Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

course

we

sedentary reviewers, how Hermann has course with him; but we gave up his minor been preserved to such a green and vigor- faults as beyond our medica manus. Mr. ous old age. We have, in consequence, Peile's complaint against us is, in fact, that made every possible inquiry, and have to we did not treat him as incorrigible, or not report that his friends attribute it in no worth amendment; and to this we plead slight degree to his study of some of guilty. Xenophon's minor treatises, viz., de Re However, he is right, and we were wrong, Equestri and Magister Equitum, if not also after all;—he is incorrigible! Like a true de Venatione. Many of our readers may knight-errant, he will maintain most stoutly remember a dissertation in the first volume those precise points which we consider must of his Opuscula, 'de Verbis quibus Graci | defenceless ; in some things misunderstandincessum equorum indicunt. It is written ing and misrepresenting us ; in others setnot only con scienza but con amore; and we ting us at defiance. Now this is an act of believe that he has never given up the downright rebellion, deserving of exempractical study of the subject. Thus far plary punishment. But even reviewers have indeed our own universities show that a their melting moods; and this is one of vast number of our philological aspirants ours; and there is a bonhommie about Mr. are adopting the same -whether | Peile which not only respect, but from the example of the great professor, or heartily like ; so we shall not enter into from an intuitive perception of the truth of further controversy with him-not from the principle, we cannot pretend to say. fear of damaging our knight's smart surBut, if we are not misinformed, Hermann coat,' though he endeavours to give check goes a step beyond them; like Achilles, to 'our knight with his bishop: for, surwbose spear could heal the wounds it in- coats apart, his thinness of skin makes him flicted, when Hermann has dirtied his less formidable as an antagonist than he horse, he can clean him again. If any of would otherwise be; but because, having the said aspirants find in the day of trial once for all made our protest against certhat, notwithstanding all their devoted tain principles, it would be unedifying and practice, they are 'plucked in Xenophon,' uninteresting, if not unfriendly, to continuo let them consider whether their failure may a war which must dwindle into petty critinot be attributed to their having neglected cism. He must not, therefore, think that this part of the charm.

we are insensible to the value of his labours Moreover, on this side of the channel, if we express our regret at his perversity Mr. Peile is alive and lively :-at least the in multiplying his commentary as his text evidence of his vitality is before us in the diminishes; and with the remark that he substantial form of a second volume, an- does not appear to have used Mueller's nounced as No. II. of the Trilogy, and criticism on Klausen's Choëphoræ, or Hertherefore, we hope, surely portending No. mann's hypercriticism* on that, we shake III. We say this in all sincerity, though hands with Mr. Peile, and, while we take we are sorry to observe that he looks upon our way, we wish him good speed on his, us as his enemies. But mortal men will, and all prosperity in his new sphere of complain of criticism. We regret that we usefulness at Repton.t found it necessary to say some things (they We have now to consider, in pursuance were but few) which we cannot honestly of our subject, the poetry of the chorus down retract because they displease Mr. Peile. to the times of the three great tragedians of Our objections to his plan, and in some Athens; for it is by this alone that we shall instances to the taste in which he had exe- have a clue sufficient to guide us to a cuted it, were openly and fairly stated. thorough understanding of Aschylus. This But we spoke of him in the terms which his is usually traced, upon Horace's authority, distinction as a scholar deserved; as one simply up to Thespis. But, as Van Heusde who could rub off these excrescences, if their remarks, I it was a matter of hoar antiquity real nature was exhibited. And therefore in Horace's time; and every one knows we alluded to them in such a tone as seem- what miserable antiquarians the Romans ed likely to make him see them as they were :-certainly not captiously or malig- * For the Germans allow Review upon Review, nantly. And, however Mr. Peile may dis- which, of course, seems to us as thoroughly false like it, it is from the above-named article heraldry as colour upon colour.

+ We must remark, in parting, the very creditathat his publisher has drawn the recom- ble manner in which the volume of Mr. Peile's mendation with which he advertises Mr. Choëphoræ has been brought out at the Durham Peile's Agamemnon.

If Klausen's eccen

University Press. tricities had been curable by any influence quote from the German translation, having unluckily

# In his Encyclopædia, or Socratic School. We of ours, we should have taken the same mislaid our Low Dutch spectacles.

23

VOL. LXX.

were.

ora.

