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several words to add or substract one man before writing. That mind, that or the other-does not this prove most language, is what we have bartered clearly that those thoughts are wider away for another growth, and for a and deeper than our speech, and are new order of things, which though it not subjected to it? Bacon overthrew may be more needful for us is assuredly this folly of mistaking words for not more precious. And when the flagthought when he said that words are ging thought has by the bonds of the money of fools, but only the count- writing lost all life, and become a mere ers of wise men,
carcass, senseless and corrupt, then it We must, then, always remember is that from the man before writing that however needful writing may be to fresh life is to be sought. In Greek tell of what cannot be learned other history when epic poetry decayed, the wise, it is but a hurtful hindrance when lyric taken fresh from unwritten life it takes the place of the direct knowl- rose in its place; when that too died in edge of the senses. As the awakening the grasp of writing, the dramatic form of the renaissance taught men that was borrowed from the unwritten words were but counters, and that no chorus of the vintage feast; and that in knowledge could be reached by dealing turn, killed by over-writing, gave place with words alone; so the awakening of to the bucolics taken from the speech this century has begun to teach us that and life of the unlettered. It is the man the senses cannot grow and feed the who is in touch with things, and not mind when the fetters of writing are with deadening words; it is the man allowed to hold them back from the who learns from the breadth of nature living touch of nature. Nay, more. and not from the weak and broken tran. As there is no growth of the mind in one script of it in the words of others; it is way but at the cost of its fulness in the man, before writing, who is the another, so this trust in writing has master of thought and sight, and the plainly deadened the memory of the unfailing source from which literature senses, which is always more ready in may draw its health and life. And in those who do not read, and it has even our own days this resort to the fresh deadened the senses themselves. We wit and character of the man whose must thus face our losses while we re- mind is not deadened by literary joice in our gains, that we may under- models has been ever the mainspring stand a little of the mind and the powers of new life. After the Ayrshire ploughof man before writing. How keen and man and the recluse of Grasmere, the full his feeling for nature was is shown strongest man for a time was he who in the earliest writings of every race, drew from unlettered life in England; before the mind had learned to trust to then peasant life in France gave the the crippled words of others, instead of new vigor; and, when the Dorset rustic the living touch, and while still the became out of date, Central African sense and feeling was alive to all savages, Indian wolf-men, and Austranature. The greatest natural poetry, lian bushrangers have been the desas all confess, is that of the Homeric perate resorts of our literature in its poems and the early songs and epics of search for the needful ground of maneach land; before they are fettered by in-nature. That ground is being written example, and deadened by steadily cut away by the growing trust dwelling on words instead of things. in the power of mere words, and by the It is this poetry before writing which habit of learning at second-hand touches our minds most widely, and through the minds of others, which is lays hold of them with truest grasp. the bane of the modern system, in place That, let us remember, is the touch of of feeding the mind through the senses the mind of man before writing; and his and forming it by direct touch with the words which we cherish and wonder at, realities of matter, thought, and action. which thrill us and overwhelm our feel
Now, as it is with the literature of ings, these words are the language of imagination, so it is with the literature
of history. No subject is in need of past course of action-the sparing of such continual touch with the actual the cow, her entanglement, the tossing facts of the life and works of man. of one hunter, and the goring of the The histories which were words-mere other before the present instant of tosswords-are dead or dying; it is history ing him, all put before us in one mowhich draws from the living fount of ment of action-we see the highest skill the art, the skill, the enterprise, the of design. The man who did this fed very life of the people, that is a power his soul on nature, and gave consumamongst us. Look even to the most mate thought and observation to his brilliant of literatures, and compare the labor. The other half of the composiview of the Greeks which belongs to the tion shows another bull, scared by the time of Pope and Bentley, with that attack and fleeing from the scene. In which we now have in realizing the both of these bulls the blank effect of Parthenon, Olympia, and the wealth of leaving the whole length of the animal scenes of life on sculptures and on as a smooth surface has been brokenvases. History-and the realization of in the first by the falling man, in the the past, which is the true spirit of second by the palm-tree. This work in history - is more dependent on the relief is embossed on a massy cup of knowledge of the actual objects and gold found in a tomb at Vapheio in surroundings of man than it is on any Greece, most likely made about 1200 account in words. The more we under. B.C. With this was a second cup of stand this, the more we shall see that like work showing the milder way of history does not begin with written leading cattle by means of tame decoys. records; that it can be read with more In front is a cow, secured by a man who certainty from the solid facts which grasps a rope fastened to her hind leg, we can see and grasp than it can from and next is another tame cow conversthe always imperfect and partial state. ing with a bull, who is still defiant and ments which have been written for us, dangerous. The stark, half-wild, often by men who know far less of the march of the first cow is nobly given; matter than we do at present.
