Imágenes de páginas

his father's arrest on the day of his departure failed to hold him back. He is not a man wlro will hold back. He went right ahead to Yverdon, arriving there with two lire in his pockets. After roaming for days from job to job, he was finally arrested and imprisoned on a charge of vagrancy. He returned to Italy, determined to "upset the world and everybody in it." He did.

Mussolini was born for the pen, and he followed his inclination. As a boy he had written many articles and much bad poetry. In Switzerland he had worked as a mason. He would be a journalist. In Trento he joined the martyr Cesare Battista and wrote for "Il Popolo." He gave himself to the cause of Italian irredentism, employing his pen, which was also his sword, with fierce hatred against Austria and the Austrians. He left Battista and founded "La Lotta di Classe" in Forli. His articles and editorials were so bitter, so venomous, so belligerent, that all Italy came to know Mussolini, the merciless revolutionist. He demanded the leadership of the Socialist party, as he has demanded the Government, and the party surrendered. He assumed the editorship of the "Avanti," the official organ of the Socialist movement, and, fearing "neither Rome nor hell," set out to "put blood, nerves, and iron in a huge empty body." Under his leadership the Socialist party assumed a belligerent attitude in Italian politics. Mussolini was the bitterest agitator and the most aggressive propagandist the Italian Socialists had ever seen. He was not for the class struggle. He was for class war.

Then the World War came. A deep love of country, slumbering for years in the heart of the revolutionary, came to life with the first booming of the guns. Mussolini could not resist its magnetism. He was a born fighter, a man for the trenches, a dynamic human force. The policy of neutrality decided upon by his party was not for him. He would not be a pacifist. He could not be. He cried out for war, and he ceased to be a Socialist. "Traitor!" shouted his comrades. "Scoundrels, cowards!" thundered Mussolini.

On November 15, 1914, the first issue of "Il Popolo d'Italia," the bitterest antiSocialist organ in Italy, appeared on the news-stands of Milan. Through its columns Mussolini cried out for war-for war against Austria and Germany, for war against the Socialist and Communist parties, against all the enemies of Italy. He fought for and in the war. All Italy listened to the emotional, dramatic, inspiring war speeches of Mussolini, the redeemed. Four years later he began the organization of the Fasci. The first to respond to his call were the Arditi.

What has happened since then is practically a matter of common knowledge. With his million Fascisti, who compose the most remarkable movement of youth in the history of any nation, he has brought the Socialist and Com

[graphic][merged small]


munist parties to their knees. He has assumed absolute control of the Italian Government. It may truly be said that in the hands of this man lies the fate of Italy.

Mussolini is an eccentric man of remarkable force and initiative. Though he betrays a childish sentimentalism in his acceptance of political ideas, he is inclined to be egotistical, cruel, and unscrupulous. He is not a cultured man. He abhors the academic mind and hates the doctrinaire. His articles are superficial, his speeches abound in adjectives. But he is as aggressive with his pen as with his tongue. The editorials in "Il Popolo d'Italia" are venomous, menacing, and always polemical. One of the editors of the Fascista organ gives this picture of Mussolini at work in his office:

In the editorial offices there is complete silence. Mussolini is at work. Facing him, on the wall, hangs the black flag of the Arditi, with its prominent skull and dagger; on the table, between the barricade of books and the mass of manuscripts, rests his revolver; a bit further, on a volume of Carducci, a hunting knife, with its blade of steel, glitters in the sunlight; close to his inkwell is another revolver, a smaller one of feminine elegance. On the bookcase-rather, on mass of manuscripts never to be published--are boxes of bullets; near by rests his Fascista cane. In this formidable armory, standing out in perfect contrast to the black flag, Mussolini loads, murmurs, shrieks, threatens, and explodes. He hammers out his thoughts. His pen cuts deep into the paper. He works like a workman. He glories in his work.


"Clemenceau," says Nitti, "has been throughout his whole life a formidable man of destruction." Mussolini differs from Clemenceau only in that he can

also build. He is a doer of things. He believes in accomplishment, in achievement, and has no patience with men who will not act. In his large, protruding eyes there is bitter determination and much iron. He built up the Socialist party and then abandoned it. He followed with the building of the Fasci. He will now build an iron government.

