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system. We should all say it was horrible, intolerable. We should turn away, and stop the proceedings.
If we apply all this, mutatis mutandis, to a study of religion, we shall readily understand the great advantages not only of an historical study of our own religion, but also of a comparative study of Eastern religions as they can be studied now in the translations of the Sacred Books of the East. Those who are willing to learn may learn from a comparative study of Eastern religions.
all that can be known about religionshow they grow, how they decay and how they spring up again. They may see all that is good and all that is bad in various forms and phases of ancient faith, and they must be blinder than blind if they cannot see how the comparative anatomy of those foreign religions throws light on the questions of the day, on the problems nearest to our own hearts, on our own philosophy, and on our own faith.-Nineteenth Century.
POETIC EMOTION AND AFFINITIES.
BY B. BROOKSBANK.
In a recent address to the students at Bedford College, London, Mr. Mark Pattison suggested that as a nation we are wanting in poetic emotion and that the deficiency continues to increase. His views on the causes of this deficiency deserve wide recognition and consideration. It is in poetry, which is the union of emotion and thought, that the artistic sense reaches, perhaps, its highest culture; it is because of this union of thought with emotion, that poetry is capable of being intellectualized so much more easily than any other art. But emotion is as essential in poetry as thought; they cannot be disunited. Emotion shows itself in the musical clang of poetry, in its form, in its indefinite suggestiveness. Music, it is said, is to poetry what reverie is to thought, and in poetry lies all the mystery of music, and all its charm; for in poetry, too, we have the vague thoughts that are fully expressible only in music, as well as the definite thought which is expressible in language, and the soul vibrates under the influences of the two. It is this side of poetry, the emotional side, which, it is said, is ebbing away from us, because it is not that part which lends itself best to able discussion, or to the imparting of information. It is the view of poetry as an appeal to the heart; not only as an intellectual conception. Poetic emotion corresponds to spontaneous feeling for form and color; indeed, poetic sensibility is the substratum of all arts, which only
differ as to modes of expression. this inexplicable thing, untranslatable into words, which no school instruction can give. What is called poetry, is the expression in words of the emotion. which, under other circumstances, might have revealed itself in music or painting. It may well be asked how it can be true that we are deficient in poetic emotion, when the culminating power of poetic feeling and expression reaches such a height as it does in English poetry; when our living poets are artists of whom any age might be justly proud. It is strange, but it does not seem to follow that a nation is artistic because it produces great artists; it is as if the poetic force stored up was concentrated in a few individuals, instead of being spread out over the whole mass. If we consider we are specially poetically-minded because we have had and have great poets among us, we run the risk of laying a flattering unction to our souls, of dreaming an artistic dream, which is fated to be easily dispelled. It is true that our country has produced a Shakespeare, a Chaucer, a Shelley, and a Keats among so many other great and true poets, but does that make the great bulk of our people read them and understand them? Does it make us as a nation feel or express ourselves poetically? we lament our military mishaps in the musical mourning of the Moor over his lost Granada? No more than we express our loves in the elaborate intricate rhymings, artificial and fantastic, but
eminently popular of the troubadours of Provence. We do not excite our countrymen to battle by the wild heart-stirring songs of the Celtic bard; indeed, our times are already relegating him to the region of the traditional. We are not a singing people." A slashing leader' in a popular newspaper stirs our heart-throbs more than they are stirred by the notes of the harp. Our national feeling is represented for the most part in other than poetic ways, and we cannot but acknowledge that what ever other national capacities increase among us, that for poetic emotion does
Since the terrible Indian Mutiny, our little modern wars have not called forth any remarkable martial poem or national ballad from our poet laureate. "Wake London Lads," was scarcely up to the usual level of the "Idle singer of an empty day"--the recorder of the life and death of "Jason." It is not because we are not all poets that we call ourselves deficient in poetic emotion. It is not even because we are without the national gift of poetic expression that we say it; but because we do not as a nation take a poetic view of any subject that comes before us. It distùrbs and annoys us if an individual does take it, either in public or private life. In public life poetic views are sure to be misunderstood, and probably suspected. In private life poetic views are generally found socially inconvenient, and are condoned rather than applauded; unless, indeed, poetic expression is added, which makes them of marketable value. English society in most classes runs generally on other lines than the poetic, and no society likes to be thwarted-cut across in the straight line it is going, by an eccentric curve. Poetic views are found strange and distressing, and are seldom counted on as likely to lead to much in life. And education does not change this opinion. Apart from all theories it must be recognized that education helps us in drawing out and cultivating the powers we have; it does not give us a fresh nature. It only helps us to appreciate rightly, if we have any capacity for right admiration.
