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It is not only because. Prospero was a great enchanter, about to break his magic staff, to “drown his book deeper than ever plummet sounded,” to dismiss his “airy spirits,” and to return to the practical service of the State, that we identify the Philosopher Duke with Shakespeare the Poet Prophet. It is rather because the temper of Prospero is the temper of Shakespeare in those last days, when he came back to the dear old English home here in Stratford, to its sweetest, simplest, homeliest things, finding the daily life of this little place, the men and women here, the Nature all around, the green fields, the sweet hedgerow flowers, the quiet woods, the softly flowing Avon, good enough for him; despising nothing as common or unclean; curious of all things and of all men, but never scornful; humorous, sympathetic, tolerant; his wide-viewing mind at last looking back from the altitudes of thought to which he had attained, on all the pageantry of the lower world which he had abandoned, through a strange, pathetic, ideal light.
“Our revels now are ended: these our actors,
And so he ends—Prospero or Shakespeare. In the epilogue to the play you have the keynote of this selfmastered character, this self-possessed grandeur of a completely disciplined will which is common to both, to Shakespeare as to Prospero—Forgiveness and Freedom.
“And my ending is despair,
And so, too, I will end—how better?—with those lessons of Freedom and Forgiveness: the true Freedom which only comes from service, the true Pardon which only comes to those who forgive, because they have been forgiven. Have you learnt those lessons? The root of all true religion, believe me, lies there. What do you know of the true “service which is perfect freedom”? What is your definition of life? How do you conceive of it to yourself? Is it, do you think, as Shakespeare has elsewhere said, “a tale told by an idiot, signifying nothing”? or is it a mission of service to your fellows for Christ's sake? God grant you may answer—Life is servicel Life is duty! Life is a mission! All for Love and the world well lost. For Jesus said—“Whosoever would save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for My sake shall save it.” And the lesson of Pardon—have you made that, too, yours? “The tongues of dying men’—our poet says— “enforce attention like deep harmony.” And from the Cross of Jesus and His last dying prayer—“Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do"—we have all learnt—God grant it!—to recognize the ethical beauty of the spirit of forgiveness; but do we equally acknowledge its moral power? its redeeming power? “Father! - forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us.” So daily we pray. Brothers! Sisters! do we truly realize this power of forgiveness, this social power of remitting or retaining sins, this priestly power of humanity? Ah! believe me, just so far as we exercise it lovingly and wisely in our lives and with our lips we help men away from sin: just so far as we do not exercise it, or exercise it wrongly, we drive men into sin. And, my friends, from which of your Christian teachers will you learn of that unstrained “quality of mercy”—of that earthly power of free forgiveness “which then shows likest God's when mercy seasons justice”—more unerringly than you will from Shakespeare? He was no priest, I repeat, he waved no censer. But just as in regard to that other lesson of Freedom, Shakespeare does seem to give to each one of us courage, and energy, and strength to dedicate ourselves and our work to that service, to that mission—whatever it may be—which life has revealed to us as best, and highest, and most real,—so, also, with regard to this other lesson of the Redemptive Power of a priestly Humanity, this social force of true forgiveness, I do not hesitate to say that in Shakespeare's genius there burns truly, and fragrantly, and steadily—
“Such incense as of right belongs
THE NOVEL IN LITERATURE
[Address by David Swing, clergyman, and platform speaker, founder of the Central (Independent) Church, Chicago, of which he remained minister until his death. He was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, August 23, 1830; died in Chicago, Ill., October 3, 1894.]
In speaking of the novel, it is not my purpose to eulogize nor to decry it, but simply in an impartial manner, to inquire as to the position in literature that the novel should occupy. I shall speak only of the ideal novel, and shall say little of it in the concrete.
Every branch of fine art springs out of something within human nature. All of the arts are the external expression of something in the spirit, and literature, being one of the arts, must also be the external expression of something within. In seeking for the cause of some branches of the fine arts, it is often essential that we fall back upon our rights as human beings, and placing our hands upon our hearts, say, “I love this or I love that because—I do.” None of you can rise in your place and tell why you love music.
Very often we have to be like the young man who was walking in the garden among the Romans—I am sure it was in the Roman days—with an old philosopher, and, having come to a bed of poppies, the young man said, “Father, why is it the poppy makes people sleepy?” Now, the custom of these old Latin and Greek professors was never to admit ignorance of anything, but always to know the whole reason—and there are men yet living of that class, theologians generally. The old philosopher
From “Old Pictures of Life.” Copyright, by Stone & Kimball, and published by Herbert S. Stone & Co. 1114
looking upon the ground said: “My son, the poppy makes people sleepy because it possesses a soporific principle "; and the young man was happy. Walking through this garden of literature, this flower called the novel—not this poppy, for the sermon is the true poppy of literature— this rose rises up before you and asks if you can tell the source of its gorgeous coloring. In doing this it is necessary to go back. First, having found out what literature is, we may infer whether the novel is a part of true literature. Literature is that thought which is universal. True literature must be universal truth appealing to man as man, not to man as a Methodist, Calvinist, an Englishman, or an American. Hence the writings of Shakespeare, of Homer, of Milton pass into all languages, because the great thoughts of those writers belong to the human heart. But the element of universality is not sufficient, because the truths of the multiplication table are universal. The whole human family believe that twice two makes four. Besides the universality, you will find that all the thoughts of literature spring from the soul, that is, from the emotions, from the sentiments, rather than from the intellect alone. So that in literature you must have a universality of thought, and thought ornamented, thought decorated— the thoughts of the heart. This is sufficiently inclusive, if it includes poetry, the drama, the great histories, the great essays, and religion, and is sufficiently exclusive if it throws out encyclopedias, “The Congressional Globe,” and, what is better yet, arithmetic, and also dogmatic theology—which is no part of literature. Secondly, all the fine arts spring from a basis of sentiment. They are the outward expressions of sentiment, and for the most part all fine arts spring from a single sentiment, that of the beautiful. Music, statuary, painting, architecture are the outward expressions of our sense of beauty. Literature is nothing else than thought ornamented. Where, then, is this element of beauty that makes the novel a part of literature, and secures for it an admittance into the great world of art? Go back with me, if you choose, two thousand years, and you will see upon the walls of every old temple, of every palace, of every dwelling-house a certain form or figure, and the