, is that he is forced
to see his friends and loved ones slowly age and pass away. New gen¬
erations arise, but they too must pass on. And amidst all this "'the
Undying One' is left alone!"
2^Caroline Sheridan Norton, The Undying One; Sorrows of
Hostile: and Other Poems (New York, 1854), pp. 55-56.

137
Mrs. Norton’s poem is the last work on the subject of the
Wandering Jew to appear in England during the first half of the nine¬
teenth century. In the year 1842, however, the legend received its
first literary treatment in America, in a poem entitled Ahasuerus.
by Robert Tyler, the son of President John 2*yler. Robert Tyler was
always primarily interested in public affairs rather than in litera¬
ture, and Ahasruerus represent a one of his two published literary
23
works. He saw the theme of the Wandering Jew, not as a fit subject
for romance or mystery, but rather as the inspiration for a serious
poem of a religious nature. His poem opens with a description of the
star of Bethlehem and the circumstances attending the birth of Christ.
The mildness and sanctity of Jesus’s early life are then traced up
until the time of the crucifixion scene, which Tyler describes in some
detail:
LoJ bending ’neath the burden of the cross,
Through the dark crowd the patient Sufferer comes,
The cruel thorns upon his gory brow,
The foam of thirst upon his whiten'd lip,
Swaying from side to side, with straining nerves,
Beneath a weight that bows him to the dust.
They seize him, bind him, nail him to the cross.
Forth from his hands life's ebbing torrent flows;
His quivering feet are agonized with pain;
The dews of death start on his clammy brow;
And mid the shouts of that mad multitude,
While hisses, sneers, and fiendish jests and cries
Appall'd the very air, that caught the sounds:
The Son of Man drinks full his cup of wo.^®
dictionary of American Biography, sub voce "Tyler, Robert."
23Robert Tyler, Ahasuerus (New York, 1842), p. 13.

138
When the Jews perceived that Christ neither cried out in pain
nor uttered a word of reproach to them when he was nailed upon the
cross, many whispered, "Sorely this is God." But the heart of one
man in the crowd remained untouched by the sufferings of his Saviour.
It is interesting that Tyler, in an effort to justify the severity
of the curse which is bestowed upon Ahasuerus, presents him in the
worst possible light. His description is a bit reminiscent of that
of Milton's Satan:
Behold that Jew in sacerdotal robes:
Bark curses dye his livid lips with rage.
How bold his daring eye] His granite front
looks like a mount o'er which a storm-cloud lowers.
His brawny arms might lift the city's gates:
His firm, full lips speak of audacious thoughts;
Audacious thoughts that own'd no moral sense,
That sought the eternal secrets of the world,
And finding naught but dust and ashes there
(Hor fruit nor flower the eye of sin can see),
He in his heart the chain that bound him cursed.
Cursed in his heart his impotence of will.
Cursed in his heart the virtues of his race,
Cursed in his heart the God who gave him life...
His mien, his port, proud Satan's halls might grace;
E'en Beelzebub, in wonder lost, had gazed;
Erect his form, clinch'd was his sinewy hand,
In which he held a dagger red with blood:
Red, too, his hand with sacrificial life.
Rapine, and blood, and lust, and courage high,
That would have warr'd with God's own thunderbolt,
Gleam'd in the channels of his iron face.34
Just when the mob of Jews is on the point of relenting and
acknowledging the divinity of Christ, Ahasuerus strides insolently
forward:
84
Ibid., pp. 16-17.

