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feeble and shadowy. Shakespeare, on the other hand, being a whole natural man, “the moral, imaginative, and intellectual parts of him did not lie separate,”' but move at once and all together. Being wholly unembarrassed with ästhetic theories, “his poetical impulse and his moral feelings were one." He did not conceal or explain away the great moral elevations and depressions that you see in the world. He painted men and women as they are—with great moral differences, not withholding admiration from the noble, contempt and aversion from the base. Therefore, without saying that he is faultless, without denying that there are things in him we could wish away, yet, taken as a whole, the spirit that breathes from his works is natural, healthy, bracing, elevating, in a way Goethe's works are not. Every side and phase of human nature is there faithfully set down, but to the higher and better side is given its own natural predominance. With the largest tolerance ever man had for all human infirmity, the widest sympathy with all men, seeing even the soul of good that may lie in things evil, there is in him nothing of that neutral moral tint which is weakness in poetry as truly as in actual life.
Neither do we find in this master-dramatist any trace of another theory born of morbid physiology as the former of morbid ästhetics, by which character, personality, the soul, are explained away, and all moral energy disappears before such solvents as outward circumstances, antecedent conditions, heredity, and accumulated instincts. Shakespeare had looked that way too, as he had most ways; but he leaves the announcement of this modern view, or one closely allied to it, to Ed. mund, one of his basest characters, and even he scorns it.
If the divorce of poetry from morality will not hold in the drama, in which alone it can show any semblance of argument, far less can it be applied to poetry in its other forms-epic, lyric, meditative. If it be not the function of poetry in these forms to give beautiful expression to the finer impulses, to the higher side of life, I see not that it has any function at all. If poetry be not a river, fed from the high clear wells that spring on the topmost summits of life, but only a canal to drain off
See Gervinus' Shakespeare.
stagnant ditches from the flats, it may be a very useful sanitary contrivance, but has not, in Bacon's words, any “participation of divineness."
Poets who do not recognize the highest moral ideal known to man, do, by that very act, cut themselves off from the highest artistic effect. It is another exemplification of that great law of ethics which compasses all human action, “whereby the abandonment of a lower end in obedience to a higher aim is made the very condition of securing the lower one." For just as the pleasure-seeker is not the pleasure-finder, so he that aims only at artistic effect, by that very act misses it. To reach the highest art we must forget art and aim beyond it. Other gifts being equal, the poet who has been enabled to apprehend the highest moral conception has, in that, gained for himself a great poetic vantage-ground.
To bring this to a point—the Christian standard, we say, is the highest known among men. Must then, you may ask, all great poets, at least in modern times, in order to reach the highest poetic excellence, be Christians? Goethe, you say, made little of Christianity ; Shelley abjured it. Are we, on that account, to deny that they rank among the great poets of the world? To this it may be replied, first, that though they did not consciously hold it, they could not escape, at least, some unconscious influence from the religion that surrounded them. Secondly, that had their prejudice against Christianity been removed, could they have frankly owned its divinity, instead of being losers, they would have gained hardly less as poets than as men. For lack of this it is that there lie hidden in the human spirit tones, the truest, the most tender, the most profound, which these poets have never elicited.
Let it not be said that I have been advocating sectarian views, trying to bind poetry to the service of a sect. It is true that it refuses to be made over as the handmaid of any one philosophy, or view of life, or system of belief. But it is equally true that it naturally allies itself only with what is highest and best in human nature, and in whatever philosophy or belief that is enshrined, thence poetry will draw its finest impulses. There are only two views with which it has nothing in common. One is the practical view of life, whose motto is
nil admirari. With this it can have no fellowship, for it cuts off the springs of emotion at their very sources. The other antipode is that philosophy which denies to us any access to truth except through the senses; which refuses to believe any thing which scalpel or crucible or microscope cannot verify; which reduces human nature to a heap of finely granulated iridescent dust, and empties man of a soul and the universe of a God. Such a philosophy would leave to poetry only one function--to deck with tinsel the coffin of universal humanity. This is a function which she declines to perform. But we need have no fears that it will come to this. Poetry will not succumb before materialism or agnosticism, or any other cobweb of the sophisticated brain. It is an older, stronger birth tian these and will survive them. It will throw itself out into fresh forms, will dig for itself new channels; but, under some form suited to each age, it will continue through all time, for it is an undying effluence of the soul of man.
