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that of classical and modern verse, relying Attic prime, the Greek, with no trick of intromerely upon antiphony, alliteration, and par- spection, concerned himself very little about his allelism. Technical abandon, allied with di- individual pathology, being far too much abrectness of conception and faithful revelation sorbed with an inborn sense of beauty, and with of human life, makes for universality — makes his office of imaginative creation. His great of the Hebrew Scriptures a Bible, a world's lyrical poets-- Alcæus, Simonides, Pindarbook that can be translated into all tongues rehearsed, as I have said, the spirit of a people with surpassing effect, notably into a language rather than of themselves. As with the Healmost as direct and elemental as its own, that brews, but conversely, the few exceptions to of our Anglo-Saxon in its Jacobean strength this usage were very notable, else they could and clarity.
not have arisen at all. One extremity of pasAdvancing further, you perceive that where sion for which, in their sunlit life, they found a work survives as an exception to the inher- expression compulsive, was that of love; and ent temper of a people, it is likely to exhibit among those who sang its delights, or lamented greatness. The sublimest poem of antiquity is its incompleteness, we have the world's accepted impersonal, yet written in the Hebrew tongue. type in Love's priestess of Mitylene, the “ vioThe book of Job, the life-drama of the Man let-crowned, pure, sweetly smiling Sappho.” of Uz, towers with no peak near it; its author- The pity of it is that we have only the glory ship lost, but its fable associated in mind with of her name, celebrated by her contemporaries the post-Noachian age, the time when God and successors, and justified to us by two lyrics discoursed with men and the stars hung low in in the stanzaic measure of her invention, and the empyrean. It is both epic and dramatic, by a few fragments of verse more lasting than yet embodies the whole wisdom of the patri- the tablets of the Parthenon. But the “Hymn archal race. Who composed it? Who carved to Aphrodite" and the Paivetae pot zivos are the Sphinx, or set the angles of the Pyramids? enough to assure us that no other singer has so The shadow of his name was taken, lest he united the intensity of passion with charm of should fall by pride, like Eblis. The narrative melody and form. A panting, living woman, a prelude to Job has the direct epic simplicity – radiant artist, are immanent in every verse. Afa Cyclopean porch to the temple, but within are ter twenty-five centuries, Sappho leads the choir Heaven, the Angels, the plumed Lord of Evil, of poets that have sung their love; and from before the throne of a judicial God. The per- her time to that of Elizabeth Browning no wosonages of the dialogue beyond are firmly dis- man has so distinguished her sex. The Christinguished: Eliphaz, Bildad, Zophar, Elihu,- tian sibyl moved in a more ethereal zone of to whom the inspiration of the Almighty gave feeling, but could not equal her Ægean protounderstanding,— and the smitten protagonist type in unerring art, although, by the law of himself, majestic in ashes and desolation. Each true expression,
most artistic where she is most outvies the other in grandeur of language, im- intense. agination, worship. Can there be a height above The note which we call modern is frequent these lofty utterances? Yes; only in this poem in the dramas of Euripides, and in those of has God answered out of the whirlwind, his his satirist, Aristophanes; it drifts, in minor voice made audible, as if an added range of waves of feeling, with the lovely Grecian epihearing for a space enabled us to comprehend taphs and tributes to the dead — that feeling, the reverberations of a superhuman tone. I the breath of personal art, which Mahaffy illusspeak not now of the motive, the inspiration, trates from the bas-reliefs and mortuary emof the symphonic masterpiece; it is still a mor- blems which beautify the tombs west of Athens. tal creation, though maintaining an imperson- The Greek anthology is rich with sentiment of ality so absolute as to confirm our sense of this cast, so pathetic — and so human. As an mystery and awe.
instance of what I mean, let me repeat Cory's It has been said of the Hebrew language imitation of the elegiacs of Callimachus on his that its every word is a poem ; and there are friend Heracleitus: books of the Old Testament, neither lyrical nor prophetic, so exquisite in kind that I call them They told me, Heracleitus, they told me you were models of impersonal art. Considered thus, the dead, purely narrative idyls of Esther and Ruth have They brought me bitter news to hear and bitter so much significance that I shall have occasion tears to shed. to recur to them with reference to poetic beauty Had tired the sun with talking and sent him down
I wept, as I remembered how often you and I and construction.