It will be thought a strange proposition, particularly in these days, that the
product of a nation-say, a great poetshould be out of harmony with the tone and culture that produced him. It is quite true that a certain level of intellectual culture seems necessary to produce intellectual ability, for it would be difficult indeed to believe that a philosopher could come out from a nation of boors that Plato could have been born among the Scythians. But after this is acknowledged, it is not easy, even for a modern psychologist, to explain the reason how a poet, for instance, comes to be evolved in generations where the average of poetic development is low. Poets have been the products of generations that were, mentally at least, capable of crucifying them, and Mr. Herbert Spencer's 'functional increment" theory does not quite account for their appearance. Poetic emotion seems
to come into the world like the wind from heaven, of which one cannot tell whence it cometh or whither it goeth. We cannot scientifically or historically account for the great souls that come to us with so many intuitions; some of them seem full of the dream of a previous world;"' for it is undeniable that often the only connection their generation has with them is, that it hinders and baffles them. The poet, by the concentration of the poetic force in himself, may gain intensity and high quality; but he loses something on the side of mental sympathy and wise help. The unpoetic mass reacts on the poetic mind, as Mr. Matthew Arnold has pointed out in the case of the poet Gray: he was baffled and hampered by itstifled unconsciously by an uncongenial, atmosphere, the atmosphere of the eighteenth century, which studied and observed, and took pains, but had not poetic emotion. There are also more than enough instances in the nineteenth century of artists not true to themselves, because the public does not help to keep them so, but drags them down nearer to its own level, and gives a higher market value to inferior work. Even when it admires, a public without poetic emotion will hinder rather than help; it will dwell on the peculiarities of genius rather than on its beauties, so that genius degenerates into cleverness or develops into eccentricity. The public does not know, because it does not feel,
the difference between what is essentially the artist's when true to himself, and what is less worthy of him, and it accentuates both equally; indeed, it often applauds most the least worthy, and this makes the mental atmosphere foggy, obscures vision, and depresses the tone of the artist, making breathing difficult in the upper air; and to do this is as hirmful a thing to the nation, though, of course, in quite a different sort of way, as to leave the poor to sleep ten in a room, in containinated air. We do not realize the strong influence of personality-its effect on certain natures, and that public opinion is formed and swayed by the innumerable atoms of intelligence and want of intelligence in each member of the community.
It is not enough to buy the works of our poets, though that is a compliment we do not pay many, except here and there. Not to have a copy of Lord Tennyson's poems, for instance, would be, considered illiterate, almost in bad taste, among persons with the least pretension to education. It is not enough even to become a member of a poetic society, formed for the purpose of endeavoring to understand such a poet, say, as Mr. Browning an undertaking which seems to require every faculty of the human understanding rather than the intuition of poetic sense. It is not enough that crowds should stream into their favorite exhibitions, and cluster round their favorite pictures, that they themselves, and not very indirectly, have helped to produce. Some would receive the information that they had done so as a compliment, no doubt; but others, who would not receive the remark in the same spirit, would yet be astonished and refuse to believe that their mental affinities could, in any way have affected an artist they did not personally know.
This is not the enlightened receptive ness in a public that helps the possessor of creative power. To possess this rare quality of receptiveness is often one of the uses of a minority; and we have heard lately, on good authority, that a minority is a precious thing. It is, indeed, most precious, in arts and litera ture, for it is at times by the mental atmosphere a minority has produced that the artist has breathed when among
us. As light requires its proper medium in order that it may be conveyed, so that sort of high ability we call genius, requires its proper atmosphere that it may exist pure, clear, and unwarped. That an artist should continue to produce his best, he requires one quality in his nation: the possession of artistic sensibility, of poetic emotion.
