A Virtuoso's Collection
"A Virtuoso's Collection" is the final short story in Mosses from an Old Manse by Nathaniel Hawthorne. It was first published in Boston Miscellany of Literature and Fashion, I (May 1842), 193-200. The story references a number of historical and mythical figures, items, beasts, books, etc. as part of a museum collection. Some scholars regard the real-life museum of the East India Marine Society in Salem, Massachusetts, as a model for Hawthorne's fictional museum. The narrator is led through the collection by the virtuoso himself who turns out to be the Wandering Jew.
- Opportunity, by the ancient sculptor Lysippus
- The wolf that devoured Little Red Riding Hood
- The she-wolf that suckled Romulus and Remus
- Edmund Spenser's 'milk-white lamb' which Una led in The Faerie Queene
- Alexander the Great's Bucephalus
- Don Quixote's horse Rosinante
- The donkey from William Wordsworth's Peter Bell: A Tale
- The donkey from Book of Numbers chapter 22 that was beaten by Balaam
- Argus, Ulysses' dog
- The fox from Aesop's fable The Fox Who Lost Its Tail
- Dr. Samuel Johnson's cat Hodge
- The cat who saved Muhammad from a snake, or Muezza, the Prophet's pet. Perhaps both cats are in the collection.
- Thomas Gray's inspiration for the poem "Ode on the Death of a Favourite Cat Drowned in a Tub of Goldfishes". The cat, Selima, belonged to Horace Walpole
- Sir Walter Scott's cat Hinse
- Puss in Boots
- Bast, the Egyptian sun and war goddess, in her cat form
- George Gordon Byron's pet bear
- The Erymanthean Boar
- St. George's Dragon. See Saint George and the Dragon
- The serpent which tempted Eve
- The horn's of the stag poached by Shakespeare
- The shell of the tortoise that supposedly killed Aeschylus
- Apis, an Egyptian bull-deity
- "The cow with the crumpled horn" from the nursery rhyme "This Is The House That Jack Built"
- The cow that jumped over the moon from the nursery rhyme "Hey Diddle Diddle"
- A griffin
- The dove that brought the olive branch to Noah to signify that the flood was receding
- Grip, the raven that belonged to Barnaby Rudge and later inspired Edgar Allan Poe's "The Raven"
- The raven in which the soul of George I of Great Britain revisited his love, Melusine von der Schulenburg, Duchess of Kendal after his death
- Minerva's owl
- The vulture (or eagle) that daily ate Prometheus's liver
- The sacred ibis of Egypt
- One of the Stymphalian birds shot by Hercules. See Labours of Hercules
- Percy Bysshe Shelley's skylark from "To a Skylark"
- William Cullen Bryant's water-fowl from "To a Waterfowl"
- A pigeon, preserved by Nathaniel Parker Willis, from the belfry of Old South Church in Boston
- The albatross from Samuel Taylor Coleridge's The Rime of the Ancient Mariner
- A domestic goose from the temple of Juno on the Capitoline Hill. Livy claimed these geese saved Rome from the Gauls around 390 BC.
- Robinson Crusoe's parrot
- A live phoenix
- A footless bird of paradise or Huma bird
- The peacock that once contained the soul of Pythagoras
- Charles E. Goodspeed (1946), Nathaniel Hawthorne and the Museum of the Salem East India Marine Society, Salem, Mass.: Peabody Museum (fulltext via HathiTrust)
- Goluboff, Benjamin (1995). "'A Virtuoso's Collection': Hawthorne, History, and the Wandering Jew". Nathaniel Hawthorne Review 1995 Spring; 21 (1): 14-25. ISSN 0890-4197.
- McMurray, Price (2002). "'I Would Write on the Lintels of the Door-Post, Whim': History and Idealism in A Virtuoso's Collection. Conference of College Teachers of English Studies 2002 September; 67: 32-42. ISSN 0092-8151.