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points of view from without, I will lightly on the surface of things-are offer a few words in conclusion rather picturesque than symbolic on the intrinsic character of this or many-sided ; and carry with drama. It has already been de- them much that is more specious scribed as the genuine expression of than sound. Nor is there altoa singular phasis of social existence, gether unfelt a certain monotony, embodying the idea of human life reminding us that the Spanish possessed at a certain time by the world of the seventeenth century, particular race to which it belongs. as well in its social relations as in Such, indeed, must always be the its intellectual processes, revolved description of the drama as a living within a narrow circle. The private mode of artman image of its time, life of the Castilian of that period namely, as seen reflected on the was visibly deficient in plenitude general surface of national mind, and variety; and his mind, when through the medium of its imagina- not busied by some of the passions tion. Hence, from that form of -in which gambling must be inpoetry we obtain not only a picture cluded—seems to have mainly deof the conceptions of a given epoch, pended for occupation on oatward but also a measure of the faculties excitements of a class that belongs by which it was conceived;-and this to the infancy of civilization-proit is that makes the drama so pre- cessions, athletic games, and cerecious to thoughtful observers.
onies or pageants, in which the In the Spanish, owing to the very show of finery was the sole attracnarrowness of the field of vision, tion. One may conceive what a the result comes out with peculiar supreme resource the theatre would intensity and significance; nor is be in such a mode of life as its meaning difficult to read. The this. notion it gives of the spiritual en- Compared with ours of the same dowments of the nation is one in period, as reflected in the plays which high spirit, ingenious thought, that did so take Eliza and our quick senses, and vehement passions James,' it implies a condition far less are more erident than depth of feel. opulent, as well in the substantial ing, large mental capacity, or full furniture of existence, in the finer moral development. That the land moral perceptions, and in the mani. of Cervantes could not be devoid of fold exercise of study and thought, sagacity or humour, evidence from as in elements of further progress. the stage was not needed to inform In indications of this kind the Cas.
It is rich, too, in brilliant tilian, when contrasted with the imagery and pompous conceptions ; English stage, appears as far below but they are such as float somewhat it as ours is inferior to the former in 1859.] War in General, and Modern French Wars in Particular. 71 rhythmical beauty, felicity of inven- intense local colour of every object, tion, scenic artifice, and symmetry in the continual stir and vicissitude of arrangement.
* It wouid be no idle task to examine in detail the causes and purport of this difference between the only two modern theatres that can be termed national-i.e., the property not of a class, but of an entire people. The result would be found to agree with what history leads us to infer, due allowance being made for climate and race. The main discrepancy, it will be seen, is far too wide to be explained by local distinctions; nor is such explanation needed. In both countries the drama appears in a time of excitement, the offspring of great antecedent changes : here the resemblance ends, and the deviation on either side is significant. The immediate impulse in Spain was external-an aceident or effect of motion in the current of public affairs. Of higher influences the action may be said to have ceased with the Moorish feud : from that point the moral health of the people had rapidly declined. Such freedom of thought as they had ever enjoyed was cramped by the Inquisition under Ferdinand and Isabella. Political liberty was crushed by Charles V. in Castile ; in Aragon by Philip II. Thus, from the point at which the nation stood when the drama arose, nothing but decline was possible. In England, on the contrary, not only was the momentum of a superior kind, but its force, also, was lasting. The spur of national glory was not unfelt by the conquerors of the Armada ; but the supreme impulse was from a power above this. For half a century the people had lived in the light of the Reformation; and, instead of losing their old franchises, were every day adding to their security. Thus, in the one country, the pride of empire or race, both decaying, and the last expiring flashes of chivalrous spirit, could not keep up the fire they had kindled : in the other, the freshening air of freedom and the spread of a purer religion, gave not only present
of new situations, rather excites It must, nevertheless, be said that than wearies the eye. The mode what the Spanish theatre wants in of national being thus presented to the breadth of its arena, and in the the spectator, with the principles moral and mental constitution of its and conventions on which it rests, figures, is largely compensated by are, moreover, not less striking the vivacity of the scene, and the than exceptional. They would demarked physiognomy of the actors. serve notice as a curious object of The stock of essential properties study, even were not a view of may be limited; but such is the them indispensable to the knowspirit, skill, and fancy with which ledge of the Drama in which they they are combined and diversified are embodied. To trace some out-such is the warmth of expression lines of this peculiar system, as and the grace of movement-that represented on the stage, will be repetition is never felt, and the attempted in the next chapter.
