Obrázky na stránke

The sum of my estimate is this. I think of Dickens as having achieved a two-fold pre-eminence among the men of letters whom the world delights to honor. None more than he has held the mirror up to human nature, and out of the small weaknesses, the foibles, the absurdities and the petty ambitions reflected there, contributed to the geniality, and even gaiety of the nations. But, also, hardly less has been his leadership towards social betterment, in the severe arraignments to which he subjected the laws and customs of his fellow countrymen, because of the poverty and suffering, the vice and the crime that cursed their social underworld.

What place Dickens is to hold in the coming generations, of course, only those who live hereafter can tell. But the judgment made concerning him to-day, that he "has remained a modern" among the men who were memorable in the past, seems to have been given with wise discernment. Also, it appears that, in a prophetic kind of way, his work holds an important relation to the progress of the era now passing. His service as the genial fun-maker, as the humorously poignant caricaturist abides, and will continue; but, in a profound sense, he has also made permanent in literature much that will remain as guidance and inspiration for those who seek to do away with some of the most grievous burdens of wrong and evil which oppress and degrade mankind.

NOTE.-Read before the Tokyo Literary and Musical Society, at the Dickens Centenary, February 27th, 1912.



Japanese poetry, regarded as part of the world's literature, is individual and unique. It had its origin in a prehistoric age; its form and content were of its own kind, and were practically fixed at the time it first appeared in

written specch; and it reached its culminating excellence nearly a thousand years ago. At the present day, when the Japanese people have been released from their long held seclusion from the other peoples of the world, there is the probability that their poetry will come under the same stimulus that has vivified and started forward their sciences and their other products of mental energy; but, so far, there has appeared little sign of promise for any noteworthy poetic development. A study of Japanese poetry, therefore, carries one far back in the centuries, and into a literary realm that lies as isolated in the world of letters as the Empire of Japan has lain in the world of nations.

With a wish to make a contribution to the study of the poetry of Japan, I invite you to turn to the collection of poems known as the Hyakunin-isshu. This collection may be accepted as fairly representative of that which is characteristic, as a whole, of the unique poetry of this people. It is not the largest single collection of Japanese poems; it did not originate, as was true of most other collections, under Imperial direction; nor does it contain any of the few longer poems that once promised much for the future of Japanese poetry; but, in these single songs of one measure, taken from the works of a hundred writers, there have been gathered many that are of the very highest excellence. All of them are distinctive in form and in subject-matter, and nearly all of them were produced in that period of Japan's history whose literature has been commended as "classic." Besides, this collection of poems as a whole is comprised within an easily managed round number. And, moreover, whatever may be its worth throughout, it is at present, and has been for a long time, in largest part the household poetry of the Japanese, in the form of a game at cards, in which man, woman and child repeat over and over again in their play the measures and thoughts of these verses. In brief, there is no other gathering of Jappanese poems so manageable for a single course of study. For all ordinary investigation, it is sufficiently instructive concerning the peculiar characteristics of the poetry of Japan; and, for readers in Europe and America, it will

serve to show well the kind of poetic production and pleasure that has the largest favor with this people.

These " Single Songs of a Hundred Poets" were not gathered together in this form until towards the middle of the Thirteenth Century. At that time there were existing many comprehensive and accepted compilations of verse. The poems that, according to tradition, had been sung by the gods and ancient heroes had been preserved in such authorized histories as the Kojiki (Record of Old Things), and the Nihon-shoki (History of Japan), which brought the traditions and records of the country down from the farthest past to about the end of the Seventh Century of the Christian era. But, near the middle of the Eighth Century, during the reign of the Empress Koken, Tachibana no Moroe began to collect into one work all the poems then extant, which work, in the Ninth Century, as supplemented by Otomo no Yakamochi and others, came into literature as the celebrated Manyōshu (Collection of Myriad Leaves). In the twenty volumes constituting this collection there are 4,515 poems, among which are gathered 268 of what are called naga uta, "long songs," because they are composed of more than the five lines to which the standard Japanese poem is limited. The "long songs," or naga uta, of the Manyōshu are spoken of as especially admirable. They have been used for centuries as models of their kind by Japan's poets. Among the many writers distinguished in the Manyōshū are Kakinomoto no Hitomaro (No. 3), Yamabe no Akahito (No. 4), and Otomo no Yakamochi (No. 6), specimens of whose verse appear in the Hyakuninisshu.