the sky. Turning from Semitic literature to the Aryan And now that thou art lying, my dear old Carian in its Hellenic development, we at once enter guest, a naturally artistic atmosphere. Until after his A handful of gray ashes, long, long ago at rest,
Still are thy pleasant voices, thy nightingales, etic subtilties which animated everything that awake,
was Grecian. Hellas was creative of beauty For Death, he taketh all away, but them he can- and inspiration; Italia, too, was a creative soil, not take.
but of government, empire, law. Her poetry, as This, to be sure, is a paraphrase, yet it conveys longs largely to the mixed class. In its most
it was less an impulse and more a purpose, bethe feeling better than the more compact ver- objective portions there is an air of authorship sion by the poet-scholar Andrew Lang. No- and self-expression. I will not speak now of thing can exceed, in its expression of the spirit, Lucretius, who sends out the one dauntless ray Mr. Lang's handling of Meleager's verses to of contemplative splendor between the Hebraic the memory of his loved and lost Heliodora:
sages and the seers of our new dispensation. Tears for my lady dead,
But Vergil is a typical example of the poet whose Heliodore !
style is so unmistakable that every verse overSalt tears, and strange to shed,
flows with personal quality - a style that enOver and o'er.
dures, establishes a pupilage. Vergil borrowed
fire from Greece to light the altars of beauty in But I quote no more of this melody, since you a ruder land. The Iliad and Odyssey kindled can find it, in a certain romance of“ Cleopatra,” the invention and supplied the construction of shining by contrast with much of that story like his Æneids; the Georgics, his sturdiest cantos, the jewel in an Ethiope's ear.” Others of Mr. took their motive from Hesiod; the Eclogues Lang's elusive, exquisite renderings, done as it are a paraphrase upon Theocritus. But the seems by the first touch, are incomparable with Mantuan's style is preëminently his own the any lyrical exploits of their kind since “Music's limpid, liquid, sweet, steadfast Vergilian intowing” was folded in the dust of Shelley. nation on which monarchs and statesmen hung
Follow the twilight path of elegiac verse to enchanted, and which was confessedly the pathe Alexandrian epoch, and you find the clear rent-voice of many an after bard. Tennyson, in Athenian strain succeeded by a compound of point of a style whose quality is the more disartifice and nature, so full of sentiment withal tinct for its diffusiveness,— whose potency, to as to seem the forerunner of Christian art—in borrow the homeopathic term, is the greater some respects the prototype of our own idyllic for its perfect trituration - has been the Engpoetry. The studiously impassioned lament of lish Vergil of our day. Browning's trade mark Moschus for Bion is nearer than the poetry of is, plainly, the antithesis of what I here mean his dead master, and of that master's master, by style. Our own Longfellow furnishes the Theocritus (always excepting the latter's “Tha- New World counterpart of Vergil. In the aslysia"), to our own modes of feeling and treat- cetic and prosaic America of his early days he ment. It set the key for our great English excited a feeling for the beautiful, borrowing elegies, from Spenser's “ Astrophel" and Mil- over sea and from all lands the romance-forms ton's “ Lycidas” to Shelley's “ Adonais” and that charmed his countrymen and guided them Amold's lament for Clough. The subjectivity to taste and invention. His originality lay in of the Greek idyllists is thus demonstrated. the specific tone that made whatever LongfelThey were influenced largely by the Oriental low's sweet verse rehearsed a new song, and in feeling, alike by its sensuousness and its so- this wise his own. Mentioning these leaders of lemnity, and at times they borrowed from its to-day only to strengthen my reference to Verpoets — as in the transfer by Moschus of a gil, and as illustrating Schlegel's point that passage from Job into his Dorian hexameters, “what we borrow from others, to assume a true of which I will read my own version : poetical shape, must be born again within us," Even the mallows — alas! alas ! when once in I may add that there is a good deal of personal the garden
feeling and expression in the Latin epigramThey, or the pale-green parsley and crisp-grow- matists and lyrists. We have Ovid with his ing anise, have perished,
Tristia of exile, and Catullus with his Sapphic Afterward they will live and flourish again at their grace and glow, and a Latin anthology of which season;
the tenderest numbers are eloquent of grief for We, the great and brave, and the wise, when
lover and friend gone down to the nebulous death has benumbed us, Deaf in the hollow ground a silent, infinite slumber pagan under-world. The deaths that touched Sleep: forever we lie in the trance that knoweth
them most were those of the young and dear,
cut off with their lives unlived, their promise no waking.
of grace and glory brought to naught. Both We pass with something like indifference to the Greeks and the Latins, in their joy of life, the Latin poets, because their talent, in spite strongly felt the pathos of this earthly infruition. of many noble legacies bequeathed us, so lacked That famous touch of Vergil's, in the sixth the freedom, the originality, the inimitable po- Æneid, was not all artifice: the passage in which
Æneas sees a throng of shades awaiting their the English. Our traditional ballads, such as draught of Lethe and reincarnation in the upper “Clerk Saunders," “ Burd Ellen,” “ Sir Patworld-and among them the beauteous youth- rick Spens," " Chevy-Chace," " Edward! Edful spirit that in time will become Marcellus, ward!” usually are better poetry than those son of the Emperor's sister Octavia, and heir of known authorship. Not until you come to to the throne of the Cæsars.