and, though not so bold as the other When we look at the brilliant work of composition, it is yet a work of which the Mycenaean age of Greece, we there any master in sculpture or painting see the expression of the mind in clos- might covet the energy and expression. est touch with nature. The bounding Perhaps some will say that because charge of the bull, who, tossing aside these works are found on Greek soil the hunters, dashes onward in its free therefore they are altogether an excep career, is full of the grandest life. The tion. But, set them by the side of any story of the hunt seems to be that two later work in the literary age of Greece. hunters have lain in wait to catch wild Not a single piece of the same small size cattle, by a net fastened to two trees. can be said to exceed their artistic skill The cow has fallen into the snare and and nobleness; and though large sculprolled over helplessly on her back, the tures on ten or twenty times the scale front legs in her struggle have gone may be more elaborated. it is questionthrough the net and are entangled, able if any—even the struggles of the while the hind legs, caught at the centaurs and Lapiths-appeal haunch in the curve of the net, cannot truly to nature and to the glory of regain a footing. The bull has then action. And look at another race far charged down on the hunters; one that lower among men before letters—the he has tossed is falling with arms out- cave
of France and England. stretched to reach the ground; the other Their keen sense of animal form and he has just gored on his horn, and is in action led them to unerring expression the act of tossing in his headlong in their outlines of the mammoth, the charge. The furious vigor of the scene reindeer, the horse, and other types, has probably never been outdone, while which they laboriously carved on the in the composition, by indicating the bones which lay in their rude dwellings.
Not only does this masterly power of mind and perception, as shown by those remembering and reproducing the earliest poems that have fixed for us forms and attitudes of animals show a
some aspects of his thought and feelhigh ability in the artist, but it points ings. to a far wider appreciation among his There is another view of an fellows. Such work is not habitually lettered civilization which we can study done, even by a genius, unless those better from another field. The details around him have a keen feeling for the of the possessions and products or daily beauty and the truth of it. An artist life are scarcely at all preserved to us does not produce cups of Vapheio for a from the prehistoric age of Greece. patron who cannot value their quality. The scanty remains of the towns and The general character of the best class palaces have covered hardly anything of a people is reflected in the art which but stone carvings; and the tombs have is produced to meet their demands and contained but few things that belonged their wishes, even when it results in to the living. Hence we are almost unlimited portraits of aldermen and limited to the insight that we gain from babies.