That that effluence has, on the whole, been benign in its tendency, who can doubt? I have wished throughout not to indulge in exaggeration, nor to claim for poetry more than every one must concede to it. Imagination may be turned to evil uses. It may minister, it has sometimes ministered, to the baser side of human nature, has thrown enchantment over things that are vile. But this has been a perversion which depraves the nature of poetry and robs it of its finest grace. Naturally, it is the ally of all things high and pure; among these its home is ; its nature is to lay hold of these and bring them, with power and attractiveness, to our hearts. It is the prerogative of poetry to convey to us, as nothing else can, the beauty that is in all nature, to interpret the finer quality that is hidden in the hearts of men, and to hint at a beauty which lies behind these, a light“ above the light of setting suns,” which is incommunicable. In doing this it will fulfil now, as of old, the office which Bacon assigned to it, and will give some “ shadow of satisfaction to the spirit of man, longing for a more ample greatness, a more perfect goodness, and a more absolute variety" than here it is capable of.
J. C. SHAIRP.
THE FOUNDATIONS OF CHANCE.
VERY traveller along the Riviera coast of the Mediter
ranean is more or less familiar with Monaco, perhaps the most lovely spot along the whole of that lovely sea-coast. He knows something too of its moral reputation, and of the sources from which a certain income is derived there. What may be the annual value of that income, few are in a position to say ; but guesses are rise upon the subject, and those guesses run up to a good many millions of francs. One fact, however, is obvious about it, viz., that it subdivides easily into three handsome, not to say splendid, fortunes. There is firstly the by no means minute revenue, or rent, of the sovereign prince of that minute state; there is secondly the revenue, or earnings, of the lessee, M. Blanc, or his company, whatever the nature of that company may be; and there is thirdly the expenditure demanded for keeping up the Casino and its gardens in their present magnificent style. Of this last, one item alone consists of the band, reckoned by most judges to be about the best in Europe. It numbers some seventy performers, retained the whole year round, and its cost may be estimated at somewhere between fisty and one hundred thousand dollars. The total which results from the addition of these three incomes may therefore be taken for granted as amounting to something considerable.
When we inquire into the details of the process by which this aggregate income is earned, we find them to be, in one sense, simplicity itself. You go into a large room and you see a crowd of people standing and sitting round a table, earnestly watching a roulette, or in plainer English, a big teetotum, which is set spinning from time to time in the middle. Their loss and gain depend simply on what number happens to turn up upon it. At another table the spectators and participants are watching the drawing of cards from a pack; what they gain or lose depends simply on the number of pips in the cards which are drawn. The same proceedings are repeated in the other rooms, and are continued with more or less vigor the whole year round. That is to say, the processes performed are those which, in the common sense of the word, depend entirely upon "chance." It is chance, pure and simple, without admixture of fraud on the part of the conductors, or skill on the part of the public. No imputation of any kind of unfairness seems ever to be brought against the managers, even by the most desperate or despondent of the ruined. It is fate, or some such impersonal agent, not M. Blanc, that they abuse when they find themselves reduced to their last five-franc piece. There is, moreover, no opening for skill or acuteness on the part of the players, whatever they may persuade themselves on this sutject, on which we shall have something to say in the course of this article. No more typical instance of the nature and working of “chance” could easily be chosen.
Now, passing over all moral and other similar reflections, what we want to call the reader's attention to here is the cer. tainty which is to be found pervading the whole transaction. The word “certainty" will sound strange in many ears, in this conjunction; and a good deal of discussion and explanation may have to be expended before its exact nature and its limits are made clear to those who have not hitherto thought upon the subject. But that the certainty exists will be made plain by a moment's consideration. This gambling concern is just as “sound" and steady a business, to its promoters at least, as that of any old-established commercial or manufacturing firm. Indeed, we might fairly say that it is much more steady than the great majority of houses. It stands in no danger of a panic or run, as every bank must necessarily do; it fears no probable change of taste, and consequent falling off of the demand for that which it furnishes. Whilst human nature in general remains what it now is, and so long as the neighboring states do not interfere to check its proceedings as mischievous, it may fairly look upon an income as safe, and, what is more to the