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If little or nothing has been done for the protection of native monuments, they have not at least suffered from the mania for restoration which has done so much in Europe to obliterate the relics of the past. It would facilitate the consideration of a subject so fraught with interest as the revival of Arab art if it could be borne in mind that it may be regarded, in Egypt at least, as virtually extinct. The style adopted in the construction of the few mosques for wbich the necessary funds have been spared is debased and meaningless; they belong to no period of art, and do not even possess the negative merit of unobtrusiveness, but rear their heads ostentatiously above the ruins which they displace. Within gunshot of the Mosque of Mehemet Ali, a tasteless pile which defaces one of the finest sites in the city, is to be found a series of mosques more or less in ruins, known popularly as the 'Tombs of the Kaliphs,' but more correctly designated the Tombs of the Memlook Sultans of Egypt.'
Of many of these the crumbling walls alone remain, but even these fragments might be saved from ruin, for all are rich in material for study, and as monuments of Arab art are eminently suggestive and interesting. Others are, however, in a fair state of preservation, and a few are still devoted to their original purposes. The Mosque of Kaid Bey (fifteenth century), the enlightened Sultan to whom the city is so much indebted for its architectural adornment, is perhaps the most perfect, and is well worthy of the anxious care which its extreme beauty seems to invite.
Some slight effort seems to have been made to save this noble work, but the minaret is, I am informed, in a critical state, and the Mueddin, when calling the faithful to prayer, no longer ventures to climb the rickety staircase. A portion of the roof has given way, and within the last few years a notable change is visible in the condition of the wall decoration, formerly a beautiful feature of the building.
It seems incredible that the wilful neglect of such monuments as these should have failed to attract the attention of influential persons, and that it should have been reserved for the powerless zeal of a small band of artists and amateurs to call attention to so signal an instance of apathy and indifference.
The mania for restoration that has extended over Europe originated in motives so complex that it may easily be condemned or defended according to the point of view from which it is regarded. The revolutionary epoch which, commencing nearly a century ago, can even now only be regarded as entering upon another pbase, evoked a sentiment of nationality which has worked in opposite directions. On the one hand reverence for the past has led men to treasure up such records as might throw a light upon their history and the great deeds achieved previous to their subjugation. Against this must be set the desire, equally natural in a nation entering upon a new life, to efface as far as possible the history of their early struggles. The homely adage · New brooms sweep clean ’ has a clear application in the tendency of newly-awakened nationalities to make a tabula rasa and start afresh. To re-name a street or a public building may seem a trifling innovation, but when this paves the way to the removal of an inscription or the destruction of a monument it becomes an outrage upon the sentiment of true nationality, which should rest upon a firmer basis than oblivion of the past.
It has already been remarked that the monuments of mediæval Egypt have scarcely as yet suffered from indiscreet restoration, for they have either been left to perish or have been swept away by the ruthless hands of successive rulers, ignorant or careless of the treasures of which they should have been the zealous protectors. The specimens of Arab art which yet remain, meagre as they have unhappily become, possess at least the advantage of being comparatively untouched, and enough even now remain to justify the anxiety for their preservation, which it is the desire of the writer to stimulate. It must be confessed that the prospects of success in this endeavour are extremely slight. International jealousies, and the fear of awakening a fanatical opposition to the interference of Europeans, present formidable barriers to any active movement in this direction, but, regarded only as a protest against a crying evil, the humblest effort to arrest its course should at least be viewed with indulgence.
It has been suggested in the way of objection to any scheme for the preservation of the monuments of mediæval Egypt that other countries affording examples of Saracenic architecture might lay claim to similar protection. This is undoubtedly true, and it is most desirable that these should not be left out of the account; but in urging a prior claim to Cairo for the first steps in this direction, it should be borne in mind that this city may be regarded as the metropolis of the East so far as the monuments of Saracenic art are concerned, no city in the world being comparable to Cairo in this respect. Gathered together within a comparatively small space, fragments are yet to be found invaluable in their bearing upon the history of architecture, and capable of affording a rich field for study-a fact which for some unexplained reason has never met with due recognition.
In conclusion, I can only express the earnest desire that this question may fall into more competent hands, and that it may not be allowed to languish for the want of active support from those able as well as willing to further so desirable an end.
PANTHEISM, AND COSMIC EMOTION.
OUTSIDE the borders of the orthodox theologies-indeed to some extent within them—three great ideas seem to hold men's thoughts : the modernised idea of a single and simple Godhead, the metaphysical idea of Divine Mystery in the Universe, the historical idea of human dignity and progress—Theism-Pantheism-Humanity.
Not to speak of the first or the last of these, we may examine on general grounds of religion and morality the claims of Pantheism to be an adequate basis of our lives, the final issue of the mighty Assize of religions, which this generation and the next are destined to try out.
