Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]

sign the Treaty of Commerce Cobden re- international legislator. For at the present ininded bim of the inscription engraved day the German Emperor is the represenbeneath the statue erected to Sir Robert tative of two survivals of a more barbarous Peel : “He improved the condition of the time—the system of Protection, and the laboring classes by lowering the price of right of conquest. necessaries."

" That is the reward I most In spite of all the evidence already accovet, answered the Emperor, and he cumulated, which coming events will soon signed the Treaty of Commerce.

confirm afresh, he believes that a nation This was the first of a series of popular grows rich by surrounding itself with a laws on the freedom of partnerships and wall of prohibitory duties on imports; and societies, and of provident institutions. by his example he is striving to subject At the moment when the unforeseen prov- trade to the absurd conditions from which ocation of Prussia surprised him in the it was delivered, to the great benefit of midst of his peaceful labors, he was con- civilization, by Cobden, Bastiat, Michel templating the institution of a national Chevalier, and Say. These economists pension fund for indigent old age.

have shown us that“ by isolation prosperThe young German Emperor is to be ous nations harm each other; that by freecongratulated because, inspired by these dom of exchange prosperous nations help illustrious examples, he has turned his each other ;'' that a country cannot long thoughts, now that he has done so much remain rich while its neighbors are poor ; for the barracks, to the cottage and the that general comfort is the result of indiworkshop, and has conceived the worthy vidual well-being ; that, except the moderambition of showing himself to the eyes ate duties rendered necessary by fiscal reaof his people and of all Europe in another sons, no artificial obstacle should hinder character than that of a recruiting sergeant the natural movement created by God or an inspector of troops.

Himself, which constitutes a law of the His action, moreover, is as politic as it world. is generons. Henceforward nations, armed

Germany, imitating the democratic with universal suffrage, careless of old- selfishness of America, declares these world legends about the right Divine, will. maxims false, and refuses to obey them. grow more and more conscious of the She will learn to regret her decision when power they wield, and ever more ready to overtaken by the poverty which must sucuse it. The social basis on which thrones ceed her ephemeral prosperity. repose is agitated by constant upheavals ; The German Emperor is not only the and kings, if they would not be engulfed, representative of the system of Protecare forced to become Cæsars, that is, trib- tion ; be embodies the allied principle unes of the people.

which, however, is yet more retrograde, The German Emperor demands the the principle of conquest. France and crown of the Cæsars. If the German na England had, by different inethods, made tion accords it to him he will in truth have the recognition of the liberty of peoples founded his Empire. Otherwise it is but and nationalities an avowed principle of an accidental creation of the chances of international law. It seemed generally war, which a similar hazard may sweep admitted that the lot of a given country away.

should be decided in future according to But the Emperor, not content with be- the will of its inhabitants; that peoples ing merely the benevolent legislator of bis should no longer be regarded as property own Empire, seeks to become the repre- to be won or lost at the point of the sentative of popular interests and aspira- bayonet ; that they are independent, intions in all countries, and convokes a con- violable, and indestructible. gress of plenipotentiaries of a new species, Germany, which once, like France and to deliberate not on the distribution of England, professed these principles, has kingdoms and the delimitation of fron- disavowed them since her attack on Dentiers, but on the conditions to be observed mark and the seizure of the Danish duchin workshops and factories, and on the ies of Schleswig-Holstein. She has laid it relations between capital and labor. down as a maxim that the strongest has

We cannot think that the policy which always and everywhere the right of approis his by tradition and choice can permit priating the territory wbich suits him and, him to play with success the part of an in the popular phrase, rounds off his own

Be

property. Germany has since applied this of the policy of conquest which has led to revived mediæval policy to Alsace and such a fearful extension of the military Lorraine. The German Government de- systém. tains Frenchmen in those provinces against The Germany of Kant, of Goethe, of their will, unvaryingly and openly mani. Beethoven, was like a grand cathedral fested during twenty years ; oppressing, within whose peaceful walls stood a numharassing, and torturing them with far ber of altars where sacred light was shed more cruelty than the Austrians displayed from lamps of gold. The Germany of the in Venice and Milan. How can the op- Emperor William is a vast barrack in pressor of nations become their liberator ? which the sound of trumpets and of the

The Berlin Conference can only give drilling of recruits drowns the grand voice expression to wishes and formulate theo- of the German people chanting melodious ries. These wishes and theories must, be- hymns to its ideal. fore they can take effect, be embodied in Such is the incurable, organic disease laws by the Legislature of each individual against which the German people has to country. Is it likely that the deputies of strive. Expedients such as the Conference the Chamber will be favorably inclined by cannot prevail against it ; it is not enough arguments drawn from the result of a to be strong, it is also necessary to be Berlin vote on the proposal of the op- just. When the Neapolitan would hurl a pressor of our brothers of Alsace and Lor- terrible curse at his enemy he wishes he raine ?