139
Revenge lay like a serpent on Ms lip.
And Bate was writhing on his cruel brow;
And on his forehead hold a frown lay coll'd,
Bark as the malice of Ms cruel heart.
Smiling in scorn, he raised on Mgh Ms hand,
And smote the fainting Saviour's ashy cheek,
Then spat upon Mm with a fiendish ire.
A flush of agony pass'd o'er Christ’s face,
And they who nearest stood heard these low words,
"Ahasuerus, tarry till I come."25
Tyler's interest in the Wandering Jew lay primarily in the
curse wMch was bestowed upon Mm and in the Jew's reaction to that
curse. Ahasuerus does not, therefore, later become a mere traveler
or Mstorian. In a few pages Tyler skips over thousands of years.
All forms of life have long since vanished from the earth, and
Ahasuerus, "a leper, Parian, outcast from Ms Cod," is left alone to
wander the earth amidst the unutterable horror of absolute silence:
Oh] what a blessing would a word have been,
A single word, from lips however strange....26
Finally, in the depths of despair, he sees a faint gleam of hope.
Surely, he says, "there is a God of mercy yet on Mgh." He there¬
fore falls to the earth and, raising Ms eyes to heaven, implores
Ms God to release Mm from Ms sufferings. The answering voice of
the lord is heard, "sad Ahasuerus sleeps at last," and
^Ibid.. p. 18.
26Ibid.. p. 38.

140
Millennium comes, and Barth, harmonious all,
Rolls slowly through her silver-beaming sphere,
And swells the music of the choral star8.*^
Tyler's Ahasuerus is certainly not a great poem, hut it does
represent perhaps the most serious full-scale treatment of the Wander¬
ing Jew legend that had appeared in the English language up to that
time. His poem is also the first work since the time of Shelley which
marks a return to the older spirit of the legend. The shortcomings of
the work are only too apparent: the language is often stilted and
formal, the personifications are Hfeless and artificial, and many
passages suggest a straining after effect. But Ifyler's general plan
and objectives possess distinct possibilities, although his language
and method of execution are sometimes faulty.
During the same year that the youthful Tyler was publishing
his Ahasuerus. there appeared in the Boston Miscellany (Vol. 1, May,
28
1842) a short story on the subject of the Wandering Jew by an
author who was destined to become one of the great names in American
literature—Nathaniel Hawthorne, The story, which was entitled A
Virtuoso's Collection, was later included in the collection Mosses
from an Old Manse (1846). The author states that one day, having a
little leisure time at his disposal, he was attracted into a small
^Ibid., p. 46,
28Of. Nina B. Browne, 4 Bibliography of Nathaniel Hawthorne
(Boston, 1905), p, 56,

141
museum, which displayed the sign. "To "be seen here, a virtuoso’s
collection." As he entered the building, he was met at the door "by
the virtuoso himself, who personally greeted him:
The speaker was a middle-aged person, of whom it was not easy
to determine whether he had spent his life as a scholar or as a
man of action; in truth, all outward and obvious peculiarities
had been worn away by an extensive and promiscuous intercourse
with the world. There was no mark about him of profession, indi¬
vidual habits, or scarcely of country; although his dark com¬
plexion and high features made me conjecture that he was a native
of some southern clime of Europe.29
The first group of items in the collection that he displays
is enough to lead the reader into believing that the tale is to be
a humorous one. He points out his collection of stuffed animals,
consisting of "the wolf that devoured little Bed Riding Hood," "the
she-wolf that suckled Romulus and Remus," "the ’milk-white lamb'
which Una led," and other animals from fable and fiction. Among his
stuffed birds are Shelley's skylark, Bryant's waterfowl, and Coleridge's
albatross, "transfixed with the Ancient Mariner's cross-bow shaft."
But as the two men move on through the museum amidst other famous
objects of history and fiction, it becomes apparent that Hawthorne
has a more serious moral purpose. When the virtuoso urges his guest
to try on the wishing cap of Fortunatus, the author replies:
"By no means...The day of wild wishes is past with me. I de¬
sire nothing that may not come in the ordinary course of providence."®®
59The Complete Works of Nathaniel Hawthorne, Riverside edition,
(Boston, 1882), II, 538.
®°Ibld.. p. 542.

