« הקודםהמשך »
« Hold !
And wrap my courage round me like a queen." Without knowing more than that this is “ a first and tentative effort," it is impos. sible to say more of “Brian Boru" than that we could conceive it, after much cutting down, made into an effective acting play; but then the “ local colour," of which the author admits the absence, would have to be supplied. For writing a good closet drama the author does not appear to us to have the power.
Certainly “ Martin Luther" is no closet drama, and in its present form it would not be tolerated by an English audience in a theatre, any more than a sham prayermeeting. There is no want of " local colour” here, and the authors have gone so far as to explain how parts may be, in actors' phrase, “ doubled,” and that the publishers are authorised to treat with managers on the terms of representation!
But to return to the point started by Mr. Merivale. There is nothing in either of these dramas which would induce a busy publisher or a busy reviewer to read them carefully through, with an eye to the formulation of any elaborate judgment. In one case we have an Irish story of the eleventh century, and the author tells you to your face that his reading does not supply him with materials for local colour;" in the other, when we note the deliberation with which the authors have set them. selves to make playwrights' capital out of the story of Luther, we turn away, hopeless. It is quite true that the dramatist must be impartial, but he must not be flashy and indifferent.
III.-HISTORY AND LITERATURE OF THE EAST.
(Under the Direction of Professor E. H. PALMER.)
JHE career of Yakoob Beg, which stimulated Mr. Boulger (Yakoob Beg, Kashgar,
is rather an episode than the chief subject of his history, and may, indeed, be disposed of in few words. Born in 1820 of a respectable Tajik family in a little town of Khokand, he owed his first employment to his sister's marriage with the Governor of Tashkent. His first considerable exploit was the gallant but unavailing defence of Ak Musjid against the Russians in 1853; and then was not more notable for his gallantry than for the ready transfer of his services from one to another of the pretenders to the throne of Khokand, until, in 1864, he was attached to Buzurg Khan, the Khoja pretender to Kashgar on the destruction of the Chinese power, who crossed the frontiers with a party numbering but sixty-eight, and whose cowardice and faithlessness to his chief servant were fitly rewarded by deposition from his scarcely won throne before the end of 1865, and a few months later by banishment. The destruction of the Chinese power dates from 1862, and was caused by a revolt
, due to obscure causes, of the Tunganis--who seem to differ only in religion from the main body of the Chinese nation—but slaughtered their Buddhist fellow-countrymen without mercy, as they could not be supposed to regard with favour a stranger, even of their own faith, who had intervened to rob them of their hard-won independence. Yakoob Beg found it necessary to reduce them to order by regular operations in 1867, and, unfortunately, under the influence of sectarian jealousy, renewed the war in 1869, so exposing himself to the full force of Chinese invasion ; depriving himself of the aid Tunganis might have given in his armies, and giving Russia a pretence for seizing Ili, as though saving it from his clutches for China, the ancient over-lord. After this fatal war, he remained substantially at peace, till in the autumn of 1876 the Chinese reappeared in great force north of the Tien Shan, and forced him to take the field in the spring of the next year. Out-manæuvred and out-numbered he bore himself like a gallant soldier ; even the desertion of a large part of his army did not break his spirit, and he was still on the defensive at Korla when he was assassinated in May, 1877, but a few weeks after his last defeat at Toksoun.
It is hard now to understand why, for a time, Yakoob Beg occupied so large a
place in the English mind. To Russia, indeed, occupied in disintegrating the Khanates of Central Asia, he was of importance, on account of the weight he might throw into the scale at the extremity of her Empire, and to this cause we may probably attribute the eagerness with which she seized the commanding position of Ili: and England, therefore, was interested in him as a possible ally in a war with Russia : but there never was ground for the fancy pictures of the Athalik Ghazi and his State, and the advantages to be drawn from intercourse with both. As his chosen title proved, he was a bigoted Mohammedan; observance of Mohammedan law and customs was enforced with narrow rigour; and though undoubtedly he was a man of exceptional ability, no point about his internal administration seems novel or deserving of special notice. Intercourse with foreign States he would tolerate, but desired it only so far as it might strengthen his military powers; and he seems to have preferred English to Russians only because they were farther away, had done less harm to Islam, and could do less harm to him.
But enough of Yakoob Beg. Of more interest and more importance to the political student is the past, present, and future of Chinese rule in Eastern Turkestan. Corresponding exactly in latitude with the Spanish peninsula, it has also a climate closely resembling that of parts of Spain, and similar varied mineral wealth ; but whereas the one country is washed on all sides by seas which place it in communication with all the world, the other is hemmed in by barriers of mountain and desert, which almost hermetically seal it against the enterprising traveller. Its population is almost entirely Turanian in blood, though Mohammedan in faith, until its reconquest by the Chinese in 1753 brought back many settlers of the ancient Buddhist faith. Its history before that conquest is now matter of only artiquarian interest. The rivalries of the Karataghluc and the Aktaghluc, the black and the white mountaineers, whose influence respectively on .Yarkand and the South, Kashgar and the North, are the only survivals of more ancient days, which may still affect the future.
