Did we care to enter upon a full examination of our poet's works, we could adduce many and multiplied proofs of each of the high qualities we have indicated ; but affection for the Antigone, to our mind the most attractive, if not the most artistic, of his tragedies—no less than an unwillingness to weary our readers' patience, restrains us from going beyond the limits of that beautiful and most affecting drama.

“The ideal of the female character in the Antigone,” observes a great German critic, “is marked by great severity ; so much so, that this alone would be sufficient to neutralize all those mawkish conceptions of Greek character, which have lately become so much the mode. Her indignation at Ismene's refusal to take a part in her daring resolution—the manner in which she afterwards rejects Ismene, when, repenting of her weakness, the latter offers to accompany her heroic sister to death, borders on harshness ; her silence, and her speeches against Creon, whereby she provokes him to execute his tyrannous threat, are both alike proofs of unshaken, manly courage. · But the poet has found out the secret of revealing the loving womanly character in one single line, where, the representation of Creon, that Polynices died the foe of his country, she replies :

ού του συνέχθειν, αλλά συμφιλεϊν έφυν.
"My heart was not formed to sympathize with hate, but with love."
Schlegel's discerning criticism, and Sophocles' true poetic in-
sight into woman's gentle and loving heart, are equally attested by
the above passage. In the few extracts which we are about to cite,
we must ask to be forgiven for translating directly, and perhaps
rather unpoetically, from the original, instead of adopting any of
the many metrical renderings of the poet. We do so because
these, so far as known to us, too frequently make the sense of the
Greek tragedian give way to the necessities of the English ver-
sifier. The feelings of reverence and piety find powerful espres-
sion in another of Antigone's replies to Creon, who had just up-
braided her with disobedience to his laws

" It was not Zeus, who heralded these words,
Nor Justice, help-meet of the gods below.
But they it was who ratified those other laws,
And stamped their record on the hearts of men.
Nor did I, I confess, deem thy behests so mighty,
That thou, a mortal, .could'st trample and transgress

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The unchanging, though unwritten, laws of the immortals.
For these are not the mere creations of to-day or yesterday ;
But live from everlasting, nor knows any man their birth-time.
These, from the dread of any mortal's anger,
Was I not willing to transgress, and thus
The punishment ordained of heaven incur.” (l. 448 s99).

A striking parallel to this fine passage may be observed in Mason's lines :

" Let not a mortal's mere command
Urge you to break the unalterable laws

Of heaven-descended charity.” The character of Antigone stands out in bold relief in the fol lowing reply to her sister :

No more will I exhort thee; no! not even if
Thou would'st it now, would I with joy consent
To have thee partner in my deed of duty.
Be thou what seemeth best to thee; but I
Will bury him, glad to meet death in doing thus !
Loving with him who loved me, I shall lie,
After a holy deed unholily performed ;
And longer truly is the time through which
My task must be to please the powers below,

Than those up here, for there shall I remain for aye." Here, again, are some lines which display the writer's poetical sagacity no less than his insight into the human heart-lines, let us add, that may be advantageously accepted as a warning note of admonition and guidance by those to whom the destinies of this great republic are shortly to be entrusted :

"There is no man, whose will, and mind, and meaning
Stand forth as outward things for all to see,
Till he hath shown himself by practice tried,
In ruling under law, and making laws.
As for myself, it is, and was of old
My fixed belief, that he is vile indeed,
Who, when the general state his guidance claims,
Dares not adhere to wisest policy.
Him, too, I reckon nothing worth, who loves
His private friend beyond his Fatherland.
Nor would I ever count among my friends
My country's enemy; for full well I know
She only is the ship will bring us safe to port;
Sailing in her, still staunch, and steady on her keel,
We'll gain the friends best worthy of the name." (l. 175 s92.)

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The Duke of Buckingham's words, though terse and strong, and similar in purport, scarcely can be compared with the above passage in point of dignified patriotism. Their chief beauty, indeed is their pregnant brevity:

“ Our country challenges our utmost care,
And in our thoughts deserves the tenderest share ;
Her to a thousand friends we should prefer."