ON WAR IN GENERAL, AND MODERN FRENCH WARS
IN PARTICULAR. WA TARS, like offences, will come, primeval antiquity as traditions and
and woe (doubtless) to those classical fragments allow, indicate by whom war comethi. Yet if we that some form of war was a mode look back upon history, it will seem of extending the arts and institutions as if wars were the main means of more favoured nations, as well as by which the civilized world has of increasing the human race (which been brought from swamp
and in a narrow line of view it seems forest and barren waste to its pre- the object of war to destroy). Of sent condition, and man enabled to the Cyclopeans or Pelasgians no"replenish the earth,' and nations thing is known; hut from their superior in civilization to extend architectural remains it may be that civilization to inferior peoples. inferred that they were a migrating Human strife may be a proof of people, superior in arts to the man's evil nature; but human con- aborigines they came amongst, and flicts on a large scale appear to have that their visits, however beneficial answered the same purpose in eventually, were not welcome or advancing the social state of man. peaceable at the beginning. The kind, as the physical convulsions earliest public records existing reand rapacious monsters of the geo. late to Egypt, and Assyria ; for logical epochs in improving the whatever doubts may be entertained material condition of the globe. as to the interpretation of their Except the_Bible, we have no
we have no hieroglyphics, buildings and graphic history till Herodotus, perhaps till representations remain to speak for Thucydides; but such glimpses into themselves. These may not esta. energy but promise for the future. There, when the theatre was opened, the darkness was already falling : here, all was growing day.
It has already been observed that the stage was the only free spot in Spain ; ours, on the contrary, had open ground on all sides : hence a further difference arose, which is worth noting. The operation of the state of things in such a contrast being twofold, observe how it acts on one side. Where every other avenue was barred, the drama had all the genius of the time to itself; where many were accessible, it could not engross more than a part. It is obvious that, with this difference, the resources of the two theatres cannot be reduced to a common equation. Their respective proportions to the general mass of intellect are altogether different; and this inequality must not be lost sight of in any comparison of the two dramas, as types of intellectual power in either nation.
Note, as a corollary, that while both, by the nature of things, were destined to expire, in Spain poetry went out with the drama; in England it survived in other forms-still vigorous, though without the splendour and freshness of its dawn.
blish the stories of African, Euro- they could not strengthen the pean, and Asiatic expeditions even Asiatic. If no palpably beneficial beyond the Indus, which the frag- change was produced in national ments of antiquity, record of institutions, it was probably because Rameses and Sesostris of Egypt, the peoples and their institutions of Ninus and Semiramis of Assyria, were grown too effete to benefit by and of the mythological Bacchus i grafting, when the more extensive but they prove various and ex- and important changes through tensive conquests. There are Alexander's conquests took place. data as to the social results of these The conquests of the Romans expeditions ; but it may be fairly more evidently influential held that the Assyrian empire and upon the world. Indeed, so far as its civilization originated in some reason can form a judgment, they invasion from Egypt, if there be were absolutely necessary to the truth in the chronology and specu
formation of society in its present lations of modern Egyptologists. state. The subjugation of Italy If the reverse opinion be held, was essential to the very existence that Egypt was civilized by a of Rome. Hannibal's passage of the superior race from Babylonia or Alps was a geographical exploration India, the conclusion that that as well as a military operation. The civilization originated in conquest wars of Cæsar in Gaul, and Britain, remains the
Respecting and beyond the Rhine, procured for primeval China, there are no definite the world a definite knowledge of facts. Ethnologists assert that the those regions not then attainable by aborigines of India were an inferior other means; and knowledge atand degraded race, dispossessed and tained by hostilities was not in those driven to hill and jungle by an times a mere barren scientific know. invading people, who originated a ledge, but was followed, like the form of civilization that was ancient Greek and Persian wars, by interand mature even in the days of communication of peoples hitherto Alexander.