142
He also declines to rub Aladdin's lamp, saying that he would
t
like a cottage, but that he would want it "founded on sure and stable
truth, not on dreams and fantasies." But he is sorely tempted when
he is offered a draft of the elixir of life:
My heart thrilled within me at the idea of such a reviving
draught; for methought I had gread need of it after travelling
so far on the dusty road of life. But I know not whether it
were a peculiar glance in the virtuoso's eye, or the circum¬
stance that this most precious liquid was contained in an an¬
tique sepulchral urn, that made me pause. Then came many a
thought with which, in the calmer and better hours of life, I
had strengthened myself to feel that Death is the very friend
whom, in his due season, even the happiest mortal should be will¬
ing to embrace.
"Ho; 1 desire not an earthly immortality," said I. "Here
man to live longer on the earth, the spiritual would die out of
him. The spark of ethereal fire would be choked by the material,
the sensual. There is a celestial something with us that re¬
quires, after a certain time, the atmosphere of heaven to pre¬
serve it from decay and ruin. I will have none of this liquid.
You do well to keep it in a sepulchral urn; for it would pro¬
duce death while bestowing the shadow of life."®1
After viewing the rest of the virtuoso's marvelous collection,
the guest, as he starts to leave the museum, politely inquires the
name of his guide. The virtuoso replies:
"My name has not been without its distinction in the world
for a longer period than that of any other man alive," answered
he. "Yet many doubt of my existence; perhaps you will do so to¬
morrow. This dart which I hold in my hand was once grim Death's
own weapon. It served him well for the space of four thousand
years; but it fell blunted, as you see, when he directed it against
my breast...."
"You are the Wandering Jew!" exclaimed I.cZ
31Ibld.. pp. 551-552.
g2Ibld.. pp. 557-558.

143
The virtuoso hows In acknowledgment without any display of emotion.
Through a long and Intimate association with his fate he apparently
has lost all sense of the strangeness and awfulness of his doom. His
guest, although shocked and dismayed, expresses the wish that beneath
his "corrupted or frozen mass of earthly life" there may still lie a
spiritual spark which can he rekindled hy heaven. He continues*
"Perhaps you may yet he permitted to die before it is too
late to live eternally. You have my prayers for such a consum¬
mation. Farewell."
"Your prayers will he in vain," replied he, with a smile of
cold triumph. "My destiny is linked with the realities of the
earth. You are welcome to your visions and shadows of a future
state; hut give me what I can see, and touch, and understand, and
I ask no more."33
In A Virtuoso’s Collection- the legend of the Wandering Jew
is utilized in a manner which is quite characteristic of the author.
To Hawthorne the Wandering Jew was a man whose prolonged contact with
tlie material things of the physical world had completely destroyed
the spiritual side of his nature. Perhaps the most tragic aspect of
his fate is that he has lost all desire for spiritual perfection. To
him, "earthly life is the only good." The immortality of the soul is
a visionary dream which he is unwilling to pursue. The soul which
was once within him is now so completely extinct that he has come to
regard his curse as a blessing. Although he has been cut off from
all natural sympathy with mankind (a favorite theme with Hawthorne),
he appears to rejoice in his fate. Hé has become a spectator of life,
33
Ibid., pp. 558-559

144
but has lost all human affinities with it. And perhaps the saddest
feature of his doom is that he is completely unaware of his loss.
The years from 1820 until 1850 are a period which Is, for
the most part, marked by the decline of the legend of the Wandering
Jew, After the appearance of Melmoth the Wanderer the essential
fabric of the theme seems suddenly to have become threadbare. John
Galt saw in it only a convenient framework for "a curious account of
different nations and people." To George Croly the Wandering Jew was
primarily a colorful hero of romance and adventure whose escapades
were filled with excitement. In the hands of Caroline Sheridan Horton,
on the other hand, he becomes a sentimental lover, whose alternate
outbursts of passion and tenderness are a bit reminiscent of the
Byronic hero. In America Robert Tyler attempted a more serious treat¬
ment of the story, but, while his objectives were worthy, his youth
and inexperience foredoomed his poem to mediocrity. Nathaniel
Hawthorne was the only major writer to use the theme during this
period, and even £ Virtuoso^ Collection is not characteristic of
Hawthorne at his best. 3Por the most part the tale consists of long
lists of objects which have played a prominent part in history and fic¬
tion. Only at the conclusion of the tale does the Wandering Jew emerge
into prominence and begin to assume symbolic significance. And it is
a sad testimony to the decline of the legend, that Hawthorne, who is
one of the most talented and perceptive authors ever to treat the
theme, saw in it only the material for a short tale.