Mussolini, unlike many of the party. leaders in Italy, cannot be credited with firm political convictions. He is continuously in a state of political change. Even to-day the public opinion of the country is hopelessly divided on what Mussolini actually believes and desires. He has been a Socialist and a Socialist leader for many years. But was he truly a Socialist? Did he fully grasp the Marxian theories of government? It is difficult to answer the question. I am inclined to believe that he was lured by the romanticism of the Socialist movement. He loved to fight, and the Socialist party, the class struggle, offered him the opportunity to fight. He has never believed in reform through the ballot. He believed and believes in the right of might. As a youth he believed in industrial and political revolution. As a leader of the Socialists he believed in settimane rosse and la guerra di classe. In the war he was a soldier of the trenches. In peace he guided his Fascisti through civil war.

To-day, with the reins of government in his hands, this man, ferocious as a tyrant and human as a child, promises to restore law and order. "Democracy," he has said, "has failed in Italy. This is the day of the dictatorship."

Will he restore the Government to all the people of Italy or will he continue to dominate single-handedly, as he has dominated from that day in Romagna when he urged the striking workmen to revolution? The nation awaits breathlessly the next move of Benito Mussolini.

[merged small][merged small][graphic][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]



OU ought to write something

[ocr errors]

about that," said the head of the English Department in a big preparatory school. "Those are two unusually interesting experiments."

The two other English teachers completing our group, talking shop after a full day of reading for the College Entrance Board examinations, urged the same thing. And so I have done so. There is nothing new about the experiments, but perhaps my writing about them may help to encourage some of us teachers who in the routine of the daily task may have become tired, discouraged, or mired.

So much for introduction, except-they really aren't experiments; they are proved facts.

Four years ago I wished to demonstrate to myself the truth or falsity of certain theories of my own as to a boy's liking for poetry. For years, in classes corresponding to eighth grade or a little higher, I had had some very interesting results in getting boys not only to read poetry, but also to compose verse. I wanted to see what could be done, while carrying the regular work of the course, with a class a year older, corresponding roughly to first-year high school boys, in which there should be no picked boys except such as the alphabet in its natural order dropped into my lap. Accordingly, I took a class of youngsters from thirteen to fifteen years old.

Now I believed that the supposition, held by many, that boys as a rule dislike or hate poetry is absolutely false. I held, and still hold, that almost all boys have within them a genuine fondness for poetry. If a teacher believes that they have not and proceeds to teach with that view-point, he will not discover their liking, and beyond question he will arouse in most boys so great an aversion to poetry that he may shut the door to their enjoyment of it, not only during the period of adolescence, but possibly for all time. On the other hand, if a teacher really loves poetry and takes the standpoint that men are but boys grown up and have in common an inherent love for that which is clean and true, strong and brave, and fine and beautiful, he will find, if he shows any wisdom in his teaching, that there will be a ready response to his love for poetry on the part of the boys. This response will of course vary with the boy, but rare indeed is he who does not care for some kind of poetry.

In my experimental class, besides our work in grammar, composition, and prose reading, we read Thompson's "British Verse" from the beginning. After we had discovered that Dan Chaucer used a form of simplified spelling and got away with it when we

couldn't, worse luck!-and had a deliciously humorous way of picturing the people of his day, who were remarkably like ourselves in spite of their queer clothes and manners, we raced through the ballads and found that, naïve and crude, exaggerated and absurd, though they might be in places, they had swing and sincerity, incident and plot, and appeal in every case. Then we came to the lyric poetry of Elizabeth's age and of Shakespeare. One week I read to the boys in the class the four or five of Shakespeare's sonnets included in the "British Verse," taking up one or two a day and explaining them very carefully. After that I asked each member of the class to choose the sonnet he liked best, and to bring in for the next recitation a carefully written paraphrase of it. When that was done, I told the boys I wished each one to memorize the sonnet of his choice. They of course found that they were able to learn it in no time. Shortly after that they studied Milton's sonnets. It was simple then to compare the Shakespearean and the Italian types of sonnets.

It was now some time after Christmas, and I was ready for the experiment, of which the boys had no inkling. One Monday morning I said, "Now, boys, we'll try something new to-day. We'll all write a sonnet. I think most of you can do it in the forty-five minutes."

