Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

on one side the unsupported others, different in temperacharge of “muddling," we ment and enthusiasm. As a cannot but ask, Who were the sign of the prevailing repression rhetoricians of a hundred years Mr Chesterton deplores inapago? Was Pitt the younger positely that men have ceased a rhetorician, or Castlereagh, to kiss one another. “Sydney," or Liverpool, or Bathurst ? says he, “would have thought And so far from the rulers nothing of kissing Spenser.” of to - day being “ silent,” We don't pretend to know who it would be more accurate to Sydney is, and perhaps Mr say that at no time in the Chesterton has some knowledge world's history has there been of his relations with Spenser 80 much talk. The extension which is hidden from the rest of the franchise has made pub- of the world. But the conlic meetings inevitable. Ora- clusion of the argument is still tors on either side go to their more absurd than the beginconstituents and chatter: they ning. “I willingly concede,” chatter in Parliament; they he goes on, “that Mr Brodchatter in their clubs; and the rick would not be likely to real reason why the House of kiss Mr Arnold-Forster, if that Commons begins to be a bore be any proof of the increased is, that the fashion of fluent manliness and military greatspeech set in the middle of the ness of England.” We also nineteenth century, and en- would willingly concede that couraged above all by Mr Glad- Mr Chesterton is not likely stone, has been monstrously to kiss his publisher, and that overdone. But what are facts Mr Cadbury refrains from the to Mr Chesterton? He is quite cheek of Mr Massingham. But ready to dismiss Pitt and we draw no inference from this Canning as sentimentalists, “repression ” as to the future and to set back the age of of English literature and jourrhetoric by a century.

nalism. Then, with the same air of Mr Chesterton does not set omniscience, he informs us that a high value upon the ameniEnglishmen boast of being ties of life. Good taste, “simple and direct." Do they? he says in his hearty, deWhen was the boast made, and mocratic way, “is the last and by whom? If Mr Chesterton vilest of human superstitions.” had a little more modesty, or a He need not have been at little more patience, he would the pains to tell us this. not thus carelessly sum up the But what he cannot stand peculiarities of this nation or is a gentleman. A gentlethat. Again, he tells us that man rouses his anger to the the ideal of modern England is highest pitch. He reminds us self - repression, and that the of a member of Parliament ideal is not English ; but there who once thanked God in the are more ways than one of ex- House of Commons that there pressing emotions, and in this wasn't a gentleman in his matter Englishmen are, as the constituency. The member of

could willingland.""tary great. WA

the chattertler tattle,

din no se here foolish

Parliament happened to be a did he pick up this piece gentleman, and to have a sense of false gossip ? From some of humour: he also offended column of inane tittle-tattle, the vast mass of his con- or from the chatter of some stituents. But Mr Chester- foolish club ? Those who are ton's tirade is in no sense fortunate enough to have humorous; it is delivered with known Henley, recognise that even more than his usual he had a genius for happiness gravity; and he most im- which nothing could daunt. properly appeals for support However, Mr Chesterton is a to Charles Dickens, "the great specimen of the rising generaest of whose glories,” says he, tion, and we must take him 6 was that he could not de- as we find him. The worst scribe a gentleman.” What of him is that he knows not that means we do not pretend the gaiety of youth. His to know. Even if a gentleman exuberant frivolity is but a be a monster of iniquity, why mask which covers a portenis it glorious not to be able tous solemnity. He makes a to describe him ? Would it great pretence at feeling the have proved some secret sym- joy of life, yet it is clear that pathy for the hated thing if the all the arts are distasteful to novelist had described him? him, and that his proper place The novelist did describe many is the pulpit. And along with a hypocrite and scoundrel. But Mr Chesterton's 'Heretics' perhaps Mr Chesterton believes there comes to us from Paris a that a gentleman is a worse new quarterly entitled 'Vers et thing than Fagin or Peoksniff, Prose,' which proves that in the than Squeers or Uriah Heap. French capital there are still Or maybe, and this is more left a few poets who esteem probable, he believes nothing the practice of their art of at all, and is merely thumping greater importance than the his tub, in the hope that his inculcation of a trite morality. antics will call the attention of Now, the new quarterly is in the passer-by.

one of its aspects a manifesto Mr Chesterton is not im- of the Symbolists — a school portant for himself. He is which came into being some deplorable as the type of a twenty years ago, and acclass which delights in hazard- knowledged the mastership of ous statements and futile gen- Stéphane Mallarmé. During eralisations. Whence he col- the twenty years since they lects his information we do first published their verses, not know, unless it be from and preached their doctrines the columns of The Daily in reviews, which the world News.' For instance, he re. refused to read, many things fers superfluously to the late have happened in the world of W. E. Henley, whom he calls French literature. School has “ that clever and unhappy succeeded school; heresy has man.” Who told him that faded into gospel; and now it Henley was unhappy? Where seems as though the revolution