145
COHCHJSION
The legend of the Wandering Jew, as we hare seen, is one
which has its roots deep in the folklore of antiquity. Although the
legend as it is known today represents a comparatively highly-developed
and complex form of folk tale, the basic motifs of which it is com¬
posed can be traced back even to pre-Christian times. A careful
analysis of the story throughout its history reveals that it consists
of three major motifs which are always present in the advanced form
of the legend: the motif of immortality* the motif of blasphemy,
sacrilege, or offense against deity; and the wandering motif.
The story is, first of all, only one of a large class of
legends dealing with earthly immortality. Both ancient and modern
folklore are full of tales about "deathless heroes" who were too good
to die: Tima, Illas, Arthur, Hiawatha, and St. John, to name only a
few. Of this number, at least one of them, the legend of St. John,
appears to be directly related to the Wandering Jew. Even the very
name "Cartaphilus," which appears in the chronicle of Roger of Wendover,
has been shown to connect the two legends.
Eternal life, not as a reward, but as a punishment, appears
to be a slightly more sophisticated idea; and, as we might expect, it
is to be found only in legends of a later period. Three of this
class, those of Pindola, Judas, and Pilate, also introduce the second

146
major motif In the legend of the Wandering Jew—that of sacrilege
or offense against deity. In all three tales the corse of eternal
life Is imposed as a punishment for some offense against the founder
of a great religion, the Judas and Pilate legends, of course, dealing
specifically with transgressions against Christ. The Judas story,
in particular, shows other strong evidence of a connection with the
legend of the Wandering Jew.
The third major motif of the Wandering Jew story—that of
wandering—appears to have "been suggested ty still another group of
legends. Sir Thomas Browne, for instance, states that the race of
gypsies were believed to have been cursed with eternal wandering be¬
cause they refused to provide shelter for Mary and the Christ child
when they were forced to flee into Egypt. Other evidence points to a
relationship between the Wandering Jew and the Wild Huntsman, who was
cursed with eternal wandering for refusing to let Christ drink from a
water-trough. The story of Sameri in The Koran may be responsible
for the later tradition that the Wandering Jew brings plague and
disease wherever he travels. And lastly the Biblical account of Cain,
in addition to containing the wandering motif, may also have suggested
the blazing cross which is sometimes described as being Imbedded in
the forehead of the Wandering Jew.
These three motifs—eternal life; blasphemy, sacrilege, or
offense against deity; and wandering—constitute the core of the legend
of the Wandering Jew. But as the legend developed it underwent a

147
process of specialization. There evolved, for instance, one group
of tales which dealt specifically with a man who had struck Christ
during the time of his trial and crucifixion and who was therefore
cursed with eternal life as a punishment. During the Middle Ages,
however, three different legends were known concerning the fate of
that man: the legends of Cartaphilus, Buttadeus, and Malchus.
The earliest record of the man who struck Christ is reported
in the chronicle of Roger of Wendover, where he is called Cartaphilus.
As Christ was being led out of Pilate’s hall on the way to His cruci¬
fixion, this Cartaphilus is said to have struck Him and urged Him to
hurry onward. Christ then turned to him and said, "I shall go, but
you shall wait until I return." Accordingly, Cartaphilus never died,
but remained alive on earth as a living testimony to the truth of the
gospel. He was a sober and penitent man and was of a retiring dispo¬
sition. He seldom spoke unless questioned, but then his talk was
usually of the events of olden times, the circumstances of the cruci¬
fixion, and the lives of the apostles. He still hoped for eventual
forgiveness, because his sin had been one of ignorance.
The story of Cartaphilus is also mentioned by Matthew of Paris
and Phillippe Mouskes, but the legend never appears to have become
very widely disseminated. At about the same time, however, another
legend about the striker of Christ appeared in Italy, where he was
called Johannes Buttadeus (or Buttadeo). According to the usual ver¬
sion of the story, Buttadeus was also regarded as a pious and sober

