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- The Interdependence of Literature - 15/15 -


storehouse of the fine old English ballads, which speedily became popular through the patronage of Scott, who made them his textbook for a variety of subjects. These poems, with Macpherson's "Fingal" introduced a new school of poetry into England. The originals of Scott were these romances of chivalry, and even Byron has not disdained to follow the same trend in the pilgrimage of his "Childe Harold." The nineteenth century poets and novelists do not seem to have borrowed especially from any foreign element; but in history Niebuhr's researches in Germany have greatly influenced Arnold in his "Roman History." The close of the nineteenth century and opening of the twentieth is chiefly remarkable for the interdependence of literature through the magazines and reviews. Translations of any striking or brilliant articles are immediately made, and appear in the magazines of different countries almost as soon as the originals, so that the literature of the future bids fair to become more cosmopolitan, and perhaps less strongly directed by racial and social influence than in the past.

And yet--in studying the literature of ancient and modern times--we are struck by the unity in diversity of its history, just as a world-wide traveller comes to see the similarity of nature everywhere. In literature strange analogies occur in ages and races remote from each other, as, when the mother in the old North country Scotch ballad sings to her child, and says:

"The wild wind is ravin,' thy minnies heart's sair, The wild wind is ravin,' but ye dinna care."

And we find nearly the same verse in the song of Danae to the infant Perseus:

"The salt spume that is blown o'er thy locks, Thou heedst not, nor the roar of the gale; Sleep babe, sleep the sea, And sleep my sea of trouble."

There is also the story of the Greek child who in ancient times sang nearly the same invocation for fair weather that we used in our nursery days, when, with noses flattened against the window pane, we uttered our sing-song:

"Rain, rain, go to Spain."

And in blindman's buff, perhaps the most ancient of games, we have words that have come down from remote times. The blindfolded one says:

"I go a-hunting a brassy fly."

To which the others answer:

"A-hunting thou goest; but shalt not come nigh."

And there are the marvellous stories of the Giant Killer, and the wonders of Puss in Boots and Cinderella, which have descended to us from that vast cloud-country of bygone ages; that dreamland of fairy imagery, which is as real to the little maid in the twentieth century as it was to her young sisters in the shadow of the Pyramids, on the banks of the Tiber and the Ganges, in the neighborhood of solemn Druid Temples, or among the fjords and floes of the far-off Icelandic country, in centuries long since gone by.


The Interdependence of Literature - 15/15

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