Drayton's “ Agincourt" do you find much to rival them. What I say applies to the primitive
I Heu, miserande puer! si qua fata aspera rumpas, ballads of all nations. Touch them with our Tu Marcellus eris. Manibus date lilia plenis, Purpureos spargam flores.)
ratiocination, and their charm vanishes. The
epos evolved from such folk-songs has the same Every school-boy, from the poet's day to the directness. The rhythm of its imagery and narpresent, knows how this touch of nature made rative, swift and strong and ceaseless as a great Vergil and his imperial listeners kin. Its conse- river, would be sadly ruffled by the four winds crating beauty,in a new world and after nineteen of a minstrel's self-expression — its current all centuries, supplies the legend - Manibus date set back by his emotional tides, lilia plenis — of our American hymn for Dec
The hate of hate, the scorn of scorn, oration Day. Out of the death of a youth as
The love of love. noble and gracious, in whom centered limitless hopes of future strength and joy, the spirit of
The modern temper is not quick to apprepoetry well may spring and declare -- as from hend a work of simple beauty and invention. yonder tablet in this very place - that his lit- It presupposes, judging from itself, underlytle life was not fruitless, and that its harvesting motives even for the legends and matushall be perennial.
tinal carols of a young people. Age forgets, A passing reference may be made at this point and fails to understand, the heart of child to a class of verse elegantly produced in vari- hood: we“ancients of the earth ” misconceive ous times of culture and refinement: the hearty its youth. We even class together the literaoverflow of the taste, philosophy, good-fellow tures of races utterly opposed in genius and disship, especially of the temperament, of its im- position. Some would put the Homeric epos mediate maker. Thus old Anacreon started on the same footing with the philosophical off
, that Parisian of Teos. When you come to drama of Job, the end of which is avowedly the Latin Horace, who like Vergil took his “to justify the ways of God to men.” Profesmodels from the Greek, you have, above all, sor Snider, who has exploited well the ethical the man himself before you: the progenitor of scheme of “ Faust,” would similarly deal with an endless succession, in English verse, of our the Iliad and the Odyssey. Homer, he thinks, Swifts and Priors and Cannings and Dobsons, had in mind a grand exposition of Providence, of our own inimitable Holmes. There are feel- divine rule, the nature of good and evil, and ing and fancy, and everything wise and witty so forth, in relation to which the narrative and and charming, in the individuality of these Ho- poetry of those epics are subordinate and alleratii; they give us delightful verse, and human gorical. But why should we reason too cucharacter in sunny and wholesome moods. One riously? Both instinct and common sense are secret of their attractiveness is their apt mea- against it. Whether the Homeric epos was a surement of limitations; they have made no growth, or an originally synthetic creation, I claim to rank with the great imaginative poets believe that the legends of the glorious Ionian who supply our loftier models and illustrations. verse were recited for the delight of telling and
hearing; that the unresting, untiring, billowy Return for a moment to that creative art hexameters were intoned with the unction of which is found in early narrative poetry and the the bard ; that they do convey the ancestral true drama. The former escapes the pale cast reverence, the religion, the ethics, of those adof thought through the conditions of its for- venturous dædal Greeks, but simply as a consemation and rehearsal. Primitive ballads have a quence of their spontaneous truth and vitality. straightforward felicity; many of them a con- Their poets sang with no more casuistic purjuring melody, as befits verse and music born pose than did the nightingales in the grove of together. Their gold is virgin, from the rock Colonos. Hence their directness, and their strata, and none the better for refining and bur- unconscious transmission of the Hellenic sysnishing. No language is richer in them than tem of government and worship. If you wish
instruction, everything is essentially natural and 1“Ah, dear lamented boy! if thou canst break true. A perfect transcript of life — the best fate's harsh decrees, thou wilt be our own Marcellus. of teachers - is before us. In the narrative Bring lilies in handfuls ; let me strew the purple books of the Bible the good and bad appear flowers!"