North of the Tien Shan lies the district of Ili, Kuldja, or Jungaria, sometimes subject to the rulers of Kashgar, whose territory it commands, but held in the first half of the last century by Calmucs, who ruled Kashgar through a dependent Prince. Invited by one of two rivals for the supreme power in Ili, the Chinese made themselves masters of that territory, and then allowed their agent to foment discord in Kashgar, which facilitated the subjugation of that country also. When resistance ceased, the Chinese promptly set about developing the resources of their new territory, and raised it to a pitch of prosperity, and drew from it revenues, beyond the belief of persons now visiting Kashgar. Carefully planned irrigation works economised the scanty rainfall, and extended the cultivation, now existing only in belts, round and between the principal cities, far along the southern slopes of the Tien Shan, while the various mineral deposits were extensively worked, and a mountain road through the Muzart Pass, constructed with great labour, and kept in repair by relays of workmen, maintained the communication between the Governor-General at Ili and his lieutenant, the Amban, at Yarkand. The country was garrisoned by an enormous Chinese army, and the highest civil offices were held by men
of the same race; but the administration of justice and the collection of revenue were left to native officers. So long as a man kept quiet and paid his dues, the rulers cared nothing about his religion or morality; the Amban and the Mohammedan Wang worked well together, and the foreigners might be trusted to protect the taxpayer from the tyranny of the Wang: but this state of peace was disturbed by a new element introduced by Chinese policy.
The desire of the Chinese to promote trade with the West encouraged many merchants of Khokand to settle in their cities, and, by degrees, the recognised chief's of these communities, under the title of Aksakals, were allowed to free themselves from the control of the Wangs. One check on their power of intrigue was thus removed, and their opportunities of doing mischief were increased when about 1817 the Khan of Khokand was bribed, by a subsidy and permission to levy dues on Andijani trade in Kashgar through the Aksakals, to keep the exiled Khoja dynasty quiet; of course the Khan kept his bargain only till all things seemed in train for a successful revolt, and in 1826 the Khoja Jehangir was encouraged to make a dash for the throne. At first, the revolt was successful, but soon it was put down with the utmost severity, and with this severity passed away the concord between the ruling and the subject peoples. Unhappily, the Aksakals were allowed the same opportunities of doing mischief, if at much personal risk; and many other raids and risings followed, causing misery to the people, but leaving the Chinese masters in Kashgar, till the Tungani insurrection in 1862 cut off their communication with
China, and incited the native Kashgaris to rise in earnest : the heroic defence of Chinese garrisons was useless, and the country on both sides of the Tien Shan passed away from Chinese sway, as it seemed, for ever.
Now, as we have seen, the Chinese have returned, and by the end of 1877 were masters in Kashgar. To us who may again have to meet the Chinese on the seaboard it is important to notice that the veterans of the Tunganis war seem to be drilled on some European model, to be well armed with modern weapons, which they handle well, and to be led by men of ability, trained in modern strategy. Those who would judge of their chances of permanent prosperity in Kashgar will observe the express declaration of the Pekin Gazette that the people were allowed to return to their fields, and spared the expected massacres, a statement to be reconciled with Russian reports by remembering that the latter spoke of massacres in cities, and so presumably among the garrison. And the student of Asiatic politics will note that they at once claimed from Russia the retrocession of Ili, and have never ceased to press their claims.
“Thus at the present time,” concludes Mr. Boulger, " there remain but three Asiatic powers, and any two may impose their will on the third. To which then of the western rivals is the influence of China likely to be given ? From England she has met nothing but open hostility, and by England her vassal states of Nepal, Burmah, Siam have been encouraged in revolt. From Russia she has met none but pretended friendship, a friendship which she must see has imposed nothing but sacrifices, and is now illustrated by the resolute retention of Ili, a territory which indeed Russia has ruled well, and dares not surrender, for fear of the shock such surrender would give to her prestige. Let then, England return from her evil courses and China will be her friend for ever."
Such is Mr. Boulger's conclusion, and this conclusion we do not intend to discuss.
