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ment in connection with a High School. It was pointed out that the present High School system tended to give the pupils a distaste for farm life and to lead them into the already over-crowded professions; that the Renfrew High School was commodious enough for the purpose, that it was close to a creamery and to the broad acres of a farm, and that an agricultural course might be tried which would last during January, February and March, closing in time for spring farm work.
The only real difficulty lay in the fact that there was no teacher to do the work. The Board of Education took the matter up and wrote the Minister of Education at Toronto concerning the project. They asked that he supply the teacher-a graduate of the Ontario Agricultural College -and the expenses of the experiment. The Minister thought the season too far advanced for the experiment, and there the matter rests.
It is to be hoped that the Minister of Education and the Minister of Agriculture will fully consider this important suggestion and devise
Literature." Some extracts from it run as follows:
"Complaint was made at the recent literary banquet of the amount of space given to sports in the daily newspapers, especially as compared with the space given to eulogies on Canadian literary men. The newspapers may plead that in this respect they are in good company. When one literary man writes of others, his work is more likely to take the form of a dunciad than of a eulogy. And the great writers do by no means disdain to "run a sporting column." When in the course of his wanderings Ulysses sits among the Phæacians, the song of the blind minstrel makes him weep for his home-a
eulogy which ought to have satisfied the most exacting bard. He is asked whether . he will not try his skill in some game, and SO banish his care; and when he declines is taunted with looking more like a trader than one who can wrestle or box. This is only one instance, taken at random. What would Greek and Latin literature be with the Olympic games, the chariot races, the boxing and wrestling, and running all left out?
some plan whereby some experiment such as this may be voluntarily carried out in any Ontario High School which is situated in the centre of an agricultural district. Ten thousand dollars spent in this way might mean hundreds of thousands to the province. It is certain that something must be done to reform our High School system.
SPORT IN LITERATURE
Some sharp criticism of Canadian newspapers was made at the "Canadian Magazine " banquet, one result of which was an editorial in the Toronto Globe, under the heading, "Sport in
"To come down to the moderns, it was the chariot race than made Ben Hur famous. Ivanhoe teems with matter that a good sporting editor would delight in. To say nothing of the tournament and the mêlée, there is the passage describing the bout between Gurth and the Miller in the noble game of quarter-staff, where the combatants were so quick and dexterous and made the greenwood so ring with the sound of their blows that you would have supposed there were "six persons engaged on each side." There is the archery contest, where the great English outlaw splits the willow wand,
the minister arrives on the scene he hears 'two weavers and a mason cursing the land,' illustrating the democracy of the ice, and is told a story of the marvellous recuperative power the game.
"On reflection, we are inclined to ask our literary men and artists whether they might not profitably pay a little more attention to Canadian sports. How many of our authors have tried their hands at a description of the national game of lacrosse? How many pictures of the mighty struggles that occur around the goal are to be found among innumerable yards of canvas devoted to conventional subjects and to scenes that might be located anywhere from China to Peru? The sculptor has much to contend with in the modern garb of mankind; it seems to be a misdirection of artistic energy when he is employed in carving out a frock coat and trousers bulged at the knees. But the human athlete (anywhere but on a wheel) is still a worthy object for his chisel."
SALISBURY (as Signor Sherman tries it on the piano): What a beautiful thing that would be if that rattle-trap instrument did not so rob it of all "harmony."
"rather thicker than a man's thumb," at a hundred yards. There is the scene where the jolly hermit and the distinguished King exchanged blows in perfect good humour, and "the buffet of the Knight was given with such strength and good will that the Friar rolled head over heels upon the plain."
"Pickwick' was begun with the idea of describing the adventures of a sporting club, and traces of this intention may be found in the adventure with the tall brown horse, in Mr. Winkle's uulucky effort to skate and in his still more unhappy adventures with a gun.
NEWSPAPERS AND POSTAGE.
It was an exceedingly pitiful sight to see, in Toronto on February 4th and 5th, the leading newspaper men of Ontario endeavouring to justify class legislation and to show reasons why they should not assist the Postmaster-General in carrying out a reform. About seventy of them had assembled at the annual meeting of the Canadian Press Association, and the main topic up for consideration was the proposal of the
Hon. Mr. Mulock that it was desirable in the interests of the country that a small rate of postage should be paid by those newspapers which made use of the mails. The subject was discussed at considerable length and a resolution was passed, by a vote of 44 to 18, to the effect that the association disapproves of the payment of postage by newspaper publishers. Later, when it was felt that postage would be reimposed in any event, another resolution, slightly more consistent, was passed, to the effect that if postage was imposed the duty should be taken off presses, type and paper.
No one had hardihood enough, except two or three clerical editors, to maintain that the absolute principle of the free use of the mails by newspaper publishers could be justified on any ground; but the main reason advanced in favour of retaining the present system was that the publishers had adjusted prices to existing conditions and
circumstances, and hence these should not be changed. Arguing along this line, it would be equally just to say that the duties on manufactures of cottons and woollens should remain as they are; for have not mills been built, capital invested, and prices adjusted under present circumstances? Again, it would arguing as the newspapermen, the leaders of Canadian thought, argued it would be unfair to every Canadian importer to change the duties on Canadian goods, because the value of all his importations would be seriously affected by any reduction in import duties; and yet one half or more of these same newspaper men have for many years been advocating reductions in duties.
