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This was not exactly what I wanted their places at my little boy and nodded to say; it certainly
not all. I friendly greetings to Ursula. One raised myself on my elbow and looked Sunday, Alexis was not very well, and anxiously after him as he disappeared. I went alone. I opened my lips, sighed, but fell back.
The end of November was approachNo, he could not understand yet.
ing, a cold grey November, clothing But after this conversation I
felt everything with sadness; nevertheless stronger. My path lay clearly traced as I walked along beneath the half before me. At all costs, I must gain naked aspens whose foliage had long the recompense I so ardently desired, ago made a carpet of brown and gold his. love. Not the base, passing love he beneath the trees, there was in me an had offered me, but the new strange unusual vitality that made me hold my love which he himself longed for, but head high, and breathe in the sharp, had no faith in, which he had
almost wintry air, with delight. My alluded to, calling it “a great thing.” cloak was a little too thin, and I drew Doubtless he thought I was not worthy it round me with an inward sensation of it.
of physical resistance in perfect harIn the presence of his engt mine mony with my lot. was revealed to me; before his small
I went lightly up the steep path, and masculine pride, my conscience showed down the grassy declivity to the church me the way to the nobler pride from door. An old blind man who had lived which sprang so much of my courage, there for twenty years, recognizing and my faith. Give, and continue to either my step or the sound of my give-give more than you receive, dress, said “Peace be with you," and I more than you can hope for—is not that recognized it as an augury for good. the divine secret of love? Give much As I found my way to my seat, through and give the best, that 'is more than the groups of kneeling
who giving, because it implies choice and made room for me to pass, I saw two exaltation.
ladies standing near the holy water
basin, one old, the other young. It was Our village church is very small and not necessary to ask who they were; very old. Built
height, the beating of my heart told me that. reaches it by a steep path where the I groped my way to my seat and fell on grass grows between the stones, and it my knees and hid my face in my hands. is sweet to pass there in the pale morn- This must have been the first time they ing, or in the sunny afternoons, with a had come to church, for I had never mind at peace, and a heart full of faith.
seen them there before. The feeble fig. I loved my little church dearly. My ure of the old lady and her emaciated parents were married there, and there I face preserved traces of noble was baptized and married; and many beauty on which long and fatal sickdreams and aspirations of mine had ness had set the sacred sign of death; floated upwards on the clouds of in- it was a face that inspired confidence. cense, and the roses offered to the Ma- of the daughter I only saw the tall, donna. I knew it like the palm of my slender, elegant figure as my cousin hand, with its grey walls, lined with had described it. But during the mass wood, and the one altar of greenish I felt her presence constantly, with the stucco, with the statues of the four uncomfortable sensation of apostles. I knew it was not beautiful observing me critically whom I could but it seemed so to me because I loved not see. The divine office was hardly it. Every Sunday I took my seat on finished when I went out. Outside on the family bench with Ursula and little the deserted esplanade I stopped to Alexis, and the time I passed there was breathe in the cold, sharp air, which re..very calm and sweet, in the midst of freshed me greatly. the good men and women of the village. What did their coming prove?
I knew them all; they smiled from Everything happened fatally, inexo
rably, as it must happen! “O God," I matists, though such hints as are to be cried, "give me strength to the very gathered from them on the subject are end!” The worshippers began to by no means without value. crowd out of the church, and I hurried Æschylus was the first writer to scout away, disappearing beneath the trees. the idea of an early golden era, and to
recognize that primitive man had a life so hard and miserable that the most unlucky of his descendants might own himself to be better off. His description
of human beings before Prometheus From The Contemporary Review.
came to their aid has been truly said to HUSBANDRY IN THE GREEK
be a correct account of the Stone Age. DRAMATISTS.