2 Percy Græme Turnbull: born May 28, 1878; died without disguise. All is set forth with the February 12, 1887.
frankness that made the heart of the Hebrew tent-dweller the heart of the world thereafter. and “ Athene" of Pheidias, are but traditions In Homer, the deities are dramatis persona, of “the glory that was Greece.” The point I very human, with sovereign yet terrestrial pas- make is that these are absolute dramas. They sions; they dwell like feudal lords, slightly are richly freighted, like Shakspere's, with oraabove their dependents, alternating between cles and expositions; but their inspired wisdom contempt for them and interest in their affairs. never diverts us from the high inexorable proBut where is the healthy man or boy who gress of the action. It is but a relief and an reads these epics without an absorption in their adjuvant. You may learn the bent of the drampoetry and narrative that is the clue to their atist's genius from his work, but little of his highest value? I have little patience with the own emotions and experiences. Nor is the wiscritics who would disillusionize us. What is dom so much his wisdom, as it is something the use of poetry? Why not, in this workaday residual from the history and evolution of his world, yield ourselves to its enjoyment? Ho- people. The high gods of Æschylus and Sophomer makes us forget ourselves because he is cles for the most part sit above the thunder: but so self-forgetful. He accepts unquestioningly the human element pervades these dramas; the things as they are. The world has now grown legendary demigods, heroes, gentes, that serve hoary with speculation, but at times, in art as as the personages — Hermes, Herakles, the in religious faith, except ye be as children ye houses of Theseus, Atreus, Jason - all are types cannot enter into the kingdom. We go back to of humankind, repeating the Hebraic arguthe Iliad and the Odyssey, to the creative ro- ment of transmitted tendency,virtue, and crime, mance and poesy of all literatures, as strong and the results of crime especially, from genermen wearied seek again the woods and waters ation to generation. The public delight in the of their youth, for a time renewing the dream Athenian stage was due to its strenuous drawhich, in sooth, is harder to summon than to matic action at an epoch when the nation was dispel. Such a renewal is worth more than any in extreme activity. Its religious cast was the moral, when following the charmed wander- quintessence of morals derived from history, ings of the son of Laertes, by isle and main- from the ethics of the gnomic and didactic bards, land, over the sea whose waters still are blue from the psychological conditions following and many-voiced, but whose mystic nymphs great wars and crises such as those which terand demigods have fled forever; it is worth minated at Salamis and Platza. Æschylus and more than a philosophy,
Sophocles were inspired by their times. They
soared in contemplation of the life of gods and When the oars of Ithaca dip so
men: no meaner flight contented them. The Silently into the sea
apparent subjectivity of Euripides is due to his That they wake not sad Calypso,
relative modernness. No literature was ever so And the hero wanders free. He breasts the ocean furrows
swift to run its course as the Attic drama, from At war with the words of fate,
the Cyclopean architecture of the “ PromeAnd the blue tide's low susurrus
theus” to the composite order of “ Alcestis"and Comes up to the Ivory Gate.
“ Ion.” Euripides, freed somewhat from the tyr
anny of the colossal myths, was almost ShakThe dramas of the Attic prime, although sperian in his reduction of them to every day equally objective with these epics, are superb life with its vicissitudes and social results. His poetry, with motives not only creative but dis- characters are often unheroic, modern, very real unctly religious and ethical. They recognize and emotional men and women. Aristophanes, and illustrate the eternal law which brings a still more various, and at times equal to the greatpenance upon somebody for every wrong, the est of the dramatists, as a satirist necessarily eninscrutable Nemesis to which even the Olym- ables us to judge of his own taste and temper; pian gods are subject. In this respect the but in his travesties of the immediate life of " Prometheus Bound,” deathless as the Titan Athens he is no more self-intrusive than Mohimself, is the first and highest type of them lière, twenty centuries later, in his portraits of all. The chorus, the major and minor person- Tartuffe and Harpagon and“ Les Précieuses." ages, the prophetic demigod, and even the Men create poetry, yet sometimes poetry creates ruthless Zeus, take for granted the power of a a man for us — witness our ideal of the world's nghiteous Destiny. The wrong-doer, whether Homer. The hearts of the Grecian dramatists puilty by chance or by will, as in the case of the were so much in their business (to use the French Edipus Tyrannus” of Sophocles, even pro- expression) that they have told us nothing of nounces and justifies his own doom. I will not themselves; but this implies no insignificance. Dow consider the grandeur of these wonderful So reverse to commonplace, so individual were productions. Through the supremer endurance they each and all, that in point of fact we know of poetry they have come down to us, while the from various sources more of their respective pictures of Zeuxis and Apelles, and the “ Zeus” characters, ambitions, stations, than we know
of that chief of dramatists who was buried at Through the ages one increasing purpose Stratford less than three centuries ago.