We are tempted to ask how it was that great Italian artists, for instance, kept up the perfection of their work? How did Cimabue-whose name has achieved quite a notoriety among us of late-and Giotto, paint their ideals, religious and otherwise, unaffected by adverse currents of feeling and thought among them? For it is not likely that, in a large community, all its members would be simple and true, or possessed of deep religious or imaginative feeling. In all ages and countries there must have been "certain people of importance" who enter "and would seize, forsooth, the poet." Says the poet, Says the poet, "Then I stopped my painting. When the poet and painter do not stop in their work it may be not so much because of the simplicity and truth in the nation, as of the elements of artistic feeling in it, of that emotion which prevents it from thwarting the artist's aim and dimming his visions, through wrongly-directed blame or praise. Without entering into its high ideals, it may preserve for him sympathy in an artistic direction.
Now from our colonists, the immediate outcome of ourselves, do we receive as an item in the imports of colonial produce any valuable expression of poetic emotion? Do they show, together with the normal talent for industry and the love of politics that distinguish Englishmen, the poetic sentiment also? It may be answered that it takes many years of civilization to produce a philosopher or, that "child of nature, a poet. Yer at St. Louis, a city young and large, the geographical and commercial centre between west and east and north, we find philosophical coteries attempting to translate into Anglo-Saxon the Wissenschafts lehre and Hegelian logic-already a philosophical reaction from a severely practical and business life. And when our
*See "Mind," No. XIII.
Where the remote Bermudas ride, In the ocean's bosom unespied, From a small boat, that' rowed along, The listening winds received this song. But little poetic emotion comes wafted back to us across the broad ocean from those strange new lands, which might well have stirred it, did it exist. With their vast spaces of earth and water, revealing themselves, perhaps for the first time to human eye, no sense of being "the first that ever burst into the silent sea" has swelled high in the hearts of our emigrants till it broke into imperishable song.
If our colonies are with us, or instead of us, to form an "expanded England,' poetic emotion, if it is to exist at all, must expand also, or rather begin to arise, for the deficiency we have been lamenting in the bulk of our nation seems inherited by that of our progeny. How does poetic instruction affect the poetic emotion? In what way do our teachers of poetry regard the poetic sense? Too much as if it did not exist, but as though we were all learning poetry for the sake of passing examinations in it. Our minds are filled with information about the way the poets wrote, their archaic words, the Latin, Teutonic, Maeso-Gothic, and Icelandic element in them, their occasional absence of adherence to ordinary grammatical rules, and a thousand other things, unimportant as far as poetic feeling is concerned. They do not teach, because they do not believe, that one touch of strong personal affinity is worth all this information in real knowledge of poetry. It is a perfect shower-bath of instruction that the student receives. Endless editions of poems are showered upon him, with prefaces, analyses, and explanatory notes, showing that one quality of mind at least is alive, that which studies and observes and takes pains. It requires some robustness 'in the poetic constitution to bear up. against all this advice and culture, and
to keep up a little spontaneous enthusiasm. Erudition, when in union with belief in poetry, is of great advantage, for it for it sets" poetry historically, and gives insight into the lives and times of the poets; but no research, no knowledge or comparison, can give a touch of sympathetic vision.
It is possible to suppress the growth. of poetic feeling by driving the mind into grooves which are antagonistic to its reception. For emotion is capable of being quenched as well as quickened. It might be wished that poetry were not made a subject for competitive examination in conjunction with every other branch of study, so that the student might be left to feel the poem poetically merely, might have the chance of stumbling hap-hazard some day as on an unknown treasure. In a world where aspiration is becoming a rarer possibility, to stimulate poetic emotion is of more account than to insist on the intellectual aspects of poetry; the uses of it to mind and heart are worth more than cart-loads of information. of information. How is poetic emotion, then, to be stimulated? Not by testing it with examinations-a system of education is against its production-not by associating it in the minds of students with a pass, an honor, or a pluck, but by allowing them to recognize and feel in poetry "the superiority that ideas have over facts.'