In the “Persians” Æschylus describes a In the spring, when the new wine was
service for the dead such as in his day first drawn off, the great festival of
was certainly often performed by the Dionysus was held, with appropriate pastoral or village Hellenes, whose hymns and with songs and games, in ritual the poet transported among their which the young men contended for the enemies without any pangs of conprize of a goat. This is looked upon science. The beautiful lines refer to as the origin of the Greek drama, the the libation:word tragedy meaning, of course, a goat-song. There were matches be- Milk from the flawless firstling of the tween the villages, and one village or herd, one company of singers or one single Honey, the amber soul of perfumed meads, singer became more famous than the And water sparkling from its maiden rest, Then dialogue was introduced, beginning probably in a sort of chaff Here, too, the juice of immemorial vine that filled the interludes between the
And scented fruit, rich gift of tawny olive choric songs, and in this way the local And flowers, the little children of the
That never knows a season of decay, folk-fêtes of rural Attica prepared the
earth, way for Æschylus. When, however, Disposed in garlands. the drama became a great literary and patriotic institution, it became the pos
So fair an offering might cheer the session of townspeople who had
saddest ghost! Fain would one forget great sympathy with country life and that the same people could represent things.
their heroes as gratified by the DaAthens, the violet-crowned, was
as homey slaughter of innocent girls upon
Rites of the sort menfar as possible from having the signifi- their tombs. cance of smoke and darkness of a
tioned by Æschylus formed the rustic modern metropolis; how far, any one obsequies both in Greece and in Italy. can still realize who stands in that alley To this day, in the island of Sardinia, in the king's garden where, above the where many ancient customs are prelovely leafage of bay and myrtle, ilex served, flowers and simple fruits, such and oleander, the temples of the as nuts, are thrown into the open grave. Acropolis suddenly appear against the
Not remote among the landscapes of clear sky, nothing else of the outer a golden age but present in the fairyland world being visible, while the faint hum which is somewhere—somewhere of the modern city is drowned in the this actual earth, is the country by the song of nightingales. Nevertheless,
sea of Sophocles, a dream that, out of morally well materially,
childhood, knows that it is a dream and town it was, in the most intense sense yet delights the dreamer:of the word; and it is doubtful if the
where each day is matured Athenians would have appreciated an
The plant of Bacchus. In the morning's attempt to “bring the scent of the hay
sheen across the foot-lights." We cannot ex- With blooming growth the land luxuriates, pect to learn very much about contem- Then by midday the unripe fruit expands porary agriculture from the Greek dra And as day wanes the clusters purple o'er;
At evening all the crop is gathered in as the “breeder of horses,” shows that And the wine-draught is mixed.
the conviction of the national imporIn the “@dipus Tyrannus” the old tance of the horse induced the Athenians herdsman • distinguishes between
to overcome all obstacles, and also, “bought slave" and one bred in his mas.
probably, that the country people of ter's house; and in a passage spoken
Attica were led to give great care and
attention to horse-breeding by the high directly after by the Corinthian messenger, there is an interesting reference prices offered for good animals. to the practice still in force of sending the contempt for the cultivator which
Far from the early Greek mind was the flocks from the plains to the mountains from March to September:
generated a vocabulary of ugly names,
boor, clout, clodhopper with many more,
Sure I am and turned vilain into villain. But the He knows when in the region of Cithæron amenities of civilization and the overHe with two flocks and I with only one whelming weight attached to purely inI was his neighbor during three whole tellectual development tend towards seasons,
the depreciation of the peasant, whose From springtide e'en to autumn for sis philosophy is not of the Schools, and months,
Euripides, perhaps, gave expression to But during winter I my flock drove off
a growing sentiment when he made his Unto my sheep cotes, he to Laius' stalls.
