Imágenes de páginas
[ocr errors]

Roumans, what will be left of the great constitutional power' of Lord Salisbury's admiration? The Magyar and nothing else. Some years back, before the events of 1875-1878, some observers of South-Eastern affairs-I must confess to having been myself one of them-cherished the hope that the Hungarian kingdom, as the most settled state of South-Eastern Europe, might, when freed from its artificial connexion with German and Italian yoke-fellows, have become, whether under the shape of a Confederation or any other, the centre of the other nations of South-Eastern Europe. Such a 'solution,' to use the cant phrase of diplomacy, was possible so lately as five years ago; it has become, for the present at least, impossible by the position taken up both by the Magyars as a people and by the Austro-Hungarian power as a power. The hope which I have just spoken of was kindled in many minds by the state of things which was to be seen in the lands east of the Hadriatic, at the time when the war first began in Herzegovina in 1875. That war began, very significantly, immediately after the visit of Francis Joseph to his Dalmatian kingdom, a visit which was universally understood to be a visit of reconciliation to his Slavonic subjects. It was at that moment perfectly open to him to have put himself at the head of the Slavonic movement, and to have done all, and more than all, that Russia did afterwards, without awakening anything like the same jealousy which was awakened by the action of Russia. Such a policy, boldly carried out, might have changed the prince who still calls himself King of Croatia, Dalmatia, and Slavonia-to say nothing of Bohemia, Galicia, and Lodomeria-into the head of a Slavonic empire, like that which was striven for by the Servian Stephen, and in earlier times by the Bulgarian Simeon and Samuel. That is to say, the Hungarian kingdom might have grown into a great Slavonic power. Such a change must, sooner or later, have led to a separation between the Austrian and Hungarian realms, and to the restoration of Austria in some shape or other to its natural connexion with Germany. And, towards the end of 1875, things really looked as if the beginning of such a chain of events had actually taken place. Austria was helping the people of Herzegovina in their struggle with the Turk in every way short of actually making war on the Turk. Presently all these hopes faded away, and Austria, from the friend, became the enemy of the struggling nations. The change was not wonderful. The policy which would have enabled Francis Joseph to carry out the dreams of Charles VI. was in itself a very bold one; it was contrary to all Magyar interests; it was contrary to Austrian interests in the narrower sense. But since that change in Austrian policy-of which the kidnapping of Ljubibratich on foreign ground may be taken as the most marked outward sign-everything has to

I put forth this hope in the first edition of my First Series of Historical Essays, p. 282, as late as 1871. In 1879 I had to speak in another tone, in the Third Series pp. 413, 416.

be looked at in another way. From that time every advance of Austria in the South-Eastern lands has meant, not the possible growth of a great Slavonic power, but the further sacrifice of the Slavonic nations to the narrowest dynastic interests. The power which might have entered Bosnia and Herzegovina as a deliverer at last entered those lands as a conqueror. They are at this moment held as a conquered land. Under Austrian 'administration,' the old grievances have not been redressed, and some new grievances have been created. Christians and Mussulmans are beginning to forget their old quarrels in common loathing of the foreign yoke. The dealings of Austria with Montenegro at the Berlin Treaty were all in the same spirit.5 The principality was forbidden to annex the kindred lands which were eager to be annexed, but was allowed to annex alien lands which had no wish to be annexed, but whose annexation was necessary for Montenegro to win her way to the sea. All this shows that the Austrian power is the most immediate and most dangerous enemy of South-Eastern freedom. Nowhere did the accession to power of the English friends of South-Eastern freedom awaken a stronger feeling of fear and loathing than it awakened in Austria, if by Austria' we understand the official circles of Vienna and Pesth; nowhere was it welcomed with more enthusiastic delight than in Austria, if by that word we understand the vast majority of the nations which are still under the rule of Vienna and Pesth. To the Slavonic and Rouman subjects of the Austrian and Hungarian crowns-the people who of all the people of Europe have the feeblest means of making their voice heard in other lands-no less than to all the nations which are still under the Turk, Mr. Gladstone's triumph was indeed glad tidings of great joy. His accession to power was at once followed by a formal denial on the part of the representative of Austria in England of schemes which, as everyone knew, were the most cherished schemes of Austrian policy. The real meaning of what passed between Mr. Gladstone and Count Karolyi was understood at once in Austrian official circles; after a certain amount of puzzledom at some expressions which might well have been otherwise worded, it was soon understood by the nations whom it specially concerned. To know what is really going on in those parts we must go a little deeper than the despatches which fly daily from one great capital to another. Vienna and Constantinople may tell London the mind of Vienna and Constantinople, or of some classes in Vienna and Constantinople. But better light may be had from more obscure provincial' sources, say from Manchester and Philippopolis. How the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina feel under Austrian administration' may be seen, not uncommonly, in the letters which pass from Ragusa to the Manchester Guardian.' How such administration' looks in the eyes of a people who have gained what turns out to be the better boon of adminis

See more in Historical Essays, Third Series, p. 410.
See an instance, the latest of the series, June 7.

trative autonomy,' may be seen in the press of Southern Bulgaria. The Maritza' of Philippopolis, which has always a page or two of French, has lately been very instructive reading. It was plain-spoken enough while the Russians were in the land. Then the nominal restoration of Southern Bulgaria to Turkish rule brought with it a singular fit of respectful language towards his Majesty the Sultan. Now that experience has shown that Turkish rule in Southern Bulgaria is purely nominal, above all, now that England is no longer to be reckoned among the enemies of Bulgarian freedom, the SouthBulgarian print has taken heart again. Turkish oppression in Macedonia, Austrian oppression in Bosnia and Herzegovina, are freely spoken of and are bracketed together. When an Austrian minister speaks of regenerating Turkey'-whatever that may mean-the 'Maritza' hopes that the regeneration will at least not be done after the Austrian pattern. These are certainly signs of the times. does not become any of us to foretell what may happen; but in carefully looking at things as they do happen, it will make them clearer if we bear in mind that Austrian interests,' and the like, as those words are understood in official language, mean something wholly different from the interests of the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and further, that they mean something wholly different from the interests of the avowed Slavonic and Rouman subjects of the Austrian and Hungarian Crowns.



