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And she had her best look of might and beauty on,
The steadying sun leaved up, as day drew on,
“ Ho! Hilloa! A sail !” was the topman's hail:
On the round waters wide, floated no thing beside,
Across the long, slow swell
She was maimed in spar and mast
But late in the next day we gained a quiet bay,
That was the Orient;
Born in Paterson, N. J., 1816.
THE DRAMATIC ART.
[From an Address at the Reception of Henry Irving by the New York Goethe Society,
15 March, 1888.]
Creator has conferred upon bis creatures no more benignant THE
gift than the play-impulse, as Schiller calls it—the love of fun, which is the origin of all sports and pastimes, and a relief essential to our burdens of actual care. By contributing to this impulse, the dramatic art has diffused in all civilized nations an amount of innocent and wholesome pleasure it would be impossible to calculate. At the same time in doing this, it has called into exercise also other and higher functions whereby it takes a firmer hold of human sympathies than any other art, and becomes a more powerful instrument of good and evil to the community. This superiority it owes, partly, to its form, which brings it into immediate contact with the public, and enables it to address and capture not only its intellect and its senses, but the feelings which are our real motive powers. By the use of the human voice, and by living personal action, it catches directly the inspiration of popular life and gives its own inspiration back, heart-throb for heart-throb, we may say. Its singular felicity in this respect is that it appropriates and combines the virtues and charms of all other arts and superadds virtues and charms peculiar to itself. It does all that they can do, and it does more. Thus, while it abounds in “wise saws and modern in. stances” like ordinary prose; while it tells an absorbing story like the epic; while it pours forth the spontaneous emotions of the individual soul, like the lyric; while it presents to the eye noble and graceful figures like sculpture; while it surrounds these figures with brilliant and harmonious colors like painting; while it constrains the delicious assistance of music, it joins to these a power of characterizing persons, and of placing these persons in situations to excite terror, pity, affection, curiosity, merriment and sorrow, that immensely heightens and broadens and intensifies its capacities. In this portrayal of character in action, moreover, it is qualified to use, more variously and vividly than any other art, the most luscious, genial, and salutary of the powers of genius—the faculty of humor, ever twin-born with pathos, which steeps the muddled brain in baths of sunshine, and lubricates the grating hinges of action with an oil of gladness. For this reason the theatre has been and is preëminently a home and temple of humor and pathoslaughing pretension, self-righteousness, and folly off the face of the earth, and uniting the hearts of men in those soft and tender emotions which "make the whole world kin."
Again, secondly, the drama owes its superiority of influence to its substance, or, the special attractiveness of its themes. Man is, of all things that man knows, the most interesting to man, and the drama concerns itself with man in the whole round of his being, in all the varieties of his social condition and in all the subtleties of his individual motive. From kings and princes to clowns and clod-hoppers—from stately and lovely women who surpass the ideals of our dreams to homely nurses and butter-fingered dairy-maids—from the heroic defenders of nations and sturdy burghers to those whimsical and eccentric fellows who seem a mere joke of nature,—not an atom of humanity escapes its scrutiny and, we might say, its love. Nor is there a shade of anything that concerns them to which it is indifferent: their relations to outstanding nature, to the state, to the family, and to one another, -as they act upon their surroundings and are acted upon by them,—are recognized, and all their collisions, struggles, loves and hates, their ambitions, and their humiliations, their whims and caprices even, furnish the materials of its magic.
Each one of the vast and motley human throng is painted, to himself and to others, as he is, that others and himself, as impartial spectators, may see the dignity and worth, or the worthlessness, of what he does, or the certain issues of his character and conduct. In the well-worn phrase, “the drama holds a mirror up to nature,” that nature may see herself in her deformity as in her beauty, get ashamed thereby of her meanness and littleness, chastise her ugly excesses, and, as Goethe sings
Im ganzen, guten, schoenen
or to strive heartily to conduct her affairs in the lines of truth, goodness, and beauty.
By this anniversary of sympathy and of methods, dramatic art builds up a world of its own within the world of experience: all the grand literatures, indeed, do that, so that we possess a Homeric world, a Dantean world, a Cervantean world, and others,--but it is given to no literature to create so vast, multiform, and populous a world, and one which is so open to all mankind, as to the drama. You will say that it is only an ideal world-and that is so—sometimes of “buoyant and aerial texture," floating between heaven and earth, tinged with the hues of the rainbow, and peopled by gay creatures of the element, ---sometimes of chivalric emprise or romantic adventure, where the skies are soft sunshine only and the fields grow nothing but flowers, whose inhab