strangers. The changes produced As history becomes more certain by Roman dominion in Gaul and and fuller, the effects of wars can Britain were beyond all question an be more distinctly traced. The advance in what men agree to call conquests of the Persians in civilization. It is a common remark Western Asia and in Egypt, the that the establishment of Roman long hostility between Persia and rule, as a sequence of Roman conGreece, finally ending in the expe- quest throughout ancient Europe, ditions of Xenophon and Alexander, was necessary to the establishment produced great effects in the world. of modern European civilization,
They directly enlarged geographical especially as displayed in the supreknowledge; they increased the macy of the law, local self-governintercommunication of stranger ment (by means of municipalities), peoples by facilitating locomotion; regular public administration, and they stimulated industry and ex- those great public works—as roads tended commerce; by increasing and bridges, aqueducts and sewers commodities they added to the --which contribute to the business, enjoyments of mankind, although convenience, or comfort of life. such enjoyments may not be of the Roman rule might be formal, harsh, highest order; and finally, by and despotic; individual rulers establishing Alexandria, they gave might be corrupt and oppressive: rise to an emporium where the whether the irregular violence of remotest East and West could barbarian or of Athenian popular meet together. But one of the caprice might give rise to fewer greatest effects of war is to rouse evils than the regulated tyranny of the mind; and it is impossible to Rome, may be a question ; and as suppose that such changes in the for human happiness, some philosorulers, the knowledge, and the habits phers maintain that miseries mul. of mankind were without effect tiply and enjoyments decline in upon the characters of men, modify- proportion as civilization advances. ing the European (ancient philoso- There can, however, be no doubt phers called it corrupting him), if
that but for Roman wars of con.
Moral Influence of Wars.
quest, and the institutions and nature, the varieties of men, and of modes of life Rome enforced upon customs, characters, and creeds. the conquered, Europe, and con- They extended commerce, especially sequently the world, would have Italian commerce; thus not only been something very different to increasing wealth and material what it is ; so different, indeed, as comforts, but stimulating industry to be utterly inconceivable.
and improving navigation. The It is impossible to fix the propor- Crusades were also a cause of adtion of misery caused by particular vancing other useful arts, if indeed wars, as the feeling of the victims, they did not produce the revival of which can only be conjecturally the fine arts in Western Europe. . tested, forms a greater element of The transmission of Eastern tales suffering than the actual inflictions. gave an impulse to popular literaIf the refinement of the vanquished ture. The general stir to the Wesbe measured against the barbarism tern mind was greater from the of the victors, the invasions of the Crusades than any other event in hordes that effected the downfall of mediæral history, save the discovery the Roman Empire probably pro- of America and the passage to India dueed more wretchedness than any by the Cape of Good Hope. hostilities upon a great scale. Yet It will be distinctly understood to all human appearance these in- that in all this there is no affirma. vasions were absolute necessities, tion (in the sense of Fate or Provi. not merely if the world was to dence) as to the necessity of wars attain its actual state, but if man- to advance mankind. Neither is it kind were to be raised from that intended to assert that the actual corruption which attended the de- history of man and his present concay of ancient civilization. The dition were indispensable to the moral influence of the conflicts that scheme of Divine government, or continually took place during the that even if the present condition dark and middle ages is not so ob- of our race were predetermined, it vious as that of the barbarian inva- might not have been brought about sions. Their necessity for the ad- by other means. Such matters are Tancement of mankind to their not meddled with. This, and this actual condition is clear. The con. alone, is affirmed that from the quests of Charlemagne and of his first faint glimpses of history in precursors and successors, the ex- Egypt, or from earlier tradition, up peditions of the Nortlımen, the to the decline of feudalism about invasion of England by William of the middle of the fifteenth century, Normandy, as well as many of the war was a great, and for a long time contests of feudal times, were, if not apparently the only, means by which parts of a design to build up the man acquired a knowledge of the modern system of Europe, appa- earth, extended civilization over inrently essential to that end. His. ferior races, established the art of torical critics differ as to the moral systematic government as opposed character of the Crusades. Those to mere patriarchal or arbitrary who have formed their opinions rule, and stirred - up