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No doubt there is something tropical in his sudden maturity, but it was maturity, nevertheless.” Here we see Mr. Lowell conceding the faults of Keats and, in a genuinely charitable spirit, seeking to minimize their force. To our mind, his greatest fault was the close connection which his poetry evinces of excellence and defect, so as to mar, at times, any unity of good result. It is thus that Colvin, in speaking of "Endymion," writes, "Beauties and faults are so bound up together that a critic may well be struck almost as much by one as by the other.” So, Devey writes, “ 'Endymion' contains passages which would do honor to the Elizabethan poets, with much commonplace which would disgrace Blackmore.' The same is true of "Hyperion” and “Lamia,” and of many of his minor poems, as to the conspicuous absence of sustained excellence, so that the sympathetic reader is, at times, startled and shocked by the suddenness and violence of the contrasts. This is one of the reasons, undoubtedly, why his longest poem, "Endymion,” containing some rare poetic passages, has not been more widely read and appreciated, its too frequent lapses from the poet's high standard discouraging the general student and reader. Here again, however, we might assume Mr. Lowell's more charitable view and insist that the principle in question proves too much—that if we apply it severely as a specific principle of poetic criticism, most of our already accepted conclusions must be greatly modified. Thus, it might be argued that “The Faerie Queene" and “Paradise Lost” and “The Excursion" and "Lalla Rookh" and “Aurora Leigh” and “Evangeline” evince a similar abrupt descent from higher to lower levels, from the sublime to the indifferent; the only difference being, perchance, that this unheralded descent is oftener made by Keats than by Spenser, Milton, Wordsworth, Moore, Mrs. Browning, and Longfellow. In any case, however, it is a fault, its character depending on its frequency and suddenness and on the manner in which in every instance the poet recovers himself and rises again to loftier levels of wider outlook and more inspiring influences.
It is in his minor poems that his special gifts appear. It is of his “Ode on a Grecian Urn” and “La Belle Dame sans Merci” that Saintsbury says, "He need to have written nothing but these two to show himself not merely an exquisite poet, but a leader of English poetry for many a year, almost for many a generation to come.” It is in referring to his premature death and to his burial at Rome and, especially, to his own prepared epitaph, "Here lies one whose name was writ in water," that Saintsbury beautifully adds, "Posterity has agreed with him that it was written in water, but in the water of life.” Lovely and benignant in character, unselfishly thoughtful of the interests of others, gifted with the essential spirit of poetry, and of quite too sensitive a fiber to bear the struggle of this rude world, his clear and pure personality is a perpetual blessing to the English nation, and the verse he wrote a beautiful reflection of the strength and sweetness of his life. In the "Letters” of Keats, recently published, this attractive personal side of his career is brought more prominently to view, as is also his work as a writer of miscellaneous English prose.
I W, ettent
Art. VIII.-THE SYNAGOGUES OF THE DISPERSION
AND EARLY CHRISTIANITY.*
It is a fact well known to readers of history that the Jewish people in the time of Christ were widely scattered throughout the civilized world. There were Jewish communities in all the large cities and towns of the Roman empire, and adventurous Jewish traders penetrated to the remotest provinces. These Jewish emigrants kept themselves in close touch with Judea, and they were also in the most intimate relation with the stirring world about them. Thus there came to pass, at least one hundred and fifty years before Christ, according to Philo, the following condition:
Jerusalem became the capital not only of Judea, but of many other lands on account of the colonies it sent out from time to time into the bordering districts of Egypt, Phænicia, Syria, Cælo-Syria, and into the more distant regions of Pamphylia, Cilicia, and greater parts of Asia Minor as far as Bithynia and the remotest corners of Pontus, and in like manner into Europe; into Thessaly, Beotia, and Macedonia, and Ætolia, and Attica, and Argos, and Corinth, and into the most fruitful parts of Peloponnesus. Not only is the continent full of Jewish colonies, but also the most important islands, such as Eubea, Cyprus, and Crete-I say nothing of the country be
* In the preparation of this article the writer has had access, in addition to the standard books of reference, to the following historical works, largely through the courtesy of the librarian of the Indiana State Normal: The Jewish People in the Time of Christ, Schürer (Second Division, vol. ii, secs. 27 and 30) ; History of the People of Israel, Renan (Period of Jewish Independence and Judea under Roman Rule, particularly book x, chaps. iii and iv) ; History of Israel, Ewald ; History of the Jews, H. Graetz ; A History of the Jewish People, Kent; History of the People of Israel, Cornill; History of the Jews, Milman; History of the Jewish Church, Stanley; Rawlinson's Ancient Monarchies. The only original authority consulted has been Josephus. I have sought mainly in these works for a detailed account of the dispersion of the Jews in apostolic times. The histories of Schürer and Renan have proven most valuable. The work by Professor Graetz, written from the Jewish standpoint, while manifestly biased, is suggestive. He lays emphasis upon the advantage taken by the apostolic missionaries of the Jewish communities and of the leaning toward Judaism among the Gentiles (vol. 11, p. 221.) On the organization of the dispersed Jewish communities the studies by Renan and Schürer and the articles “Synagogue" and "Dispersed” in McClintock and Strong have been of most use. On the methods used by the early evangelists in the Christian propaganda the records of the missionary journeys of Paul are about all that is left. It was unnecessary to refer to other historical works which were at hand, and it has been possible only to glean from a multitude of references those which are inserted.
