Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 53.djvu/574

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

social function of art. He well compares science and art in their relations to one another with the lungs and the heart in the human organism. Neither organ can work perfectly unless the other works perfectly also. A defective science makes a defective art, and vice versa. This is an interesting point and one that deserves careful attention. We have said enough to show that the great Russian has produced a work which the civilized world of to-day can not afford to ignore, and which, when it has drawn the fire of all who are offended by the positions it takes, will be recognized as a strong and irrecusable plea for the rights of humanity in the judgment of works of art and of all other works whatsoever.

 

 

A GREAT COUNTRY.

What is "a great country"? The schoolboy idea is that it is one that can thrash other countries; and, according to this notion, the greatest country of all is one that can "whip all creation." This idea might not do much harm if it were continued to schoolboys, but when it is shared by grown men the case is more serious. "When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things." Here is a childish thing, however, which thousands who have reached man's estate find it very difficult to put away, and have not in point of fact put away. They still think that a country's greatness consists in its military strength—in other words, in the power it could bring to bear for the destruction of rival nations; and, if that country is their own, they exult to think of the havoc it could create among its enemies in the event of a conflict. That a country should be strong for defense is not enough, in the opinion of such persons; it must be strong for offense also; it must be strong enough to swagger.

How very different this is from the spirit of true patriotism hardly needs pointing out. Take that passage in Shakespeare in which the spirit of patriotism receives perhaps the strongest expression ever given to it in literature, and how little do we find of mere exultation in military strength! We refer to the words in which the dying John of Gaunt laments over the evils which the new king, Richard II, is bringing on the state:

"This royal throne of kings, this sceptered isle.
This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars,
This other Eden, demi-paradise.
This fortress built by Nature for herself
Against infection and the hand of war.
This happy breed of men, this little world,
This precious stone set in the silver sea.
Which serves it in the office of a wall
Or as a moat defensive to a house
Against the envy of less happier lands,
This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England,
This nurse, this teeming womb of royal kings,
Feared by their breed and famous by their birth.
Renowned for their deeds as far from home,
For Christian service and true chivalry,
This land of such dear souls, this dear, dear land!"

There is some reference here to military power—not unnatural when we consider that the date of the play is within eight or ten years of the Spanish Armada—but how little in comparison with the heartfelt expression of love for a land that was the home of a happy and prosperous people—"this land of such dear souls, this dear, dear land"! Moreover, in so far as the poet exulted in the strength of his country, it was the quality of its inhabitants he thought of and dwelt upon—not the engines of war that it possessed or the vastness of its pecuniary resources, A great