We have often derived no small satisfaction and profit from comparing the thoughts of Sophocles and of other poets of antiquity, Asiatic as well as Greek, with those of our own older poets, and we would commend the same course to all earnest students, as at once a most delightful and a most improving one, combining instruction in language, philosophy and poetry; and eliciting the same solemn notes of human sympathy and sorrow-taught wisdom from Arab kitar and Hebrew lyre—from the sweet and graceful minstrelsy of accomplished Athens, and the harsher and sterner music of world-conquering Rome. That the corrupting influence of money was as well known to the old Greek as to the modern American or Englishman, the following passage may show :

6. There is nothing,
Of all the coinage current in the world,
So evil-fraught as money. This overthrows great states,
This drives men from their hearths and homes ;
This, too, unteaches and perverts the minds
Of upright mortals, till they take their post
Upon the side of ignominious actions :
This points the way of knavery to mankind,

And finds a school for every deed of sin.”—(l. 295, 399.) Of many parallels to this in our older and later poets, none that we know is more opposite than one of old Gascoigne's—

“Gold, which is the very cause of warres,
'The neast of strife, and nourice of debate,.

The barre of Heaven, and open way to Hel."
The following lines again of our author would seem to be al-
most translated in the accompanying passage from Drayton.
Sophocles says, through his chorus :

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Drayton's words are :

66 When God intends To lay a curse upon men's wretched ends, Of understanding he doth them deprive,

Which taken from them, up themselves they give." One more quotations and we must conclude. This passage simultaneously exhibits one of the leading phases of the poet's tone of thought, and presents us with a striking instance of the parallelism to which we have lately referred. Creon thus replies. to Homon's dutiful address :


“Such thoughts, my son, should rule thy bosom ever :

A son in all his acts should humbly bow
To what his sire ordains. It is for this
That men beseech the Gods to give the children,
Whom they beget and keep at home, a heart
Of dutiful obedience, that thus
They may requite with ill their father's foe,
And honor whom their father loves to honor.
But when a man's own children help him not,
What shall we say he has begotten, but
Chains for himself and chuckling for his foes ?'

(l. 630, $99.) There is a certain degree of kinship between part of this, and the passage in Beaumonte and Fletcher :

"A father
Heightens his reputation, when his son
Inherits it, as when you give us life,
Your life is not diminished, but renewed
In us when you are dead, and we are still

Your living images.” But Sophocles himself is but a repeater of the inspired Psalmist's words :

" Like arrows in the hands of a mighty man

So are the children of youth.
Happy is the man that hath his quiver
Filled with them ; they shall not be put to shame,

When they speak with their enemies in the gate." We have thus briefly, and, as we are conscious, very imperfectly endeavored to point out a few of those merits and beauties, which have tended to win our own admiration to the works of Sophocles above the other dramatists of Greece, and to lead us to commend the study of them to the youth and manhood—aye, and we will add,

the womanhood—of America. In the pages of no other poet of classical antiquity can be found in greater abundance or in more matured and graceful developement, the enunciation of those great and soul-ennobling principles, on the cultivation and cherishing of which the intellectual, moral and material prosperity of this Union must, in the main, depend. Reverence for all that is truly reverend and worthy of respect-intimate acquaintance and genial sympathy with the sorrows and the joys, the aspirations and the fears and hopes of the common heart of humanity-unswerving love of liberty, and loftiest, purest patriotism-and—best index at once of the true poetic spirit, and of the most philosophic wisdom-honor to woman. These are the claims of the great tragic poet of Ancient Greece upon the loving study of modern, practical America. But it is not Sophocles alone that we desire to commend to our country's veneration. For the honor of the republic, and in the interest of sound learning, we desire to see classical studies, in general, arrest that attention and assume that place of dignity and honor, which is their just and lawful due. Some steps have already been taken in this direction, but the classical scholarship of our country still lags lamentably in the rear of our progress in all other fields of knowledge. We would not say one word to discourage the attention given to that more practically useful knowledge which has contributed so largely and so powerfully to the prosperity and progress of America ; but, if only with the view of rendering that prosperity more firm and lasting, we would advocate the cultivation of higher scholarship, a greater love of learning for its own sake, and the recognition, respect and encouragement of what as yet we have not, an order of learned men. The establishment of such an order would be one of the most effectual safeguards of our constitution. Every form of government is exposed to its own peculiar dangers, and to a republic, such as ours, these are most apt to arise from the excessive love of money on the one hand, and of political prestige and power on the other. To keep these agitating influences within their proper limits, some checks more powerful than any we yet possess are, undoubtedly, required ; and the only checks compatible with our free institutions must be sought in the more perfect cultivation of the mental and spiritual elements of our national and individual character. The lasting power and prosperity of a nation, and -above all of a REPUBLIC, can only be secured by the full recognition of the combined claims of VIRTUE, RELIGION and LEARNING.

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