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in the government of Suwolk. During these one man was killed and twenty seriously wounded ; the synagogue and school were demolished ; shops destroyed and pillaged.24 In fact, the various riots were accompanied by murders, foul, strange, and unnatural, by an utter disregard for sex and age, by such abominable acts of lust and lawlessness that I am justified in regarding them as a counterpart of the Bulgarian atrocities. Nor can these barbarous persecutions be considered as only local outbreaks. The Hebrews resident in Western Russia have also suffered from the wholesale burning of their houses and property, the work of incendiaries. In Minsk nearly 8,000 inhabitants have lost their all. In Koretz thirty people perished in the flames, and 800 families have been rendered homeless. The extent of misery caused by these disasters cannot easily be gauged. Newspapers and private correspondents tell us of the misery endured by many thousands of families during the summer months in consequence of the want of food, clothing, and shelter. What, then, will be their sufferings during the rigours of a Russian winter ? Authentic information has been received from an eye-witness, now in London, that at a short distance from the Russian frontier, in Austrian Brody, 10,000 refugees are now, as I write, huddled in cellars and in the snow-covered streets, imploring to be sent to more hospitable lands. The Jews of Great Britain and other countries have, as a matter of course, bestirred themselves to relieve the immediate necessities of the victims; but all efforts are insignificant in the face of such gigantic evils, though in this work they have been and are still being humanely aided by their Christian brethren. This, however, is but a mere temporary palliative. The condition of the Jews of Russia is still grave in the extreme, as they are in continual apprehension of a recurrence of these outrages. We will not, we cannot, but believe that the Russian Government regards these riots with disapproval. Indeed, in many instances the ringleaders have been punished, and Commissions have been appointed to inquire into the origin of the outbreaks, which those best acquainted with the subject believe to be due to the restrictive laws and legislative disabilities that make the Jews as Pariabs and targets for every manner of insult and injury.
As might have been anticipated, a portion of the Russian press has defended these persecutions on the ground that the Jews ply trades injurious to the rest of the population. The value of this defence might easily be tested by a reference to statistics. It is well known that in many of the provinces of Central Russia Jews are not allowed to settle. Yet it will be found that, for example, among the Mujiks in the government of Saratow, where there are only sixty-four
24 The above facts have been collected from the reports in the daily and Jewish newspapers, and are corroborated by private letters received from trustworthy corre. spondents.
Jews among a population of 1,725,478, there is no less wretchedness, no less dram-drinking, than in the provinces of Grodno and Mobilew, where the Jews form respectively thirteen and fifteen per cent. of the entire population. It is quite contrary to fact to state that the Jews of Russia are exclusively pedlars, hawkers, and moneylenders. Among five hundred refugees from Brody who recently passed through Liverpool on their way to the United States, there was not a single money-lender. The majority of them were blacksmiths, bricklayers, masons, joiners, saddlers, tinkers, locksmiths, plumbers, painters, shoemakers, tailors, and agricultural labourers; about twenty per cent. were petty traders, and ten per cent. brokendown shopkeepers and merchants who had lost their all.26 Near Gulaipol there is a Jewish agricultural colony comprising about five hundred families; and though these poor tillers of the soil could surely not be charged with exploitation, yet they were not allowed to escape unscathed.27 At Kischinew (the principal town of Bessarabia) there is a flourishing trade school, where Hebrew lads are trained to be carpenters, blacksmiths, machinists, and cabinet-makers. Russia has its Brassey in the Israelite Poliakoff, the well-known railway contractor; its Titus Salt in the Jew Brodsky, the largest cultivator of the beetroot and the largest sugar refiner. Such men add to the wealth of the country, and stimulate industrial energy.
I do not mean to assert that the Jews of Russia are immaculate, that instances do not occur in which they seek to evade the restrictive laws which hamper them on all sides. In 1846, when stringent ukases had been issued against them, Sir Moses Montefiore went to St. Petersburg and besought the Emperor Nicholas to extend to them the Imperial protection. They shall have it, if they resemble you,' was the Czar's characteristic reply. Can it be expected that a people exposed to every kind of degradation for centuries can grow in a day or even in a generation into a community of Montefiores?
The wretched condition of the Jewish population of Russia, numbering above three million souls, and the inability of their brethren here and throughout Europe to help them efficiently, is a striking commentary on the powerful political influence with which the Jews of Europe are credited in certain quarters. We can only appeal to the sense of justice and humanity which we hope animates the Russian Government, and without which it can never aspire to maintain a position in the concert of civilised States. We can only implore the Czar to abrogate every restrictive measure by which his loyal Jewish subjects are hampered, to repeal every oppressive law which interferes with the freedom of domicile and hinders them from earning an honest subsistence. We can but call upon our own countrymen to influence public opinion in Russia. The Russian people is powerfully swayed by the utterances of free England. Only a few weeks since, the Nuove Vremya reproduced Mr. Goldwin Smith's view of the Jewish question, and pointed out exultingly that England shared its anti-Jewish proclivities. I am certain that every right-minded Englishman will indignantly repudiate such an assertion. How was the great heart of Britain stirred to its depth, when our present Prime Minister recounted the sufferings of the Neapolitan prisoners and the woes of the Bulgarian victims! Surely her sorrow and sympathy will be none the less keen because the ruin and dishonour, the misery and the terror, have now fallen upon the Jew! Among the noblest qualities of England is her intense love of fair play, the generosity with which she has ever championed the cause of the persecuted and oppressed of every race and creed. And this may be averred without exaggeration, that no community has ever stood in greater need of sympathy and justice than the poor, downtrodden, panic-stricken, helpless Jews of Russia.