may gain the prize in the lottery- for he The oppressive policy of which the Ger- knows that the man who wins stakes man Emperor is the representative has à again, and that he who plays long ends by further effect than to render co-operation losing. Success is sometimes the most with France a moral impossibility ; it is terrible punisment of iniquity. It will the most serious material obstacle to any not be long before Germany affords a improvement in the lot of the working striking demonstration of the fact. classes. It causes a yearly increase in the fore undertaking to advise others, she taxes ; while the finances of the country would do well to look at home and enterare burdened by expenditure which yields tain ideas of a more generous, more moral, no return for the outlay, and by the rise more upright, and juster nature. in the price of necessaries and of all things In conclusion, the edicts are worthy of indispensable to the material well-being of praise and deserve to succeed ; the Čonthe laborer.

ference is an incoherent experiment and This “Militarism” had already ap- will not succeed. Let the Emperor aban. peared before the Revolution, and Montes- don his economical errors and his arbitrary quieu had indicated its dangers in pro- rule over peoples to whom it is odious ; phetic words. “A new disease,” he said, let him curb his military ardor and place " has overspread Europe ; it has attacked to the credit of the laboring class the our princes, and has made them enroll an amount so saved on the army estimates ; inordinate number of troops. It bas its then he will acquire the right to address a crises, and it is of necessity contagious. philanthropic appeal to the nations, and to Each monarch keeps under arms as many inaugurate social concord in Europe. But soldiers as he could possibly raise if his while he offers the olive branch with one people were in danger of extermination; hand, holding a naked sword in the other, and this effort of each to out-do the other while he talks of mitigating suffering and is what men call peace. Soon, as the re- continues to inflict it, while he persists in sult of having so many soldiers, we shall an unjust policy, it is not possible to behave nothing but soldiers.”

lieve in the sincerity of his efforts towards Prussia, by the substitution of armed social equity ; his intentions will be susnations for the former small armies of pected, his professions regarded as hyposoldiers by professiou-another lapse into critical, and those who help him to probarbarism–has rendered it impossible to duce scenic effects, the mechanism of lighten labor of the heavy burdens which which is not clear to the public, will be weigh it down.

Socialism is the conse- considered, on the most charitable suppoquence and the punishment of this revival sition, as his dupes.—New Review.

MIRACLE PLAYS.

BY EDWARD CLODD.

In the year 1633 the peasants of Ober- of other countries, notably of France, their ammergau, a village in Bavaria, being special birthplace and home, whence they stricken with a pestilence, or, according were imported among us, probably by to another account, threatened with loss French ecclesiastics, must be omitted. of livelihood through a disease of the flax There is, however, no essential difference 'which stopped all the spindles, vowed to between

between our English plays and their God to publicly perform the “ Passion of foreign variants. Neither can more than the Saviour every ten years if their ca. bare allusion be made to the Moralities, lamities were removed. Thereupon the which were of allegorical type, abstract plague was stayed, and, in fulfilment of qualities being personified, as, e. g., when the vow, the play was performed until the "a play setting forth the goodness of the eud of the last century, when it was pro- Lord's Prayer was played in the city of hibited by Montgelas, a reforming states- York, in which play all manner of vices man, who told the peasants that hearing and sins were held up to scorn, and the sermons on the Passion was better than sirtues were held up to praise. Someparading the Saviour on a stage. But the

But the times the two species of plays were simple folk secured an audience of the blended, as when Justice, Mercy, Peace, king and pleaded their broken vow, so and Death appear on the stage with histhat the minister's prohibition was re- torical characters. pealed on condition that the play was Although the early Church extinguished recast to suit modern ideas.

