Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 4, 1893.djvu/455

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Mr. Newell and Mr. Jacobs.

him. Literature then cannot disassociate itself from the past of the race: for the artist, what has been, is. Nay more; literature by its nature is bound to be, in the Miltonic phrase, simple, sensuous, and passionate, conditions fulfilled far more perfectly in the antique societies which gave birth to romance than in the present day. The greatest literature of the world has its roots in myth and romance, and these are the spring-heads at which modern literature drinks when it would fain renew its youth and strength.

Thus a survival in folk-literature cannot be treated in the same way as a survival in folk-belief or folk-custom. In the one case the communion between the folk-spirit and the higher culture has been broken, in the other it still exists, and were it to disappear, one might almost predict the disappearance of literature itself. This much I admit, but not that folk-literature must therefore be investigated by the same critical method as artistic conscious literature. Here I join issue with Mr. Newell and Mr. Jacobs, as well as with other scholars.

As regards Cinderella I am not without hopes that further discussion as to whether the tale has sprung fully equipped into existence during the last six centuries may be held unnecessary. But I may also illustrate the difference in point of view between Mr. Jacobs and myself by reference to a couple of stories included in his More English Fairy Tales. One is a version of the Pied Piper, located at Newport in the Isle of Wight, on the authority of Abraham Elder, who wrote in 1830. Mr. Jacobs would hold this to be a forged transfer, so to say, of the well-known Hameln legend. The utmost he admits is that a local disappearance of children legend may have suggested to Elder the idea of giving a new home to the Hamein story. I cannot agree, I am willing to admit that had the Hamein story never become famous, never worked its way through Howell and Verstegan into English literature, we should not have had the Newport version of the Pied Piper legend. But this, because Elder would not have