148
man, for he spent most of his time performing good deeds and healing
the sick. He was furthermore credited with miraculous powers, such
as that of predicting the future. And it is in Italy that for the
first time the striker of Christ became the universal wanderer.
Antonio di Francesco di Andria, for instance, states that Buttadeus
was never allowed to remain in one place for more than three days.
Both Cartaphilus and Buttadeus seem to have accepted their
fates quietly and with resignation. But in the third version of the
story, Malchus is filled with terrible despair. Although the exact
nature of his punishment varies, it is always more severe than that
of Cartaphilus and Buttadeus. Sometimes he is pictured as pacing rest¬
lessly back and forth in a dungeon or grotto. Other versions show him
revolving forever around the pillar to which Christ was bound when He
was scourged. Other travelers claim to have seen him embedded in the
earth up to his waist. But whatever his punishment may be, he is
always filled with boundless remorse and hopeless misery.
During the Middle Ages and early Renaissance, therefore, there
existed at least three different stories concerning the striker of
Christ, each having its own distinctive features. Cartaphilus was
regarded as a living proof of the Christian faith; Malchus served as
a terrible example of the wrath of an enraged deity; and Buttadeus,
among other things, was known for his powers as a prophet and a
magician.

149
At the "beginning of the seventeenth century, however, the
materials of these three legends were fused together into the form
of the Vandering Jew story as it is generally known today. In the
year 1602 there appeared throughout Germany a number of pamphlets
describing a Jewish shoemaker by the name of Ahasuerus, who was re¬
ported to have appeared in Hamburg at about the middle of the six¬
teenth century. Ahasuerus claimed to have been living at the time
of Christ and to have spurned Him from his door when He paused to
rest. Christ thereupon turned to him and said, "I will stand here
and rest, but thou shalt move until the last day."
Ahasuerus immediately felt the force of his curse and left
Jerusalem, never to see his wife and child again. He has traveled
through many countries and is therefore able to give an eye-witness
account of many of the great historical events of the last sixteen
hundred years. Although he is not permitted to stay for long in any
one place, he immediately knows the language of whatever country he
happens to be in.
The story of Ahasuerus consists largely of a combination of
motifs which are to be found in earlier legends. The greatest con¬
tribution of the anonymous German author is that he individualized
the Wanderer himself. His physical appearance is carefTilly described,
he is provided with a wife and child, his occupation is changed to
that of a shoemaker, and, finally, Jewish nationality is attributed
to him for the first time.

160
The new Ahasuerus story enjoyed an immense popularity and
went through at least nine different editions in the year 1602 alone.
It was this German revival at the beginning of the seventeenth cen¬
tury that crystallized the legend into the form that we know it today.
Only one detail was missing—the epithet "Wandering Jew" itself. The
German name for Ahasuerus has always been, and still is today, "der
ewige Jude." But in 1609 there appeared in Bordeaux a French pamph¬
let entitled D1 scours Veritable d'un Julf errant. With the publication
of this work Ahasuerus was christened with the title by which he is
most commonly known throughout the world today—"the Wandering Jew."
In the meantime the legend seems to have been neglected for
the most part in England. During the Middle Ages there are only a
few scattered allusions to the story after the entry of Matthew of
Paris in 1252. In The Northern Passion one "Iohn putte dieu" is
mentioned as having struck Christ and been sentenced to remain alive
on earth tin til He returns. There has also been an attempt to prove
that Chaucer’s old man in The Pardoner»3 Tale was inspired by the
figure of the Wandering Jew, but the evidence for this thesis is
inconclusive. On the other hand, a fairly definite allusion to the
legend has been found in William Dunbar's "Flyting of Dunbar and
Kennedy," where one "Puttidew" is mentioned in a list of conventional
villains. After Dunbar’s poem, however, the Wandering Jew seems to
have been forgotten in England until the appearance of the early
seventeenth century ballads which were published under the impetus