Truth in its unity hath many sides;
One Beauty rules infinity of change;

Art, a free spirit, through all realms may range,
Embracing Truth and Beauty for her guides.
All doors are open to them; where abides
Their foot the roof is sacred, lowly grange
Or temple-court; no home to them is strange,
From starry vault to nook where flowret hides.

And, Artists, hearken! Holding fast their hand,
Ye shall learn secrets, each a special one-
Not of mere skill; the imitative band

Of craftsmen may not catch the whispered tone.
Truth beautiful is Art; who understand

This to create are Artists, they alone.

A. B.



NE of the most noteworthy literary phenomena of our generation is the popularity of the poet who, for a time, chose to be known as A New Writer,' and whose familiar designation now is the 'Author of the "Epic of Hades." When the first series of his Songs of Two Worlds' appeared, the poet was hailed as a fresh and distinct power, and one that ere long would be widely and heartily recognised. At short intervals there came the second and the third series, both of them showing increased knowledge and skill, and proving that the sympathetic range and the command of pathos evinced in the first volume had been cultivated and chastened into a full and vigorous maturity. The first series appeared in 1872, the second in 1874, and the third in 1875, and such was the instant popularity of the poems that no buyer whose enthusiasm began with the third could complete his set by adding the two previous volumes. These were hopelessly out of print. The British public, despite Mr. Browning's satirical despair of their intellectual grasp, had shown themselves capable at least of buying volumes of reflective poetry, and any sudden neophyte was left to his melancholy longing. Happily, however, the author was induced, in 1878, to reprint the bulk of the three series in one volume. These significant words occur in the preface to this ultimate form of the work:-'The demand for a re-issue of "Songs of Two Worlds " makes it essential to lose no time in presenting this volume to the public.' The preface is dated from Penbryn, which is a name suggestive of the Cymri, and an accompanying photograph appears to have been executed at Carmarthen. The poet's name is not printed on the title-page, and the portrait and accompaniments are, no doubt, given to impress individuality without undue show of personality or egoism. Indeed, it is one of the leading thoughts in the poems that it is better to be true to one's spiritual nature than to live merely for popular applause. The poet is not afraid lest the public should find him out, but he is more anxious that they should know his philosophy of culture than that they should look upon himself as a social entity. In his noble address 'To an Unknown Poet,' in which he pays a tribute to his compatriot Henry Vaughan the Silurist, we find this announcement of the poet's nativity and sympathies :

Dear friend, who, two long centuries ago,

Didst tread where since my grandsires trod,
Along thy devious Usk's untroubled flow,
Breathing thy soul to God,

I seek, I, born in these our later days,
Using the measure thou didst love,
With halting tribute of too tardy praise,
A poet throned above.

Thou hast rejoined thy dear ones now, and art,
Dear soul, as then thou wouldst be, free:
I, still a prisoner, strive to do my part
In memory of thee.

Thou art so high and yet unknown: shall I
Repine that I too am obscure?

Nay, what care I, though all my verse shall die,
If only it is pure?

The reference to Vaughan and his favourite measure is significant, and the opening stanza of Vaughan's poem on 'Departed Friends' may be quoted as showing how thoroughly the modern poet sympathises with his predecessor :

They are all gone into the world of light!

And I alone sit lingering here.

Their very memory is fair and bright,

And my sad thoughts doth clear.

Vaughan, too, is consistent in his admiration of duty well performed -of individual heroism, however obscure, in preference to blind adherence to the movements of the crowd. He sums up, in his 'Rules and Lessons,' what he conceives to be the true man's attitude, in this wise:

A sweet self-privacy in a right soul

Outruns the earth, and lines the utmost pole.

The author of the 'Epic of Hades' is a warm advocate of manliness such as this. In all his poetry one feels that what is said is the expression of what is felt and believed, and what, moreover, the poet cannot help saying. He depends for his effect upon his quiet refinement, his sure though delicate touch, and his influence over subtle chords of association and the recondite harmonies of grave sentiment. Both on his own showing, and as illustrated in his practice, the poet is not eager for the applause of the vulgar; he would rather, indeed, have none of it than catch it at a run or at the expense of his own calm dignity and self-command. He will resort to no trick of verse, nor pander to any unworthy passion, but will quietly and steadily go on his way, giving unpretentious expression to the best that is in him. There is music, too, in his verse, but the grouping of phrases and the management of cadences are dependent less upon the sound and more upon the sentiment. Indeed, a tendency towards superfluity of sentiment is just the one feature of these poems that a captious criticism might point to as a flaw. Yet it is quite possible to No. 607 (No. CXXVII. N. s.)


« AnteriorContinuar »