Roger—What have we here?
Giles—There is everything under the sun set down
with some show of reason; they run atilt at the world,
and treat men and manners as familiar as an old hat.
Sir Roger—Think you they protest too much? I like
a matter disposed bravely, but—
Giles—Methinks they have a genial tongue. Will
you hear them?
Sir Roger—Well, an’ it be not too long I’ll
have some sack, and you read on.
patriotic idea has come down to us largely as a result
of heredity, steadily changing its significance as the
national idea progressed with society’s development.
We are apt to call a man patriotic who claims to love
his country, and so engraven is superstition on this
point that the disclaimer of this virtue is regarded
with horror as a sort of political atheist. A most remarkable
picture of the practical punishment of this sin in a
personality is depicted in Edward Everett Hale’s
“Man Without a Country,” which all students
of, or believers in, patriotism should read.
But in the
face of all this is it not possible that the patriotic
idea has so changed with modern progress and the widening
of the national idea that it has entirely lost its old
significance? The national idea had its foundation in
the first crude conception of the family tie, which
developed in the matriarchal system before the nation
as an institution was ever dreamed of; when the mother-love,
the first and last divine essence of all that is greatest
and best in humanity, expanded itself, and mirrored
itself in the child-love, and filial gratitude which
deepened and widened, as in the patriarchal age the
family expanded into the tribe and then into the nation,
and in the course of time the leading ancestor became
the national god. So patriotism and religion sprang
like twins from the same source and developed side by
It is inspiring
to look back on the patriotism illustrated in the great
nations of the past, and to note the gradual effect
on society. But society and the national idea have been
working outward instead of inward, until the cosmopolitan
idea has usurped the national to a large extent, so
that what was once regarded as a leading virtue and
mark of humanity would now be considered as a provincialism
and a narrowness of vision. The old nations each had
their own gods and religions, which shaped their national
ideals. But the conquests of the ages broke down its
old barriers, the religions assimilated and, like drops
dissolving into one pool, helped to swell the great
world religions that grew out of them, and with the
change came the larger growth and vision of ambition
patriotism was great, so was the Carthagenian, as was
that of Greece. It was sincere and human in its immolation
at the national altar, but it represented a stage when
the national ideal and sympathy was limited by its borders.
England, more than any other national of modern times,
has developed the national idea, but she has already
far outgrown this stage. It was strongest in the days
of the wooden walls of Raleigh and when Nelson was a
hero, but when commerce, emigration and science have
helped to widen and dissolve the national horison, so
that now we look back with a smile as well as a heart
throb at the egotism and nobleness evinced in the pictures
of those times. The old idea of loyalty to the sovereign
as a person has changed to loyalty to the State as an
idea and to us who are children of colonists the idea
comes, if at all, in a religious reverence for the soil
on which we were born and reared. But in these days
of rapid emigration from country to country, where a
community is composed of peoples of diverse origin,
who have been compelled by the duties of citizenship
to forget old heredities of custom, language and religion,
it is impossible to expect a real and natural patriotism
to blossom into being. Therefore the idea now becomes
largely one of self-interest, with the supposed idea
at the center of the best interests of the community.
border, having the same language, customs, and almost
similar laws, where the commercial interchange is eager
to overflow on both sides, where intermarriage and emigration
have modified each to the other to a large extent, it
is almost impossible to build up a national sentiment
in each bearing the slightest resemblance to the so-called
patriotism of the past. The antagonism of Rome to Carthage,
of England to France and Spain in the days of Elizabeth,
would be an impossibility to-day, say between countries
situated as Canada and the United States. The more men
travel and read and think the more cosmopolitan they
will become. The old national patriotism was a natural
outgrowth of the national idea, discriminating, with
a prejudice in favor of what was within its borders.
The great results of this were an army, a religion,
a language and a literature. These are all necessary
to the old-time patriotism. The modern spirit is against
all of these. The best element in all nations calls
for universal peace. The language is common in many
cases, and is growing more so every day. The great religion
of humanity as a brotherhood and the ever-widening influence
of science are making the human hope as well as the
human knowledge universal. The literature of many countries
is rapidly becoming the literature of the world. Shakespeare
and Goethe have spoken to all Europe as well as America.
Emerson and Carlyle, Hawthorne and Poe are classics
for the whole English language, and even out of it.
Tolstoi is as interesting to the American and English
thinker as to the Russian. No country can now claim
a great man for more than his birth and residence. This
is no sign of the degeneracy of the moral element in
humanity, but, on the other hand, is a sign of the greatness
of its growth. It won’t be long until the national
patriotism will be a thing of the past. Like the national
religion, and the national egotism, they were great
in their day, but they fulfilled in their decay the
greatest religion (law) in that they died that the world
might live. Onward and outward and upward is the motto
of the day, until the brotherhood is come. And if patriotism
has lived its life it is only that humanity—mankind—may
take the place of the national spirit.
exploring the profundities of “The Prelude”
the other day I came upon this passage, which is without
a parallel in Wordsworth so far as I remember, for in
it there is a description with an evident humorous intent.
It succeeds, too, as Wordsworth nearly always does,
and this is surprising when we consider how far from
his usual ground he was. These words will be found in
the seventh book of “The Prelude,” and they
are intended to describe a young and fashionable curate:
I seen a comely bachelor,
Fresh from a toilette of two hours, ascend
His rostrum, with seraphic glance look up,
And, in a tone elaborately low
Beginning, load his voice through many a maze
A minuet course; and, winding up his mouth,
From time to time, into an orifice
Most delicate, a lurking eyelet, small,
And only not invisible, again
Open it out, diffusing thence a smile
Of rapt irradiation, exquisite.