In the Tenth Century, after the Imperial capital had been fully established in Kyoto and a hundred years and more of the dominance of Chinese influence in Japanese literature had passed, a revival of literature distinctively Japanese took place. By order of the Emperor Daigo, between the years 905 and 922 A.D., Ki no Tsurayuki (No. 35), a poet of the rank of the earlier Hitomaro, made a new compliation of verse, called the Kokinshu (Ancient and Modern Songs). This work is now esteemed the finest, and it is the most studied, collection of poems in

Japanese literature. It contains more than 1,100 "songs," or uta, only 5 of which are naga uta. This work, divided into twenty parts, has among its treasures quite a number of uta, of the standard measure commonly known as tanka, which are repeated in the Hyakunin-isshu. Among the tanka so quoted, is the one ascribed to the Emperor Tenchi (No. 1), and those written by Sarumaru (No. 5), Kisen (No. 8), Ono no Komachi (No. 9), Henjō (No. 12), Kawara no Sadaijin (No. 14), Yukihira (No. 16), Narihira (No. 17), Yasuhide (No. 22), Kanesuke (No. 27), Mineyuki (No. 28), Oshikōchi (No. 29), Korenori (No. 31), Okikaze (No. 34), and Fukayabu (No. 36). It was at this period in the Empire's history that poetry began to have a language peculiarly its own, distinctly marked off from that of ordinary speech.

Fifty years later than the compilation of the Kokinshu, about 970 A.D., a school of poetry was established in the Imperial Palace, and poetic composition became, and for a long time remained, one of the chief accomplishments of the members of the Court and of the nobility. Various collections of verse, supplementary of the Manyōshu and the Kokinshu, were then made under Imperial command, Between the time of the completion of the Kokinshu (922 A.D), and of the gathering of the Hyakunin-isshu (1255 A D.), no less than seven authorized and distinguished collections of poems were made. These were, 1. Gosenshu (After Collection), 2. Shūishu (Gathered Remnants), 3. Goshuishu (Post-Gathered Remnants), 4. Kinyoshu (Golden Leaves), 5. Shikwashu (Wild Flowers), 6. Senzaishu (Immortal Songs) and 7. Shinkokinshu (New Kokinshu). These works together with the Kokinshu are known in literature as the Hachidaishu (Collections of Eight Dynasties). They are all possessed of much merit. It is said that the Shinkokinshu " contains stanzas constructed with remarkable skill, the phraseology subtle and elegant, the rhythm easy and graceful, the style refined and the ideas profound." It "stands at the head of all collections of poems published under Imperial auspices." In these seven compilations may be found some of the best tanka reproduced in the Hyakunin-isshu, For ex


ample, those written by Hitoshi (No. 39), and Tadami (No. 41), are found in the Gosenshu; those by Ukon (No. 38), Kanemori (No. 40), Kentokuko (No. 45), Eikei (No. 47), Yoshitaka (No. 50), Sanekata (No. 51), Michinobu (No. 52), Kintō (No. 55), Izumi Shikibu (No. 56), Daini no Sammi (No. 58), Akasome Emon (No. 59), Sei-Shōnagon (No. 62), Michimasa (No. 63), Masafusa (No. 73), are taken from the two Shuishu; those by Gyōson (No. 66), Tsunenobu (No. 71), Yushi Naishi no Kii (No. 72), are quoted from the Kinyoshu; those by Yoshinobu (No. 49), İse no Ōsuke (No. 61), Hōshōji no Nyūdo (No. 76), Sutoku-in (No. 87), are from the Shikwashu; and those by Tadayori (No. 64), Suwo no Naishi (No. 67), Toshiyori (No. 74), Mototoshi (No. 75), Horikawa (No. 80), GoTokudaiji (No. 81), Dōin (No. 82), Toshinari (No. 83), Shunye (No. 85), Saigyō (No., 86), Kwoka Mon-in no Bettō, (No. 88), Impu Mon-in no Taiu (No. 90), Nijō no In no Sanuki (No. 92), Jien (No. 95), are from the Senzaishu. The Shinkokinshu was in large measure only a re-editing of the poetical collections made subsequently to that of the Kokinshu. The leading poets of the later time, that is, towards the Thirteenth Century, were Toshinari, Saigyō, Ietaka (Karyu), and Sadaie. Special mention should be made of the poet-Shōgun, Sanetomo (No. 93), of the end of the Twelfth Century, whose songs, it has been said, "find no parallel in cognate compositions subsequent to the Nara Epoch."

With this store of poetic treasures at command, some one about the year 1235 A.D., brought together these "Songs of a Hundred Poets as one anthology. Just by whom and how the Hyakunin-isshu came to be gathered is no longer known. Certainly, in its present form, its editorship is doubtful. The author of the Dai Nihon-shi (History of Great Japan) was satisfied, upon the authority of the Mei-getsu-ki (Record of Brilliant Months), that the collection was made by Teikakyō, whose family name was Fujiwara no Sadaie (No. 97). Sadaie, or Teikakyō, held high office. He was an Imperial Vice-Counsellor prior to, and under, the reign of the Emperor Shijō (1233-1242 A.D.). He was also one of the

« PredošláPokračovať »