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FOR SIX DOLLARS remitted directly to the Publishers, THE LIVING AGE will be punctually forwarded for a year, free of postage.

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It seems to me that somewhere in my soul

That should some hand the chords of being sweep

To strike a certain sound, this self would leap

There lies a secret self as yet asleep; No stranger hath disturbed its slumbers deepNo friend dispersed the clouds that round it roll.

But it is written on my fortune's scroll

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Oh, my heart, why should you break at any thoughts like these?

So sooth are they of the old time that they

And combat death,

should bring you ease; Of Hester in the lavender and out among the bees,

It would be light and I should see in thy dear eyes

The sorrow grow,

Clipping the long stalks one by one under Love, could I lift my own undimmed to

the Dorset trees.

And leave thee so?


Some flower would lift to me its tender dew-wet face,

And send its breath

To whisper of the earth, its beauty and its grace,

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From The London Quarterly Review. JEWS IN ENGLISH FICTION. 1

Of late years it has been a commonplace of conversation with Englishmen to speak with extremest reprobation of German "Judenhetze" and Russian Anti-Semite ferocity, and to denounce the irritating insults, the oppressions, the plunderings, the wholesale deportations of an industrious unhappy people, in which the fanatic dislike to an alien and obstinate race has expressed itself; while the speakers have rarely failed to dwell complacently on British exemption from these offences against justice anu mercy. Yet there was a time when anti-Jewish prejudices, bitter as those of Russ or German, harbored in English breasts, and expressed themselves in insults as unfeeling, and deeds as cruel. Very slowly were those prejudices modified, while the English nation, coming itself into fuller light of liberty, was won first to endure the presence of the Hebrew alien, and then to admit him, though with much hesitation, to share in the rights of citizenship.

After this it could hardly be denied, by men of liberal culture, that he was responsive to kindlier usage, and showed himself a human creature, and no enemy of mankind, one of a race distinguished by its own excellences as well as by marked defects. Yet, even thus, the extraordinary mingling in him of the base and the noble has earned for him more than his full share of disfavor in the land of his adoption, and his persistent separation has worked to render it hard for either friend or enemy to appraise him quite justly; one outsider has despised him, another has praised him highly; the estimate of both, it may be, has been erroneous. Perhaps it is only to-day, when some children of Israel have themselves taken the pen and written true words of their people, that the English Jew is begin

11. The Prioresse's Tale. By Chaucer. 2. The Merchant of Venice. By Shakespeare. 3. Ivanhoe. By Sir Walter Scott.

4. Daniel Deronda. By George Eliot.

5. Sebastian Strome. By Nathaniel Hawthorne. 6. Reuben Sachs. By Amy Levy.

7. Children of the Ghetto. By I. Zangwill.

ning to be rightly understood by his neighbor, the English Gentile. Is it not worth our while to note under what varying aspects, and with what near or remote approach to truth, English imaginative writers have portrayed him, in this age, and in others more remote? A few typical examples may suffice us to judge what has been our advance in intelligent toleration, and what may be hoped for Israel from the freer contact with the outer world.

Our earliest great poet and earliest great master of fiction, Geoffrey Chaucer, shall lead us first into his pleasant world of Fantasy-a broad, gay, rich landscape in the promise of springtime, bathed in the warm light of unclouded sunrise; not even the earthly, gross, grotesque figures that mingle in it with more gracious shapes can do away with its special charm of "Maytime and the cheerful dawn." Yet if we look more closely into the rejoicing scene, we shall find on its sunny verdure one blot of sooty blackness; it is where, in "The Prioresse's Tale," the figure of the "cursed Jew" is brought forward as a mark, not of sportive mockery, but of hatred too deadly to be blent with derision. The story of the little child who roused murderous hate in the inmates of "a Jewerie" by carolling loud and clear his new-learnt hymn, "O alma Redemptoris mater!" as day by day he passed their doors on his way to school, stands grim and dark among the "Canterbury Tales," a witness to the banned existence of the Jew in mediæval England, as elsewhere in Europe, and to the fierce suspicion with which he was regarded.

To the Prioresse and her poet-creator, the Jew, enclosed in his Ghetto, is no better than some specially loathly spider encamped in its web; he is for them only the envenomed enemy of Christianity, a creature made up of cursing and bitterness. What more natural for him than to resent as an intolerable insult the child's loud chanting of the praise of the Virgin Mother? -what so likely as his avenging that insult in the blood of the innocent offender? The legend of the crime and of

its miraculous detection is told with entire faith, and with a significant reference to the fate of "young Hew of Lincoln, slain by cursed Jew”—one of the too famiar tales of child sacrifice that have haunted the painful path of Israel all down the Christian centuries; a story which, sung in ballad form by wandering minstrels, did its part in embittering English feeling against the outcast nation, actually banished from England when Chaucer told his tale.

