Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Stories and Tales >> Carl Werner: An Imaginative Story >> Page 89

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Page 89

Short Stories | U of South Carolina P | 1974
Transcription [One of Simms's favorites among his "moral imaginative" tales,
"Carl Werner. An Imaginative Story" was first published in 1838
in the two-volume collection entitled Carl Werner, An Imaginative
Story; with Other Tales of Imagination. Explanatory and Textual
Notes begin on page 655.]
An Imaginative Story.
The first story in this collection is founded upon a passage from an ancient
monkish legend, which the lover of antiquarian lore will most probably remem-
ber. Th'e treatment of the subject is, however, entirely my own; and the
circumstance in the history of the two young men, upon which the catastrophe
depends, is too frequent among the thoughtless of every nation to make it the
peculiar property of any. The strifes between the rival moral principles of
good and evil, have also been a subject of frequent celebration in the form of
allegory; though, I believe, that, in this respect, my claim to originality will
also be undisputed. In the character of the venerable guest of Matilda, it will
be seen that I have ventured upon a faint delineation of one of the apostles,
and that I have moreover presumed to suggest a notion of their continued toils
on earth in the cause of heaven. Such a theory does not, it appears to me, seem
altogether incompatible with the history of the strifes of good and evil, as
afforded by the sacred volume; and, indeed, must somewhat help us in the hope
which we entertain, according to the holy promise, of the final and complete
triumph of the former. I trust, in what I have done, I will not be found to
have trespassed beyond the limits of propriety. The other tales, with, perhaps,
a single exception, belong to the same moral imaginative class with the first.
They have been written at various periods in my brief career of authorship.
Two of thcm, it may be well to state, were published with other tides than
they bear in this collection. The change was made in consequence of my dis-
covering subsequently that similar titles had been employed by other writers,
which might, to the casual reader, suggest an idea of identity between them,
which exists neither in the subject, nor the mode of treatment. They are only
republished in this collection as, they belong properly to the classification which
distinguishes the work.