The claims of Pantheism are not small. It is a vague term; its field is indefinite; its doctrines curiously elastic. It is the faith of idealists everywhere: of the poets, of the metaphysicians, of the enthusiasts. It has so many forms, and so few formulas, that it gathers round it sympathies everywhere; and seems to illustrate everything, even when it explains nothing. A generation ago, it could be assigned only to a poet, or a philosopher here and there. Pantheism would seem to bave no hold on the public at all. But then, a generation ago, the fountains of the great deep of orthodoxy had only begun to break. It is otherwise now. Now, the problems of orthodoxy; of Theism; the very bases of Creation, Providence, and Judgment, are being debated in the market-places and the street; the great dilemma of Infinite goodness with Omnipotent power, making and ruling the world we know and see to-day, is exercising the thoughts of men, and women, even of children, and the answers are very various, and sometimes obscure. And thus, Pantheism, in the widest sense, is become the great balting-place between the devotion to God and the devotion to Humanity.
Not Pantheism in any precise form; not as a philosophical doctrine, not as a creed that can be stated, often not consciously held at all. We may include under the somewhat technical term Pantheism all those types of thought, and conscious or unconscious tendencies of thought, which have this common sign—that they find the ultimate and dominant idea in some divine Mystery of the Universe, in the sense of Beauty and Power of Nature, in the immensity of the sum of Life and Matter, it may be in a pious trust in the general good of all things, be the things human and moral, or be they physical and unconscious.
Now Pantheism in this sense is a very wide-spread frame of thought. Many a subtle intelligence, shrinking from the logical difficulties of an Omnipotent Providence, seeks in the sum of all things that type of Beauty and universality which it can no longer gather from the Bible. Many a sympathetic heart that would feel pain in frankly rejecting the possibility of religious hopes, and yet finds the religious hope of Humanity too definite, earthly, and prosaic for its ideal, falls back on some half-uttered vision of Beauty, Goodness, Mystery—a vision which admits nothing so formal as a Person, and nothing logical enough to make a proposition. Some of the best brains and hearts float in this dream ; impatient of Theism, indifferent to Humanity; cherishing in their souls this transcendental possibility of a something beyond, that is neither some one nor any actual thing at all : merely a promise of Good, or Fair.
There are all kinds of degrees and modes in this tendency we call Pantheism, from the artist's thirst for nature, to the thinker's rest in the Unity of Law, and so on to the practical man's respect for external force, and the mystical theologian's habit of seeing God in everything and everything in God. These are, no doubt, very different types of mind; but they agree in this :— they all find not only a religious value to the human spirit in the mystery and majesty of the World without; but the Supreme Power and Truth. The physical beauty of a sunset touches some; the range of physical law touches others; these are the happy natures of constitutional optimism; those are the mystics to whom the definite is the vulgar and the logical is the misleading. All are alike in this, that they yearn
far beyond the range and realm of Man; and yet they will not face the Person of a living God.
We are all familiar with that fine temper-man's love for the unfathomable glories of the scene around him. How many a sensitive nature has gazed deeper and deeper into the firmament of stars, till the imagination seemed, like the watchman on the halls of Agamemnon at Mycenæ, to see new lights burst out; as if worlds were being born unto worlds in myriads. Then the exhausted spirit feels almost on the threshold of immensity; and half believes that each instant the heavens are about to break open to their highest, and these human eyes are about to behold the reality of the Unseen. We have all known that moment; but the veil has never been parted, and we have lain down with aching eyes and a delicious void in our hearts: feeling that there is something, we know not what, in Space; but that we are as far off from it as ever. And the next morning we go to work and the Universe fades away in the noontide light, and the clear voice of our children, and the emergencies of our
daily anxieties, the care of our fortunes, or our public duties, move us with ten times the force and reality of the Milky Way.
I know no passage which better expresses the religious value of Nature than these words of Wordsworth:
And I have felt
Therefore am I still
This is poetry. Is it religion? It is exquisitely touching and inspiring to the spirit. Is it enough to guide lives, to curb passions, to give light to despair, unconquerable force to societies, nations, races ? Can it do what the law of Moses did, or the law of Christ ; because, if it cannot do this, it is not religion ?
Certainly it is poetry, and more than poetry; it is fresh and vital truth, in the form of immortal art. No one of us would willingly let die a note of it, or lose a verse from that magnificent Psalter of Nature, which, from Homer to Walter Scott, is one of the best gifts that genius has bestowed on Man. Why need we lose it; why need we cease to cherish it and extend its power ? I take that passion for Nature, that worship of Nature, in all its forms and range, that sympathy with all the inner teaching of Nature, that Cosmic Emotion that Wordsworth called in the rhapsody of joy, 'the soul of my moral being '-and I ask-is that enough? Poetry is one thing. Science, Action, Life, Religion, are far
, other--all much wider and more continuous. Poetry is but one mode of Art, and Art is but one side of one of the elements of Human Nature. Poets are not (for all that some people say) the guides of life; their business is to beautify life. And after all, this Worship of Nature, this poetry of Pantheism, is but one side even of Poetry, and not its grandest. No poets have surpassed in this field the greatest in the ancient and in the modern world : Homer the poet of the sea, Shakespeare the poet of the air, he who saw the floor of