151
of the revival of the legend in Germany. One of these "ballads, "The
Wandering Jew or the Shooemaker of Jerusalem," is fairly obviously
modeled, even in its details, after the Kurtze Beschrelbung or one
of its offspring. "The Wandering Jew’s Chronicle," on the other
hand, represents the first instance in which the theme is exploited
merely for the purpose of relating a chronicle history. There are
also several other allusions to the legend during the early seven¬
teenth century, but no significant details were added to the story.
During the eighteenth century, though, more imaginative
accounts of the Wandering Jew began to appear, at first in the form
of translations of foreign works. Michob Adler, in The Turkish Spy.
is presented as a person who is well prepared to give a dramatic
account of the principal historical events of the world since the time
of Christ. In The Travels of James Massey the Wandering Jew is pro¬
duced as a living witness of the crucifixion in order to settle a
fine point of medieval theology. And finally, in The History of
Israel Jobson the Wandering Jew makes his first venture into science
fiction, where he appears as an inter-planetary traveler.
But it was not until the Romantic Movement that the legend of
the Wandering Jew reached the height of its literary popularity, for
during that period the climate of ideas and attitudes was particularly
favorable for the flourishing of the tale. Such characteristic Ro¬
mantic features as the love of the exotic, interest in the supernat¬
ural, love of freedom, and preoccupation with the theme of death were

152
attitudes that found a convenient means of exposition in the legend
of the Wandering Jew.
Matthew Gregory Lewis, for instance, found the Wandering Jew
a figure who was ideally suited for the Gothic novel. In lewis's
The Monk the legend is not skillfully incorporated into the structure
of the novel as a whole, hut the Wandering Jew does make a powerful
appearance in one of the episodes. The description of his personal
appearance is impressive, and one of Lewis's finest touches is the
blazing cross on his forehead, a detail which had not previously
appeared in the legend. It was Lewis's novel, more than any other
single work in England, that served to popularize the legend among
other Romantic authors.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge, for one, was tremendously impressed
by The Monk, and some of the details in The Ancient Mariner appear to
have been suggested by that work. Professor Lowes has demonstrated
that, while the ancient mariner was obviously not intended to be the
Wandering Jew, Coleridge drew upon that legend for many of the char¬
acteristics with which he invests his mariner. Nor was Coleridge
alone in his interest in the tale. Wordsworth's Song for the Wander¬
ing Jew and Southey's The Curse of Kehama indicate that the story was
a popular one among the Lake Poets. Andrew Franklin's satire The
Wandering Jew or Love's Masquerade even suggests that there may have
been still other treatments of the theme which have been lost.

153
But no author has ever demonstrated more of a preoccupation
with the story than Percy Bysehe Shelley. Shelley encountered the
theme early in his life, and his repeated use of it shows that it must
have exerted a considerable fascination for him. In his youthful
poem The Wandering Jew he treats the theme in a surprisingly conven¬
tional manner. But when Ahasuerus next appears in his poetry, in
The Wandering Jew18 Soliloquy, he has undergone a profound change.
He is no longer a meek and submissive figure, but boldly hurls out
challenges to the "Tyrant of Barth" and accuses him of injustice. It
is apparent Ahasuerus has become for Shelley a symbol of the object
of unjust persecution. In Queen Mab Ahasuerus has become a still
stronger figure. He continues to accuse God of injustice and resolves
to wage "unweariable war" against Him. Shelley apparently intended
to make the Wandering Jew one of the principal characters in The
Assassins, but, since the work was never completed, the exact use that
he intended to make of him is unknown. Still later, however, Shelley
transferred to Prometheus the symbolism of the struggle against tyr¬
anny, and the Wandering Jew in his brief appearances in Alastor and
Sellas has lost much of his force.
The last powerful treatment of the legend of the Wandering Jew
during the Romantic period occurs in Charles Robert Maturin’s Melmoth
the Wanderer. Maturin certainly did not overlook the Gothic elements
in the themes Melmoth is, in fact, a much better Gothic novel than
lewis’s The Monk. But Maturin also saw other Romantic opportunities

