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and the catechism classes. They wrote in Czech for the people ; strove, according to their powers, to create a popular Czech literature. Their writings were not at first of a high order of literary merit. But they appealed to the patriotic instincts of the people, and they roused a feeling against which the measures of statesmen and politicians were powerless.
At the close of the eighteenth century Czech had come to be regarded as a dying language. At this time Dobrowski wrote his grammar. The purpose of his work was, he pathetically tells us, to preserve for future generations of scholars a form of speech, the total disappearance of which would be an irreparable loss to the learned. As a vehicle of thought it had many claims upon the attention of students of philology. Its flexibility, its capacity for expressing the most delicate shades of meaning, gave it an advantage over the language which was supplanting it; and it would be well that its structure should be preserved in a work to which scholars might have access when Czech had ceased to be a living tongue. With something of the same purpose, the University Professor, Jungmann, undertook the compilation of a Czech dictionary. He travelled among the people, noting the words in common use, and amassed a collection of speech-forms which filled five volumes.
But the Czech language was not destined to die. The monuments of learning designed to stand over its grave became the symbols, and in part, too, the cause, of its resurrection. The labours of the scholars in the higher sphere supplemented and completed the efforts of the people and their guides below. A popular movement, to which distinguished scholars give support, will soon overcome prejudices which are mere matters of fashion. The prejudices of the Bohemian aristocracy and bourgeoisie gave way rapidly when the language movement found its Mæcenas in Naperstek, a man of wealth and position, who contributed freely in support of the scholars. Even the pleas and arguments of “practical men” were unavailing to check its progress. A learned professor, who had a keen eye for commonsense utilities, wrote a well-argued treatise to prove to the misguided Bohemians that their effort to restore their native speech was patriotism run mad. German, he pointed out, was the language of the Government, of commerce, science, art and litera
ture; if they wanted to rise in the service of the State, or to succeed in commerce or industry, they could do so only by association with the Germans, and the association could not be effected except by the use of a common language. But the Czechs refused to be convinced by these practical counsels, and in their blindness derided the Professor and his arguments. They held stubbornly to the course on which they had entered. The literature of the past was disentombed, and treasures of which a nation might be proud were brought to light. Works of history, poetry, travel were recovered from the dust of centuries, and took their place in the recognised patrimony of the nation. A philosopher, too, was found among the authors thus restored to honour. Tómy ze Stitiného had meditated the eternal problems of metaphysics in the days of King Charles the Pater Patrice, and he had consigned his thoughts to beautiful manuscripts illuminated by himself with much artistic skill. The manuscripts were sought out in Upsala and in England, whither they had been carried when Bohemia had been plundered by foreign armies, and their contents were added to the literary possesions of the country.
To these recovered treasures a new generation of able writers added a body of literature worthy of the traditions of the older schools. Presl, Sadek, Sloboda and many others proved, by its use, that Czech could serve as a medium of expression for the exact sciences, and that it answered the purpose quite as satisfactorily as German. In poetry, fiction, and the lighter forms of literature, Neruda, Jablowsky, Holly, Sládkovič, Pravda and others charmed the people by their pictures of life and manners, and stimulated effectively the growing national sentiment. Bozěna Nemcová is perhaps the most widely known of this group of writers ; her tale, “The Grandmother," has been translated into most European languages. In history, Palacky-Pater Historiæ Bohemica-holds the first place. He spent thirty years
preparing for the great work which has secured him immortality among his countrymen.
The supremacy of the Czech language is now assured. In the streets of Prague one hears no other tongue. The Czechs have established their own university, their own schoolsprimary, intermediate, and technical—and these schools are crowded with pupils, while the corresponding German institutions are but sparsely frequented in comparison. One of the most striking buildings in the Bohemian capital is the Czech theatre. Here the dramatists of the new literary school find an audience capable of appreciating their work, and here the stage puts its potent influence at the service of the national movement.
Associated with the language revival, in fact another aspect of the new energy which is vivifying the nation, is a marked development of industrial activity. Tactory chimneys are rising along the left bank of the Moldau, at the foot of the hill on which stands the palace of the Bohemian kings, and the cathedral. On the right bank new streets and squares are spreading beyond the old line of ramparts, and the fortifications are being dismantled to make way for the growing city. As yet the Czechs have not taken the place in the higher ranks of industry to which their predominance in the population would entitle them. In the large factories, and in the important mining industries of the country, the capitalists and employers of labour are mostly Germans or Jews. The improved education on which the Czech reformers rely for the Îifting of their own race has hitherto been availed of to secure posts in the public service. It is calculated that fully threefourths of the minor officials of the Austrian State railways and of other branches of the Imperial administration are Czechs. But thoughtful men among the Bohemians are fully alive to the need of keeping the educated men of the nation at home, and directing their energies to the development and control of the national industries. We
may be assured that the spirit of nationality, which has worked so fruitfully in other directions, will ultimately accomplish this change also.
