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About Hesperian student / (Lincoln [Neb.]) 1872-1885 | View Entire Issue (Dec. 15, 1885)
ln virtue than In vengeance: they bring penitent
"The olc drift ofmv purpose doth extend
Not frown arther."
A contrast to the sentiments of Richard, who after he mur
dered Henry thus soliloquizes.
I thai have neither pltt, love nor fear."
And in the same speech after referring to his deformity;
Then since the heavens have shaped my body so
Let bell make crooked my:micd to answer it.
"I have no brother, I amilike no brother:
"And this word Move' whlth grey-head call divine
Be resident in men like one another
"And rot in me. I an myself alone."
A speech of a man who single-handed defies God and man.
It betokens an iron resolution, which has under-taken a hope
less task The difference !etwecn iTospcro and Richard is
that the latter attempts to force his strength against the
elements, the inevitable, while the former exerts his power
in the current of nature and thus makes her his ally. All things
conspire to his ends, but against Richard's. Roth arc men of
great power, but they exert it in different directions. The
one works for all, the other for himself. The triumph of one,
the defeat and downfall of the other is necessitated.
Such a contrast has left its impress on the style of the plays.
That of The Tempest is noticeable for its purity and simplic
ity. There is no straining for effect. Passion and feeling
are working under restraint. Strength has not given out
but there is more reserve in the use of it. Evidently the
author's opinions and feelings had undergone a change dur
ing the period between the plays. For a change in style means
a change in the mind. Style, though external, takes its hue
and color from within. What a man is, so will he tt.Xz.
These plays were both natural at the time they were compos
ed. It would have been impossible for Shakespeare to have
written Tempest at the time he wrote Richard Iff, and vica
versa. He was a different man in these epochs. Time which
allows no man to remain the same, but raises and lowers, had
raised him in the scale of human progress. It is a lullcr and a
riper man that is speaking.
A character in The Rise of Silas Zapham, calls attention to
the extiavagant part sentiment plays in literature. The
criticism is undoubtedly just. It is not true in actual life that
sentiment occupies so promment a place as generally repre
sented in novels and poems. And, what is more to the
point, it is far from bring a high conception of the dignity
of affection. We count it cowardly and puerile for a man t0
mope under other misfortunes. Hut in literature he is allow,
ed to play the consummate fool as regards woman, without a
protest on our part. Take the poem Evangeline. It is a very
pretty picture. Rut that is the extent of its worth. A phil
osophy that allows two persons to throw aside all duties they
owe to themselves and the world and bestow all thought an j
energy in a frantic search for each other, is some-what infan
tile. It is a very serious state of aflairs ifone's whole hap.
piness and success centres on his finding some single person ,
some where in the universe, supposed to be his only anchor .
The number of people in the world and the uncertainty of life
makes it a very complex and difficult problem. Of course this
constancy to personal attachment is commendable as far as it
goes. As a domestic creature it is a truly lovely trait in roan
or woman. But when this narrow current is mistaken for the
main current of life, it is time to enter a protest. When a
man or woman can conceive of an existence no more extend'
ed than to culminate in the adoration of some weak speci
men of humanity, it becomes necessary to attack such misdi
Rut sarcasm and exaggeration aside such unhealthy and over
drawn sentiment as many of our so-called good novels arc charg
ed with must exert an evil influence on young imaginative minds.
It were lcltcr to teach girls and boys that the world is made of a
little hardei material than romance; that while it is more tragi
cal to pose as broken hearted, and refuse consolation, it is
more sensible to accept slight, disagreeable things as a matter-of-fact
and good-naturedly endure them.
Such a philosophy as the culmination RIack's A Daughter
of Ifeth and Madcap IHoet would have us believe is ab
surd. A sensible person can take no pleasure in such a
distorted view. The tragedy loses its pathos when such a
sacrifice is made for what we must call infatuation.
The true novel avoids such extremes. Goethe's Wilhelm
Meister, perhaps will be the new style as regards its realistic
method of dealing with things. And realism we must learn
to accept. The philosophy of Hie and conduct must be based
The old themes of battles and love scenes will soon be out
of use in literature. We have outgrown them. They belong
ed to our infancy. We require now, higher subjects; the old
limits arc passed. We do not cast aside the ideas, but simply
assign them to their proper place.
Literature must be infused with sound philosophy. There
is no sense in putting into it what one in actual life must fight
and resist. Art applied to lame philosophy is misdirected.
Itmight as well be employed on what is sound and true.
l"hc fall term has now passed away and the Senior classes
over the land arc beginning to realize more vividly the horrors
of Commencement soon to burst upon them. Each individ
ual is restlessly at work trying to conceive of an oration which
for profundity of thought shall equal Racon, for elegance,
Cicero, for force, Demosthenes- He knows this is what is ex
pected of him.
It is somewhat curious why the custom of Commencement
should be retained. It is always a "lore" to the audience,
and torture to the victims. After a year's hard work the Sen
ior is asked to complete the sacrifice by laboriously writing
and committing an oration, and then kept in a state of bother
and anxiety until he has performed the little part assigned to
him. The position, too, is annoying. The victims are stuck
up on the stage and made to perform, like puppets, willing or
unwilling, what is generally wearisome to spectators and ob
noxious to themselves. And what is the use of it? The cus
tom is time honored, it is true, but so is "hazing." Vet no
one mourns that the latter has been done away with. Is the
test of four year's work to be determined by "spouting" ten
minutes at the close? A good many students have studied for
other ends than to make a graceful appearance on the stage,
and they protest against the unfairness of having their work
measured by such a guage.
Not all students intend to devote their time and energy to
"stump speaking" or Fourth of July oratory. There are oth
er fields. And why a student should be compelled to exhibit
himself in this line, no matter if it is extremely irksome, is
beyond reason. It is too much like the "last day" of the
A much more agreeable custom would be to have an ad
dress by some good speaker. This would save the audience
from being "bored" and the Seniors from being compelled to
say a piece whether they wish to or not. The diplomas could
be given at the close, and the spectators dismissed feeling less
Vln short, then, Commencement exercises are no test of"
scholarship, they are proverbially tedious, they are vexatious.
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