Hector say, as Homer's Hector would In the same play the evil ways of not have said: Egypt are reproved where men sit in
Full prone the mind of rustics is to folly. doors weaving at the loom, and their wives earn their daily bread abroad in But in justice to Euripides it should the fields; one of the many proofs that not be forgotten that he created one in Greece women were put to do no hard beautiful peasant type; a type that has outdoor work, though the girls helped grown into a literary race of highin gathering the grapes. In one or two minded peasants or serfs whose derivaplaces Sophocles speaks of horses or tion often passes unnoticed. Euripides mules ploughing, and it seems that by never drew a more distinct character, the better-to-do peasants or landowners though the touches are few, than that they were preferred to oxen. The colts of Auturgus to whom Ægisthus married were allowed to run wild till they were of Electra in the hopes that the slur of so an age to work, when the advent of their unfitting an alliance might prevent her servitude was marked by their manes from getting her rights as Agamembeing cut short, a barbarous operation non's daughter. Clytemnestra would against which Sophocles' generous have probably objected to her being spirit revolted. “I
for my killed; the next best thing, Ægisthus tresses," runs one of his fragments, “as thought, was to marry her below her doth a filly who, caught and carried off rank. But Auturgus defeated the by the herdsman, hath her chestnut mane device by becoming simply the respectshorn from her neck by a rugged hand ful protector of the royal maiden. He in the horse-stables, and then turned is called “old,” but it is clear that he into a meadow, with limpid brooks, sees was not much more than middle-aged her image clearly reflected with all as he is not past doing hard and incesher mane disgracefully shorn off. Who, sant work. Though poor, he comes of a however ruthless, would not pity her, as noble stock, a statement that does not she crouches affrighted, driven mad by affect his position as a true peasant any shame, groaning for her vanished more than the kidnapping story about mane?" Horse-breeding must have pre- Eumæus made him less of a swine-herd. sented serious difficulties in a country Very likely it was all true. How many so generally arid as Greece was even illustrious names are owned by Italian then; the best horses were brought over peasants; nay, in how many cases it is from Asia Minor, and the race deterio- known that only two or three generarated after a few generations. That tions ago a peasant family which now Athens could all the same be addressed lives on polenta would have been recog. nized as equals by the highest in the war, which had gone on for six years, land. Something fairer in the skin, Dicæopolis negotiates a private peace something more gracious in their mein, for himself and his family. He is the is all that is left to distinguish them "peace-at-any-price” farmer, who exfrom the great mass of cultivators. cites great indignation among his more For the rest, their feelings, their man- patriotic or Chauvinist fellow-countryners, their appearance are of these. men (“Marathon men” and other old Auturgus is a peasant through and growlers), but who goes his way unthrough. He has the austere gravity heeding. He buys eels and all sorts of impressed by a life spent close to na- delicacies from the enemy, who may ture, watchful of the fated return of her traffic with him alone. He is perfectly signs, face to face with the solemn se- content, and indifferent to the sufferings quence of her seasons. Gently he chides of his neighbors; nay, he takes a posiElectra for working at all; he would not tive pleasure in enjoying what they are have her toil, she was not trained for it. without. She answers that it is her pleasure to If there were peace, sigh the Acharhelp him as far as she can; the laborer nian chorus, “then would they plant a coming home tired likes to find all in long row of vines, young fig trees, and order in his house. So he consents to olives, all round the estate. What use her fetching the water if such be her to plant now for the spoiler?" will; the spring is not far off. As for While Dicæopolis is greedily watching him, at earliest dawn he will yoke his his contraband thrushes and other oxen and go to plough; idle wretches dainties being cooked, another and the who are always invoking the gods never saddest victim of the war comes in who earn a livelihood. As soon as he is as- has something worse to rue than the sured of the respectability of the two lack of eels or hares: the eternal victim, strangers who are really Orestes and the husbandman. In all Greek tragedy Pylades, he asks them into his house; there are few things more tragic than what there is, is at their service; a this sudden entrance of misery into a
can easily improvise a little farce. The Baotians have carried off feast. There is enough in the cottage the poor man's team, his land lies falfor one day, at least, and if the food be low:simple, hunger is a good sauce. He has
I'm ruinated a fine indifference to their seeing his quite and entirely, losing my poor beasts, poverty, and that genuine instinct of My oxen, I've lost 'em, both of 'em. hospitality which is satisfied when you
FRERE. know that you have offered of your best. “Di quello che c'è non manca niente." His eyes are dim with weeping for his as they say in Tuscany. So Auturgus oxen. In vain he begs for the least drop passes from the scene, true peasant and of peace, which he seems to think a kind true gentleman; a combination not rare of quack medicine, kept in bottles. some thousand years ago, not rare now. With the ineffable egotism of the Syb
Two of the comedies of Aristophanes arite, Dicæopolis bids him be off “to deal more or less directly with agricul- weep somewhere else.” He goes, retural affairs, the “Acharnians” and the peating, “Woe's me for the oxen which “Peace.” In the former, the hero, tilled my ground.” Dicæopolis, though a citizen of Athens. Trygæus, in the “Peace,” is a much is, before all things, a country farmer. superior person to Dicæopolis, who, livHis heart is with his fạrm, for which he ing long in towns, had succeeded in longed, “which never said 'Buy fuel,' or mixing up the mania for luxury of the ‘vinegar,' or 'oil,' but of itself produced vulgar citizen with the stolid narrowall things, and the 'buy' was absent.” ness of the most benighted provincial. In this play there is one of the hits Trygæus is the country dweller in the against Euripides because his mother strictest and best sense. He has learnt, sold watercresses; Aristophanes from his stake in the country, to love thought it degrading to work for your the fatherland and understand its inbread. Tired of the Peloponnesian terests. He, too, desires peace; not,
however, for himself alone, but for all had penetrated even into the country; a the sore-tried land. He risks a great theme illustrated in the “Clouds,” the deal to accomplish his purpose, embark- comedy which has never been entirely ing on a novel and daring exploit on be cleared from the tragic suspicion of havhalf of all the Greeks. He risks coming ing been instrumental in causing the to a bad end and becoming a subject for death of Socrates. Strepsiades, who bea tragedy by Euripides-dreadful fate!