the artistic expression; and, great as Turning next to more decorative art, that is, it shows us but little of the mathe discs of gold which were fastened terial civilization. The most complete on to the dresses of the wealthy picture of an unlettered civilization Mycenæans show a fine sense of orna- that is preserved to us is transmitted ment. The cuttle fish, with its arms by the figure of the various objects each coiled round into a spiral, is dis- of daily life which were taken by the played with the restful formality that Egyptians as symbols in their writbelongs to decoration as opposed to the ing. The actual carvings and drawings activity of motion. In other cases the belong to the earliest stages of the ornament is wholly geometrical-of figured expression of ideas, the force spirals coiled in groups, with the free and simplicity of many of the emblems ends looped round in the spaces be- startling us by their directness. As no tween the coils. How closely this is other system of writing went before akin to the decoration of the bronze age this, so it is plain that the drawing of in northern Europe I need hardly re- an object to show a thought proves that mind you. Another link is shown in the the object must be older than the use of wavy band winding around the bosses it in writing; and thus in the Egyptian on one of the gold discs, which will hieroglyphs of the earliest known age bring to mind the interlacing band- we have handed down to us the picture work of northern art. The effect of of the civilization which went before, bosses was also often used, as in the and led up to, the use of writing. First splendid headband from Mycenæ, we notice the weapons. The large flint where the smooth, bright surfaces are knife grasped by the back is one of the set off by delicate loop patterns around simplest and earliest of tools, both for them. And groups of bosses alternate hunting and for other work. The with rosettes in orderly disorder on the throw stick carved in wood, with the great headdress of sheet gold. In peculiar bends which aid its flight, has every branch of work, whether minute also come from the primitive ages; like labor of the goldsmith, or delicate carp- the emblem for strength, where the outing in rooms, or massive columns, we stretched arm grasps a bone, the very see the same great faculty of design, rudest means of attack. In these we the same knowledge of the value of see some of the beginnings of the arts effects, the same free and vigorous of life embalmed to our view; but other fancy. Yet these true artists probably objects show the later stages side by never read or wrote a word in their side with these. The emblem of a follives. We see the vigor, the freedom, lower or personal retainer gives a picthe skill of his art reflecting the same ture of the wild hunting life on the great qualities that we know in his desert. We now turn to the pictures of the agricultural life. The primitive fixed to a long handle of bent wood. hoe, made from a forking branch of a The mallet used in the early times is a tree, was adopted in the writing; but thick piece of stem somewhat tapered after the very earliest instances we find to the hand. The auxiliaries for work it improved by three fint blades lashed are also shown in the hieroglyphs. The or to it. But the compound hoe of two sharpening stone bound around with pieces of wood, held together by a cor cord was hung by a loop to the girdle.. also appears; and also the development The bolt for fastening a box or a door of this into a plough by attaching an was cunningly carved, with a knob to animal to the handle to drag it along, prevent it slipping from its place, and a while guiding the blade by two pro- groove to hold the string for sealing it. longations of it. The plough thus The cubit for measuring the work was evolved, the sickle comes next, imitated at first figured as a long bar; but that from the jaw-bone of an ox. It was being confused with other signs the end carved in a bent piece of wood and view of it showing the bevelled edge armed with a row of flint saws inserted was adopted. This became the emblem in its edge, in imitation of the animal's of exactitude, of truth, and of justice. teeth. Beside the corn the vine was Lastly there is the sledge of wood on also cultivated, and is shown held up on which the great stones were drawn forked props with clusters of grapes from the quarries for all the buildings. hanging between, forming the symbol Among the ornaments and luxuries of a vineyard. Rope work played a of life we meet with the collar, which, large part in the details of life. The as we learn from a very early statue, mat of green rushes bound together by was the emblem of the high priest of strings was an essential of Egyptian Horus. It is shown as a tied cord in furniture as it is at present. The clap this form on the front of the priest's net for fowling and the fishing net with neck, and as a complete circuit of cord rows of floats and sinkers passed also it figures round the names of the kings, into the writing, while rope was the to mark their office. Here a priestly handiest means of measurement; and a decoration has become a royal token; single bit with the strands frayed out and, as such, is put around the royal stood for a unit, a curved bit for a ten, names when writing came into use. and a coil for a hundred. The netting The necklace of beads was worn to needle was constantly used for making carry a cylinder of stone, capped with the fishing nets which secure a great gold at either end, which in early Egypt, part of the food of the