« 이전계속 »
will be lost to it. The country will be thrown upon its own resources, and, besides finding employment for all these men and food for all these mouths, it will also have to provide for the defence of its frontiers and to defray the cost of internal administration. By comparing the expenditure of Greece, which is little larger than Albania in population, and even less in territory, and of Crete, which is scarcely one-fifth of it, experts have come to the conclusion that a free Albania will find itself under the necessity of improvising an annual budget of some two millions sterling, a sum which can hardly be realised out of maize and tortoises alone. According to a sanguine calculation, the independent principality of Albania that is to be will enjoy a deficit of one million a year, increasing with accelerated velocity as years roll on.* It is not a cheering outlook. Pessimistic critics eren go further, and maintain that there is no future for Albania apart from the Ottoman Empire. They are convinced that the Albanians, by their ready, though superficial, conversion to Islam, have identified themselves irreclaimably with the fortunes of Turkey, and will have to stand or fall with it; they are chained to the conqueror's chariot, and whithersoever that is driven, though it be to the brink of the bottomless pit—by no means an unlikely contingency-thither they must needs follow. It is reassuring to turn from these gloomy forebodings to the late Signor Crispi's prognostication. Albania,' said the eminent Italian statesman in a letter published not long before his death, 'possesses all the elements requisite for 'autonomy in a far greater measure than either Servia or • Bulgaria possessed them, and if Europe would grant it
a similar administrative autonomy, she would do an ex'ceedingly politic thing. These are, however, the words of an optimist, and, besides, of one whose personal feelings for the land of his forefathers may have biassed his indgement. And yet we cannot but share his hope that. and the sacrifices of Albanian patriotism will not and that when the day comes for unholy Dios to low it may find Albania waking and prepared.
she would change of
ment. Land of his besides, These
* The economic side of the Albanian quest
side of the Albanian question is discussed with
knowledge by M. Christovasilis, a distinguished et in the · Acropolis' of October 14 (0.S.), 1901.
Athenian publicist, in the 'Acropolis' of
dealt with other aspects of the problem in Oresting and instructive articles contribut
between Lgust are
ART. IV.-1. The Return of Ulysses. A Drama in Five
Acts. By ROBERT BRIDGES. Poetical Works. Vol. IV.
London : 1902. 2. Ulysses. A Drama in a Prologue and Three Acts. By
STEPHEN PHILLIPS. London: 1902. 3. La Divina Commedia di Dante Alighieri. Commentata
da G. A. SCARTAZZINI. Seconda Edizione Milano :
1896. 4. The Early Poems of Alfred Lord Tennyson. With Notes
and an Introduction by J. CAURTON COLLINS, M.A. London : 1899.
"A man so various that he seemed to be
Not one, but all mankind's epitome.' The son of Laertes took a stronger and a more lasting 1 grip of the popular imagination than any other of the Homeric heroes. His fantastic adventures, indomitable fortitude, insatiable curiosity, the inexhaustible resources of his craft, his calculated audacities, marked him out as the protagonist in a long series of folk-tales, going back to the very beginning of Mycenæan culture. Universal humanity loves sharp practice. The vulpine element in a leonine character appeals directly to the “ rascal rabble,' who rejoice in smart strategy, even if it be carried to the verge of the high stage of villainy reached by the Heathen Chinee.' Their chosen hero must be wily as well as intrepid; he must have skill to foil, no less than strength to slay, his foes; he must have equal patience to lurk in ambush, and courage to fight in the open ; moreover, his ends must be sure, although his ways be not altogether straight. Such a one was Ulysses, and there is no laying his ghost. His wisdom, ubiquitous as the folly of fools, does walk about the orb.' It was by no idle vaunt that he declared himself to Alcinous as of.sky-reaching fame. He had earned it by incredible toils, and he has kept it through the decree of the Muses.
Round the story of the siege of Troy as a nucleus, grew endless accretions of legend concerning him. It was prefaced with the narratives of his feigned madness, and of his mission to Achilles in Scyros; it was amplified with details of his trip to fetch Philoctetes from Lemnos, of his theft of the Palladium, of his nocturnal raid upon the camp and milk-white steeds of Rhesus, of his masterful conduct in the Wooden Horse; it was continued and completed by the tales of his
competition with blockish Ajax' for the arms of Achilles ; of his protracted wanderings and detentions; of his campaign in Thesprotia ; finally, of his evasion towards the shadowy West. His doings vexed the Sun and the Sea ; and the Sun and the Sea, because of him, threw discord into the councils of Olympus; but the resulting turmoil served only to postpone, not to prevent, his victorious return, and to weave fresh colours into the variegated tissue of his existence.
