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Tennyson's candid friend Old Fitz,' who wished A. T. had 'not tried the stage.'* And, of course, there were those gorgeous Shakespearian revivals which it is a duty to remember, as well as those pseudo-poetic plays of W. G. Wills which it is a pleasure to forget. Of the Shakespearian revivals there is one thing to be said germane to our present purpose. They represented an effort to pour old wine into new bottles : to accommodate the platform-drama to the picture-stage. Charles Kean had made a similar attempt in the fifties, which failed, because the new conditions were imperfectly understood and because public opinion had not yet escaped from the bondage of the old rhetorical ideal. In the eighties this ideal had vanished, and though a few veterans grumbled, the Lyceum experiment did achieve a certain success. It was Walter Bagehot, if memory serves, who said that, though Eton boys might not learn much Latin or Greek, they left school with the firm impression that there were such languages. So the Lyceum public, all agape at the solid sets' and the rich costumes, carried away a conviction that there had indeed been a Shakespeare. As to the difference between the old and the new styles we cannot do better than give the unconscious evidence of FitzGerald and his cronies, who had seen both. They found the scenery of the Lyceum Much Ado' too 'good,' while •Irving was without any humour, Miss Terry
with simply animal spirits.'t On the other hand, of Macready's Macbeth FitzGerald remembered the actor's "Amen stu-u-u-u-ck in his throat.' In other words, overelaboration of scenery was the besetting sin of the picturestage, as that of the platform-stage had been over-emphasis of delivery or ranting. The truth is, Sir Henry Irving stands apart. By sheer force of individuality he has impressed himself on the time; he has rendered signal service to the playhouse by making it once more a social institution, and to the actor's calling by making it, perhaps for the first time, an entirely respectable profession; but in the developement of modern drama, as we are considering it, he has taken no share.
This complete, if splendid,' isolation of the Lyceum in the later eighties reminds us of those enthusiastic Parisian anglers who, so the story runs, continued to fish for gudgeon under the Pont-Neuf while the Revolution was raging
* More Letters of Edward FitzGerald, p. 273.
Nose,' with their coarseness of feeling and their provinciality of thought, it is better not to dwell. But what a chaotic output! How is Mr. Jones's criticism of life to be disengaged from this tangle of themes and modes, schools and styles, violent affirmations and flat contradictions? He flouts Mrs. Grundy in 'Lady Susan'* and brings her in as “dea Sex machinâ' for 'The Liars. He was an idealist in 'The
Crusaders,' and a sentimentalist in The Dancing Girl' and a cynic in "The Tempter,' and Mr. Worldly Wiseman in 'Mrs. Dane' and goodness knows what in The Princess's * Nose.' Is it permissible to suppose that a hodge-podge like this was ever inspired by any constant ideal, directed towards any definite end? Your serious French dramatist knows his own mind and takes care that we shall know it too. The purpose of Dumas fils we have seen emphatically declared in the preface to 'Le Fils Naturel,' and Dumas kept his word. M. Hervieu says his purpose is to plead the cause of the oppressed; M. Brieux regards himself as the
commis voyageur de l'intellectualité.' We all know, then, what these men are driving at. But what Mr. Jones or Mr. Pinero is driving at remains an inscrutable mystery.
Of course we are not contemplating these gentlemen as theatrical craftsmen, as artificers of 'fables' in three dimensions. In that respect their primacy is beyond dispute-unless it is to be shared by Mr. Grundy. But Mr. Grundy is outside our present scope. Although he occasionally took a pot shot, and by no means a bad one, at the drama of ideas (in 'Sowing the Wind, for example, and in "The • Greatest of These '), although, as we have said, he for a time bowed the knee to Ibsen, he seems to have returned to his early love, Scribism, adaptation from French anecdoteplays. We pass over Mr. Grundy, then, to glance for a moment at a man with real ideas and a definite purpose which he is at no pains to conceal-Mr. Bernard Shaw. No one need ask what Mr. Shaw's 'message' is; he is always ramming it down our throats. For his general philosophy you have this: 'The tragedy and comedy of life lie in the consequences, sometimes terrible, sometimes ludicrous, of our persistent attempts to found our institutions on the ideals ' suggested to our imagination, by our half-satisfied passions,
instead of on a genuinely scientific natural history.'t
* Of malice prepense it would seem ; see the preface to the printed play. * † Preface to 'Unpleasant Plays' (1898).
hate, lamelarama. Teos of a triane tor to support center, bom of
prove that twomanor wou merely a
There it is, as circumstantial, and almost as long-winded, as a power of attorney. Mr. Shaw's plays are so many attacks upon what he considers our false ideals, and so many attempts to illustrate what he calls a scientific natural history. The only drawback is that with such a being as 'man, in such a world as the present,' Mr. Shaw's plays do not count as plays at all. They offer such a criticism of life as the average man cannot even begin to understand. Mr. Shaw assumes a world of unimpeded intellect; he addresses himself to the pure reason; his characters do not love or hate, laugh or cry, they merely argue it out. It is the Euclidean drama-or would be, if Euclid had set himself to prove that two sides of a triangle are not greater than the third, and that it is a vulgar error to suppose a point to be without parts or magnitude. We must not enter, however, upon so dangerously controversial a subject as the value of Mr. Shaw's criticism of life; nor need we, seeing that he fails to express it in terms of drama. The essential law of the theatre is thought through emotion. No character exhibits real emotion (though occasionally there is a show of 'temper ') in those fascinating exercises in dialectic which Mr. Shaw miscalls plays. This fatal defect condemns Mr. Shaw to remain a dramatist of the study or, at best, the dramatist of a coterie. If any one of our playwrights who appeal to the public at large had only a tithe of Mr. Shaw's independence and originality of thought, to say nothing of his vivacity and wit, our contention that the modern English drama is unidea'd' would fall to the ground.