It is exceedingly strange how our righteous anger is changed to strange solicitude when our own pockets are threatened instead of our neighbour's. Self-interest makes cowards of us all. John A. Cooper.
POET who has had sufficient encouragement from the public and the publishers to give the world four volumes of verse must be taken seriously. It is time that he was either checked in his song flights or encouraged and stimulated by just appreciation to yet loftier work. "The Book of the Native" is a new volume of lyrical poetry by Charles G. D. Roberts, and the quality of it is such that we are going to judge it, not as verse done by a young bard of promise in a young land of promise-for a poet in his fourth volume must have achieved something, or he is unworthy of consideration-but by the same standards that we would use in a criticism of a work of Wordsworth, or Shelley, or Tennyson.
At the outset we may say that we are fully aware of the difficulties that lie in our way in judging thus a living writer. His poetry has not yet become a part of our life and character; and, indeed, while this is being written it is doubtful if the lyrics about to be examined are known to a hundred thoughtful men and women. We know, too, how easily we may deceive ourselves; how our judgment may be the judgment of enthusiasm, of admiration, of gratitude, of sympathy-judgments against which Matthew Arnold would warn us. We know, too, that in attempting to write on the work of a friend we may unwittingly do that friend serious harm by our biased criticism. We keep before our minds the riotous enthusiasm of the worshippers of Shelley, which called forth a piece of one-sided and unjust criticism from no less a critic than Matthew Arnold, a criticism which has doubtless closed many minds to the beauties of Shelley's poetry, and to his true position as a force in literature. We have, therefore, in reading "The Book of the Native," kept watch over our enthusiasm, and at every step have asked how much of the personal factor has entered into this or that judgment. Therefore, in order to keep our judgment temperate on a book that has stirred us more deeply than any volume of poetry we have read in many days, we will first examine closely its demerits.
The note in these verses is too often borrowed. It would seem that the author, when reading poetry, was seized by the music of the poet, and found words of his own accompanying that music. He has lived much with Wordsworth, and many of the poems have a Wordsworthian tone and colour and phrasing. Such diction as "mendicants of summer," "soft incommunicable," "of incommunicable rhyme," is so Wordsworthian that the poet should have recognized the imitative character of the work and rejected the words suggested by contact with the master. "Beside the Winter Sea," a piece of exquisite pathos,
"The Book of the Native," by Charles G. D. Roberts. Boston: Lamson, Wolffe & Co. Toronto: The Copp. Clarke Co.
full and sweet, might be considered altogether great were it not that in the opening lines we hear too distinctly the voice of a dead master :
"As one who sleeps, and hears across his dream
The cry of battles ended long ago,
Inland I hear the calling of the sea."
And these are not the worst defects; several times, not often, we meet with distinct weakness. It is hard to pardon such a line as
"But for ludum say read libros."
That "say " can have no forgiveness. Again, in "Love's Translator "we have : "A sudden warmth awakes my blood Thinking of thy mouth."
Such lines as these are too trivial in fancy and too sensuous in expression. It is true that these weak lines occur in poems in lighter vein, and might under other circumstances have passed unnoticed; but coming upon them in a volume of strong thought, of serious verse, of art as chaste and severe as a Greek temple, they shock us as would profanity during the singing of a Te Deum.
The faults just mentioned we cannot condone, but the fault of imitation is another matter. There is nothing in which it seems to us contemporary critics are so unjust as in their eagerness to find the thought, the rhythm and the phrasing of the masters in any new volume. It is cheap criticism, easily done, and takes with a public that has a few stock ideas on literature. Of course if a man is nothing but an imitator do not waste time with him; go to the fountain head for enlightenment. But every great poet has been more or less of an imitator. Pope is full of the classical poets and Dryden; Goldsmith is an imitator of his English predecessors and of the Latin poets; Shakespeare got much of his manner from Marlowe and Greene; Wordsworth, in some of his most admired poems, has calmly accepted the rhythm, the verse form, the thought, the phrasing of Burns; and Tennyson has in his best poetry a mixed Miltonic and Wordsworthian music, and a form and colouring captured from Theocritus, with, of course, an added Tennysonian manner. Every great artist is, then, an imitator; the ages have been working to some purpose, and no poet can afford to ignore what has been well done by his predecessors. He must, if he would do abiding work, accept what they have done, and find the voice with which he is to speak to his own time and the future.
Roberts, we believe, has found that voice. He sits reverently at the feet of Wordsworth and Tennyson, but in many of his poems there is a note that is distinctly his own. We find that note in such a stanza as :
The voice that we hear in these lines, taken almost at random, has been steadily growing in the author's seventeen years and more of earnest poetic work.