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hand, arising from a more correct idea of truth and beauty, and the evil, on the other, arising from a loss of reverence and holy fear, which ever belongs to genuine faith in a stern fate and retributive Providence. The dramatists of the New Comedy were like the sculptors of the Venuses and Apollos: they were more true to Nature, but more dangerous to morals and fatal to religion.

Moreover, it was they who completed the idea of the Drama, as an action in five great parts-a Pentalogue, with subordinate minor parts or scenes. The primitive Dramas of Eschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides know no such division. They are merely one-act, or almost one-scene, pieces; and the only approximation to a divisional Drama with which these artists were familiar, was that of the Trilogue, or three plays in succession, containing one history in three parts. This trilogue, or three Dramas, was really, though not nominally, one Drama in three acts, and was the first division into which the Drama was parted-a division which still prevails in operatic Dramas, and one moreover which we shall find to be consecrated in the great archetype of all dramatic art, the Divine Drama. But it was not until the full development of the Greek natural Drama, or Comedy, that the pentalogical or five-act form was adopted as the true and inviolable natural division. This rule was universally accepted. The Romans received it from the Greeks, and the moderns have per

petuated the authority of the model without apparently understanding the principle. The instinct of poetic and artistic life was very powerful in the Greeks; and, as Sophocles said of Eschylus, they did what was right without knowing it. Perhaps they had no intelligible or very severely logical reason for adopting this rule; but the very fact of its unanimous reception, like that of a musical scale, is a proof that it satisfies a sensitive and a critical taste better than six or any other number. The hand was probably the analogue that pointed to it. But whatever it was, the rule in the time of Horace had become so absolute that it must not be violated.

More correct ideas of providential agency also were inculcated in the later drama; and even amid all its loose, free and easy indifference to sacred things there was a strange combination of intellectual propriety and moral and religious wantonness; for this very wanton and apparently impious and profane spirit arose from a superiority to the principles of paganism, and a tendency to reject it with any plausible pretext that presented itself. The early Dramatist introduced the gods upon the stage, suspended by ropes from the ceiling, or clad in their own characteristic garbs, with a huge cothurnus, or stilted shoe, to elevate their stature, and a mask to distinguish them. The witty Greek, when once he had been drilled in the schools of the skeptics, the Sophists and the Epicureans, soon learned to laugh

at these theatrical divinities, which the moderns have transferred from Tragedy to Ballet and Pantomime. The Dramatis Persona of the Furies, or Eumenides of Eschylus, are a Pythian Priestess, Apollo, Minerva, the Ghost of Clytemnestra, Orestes, and a Chorus of Furies. Here are only one man and one woman; the rest are either gods, ghosts, goblins or devils. In the Prometheus Bound of the same poet, the characters are: Strength, Force, Vulcan, Prometheus, Chorus of Nymphs, Io, and Mercury. In the Alcestes of Euripides, Death walks in upon the stage with Apollo and exclaims, "Ah! Phoebus, what business have you here?" Such representations are not legitimate. The Drama will not admit of the personification of abstractions, like poetry and sculpture. We can suppose these excesses to be palatable to the Greeks who lived before the times of the Cynics and the Epicureans; but it was not possible for such absurdities to stand before the raillery of a host of skeptics, rationalists, critics, wags and sensualists. Their very sublimity was ridiculous, and the natural progress of æsthetic education demanded their suppression. The Comedy naturally got rid of the gods, and in so doing it cultivated so much the more the idea of an invisible Providence. But in the transition from the visible gods to the invisible God, the profanation of the stage was inevitable, as it assumed the appearance of an abjuration of the old faith, without the apparent substitution of

another. But another was in embryo and the Dramatic principle of a special Providence invisibly assisting the good and punishing the evil, was better represented in the fooleries of the natural than in the absurdities of the unnatural drama.

SCENE FIFTH.

THE PHILOSOPHERS BEFORE THE TIME OF SOCRATES.

The same characteristic scheme of a fall from a wild and unnatural sublimity into a more true, but at the same time a less reverent naturalism, is observable in the history of Greek Philosophy. The Philosophers have their heroics as well as the Poets; and these are to be found in the Primitive times. Like the early ages of history, the corresponding periods of philosophy are fabulous. Little is known respecting Thales, the first of the seven sages of Greece, or any of his contemporaries. The language of moral and metaphysical science was not yet formed. The hair-splitting critics had not yet analysed the recondite meanings of words and phrases. We are, therefore, not even sure whether Thales believed very luminously in one God or not; but he believed in a creative and omniactive something, as many do still. He believed that everything in Nature had a soul; that the world itself was an animated being; that a god was in every

thing-a doctrine akin to that of primitive and rude Fetichism which persuaded the people to revere and to worship rocks and stones and shapeless natural objects, as abiding places of demons, or spirits invested with various missions and powers. Some objects he regarded as possessed of more of this mind or spirit than others; and it is particularly stated that he believed the magnet to be animated by a soul, because of its attractive properties.

Fetichism, or the worship of stocks and stones, and rude nature in general, is the matrix from which the sublime idea of an Omnipresent Divinity derived its origin in the schools of philosophy. It is perhaps the most awful and impressive of all the forms of theology. To invest a rock or a mountain, a river or a spring, or even a shell or an amulet, with life and providence, by making it the representative of a powerful spirit, a Deus Loci, or God of the Spot, requires a large amount of imagination and faith; but, when once it is accomplished, nurtured in infancy, confirmed by tradition, and the legends of the old, the timid, the reverential and the credulous, it embraces a larger amount of spirituality and true divinity than modern literarians are in the habit of ascribing to it. The temple of the Fetichist is a large temple it is the temple of Nature. He requires no church or chapel to solemnise his thoughts and awaken a consciousness of the Divine Presence. He carries it about with him wherever he goes. The temple

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