the drama, its new birth was connected In 1811 it was once more performed in with the offices of religion. The origin of the churchyard, aud in following decades the plays, as literary works, is probably to in the village meadow till 1850, when a be found in the metrical paraphrases of permanent theatre was erected. The per- Scripture, with which quaint and absurd formances in 1870 were interrupted by legends were fused, and by which a knowl. summons of certain of the players—Joseph edge of the events recorded in, and of the Mair, who took the part of Christ, among doctrines deduced from, the Bible was them—to the ranks when the Franco- spread among the people. The dramatic German war broke out ; but happily they element in these metrical versions, of were all spared to resume their parts in which Cædmon's (temp. vii. cent.) is the 1871. The performances take place this oldest, naturally led to their recital with year at intervals from Whitsuntide to the some degree of action, and to their pasend of September, and the fact that the sage into more dramatic form, until the play is the lineal, and well-nigh the sole Sacred Play became a recognized agent of worthy, descendant-for the puppet- popular instruction, and a refreshing dishows, the Christmas mummings, and version to the monastic and conventual other doggerel survivals, are of kindred life. ancestry—of the curious group of Miracle Hasc remarks that from the time of Plays, Mysteries, and Moralities, which Gregory the Great the Mass itself became preceded the secular drama in our own an almost dramatic celebration of the and other countries, may give special world-tragedy of Golgotha. It embraced interest to a brief account of the originals. the whole scale of religious emotion, from The materials from which our knowledge the mournful cry of the Miserere to the of English Miracle Plays, including under jubilee of the Gloria in Excelsis. And this common term plays founded on inci- both Klein and Ward agree that the germ dents in the lives of saints and plays of the Miracle Play, as an acted drama, is founded on Scripture narratives, is de- to be found in the liturgy of the Mass, the rived, are fragmentary and scanty com. symbolic processes in which exhibit pared with those extant on the Continent. dramatic progression. In the pantomimiBut they are copious enough to make their cal element in the gestures of the priest, digest into a few pages difficult, and the epical in the lessons read, the lyrical therefore any reference to the sacred plays in the antiphonal singing, and subsequent

a

ly in the addition of tableaux vivants, the institution of the feast of Corpus living pictures of scenes from New Testa- Christi by Pope Urban IV. in 1264 gave ment history--as early as the fifth cen- an impetus to the performance of the tury, the way was prepared for the public plays. The importance into which that performance of sacred plays, of which the festival grew led the guilds to observe it clergy were the actors and the church was as a common feast-day, and to make the the scene.

procession of the symbols of the Mystery The plays were originally written in of the Incarnation, although independent Latin, then afterward rendered into Nor- of them, the occasion of performing a man- French to adapt them for exhibition series of plays, beginning with the “Creabefore the court, and finally into the vul. tion” and ending with " “Doomsday.” gar tongue for the amusement and instruc- Some of the plays, as, e. g., those dealtion of the people, although concerning ing with the Nativity, were performed at this there had been hesitation, for in the their appropriate seasons. Actors and auBritish Museum MS. of the Chester Plays dience were astir early, since the entire it is said that the author was thrice at series was presented between sunrise and Rome before he could obtain leave of the sunset ; Euery player,” says the Mayor Pope to have them in the English tongue.” of York in his proclamation, “shall be But the happy result of their translation redy in his pagiaunt at convenyant tyme, into the vernacular is that they are rich that is to say, at the mydhowre betwix storehouses of local dialects and customs iiijth and oth of the cloke in the mornynge, of the time. They are,

alike in form and and then all oyer pageantz fast following spirit, for the most part in keeping with ilk one after oyer as yer course is without the dignity and seriousness of their sub- tarieng." The records of the plays, of jects. There is no lack of reverence ; the which performances took place in all parts characters are skilfully and sympathetical- of England, show that they were assigned ly treated, and the authors, with truc in- as nearly as possible in harmony with the sight, availed themselves--as an example business of the crafts. Thus we find that or two to be presently cited will show-of the Shipwrights played the “ Building of certain incidents as vehicles of harmless the Ark;' the “ Fysshers and Marynars mirth. They at least succeeded in their (at Chester, the water-carriers), “the main purpose in making the spectacles Flood ;'? the Goldsmiths, the ? Adorachannels of popular instruction in the lead- tion of the Magi ;' the Vintners, the ing truths of the Christian religion in days “Miracle of Cana;" the Bakers, the when the Bible was a sealed book, except “ Last Supper ;' and the Pinners and to the clergy.

Painters, the “ Crucifixion." That these remained the sole actors for With the exception of a few isolated a considerable period is shown by the re- specimens, most of which have been tention of the stage directions in Latin ; printed, the English Miracle Plays are but the control of the plays gradually comprised in four series, known respecpassed into lay hands as their performance tively as the York, the Chester, the Covwas tranferred from the churches to the entry, and the Towneley. The York series public thoroughfares, when we find the consists of forty-eight plays, written in trading guilds, which were also religious Northern English dialect, and the manufraternities, taking the lead. Each craft script, which is doubtless a copy of a undertook the expenses of production of much older original, is assigned to the one of the plays of each series, employ- middle of the fourteenth century. The ing lay pens to alter and adapt as occasion Chester series, which contains twenty-five den anded, and entrusting both plays and plays, has been assigned to the middle of properties, choice of “inoste connyng, the thirteenth century, but experts now discrete and able” actors, as well as the place it at the end of the fourteenth cen. rehearsals, to an official. Each guild had tury. The age of the Coventry series, its patron saint, whose festival-day became comprising forty-two plays, is fixed by the the occasion for pageants in which a Mira- date 1468 on the manuscript : and the cle Play connected with events in his life Towneley series, which has much in comwas performed, first in the guild-ball and mon with the York collection, is referred then in the streets. Although there was to the close of the fifteenth century. It in Catholic England no lack of festivals, comprises thirty-two plays, five of which are almost literal copies of corresponding couple are full of comic dialogue. In the plays in the York manuscript.

