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picture of what it is meant to describe-namely, the watchman gazing at night from the battlements of Clytæmnestra's palace for the signal-light which is to announce the fall of Troy—as the far more flowing and spirited version which we shall subjoin to it, from Professor Blackie's work. “ Watchman, on the roof of the palace, loquitur.”
(Mr. Buckleys Translation.) “I pray the gods a deliverance from these toils—a remedy for my year-long watch, in which, couching on my elbows on the roofs of the Atreidæ, like a dog, I have contemplated the host of the nightly stars, and the bright potentates that bear winter and summer to mortals, conspicuous in the firmament. And now I am watching for the signal of the beacon, the blaze of fire that brings a voice from Troy, and tidings of its capture; for thus strong in hope is the woman's heart, of manly counsel, (Clytæmnestra.) And wbilst I have a night bewildered and dew-drenched couch, not visited by dreams,-for fear, in place of sleep, stands at my side, so that I cannot firmly close my eyelids in slumber,—and when I think to sing or whistle, preparing this the counter-charm of song against sleep, then do I mourn, sighing over the sad condition of this house, that is not, as of yore, most excellently administered. But now may there be a happy release from my toils, as the fire of joyous tidings appears through the gloom! [Ile sees the beacon-light.] Oh hail! thou lamp of night; thou that displayest a light like as the day, and the marshalling of many dances in Argos, on account of this event. Ho! ho!"
(Professor Blackie's Translation.)
This long year's watch that, dog-like, I have kept,
Professor Blackie's Translation.
[The beacon is seen shining.]
Hillo! hilloa !” We can assure the intelligent English reader, that, with even Mr. Buckley's bald prose translation of Æschylus on his book-shelf, he may bring himself face to face with the old Greek dramatist, as the Athenians saw and loved him. And he will find the exercise worth his while. For all the purposes which make what we call literature a valuable thing to humanity, there is no thoughtful man but will confess that, in this single volume containing the seven surviving plays of the Greek poet, there is more substance, more matter of true instruction and delight, than in whole tons of books from our ordinary circulating libraries. What will the modern English reader find in Æschylus? He will find a grand old Greek doing in his own way all that literary men in all ages and all lands have, more or less, tried to do-throwing his eye over the face of nature, and seizing and detaining whatever of beauty or sublimity, in shape or in colour, is to be seen there; insinuating himself sympathizingly into the turmoil of human life, and telling of the passions, and the woes, and the crimes of men and women of heroic mould; ever and anon, too, daring the inscrutable, and representing, under such figures as his Polytheism permitted to him, the mysteries of the beginning and the end, and the interfusion with nature and with human life, of a tremendous, stern, ever present, all-chastising element, which belongs to neither, but overargues both. And, investigating the poet more closely under each of these aspects, he will discover much that is curious and interesting. In Æschylus, as a poet of nature, he will find, not one of our modern writers of verse who are matchless in nature's minutiæ, as if they studied her in a botanic greenhouse, or amid her ultimate distillations in a druggist's laboratory; but a man whose eye loves the spacious, the free, and the colossal, resting, if at all, only on a rock or mountain, but generally ranging the expanse of a landscape, following the sea-waves till they break on the beach, or watching the starry courses—a genuine son, in short, though a massive and vehement one, of that Athenian soil, whose inhabitants, according to the loving description of another poet, " always walked with graceful step through a most glittering ether, where the nine sacred Pierian muses were said once to have brought up the fair-haired Harmony as their common child.” And on Æschylus, as a poet of human life, the observation will be similar. Strength, sincerity, rage, pain, revenge, endurance, all on the colossal scale, as conceivable only among kings or
demigods, acting publicly in the face of a whole nation—such are the passions that Æschylus pourtrays, in words that sometimes stagger under their own weight, though always within the bounds of artistic seeming; not the more intricate wrongs and workings of the purely private breast, nor the luxurious woes that come to all the world from the white hand of Aphrodite. Lastly, as a poet of the ancient Greek religion, how much is Æschylus fitted to teach us! Here, to our surprise, in the writings of a Polytheist we shall find an idea of sin in general, as the prime fact of the world, which might be looked for in the works of the writer most true to the spirit of another faith ; while, as regards one of the consequences of that idea-the eternally true doctrine that the justice of God pursues the sinner; that there is a paction and alliance between the Fates or the powers of nature without, and the Furies or the conscience of man within ; and that guilt once committed goes on accumulating from generation to generation, till the hour of some fell explosion-it really seems, if we may judge from the prevalence of that doctrine in their literature, as if the contemporaries of Æschylus were more clear and more convinced than we. Or, if we read for nothing more than a speculative purpose, there is this curious fact, not often noted, which the writings of Æschylus and of his brother-dramatists might make very distinct to us—the fact that, in the Greek Polytheistic system, the local habitation assigned by the imagination to that part of the supernatural most intimately connected with human destinies was not the same as with us. When we pray, we look upward; it is in the clear starry region that we are taught by habit and by instinct to place our hopes of a future life. The Greeks, on the other hand, looked downward; Zeus, indeed, occupied the realms above, but it was to the gods beneath that they most often prayed; it was to them that they poured out libations; it was from underneath the earth that they expected supernatural aid to arise; and it was thither that the souls both of good and of bad were, in their view, supposed to descend. The reason may have been in that imperfect astronomical knowledge which did not enable them to assign bounds to the earth; but, whatever may have been the reason, the fact is one of immense importance in any investigation into the peculiarities of Greek thought. With us the element of the supernatural is conceived as showering down from above; the Greeks conceived it, still more emphatically, as welling up from beneath.—All this, and much more, the English reader may learn from the translation of Æschylus. í
Re-awakening of Christian life in Germany.
