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consists in each stage, as has been seen, of three elements, two of which are antagonised, and the third opposed to both as mediator. These conditions must impose on the subordinate constituents a further restriction of their scope of comprehension. This sphere of sympathy extends, then, even in the lower terms, not to all, but to the corresponding race in each stage. For example, the highest genius in the Teutonic race must always fail to understand the Italic race, though lower; because it is antagonized with and thus exclusive of its specialty: it must pass down into the system of the antecedent stage to find its proper analogue, the Semitic or Hebrew race. Hence respectively the sympathy and the antipathy of ages between the Teutons and those races in the matter of religion—this instinctive and most infallible of all expressions of organization; also in their whole history, as could be easily evinced. So, on the other hand, with the Italic race respecting the Jewish, which it must overstep in turn, to interpret a lower element. What this may be, it was no part of the present pages to unfold, beyond assuring that the whole system is a deduction from general history. Suffice it therefore to suggest, that the Romans, again in religion, patronised the cult of Isis, as they did after of Mary, and persecuted or neglected that of Jesus and of Jehovah.
As to the third and mediatorial or synthetic race, it must be capable, on the contrary, as concentering these extremes, of comprehending both alike, and through them mediately all their analogues; it is the head of the resultant diagonal of the whole series. Furthermore, this key of the historical progression gives alone to the supreme race the comprehension of even itself. This consummation is attained in the
methodical or reasoning faculty; which would be best perhaps distinguished as that intellectual position from which the reasoner himself is seen and judged like other objects: and in the case of the race in question, the mental organism becomes a virtual summary of all the antecedent stages. But this position of rationality, universality, sociability, has been perceived to be organically that of the Celtic race; and the power of representing this race, with all the others, to be a specific distinction of the genius of Shakespeare.
There are also direct arguments and facts in confirmation. His spontaneous flow of wit, the exuberant and graceful fancy, the airy delicacy of the sprightliness, the inexhaustible and various eloquence, are each, not merely in degree, but very really in kind, and vastly more so, all united, quite peculiarly Celtic. Throughout the entire Teutonic family especially, there is not one writer, unequivocally gentilitial, who presents not only all, but any one of them, in high perfection. There, the wit as far as natural is muscle-shaking drollery, to which they give the name of humour, as if an oozing from that coarse tissue; on aspiring beyond this, it sinks to smut or to buffoonery, as Shakespeare has, accordingly, been often forced to do, for them. The irony, which is so playful in this poet, as in the Celt, is in the Teuton found contorted to what the French call surnois; it is sinister, sub-acrid, and savouring of "sour krout"; in a word, like the wit, an inspiration of beer, not Bacchus. So the fancy is phantasmagoria, the sprightliness impertinence, the eloquence declamation, and even as such, monotonous. For, as being -the most self-centred or subjective of races, the Teutons are least capable of self-projection into varied forms.
Hence, moreover, their inaptitude for all dramatic poetry, the lyrical being their appropriate department, as with the Hebrews. Their efforts of the former kind, though often meritorious, are really artificial, are imitations of the Greeks, French, Spanish. Addison and Schiller. are the highest of the description, and it would task a skilful critic to prove their excellences Gothic. Yet this impotence of objective conception is not all; a vastly greater obstacle remains in the construction, the organization of such conceptions, which is the essence of the drama. Quite accordingly, to this day of cultivation and competition, the English playwrights can construct the simplest farce but on French patterns. It is, indeed, in this supreme faculty of construction or synthesis, that the genius of Shakespeare seems pre-eminently un-Teutonic; for however irregular, on purpose to suit its public, that genius has evinced, by its variety and facility, and even by the fact, as in Macbeth and Cymbeline, that its powers were amply equal to the most exacting audience. Who could even conceive Shakespeare forced to break off in a piece, and after years of renewed effort, to leave it still a "fragment"; as befell the great Goethe in the solitary instance wherein the race has ventured in this line, beyond its leading strings; and as befell the greater Bacon in his logical system, and Newton himself in the solar, and so of all others? And this, so far from being a defect, is the genius of the race; a race of fragmentation, of analysis, of parts-not wholes; as Goethe has so well characterised his Mephistophiles.
It is accordingly in due conformity with the nature of lyric poetry, which is personal, prophetical, disorderly,
dithyrambic. In this desultory composition, the Teutons excel, and also in description, which is crawling, not construction. All their original poetry really oscillates between these opposites, "from the high lyrical to the low rational," from Cowley to Crabbe. The happy term "low" makes a pregnant distinction between the rationality called common sense and the intellectual. In fact the "Lake school," which Byron has so keenly circumscribed, consisted of a jumble of those apparent contraries. The latter or "low rational" is now, it seems, the uppermost. It is dissected well in a late number of a Scotch Review, and designated happily as microscopic poetry"; though the writer describes it as a mode of the age, instead of seeing (or perhaps choosing to see) that it is English. What confirms the close affinity between it and the "high lyrical" is the fact that both unite in the same person, as in Wordsworth, and combine their motley forces in national hostility, as they have done against Byron, Pope, and Shakespeare himself. Of course, the overpowering genius of men like these must have triumphed; but the sympathies of England at the day were with the Dunces. Even still the several Shakespearean qualities enumerated remain topics of contumely with the English towards the Irish. They stigmatise the fluency of this people as tongue and froth, the ever active fancy, as giddiness and levity; the spontaneous wit, as blundering or "bulls"; and all this, without a notion that the objects of contempt are the rude germs of the genius which they so laud in Shakespeare. They would read with self-complacency the sarcasm of Byron, who declared that an
1 North British Review, May 1858.
Irish peasant with a glass of whisky in his head would imagine more poetry, in quality and quantity, than all the English bards of his quite prolific day.
These remarks upon the personal or lyric nature of Gothic poetry bring to mind another trait which must unfit the race for tragedy. It is the absence of that loftiness of sentiment and soul which can belong but to the races of generosity or sociability. It is only in a race of democracy and commerce that a poet could dare to choose for epic hero a strolling pedlar; the innovation is the plebeian tendency to vulgarize the venerable, to send royalty "a progress through the guts of a beggar." But Shakespeare, on the contrary, is as sublime in this propriety as he is souple to descend to the vulgarity, to meet his public. Not only, then, this public could not well have produced Shakespeare, but the race has not produced one first-class actor of his drama, any more than it has done, it is submitted, a worthy critic. Garrick, who was born in the west of England (of which more, presently), was the most Celtic of men, down to even his silly vanity. The names of Kean, Macready, and several others, speak their Irish origin. The glorious Mrs. Siddons and her Kemble family were Welsh.
It is now seen, perhaps, why her masterpiece was Lady Macbeth; a character, in fact, which could no more be entered into by a Teutonic woman than by a Chinese. And the argument applies of course à multo fortiori against its composition or conception in that race.
To ascend a little higher the principles of Shakespeare, both political and moral, confirm this conclusion. There is little room for shewing such, no doubt, in the drama, which must formally exclude the personality of the author. But