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architecture and would be entirely incompetent to judge either.

It is impossible in a short space of time to give any conception of this wonderful drama, the most consummate form of literary art that the world has ever seen.

It is remarkable for the lofty plane upon which it moves,-in its choice of theme, its grandeur of manner, its diction and its atmosphere. Our nearest parallel is to be found in Milton, not in Shakespeare. Perhaps the intensity of its atmosphere, only equalled in Homer, is its most remarkable quality, particularly the sense of all-pervading destiny. “But fate I say no one of those that are born of men can escape neither evil nor good when once he hath been born." For the true tragic note, moreover, there is nothing except Homer again to touch the Attic drama, the tragedy that must be, the tragedy that we could not even wish otherwise, because it is in the heart of things.

Or we might turn to the wonder of its artistic and organic unity, a unity not mechanical as some people have imagined, but inevitable, arising from the fundamental principles of beauty. Beside a Greek drama a play of Shakespeare becomes chaotic.

Perhaps to the modern mind its technique and artistry is the most surprising thing,—the quality of its verse, the construction of its choruses, the balance, corespondence and cross correspondence between part and part, line and line.

To find a parallel in our literature is not easy, but to compare small things with great the sonnet may be taken as an example; although it is now a fossil of what was once a living organism, following by rule what was originally evolved by a nicety of artistic sense for subtle proportion and detail. We can all plead guilty to having written sonnets and remember the iambic decasyllabic pentameter, the restriction to fourteen lines, the division into octave and sestet, the subdivision of the octave into two quatrains and of the sestet into two tercets. We remember the almost Greek restraint shown in the use of rime, only two being allowed for the octave, and those arranged in a particular way, first, fourth, fifth and eighth, and again, second, third, sixth and seventh, while the sestet has its own more complex rules. Nor may the thought move chaotically at random, but must rise, as some curve of beauty, to a culmination at the end of the octave and then, in the sestet, make

use of the artistic principle of repetition for a further rise, or the wave must die away in a symmetrical recession.

It is not easy to write a sonnet! It was still less easy for geniuses like Petrarch to evolve the subtle artistic form, but it is child's play, a bagatelle, in comparison with Greek tragedy.

Such, then, was the drama of Hellas, a thing of supreme intellectual quality, never playing to the gallery as is not infrequently the case in the Elizabethan drama, and yet appreciated and understood by the great citizen crowd of Athens, the people who flock to our picture palaces.

We might have expected that the output of anything on so high a level would have been exceedingly small. But quite the contrary is the case. During the golden century of Athens the number of these dramas, the highest form of literary production ever conceived by the mind of man, must, at a low estimate, have been at least 4,000.* Sophokles produced nearly 130, Euripides between 90 and 100 and Choirilos 160.

Now, the free population of Athens was

* It is a complicated question, but my own estimate would make it about 8,000. We are therefore well within the mark.

only about that of Toledo in the United states or of Leicester in Britain. Could we imagine Toledo, even though we gave it a century, producing 4,000 examples of the highest form of literary production ever conceived by the mind of man? No, nor any other modern city.

But suppose we were to hold a sonnet competition here in Manchester; whom should we get to be our judges? Doubtless there would be plenty of learned literary students in the University and elsewhere. But what we should not do would be to go out into the streets and buttonhole the first man we met and say, "Come along in here, for we want you to judge a sonnet competition." For the chances would be that the man had never heard of a sonnet, let alone the question of being able to judge one.

Now, the method of judgment of the Greek Drama is a difficult and controversial question, but it seems clear that the preliminary judgment, before the plays were produced, was conducted by the Archons, the archon-eponymos at the greater festival and the archonbasileus at the lesser festival. And we find that the archons were chosen by lot. Tom,

Dick and Harry, then, as we say, could judge the Greek drama.

Now, we have an interesting parallel to this where Tom, Dick and Harry, men chosen at random, judge questions of life and death, of right and wrong. We can take no particular credit for our jury system, as the Athenians had a jury before we, so to speak, were invented. But the point is that the average standard of honour and justice and fair play amongst us is such that we can entrust these questions of life and death, of right and wrong, to any twelve men taken at random.

But the remarkable thing to notice is that this average standard of honour and justice amongst us in the field of morality is paralleled, in the case of Athens, by an average standard of artistic insight and critical acumen in the field artistic that enabled it to pass a judgment on the highest form of literary production ever conceived by the mind of man.

Probably no single illustration brings out so forcibly the national permeating artistic sense as the relation of the populace to this supreme example of art.

We are therefore justified in shading over

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