The expression of surprise and incredulity on the faces of some of the youngsters was most amusing. Most of them had never tried to write verse. What was there that they could write upon? I told them that the subjectmatter was simple. They had been reading a good deal of love poetry. They, being experienced in all such matters, could easily write a love sonnet. They could write the octave on a description


lOOD for many minds awaits the readers of The Outlook's "Book Table." There is Lloyd Morris's review of "Ariel," by José Enrique Rodó, entitled "A Philosopher from the Plate." There is interesting biographical material in Henry C. Shelley's "Centenary of Thomas Hughes." Herbert Gorman has given us an article which might be called "Confessions of a Book Reviewer," and Hubert V. Coryell continues his previous essays on boys and books by an article giving the boys' point of view of "What Makes a Book Worth Reading."

of "her," though who "she" was I did not know except in the case of Jack. The sestet could begin with "but," though what the "but" would lead to, I had no idea. What more did they, being intelligent boys, need? Keep quiet and get busy.

Their inagination was tickled. The competitions they had had in rhyming words and in synonyms and the training they had had in the rhythm of verse now stood them in good stead, and they tackled the new game in earnest. I had asked them to write a sonnet in fortyfive minutes if they could. I knew well enough that I could not have done such a thing at their age, and I question whether many of my day and generation could have. Could any of these boys do it? Quietly and eagerly they workedno sound in the room except once in a while a boy tipsoed to me to ask for advice. By thirty-five minutes one boy was through; by forty, three more; by forty-five, eight out of the class of sixteen. All but two had more than eight lines. The work of all of them was in true sonnet form with correct versification. The boys who had not finished were allowed two or three days extra, but were asked to get their sonnets in as soon as possible. They did.

When we discussed the sonnets, some of which were humorous, some serious, all better than I had dared hope for, we realized that writing verse was not so difficult, after all. We next decided to write ballads. Accordingly, we took twenty minutes of a recitation for each one to think out plots for ballads. These were read in class and criticised by the boys. Then I asked that they try to get their ballads in within a week. Well, we had some great ballads. They ran the gamut of mystery, disguise, and the supernatural, lily-white maids, damsels with golden hair, true love triumphant, tragic death. There were flaws in the meter at times-as there should be in all true ballads!-and in diction and in plot it was still possible, if one desired, to criticise; but, as in the case of the sonnets, I was able to congratulate the boys heartily for the fine work they had done.

We had great fun one recitation with limericks. Then a little later I told the boys I wished to try another experiment. I wanted them to put either the First or the Twenty-third Psalm into verse. And I told them why I thought such an exercise would be helpful. Again I gave them plenty of time. They found this versification harder, as I expected; but I was astonished at the results they obtained. Most of the boys chose the Twenty-third Psalm, and they used all kinds of meter. One boy, I remember, used an anapestic trimeter for the First Psalm. When we read and discussed the verse, mixed in with the boys' versions, I gave them a number of poetic (?) paraphrases from an old

metrical version of the Psalms, printed about 1800. At the end of this joint reading up popped the hand of one of the boys. "Mr. R, I think some of our verse is better than some of that in the Psalms." I agreed with him.

Every year we give a prize for the best verse written by any boy in the form. By this time my boys were ready for the contest. I told them I hoped a member of the class would win it, but the one thing I really cared for was that each boy should give the best of himself in the contest. Each member of the class I asked to write at least one piece of verse on any subject he pleased. Most of the class wrote more than one. In fact, boys were bringing verse right along for me to look over. There was war verse and love verse, humorous, reflective, serious and tragic verse, narrative, lyric-all verse; and it ran from limerick length to that of many stanzas. The prize poem of our section, according to the judgment of the boys, gave the experiences of a Buddy in the war; it had at least forty quatrains. It was an unusual product for a boy of fifteen or so. It won the prize for the form.

At the suggestion of the class, we collected our best work, which I handed in to the head master to read. very proud of our collection.

We were

Now of course the youngsters had not written great poetry, and probably never will. But, according to their age and their ability, they had done their best. Moreover, they had gained much more that is valuable. They had learned by their own failures and successes to appreciate the right word in the right place, the beauty of the perfect line, the lilt and rhythm of mighty swing of it, the appeal of apt and lovely figures of speech, the charm and magic of all true poetry. Poetry to practically every one of them is for all time an open book, and many of them have read already much in its golden pages.

