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nished, no easy task. It requires not only a great deal of closet preparation and of natural talent, but other qualifications too, which nothing but time, observation, and labour can bestow. Yet "helps’ may be used with good effect: with beginners, Mr. Beaven's will be of service, while Mr. Ramsay's Catechism seems equally valuable for those who are a little less ignorant; and the introductory remarks to each volume will well repay a diligent perusal. Archdeacon Bather's charge is invaluable-stamped with thought and experience in every line. While the catechist is a novice, he would do well to read it over before every meeting with his catechumens. But all these helps are little in comparison with the lessons of his own practice, which his weekly visiting, and the school, especially the Sundayschool, will furnish. Here he must educate himself that he may edify others; learning how to put his questions so as to be understood, and to lead (for this is his legitimate object) to the right answer; observing how the laws of association vary in the minds of different individuals and classes, and how, therefore, his questions are to be arranged to make the chain easy; studying their characters, moreover, that to all he may give their meat in due season.
And thankful may he be, if, as generation after generation pass away from the school, he finds his power of communicating and eliciting knowledge increase-yea, but a little ! Most thankful, if he sees the young men and women, whom he has known as boys and girls, regularly bringing their well-kept Prayer-books and Bibles (memorials of their good conduct at school) to church, Sunday after Sunday; retaining their relish for the evening's catechising, while they have attained the capacity for profiting by the morning's sermon.
But though the Catechesis must thus begin in the school, it must not be remanded altogether thither from the Church. If it were, it would fail of much of its effect even upon the children; and, besides, they were not the only persons for whose advantage it was designed.* To those who occupy the place of the unlearned in the congregation, it is as necessary as it can be to the children; and these, to be instructed in that which children ought to know, must be got at through the children. Frequently, they are untaught as children, without their teachableness; way
* George Herbert says of the country parson, He requires all to be present at catechising; first, for the authority of the work ; secondly, that parents and masters, as they hear the answers prove, may, when they come home, either commend or reprove, either reward or punish; thirdly, that those of the elder sort, who are not well grounded, may then by an honourable way take occasion to be better instructed; fourthly, that those who are well grown in the knowledge of religion may examine their grounds, renew their vows, and by occasion of both enlarge their meditations.' But we must stop, or we shall be tempted to transcribe the whole chapter,
ward as childhood, without its humility. They cannot be brought to school, and therefore their teaching must be in the church. Too often they will not submit themselves to teaching of any kind, and so the lesson must be reflected upon them from the catechumens: they must be taught as by a parable, as if they were listeners and lookers-on, judges and not doers. To this end the catechetic system of the Church, if carefully followed, will afford the surest means in laying down the plain doctrines and enforcing the practical principles of Christianity. They will thus reach many who would have stopped their ears and hardened their hearts against any 'exhortation which spake unto them as unto children;' and if at last the thought arises in their minds that the catechist * spake of them, this will itself be a proof that the lesson has been laid to heart.
ART. III.- Edwin the Fair ; an Historical Drama By Henry
Taylor, author of Philip van Artevelde.' London. 12mo.
HIS has been a money-making age. We are bringing no
charge against it: we are only stating a fact, the boast of many and admitted by all. But, whatever other advantages may belong to the extreme of industrialism, it certainly does not seem peculiarly likely either to cherish the dramatic instinct in the mass, or to furnish the poet with the best materials for the drama. The pursuit of wealth, however honourable it may be in particular cases, is not calculated, when it becomes a characteristic of the nation at large, to develop the more heroic portion of our nature, or to present us with the humorous side of things, or to familiarise us with those purifying agonies, unselfish struggles, and dauntless encounters which form the subject matter of the drama. It is not in a golden mirror that society can see its own face reflected with clearness.
It will not be denied that another prevailing characteristic of our time, as far as the highly-educated classes are concerned, is its morbidness. From whatever source this morbidness may proceed, whether from an excessive indulgence in private judgment and individual caprice, from vanity, from repletion and satiety, or from a critical habit indulged as if we were the end of all things, and had nothing to do except judge those that went before usfrom whatever cause or combination of causes it may have arisen, this morbidness undoubtedly exists, and exists to a degree which in many cases makes our bodies an hospital for diseases, our
VOL. LXXI. NO. CXLII.
religion a spiritual nightmare, and society a continual sore. We feel our own pulse in hand and foot, and record the progress of our digestion ; we know how our affections have been secreted, and do not much object to turn our moral being with the whole of our experiences inside out to gratify the philosophical curiosity of the passer-by. Such a tendency is fatal to the interests of the drama. It is not so injurious to that species of poetry whose interest is merely individual and personal ; and, on the other hand, it may be so entirely thrown off for a time (abstinence being more easy than temperance) as to allow of the composition of works whose character is wholly external. But the drama is the exact balance of the subjective and the objective: it requires the mingled strength of intuition and of observation—the 'prudens interrogatio' of the philosopher inspiring that eye which yet can see objects as they are and therefore the dramatic art can never be healthfully exercised except where there exists a certain equipoise between the faculties which converse with outward things and those which acquaint us with our own souls. This morbidness also, be it remembered, engenders egotism, and egotism with the mass degenerates soon into selfishness, and selfishness is destructive of sympathy; and one main attraction of the theatre is that noble sympathetic vibration by which a single feeling is communicated at the same moment to a multitude of brother-men held thus in union.