154
in the legend. The most tragic result of Melmoth's curse is, in the
eyes of Maturin, the fact that he is excluded from the company of the
good. He may mingle with, hut he is always set apart from, the rest
of his race. Maturin’s skillful exposition of this theme of isolation,
of being among men hut not of them, represents his most impressive
contribution to the legend.
Much of the literature dealing with the Wandering Jew from
1820 until 1850 deserves little comment. It is for the most part a
record of the exploitation of the theme. John Galt looked upon the
legend as an excuse for a rambling combination of history and geog¬
raphy. In the hands of George Croly the Wandering Jew became a color¬
ful figure of romance and adventure. To Mrs. Norton he is a melan¬
choly lover whose tragedy consisted in the fact that he always outlived
his loved ones. Robert Tyler in America attempted a more serious re¬
ligious treatment of the theme, but he lacked literary experience,
and his work is immature in many respects. To Nathaniel Hawthorne
the Wandering Jew was symbolic of the spiritual decay which would
inevitably accompany such prolonged association with the material con¬
cerns of earthly existence. This view of the symbolism of the Wander¬
ing Jew appears to have distinct possibilities, but Hawthorne was
content with only one brief treatment of the story—4 Virtuoso’s
Collection.
The legend of the Wandering Jew is a story which seems to
possess tremendous literary possibilities, but which has never received

155
fully adequate treatment. It is a legend which has interested some
of the greatest of literary figures—Goethe» Coleridge, Shelley, and
Hawthorne, to mention only a few. And yet the history of the legend
is a record of potentialities which have been, for the most part, un¬
realized. The youthful Coethe planned a great poem on the subject of
the Wandering Jew,1 but his interest was later transferred to the
Eaust theme instead. Coleridge also proposed a romance on the same
subject, but he too abandoned the idea. The story of Ahasuerus became
almost an obsession with Shelley, and in his early poetry Ahasuerus
appears as a symbol of unflinching resistance to tyranny. Yet in his
greatest poem on that theme Shelley transferred that symbolism to
Prometheus. As a matter of fact, the legend of the Wandering Jew has
never received full-scale treatment by a major English author. The
legend appears as a major theme only in the works of minor authors.
Conversely, it is used only as a minor theme in the works of major
authors. On several occasions throughout the course of its long his¬
tory, the time appears to have been almost ripe for the definitive
treatment of the theme. Yet that treatment has not appeared. The
theme has been, and still is, only a by-path in English literature.
What is the reason for the comparative obscurity of this fascinating
story? Why is it that the greatest authors, such as Coethe, Coleridge,
and Shelley, turned away from the legend of the Wandering Jew and di¬
rected their interests elsewhereT We can only speculate.
1Railo, p. 195

156
The limited circulation of the medieval legend of Cartaphilus
is not greatly surprising. The story is simply one out of many hun¬
dreds of medieval miracles which attested to the divinity and miracu¬
lous powers of Christ. Cartaphilus is hardly individualized at all.
Ee is colorless almost to the point of becoming an abstraction, and
there was little in his account to attract a sympathetic literary
treatment. Oddly enough, the story was not widely used even as an
exemulum. a form for which it seems to be particularly well suited.
But the legend of Cartaphilus never rose above the level of countless
other "miracles.”
At first glance it would appear that the renaissance of the
legend during the early seventeenth century would have been a propi¬
tious moment for the literary champion of the tale to appear. Un¬
questionably, however, at least two factors were working against the
legend at this time. First of all, the prevailing attitude of anti-
Semitism in England did not provide a receptive audience for a sympa¬
thetic literary treatment of Ahasuerus. The nation that laughed at
the misfortunes of Shylock and cheered at the death of Barabas was
not likely to be deeply affected by the story of a poor Jewish shoe¬
maker. Secondly, the growth of the legend was probably restrained
to a certain extent by the influence of classicism. A close obser¬
vance of the unities of time, place, and action would have stripped
the story of many of its most interesting details. The legend, of

157
course, could have "been accommodated within the framework of the
picaresque tale, hut the traditional gravity and melancholy of Ahasuerus
made him unfit for the role of a carefree and fun-loving picaro.
It might he expected that there would he little room for the
legend of the Wandering Jew in the rationalistic school of eighteenth
century deism. There was no place for such a miraculous figure in
the invariable plan of their orderly universe. If the existence of
a supreme being could he logically deduced from rational principles,
what need was there for such miracles of revealed religion? There
was, accordingly, only one native English helletristic treatment of
the theme during the greater part of the eighteenth century. Even in
that account, The History of Israel Jobson, the Wandering Jew himself
is treated rather lightly, and the work as a whole often displays
strong elements of farce.
It was not until the Homantic Movement that a truly favorable
atmosphere was provided for the helletristic growth of the legend.
Even during that period, however, no major author attempted a full-
scale treatment of the story, Coleridge abandoned his plans for a
romance on the subject of the Wandering Jew, Shelley discarded
Ahasuerus in favor of the Prometheus myth. Why? Once again, we can
only speculate.
Perhaps the reason that the theme of the Wandering Jew has
been neglected, for the most part, by major authors is that the story
itself is essentially undramatic in structure. The adventures of

