« 이전계속 »
er, thehe develojesiveness his royal Sita,
teaches them to recite the deeds and wanderings of Rama and the story of Sita's unspotted truth. So the long years pass till the day comes when, at the king's high sacrifice, Valmiki sends the two boys to sing the Rāmāyana in Rama's own presence. Pierced to the heart with contrition, Rama hears the song, and Sita is summoned to the palace. The scene in which the gods give final judgement between the king and the wife has no parallel in its completeness of conception. And though to English ears the English equivalent to the rhythm of the Sanscrit verse robs the words of their full power, the mere telling of the events, the portrayal of the characters, the developement of the action, produce in themselves a tragic impressiveness not easily forgotten. Rama stands in the full splendour of his royal glories. The woodland-born children are near at hand; and Sita, mother of his sons, wife of his youth, grief-worn, yet fair as of old, is face to face with him who has been the one love of life. But neither her fairness, her constancy, nor ber love shall ever again avail to gladden the heart of the king. I have
sinned. Such is the drift of Rama's open confession. He had bowed his head to the voice of his people; he had held her as guilty who was innocent of all guilt, lest he should be a cause of offence to the incredulous world. Now let the gods hear him and help. Against his people he may not offend; against Sita he will not. Let her once more prove in the sight of all men her unstained honour, and the eyes which were blind shall be opened, and for him and for her sorrow shall be effaced, and the joys which were theirs of old shall be restored.
Then Sita, gentlest of women, but the wife and daughter of kings, mother of princes, looked on Rama and she looked on the assembled princes. For her is no joy left in all years of time or eternity. There are wrongs which are remediless, wounds no salve can heal; deeds are irreparable, and no payment of arrears can obliterate the days when trust failed. Denied, discrowned of hope, through no second ordeal of flame shall her feet win their way to Rama's side. Slowly and sadly she utters her litany of despair :
If I from birth have lived unstained in thought and deed, spare thy daughter her shame and anguish, Mother Earth, receive her.
"If in service and devotion I have laboured undefiled, thou who didst bear this woman, Mother Earth, receive her.
If to Rama I have in truth kept faith, from the burden of life let thy Sita, Mother Earth, be released.'
And the earth parted, and a golden throne arose, and on the golden throne sat the great mother, who has borne in many lands many names, the Giver of corn, queen of the sowing-time and of the harvest; and she folded her arms about Sita, and Sita, born of the furrow, returns to the earth.
No violence of passion with its suggestion of impermanence, no bitterness of resentment for wrong suffered in long silence, no reproach, no upbraiding, stir the deep waters which have passed over Sita's soul. The weight of a heart has been the burden too heavy to be borne of life, and it has sunk the ship in the windless night. Helen, from the arms of Paris, returned to live placid life-days with Menelaus. Brynhild, wedded to Gunnar, Sigurd, wedded to Gudrun, are reunited in death; 'we two, I and Sigurd, shall never part
again. But Rama, who has loved one love, and one love only, all the years of his life, sits solitary upon his throne, and Sita, whose love was truth of truth, loyalty of loyalty, passion of passion, whose life to his life was in very deed as shadow to substance-hand loosed from hand, heart broken from heart-passes alone and uncompanioned into the region where only shadows go.
Such, apart from all mystic and mythical interpretation, is, so far as Sita is concerned, the tragedy of Eastern idealism. It is for those versed in Indian literature to tell us how far Sita, as a race type, has influenced the subsequent ideals of Indian drama and Indian fiction down to the more modern school of fiction represented by the novels of Bankim Chandra Chatterji, whose work Mr. Frazer parallels with that of Pierre Loti (“outside the “ Mariage de 6“ Loti” there is nothing comparable in Western fiction'), and those still more recent authors who have followed in his wake. In classical Western literature two figures alone stand out as in any way corresponding to the Sita idealthe Enid, of Chrestien de Troyes' romance and of the 'Mabi'nogion 'legends, and the Griselda, of which the European popularity, when the story was adopted and framed by Boccaccio, exceeded that of any other of his novelle. Both may be cited as incomplete and broken reflexions of some remote, non-Western ideal, yet they are not in any true sense type ideals accepted by their own day and generation.
Grisilde is dead and eke hir patience,' Chaucer himself tells us with an unbelieving jest at the close of his . Clerkes
Tale'; nor is one disposed to think-in view of the majority of Decameronian heroines—the Renascence novelist was more credulous as to the veracity of the character
Dione delineated. And if, as Mr. Ker* points out, the story of Enid, as told by Chrestien, has none of the in
eradicable falsity of the story of Griselda,' it still lacks what is the most characteristic feature of the Indian typea certain remote dignity, the spiritual vesture and veil of a womanhood which theoretically (to borrow a phrase) ‘has • never seen the sun.' Possibly the type was incapable of Western reproduction; possibly the medieval art-doctrine which regarded the subject of wedded love as inadmissible in romance was too firmly rooted to be lightly supplanted by a type approached from a wholly different standpoint. But whether it were for one reason or for another, Griselda and Enid are practically, in European classics, companionless, and the maid-errants or the wife-errants, as the case might be, of Arthurian legends, medieval romances, and Elizabethan drama are the central women's figures of early Western imagination.