He chooses rather to take us at only, and there only at the Diouysia, was once to Plato, who, instead of a mere chro- tragedy the result. By what steps this nology of facts (and this erroneous) attend- took place we cannot now imagine. Hoing its outward cultivation, gives us the race mentions the novelties on wbich be more philosophical account of the history rests the claims of Æschylus to be thought of the thing itself. Mueller has pointed the second inventor of tragedy: but these out* that Horace, while he thinks ihat he are but the outward decorations, which is giving the history of tragedy, is actually make him rather a machinist and propertydescribing comedy; i.e. spayedia, not rpayodiu: man than a poet.* Far greater in the the very words prove it, peruncti fæcibus reality than in these adjuncts was the space

Plato enters into the general ques-between Thespis and Æschylus; especially tion of dramatic poetry, as consisting of if we are to adopt the common opinion, imitation—that is, expression or representa- that the tragedy of Thespis was merely a tion-it short, acting; the object being not monologue, or succession of monologues, to tell all concerning the characters (which in the intervals between the choral hymns. is history), but to set them forth as really But this can scarcely be correct. If it bustling about. Even epic poetry aims at were, Thespis is no more the inventor of this; and the poet withdraws as soon as tragedy than Hesiod ;—not nearly so much his characters are introduced, leaving them so as Homer. But there can be little doubt to speak for themselves. But the intro- that there was a dialogue in the tragedies duction of a chorus makes a striking differ- of Thespis. Why, indeed, the name of ence; and this is traced as early as the úrokpírns, if there was nothing in the chorus Homeric Hymn to Apollo, where the choir for the actor to respond to ? We may also of Delian virgins is spoken of as singing, be sure that, with Thespis, as since, one first of Apollo, then of Leto and Artemis, man in his time played many parts, so that and, after that, the lays of men and women he might actually represent a very simple of old time,-skilful to put on the very plot : especially as on the Greek stage so voice and language of all

, until each one much is done, even in later days, by mescould fancy that himself was speaking, sengers. Unless there was the dialogue, (v. 158—164). Nay, even this is not the the distinction of dramatic poetry could not primitive chorus : it is the shadow of one hold good with respect to Thespis : there higher still, to which we are carried on- could be no action. "But if Thespis brought wards, where the Muses sing, and the the chorus and the actor together by the Hours and Graces weave the dance, with bond of a plot in which both took part Aphrodité at their head; Apollo himself, during the intervals of the hymns, he did lyre in hand, ruling all their tones and make a great step, and his name is deserymovements, and delighting the heart of his edly, though for the most part undiscernparents, who look on, (v. 194—206). Such ingly, honoured as the inventor of tragedy; is the poetic ideal of the Greek chorus, in for an invention it was to combine the two so far as it comprehends the bodying forth elements into a third whole; and of this (uiunois) of the deeds of the old heroic time, Thespis was probably the author. by the harmonious combination of all the Yet, even granting this, let us look on means which the various arts of music, Æschylus, and remember what a vast difdancing, and poetry can furnish.

ference there is between the merit of ThesApollo and the Muses are, according to pis, takon at the utmost, and his. The Plato, sent down to earth to bumanize the year in wbich the new invention is said to assemblies of men, and inspire them with have been first brought before the public is the spirit of their own harmonies. But B. c. 536. Æschylus was born eleven years they have another god joined in their mis- later : and the boy who stared at some of siou-Dionysus, the god of all exuberant the performances of Thespis might have impulse and excitement, of intoxication listened in maturer years to most of the and enthusiasm-in short, the god of the poetry of Æschylus :-nay, might, before Dionysia, and so of tragedy. This brings to view the peculiar vein of choral poetry * 'Post hunc personæ, pallæque repertor honestæ which Athens furnishes. Everywhere else

Æschylus, et modicis instravit pulpita tignis there were, as well as at Athens, the choirs,

El docuit magnumque loqui, nitique cothurno.'