Meanwhile the Evangelists, Isaiah, Job,
Moses, and he who penned, the other day,
The death of Abel, Shakespeare, and the Bard,
Whose genius spangled o’er a gloomy theme
With fancies thick as his inspiring stars,
And Ossian (doubt not—’tis the naked truth)
Summoned from streamy Morven—each and all
Would, in their turns, lend ornaments and flowers
To entwine the crook of eloquence that helps
This pretty Shepherd, pride of all the plains,
To rule and guide his captivated flock.
reference to “he who penned—the Death of
Abel” is to Solomon Gesner, who was born in Zurich
in 1730. His poem was translated into English in 1780.
of our ladies have a Sunday afternoon mission in a neglected
quarter of the city, in connection with St. Basil’s,
a fashionable Episcopal church. Last Sabbath a little
girl, evidently dressed in all the finery of the family,
took her place for the first time. Her teacher asked
her whether she had ever been at Sunday school before.
She said, “Oh, yes; but not here.” Other
questioning led to the information that she had only
been in town four months. “And you have not been
once to church in that time?” “No.”
“Why is that?” “Well, we used to live
near St. Basil’s, but we didn’t know it
was Protestant. We thought it was Methodist.”
This answer may well be left without comment; but there
is an unconscious humor in it, and, besides, is there
not something more than humor?
all trees the oak is the most British in its character—broad,
sturdy, rugged, earth-loving and permanent. The elm
is classic in its generous sweep, Italian in its grace
and richness of drapery. The most eery, the most inspiring,
the most Celtic of trees is the forest pine, the white
pine, as we find it on the northern waste, perhaps the
tenant of some lofty ledge, reaching far into heaven,
slender, leaning, with a few cloud-like flakes of foliage
that seem to have drifted off from its stem and to lie
afloat upon the inaccessible air. We hear it murmuring
far above us in the quiet wind of morning, and its voice
is like the distant sound of many long waves upon a
sandy shore. At sunset it stands against the bright
and silent west, unchanging, delicate, dark, and with
a stillness, as we dream, like the stillness of eternity.
The pine is the priest of the forest, leading heavenward
the thoughts of men the flights of birds. Before my
door, on the very confines of a growing city, in a little
plot yet left of the primeval wood, stands one of the
lordly masters, a survivor, I know not by what chance,
of axe and fire. At morning, whether the sky be deep
with summer or springtime or crystal clear with autumn,
or the strands of its foliage be heaped with the January
snow, it leads my eye aloft. Far up beyond its silent
top my thoughts take jocund flight, bathing themselves
like the birds in the radiant ether. In my walks I see
it at sunset standing against the rose or gold or the
translucent grey, and my thoughts pas off between its
branches into regions of exquisite purity and repose.
appearance of The Dominion Illustrated Monthly, issued
for the first time this month, again tantalizes the
patriotic eye with the phantasm of Canadian magazine.
There are several remarks which we had felt tempted
to make about this publication but which we suppress
out of a perhaps misguided tenderness for things Canadian.
But there are one or two things that need to be said.
In the first place if all the illustrations had been
left out the number would have been a good deal improved,
and, secondly, we think that surely the editor might
have found some things better for his first issue than
two or three of the articles and poems contained in
it, “Red and Blue Pencils,” for instance.
It is a pity, too, that he could not have avoided the
general air of verdancy and provincialism that permeates
the whole thing.
who undertakes to issue a Canadian magazine at this
date must remember that there is a Canadian public,
as yet not very large, but rapidly growing, which will
inevitably apply to it the very highest and broadest
standard of taste and will not be satisfied with anything
jejeune or provincial. The attempt to publish an illustrated
magazine seems to us futile on the face of it. Any illustrated
magazine, to succeed, must be placed at once on an even
footing with Harper’s or Scribner’s. People
will not buy a third or fourth rate article because
it is Canadian; and there would be no patriotism in
their doing so, as some of our fellow-countrymen seem
to think. On the contrary it seems to us that a man
will best show his patriotism by doing what he can to
suppress such things as tend to misrepresent and disgrace
his native land.
however, exceedingly like to see some level-headed person
establish a plain, sensible, unillustrated magazine
or review which should honestly represent the fullest
intellectual attainment of our country. Surely it is
almost certain that such a publication would succeed
and both accompany and carry along with it the growing
literary force that we see around us.
great interest is being manifested in the centenary
of the birth of Shelley. The Shelley society has decided
to commemorate the event by a performance of “The
Cenci,” and to that end are seeking subscriptions
for a fund of £100. The performance will be private.
The zeal of the society has in this taken a curious
outlet and the result will be observed with interest.
The tragedy will, it is thought, be given in May of
the present year, but the final arrangements have not
letters of Von Moltke to his mother and his brothers,
which were published a short time ago by Osgood, McIlvaine
& Co., have proved of thorough interest and have
in many ways thrown a new and delightful charm about
this character so often imagined as one of mere severity
and discipline. There was something even romantic about
his tastes and his domestic affections. He was tenderly
fond of his wife, who, by the way, was an English girl.
He had even a sense of humor, and in many places it
crops out in these familiar letters. In one of his letters
to his sisters he writes, “My health is wonderful.
I often lie unconscious for eight or ten hours—at
night; I have no appetite after meals; towards evening
such convulsive yawning and stretching, and all day
utter sleeplessness, and restlessness in all my body.
I only hope you do not suffer so.” This is certainly
facetious. In one of the letters from Constantinople
he puts into one pithy and apt sentence the character
of Turkey and the Turks:—“This is the land
of lazy ease, a whole nation in slippers.” Perhaps
there is nothing so delightful as to discover the more
human qualities of a great man, to find beneath the
character which rumor has built up around him the geniality
and interest in small things which are the sauce to
life; and these are the pleasures in store for the reader
of the letters of Count Von Moltke to his family.