were complete. The Naturistes, day give us a version of the whose youthful leader, M. St whole play. Here, also, are Georges de Bonhélier, set out, the verses of MM. de Régnier like Mr Chesterton, to reform and Verhaeren, who have no the world, is already forgotten, other preoccupation than to be and the Intégralistes have fol- poets, and who long ago proved lowed him into the night of their right to wear the bays. oblivion. Who, then, should And here are a few pages of take the lead? The Paris of exquisite prose, the last that the Poets is a loyal monarchy. we shall ever read from the It must bow the knee to a hand of Marcel Schwob, as prince; it must acknowledge a beautiful in form and ingenipeerage; and, as the new ous in thought as all that schools of the last five years he wrote. But especially we have not proved their aris- value. Vers et Prose' because it tocracy, the Symbolists have once more vindicates the right once more assumed the sceptre of literature to exist for its in the teeth of a double oppo- own sake, and to look for no sition. On the one hand stands other end than its own beauty. the old guard of pedantry, In England such a quarterly intent upon opposing all that would be impossible, because is not in harmony with the Englishmen are too eager to ideas of the École Normale. find a hint of politics or docOn the other is the new band trine in imaginative literature. of poets, who prefer nature Nor can we on this side the to art, and who, like Mr Ches- Channel fight for a theory of terton, detect a kind of crime style, or champion a purely in any doctrine of æstheticism. intellectual cause. But the But the Symbolists have not poets of Paris are valiant and lost the courage of their con- single-minded. “A zealot of victions, and they are prepared Socialism,” says M. Moréas, once more by practice and “or a fanatic of any party theory to vindicate their pos- whatever, might well compose ition. They are still young, a beautiful poem. It is not despite the passage of time, impossible. The poetic genius and if anything was needed to of Lucretius showed itself prove that they are in the through what Ronsard called great tradition of French the frenzies of sects. But literature, Vers et Prose' is Virgil is better, who listened here to prove it. There is only to the Muses.” That is no hint in its pages of the true spirit of poetry. And eccentricity or affectation. as we look out from our stern, All is dignified and mature. practical London we cannot M. Moréas, already a classio, but envy the good fortune of shows in his“ Prologue d'Ajax” Paris, which, as Oxford is the that he has not studied the home of lost causes, is still the masters in vain, and we can home of living and striving only hope that he will some schools.

Bezeny doctrine kind of coches

EDUCATION ?

For the second time Mr Bal- the personnel of the Government four's Government has intro- may have been leavened by the duced a Scotch Education Bill, advent of Liberal Unionists, the and for the second time all men party is still in the main comspeak well of the measure. It posed of Conservatives whose would be a reflection on the Socialism is not of the kind capacity of the House of Com- which would destroy the family, mons to be of practical use to and the free food proposals the country were the Bill again will not be accepted by the to appear in the list of "slaugh- Government. tered innocents." Yet such Sir John Gorst claims that seems likely to be its fate. the children of the state must There is no serious opposition be protected by the state—from to the measure. It will, of their parents! Grant his claim course, increase the sums that if you will. The state does the ratepayers have to disburse, interfere where parents are and that in two ways: First, cruel,—the principle is not in because it creates new bodies question. But that does not who, judging by past experi- prove that Sir John Gorst's ence, will consider that they method is the best. To diminmust justify their existence by ish parental responsibility is increased expenditure; and not the way to make better second, because it takes money parents. If children are sent which has been used by town to school hungry, it is not the or county councils to relieve the hard-working ratepayer who rates generally, and has ear- should be punished, but the marked it for education only. parent. The tendency of sentiEconomists will have something mental legislation is not to to say, therefore, but as no new compel people to fulfil their principle is involved their op- own duties and responsibilities, position is not likely to be but to put these responsibilities dangerous. The Radicals, how- on the shoulders of somebody ever, in their endeavour to else—a paid official for choice. deprive a Unionist Government The abolition of child insurance of the credit of passing a would do more to improve the measure which satisfies Scottish physique of the children of the educational authorities, to say lowest class than will further the least of it, are trying to interference with the natural tack on to the measure clauses law by which even the beasts are which would enable, if not governed—that creatures shall compel, the school boards to provide for their own young. feed the children at the expense The Radical bid, supported of the ratepayers. These new as it will be by the member for “ free fooders" desire to wreck Cambridge University, whom the Bill; for however much some consider an educational authority, will fail to appeal fifth at Inverness, and there to the Scottish electorate, and seem to be many plausible ought, in the meantime, to in- reasons for special treatment duce the members of the of the Gaelic-speaking counties Unionist party to stiffen the at least, for Caithness has much backs of the Government and more affinity with Edinburgh insist on the passing of the than with the “capital of the Education Bill before there is Highlands." These councils any thought of grouse, or golf, are to have no executive or salmon.

powers beyond making proNot that the Bill is perfect, vision for the training of perhaps even in the eyes of teachers “ within their proits framers. It is, however, a vince.” Their other functions practical measure, and will im- will apparently be to answer prove the machinery by which conundrums proposed by the teachers are appointed and Department. They will have paid, and schools built and the right of expressing their kept up. It alters the areas views to the Department “on from which school boards are any matter affecting the educaelected: the details as to the tional interests of their proelectoral areas will doubtless vince.” A clause this which greatly interest members of seems to smack strangely of Parliament, but they are really one of the new Russian conunimportant. From the school- stitutions granted to-day, unmaster's point of view the im- authorised to - morrow, and portant thing is that the claws superseded next week. It of the village tyrant will at shows how great the power of last be pared, for school boards the Education Department has consisting of a bully and his become, when a clause of an sycophants will cease. There Act of Parliament is required never have been many such, to grant freedom of speech, still the interposition of the under certain limitations, to Education Department in de- any of his Majesty's subjects. fence or support of a teacher The provincial councils are to has not been unknown.

be established “in connection The new school boards are with each of the universities,” invited to make better pro- whatever that may mean, and vision for the technical instruc- are to “include members of the tion, for the physical training Senatus Academicus of one or and recreation, and for the more of the universities and medical examination, of school representatives of the school children. There is wisdom in boards and of the governing this, but it may easily be turned bodies of the central instituinto folly and extravagance. tions ... in which higher

The Bill also makes provision education is given," &c. for the creation of provincial The desire of the Education councils. The Bill says one Department to get into closer at each university town; but relations with those engaged there is a popular call for a in higher education would be

« AnteriorContinuar »