To Helen, to Brynhild, to Sita, each man will render homage according to the bent of his own emotional instincts. Argive Helen, crowned by Greek poets, re-crowned as the symbol of the Renascence in its materialistic idealism, will to the end of time hold her Western devotees captive, a faroff dream of an unrivalled perfection of beauty. Brynhild, armoured and helmed, will appeal to the sympathy of the few. Now, as in her life days, she must be loved greatly to be loved at all. Sita lives for and in the East alone. But while the East is true to itself she will remain loved and worshipped, with all that is to the East most sacred and most dear. “I reverence thee' (so runs the hymn to Rama where the best of all that Hinduism holds is sublimely
rendered 't), the lover of the devout, the merciful, the tender-hearted; I worship thy lotus feet, which bestow • upon the unsensual thine own abode in heaven. I adore • thee, the dark and beautiful ... the mine of felicity, the
salvation of the saints. I worship thee, with thy spouse and thy brother. ... I reverently adore thee, the king of 'incomparable beauty, the lord of the earth-born Sita.' Thus Sita is remembered ; and, with all reverence be it spoken, to the Madonna of the Hindu as to the Madonna of the West the angels' salutation might be humbly addressed, • Blessed art thou, so loved and so remembered, amongst women.'
Ideals of Epic and Romance.
ART. III.-1. Report of His Majesty's Commissioners appointed
to inquire into the subject of the Administration of the Port
of London and other matters connected therewith, 1902. 2. First Report of the Select Committee of the House of
Commons on Steamship Subsidies, 1901. 3. The German Empire of To-day. By · VERITAS.' London :
Longmans & Co. 1902. 4. Commercial Trusts. By John R. Dos Passos. New
York and London : G. P. Putnam's Sons. 1901.
BSERVERS of political thought and feeling have seen in U this country at the opening of the twentieth century two very differently coloured streams flowing side by side. On the one hand there has been a larger sense than ever before existed of the greatness and possible destinies of the British Empire ; on the other a doubt as to the soundness of the heart of that Empire. The way in which the South African war affected the public mind is, as it were, a microcosm of a more general feeling. The national spirits were raised by the exhibition of the solidarity and resources of the different parts of the Empire, but depressed by the revelation of a military system so unprepared to meet the changes produced by new weapons that it was necessary to take costly lessons from the enemy and remodel the art of war during a campaign. The result was a feeling of vast resources inefficiently applied. It is clear to anyone who studies the writing and listens to the talk of the day that many persons well fitted to judge are haunted by a suspicion, stronger in some and weaker in others, that the British Empire may be in the position of a man who has attained to the height of power, wealth, and fame, but finds his tenure of these advantages threatened by an incipient heart disease. Like a gloomy undertone this feeling pervades discussions on military and even naval affairs, on the procedure and condition of Parliament, on the work of public offices, on statistics of population and trade, on education, on industrial methods. It breathes in the exhortation of the Prince of Wales to his fellow-countrymen to wake up,' in the stress laid by Lord Rosebery on the word efficiency. It is not, we think, a mere passing recrudescence of the eternal spirit of pessimism, or a fall in the moral temperature. The feeling is derived from a study of facts and figures, and from a rational comparison of ourselves with others.
Just as the art of war is always changing, just as tactics successful in the Seven Years' War broke down in that of the Revolution, and those successful in the Crimea failed in South Africa, so also methods of government and commerce adequate to the facts of one age may, in a changed environment, lead to the ruin of those who fail to adapt themselves. History shows, it is written on the streets of Venice and Cadiz, how swiftly commerce, wealth, and empire can pass from one centre to another, and how specially rapid the process may be when a nation's pre-eminence rests upon maritime superiority. Matthew Arnold, in a fine poem, wrote that
Empire after empire, at their height
And drooped, and slowly died upon their throne.' Let us hope that in our own case the boding sense may have come in time to permit salutary reconstruction, as the early discovery of a disease may save the life of a patient.
We propose to discuss in this article the conditions which make for success in the modern commercial, maritime, world competition, and to consider whether any modifications of national policy are necessary in order to meet those conditions.
The oldest and most permanent condition of maritime success is that a nation should have ports capable of receiving conveniently the largest ships of the time. From this point of view, and because the whole story illustrates to perfection certain general deficiencies in English methods, we desire to advert at some length to the Report made last June by the Royal Commission on the Port of London.
London has an admirable position for maritime commerce. It is situated at a corner of the English coast, near to the Continent, upon a river not subject to excessive floods, but with tides sufficient to transport traffic with ease; the banks of the river are not steep or rocky, but suitable for dock and canal excavation, for building, and for access by road. These advantages have at all times given to London the position of the leading port in England, and the rise of England has made this port by far the greatest in the world. Already, in 1685, as Macaulay writes, “London had in the world • only one commercial rival, now long outstripped, the ' mighty and opulent Amsterdam.' Just at that date London was leaving Amsterdam behind in the race, and since then