We are told that in a modern system of education these associations are inevitable, that every one must know something of every subject worth knowing, and what more worth knowing in English literature than the poets? What more stimulating to the mind than a psychological study of one of Shakespeare's plays? Is it necessary, then, that every one should know something of everything worth knowing? Is it possible every one can know poetry? The knowledge of poetry is not altogether a matter of the will. Is the result of this study necessarily knowing poetry? Is this psychological study of Shakespeare, knowing Shakespeare as a poet? To stimulate their poetical emotion, readers of poetry must cultivate in themselves some of the elements that are in the poet, alongside with the study of his works. Poets have been cultivated and uncultivated. Goethe and Burns are examples
of both states of mind. Culture, outside that which poetry itself gives, is an advantage to a poet, but not a necessity. He must have poetic emotion, and so must the reader who would understand him. Poets themselves have seldom gained honors in examinations, they have often possessed the capacity for large waste of time. The advice of the Greek philosopher on Dialectic was: You should exercise yourself in that, while you are yet young, which the world calls waste of time, else Truth will escape you. How much more for a poet whose thoughts and harmonies have to awake and foster the sympathies of his nation for Ideal Truth? Any one who would really understand the poet must always keep some sympathy with a free, unfettered life; some remembrance, at least, of lonely communings with Nature in her voices and silences; some eager flowing out of his own nature toward outward beauty, or absorption in the elements of passion within; some capacity for vague dreaming, wonder at nature, instant acceptance of some aspects of poetry more than of others; some inexplicable delight when the mighty mystic land was first opened to his ken. The appreciator of poetry who cultivates eleinents of poetic emotion will find they are born, not made. The congenial soil is best left alone by educators, left to be cultured by poetry itself, wherever found; but where direct poetic instruction is given, some free play should be allowed to spontaneous impulse; to help break through the bare intellectual aspect of poetry, personal affinities should not be discouraged in the mind of the reader. That is, if they arise from the presence of poetic emotion, not from the absence of it. There are persons, and they are not uncommon, who seem to glory in the entire absence of knowledge of the principles of art that is a knowledge of what competent judges think of it, which, in the absence of all true feeling, could alone justify the confidence of their expressions. These critics, despising any training as to reasons for their admira tion, prefer to give vent to their likings or repulsions with the appalling freedom of the uneducated and unpoetic mind. But personal affinities may exist in the intelligent mind, in the artist's mind
more especially in the mind which is capable of being trained by the arts or literature. It is here that the difference lies so clearly between the culture, science on one hand, and art or literature on the other can give.
Scientific subjects do not need per sonal affinities for their elucidation, when once these have been shown in the bent of mind toward one part of science more than another. To understand a cray-fish we need not be in harmony with its mental development. The workings of its mind are traceable, satisfactorily we hope, in the jerky movements of its members. A patient mind and accurate eye are sufficient to conquer the specialities of the cray-fish. But contact with the mind of a poet places us in a different attitude; we find the value of similarity in the way of holding a thought, as well as in the thought itself, in its mode of expression; and personal affinity in art and literature is based on that. This similarity of view is the result of character, the tendency of the nature. It helps, we think, instead of hindering intellectual vision. Chronology and geography affect it little. Thought leaps to wed with thought across the lapse of centuries. Where minds are unconsciously congenial, there is an unconscious interpretation always going on-one mind is in harmony with that of the other. It is then that true insight into the worth of a poem becomes possible.
At the time of Wordsworth's earliest compositions, when no one noticed them much, Coleridge, as Mr. F. T. Palgrave says, "judged them with the insight of a congenial mind." It is this sympathy of nature in us, this whatever we call it and whatever it arises from, our likings, our circumstances, it is this personal affinity which helps us to enter into the way the thought is held, into the atmosphere of the feeling, to cross the threshold of the Arcana of the Temple-the poet's mind.
And this is the reason we think it is not practical advice, at least it is not complete enough to recommend students of poetry, as nearly all instructors do recommend them, to make it their aim to admire all the great models of poetry, of every kind, without at the same time encouraging them to trust somewhat to