Since then I have not had an opportunity to teach a group of young boys in the same way. What teaching I did with younger boys the next year was necessarily along different lines. Practically all my time since then I have had to devote to classes preparing strictly for the College Board examinations.

Now our school believes in preparing for the restricted examination in Eng. lish, on the ground that the drill and training of a definite prescribed course can be given in such a way as to implant a better knowledge of the essentials of English than can the comprehensive plan, and at the same time can be made interesting. A criticism of the restricted plan often heard is that it compels the study of books that the boys hate. "We still teach Burke's 'Speech' and Milton's minor poems," said a teacher in English last June to me. "Why the head makes us, I don't see, for every boy hates Burke and Milton. I wish the head would let us teach the easier books prescribed under the reTricted plan or else the comprehensive.

's absurd to make boys study stuff they

To answer all of which in the reverse order a thing I was not so foolish as to attempt in any form or order with the teacher in question, for inevitably there is a great gulf between us regard. ing essentials-I would say in passing: (1) that it is very difficult, to put it mildly, to teach boys or anybody what they hate; (2) that the question arises why boys should hate those books-is it the book, the boy, or the teacher that is at fault? (3) that the fact that other books may be easier does not necessarily prove their greater value or more abiding interest-indeed, probably proves the reverse. On all this I could write at length, but that is another matter.

Personally I have not found that boys hate Milton's minor poems or Burke's "Speech on Conciliation." When the poems and the "Speech" are made clear to them, almost all boys like them very much. Boys with imagination prefer the poems; those with a logical mind, the "Speech." Last year I assigned for memory work any passages of twelve lines each in "L'Allegro," "Il Penseroso," and "Comus." Practically nine boys out of ten learned twenty lines or more from each poem, and one boy memorized all of "L'Allegro" and "Il Penseroso," and between sixty and seventy lines of "Comus." They liked the poems, especially the two shorter ones. All of which goes to prove that boys do not necessarily hate poetry, and leads to the other experiment I wish to write of here.

To prepare for the restricted examination there is so much work assigned that we have practically no time allowed to ask boys to do such things as to write original verse. However, I care for poetry, and poetry in relation to life, so much that I am not content merely to keep to the prescribed list. All the time I am attempting to lead the boys' thoughts into life, and at all times I am holding to the tried and proved, and seeking to add the new. This past year, led by certain results I had gained beforehand, I experimented in one direction in earnest. I wished to see what fruit we were obtaining from the two anthologies of British verse we use in our lower forms, and to see how far a liking for verse would carry boys. One day I copied on the board before class Gilder's exquisitely beautiful sonnet "The Sonnet." At the opening of each of my recitations I read the sonnet with comment on its author, form, and content. It took about two minutes in each of my four classes. After that the regular recitation proceeded as usual. I noticed, however, that two or three boys copied the sonnet while the recitation was going on. I said nothing; neither did they.

The next recitation there was Oppenheim's "The Slave," the next Kilmer's "Trees," then Carolyn Wells's "The Spelling Lesson"-I was running the gamut of variety to reach all types. At least one boy copied the poem of the day in every case. As I was embarked on a voyage of adventure and discovery, I

tried all sorts-Emily Dickinson's "A Prairie," Knowles's "A Thanksgiving," Father Tabb's "Influence," Newboldt's "Messmates," Hovey's "The Sea Gypsy," and so on and so on. And in every case at least one boy copied the poem. I expected the boys to enjoy the beauty of Fred Knowles's "On a Fly-leaf of Burns's Poetry," or Thompson's "Gifts." but I questioned what the response would be to Alice Meynell's "The Lady of the Lambs;" for my boys are no goody-goodies, but simply wholesome American boys. To my surprise, when I read her poem in each of my sections, a silence fell of such a sort as comes only when every boy is held. One fellow, as I finished reading, exclaimed: "Not much like the modern girl!" I noticed that many boys copied the poem.