It would be interesting to speculate on the probable issue of the Czech national movement in the changes which await the Austrian Empire. That, sooner or later, the Germans of the empire will be united to North Germany seems to be assumed on all hands. What in such an eventuality would become of the Bohemian nation? The Germans form but a small fraction of the population, and the spirit which has resisted the domination of the Austrian Germans would resist with intensified vigour the domination of the Prussians. forecasting the probable course of events, the eyes of Bohemian patriots turn towards their kinsmen, the Russians. Whether annexation with Russia would be more favourable to the fortunes of Bohemia than annexation with Prussia is a question which the example of the Poles renders difficult of solution. To the foreigner it must seem a choice between evils; if the choice has unhappily to be made, we can only hope that the nation which has struggled so long and so gallantly for existence will choose for the best.
T. A. FINLAY.
WHO WROTE BURNS'S POEMS
A LETTER TO HIS HONOR JUDGE WEBB
(Author of The Mystery of William Shakespeare.)
Y DEAR JUDGE—I have just been reading your interesting
and instructive book, The Mystery of William Shakespeare, in which you expose, with such a wealth of learning and argument, the absurdity of the popular belief that Wm. Shakspere, of Stratford, was the author of Shakespeare's Plays and Poems. I have long felt the difficulty of believing that a play-actor of obscure origin and mean condition, of no education, and of very doubtful character, was the author of the works which are the greatest glory of our glorious English literature. But, of course, you do not expect that your argument, learned and cogent as it is, will at once convince the herd of readers. The vulgar are apt to assume that when a man's name appears on the title-page of a book as its author, and when his claim to the authorship is not challenged, either during his life or after his death, there is no room for controversy on the matter. But this is a belief which, as Hume says of the vulgar belief in the qualities of matter, the least tincture of philosophy immediately dispels. You have shown with admirable clearness that the question for criticism is not whose name appears on the title-page, nor even whose portrait is put on the frontispiece, as that of the author, but who was able to produce the work? who had the learning, the philosophy, the wit, the humour, that are embodied in it? These are questions which can only be answered by the application of the tests of scholarship and criticism, and which cannot be satisfied by a mere reference to the name on the title-page.
There has been too little criticism of this kind, and men have in every age been too ready to accept the man whose name is on the title-page as the true author of the work. But from time to time the sharpness of criticism has roused suspicion. Dr. Johnson, for example, doubted if the Tale of a Tub were Swift's, “it has so much more thinking, more knowledge, more power, more colour than any of the works which are indisputably his."1 Every reader knows how inferior the second part of Robinson Crusoe is to the first, and it has been a subject of wonder that one man could have written both; but very strong evidence has been produced to show that the first part of Robinson Crusoe was really written by De Foe's great friend and patron, Harley, the Earl of Oxford, and that De Foe himself added the second part in a feeble attempt to imitate and continue his patron's masterpiece.
Our own Goldsmith, you will remember, did not know the true meaning of the word "slow" in the first line of his own Traveller till it was explained to him by Dr. Johnson-a circumstance which not unnaturally gave rise to a suspicion that Johnson was the author of that line, if not, indeed, of the greater part of the poem.3
But of all the impositions which have been palmed off upon a too credulous public, the most audacious, and hitherto the most successful, has been that which has attributed the poems of Robert Burns to an Ayrshire peasant of that name.
Shakespeare is not more undoubtedly the greatest poet of England than Burns is the greatest poet of Scotland. Shakespeare is not more emphatically the national poet of England, whose works embody and express the English genius in its higbest and noblest development, than Burns is the national poet of Scotland, who has given the finest expression to all that is highest and most characteristic in the genius of the Scotch people. Shakespeare has not given us more exquisite lyrics—more perfect in • form, more intense in passion, more simple in expression, more thrilling in their music—than are to be found on nearly every page of Robert Burns. Burns's pathos is even more simple, more unforced, and more touching
See Boswell's Tour. 2 See Mr. Rothero's Edition of Byron's Letters and Journals, Vol, II., p. 219.
3. “Mr. Goldsmith,” asked Chamier, “what do you mean by the last word in the first line of your Traveller ?
• Remote, unfriended, melancholy, slow' Do you mean tardiness of locomotion ?” Goldsmith, who would say something without consideration, answered “Yes.” I was sitting by and said, "No, sir, you did not mean tardiness of locomotion : you mean that sluggishness of mind which comes upon a man in solitude." "Ah!” exclaimed Goldsmith,
" that was what I meant."
Chamier believed then that I had written the line as much as if he had seen me write it.