play of the “ Angels and the Shepherds,” The feature common to the four series whore the materials are slender, advantage is their grouping of the leading events is seized on to introduce abundance of narrated in the Bible into a consecutive rustic realism. In the York series Judas whole, but with manifold differences, both is ridiculed by a porter ; Pilate outwits a in the less important parts and in the pro- squire, who sells a plot of land for thirty portion of plays based on legends outside pieces of silver paid to the traitor, and the canonical books. For example, the who gives up the deeds without securing popular mediæval legend of the “ Fall of the money. In many of the plays in which Lucifer,” which has great prominence the devil is a character he appears only to given to it in the Cursor Mundi, a North- be laughed at. The anachronisms and umbrian poem written early in the four classical allusions are amusing, as wben teenth century, and of which Milton makes Noah's wife swears by Christ, by the effective use in Paradise Lost, is the sub- Virgin Mary, and by St. John ; Pharaoh ject of a play in the York and Chester and Cæsar Augustus by “Mahoune," and series, but is absent from the Coventry Balak by Mars; when Herod asks his and Towneley. The Coventry series has council what they find "in Vyrgyll, in no plays founded on the apocryphal books Homere,” concerning the birth of Christ, of the Old Testament, but has several and proinises to make one of his councilfounded on those of the New Testament ; lors Pope ; and when the Sibyl prophesies while in the Chester series, only one play, before Octavius of Jesus and the Judgbased on the legend of Christ's Descent ment. Touches of current life and usage into Hell, has its source in the apocryphal here and there stand out amid the ancient writings.

story : the carpenter's tools and measureAs hinted already, when the plays were ments used by Noah, as well as those emrendered into the vulgar tongue, a good ployed at the Crucifixion; the bitter-cold many extraneous elements were intro- weather at the Nativity, telling of a truly duced, according to the skill and humor northern Christmas ; the quaint offerings of the transcribing adapter, and according of the shepherds when they repair to to the audience whose appetite had to be “ Bedleme" to give the Divine babe a whetted. Thus the Chester Banes (a “ lytylle spruse cofer,” a ball, and a bot. word retained in our marriage buns or tle; the ruin of the poor by murrain ; the banns) tell how Done Rondall, “monke drinking between Pilate and his wife; the of the Abay,"

excellent representation of a heavy manual

job by a set of rough workmen in the In pagentes set fourth apparently to all eyne, Crucifixion, Illustrative, too, of English The Olde and Neue Testament with livelye comforth,

customs and forms of justice are the bor. Interminglinge therewith, onely to make rowing of the town beast ; Judas offering sporte,

himself as bondman in his remorse ; the Some thinges not warranted by any writt,

mortgage of a property, raising money by Which to gladd the hearers he woulde men to

wedde-sette" or pledge ; and the trial

scene in certain plays, in which Pilate In the Miracle Play of “St. Nicholas,' "in Parlament plaype" vindicates the written by Hilarius, an English monk of course of law in a way that would comthe twelfth century, the conversation of mend itself to the learned author of pot-house gamblers is the mirth-provoking Liberty, Fraternity, and Equality, and incident. In a yet earlier play, by the puts down the malice of the accuser, nun Hrosvitha, the persecutor of three Caiaphas, and the pursuer Annas (cf. virgin-roartyrs is represented as stricken York Mystery Plays, Introd. by Miss with madness, and as embracing dripping- Toulmin Smith, lvii.). The accountpans and all kinds of cooking utensils, till books of the several guilds show that the his own soldiers, taking him for a devil, actors were paid according to the length maltreat him. In the Towneley series of their parts and business," not accordCain brawls and bullies his hind like a ing to their dignity. Thus, in a play setcoarse Yorkshire farmer ; Noah's wife (as ting forth the Trial and Crucifixion of also in the York and Chester series) is a Jesus, the impersonators of Herod and termagant, and the quarrels between the Caiaphas received 38. 4d. cach, of An

take yt.

« VorigeDoorgaan »