From internal evidence we should infer that Mr. Boulger is greatly interested in China, but is ignorant of the languages and the nations of Central Asia, save through his reading for the work we have been noticing. We may therefore point out one or two seeming errors before laying aside this interesting book. In one page he carefully instructs us that a Tajik is of the Persian race, as opposed to the Turk or the Tartar, so conclusively disproves the descent from Timur which on the page before he has inclined to assign to the Tajik Yakoob. We read of the “ Ameer of Affghanistan" in 1765 ; the first Amir was Dost Mahomed, who did not venture to assume the royal title of Shah; on his death it was doubtful whether or not his successors would be as modest. What appendage to the title of Amir gave it the sanctity which Mr. Boulger ascribes to it we cannot tell, but are pretty confident that a rigid Soonpi like the Atalik Ghazi would not have put the head of the Sultan on his coins even if Abdul Aziz had sent him the dies.
It may be safely laid down as a law that no man ever writes poetry in any language other than his own to any good purpose, save as an exercise. The perfect poet must be purely natural: for this there must be absolute accord between his habits of thought and of expression. One of the world's greatest linguists once asserted that no man could ever develop his thoughts to any great extent in more than one tongue; and it is certainly true that there is no distinguished living writer whose best works are of himself bi-lingual. The highest praise which can be awarded
poems in English by intelligent natives of foreign countries, is generally that which Dr. Johnson awarded to female preaching. Still there are degrees even in that, which is not of the sunshine, brightest; and among the most creditable of such performances may be classed the The Vision of Sumeru, and other Poems, by the late Shoshee Chunder Rái Báhádoor, of Calcutta (Calcutta : Thacker, Spink & Co.). It would indeed have been a great pleasure to pronounce the work faultless, since the perfect mastery of English by a native of India is something which excites kind and encouraging feelings. It intimates homage to the dignity and beauty of the tongue of Shakspeare, possibly, by those familiar with the divine Sanskrit; better still, it suggests the possibility of perfect intimacy and sympathy between the Eng. lish and the natives in India; and the disappearance of that detestable and habitual degradation of the Indian by which so many Anglo-Indians degrade themselves. For the time is at hand when the existence in India among the English residents of a class corresponding to the Abolitionists of America, in sympathy for the dark races, will be as much a political necessity as its absence is at present a shame to our humanity.
The "Vision of Sumeru"asa poem is well outlined, happily conceived, and abounding in brilliant pictures and hues ; being consistently Indian in every detail. The plot
simple. Bruhma, or Brahma, learning that his worship is neglected on earth, sends
Pavana, the god of wind and messenger of heaven, to ascertain the cause of this in. difference. Pavana returning, reports to the gods that the corruptions which had crept into their religion and the rise of Christianity had weakened the old faith. In a rage, the entire Pantheon sallies forth in battle array to attack the intruders, but is confronted by a Seraph, who overwhelms the foe with a glance, informing the old gods that,
“ Jehovah will no longer bear
Your lawless presence here;
Hence to the abodes of night!
Hence to the brimstone sod!
From hallow'd ground far driven ;
Amid the funeral screams of hell.” Though not perfectly simplified or polished, this poem is conceived in a spirit of sympathy and kindness, and will be liked by all who are truly religious without being strictly critical. One could readily conceive that the “Vision of Sumeru,” and many other of the smaller poems, might have been far better in Hindi : so much do they seem like good work not very well translated.
We have received a valuable contribution to mythological literature in Demonology and Devil-lore, by Moncure Daniel Conway (Chatto & Windus : 1879). Acomplete history of the devil and all his angels, with that of all the lurid horrors and smoky phantoms accompanying them, would, if written with the accuracy which even the mob who read with ease now exact, be a tremendous task. It would be a history of religion, of superstition, of occult philosophy, of half the popular legends known, and would make deep inroads on poetry. As the reverend author admits, “any attempt to catalogue the evil spectres which have haunted mankind were like trying to count the shadows cast upon the earth by the rising sun.” The older demonographers, such as Bodinus, and Bakker in his Monde Enchanté, satisfied themselves by simply giving all they could collect, and by entertaining the reader with interminable stories. But in an age when even many soundly religious people have grave or quiet misgivings as to a personal devil, these marvellous legends are simply regarded as fairy-tales. As history and theories of evolution are becoming popular, the stories lose, however, none of their interest, only the interest is transferred to another field, that of explaining and illustrating change or progress. The thinking world is as much interested as ever in the history of the diabolical idea, its tremendous influence on mankind is still too apparent to be treated with indifference; but faith in the details is now lost in examination of a leading fact, as belief in the Elohim became absorbed in the unity of Yahveh. Such is the ground taken by Mr. Conway, an honest and sincere Rationalist, yet one who is, like most of the Boston Unitarian clergymen, too deeply penetrated by a conviction of what is good and pure in Christianity to believe that God could ever allow man, in his helplessness, to be tempted and tormented by a devil. His book is not an attempt to tell all that might be told about Demonology, and herein lies its merit and its fault. Recognising the impossibility of detailing the devil with all that is devilish, he has subordinated the innumerable illustrations to a theory of development which is well enough conceived, whatever other theorists may think of it; and it is this very fidelity to the principle or theory which induced classification or method, which leads him to indulge in many pages of disquisition, which some readers will wish had been devoted to mere facts. On the other hand, it must be admitted that this disquisition never degenerates into idle rhapsody or padding. Thousands of readers-and we may
say thousands of a book of which three thousand copies have already been sold—will prefer Mr. Conway's preaching to his facts ; others who do not, will be of the class who are capable of drawing their own conclusions. In fact, there is much good writing among these disquisitions, a vast fund of humanity, undeniable earnestness, and a delicate sense of humour, all set forth in pure English. It is much to say that we have found the nine hundred pages of these two large volumes, without exception, interesting.