A. P., v. 278. processions, and absurdities; but at Athens

If we weigh the whole of the description, it will, we think, be evident that even the magnum loqui his death, have witnessed the exhibition of partly to prove nothing, and partly to go the Orestea.' The relation of our own against him. For instance, he refers to Shakspeare to the drama before him is the passages where the chorus takes part in analogous, but not equal to this!

does not refer (as one at first would suspect) to his In his History of Greek Literature, to which it poetry, but simply to some of those mechanical conwill be convenient to refer once for all, as a work of trivances by which the masks were made to increase the highest utility: The translation, we believe, is the power of the voice, as the cotkurnus did the altifrom the pen of his friend, Mr. G. C. Lewis. Tlude of thc figure.

the dialogue, arguing, very fairly, that if But, in speaking of this chorus, we are any one predominant number can be tractreading on smothered fires ; for this is ed" there, it will probably be connected one of the chosen spots for learned men to with the number of the chorus. What quarrel upon. The ground is narrow in- then is found in the 'Agamemnon ?' At deed; but men fight the better for being v. 268, we have seven* speeches of the choclosely cooped up. It is admitted that the rus, consisting each of one line. Again, at tragic chorus grew out of the dithyrambic v. 538, in conversation with the herald, or cyclic chorus which danced round the there are seven similar speeches. At v. altar; and this consisted of fifty members. 1198, we have (if we admit

, as seems neBut the point at issue is no less than this, cessary, Hermann's transposition) seren —did the tragic chorus itself consist of speeches, one of four lines, the rest of one twelve or fifteen (these may be taken as each ; and at v. 1242, six, one of four, each one opinion), or of fifty? Startling as the of the others of one line. So that upon difference is, it is a disputed point. Not these we are even with him. But, en rethat any one supposes the chorus of each ranche, at v. 1295, there is a speech of four particular tragedy to have been so numer- lines for the coryphæus, and seven, of one ous; but that, according to Mueller-(Her-line each, for the rest of the chorus ; and mann alleges that he borrowed it from some

at the end of the play the chorus has seven other scholar)—this chorus was portioned single trochaic lines. All this indeed does out among the four dramas of the tetralogy. not prove that there are seven pairs of choThis is ingenious and striking: it certainly reutæ, who relieved the coryphæus by takrecommends itself by furnishing a link to ing their share in the minor parts of the connect the two choruses, the cyclic and dialogue : but it seems to have been anythe tragic; and by the explanation which thing rather than accidental, and makes it affords of that strange blunder of a

such a distribution, à priori, the most pro

grammarian about fifty Furies being brought bable of all. Is there counter-evidence, upon the stage in the “Eumenides.' As a then, sufficient to rebut this presumption { mere conjecture it is very tempting. But Mueller cites the scene where the chorus Mueller proceeds to produce arguments discuss the propriety of assisting Agamemand evidence in support of his view : and non at the moment when his cries are we are bound to say that we think he has heard from within ; and he maintains that completely failed in this; his reasons seem they resolve themselves into a counsel of futile, and his facts desperately uncertain. twelve, one of whom puts the question, and That there is room for wide speculation is again speaks to ratify the decision when clear from the fact that such a doubt can all the rest have voted upon it. But, not be entertained : and certainly, it may have to dwell on the formal pedantry of such a been as Mueller has suggested; but, as proceeding (which Hermann is fully justicertainly, from none of the reasons which fied in ridiculing), we find in this passage he alleges. Unluckily, the comparative fourteen speeches; and it is somewhat more statements of the expenses of the several than questionable whether we should be Xopnyíat will not help us here,* as might justified in excluding the first because it is have been hoped. It is much to be regret- of one line only, instead of two, and in asted that on this particular head our infor- signing the second and fourteenth to the mation is so scanty.

same person, simply to make it fit the Nor are we satisfied by Mueller's demon- framework on which Mueller has determinstration that twelve was the choral number ed to stretch it? We hold, on the contrary, for the ' Agamemnon.' In the first place, that this passage remarkably coincides with his theory is not established by the admis those mentioned above, wherein the numsion of this number, though it falls at once ber scven (here doubled) prevailed.f As to to the ground if we find that there were fifteen ; and, secondly, his own arguments in support of the number twelve seem to us

Rejecting Mueller's conjectural interpolation: * A tragic chorus cost the client of Lysias 3000 which, by the bye, if admitted, would not contribute drachins (about 1201 ; see Professor Hussey's An

to support his argument. cient Weights and Measures, c. iii.); a cyclic chorus gle trochaic lines; then a speech of three trochaics,

+ So in the Persæ, v. 232, seq., we find seren sin(at the lesser Panathenaea), 300: but if this proves followed by six commatic strains. As to six voices anything, it proves too much.

