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400


NOTES AND QUERIES.


ix. MAY 17, 1002.


of the most important contributions to ihff expla- nation of Oriental thought to the Western mind with which we have become acquainted. The writer evidently knows thoroughly the whole series of translations edited by the late Prof. Max Miiller, and has turned his knowledge to good account. We have but one depreciatory remark to make. The Koran has received scant measure, and has been dealt with in a way far less enlightening than the more mystical literature of the Further East. This is to be regretted, as, in the words of the reviewer, "the late Prof. Palmer's translation is one which more than any other reveals to us the spirit and power of the original." We may add, too, that Mohammed's utterances, though deeply impregnated with the higher mysticism, are far more in line with Western thought than the older imaginings of the great prophets of the Further East. In treating of this vast mass of Oriental teaching the writer points out that to those who can enter into its spirit it disposes as we may hope, for ever of the dream-and-ghost theories of the origin of religion. As to what we must provision- ally accept as its true source, so very much depends on what is meant by the word "religion" and on the point of view of those who endeavour to form a coherent picture, that we can give no answer except by saying that whatever awakened the latent faculty in man, it was mainly, though perhaps not entirely, reduced into form by the contemplation of " the great objects of nature, especially the sun ; that its root is in the feeling after, and of, the Infinite." 'The Gaelic Revival in Literature ' has interested us very much, because it establishes incidentally the fact, so often denied by incom- petent folk, that Celtic literature contains a great mass of poetry, legend, and history which we can on no account consent to lose. The influence of Celtic ideals on those who have written in French and English has frequently been exaggerated by those who have been not unnaturally revolted by people who have advocated for social and political objects the stamping out of a group of noble lan- guages, but we believe that modern discoveries or theories only, if you will have all but demon- strated that the Celt has impressed his dream- world on many of us who have, so far as we know, no strain of Celtic blood, who do not know a word of any one of his languages, and have read little or nothing of his literature, even in a translated form. 'The Oxford Historians' deals justly, and there- fore appreciatively, with John Richard Green and Samuel Rawson Gardiner. Green was the more brilliant personality, and for those who read mainly for the purpose of storing their minds with historic pictures was no doubt the more serviceable writer. His books have had an immense influence for good, as he was almost always accurate as well as highly picturesque; but we are compelled to say if a comparison must be made which we regard as useless, if not positively harmful that Gardiner ranks the higher of the two, for though not so impressive, he brings before the reader the times to which he gave his special attention in a manner no other historian has done hitherto, and he has the great advantage of being almost entirely free from the baneful tendency to speculate as to motives. This is a gain which we may hope future ages will appreciate more highly than many do at present. To tell how people acted and what they did is a comparatively easy task if we have the raw material before us, but to fathom the


motives of their actions is in most cases impossible. Even personal friendship is a very slight help. We all of us make childish blunders when we comment on the conduct of our most intimate friends. ' Mediaeval Libraries ' is the work of one who has evidently a true appreciation of the learning of the Middle Ages. Books were far more common before I the art of printing was discovered than people formerly thought. Some of the monasteries had considerable collections of volumes. The books which remain now are but a very small portion of those which have perished. One of the evils of the Renaissance was that it caused almost everything written in mediaeval Latin or the vernacular to be treated with contempt ; then followed the religious turmoils of the sixteenth century, when many of those who were in opposition to the old order of things thought it an act of virtue to destroy the literature of the past. When these things are remembered, coupled with the carelessness of cus- todians in more recent days, it is not wonderful that so little remains ; the surprising thing is that time has spared so much. The papers on 'Zionism and Anti-Semitism ' and on ' Turkey and Armenia* contain valuable information, but make too near an approach to modern political life for us to do more than mention them.


THE King has graciously accepted the dedication of the Coronation Prayer Book which is now being prepared at the Oxford University Press.


Jtotirw to

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