Hesperian student / (Lincoln [Neb.]) 1872-1885, January 15, 1884, Page 4, Image 8

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cal orator, had no hesitation in pointing his periods so na
to It'll against tho pnrtylio felt liimself bound to depre
ciate. Keltic shows us in litis matter wherein Green 1ms been
unjustly criticised. An historinn, wo havo recently been
told, 1ms no business to linvo any stylo at all; if ever he
dares to bronk out into criticism, or attempts any dra
mntic or picturesque reproduction of tlio past, ho is at
once to bo distrusted. His sacied duty, it has been main
nined, is to bo uniformly dull, to be the mcro recorder of
bald facts and dates, to rigidly suppress every tendency
logo beyond the role or lite chronicler and annalist. In
the scienco ir geology itself one of the most useful of
the hard-maids of history hud the legitimate exeicisc
of the imagination, tho reconstructive faculty, been for.
bidden, and the researches of its devotees been contlntd
to the mere tabulation of minerals and fossils, all pro
gress beyond a mere catalogue would have been impossi
ble. On the other hand by the aid of one of tho most
wonderful of human faculties, what stupendous advances
have been i cached us to tho past history of our globe,
even when all allowance is made for tho (lights of tin.
fettered fancy. In tho case of the historian it may take
he form ot tho splendid pauarama of Gibbon,'thc teeming
style of Maeuley, tho exhaustive analysis and graphic
portraiture ofCarlylc, or the intensely sympathetic reali
zation of Green.
To work ho held always to bo his duty. Indeed he
never ceased working. Years before, ho had truly,
though half lightly forecast his o.vn epitaph, "Ho died
It is a notcwoithy fact that the Greek drama altaiucd
its highest degree of excellence in tho half-century fol.
lowing thohattlo of Sal amis. Tho war that had called
into being all thu energies of Athens ended in her proud
triumph, leaving a country no longer oppresed by do
mestic tvrants or devastated by barbarians. Her vast
and varied powers Intellectual and Bplrllual as well as
physical, awnkencd in this stiugglo for life, aro at its
close concentrated Into ono great force and directed to a
singlo cml the perfection of tho fine arts. Within this
period sculpture passed through its several phases or
austerity, of finished graco and had already taken upon
ftseir eleganco, tho efTeminatc beauty of decay. Thus
also had the Greek drama, this combination of all arts,
exhibited in rapid succession tho colossal grandeur or
iEschylus, tho perfection in form, the spotless purity of
Sophocles and finally tho refinement, tho scepticism, the
immorality of Euripides.
Tho English drama has its source on the forces set fico
by tho Protlstant Reformation. In a period of thirty six
years extending from Marlowe to Ford, doubtlass tho
most actlvo ago in modern times, tHIs drama had ex
hausted all avaliablo resources, having passed through
tho difleicnt stages .or growth analogous to those or tho
Greek. Tho fact that tho English drama lias a religious
origin points to no principal upon which on explanation
oflt may be grounded. Bo far from being rcligiouB it
has not oven a moral purpose Shakespeare has been
called tho great teacher of morality. Ho teaches how
ever, by hying bare tho wlmlc b"lng of man in its vilest
us well us noblest forms. Nay, more, ho delights in vill.
any as in vlrluo and his setiso of justice is extremely
vague. That the object of tragedy Is to make men
wiser and better was never conceived by Shakcppcaro
and perhaps by nono of his contempories. Tho Greek
drama is rollglous in its origin and its essential object is
the inculcation of moral principles. Tho prevailing
idea is that tho fato whoso decrees aro irrcvocablo against
wh'ch even the gods may strugglo in vain. Tills idea
is more rromluact in JSschylus and Sophocles than In
the later tragedians Tho man who is ''hateful to tho
gods' may bo unconscious of unlit and upright in Inten
tion, yet, as in tho caso ol Edipus, he is driven uninten
tionally to tho commission of horrid crime.
The religion of the Greeks was moro intimately con
nected with tho aflairs of lifo than that of tho moderns;
yet it was a religion that fettered not a single faculty of
their being. To tho Greeks this is a world of joy
Human nature is in harmony with lh3 dtvlno order of
things not yet mobile, discordant, fallen from grace.
Justice is meted out to each man in life. Thcro is no
need of reward or punnishment beyond the tomb heuco
tic efforts to make this lifo enjoyable by adorning it
witli all that is elevating and ennobling in the arts,
hence also that quiet contentment whoso spirit is th re
pose of sculptur. Christianity, on the contrary, exhibits
this world as a scarely possible desert with a beautiful
home at tho end. Life is a constant struggto with nlsl
erablo enemies as tho still moro powerful demons, invisi
ble, omnipresent hence tho tumult of modern life.
The soul or the Greek is an ever tranquil lake with Its
bosom open to tho sunny sky, while that of tho Christian
is visited by tempests that rage flercoly over Its surface
and wreck all earthly hopes upon tho Irocky shore. But
thespirit of the storm is tho atmosphere of painting, and
of tho English drama.
DcQulncy has explained tho dlffcrenco be'wccn tho
ancient and modern drama by the statomcut lit a novel
form or tho principle of nrt as a species of imitation.
Mechanic art may bo distinguished by tho expression
"(tUm jn eodem" and flue art by "Idem in alio." Tho
first alms at convoying tho same impression as tho thing
imitated thought iimilar means; tho Becond effects tho
same thought a liferent medium. For oxamplo, if wo
represent a particular baltlo by wax-work, making move
ments to correspond mechanically with the original wo
havo simply mechanic art; but flno art, If wo produco
tho sumo effect through music, painting or acting. Art
becomes less real, tho moro it differs from tho thing im
itated. Tho most natural form of tragody is prose; but
as the iambic mensuro is tho natural languago of pas
sion, only the tragic parts must ho metrical. Even the
English play, however, is idealized to a certain oxtcnt;
henco tho iambic is rognhtrly used. To idealize still
further, as In the climax or passion or in representing a
play within a play, rhymo is employed.
Idealization in tho Grcok drama is perfect; henco it is
removed toJanlnunlto distance. This is accomplished by
tho use or complex metres, especially in the lyric parts,
dancing and singing or the chorus and perhaps olso of
tho actors, the mask and cotliwrnui, decoration, tho ro
liglous spirit, participations of gods, and finally tho
great slzo of tho stage.
Thus it appears that while tho English tragedy Is kin
dred In llii nrt nf iinlnitn n..r.i.-i t i
. ., w, ,,..,,,,,,,, wliuU i uiuurvuns ciurcspunus
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