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should pass them by; for after this life cries Chaucer at the end of his days:is over no man knoweth for truth which
In which that love upgroweth with way or by what path we go." "A
your age:thousand times have I heard men tell Repair ye home from worldly vanitie, that there is joy in Heaven and pain in And of your heart upcast ye the visage hell," confesses Chaucer in the Pro
To that same God that after His image
You made. logue to the “Legend of Good Women.” "But natheless yet wot I well also," he To which the "youngë freshë folkë" adds, “that there is none dwelling in could reply with some truth that this countree that either hath in "worldly vanity” had appeared less Heaven or hell y-be." Yet this scep
vain to the poet before old age had ticism was exceptional; most men ac- frozen the blood and enforced the concepted the narrow path towards a cer- templation of approaching death. Το tain goal; only the attractions of the the sterner moralists of the age the cup fields outside proved overpowering and of man's iniquity appeared full, and the path wearisome to the feet. Frois- God's patience exhausted: as man's sart describes his childhood, how they iniquity has appeared full and God's tried schooling on him, but he could patience exhausted to the sterner mornot be at rest; he was beaten, he suf- alists of every age, from Pompeii to fered, he repented, the next moment twentieth century England. "It seem“when I saw my comrades pass down eth to many,” cries a contemporary of the street in front, I soon found an ex- Wycliffe, “that we are fallen into those cuse to go and tumble with them unhappy times wherein the lights of again." The experience was
heaven seem to be turned to darkness, changed through all the life of this and the stars of heaven are fallen from child world; they sinned, they were earth." "More and more dreary, barscourged with plagues for their sin, ren, base, and ugly seem to me all the they repented; a moment after they aspects of this poor diminishing quick “found an excuse to go and tumble world," echoes a voice from the later with them again." Old age was al- nineteenth century, "fallen openly anways adjuring them to keep innocency archic, doomed to a death which one and do the thing which was right; can only wish to be speedy.” Amid youth was always accepting and al- which stern judgments and warnways breaking the conditions of such ings the world thus condemned has conduct, always able to point to the kept manfully on its way, finding youth time when old age had done likewise. always a garland of roses, if age al“O youngë freshë folkës, he or she," ways a crown of thorns.
The most successful, most fertile, and most ingenious of the makers of plays of the past fifty years has passed away, and at once we proclaim that his influence is over and had been declining for a long time. Tried by actual fact that assertion would be disproved by a list of the plays now being
represented in France, and we do not expect that the plays produced on the principles of Sardou are likely to diminish for a good many generations to
The form will be modified and the accessories will be varied, but the method will persist, because it is the method that produces the kind of play that has always given the was the perfect playwright, by tempergreatest pleasure to the greatest num- ament a man of the theatre and by ber. It is too early for French practice the most skilful of craftsmen. enthusiasts to crow over the few vic- Like all men of marked specialty his tories of the natural drama, and it skill showed itself early, and the differwould be ridiculous for us in England ence between the early and the highest who have had no victories to crow at period is not very great. Les P'attes all. In Paris MM, Brieux, Fabre, de Mouche is not excelled in workmanHermant, and others aim at pleasing ship by any of the later pieces. It is the intellectuels, and perhaps M. Bern- probably the centre of the Sardou sysstein will join them, but the average tem, the model from which with the French playgoer asks for something necessary adjustments Divorcons, Nos very different.
Intimes, Mme. Sans-Gêne, Fedora, and The preference of the ordinary play- all the others were taken. Sardou goer in England nearly as much as in was praised for versatility because he France has been created by Sardou, was successful with many kinds of though of course he did not originate subject. But the method was the same his methods any more than his master with them all. He had devised an inScribe originated the principles. In genious machine which could deal with delicacy of means, lightness of touch, all stage material. It was as if an inand in the humanity of his characters ventor had constructed a machine that Scribe was superior to Sardou, who would work on metal, stone, cloth, was apt to be hard and to expose the wood, leather, and almost any other machinery. Master and pupil were on material and reproduce it fashioned to the same road all the same, and the design as per specification. It turned road is an old one, perhaps the only out the finely elaborated work of the road for the playmaker, which he three-men scene in Diplomacy as surely leaves at his peril and to which they as the love-passages of Theodora" anu all return. It is built on traditions the horror of La Tosca placing candles handed down by generations of actors, at the side of the dead man. talked over on strollers' journeys, tried This machine was Victorien Sardou on successive audiences. Farquhar and it worked nearly every day of his among the eighteenth-century men life, and the sustained work went for knew it best, Heywood and the Eliza- at least half of his success. Playbethan realists had been there. Pur- wrights magnify their trade-mystery sue the line and, through minstrels and into the other mystery in spite of etyjongleurs, past the waning Empire of mology, but for the attainment of ordiRome to the islands of Greece, it will nary skill no more is required than lead in the end to the cart of Thespis. the industry which amateurs cannot It is not so long a journey as the verte- give. Sardou had natural aptitude, brates can be seen to make in a mu- love of the stage, and a rare capacity seum-case.