An analogous obstacle to the drama will be found in the extreme metaphysical tendencies of the present day. To pore over the psychological tablet of man, half map, half picture, to watch the growth of nascent instincts, to listen for the inorganic voice of objectless appetites, to wait for the breezelike movement of emotions newly awakened and slowly advancing from the shores of Lethe, to combine these semi-torpid elements of humanity with what art we may, and at last to look through the mists of our metaphysical dream till we behold the phantom forms of menour own reflection—all this may be most excellent in another walk of poetry, but it is not dramatic.
It is not, however, from its intellectual bias only that we think the spirit of the age (as distinguished from the accidents of the time) wanting in dramatic aptitudes. Its moral qualifications also appear not exactly of the right sort. It is deficient in simplicity, in earnestness, in robustness—in that intrepid and impassioned adventurousness which desires and dares to watch the great battle of the passions on the broad platform of common life; and in that elasticity of soul which makes renewed vigour the natural recoil from suffering, and a deeper self-knowledge with a firmer selfgovernment the chief permanent results of calamity. These are
the heroic virtues of our nature; and the Drama is the heroic walk of Poetry. Without these qualities it is as impossible heartily and practically to value a great dramatic literature as it is to produce it. We may be drawn to the theatre by the fame of a successful actor, or the splendour of scenic decoration; we may go there from idleness or caprice: but all that is deepest and best in the drama will be thrown away upon us. Everything else we may have, things better or things worse, but not this. We may write ornamental poetry as we may paint furniture-pictures, or descriptive poetry, or the noblest lyrics, or the most profound philosophical pieces. We may descend into the depths of meditative pathos, or ascend into the regions of the mystic and the spiritual : but dramatic poetry we shall aim at in vain, unless we sincerely appreciate those manly qualities which are the firm foundation of real life, and therefore of imitative art. This is the reason that the time at which the drama rises up is the heroic period of a nation—the heroic period not yet extinct, though passing into the intellectual, and therefore at once present in power and beginning to be associated with the records of a sacred and legendary past. We put off our coat-of-mail to assume the iron buskin and the tragic robe; and the first sound from the stage is the note of self-gratulating strength,
• Now are our brows bound with victorious wreaths.' It is while we still thirst for the great enterprises of active life that we desire to see them represented, while the game of society retains yet some of the warlike graces of a tournament, and before our youth has relinquished its reckless humours or its ideal and half-fantastic elevation. It is before the social principle has become merged in the selfish instinct that the popular feeling so necessary for all true art, and so useful both by exhibiting the average and spontaneous judgment of men under very various circumstances of life, and by enkindling through sympathy the deepest powers of the artist, retains its unity and its collective force. This social and sympathetic principle has been materially impaired by the exclusive character of modern intercourse, and by those arbitrary distinctions which break up society into cliques and sets. It is before the principle of division and mechanical arrangement has supplanted the essential ties by the conventional modes of life, and weakened the tone of the individual mind even while increasing its stores and multiplying its implements, that the poet possesses that many-handed versatility of resource combined with that fiery and yet majestic intensity of mind, which is necessary to awaken bis creative faculty and endow its creations with life and reality. 2 B 2
We have stated a very few of the many reasons which incline us to believe that the age in which we live is undramatic. Life, however, is life in every age, and there can never be a time in which dramatic art will not find its resources if the impulse of the poet be strong enough to bear him up against circumstances. Of this we had one proof eight years ago in the publication of · Philip van Artevelde;' and we have now another, to our minds not less conclusive, in that of · Edwin the Fair.'
The story of the drama may be summed up as follows :- At the accession of Edwin, the kingdom was divided into two parties, the adherents of the monks on the one hand, and those of the secular clergy on the other. Edwin, taking part against the monks, proceeded, before he had been formally crowned or firmly established on the throne, to eject the regulars from the benefices which they had usurped in the previous reign. He betrayed, moreover, an inclination to ally himself with his cousin Elgiva, whose family, and especially her brother Earl Athulf, were the chief support of the secular cause, Edwin's first struggle is to bring about his coronation, notwithstanding the resistance of the monks, headed by Dunstan, and Odo the Archbishop of Canterbury. In this he is successful : but he rashly proceeds to solemnize his marriage on the very day of his coronation, and he neglects the military precautions requisite to protect such a proceeding. The wisest of his councillors, Earl Leolf, whose presence might have guarded him against this indiscretion, had been a lover of Elgiva's, and had retired from the Court when the king became his rival.
The instant that Dunstan discovers the nuptials to have been solemnized, he causes the new queen to be seized and sent to Chester, there to be imprisoned until a synod should have been convened to decide as to the validity of the marriage-the king being also put under restraint.
The chiefs of the defeated party, Athulf, who had escaped from Dunstan's hands, and Leolf, who had remained aloof, faithful as a subject though supplanted as a lover, rejoin each other in force at Tunbridge, whence they send proposals of peace to the synod assembled in London. A stormy debate ensues; but at last the terms offered by the royal party are rejected through the art of Dunstan. The marriage is declared void; the chiefs on the king's side, as well as Elgiva, are excommunicated; and here ends the third Act.
In the fourth Act we find Dunstan practising on the king, first by promises and then by threats, with a view to procure his abdication. At the critical moment, however, the Tower is stormed by Earl Athulf, and the king released, Dunstan escaping by flight. In the fifth Act the flight of Dunstan is arrested by the rising