« AnteriorContinuar »
POEMS OF Emma LAZARUS.* _There were two periods in the life of Emma Lazarus which are well marked in the volumes before us. The first volume is rich with good poetry, and reveals unusual strength of intellectual powers and depth and nobility of feeling. “Epochs” and “Phantasies” show her at her best here. “ Spagnoletti,” the long tragedy, which held Emerson's uninterrupted attention from first line to last, has scenes and passages which seem really great. But it was the quite recent outrageous persecution of her people in Russia and elsewhere which first revealed the fuller power of the Hebrew poetess. When thousands of Jewish refugees were landing on our shores, daily at the Battery she mingled with them, giving her people welcome and aid wherever she could, inspiring by action as well as by word. The poems of her second volume were written at this time and after. Her life gives a noble example of the high spiritual development which comes with devotion to a great and good cause. Her “ Epistles to the Hebrews," and her poems. “The Crowing of the Red Cock," “ The Banner of the Jew," and others, were worthy of a daughter of Miriam. We subjoin one of her representative poems.
“O World-God, give me Wealth!" the Egyptian cried.
His prayer was granted. High as heaven, behold
Of lavish Nile washed all his land with gold.
His priests were gods, his spice-balmed kings enshrined,
Seek Pharaoh's race to-day and ye shall find
“O World-God give me Beauty !" cried the Greek.
His prayer was granted. All the earth became
* The Poems of Emma Lazarus. Two volumes. Houghton Mifflin & Co., 1889.
Plastic and vocal to his sense ; each peak,
Each grove, each stream, quick with Promethean flame,
Of the immortal marble, his the play
Go seek the sunshine race, ye find to-day
“O World-God give me Power !” the Roman cried.
His prayer was granted. The vast world was chained
The blood of myriad provinces was drained
With serried legions and with close-meshed code,
A roofless ruin stands where once abode
“O God-head give me Truth !" the Hebrew cried.
His prayer was granted. He became the slave
Cursed, hated, spurned, and scourged with none to save.
Beauty he hath foresworn, and wealth, and power.
No fire consumes him, neither floods devour,
COOKE'S “HUMAN MYSTERY IN HAMLET."*. "Upon no throne built by mortal hands has beat so fierce a light as upon the airy fabric reared at Elsinore,” says Furness. Guildenstern is ever seeking to tear out the heart of Hamlet's mystery, and, with the recorders in his hand, Hamlet still remains more baffling than Koheleth. “Given a printing press on German soil (and the printing press is indigenous there) and, lo! an essay on Hamlet." America is not so very far behind the land of Werder in exegetical and energetical ingenuity. It was, appropriately enough, from the Keystone State from the very city of Shakespeariana, that a work appeared seeking to solve all mystery by showing that the prince was a woman. And even that book was readable and con
* The Human Mystery in Hamlet. By MARTIN W. COOKE.. New York: Fords, Howard & Hurlbert. 1888.
tained suggestions of value. The latest "attempt to say an unsaid word” is very different. Mr. Cooke's work must take rank among its kind as one of the strongest and most felicitous in argument and theory; a reader can hardly fail to give sympathy to such well urged propositions. The theory that Hamlet represents a type and not an individual, that the play represents the struggle of man to obey supernaturally imposed duties which call for control of unconquerable passions, is a rational theory. Therein lies its fault; it is too rational. A Baconian might accept it more readily than a Shakespearian. It is a significant fact, significant of the difficulty in any recondite interpretation of Hamlet's character, that nearly every page holds something to challenge criticism. Equally significant is the fact that nearly every page holds something which a reader feels constrained to accept. If the brilliant and earnest argument does not carry final conviction it is the fault of the subject, not of the writer.
HUNGERFORD'S AMERICAN BOOK OF CHURCH SERVICES. *_This is one of a class books, which, whether used for ritual or not, are very suggestive in respect to modifications which are desirable and possible in forms and styles of Christian worship. Its real merit or demerit as a service book can best be tested by actual use, and the compiler testifies that it has grown out of his experience as a pastor, and has been in successful use.
The book does not make a specialty of the Christian year, nor attempt any modification of the customary use of Christian hymns. But in lines which already to some extent have been adopted by the churches, it aims to show what more may be done for the enrichment of these forms of worship, and to commend for general adoption a more comprehensive and acceptable ritual.