Art. X.— Tages-Ordnung des vierten Deutschen evangelischen
Kirchentags, und des dritten Congresses für die Innere Mission.
The struggles of Christianity in Germany have occasionally occupied a place in our pages, which at once their intrinsic importance, and the vital union of our British theology with that of the Continent, every day becoming more apparent and inore intimate, would have more than justified. Hitherto, however, we have dealt with German Christianity more as a matter of speculation and criticism, than of living practical manifestation. Happily, a change in the subject-matter of our study affords a welcome occasion for a change in our procedure, and we rejoice to be able to speak of evangelical religion, as now for the first time since the Reformation, or at least since the Thirty Years' War, asserting its place as a force that ought to move, and to move in the right direction, the whole of German society. The transition is effectually made in that great nation from a scholastic to a popular Christianity; and as we hail this movement with unfeigned congratulation, we shall endeavour to give our readers some outline of the beginning and progress of a change which is probably fraught with as great blessing to Germany and the world as almost any religious occurrence of our times.
Ten years ago, had a spectator of somewhat sanguine temperament been solicited to forecast the destinies of religion in Germany, he would probably have anticipated a gradual rising of that healthful tide which had begun to set in even with the dawn of the century, and had been increased by the influences of the Liberation-war, and the tercentenary of the Reformation, until it should overspread the whole country. He would have laid great stress on the revival of the universities, and have prognosticated that by sending out an increasingly orthodox and fervent body of clergy, they would prove the fountainheads of national piety, as they had been in the days of Spener and Francke. He would have trusted to the zeal of the leading magistrates and nobility—more especially the all but canonized king of Prussia, whose patronage and influence were ever on the side of orthodoxy, and who was known to be disposed to resign to a revived Church the entire spiritual care of his subjects, the moment she was fit to meet the responsibility. And he would have dwelt on the improved constitution of consistories and other ecclesiastical boards of administration, by which the wants of the people would be continually better supplied, until by a happy necessity these somewhat arbitrary bodies should die a natural
death, and give place to the free self-government in presbyteries and synods of a Christianized nation. Such might have been the vaticinations of our theorist; and then he might have regaled his imagination by pictures more or less enchanting, of a recovered harmony between the spirit of the Reformation symbols and the genius of modern free inquiry, and of a lettered theology thus re-impressing the stamp of the age upon the solid gold of the past, and sending it forth amongst a believing people, to displace universally the mass of base coin still in circulation. Prophecies like these were in the mouths of many; the “ Church of the Future” in more books than Bunsen's, hasted to put on its apocalyptic garments, and, upon the whole, the German Church, watered by the genial influences of power, and drawing from the deep soil of vigorous speculation, was looked upon as ready to expand in “all the leaves of its spring.”
Alas for time, which so perversely frustrates the tokens of seers, and “makes diviners mad !” Preliminary signs of the total incompetency of this remedy were furnished ere the last crowning demonstration brought it home to every heart. The unhappy schism in the camp of positive Christianity, between the disciples of Schleiermacher and Hengstenberg, which came to a head in 1845, shewed how little was to be effected by academic concord; while the growing reaction against the union of the Lutheran and Reformed Churches in Prussia brought out the utter powerlessness of kings and consistories as the leaders in religious progress. More damaging still to all such hopes of a speedy convalescence of the German Church, were the German Catholic movement, and that of the Friends of Light. It was not so much the undisguised rationalism of these kindred struggles, far spread and widely supported as they were, that was fitted to alarm-it was much more the popular éclat with which they sought to invest themselves, and the degree to which they brought in the democratic element into the settlement of Church questions. In this respect they form an epoch; and contemptible as they were in themselves, they were the ominous shadow of that terrible crisis which was so soon to come. Henceforth there was an open breach between democracy and the Church-an assize of the Church at the bar of the multitude, which nothing but the reconversion of the multitude to the Church could hinder from entailing the most fatal consequences. No such counterevangelistic effort, however, was yet called forth. The Church was willing to lose the more turbulent of these her sons, if they would only quietly withdraw: and liberty of dissent being conceded by the royal edict of March 1847, there was a danger that the very opening of this safety-valve would close the agitation and permit the awakening Church again to relapse into her old delusive