gan with driving goats, dressed in a That he went to heaven on the back of leather jerkin, is the pattern of the enan unpleasant beetle does not lessen his riched peasant, dense in intelligence; a moral virtue.
sort of Attic prototype of Verga's Don When he is engaged in getting Peace Gesualdo; the fore-doomed victim of his out of the hole in which she was im- spendthrift relations. Phidippides, the prisoned, all sorts of people try to aid graceless but superficially sharp-witted him, but only the husbandmen succeed. son, who even in his sleep dreams about In reward, they are sent off to till their horses, and whose only care is to waste fields, and Try gæus follows to break up his father's store, gathers from the new the long desolate earth of his little farm, theories taught in the Thinking-shop a and return to the old sweet, inexpensive mass of arguments to defend his conpleasures, cakes of dried fruits, figs and duct, which so enrages his father who myrtles and sweet new wine, and the had sent him there in the hope of reviolet bed near the well, and the desired forming him, that he ends by burning olives!
the place down. Peace alone, says Aristophanes, is the If Aristophanes has given some unend of all who lead an agricultural life. lovely pictures of country-folk, when he Little do the talkers in the towns, who paints Nature herself, he never fails in get up wars, know of the wretchedness that lyric ecstasy which is what made they bring the husbandman! Lions at him an immortal poet, and not simply a home, foxes in battle, they contrive to comic dramatist. The heavenly gift in save their skin and their chattels, while him was precisely the appreciation of the peasant loses both. But with peace, natural things—the song of birds, the how enviable is the country lot! How flowery meads, the season of spring pleasant is it to far merenda (the Italian when the plane-tree whispers to the elm. word expresses the sense exactly which Appreciation carried to the point where picnic does not) some autumn afternoon, it becomes interpretation, counts for when the soft providential rain is fall- ninety per cent. in poetic genius. ing on the sown fields and the wood
Up to a certain point there is a great sawn in summer crackles on the hearth. uniformity in the Greek view of nature You wilı call your wife to roast some when it is considered that, measuring kidney beans and bring out some figs by time, we might expect as much diand a thrush, and a bit of hare, and call vergence as between the views of in a neighbor to share the simple feast, Chaucer and Wordsworth. It is always and remember to preserve a bit for the curious to reflect that, while Roman old father, and send the maid to call the poetry is nearly crushed into a century man from the field, for to-day is wet and (imagine if our poetry began with 1797!), he cannot hoe or strip off the vine leaves. the Greek covers, from first to last, a
When Trygæus goes home he finds space as large as modern literature. that war has lasted so long that the boys Throughout the whole period may be know only war-like songs, but he would observed a positive enjoyment of pure have the old songs back, such as:
beauty that was much keener, as I have
said once before, than any the modern Thus they feasted on the flesh of oxen.
world knows of. The narcissus does The poet complains more than once that nou give the joy to us that it gave the the “old songs” are being forgotten. ancient Greek, in spite of the narcissus “The Shearing of the Ram,” for in- farms in the Scilly Isles. That sponstance, of Simonides, which everybody taneous and unanalyzed joy is the peronce knew, was out of fashion with the manent keynote of the Greek nature. jeunesse dorée. The craze for progress song. But the keynote may be the same