Egyptian. A as in Babylonia, was the seal of office. sign which has been hard to understand This necklace and seal became the em is shown by variants of it to be mast blem of a sealbearer or high official, and and furled sail. To avoid weakening continued so for thousands of years the keel of the boat the mast was not after cylindrical seals had entirely disstepped into it, but was forked over it. appeared from use. The other collar is As it was needful to obtain the greatest shown in the best examples to consist stiffness in the middle, two stems were of strings of beads and pendants; it used, one tapering downward to the became the sign for gold, showing that fork, the other tapering upward to the the precious metal was first used for sail; and they were united by the thick such ornaments, and was identified ends in the middle, doubtless as such with them in common view when writ. compound yards are now made in ing was being formed. The scribe's Egypt, by lashings of hide. The sail implements must of course have come at the top is furled, and laced over with into use after writing was established; rope. Beside the mast the oar was also but it is remarkable that no sign should figured, and shows that both sailing have arisen for writing until such an and rowing were familiar before these apparatus was in use. We see the long signs were formed. Of tools for wood- case for the reeds, che little jar for work the adze is figured with a blade water to grind the ink, and the paint slab with two holes, one for red, the a decoration which became a sign of other for black color. And all is united writing as the emblem for an ornament. by a long double cord, by which it was Turning now to the great feature of hung over the shoulder, the palette in architecture, the column, we find also front, the pen case and jar behind. A that already settled before the rise of very usual sign is the draught board writing. The tent-pole column is one and pieces for playing; showing that of the most elementary signs, that for the national game was played on a the idea of "greatness,” the long pole board of three squares by ten, in the being, as all tent-dwellers will rememdays before writing as it was four thou- ber, the great encumbrance in moving, sand years later. We now turn to the longer and more in the way than anyarchitecture, of which different stages thing else. That this is the tent pole have been preserved to us in the sym- is evident from its pointed bottom, bols. The simplest is the hut which different from any column; and a very served as a shrine for the primitive early sign for a place of assembly or a deity. Two tall poles stood up, one on festival is the view of a building with either side of the doorway. A lintel the roof propped up in the middle by beam was lashed to them, and that sup- such a pole. In later times this became ported the curved roofing branches the the source of a strange form of column, ends of which stood forward over the which has never been explained until doorway. In front a line of pegs in the compared with the primitive tent pole ground, lashed together by a cord, hieroglyph. Another support is deserved to prevent animals from stray- rived apparently from the bundle of ing into the sacred space. To this day reeds tied firmly together near the top, the material for the villagers' walls is and plastered over with the Nile mud. a row of palmsticks planted in the That such a pillar will bear a great ground, with interwoven cross sticks, weight may be seen by the side of every and a plastering of mud. The tops of canal in Egypt. And even more adthe branches are left unstripped with vanced forms were known. The fluted the dry leaves on them, and they form column was familiar, and became the a hedge on the wall which prevents regular sign for the very early city of men or animals from easily passing Heliopolis, probably the earliest city over it. In this we see the origin of whose origin we can guess at, far older one of the earliest types of building, than the Egyptian Monarchy. Such a which is shown as a hieroglyph oil ihe city would have a sign so soon as writoldest inscribed tomb. The main fea- ing was begun, and that sign is the tures of the architecture of Egypt are sixteen-sided fluted column with all there, all derived from the palin- tapering shaft. Thus that form is carstick wall which we see to-day, and all ried back into the unlettered ages organized before the beginning of write which we cannot hope to touch with ing. Yet another form of primitive con- any continuous record. And not only struction has survived in decoration. was the column used, but also the The papyrus stem was a favorite ma- abacus and the grouping in a portico, as terial for building the light skiffs which in the sign here copied from one of the the Egyptians used on their canals and earliest tombs that is known. Thus we even on the Nile.
On these papyrus see that in Egypt all the principal feaboats, cabins, and shelters were built tures of architecture, which lived of the same papyrus stems; the long, through four thousand years of history, loose, wiry leaves were tied together in were devised and used by the man betufts at the top where the crossing fore writing. To notice one other stems wbich formed the cabin roof part of the mind of before were lashed to the uprights, and tied he adopts a regular system of comabove that again to keep them from munication which can be generally spreading. Here was a source of a understood, let us see what aids to favorite decoration for the tops of walls, memory are devised. These often re