Changes of ritual which depend solely upon the minister and the choir, are easy. There is no difficulty about introducing more than one Scripture lesson, or multiplying at will the number of anthems, chants, responses, and interludes. It is not so easy to say how best to meet the growing desire on the part of the congregation to have a larger share in oral worship. Yet within the last thirty years three things have been achieved which at one time seemed almost impossible. It is not congregational singing alone which has secured a permanent foothold as part of the service of the house of the Lord. Besides that, the responsive reading of selections of Scripture, and the united repetition of the Lord's Prayer, have become so general that we may confidently say they will not be given up. The use of the Apostles' Creed is less common, but is ceasing to be a novelty, and no minister who desires to use a precomposed form of prayer, or to incorporate ancient collects with his unwritten petitions, is debarred from doing so at the present day by fear of giving offense to narrow-minded worshipers.
* The American Book of Church Services : with Selections for responsive reading, and full Orders of service for the celebration of matrimony, for funerals, and other occasional ministrations : Also, an ample list of selections of sacred music, with references for the guidance of pastors and choristers. Arranged by EDWARD HONGERFORD. Boston and New York: Houghton, Mifflin & Co. 1889, pp. xii, 374.
One thing more will follow eventually, and that is the use of the litany and of the responses to the ten commandments, uttered devotionally by the congregation as one matter after another is brought to mind by the voice of the minister. This is more probable now than was the habitual use of the Lord's Prayer thirty years ago. This volume, of course, recommends it.
The compiler proposes alternate forms, a shorter and a longer, for both the morning and the evening service. Speaking in general, he offers no important modification of the common order for the last half of the service, or from the hymn before sermon to the end. But what are sometimes termed “introductory services," he greatly expands. Thus “the fuller order of morning service" is outlined as follows: 1. The organ voluntary ; 2. Sentences of Scripture read; 3. A “hymn of aspiration,” (two stanzas); 4. The pastoral salutation (Num. vi. 24-26); 5. The pastoral call to worship (several verses); 6. The choir call to worship (several verses); 7. Hymn of praise (three stanzas); 8. The Invocation (four verses); 9. The Lord's Prayer; 10. The Offertory (sentences and prayer); 11. Notices ; 12. First Scripture Lesson; 13. Gloria Tibi; 14. Second Scripture Lesson ; 15. The chief Anthem; 16. Selection for responsive reading ; 17. Gloria Patri ; 18. The Apostles' Creed ; 19. Prayers, (or Litany); 20. Organ response; 21. Hymn, followed by sermon, etc.
A long series, in which the congregation have risen four times, and bowed or knelt twice; but, the compiler says, "rightly conducted, the services will scarcely exceed the usual length.”
The point which seems to us most open to criticism in this Order, is the entire omission of a “General Confession," and the postponement of all opportunity for the common confession of
sin till the prayer before the sermon, after hymns of aspiration and praise, anthems, scripture lessons, responsive readings and all. There is profound wisdom in a remark of Dr. Leonard Bacon that “the general confession of sin and the united supplication for pardon and grace in Christ's name, are properly, in any just conception of public worship, the first act of an assembly presenting itself before God.” Even if the doxology is taken as the key note, it is desirable to give prominence to this essential part of worship. Ordinarily the Invocation affords an opportunity for penitential utterance, but in this book the Invocation consists of four verses of Scripture, to be spoken by the minister alone, or responsively by minister and people, with no mention of sin avd pardon; and confession is lacking, except for the brief plea for forgiveness in the Lord's Prayer which immediately follows.
Some other infelicities have occurred to us in examining the volume. While appropriate forms are borrowed freely from the Book of Common Prayer and other sources, it is a pity not to have learned more from churchmen who have sought long and earnestly to improve and enrich the devotional forms of the Episcopal Church. E. g., the Litany is given in full, but without the suffrage which so many have desired to add, “That it may please thee to send forth laborers into thine harvest ;" “ We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord.”
The volume contains the prayer for the President of the United States, based on the English form of prayer for the royal family, but leaves out the alternate form in the “ Book Annexed” which may perhaps be incorporated in the next edition of the Book of Common Prayer.” It contains an arrangement of the Beatitudes for responsive reading, but throws away the opportunity of recommending the use, after every blessing, of the refrain, “Lord, have mercy upon us; and be it unto thy servants according to thy word.”
Some minor infelicities are these : The text of the ten commandments is taken not from the version in common use, nor from the Canterbury revision, but from the Episcopal Prayer-book. In the selections for responsive reading the minister and people read alternate verses, instead of alternate clauses. The practical inconvenience resulting from an entire re-arrangement of the Psalms outweighs any possible advantage of classifying them as