It is, of course, irrelevant to the subject of our inquiry to consider the case of Mr. Stephen Phillips. We have been examining the modern French drama and the English on a specific point, appraising their relative contributions to a criticism of life, contrasting the ample stock of ideas in the one with the intellectual poverty of the other. The drama of beauty and mystery and passion enshrined in verse-and Mr. Phillips's work, unless we are much mistaken, takes high rank in that dramatic region stands outside our comparison. How much the vogue of Mr. Phillips is a vogue of pure poetry, what, on the other hand, is the amount of its debt to the two ablest and most progressive actor-managers of the moment-Mr. Alexander and Mr. Tree—that is an interesting question for those who have a fancy for premature conjecture. But for us it is what Aristotle would call årdos óyos.
VOL. CXCVI. No. .
of , with the ini: contrastin.heir relative the English Mr. beauty and mellectual poverte ample sto
ART. X.-1. The Mastery of the Pacific. By ARCHIBALD R.
COLQUHOUN. London: Heinemann, 1902. 2. China and the Powers: a Narrative of the Outbreak of
1900. By H. C. THOMSON. London: Longmans, 1902. THERE is an old story of two men meeting in the public
square of Quito, the one clad in all the warm wraps within his reach and shivering with cold, while the other, in his shirt-sleeves and with the perspiration pouring down his face, was complaining of the oppressive heat; the explanation being that the first had just come to the town from the torrid plain below, the other from the snowy fields above. This anecdote from childhood's geography has come strangely back to our memory as we read this latest work by Mr. Colquhoun. From one point of view, it is excellent; from another, it is meagre and disappointing. As a descriptive geography in its best sense, it is admirable. No other book that we are acquainted with deals so well and so comprehensively with the conditions of the several countries which border on the Pacific, or of the islands which gem its surface. Alike in its examination of their physical conditions, their scenery, their products, their people, their commercial capabilities or aptitudes, it is all very good ; it is only when it comes-or does not come-to what, after all, the title leads us to expect, a discussion of the political problems involved, that we find it wanting. For surely the mastery of the Pacific in the near or more remote future is a political question; to this country and to the British Empire a political question whose interest and importance it is scarcely possible to exaggerate; for the extent-in its literal meaning—the outstretching character of the Empire is such that no part of the world, and still less so vast a part of it as the Pacific Ocean, does not approach its boundaries. From this point of view, we do not think that Mr. Colquhoun's work answers the expectations which might be justly entertained. It leads up to the question, but it does not directly tackle it; and even the preliminary matter, excellent as it is, is so purely geographical that other considerations of the first importance are omitted, or have to be sought for, instead of being presented as necessary to the discussion of the problem. Still, even with this drawback, serious though it is, the work which Mr. Colquhoun now offers us is of the deepest interest, and does, to a very
1782 to Mr. Colquha continue,
great extent, clear the way for the more important problems which must follow.
It begins with a geographical account of the expansion of the United States in the Pacific—it is, of course, with the Pacific alone that it is directly concerned-and, as the main feature of that expansion, with a somewhat detailed and altogether admirable account of the Philippine Islands and their people, the Filipinos. The introduction to this is suggestive. After speaking of the way in which, on its own continent, the United States had expanded from about 828,000 square miles in 1782 to more than four times that area, to 3,600,000 square miles, Mr. Colquhoun goes on :-
"Americans had got to believe that they could continue, as they had begun, to live self-contained on their continent, and it never entered into their imaginings that one day they might feel impelled to make a new departure. The country, however, gradually filled up, manufactures grew, and the trading classes looked more and more to foreign markets. It became apparent that openings must be sought abroad, and under these circumstances Hawaii was secured, then Samoa, and finally ... Cuba, Porto Rico, and the Philippines. . . . The change of foreign policyl, however, was not so sudden as it seemed, and had been foreseen to be inevitable by a few onlookers, for with the pressure at home for new markets, expansion abroad was certain to follow as a process of nature, and the Spanish-American war was but the final act, the culmination of a drama which had been enacting since the commencement of the national existence; ... it was the inevi. table end of a century of friction and antagonism. ... Anti-expansionist and Expansionist are in the main agreed that whether occupation of the Philippines could have been avoided or not is a question which it now serves no useful purpose to discuss. Once there, it is impossible to retire, and the United States, established in the Philippines, with stepping-stones across the Pacific at Hawaii, Samoa, and Guam, has been brought at one step into the vortex of Asiatic-Pacific rivalries, and must perforce play her part.' And thus
the presence of the United States in the Pacific, close to China, Japan, Russia, the Dutch East Indies, and Australasia, brings a new factor to bear upon the question of the Pacific, with which the future of further Asia is so closely allied—the world-problem of the twentieth century.' So considered, the United States' annexation of the Philippine Islands becomes a matter of more importance than people in this country have cared to believe it, and the measure of success obtained by United States' troops and administrators has a direct English interest. We are not, we think, mistaken in supposing that a very common idea here has been that the difficulties the Americans have met