But I well may hesitate to discourse upon And the thoughts of men are widened with the the Greek and Latin poets to the pupils of
process of the suns. an admired expounder of the classical literatures;' and I use the word " literatures” ad- Right prevails in the end; crime brings punvisedly, since, with all his philological learning, ishment, though often to the innocent. We it is perhaps his greatest distinction to have led have seen that, if poets, they deal with pheour return to sympathetic comprehension of the nomena, with the shows of things, and, as they style and spirit of the antique masters-to have see and faithfully portray these, the chances of applied, I may say, his genius not only to the life seem much at haphazard. Hamlet, for all materials in which they worked, but to the his intellect and resolve, is the sport of circumgrace and power and plenitude of the struc- stance. Rain still falls upon the just and the tures wrought from those materials. With less unjust. The natural law appears the wind of hesitation, then, I change, in quest of strictly destiny. Man, in his conflicts with the elements, dramatic triumphs, from the time of Pericles with tyranny, with superstition, with society, to the period of Calderon, of Molière, of Shak- most of all with his own passions, is still frespere and his Elizabethan satellites. Lowell quently overthrown. It seems as if th
good says that Pope and Dryden together made a
were not necessarily rewarded except by their man of genius. Terence and Plautus between own virtue, or, if self-respecting, except by them perhaps display the constituents of a mas- their own pride, holding to the last; the evil ter-playwright, but not, I think, of a strongly
are not cast down, unless by their own self-conimaginative poet.
tempt, and the very evil flourish without conI have alluded to the process by which the science or remorse. The pull of the universe epic and dramatic chieftains appear to reach is upon us, physically as well as morally. When their creative independence. As a prelimi- all goes well, and á fair ending is promised,
then nary, or at certain intervals of life, they seem to rid themselves of self-consciousness by its ex- Comes the blind Fury with the abhorrèd shears, pression in lyrics, sonnets, and canzonets. Of And slits the thin-spun life. this the minor works of Dante, Tasso, Boccaccio, Michelangelo, Cervantes, Calderon, Thus Nature, in her drama, has no temporary Camoëns, Shakspere are eminent examples. pity, no regret. She sets before us the plots of But nothing so indicates the unparalleled suc- life, and its characters, just as they are. The cess of the last-named poet in this regard, as plots may or may not be laid bare; the charthe fact that, unambiguous as are his style and acters often reveal themselves in speech and method, and also his moral, civic, and social action. As the stream rises no higher than its creeds, we gather so little of the man's inner fount, the ideal dramatist is not more learned and outer life from his plays alone: except as than his teacher. He may know no more than we seem to find all lives, all mankind, within you of his personages' secrets. Thackeray conhimself — all experiences,
fessed, you remember, that Miss Sharp was too
deep for him. All thoughts, all passions, all delights, Tragedy, according to Aristotle and in DryWhatever stirs this mortal frame; den's English, is “an imitation of one entire,
great, and probable action, not told but repreand Coleridge, when he called him the myr- sented, which, by moving in us fear and pity, iad-minded, should have added, “ because the is conducive to the purging of those two pasmyriad-lived."
sions in our minds.” And so its reading of the
book of life, even with our poor vision, is more The grand drama, then, like the epic, gives disciplinary, more instructive in ethics and the us that "feigned history” which is truer than conduct of life, than any theoretic preachment. history as written, because it does not attempt The latter will be colored, more or less, by the to set things right. Its strength must be in temper of the preacher. Besides, through the ratio to its impersonality. It follows the method exaltation to which we are lifted by the poet's of life itself, which to the unthinking so often large utterance, our vision is quickened: we seems blind chance, so often unjust; and of see, however unconsciously, that earthly tragewhich philosophers, reviewing the past, are dies are of passing import - phenomenal, forscarcely able to form an ethical theory, and mative experiences in the measureless progress quite helpless to predicate a future. Scientifi- of the human soul; that life itself is a drama cally, they doubt not - they must not doubt - in which we are both spectators and participathat
tors; that, when the curtain falls, we may wake 1 Professor Basil L. Gildersleeve.
as from a dream, and enter upon a life beyond