I selected my poems, not merely from various volumes of poetry, but also from clippings I have gathered through many years from friends, and from current magazines and newspapers. "The Liar," for example, written on the board on the day it appeared in the New York "Times," made a hit. Soon I found that boys from my own sections and also from those of other masters' were making collections of verse too. They also wished to look over my collections and to copy what they liked. Boys have spent a whole afternoon in my study reading and copying. Others were sending the verses home. One boy knew that dad would chuckle over a bit of verse on golf. I found that I was being asked, "I did not think the poem in the "Times' yesterday very good; did you?" Boys began to bring to me verse that had appealed to them. Some very good verse they brought. I was almost always glad, if it was not too long, to copy it on the board, or, at any rate, to read it to the class. Naturally, all this led to many a talk about verse and poetry.

Don't tell me that boys don't like poetry; most of them do. Give them a chance, and you'll find the truth of my statement. And often the love is where you least expect it. Three years ago I received a letter from a boy who had been a member of my house for three years and had then gone to college. He had been in the English class of one of my associates. It was a homesick letter from a boy in entirely new surroundings. In it he wrote:

"Among some of the things that come back to me are some of the poems in the 'British Verse.' They are so fastened in my mind that they, like L, can never be forgotten. I would like it very much if you would have the Company send me one of those books C. O. D. It is a book I do not feel I can do without, and do not want to try to."

When he had first appeared at school. he had seemed simply a rough, uncouth fellow, absolutely undisciplined, and far below the ordinary boy in ability and capacity. Realizing, however, that he was greatly handicapped, he had plugged and plugged, and had become more amenable to discipline. By the time he left school he was entering into his

love for poetry. I am persuaded that there are countless boys who in the drill of every-day recitations, when a teacher shows that he loves poetry, are obtaining, perhaps unconsciously, that glimpse of the glory of English poetry that makes for truer, finer living in the sight of God and man.







Percy Duncan Haughton. Illustrated. Marshall Jones Company, Boston. $3. If football were as simple a thing to explain as squads right, we should need no Percy Haughton to compile an illustrated and animated imitation of the Infantry Drill Regulations, which would begin at the beginning with a photograph of a football and continue till all had been said that might be said. The fact is that football is far too complex to be explained for the average spectator in one volume. Moreover, Mr. Haughton realizes that many of his readers will fall in that class of spectator which watches the game "in blissful ignorance of the simplest rudiments;" which leads us to wonder why the author did not follow the Infantry Drill method long enough to begin nearer the beginning. Surely among the blissfully ignorant will be some who, if they appreciate the object of the game, are not able to tell a quarterback from a tackle. On the whole, however, the author wisely keeps in mind his readers' capabilities while introducing them to some of the finer points that distinguish good football from bad. He never becomes so technical as to become involved.

Mr. Haughton's course of instruction includes, besides the chapters we might expect on attack and defense, several that touch on the historical, medical, mental, and moral aspects of the game. The more one knows, the more one will see, seems to be his guiding principle. All this information is tied up in a neat bundle ready to take home, in Chapter IX, wherein Mr. Haughton himself goes to a football game and describes what he sees. The public should congratulate itself that the author has such a wholesome fear of boring his readers with cold facts, for his book is brightened by an easy, straightforward manner, by a congenial acquaintanceship with human nature, and by a remarkable array of photographs from a collection used at Harvard for coaching purposes. Mr. Haughton will accomplish his first object, which was to add materially to the enjoyment of those who like to watch football.

He will perhaps accomplish a second object. Football, like other sports, has suffered from too zealous sport writers (a fact for which Heywood Broun half apologizes in his hearty Introduction). The spectacular and the physical have been over-emphasized. By placing emphatically the mental before the physical, by seeing the fifty-yard run only as the accomplishment of eleven men, by

[ocr errors]

Honor These Seals


is carrying on a warfare against the scourge of Consumption. In saving over 100,000 lives last year, it actually cut the death rate from tuberculosis in half.

Each year these organizations sell Tuberculosis Christmas Seals. The proceeds from these sales are devoted to the work of caring for and curing tuberculosis patients and to educational and other work to prevent the dread disease.

Buy these Seals and urge your friends to buy and use them. To do this is both Charity and Patriotism.



Stamp Out Tuberculosis with Christmas Seals

The National, State, and Local Tuberculosis Associations of the United State

« AnteriorContinuar »