158
Ahasuerus never "build up to a strong climax: indeed the climax occurs
almost at the "beginning of the story, when Christ pronounces His
curse. Afterwards there is no logical related sequence of events lead¬
ing up to a final powerful scene. As a matter of fact, there is no
end to the story of the Wandering Jew, "but, like Tennyson's "brook, it
goes on forever. Most literary adaptations of the story, therefore,
have "been episodic rather than strongly unified works "based upon a
single theme. The most perceptive authors may have perceived this
fatal dramatic weakness and therefore avoided the legend.
The theme probably enjoyed its greatest opportunity for suc¬
cessful literary treatment in the hands of Shelley. But, as Shelley
eventually realized, the Wandering Jew story as a symbol of resistance
to tyranny has several distinct disadvantages as compared to the myth
of Prometheus. The reader's attitude toward Ahasuerus is inevitably
colored by a whole complex pattern of emotional responses which are
evoked by the subject of Christianity and the Passion of Christ.
Prometheus, on the other hand, as a figure from an extinct religion,
can be treated much more impersonally. A subject from Creek mythology
can be approached without the strong original prejudice which so
often accompanies the treatment of a Biblical tale.
Also, as Shelley discovered, the figure of Ahasuerus was
fundamentally unsuited for the symbolism which he chose to attach to
him. The original deed of Ahasuerus was one of unprovoked evil; that
of Prometheus was motivated by the highest type of altruism. It is
significant that Shelley found it necessary to avoid a close examination

169
of the cause of Ahasuerus's fate. He emphasizes the cruelty of his
punishment and his indomitable spirit of resistance to that punish¬
ment, hut he finds it impossible to justify the actual blow to
Christ which provoked His vengeance. In the case of the Prometheus
story, on the other hand, the original deed was a praiseworthy act
of resistance to oppression. The cause of his sufferings can there¬
fore be examined with dramatic effectiveness.
One of the reasons for the popularity of the legend, as we
have seen, is that the story could be made to express a great
variety of different ideas. This very flexibility, however, is
also one of its most serious weaknesses. Unlike the story of Faust,
the legend of the Wandering Jew has never become associated with any
one strong central idea. Faust has become the eternal symbol of an
unquenchable thirst for knowledge and power. The Wandering Jew, on
the other hand, possesses only whatever symbolism the individual
author chooses to attach to him. The potential strength of Ahasuerus
as a symbol has been weakened by the multiplicity of ideas that he
has been made to represent. There is no one powerful meaning to the
legend of the Wandering Jew. Consequently, the great epic of
Ahasuerus is yet to be written.

160
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VITA
Samuel Gene Andrews was "born April 25, 1925, in Memphis,
Tennessee. He attended the Memphis public schools until 1943, at
which time he enlisted in the United States Navy. Daring the period
of hi8 service in the Navy he attended the University of South Caro¬
lina, where he received the degree of Bachelor of Science in 1946.
After his discharge from the service, he returned to the University
of South Carolina as a graduate student, and received his Master of
Arts in 1948. Prom 1948 until 1950 he continued his graduate studies
at the University of florida, where he was employed as a teaching
assistant. In 1950 he accepted a position as assistant professor of
English at Arkansas Agricultural and Mechanical College. He was
granted a leave of absence in June, 1953, in order to return to the
University of Florida as a candidate for the degree of Doctor of
Philosophy.

This dissertation was prepared under the direction of the
chairman of the candidate's supervisory committee and has "been approved
"by all members of the committee. It was submitted to the Dean of the
College of Arts and Science and to the Graduate Council and was approved
as partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of
Philosophy.
August 10, 1953
Dean, Graduate School
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