Hesperian student / (Lincoln [Neb.]) 1872-1885, February 15, 1890, Page 3, Image 3

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Kansas University. It seems to us that the Hcvicw
man has in this article admitted what we 1 ave main
tained for some time that fraternities always ruin
literary societies. He says that it is the social
clement that has ruined the literary societies at
Lawrence; we know that the social element in the
University of Nebraska has ever been opposed to the
best interests of literary work. The writer also says
that the faculty "arc devising schemes for the
renewal of interest in the societies." We hope that
that day will never come when it will be necessary
for the faculty here to s!ep in and bolster up our
literary societies. Yet if the fraternities succeeded in
their efforts we cannot see what is to prevent the
same state of affairs here, for the same causes will
invariably bring about the same results. It would be
a dead letter in the constitution of our oratorical
association to prohibit all but members of a live
literary society from entering the contests, for
although we have had a few contest here lately, yet
the fraternity people have not entered any of them.
All members of literary societies who desire to
see those societies flourish should use all their efforts
to counteract the influence of our social element.
They should take the greatest interests in their
respective societies; attend every meeting and try to
induce every body else to do likewise.
lcr. lie discusses, In the order given, the national govern
ment, the state government, the party system, public opinion,
nml social institutions. It will thus he seen that he covers
much ground that is in great measure familiar to many an
American voter. Hut his work is intended primarily for Eng
Hshir.cn, whose ideas with reference to America are often
very vague. This treatise, however, will be very valuable to
Americans, since in it arc expressed the opinions of an en
lightened foreigner on matter lhat arc of moment to Amer
icans. It seems on reviewing the book that but little, if any,
prejudice is shown as against the governmental system of the
Untied Slates. On the other hand it will no doubt indicate
to a citizen of this country various faults that his own preju
dice has concealed from him. On this reflection is based the
book's peculiar value to Americans; it is written by a foreigner,
enlightened and painstaking, influenced in the last degree
cither by prejudice (or his native land, or against the land of
which he writes. It is certainly seldom that a man engrossed
in the politics of, his own country, above all at the present
juncture in British politics, should find time and inclination to
write so honestly and carefully ol another nation. Rrycc, the
historian, the statesman, the professor, the traveller, while
not so renowned as he would have been had he chosen to con
fine his efforts to one profession, has won the unique fame of
being One ol the truly versatile men of the age.
The "Magazine of Poem," an illustrated quarterly re
view, published at Huflnlo, N. , his just completed its first
volume. Its contents consist of biographical sketches of
American poets, particularly those just rising into prominence,
with a few choice selections from the writings of each. The
biographical notices may be criticised on account of their flat
tcting tone; each author is discussed by an intimate friend or
ardent admirer. Hence the value of these contrib utions ;s
uncertain. Many of the poems arc those that have already
had a well deserved popularity among all classes. Altogether,
the pages of the "Magazine of Poetry," arc bright and attrac
tivc, and it performs valuable service in making possible the
distribution of literature often otherwise not to be obtained by
The recent publication of Dricc's "American Common
wealth" has drawn renewed attention to the author's pains
taking care as a historian. Hrycc's genius is versatile. Tor
almost twenty years he has been rcgius professor of civil law
at Oxford. The duties of this position hac kept him busy
for eight months of each year. His vacations he has spent
in travelling in all quarters of the civilized world and publish
ing the results of his observations. For the last ten years he
has been a member of the house of commons, a devoted fol
lower of Gladstone. His "American Commonwealth" was
published only after he had made three visits to the United
States, carefully comparing each time his impressions of
America with those he had received on his former trip.
Hence his book is not the account of afiairs in the United
States as they would appear to a hasty, inconsiderate travel- j
The recent death of Robert Drowning in Venice has oc
casioned much comment in the critical journals and other
standard publications both in Europe and this country, on the
life and work of that great poet. While many of these com
ments arc inevitably influenced by the fact of his recent death,
their multiplicity bears testimony to the hold Drowning has
on the thought of the educated literary critics of both conti
nents. Drowning was a man who entered upon his literary
life with an ideal, constantly adhered to by him, which
was, to say the least, not the ideal held in view by the lead
ing writers of the time. He did not avail himself of the usual
modes of obtaining popularity. Throughout a long literary
life he did not swerve from his ideal, and lived to sec his
works obtain popularity among those whose criticism he val
ued. Those who most admire his writings do not deny that
they are often obscure, necessitating close consideration of
various passages to obtain the meaning the author intends to
convey. This obscurity will, no doubt, always bailie and re
pel the casual reader; but there may be something in the sug
gestion at which Drowning seems to hint in one of his pas
sages, that he who expresses great thoughts is often neces
sarily a difficult writer to follow. He was a man who had
faith in the ability of mankind to work out its destiny hapily;
his later life was seemingly not made miserable by the pessi
mistic view of human affairs which the old so often have.
Drowning's long life of usefulness, and the results of his con
stant adherence to what he thought was the thought was the
true aim of the writer, will do much to encourage the emula
tion of his virtues. His position is secured as one of the
greatest poets of this century.
Life at the French court in the reign of Louis XIV nd his
successors, down to the Revolution, was intensely artificial.
The pernicious results of the centralizing policy of previous
monarchs were well illustrated by the character and occupa
tion of the courtiers. All individuality was suppressed. Life
for them was one long round of form and ceremony observed
in the minutest details of the most commonplace acts. '
Against the artificiality fostered by such a life there was
naturally a revolt. This revolt began in England, but it was