Hesperian student / (Lincoln [Neb.]) 1872-1885, February 01, 1890, Page 3, Image 3

Below is the OCR text representation for this newspapers page. It is also available as plain text as well as XML.

frat journals about a year ago, This letter was
written by a fraternity member of this University
and in the letter was the astonishing information
that the chapter had been so busily engaged in
initiating members during the term preceeding that
the members had no time to do any literary work.
It is only necessary to add that that particular frater
nity initiated three new members during the term
referred to. We wonder if all our fraternities are
so busy initiating new members this year that they
have not time in which to do literary work. Yet the
fraternity people may insist that this year they carry
out literary programs at the chapter meetings. If so
we may be permitted to question the truth of this
assertion, for we once read in a fraternity magazine,
that no frat, no matter how truthful he might be in
other matters, could tell the truth about his own
fraternity. Perhaps this was an exasperation, but
then a frat should know more about such things than
we do and so we only give his words. Draw your
own conclusions.
In the Cosmopolitan, December, 1889, Fiank G. Carpenter,
a traveling correspondent, writes an instructive account of the
present condition of Pckin, "The Capital of the Dragon's Em
pire." The average American is as ignorant in matters relat
ing to China, as the lower classes of that country are with re
spect to foricgn nations, all of which, the correspondent says,
they believe to be subject to their onimpotcnt Emperor. The
writer gives an interesting description of the city and its peo
ple; but, owing to the sacrcdness, in the eyes of the Chinese,
of the person of their Emperor, and the various palaces in
which he lives and performs his devotions, the traveller is
barred from seeing what would, perhaps, most interest us of
America. But, owing to the writer's experience as a travel
ler, one may rest secure in the belief that whatever of interest
one may sec in the capital of this now progressive Empire, he
has accurately described.
One fact justifying the appellation, "Eternal City," ap
plied to Rome, is the venerable age and apparent indestruc
tibility of some of its buildings. They were constructed at a
time when massiveness entered largely into architectural
ideals, and they have withstood the decay of two thousand
years. The largest, most massive ot all these structures was
the Coliseum, built in the first century of the Christian era.
In the course of-the centuries since its construction, the Col
iseum has been put to many uses. It was built for the grati
fication of a degenerate mob, whose chief delight was the
gladiatorial combat; while farther down in its long history, it
wasdclictcd to church purposes. It has survived the ravages
of time, and the vandalism of Barbarian and Christian rulers,
and today impresses the traveller with a realization of the ab
solutism of the Empire, whose ruler could command the ser
vile labor necessary for the erection of so vast u structure.
Professor Lees, of the University, recently procured an excel
lent photograph of this famous structure. Although the photo
graph is large, being, approximately, four feet square, it is
remarkably distinct, having none of the blur so noticeable in
many large' photographs. A part of the wall of the structure,
as seen in the picture, still towers aloft to its full height,
while, of the remaining part, only two stories now stand.
One m ay obtain a faint idcaof the original structure, by notic
ing what portion of it remains, even after several palaces have
been built from its materials. One can sec plainly near the
center of the photograph the cross and inscription placed on
the wall by Pope Pius IX, dedicating the building to the Catho
lic church. To the right of tin? inscription is another cross
set in a niche of the wall. The next best thing to seeing the
Coliseum itself, is to see a good representation of it. Thanks
arc due to Professor Lees for placing where the students may
sec it, so beautiful a photograph of a structure, which, while
attesting the ability of the Romans to erect enduring edi
fices, brings forcibly to mind the corruption of the blood
thirsty populace whose favor was sought in its constuction.
For the January number of the Atlantic Monthly, some
nameless contributoi has written an article entitled "A Pre
cursor of Milton." in which the writer attempts to prove Mil
ton guilty of plagiarism. It seems that this is not the first
time that such charges have been made; but, hitherto, the -unlucky
accuser has retired from the combat heaped with
ridicule. This latest accuser, however, has evidently tested
in a thorough manner the soundness of his position; and has
made a careful study of the literary bearing on the point at is
sue. Alcimus Avitus, a kinsman of the Emperor Avitus, was
born in Auvcrgnc about the middle of the fifth century A. P.
About the year 490, he became bishop of the see of Viennc.
Although much of his time was engrossed by the political and
religious disputes of that unsettled age, he found time to en
gage in literary pursuits. At last, after having enjoyed the
friendship of kings and popes, he died in 525.
One of the poems written by Avitus, the Atlantic contri
butor holds, furnished Milton with many of the happy expres
sions and lofty strains embodied in "Paradise Lost." Avi
tu's poem is divided into five books, concerning the creation,
the tall of man, his punishment, the deluge, and the departure
of Israel from. Egypt. Milton's critic bases his charge of pla
giarism not merely upon similarity of. thought in the two poems,
though that alone, if striking, might be sufficient, but quotes
parallel passages wherein the similarity both of thought and
expressions is very noticeable, Milton often using the same
word (Anglicised) found in the Latin poem of Avitus. The
contributor, in sustaining his argument, does not at all go to
the extreme of asserting Avitus to be a greater poet than Milton.
He points out, on the contrary, that the scope of Miltons
poem is far'broadcr and bolder than that of Avitus. He criti
cises Milton's style as lacking the simplicity of Avitus', and
asserts that Milton's language is most perfect in those passages
where the resemblance is most striking. It would seem
from the fairness of the critic in treating his theme that he
has not written maliciously to undermine the reputation of
the great English poet, but from heartfelt belief that in
justice has, perhaps, been done to a poet of another language,
in order needlessly to exalt the transcendent genius of one
whose fame needs no sucli artifical support. The criticism is
worth reading as expressing the candid opinion of one, who
perhaps, has the material to prove the truth of his allegation.
He who has not read Chamisso's "Peter Schlemihl" should
do so in order to obtain an idea of the vicissitudes in the life
of a man deprived of that seemingly needless appendage, his
shadow. The story is autobiographical, it being in the