The early religions were generally without a devil. The Hindus, notwithstanding
their Rakhshas and fiends, maintain that their vast Pantheon contains no such creature. The gods were both good and evil. There were punishing demons, demons of storms and of death, but no such quintessence of malignity, deceit
, anti-godness, cruelty and petty meanness, as is incarnate in the Christian Satan. In "The Sketch-Book of Meister Karl," Satan is represented as vindicating his raison d'être on the ground that he represents the necessary suffering and pain atten. dant upon the destruction of the old, leading to higher beauty in the new, or creation itself, but is promptly snubbed by the author, who informs him that he is nothing of the kind, but only the transitory ugliness of the ruins of the tempest and the pestilence.” The old religions represented the devil as he represented himself to the writer : Christianity has made him an abstract of
the revolting: Mr. Conway, beginning with Dualism, proceeds to the degradation of divinities and ex-gods into devils, and then finds causes for the existence of others in hunger, heat, cold, the elements and animals, in enemies and barrenness, obstacles, illusion, darkness, disease and death. From these he proceeds to a history of the decline of demons and their generalization as shown in art and in the decay of mythologies. The next step is of course an account of the principal types of demons or devils, such as the serpent and dragon. Hence we have connections and affinities with these-such as Fate, Diabolism, or the direct connection of incarnate evil with demons, and histories of degraded powers, such as Ahriman, Elohim, Visramitra, the consuming fire, and others. The second volume is in part occupied with the numerous deductions from these types through the Middle Ages down to the present day. The great merit of the work consists, not merely in great research and a shrewd selection of striking examples and interesting illustrations, but in the clearness with which Mr. Conway develops his ideas. Its demerit is an exaggerated susceptibility to simile, and a readiness to assume derivations and connections without proving them--the great sin of all symbolists from Creuzer, Godfrey Higgins, and Faber, down to Inman. Not that we would class Mr. Conway with these blunderers ; on the contrary, he has tried hard to avoid their company, but he often unconsciously falls into their faultthe fault, it is true, of a poetic mind, but one to be guarded against when one is not writing poetry. We should do injustice to this work did we not mention that Mr. Conway writes like a mau without prejudice against aught save tyranny. Abstractly speaking, his freedom from bigotry is almost naïvely amusing. Had he been a Calvinist he would probably have prayed, as did the Scotch clergyman, for the conversion of the puir deil.” As it is, he sets forth his own very broad faith in the following words, with which he concludes his first volume :
“It is too late for man to be interested in an Omnipotent Personality, whose power is mysteriously limited at the precise point when it is needed, and whose moral government is another name for man's own control of nature. Nevertheless this Oriental pessimism is the Pauline theory of Matter, and is the speculative protoplasm out of which has been evolved in many shapes that personification which remains for our consideration—the Devil.”
These be plain words, but we have thought it best to cite them, that the reader, whether heterodox or orthodox, may know exactly what he may expect in this interesting and singular work.
THE PROFESSIONAL STUDIES OF THE CLERGY.
To the Editor of the CONTEMPORARY REVIEW. SIR,—I have to acknowledge an error of some importance in my account of the various courses of theological study now pursued in the different Divinity Schools of England.
In describing the subjects for the Theological Tripos at Cambridge, I set down only the variable portions, omitting the fixed and more important part of the course, which make it fully equal in character and value to the Theological Honour Course at Oxford. I cannot charge myself entirely with the mistake, as I applied to Cambridge for the list of subjects, and was furnished with no more than I set down. I have similarly omitted to credit King's College, London, with having lately added Logic or Moral Philosophy to its curriculum ; while I learn that Logic is also the alternative of two compulsory subjects at Lampeter.
I am glad to make these corrections, and trust that if I have done unintentional injustice elsewhere, that it may be brought to my notice.
Your obedient servant, R. F. LITTLEDALE.