for work. A man of the theatre, like The development of this popular, Beaumarchais and Lord Lytton, though natural, and theatrical drama has been he was never an actor he saw and he the work of the practical playwright felt like an actor, and that goes a long who knew or learnt that the public way to making a playwright. He was believe that it is natural and right for not imaginative, his mind was of the plays to be theatrical. They go to patient, experimental, scientific cast the theatre for that, not for the nature which works its material over and over they see at home every day. Sardou again from different points of view. It is hard work restating a problem in plot plays than to contrive good plot mathematics until every way of treat- novels, and in this case the novels ing it has been exhausted, and it is were nearer to human nature than the harder when the factors are more than plays. Sardou's people seemed to symbols. The tragic poet and the hu- know that they were dramatis persona man novelist cannot treat the beings and acted accordingly. But compare they have brought to life as abstract for a moment, as we are on the matter symbols, and if they would these of nature, the people of Sardou with creations of theirs will not let them, the Normandy farm-people of Guy de Sardou's automata could be shifted Maupassant. Is there any more dilike pieces on a chessboard. They rect, impartial, and truthful depiction could not tyrannize or compel and so of life, any finer understanding of men he could bring them into any combina- and women than we get in Maupastion he liked; and he chose, by experi- sant? Against his characters Sardou's ment not by intuition, always the most people are reduced to phantasmal aueffectively theatrical series of combina- tomata. All the same, was not Sartions that the plot could produce. At dou right in his choice, in his rejechis best he got his effects without tir- tion of life as a subject for the theaing the spectator and without arousing tre? It seems as if he knew that the his suspicion. He had the sophist's stage could not be true, that the finart of gaining ground, of establishing est technique in the world could not his argument by innocent assumptions get an audience to accept human nawhich cumulatively gave the result he ture in a theatre as readers accept it had in view all the time. The conduct in the novel. He who knew the utof the plot in Fedora and Diplomacy is most limit and capacity of the laynearly faultless. Dante dragged per- wright's business must have seen that ceptibly and in L'Affaire des Poisons the conditions of the theatre, of sociit was proposed to murder a man who ety, forbid the full and simple precould hear every
sentation of life on the stage. He saw spoken.
it tried, saw Ibsen rejected, Dumas The lapses were wonderfully few
and Augier forgotten. If any one and the skill in social panorama sin- could handle the instrument Sardou gularly effective so long as the pic- could, and he seems to have felt that ture
not exposed for exami. there were certain important, vital, nation. Either it passed quickly or the and profound things that it could not attention diverted by dialogue
do. Sardou was an intelligent and which could not be neglected if the practical man who could never have progress of the piece were to be fol- been got to see that the stage was lowed. In a Sardou play a sentence, doing its work when it was playing sometimes a word or a gesture, could pieces in a half-empty theatre. His not safely be missed. It was like good sense told him that all forms of reading a novel by a contemporary
art have their limitations and he got constructor, Gaboriau. He and Sardou out of the stage to the satisfaction of might have changed places without the audience more than any other modmuch difference to the public if the ern author has permanently and sucFates had so ordered. It is not a cessfully got out of it. greater achievement to contrive good
C. G. C. The Outlook.
AMERICA AND HER EX-PRESIDENTS.
One of the charms of a simple soci- warded and undistinguished. Grant ety has always been the ease with joined the Wall Street firm of stockwhich great public servants return to brokers; Cleveland became a consult. obscurity when their dutie are ended. ing attorney to a business house; HarCincinnatus at the plough has been rison went back to practise at the Bar; extolled as the model of republican Mr. Roosevelt is to become a member virtues, and an example for republican of the staff of the Outlook,-not editor, imitation. But, unfortunately, in a but editorial adviser and contributor. complex modern world Cincinnatus is The New York World in an article on not the best of models. We like to Monday very rightly protests against think that our great men are capable the system which makes such things of this kind of noble eclipse, but we necessary. The World is a Democratic know very well that it is not practica- paper, and has never supported Mr. ble. A man who has held the reins Roosevelt. But it argues with much of supreme power cannot sink into justice that the dignity of the office the herd, however earnestly he may de- of President is lowered if its occupant sire it. The younger Pitt, when it thrust into private life at the end seemned possible that he might go out of his term to earn his living as best of office, proposed to return to the Bar he can.