the lyric portion of the play, in which the withdrew the ludicrous element from the chorus and Cassandra take part, it is so tragedy, and compounded with the versacomplicated a question that we must again tile Athenians by giving one piece of the refer to Hermann, who seems to us to have wine-god's unmixed inspirations without a effectually disposed of Mueller's theory. drop of allaying Tiber in it. Chærilus (B. This is but a specimen of the controversies c. 523—483) was celebrated for his satyric which have been mooted between them : dramas : indeed, the comic poet dates froin but, in pity to our readers, we will not the epoch őr' iv Baoideos Xoupidos év carópols. plunge deeper into the discussion. Muel. Phrynicus (B. c. 511-476) wrote a tragedy ler's Eumenides' is accessible in an Eng- on the taking of Miletus, which therefore lish translation, though not such a good one must have been entirely without the Dionyas we could wish :* and there is an unpre- siac element: there could be nothing epis tending but very neat little edition, edited Acórvoor here. Pratinas must therefore have by Minckwitz, which may advantageously introduced the satyric drama before this be used along with it; as the editor is a time; but we have no date recorded; we only sworn follower of Hermann, and gives the know that he was a competitor of Æschylus sum of that part of his critique which treats and Cherilus in the 70th Ol. (B. C. 500of the text of the play.

497.) But our business is not with the editors, To Pratinas and his invention we must but with the drama itself. In the structure of not digress, having work enough on our this it is manifest that there was a progres- hands in the consideration of the effects of sive change from Thespis onwards; a change this invention on the character of tragedy: much greater than that in the external ad- and, returning now to this, we find it, as it juncts by which it was accompanied, and as it were, racked off the lees-completely and were, typified. In this view the one thing to necessarily changed in its subjects and its be considered is the chorus; this was at first, tone. The chorus indeed is still there; as has been already seen, the whole. Af- but no longer the same chorus—no longer terwards it became only a part-yet still the representative of the festival and its bearing a twofold character; for it was both god; it now appears as a body of persons the chorus of the god and an actor in the connected indeed, but usually not very inplay. But here an utter revolution was timately connected (and hence the especial wrought in the interval between Thespis use of it,) with the actors in the dialogue. and Æschylus; and the old saw of oidèv apàs Tracing it for a moment onward through Alorvoor is all that antiquity has handed its later vicissitudes, it may be remarked down to us to throw light upon it. This that in Æschylus the chorus holds the key revolution took place in the time of Cheri- to the plot throughout. In Sophocles it lus and Phrynicus, and was effected by has lost this, and rather seems to look on Pratinas, who invented the satyric drama. and comment : its strains have now lost the It is singular that we should know so little depth of meaning which Æschylus infused of so great a change; one which altogether into them. In Euripides, the play has well

nigh pushed the chorus from its stool alto. distinguishable in the evocation and in the concluding ode, we must confess that this is a refinement gether; and its beautiful seductive lyrics beyond our comprehension: and even granting have as little connection with the piece in that twelve was the number of a Greck yepovoia in which they happen to be placed, as any the heroic ages, we do not see why this should be modern song which has been forwarded to inflicted on the Persians of the time of Æschylus an opera-singer with a douceur, to be interhaving an attendant;) see in the book of Esther, polated in everything which is brought out ch. i. i4, the names of the seven princes of Persia during the season. lu the colloquial part the and Media, which saw the king's face, and which later character of the chorus is outwardly sat the first in the kingdom;' and compare Ezra, 1 more like what it was earlier, with the same c, vii. 14. * We must give a couple of examples to con

sort of mixture of shrewdness and simplicifirm what is said above. At p. 221, Mueller quotes ty which makes Polonius such a bore ; but from Plato, 'eine ueberaus geistreiche Stello,' which it is not too much to say that there is a is rendered in the most patronising way,'an exceedingly clever passage! And at p. 249, we are refer- meaning in this in the older drama, which red to · Pratinas, in the celebrated fragment on the is wanting in the new. As the chorus (in subjecl of the hyporchesis,' with as much confidence its own department) is not to give yent to as if the translator had known what the fragment' the impressions or fancies of an individual man original speaks of a hyporchemalic fragment or class of men, but to pour forth strains —that is, of course, a fragment of a hypor cheme : on which are inspired, and are to be received which the following writers may be referred toAthenæus, p. 15, D, E; 628 D-F; Lucian, de Sal

as coming from the god, there ought not to tat. s. 16; İlgen de Scoliis, p. 34, 'note 31; 'Schnei- be, and there is not, any peculiarity of chader ad Pind. Fragm., pp. 26—23.