Its vicissitudes were the fertile seeds of song. From Demodocus and Phemius onward, poets in all ages have made him their theme-poets primitive, classic, and decadent-epic, cyclic, tragic, and comic; mediæval romancers; modern craftsmen in metre. His versatile capabilities lent themselves to the requirements of the drama; and Ulysses, having trod the Attic stage by turns in sock and buskin, reappeared at the Globe' in Southwark, and has scored a twentieth-century success at Her Majesty's. The conditions of that success were, in one respect, peculiar. Never before, we believe, until Mr. Bridges and Mr. Phillips essayed the task, has the main substance of an epic been dramatised. The inverse process was not, indeed, wholly untried. The five acts of Vondel's
Lucifer' are dimly reflected in the twelve books of the 'Paradise Lost. Euripides, however, Sophocles, Shakespeare, to say nothing of Metastasio, were content, in dealing with the great personality of the Ithacan king, to use byeproducts of Homeric or post-Homeric invention; while it is the Odyssey in its substantial entirety which was nightly presented to the audiences in the Haymarket. We cannot say that the upshot of the experiment should encourage its repetition ; yet it has been tried twice, within the last few years, by writers of considerable, though unlike, endowments.
Mr. Bridges's play is the earlier in date. Composed in 1890, it has lately been re-issued in the fourth volume of his collected works, but has, so far, not been acted. Its merits, indeed, are of a kind that tell with more effect in the closet than upon the stage. The movement is slow; the crisis is long delayed; the dramatis personæ are not sharply characterised, and their oratory is far too copious. They are, on the other hand, dignified in bearing and speech; they show touches of fine feeling; they breathe a purer and higher than the common air. Above all, they make no appeal to the groundlings. There is, from beginning to end of this praiseworthy production, a welcome absence of ad captandum vulgarities,
Mr. Phillips's play contrasts with it, in several respects, very strongly. It is a clever acting piece. Scenic effect was primarily aimed at in its construction, and has, within certain limitations, been attained. The events represented in it succeed each other rapidly, and with stimulating variety. Gods, men, women, and ghosts, throng the boards, and comport themselves with animation, if not always with due decorum. All the resources of stage-machinery and stage-illumination have been laid under contribution. Opportunities for spectacular display are numerously offered, and have been ingeniously availed of. Yet this, after all, is a base purpose to be served by the consecrated pages of that antique bard,
Che sovra gli altri com' aquila vola.' And in truth, the jarring note struck in a Prologue which parodies in its grotesque buffoonery the colossal irreverence of that to Goethe's 'Faust,' never ceases to vibrate until the last Suitor perishes in a medley of groans and flashes of lightning.
Then at last, in the ensuing silence, we ponder the consequences of the slaughter, and put to ourselves the question which has, during some millenniums, been in sundry modes asked and answered: Was this indeed the end of Ulysses ? Had Fate nothing further in store for him than to die of old age, gnarled and grey as his own olivetrees? Could he rest and be thankful in conjugal felicity, ruling forty square miles of barren territory, and paying facile homage to indifferent local Nymphs, while ignored as superannuated by rabid Poseidon and radiant Athene ? Surely so conventional an existence—such trite prosperitycould not permanently satisfy the yearnings of one who had moored his ship in the Ocean-stream, and returned alive from the Shades ? There could be no hesitation about the reply. Ulysses bulked too large for Ithaca; and the popular imagination, intolerant of his sequestration, transferred him to a wider and dimmer scene, where further great deeds might still be done, or, at any rate, intimated as possible. The story concocted by Eugamon of Cyrene, and reproduced in the lost Sophoclean tragedy of Ulysses struck by a fishbone,' was obviously and ludicrously inadequate; something nobler and more suggestive was needed to give completeness to the Homeric conception. The author of the Odyssey had indicated the kind of death his hero was to die; but under the elusive form of a prophecy. Teiresias, the Theban soothsayer, who enjoyed the unique privilege of keeping his