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Khedivial hymn was played and I stood up conspicuously in front of my box. No demonstration ensued.
I may perhaps close this somewhat discursive article by mentioning one or two curious incidents connected with diplomatic action in the East. When, in 1884, the British Government decided to enforce the withdrawal of the Egyptian troops from the Soudan, the ministry of Cherif Pasha resigned. The course proposed was eminently judicious but was extremely unpopular in Egypt. I had received instructions to avoid by all possible means the appointment of British Ministers, and I do not doubt that the Egyptians themselves had some inkling of the reluctance of the British Government of the day to adopt so heroic a remedy. I felt convinced that the best way to carry out my instructions was not to give any hint that British Ministers would not be appointed, but, on the contrary, to intimate the extreme probability of their appointment. There was reason to suppose that I should be told that no Egyptians would undertake the responsibility of office in order to carry out the Soudan policy of the British Government. It was thought that it would, therefore, be necessary to recall Cherif Pasha to power. At the height of the crisis, Mr Moberly Bell, who was then Correspondent of the Times,' called upon me and informed me that he had been to the Palace to see the Khedive, Tewfik Pasha, and that the intention was as I have already mentioned. He asked me what I should then do. I replied that I should have no hesitation whatever as to how I should act; that I should go down to the Ministry and carry on the Government myself with the help of a few English officials whom I should appoint. I did not ask Mr Moberly Bell either to repeat what I had stated or to maintain silence. The result, however, was that in a few hours I got a message to say that the Khedive entirely shared the views of the British Government on the subject of the Soudan policy, and that Nubar Pasha had consented to take office. The next day I asked Cherif Pasha, for whom I had a great personal regard, to dinner, and we parted the best of friends.
Here is another episode in the domain of that internationalism run mad which was at one time the curse of the Egyptian Government. When I arrived at Cairo
in 1883, international interference was increasing in every direction. Constant meetings of the Diplomatic Corps took place with a view to settling what were really purely Egyptian questions. I had no wish whatever to encourage internationalism. However, I consented to attend a meeting which had been summoned to consider the question of the Port dues levied at Alexandria. All the representatives of the Powers were evidently animated by a spirit of hostility to the British Government, and stated their views at some length. There were occasional long pauses in the discussion in order to give me an opportunity of stating what I had to say. I maintained absolute silence, but, after smoking a great many cigarettes, got up at the end of more than an hour and said that we had had a very interesting discussion, and that it was now time to go to luncheon. No more meetings of this kind took place.
To sum up, it is the contrast between East and West rather than their similarity which constitutes the great attraction of Eastern politics. No European can really deal effectively with Eastern affairs unless he has sufficient powers of observation to notice these contrasts in small things as well as in great, and sufficient imagination to realise their consequences. The display of sympathy in dealing with Easterns is certainly a very necessary quality; so also is the extension of indulgence to what in Western eyes appear at times defects. The power of appreciating the humorous side of Eastern affairs is also not amiss. A dismissed Egyptian official, who was apparently possessed with a desire to express his views in highly idiomatic English, once wrote to me: 'Oh, Hell! Lordship's face grow red if he know quite beastly behaviour of Public Works Department towards his humble servant. The extent to which the East will be improved by being occidentalised to a greater extent than at present may be a matter of opinion, but it is quite certain that the further this process is carried the less interesting will Eastern affairs become.
Art. 3.-THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEIUS.
1. The Tragedy of Pompey the Great. By John Masefield.
Sidgwick and Jackson, 1910. 2. Les Sources de Lucain. By René Pichon. Paris :
Leroux, 1912. 3. Lucanus de Bello Civili; Tertium edidit C. Hosius.
Leipzig : Teubner, 1913. THE fickleness of an all-controlling Fortune was present to the ancients; and there was nothing in all Rome's chequered history that impressed it so deeply on the Roman mind as the piteous death and downfall of the puissant soldier upon whom, as the peer of Alexander of Macedon, the partial judgment of his countrymen had bestowed the name of Great.' To this not only Juvenal in the well-known passage (Satire x, 283 foll.), but Propertius, Pliny, Seneca and others make frequent and impressive reference. Nor has it lost its interest now. Of this the popularity of Mr Masefield's drama, now we believe in its third edition, is evidence enough.