racter-anything to excite an individual in.

terest in the members of the chorus. We a poet and critic of no slight eminence. He are intended to lose sight of them, and to seems to think that tragedy is to convert receive their strains apart from all such the raw material, as it were, of these feel. associations: and, consequently (as it appears ings into virtuous habits, by bringing their to us,) they are carefully made such per- excess or defect into that mean, in which sons as may be lost sight of. This divest moralists place true excellence.* But here ment of character is indeed often carried to is a difficulty; for as some med labour from an extreme : but it has at least the effect of excess, and others from defect, it seems to dissociating the solemn strains which we follow that, if all are to be brought to the hear, from the human éropərai who pour mean, this remedy must have a sort of them forth.

double operation, hardly known in the It must always be remembered that pharmacopæia,—to be taken in all cases, though the chorus lost its immediate and and to act homeopathically or allopathically, exclusive connection with the god's service, pro re natâ. Again, supposing all this io yet tragedy did not lose its consecration. be successfully achieved, the practical reIt was no mere invention of man for his sult would be, it would appear, to generate own amusement, adopted and worked upon pure apathy in the real trials of life. And by various artists for good and evil, to be some critics have even persuaded theman instrument for carrying out their views selves that this is the actual end to be upon the souls of men. It was an act, sought for by the contemplation of ills aye, the most solemn act—of their religious greater than those of real human life. On service. The Sacri Vates wrote for their the other hand, Plato (to whom there is own god's festival, under his inspiration ; probably a covert controversial allusion in and they were, like the magnetic rings of Aristotle's definition, as there is so frewhich Plato tells us in his lon,' the con- quently in his writings) complains of this ductors from heaven to earth of a power kind of poetry (yepentexý), and accuses it of and influence not their own: and as it was watering and cherishing those passions primarily to the chorus that this sacred which we ought to mortify, and make them character of tragedy attached, so with the our masters instead of our becoming theirs.f chorus too it necessarily sank.

After all, there is something which partly But if, even in its palmy days in Greece, reconciles the two opinions. Dramatic skill not to say those which have followed, is the most powerful of all agents to excite tragedy varied so much, how are we to intellectually persons of a susceptible tempick and choose what shall be our standard perament. In such, undoubtedly, it stirs of it? The best way will be, if possible, the passions into a violent state of emotion; to begin with a definition. And it fortu- and, perhaps, for the time, due self-control nately is possible, as we have one at hand, is lost. Here, then, these impulses or from ihe most approved maker, the Stagyrite passions are turned aside from their true himself. This, doubtless, will make all clear! object, which is, to serve under

disAlas! nothing less ! But it will do that cipline as the main-springs of action. But which is next best; it will narrow the then, the work of fiction, baving brought ground of our inquiry, and bring us to issue us into this condition, abandons us in it; on a point. Aristotle defines tragedy to be, nothing comes of it; and we are left to get μίμησις πράξεως σπουδαίας, μέγεθος εχούσης, δι' ελέου | out of our lunes as we best can, instead of kai poßov nepáivovoa tho tovouTWv taonpútwv kábapow. being carried forward, as we ought, to The question is, what does Aristotle mean? something practical, under the guidance of It is easy to understand that the subject- good principle. In fact, we are placed in matter of tragedy is such as to strike us the unpleasant situation of having our symwith feelings of pity and terror : on these pathies baulked and wasted on the fictitious feelings the poet has to work, that he may case, without our having gained any lesson produce his effect. So far so good; but, for a possible one of the same description again, what is the effect intended ? To in real life. And what must be the conaccomplish the purification of these and the sequence of this ? These feelings, having like passions' (pity and terror). But how been once and again summoned from the is tragedy, or any fictitious composition depths of our soul for nothing but to show whatsoever, to effect this? In short, how themselves and retire, refuse to come when are passions' to be 'purged,' and what they are called the third time. Bishop becomes of them when they are so ? Truly Butler tells us (in his Analogy) that going a right pithy and pertinent question; and over the theory of virtue in one's thoughts one which it is hard to answer equally pithily. We have, however, no lack of

proper

* Werke, vol. xiii. pp. 151-181. answers. For instance, let us take Lessing,

† Republic, b. x. $ 7, p. 606.

« AnteriorContinuar »