It urges that a retiring Pres. and attempt to practise. But if he had ident should be given a seat in the done this, he would not have occupied Senate and a pension of at least £5,000 the position of an ordinary junior. The a year, and the reasons it adduces will Bench and Bar would have been more carry conviction to every student of than complaisant towards a man who politics and every wellwisher of the had been Prime Minister, and might American nation. In fact, the Presi. at any moment return to power, -a
dent should be treated as a soldier or man who had such vast potential capa. sailor who has vacated an important city for patronage. You cannot wholly post, but who is still fit for duty. He dethrone those who have been once en- should be placed on half-puy. throned; a King in exile remains very We have no wish to suggest that different from the average citizen. journalism is not a most useful profesThis truism has led most countries to sion and the Outlook a most capable make provision for the retirement of and high-minded paper.
It has an their chief citizens by means of pen- honorable reputation for sobriety and sions. It is felt by most people that good sense, and with Mr. Roosevelt on for a great public servant to be left to its staff should be a great force in struggle among the crowd, handi- American public life. But we cannot capped in the race for success by the feel reconciled to the system under years he has given to the service of the which a President is merged in the State, is unworthy of the dignity of the publicist. Our first objection is very nation. In America it is otherwise. general,—that the necessity to seek a The system inaugurated for a very means of livelihood may work very simple society continues in the inost hardly in some cases. Mr. Roosevelt complex of modern communities. The is a man of limitless versatility, and President, however high may have could have made his living in a dozen been his services, becomes at the end different spheres, from cow-punching of his term an ordinary citizen, unre- tu the management of a University. But every ex-President may not be so gravity will be in the Press, and the happily situated. We can imagine a Fourth Estate will acquire a dominant great First Citizen, a man with a real place in the political organism. The genius for politics, who would be hard fact is that Mr. Roosevelt is too big a put to it to earn a living The man to be a journalist or a lawyer, or younger Pitt, for example, would have indeed any sort of private person. done badly at the Bar, we are con- His influence will be illegitimate, bevinced, if he had had to rest on his cause it will not be based on his primerits as a pleader; and if Mr. Glad- vate capacity, but on his public antecestone had had to make his way, say dents. In politics Mr. Roosevelt is at the age of fifty, in a profession, too masterful a figure to make the rôle we do not feel that his progress would of freelance either safe or profitable. have been very fast. The whole idea The final objection is that America seems to us barbarous and uncivic. A in relegating her ex-Presidents to the man who is a true statesman by pro- ranks is losing a great asset. The fession, who has dedicated his best President is the chief executive officer years to the service of his country, of the Republic: he is the true Amerishould not be cast off when his term can Foreign Office: he is the head of of service is accomplished. His fu- the Army and the Navy. His experiture should be the care of the State. ence, even during one term of office,
In the second place-and this objec- is so wide and varied that he becomes tion applies especially to the case of a most valuable adviser on all public Mr. Roosevelt-an ex-President will questions. In the case of one who find it difficult to become a private cit- has served two terms this experience izen, and may exercise an influence in is unique. Such a man has had a poa profession due, not to his present litical training far more useful than merits, but to his past dignities. We any to be met with in Congress or in have already instanced the case of an the Senate. He has acquired the ex-President pleading before a Court habit of treating great affairs in a of Law. In journalism the danger is large spirit, and he is not to be bestill greater. We would not for a mo- fogged by any complexity of detail. ment suggest that Mr. Roosevelt will He is a true expert in statesmanship, not make a brilliant journalist. His and as such should be kept always on many books and his Messages to Con- call. It is surely the height of folly gress show that he has a mastery over to drive such men out of politics altothe written as well as the spoken word. gether, or, if they retain their political But the main appeal of his articles will interests, to force them into journalism be that they are signed by an ex-Pres- for an outlet. Let the State retain ident, and by one who even in his re- their services by, as we have said, tirement remains by far the greatest placing them on half-pay. Then they figure in America. Mr. Taft is the in- will always be available for arbitraheritor of the Roosevelt tradition, but tions, home or foreign, Special Comhe cannot be its spokesman while we missions, confidential inquiries, or any have Mr. Roosevelt writing weekly other delicate and responsible nonin the columns of the Outlook. The party work which the Executive may whole situation will be very delicate. desire to entrust to a man of special One of the two political centres of authority and experience.