yond the Euphrates. All of them except a very small portion of Babylon, and all the satrapies which contain fruitful land, have Jewish inhabitants.*
The dispersion of the Jews began hundreds of years before the Christian era, in forced captivities under Syrian and Babylonian conquerors. In 740 B. C. Tiglath-pileser, king of Syria, carried off as captives parts of the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and Manasseh, and twenty years later Sargon took away the mass of the ten tribes to the regions beyond the Euphrates. A hundred years later Jerusalem was captured by Nebuchadnezzar, the city was destroyed, and the king and people were taken to Babylon. Of those who were carried away but few ever returned to their native land. They became absorbed in the industrial life about them, and found it more profitable to remain among their conquerors than to return with the remnant who rebuilt the Holy City. These "lost tribes” grew and multiplied for over five hundred years. They were never lost, but only shared finally the common extinction of those vast oriental populations. They formed the great Jewish population of Parthia, Syria, and Mesopotamia which was known as the “dispersion" in apostolic times. There were other minor captivities which occurred in the course of the Jewish wars and in which a few of the people were carried away, such as those who were taken to Rome by Pompey to grace his triumph.
But there were important and more immediate causes than these back of the wide Jewish dispersion. The Jews have always been a prolific people, remarkably free from the vices which depopulate nations. Their country was small and unequal to the natural growth of its population, and the overflow naturally poured into the surrounding nations. On account of its geographical position Palestine was also the scene of constant military expeditions and sanguinary conflicts between the nations of the East and the West. This was unfavorable to the pursuit of trade. It made industry precarious, and with the development of the Hebrew genius for commerce those engaged in trade naturally sought more favorable localities. For these reasons there was a constant voluntary emigration of Jewish settlers to the countries bordering upon Palestine, and to all the towns of the Roman empire. It was especially during the Hellenistic period that these emigrations were most numerous. The Macedonian generals of Alexander the Great, and their successors, encouraged the intermingling of different nationalities; they founded new cities all through the Orient, and were lavish in special privileges to attract to them new settlers. Valuable rights of citizenship and other privileges were freely given to attract Jewish immigrants. Drawn by these inducements, large numbers of Jews left their native land for foreign cities. Thousands of them emigrated into the neighboring countries of Syria and Egypt. They collected in unusually large numbers in Antioch and Alexandria; they crowded into the cities of Asia Minor, particularly the towns and islands bordering upon the Ægean Sea, as well as to the larger ports and commercial cities of the Mediterranean. Thus it was brought about, partly by force and partly by emigration, that the Sibylline Oracles could say, about the year 140 B. C., “that every land and sea was filled with the Jews.” Renan has given a striking description of these Jewish emigrants:
* Schürer, p. 222.
Honest, industrious, and apt in small employments, these transported Jews served as a nucleus of an excellent middle class. A people they hardly were; a peasantry, never. Country life and barbarous lands were to them as if nonexistent. But as orderly men and faithful subjects they had no equals; they quickly took root in any country, and looked on that in which they were born as their fatherland. Sovereigns conferred privileges upon them. Viewed with jealousy by the population about them, they meddled very lit. tle with questions of dynasty, and were always for the strongest. Fidelity to any legitimate sovereign was one of the things on which they prided themselves.*
The dispersion of the Jews in the commercial centers of the Roman empire was so important in the spread of early Christianity that we shall go into considerable detail and endeavor to show just where they were located, the peculiar institutions
* History of the People of Israel, book x, p. 191.