23 My authority for these figures is Petermann's Mittheilungen, 1877. 26 Jewish Chronicle, November 11, 1881.
22 An interesting account of this colony is given in the Jewish World of September 16 and 23, 1881.
BOILEAU AND POPE.
GEORGE THE SECOND is reported to have said, in his German-English, that he hated • boetry and bainting. Remembering the King's imperfect education and the limitation of his intellect, and that he probably did not know what poetry meant, in the highest acceptation of the word, it is possible that, in this emphatic assertion of his dislike, he merely intended to convey, quoad poetry, his hatred of the verse too prevalent before and during his time, that pretended to be poetry, and was unworthy of the name. If that were the case, the King had no monopoly of his aversion ; for it was said by a high classical authority,
; more than seventeen hundred years previously, that mediocre verse was alike detestable to gods and men. The judgment holds good in our day, as it has done in every other. The late Thomas Hood declared that what people called poetry was not necessarily poetry, and that it was divisible into three distinct varieties— poetry,' verse,' and • worse. An excellent classification! True poetry is rare, and is always worthy of the highest admiration. Verse, if it contains thoughts musically, clearly, and eloquently expressed, is worthy of respect, and always gives pleasure to cultivated minds; but mere words and rhymes without meaning, or with a vague meaning confused and perplexed amid labyrinths of verbiage, and of incongruous and unnatural imagery and metaphor, is provocative of weariness and only worthy of contempt. Hood's facetious generalisation was worthy of a wit and a poet, and of one entitled to speak with authority in both capacities.
Many attempts, from the days of Aristotle and Plato, have been made, though with little success, to define poetry as distinguished from the rhythm of the ancients, and from the rhythm and rhyme of the moderns. Rhythm and rhyme are adornments of, and by no means the essentials of, poetry—a fact of which the great majority of readers are unaware, and which many people who are not ignorant forget or despise. There are prose passages, in the English translation of the Bible, of such transcendent beauty that rhythm could not enhance their splendour and sublimity, and rhyme would be an impertinence. The highest poetry is always the simplest in words, and the grandest in ideas. It demands no meretricious aids to set off its nude majesty.
Mr. Leigh Hunt's definition of true poetry of the highest orderslight as his authority may be considered by some, for he possessed more geniality than acuteness as a critic—is perhaps the most successful, as it is the most precise and comprehensive, that has yet been given to the world. 'Poetry,' he says, ' is the utterance of a passion for truth, beauty, and power, embodying and illustrating its conceptions by imagination and fancy, and modulating its language on the principle of variety in uniformity. Its means are whatever the universe contains, and its ends pleasure and exaltation. It is only necessary to add to a definition so admirable, as I have done elsewhere, that in all great poets imagination, fancy, and judgment are found in harmonious combination. He who possesses these gifts by
. nature and cultivates them by art; who has a passion for truth, and preaches it or sings it with a brave, pure heart, in language which not only the fastidious and highly educated can admire and enjoy, but which the humblest and most illiterate can feel, and take to their hearts to cheer them in the struggles and sorrows of the world; who ransacks earth, sea, and sky for images of beauty and sublimity, and who to all his other gifts adds the possession of a delicate ear for the melody and the harmony of language; who sets the highest truth, the purest philosophy, and the kindliest human sympathy to the music of rhythm and rhyme, he is the greatest poet. Such a man, whether he write plays like Shakespeare, allegories like Spenser, epic poems like Milton, sonnets like Wordsworth, or songs like Robert Burns, is the pride and benefactor of nations, and, next to their faith and liberty, the greatest pride of a people. Such poets are rare; and thirty centuries have scarcely produced more than ten who reach this ideal, and whose claims to sit on the very topmost summits of Parnassus can be ungrudgingly conceded. The poets of secondary rank, who have adorned literature and rendered the world their debtors by their writings, may be counted by hundreds. The mere rhymers and the versifiers who have not a scintilla of the divine light of poetry in their souls are about as plentiful as shopkeepers, and far less useful. If countable at all, they might, without exaggeration, be counted by the hundred thousand—if only Great Britain, America, France, and Germany were laid under contribution to supply their names, and tabulate the dreary record of their offences against literature.
In the youth and adolescence of civilisation in Europe during the dense, deep literary darkness of what are called the Middle Ages, much ancient poetry was preserved in the oral traditions and memory of the people. The 'bards '--the second order of the hierarchy of the Druids during the prehistoric period—left traces of true poetry behind them which are not yet wholly effaced; though, as they were not committed to writing, most of them have perished. A few of the Welsh
A Triads and some fragments attributed to Ossian--with as much right,