Mr Masefield's title is chosen well. The end of Pompey may be rightly called a 'tragedy,'not in the ignoble sense of current usage, which would apply it to the fate of some defaulting financier who cuts his throat and leaves his family to pay the price of his sin, but as the expression of a catastrophe that might fitly have engaged the genius of an Æschylus, a Sophocles or a Shakespeare —the fall of an Agamemnon, an Edipus or a Lear. And be it here observed that in tragedy pure and simple, the character of the victim is something in the main indifferent. He must not indeed be despicable, but he need be neither virtuous nor capable. The impious vainglory of Agamemnon, the blind self-will of Edipus, the sheer fatuity of Lear, seem in truth temptations to Providence. And when the bard of Alexander's Feast sings 'Darius, great and good, ... Fallen from his high estate,' his aim is avowedly a different one. He seeks • soft pity to infuse.' Virgil, it has long been noted, in an arresting passage (Æneid, 11, 557 foll.) had the end of our Roman conqueror before him when he pictured the Trojan monarch stretched headless on the sand. But the Priam of tradition is but a lay figure of a man; and
Pompey, for all his titles, was in strictness neither great nor good. But—and herein lies the fitness of the comparison and the very depth of the tragedy-both fell as no others had fallen of all that had held the gorgeous East in fee.'
There was no need, then, for Mr Masefield to step into the twentieth century and make appeal in his hero to the vaporous sentiment and irresponsible idealism which with our contemporaries so often passes for thought. Selfish, vain and callous, Pompey knew no ideals, whether vague or formulated. Delusions indeed he cherished 'slovenly delusions' as Mr Heitland in his “Roman Republic' justly calls them, which ultimately proved his ruin. But, for him, all was well with the Roman ship if he, or at least none greater, was the pilot at the helm.
Mr Masefield has paid some attention to details ; and in this respect he has the advantage of predecessors who have taken contemporaries of Pompey as the subjects of their dramas. But, in life and verity, and whether as man or Roman, the Pompey of Mr Masefield falls far below the Julius Cæsar of Shakespeare, and hardly reaches the level of the Cato of Addison. One further criticism. To those who look in a Roman drama for something of the massiveness and dignity of the Roman style the fragments of speech into which Mr Masefield has chosen to chop his dialogue will be a perpetual irritation. Verse we know and prose we know; but what is this?
POMPEY. Ah! Cornelia. You make death hard. But it would be sweet to die so for you. To die. To join that senate of the old Romans; the wise ones. To bring them news of Rome there. In the shadows.
CORNELIA. Saying that you come crowned. Having played the Roman. "Having obeyed their laws."
POMPEY. Ah! Like the Spartans. Ringed in with spears. There in the rocks.'-(ACT I.)
Enough of the modern presentation. Let us turn to the ancient sources.
Through the ravages of time which, not to speak of minor losses, have taken from us entirely the Historiae’ of C. Asinius Pollio, the statesman, orator and friend of Virgil, and left us of Livy but the bare 'Contents' of the
later books, on the scale, may be, of a word or less to a chapter, the Commentaries' of Cæsar on the Civil War constitute the sole continuous contemporary narrative of the last days of the Roman Commonwealth. Cæsar being what he was, and human nature being what it is, it is not unnatural or unreasonable that we should go outside for evidence to control and supplement his testimony. For this purpose the Correspondence of Cicero is of inestimable value; and the Roman biographies of the late Greek writer Plutarch give us much that has not been preserved elsewhere. But this material, after all, is scanty; and hence it is that the Civil War' of Lucan, an historical epic written little more than a century after the events which it professes to describe, when the sources now lost to us were still accessible, is invested with a more than literary interest. It has been the aim of more than one painstaking and learned investigator to enquire what materials Lucan had before him, how he dealt with them, and how much he altered or added from his own invention. The method, though attractive, is not without drawbacks of its own; its results are not positive but inferential and presumptive. It has, in fact, some of the uncertainty which would attend a restoration of a dialogue on the telephone from what was heard at one end only. Notwithstanding this, there is general agreement that, embedded in the poem of Lucan, are precious fragments of history which have not been preserved to us elsewhere; and that the author on whom he drew (if not exclusively, as has been supposed by some, at least in the main) for all that was not due to his own imagination, was the great historian of Padua. Such, for example, is the view of M. Pichon, in his recent monograph on The Sources of Lucan,' in which, despite some partiality towards his author, the subject on the whole is handled with fairness and discretion.
There is good reason for thinking that the influence of Livy upon Lucan was particularly marked in the two books of the Civil War' which take the career of Pompey to its close. On the appreciative character of Livy’s references to Pompey we have the clearest testimony from outside. Tacitus (Annals, IV, 34) reports the words of a speaker in the Senate who said that Titus Livius, a writer in the first rank for style and honesty, extolled