the general from the philosophers of the last mind to extended enterprise or new century look upon them as the out. ideas; while though very far from breaks of fanaticism. Some his- being the only element of man's torical critics of the modern school progression, it is an important ele. consider them as the result of a ment. sound instinctive fear; and that but The principle here indicated as for the check they opposed to applicable to the ancient, dark, and Islamism, the Mahometans might middle ages, obtains to our day as have overrun Europe. About the between advanced and inferior influence of the Crusades on know- peoples. The occupation of thinly ledge, commerce, art, and society, populated regions by settlers of a there can be no dispute. They en- civilized race-or in other words, larged the knowledge of the feudal modern colonization - is indeed ages, not only in such tangible mat. as plainly essential to the spread ters as the facts of physical geogra. of man and his arts over the globe, pby, but in the productions of as any conquests of the ancient
world, and as plainly warfare. In ter of nations in a very high degree. America for nearly two centuries, But the material results of wars are and at the Cape up to our own day, here treated of; and no such mateundisguised hostilities have been rial changes have followed the Eu. continually waged between the na- ropean wars under the modern tives and the colonists. In Austra- system (the partition of Poland is lia, and in the United States at an exceptional case altogether), as present, the power of the 'pale- ensued from the subjugation of Gaul faces' may prevent organized re- by Cæsar, or the conquest of Eng. sistance to the occupation of the land by William the Norman. If lands, but the settlement is as the cause of this be investigated it clearly an affair of force as if the will, apart from the system of the aborigines had been dispossessed of balance of power, seem to originate their territories after a defeat; their in the closer approach to equality destruction appears as certain as if in arts, arms, and character among they were put to the sword at once. the peoples of modern Europe, than The Jewish settlement of the Holy existed between such different races Land and the earlier conquests of as the aborigines of Italy and their the Mahometans, have not been Pelasgic or Greek invaders, or the noticed, as involving religious ques- Romans and the Gauls. tions. The Russian conquests in And this equality may be dated Asia, those of France in Barbary, from the downfall of feudalism, as and of England in the East, may be that
may be said to begin about the passed for the immediate purpose time of the capture of Constanti. in hand, as their benefits to the nople by Mahomet the Second. human race are not yet certain. A The fall of the effete Byzantine like doubt applies to the devasta- Empire snapped the last frail link tions of Zinghis Khan and Tamer. by which living society was conlane. These last, however, seem to nected with the ancient world. bear upon a proposition which may Printing as a practical art was comhave some truth in it—that for wars pleted at nearly the same date; to be distinctly operative in the way learning was reviving; modern spoken of, they must be waged by a languages and literature had awoke, superior upon an inferior people. or were awakening to life. Within And this idea may lend some coun- some fifty years of that event the tenance to the American notion of Powers of Northern and Western their 'mission' to apnex' the entire Europe may be said to have assumed continent.
their present relative proportions. This idea of superiority and in- France was not quite so extensive, feriority, either intelligent or moral, but her nationality, position, and receives some support from a survey comparative power were as estaof European wars since the downfall blished as now. The Low Countries of feudalism. During the last four the present Holland and Belgium hundred years not only does war in -were in their general characEurope appear to have been less of teristics much the same as at prea necessity as regards the material sent, subject to the ever-changing progress of the world than in the effects of time. In those days earlier ages, but to have produced there was an Elective Emperor of less tangible results. It is not Germany instead of an hereditary meant that national conflicts were Emperor of Austria ; there were inoperative. Such important events many more petty German rulers as great wars cannot be without than at present, and no King of influence upon the peoples by whom Prussia ; but the Germany of that they are waged. In some cases age was substantially
the Germany conflicts of principle superseded of ours. Spain and Portugal were material objects. The revolt of much as they are, bating the diffethe Netherlands against Philip II., rence between vigorous and aspiring the religious wars of Germany, youth, and age prematurely dethe civil wars of England, are the crepit through vices. There is a leading examples of this kind; and difference in the arrangements of they have each influenced the poli- the Scandinavian kingdoms; but tical, social, and intellectual charac- the great change in the Northern