From that dawn-time of English literature we pass to the great days of the drama. Two famous playwrights turn to profit the general abhorrence of the Jewish usurer, and make his imagined plottings against the lives of Christian men their theme; Marlowe's savage caricature in "The Jew of Malta" is followed by Shakespeare's immortal picture in "The Merchant of Venice." In drawing Barabbas, his hideous Jew, "the mere monster who kills in sport, poisons whole nunneries, and invents infernal machines," Marlowe was simply embodying common English opinion concerning the Jews, driven forth of England so early as the reign of Edward I. Ignorant hate inspired that tradition, and the playwright gave vivid and violent, but scarcely exaggerated, expression to it. But it is far otherwise with Shakespeare's masterpiece the only really adequate appreciation of Jewish character, in its unlovelier aspect, produced before the present century, by any imaginative writer. The author of "The Merchant of Venice" might have been able to study from the life the Judaic traits he reproduces-the hard, but real, patriotism, the secret scorn for the injurious inconsistent Christian, the stiff tribal prejudice, the singular mixture of craft and boldness employed in the pursuit of revenge for wrongs long unwillingly borne with inward fierce resentment-these, one might suppose, must have been seen in action to be so well understood; and, indeed, some students of the play are inclined to credit its author with personal knowledge of Venice and of its Jews, whom he has drawn with unflattering and unloving skill. A far more intelligent,

but a not less real, dislike than that inspired by Marlowe's coarse misrepresentation would be produced in those who first watched with delight the unfolding of Shylock's character, and the unravelling of his murderous schemes, and exulted in the completeness of his overthrow; the kindliest feeling that an Elizabethan audience would carry away from that spectacle could only be a sort of humorous scorn for the defeated, humiliated, ruined usurer, caught in his own snare; for the cheated, plundered father, whom his only child deserts for a Christian lover. Yet is it very much that Shakespeare should have seen in the Jew a man of like passions with other men, heir to the long injuries of his people, justly claiming to have suffered in his own person from maddening contempt and insult, while he has little reason to render thanks for that boasted Christian gentleness and mercy, which compels him to apostasy, and, while leaving him life, take from him the means by which he lives? Pitilessly hard, incapable of discerning that he sins in standing on mere legal right when he does so with intent to murder, this Jew still owes much of his deformity of soul to Christian ill-usage; Shakespeare has discerned this, and made it evident-an astonishing achievement for this son of the sixteenth century, and a sufficient proof of his intellectual sovereignty, were there no other.

It was long before any Jewish portrait, even remotely comparable to the unsympathetic but living delineation of Shylock, was drawn by an English hand. The Hebrew, permitted at last to return to England after the Restoration, dwelt among us many years an unloved alien, and his self-seeking greed, his usurious practices, too often furnished a theme for the mockery of witty dramatists like Sheridan, and of other writers less famous; till another great artist in fiction awoke to the more serious, picturesque possibilities of the despised Oriental money-lender, and Scott gave us in "Ivanhoe" that sordid, yet pathetic, figure of Isaac of York; that noble and heroic form of his

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esteem father and daughter both as real, and accept the large-hearted wisdom and vestal devotion of the one as implicitly as the tremulous weakness of the other; yet, for all the Scriptural fashion of their speech, there is so little of the true Jewish color about them that they will not endure comparison with the harsh powerful portraiture of Shylock. A daughter of Israel might indeed give proof of virtue no less lofty than Rebecca's; but it would express itself in another guise. The gentle generous Scott chose probably to draw on his large historic imagination rather than on reality when he wished to depict this Israelitish parent and child. But the pity, sympathy and interest, aroused by his idealized representation were not the less a gain for the cause of humanity.

It is "a far cry" from "Ivanhoe" to "Oliver Twist," yet Charles Dickens is the next great master who can furnish us with such an illustration of our theme as we need consider. He, who fell heir to much of the popularity of Scott, in his turn, made capital of the peculiar position held by the Jew in popular esteem, and gave us two widely contrasted portraits of scions of the Chosen People, whereof the second was, as is well known, intended as a sort of atonement for the first. Some atonement was indeed called for; nothing could well be more odious than that assemblage of vile human qualities known to lovers of Dickens as the Jew Fagin.

At first sight there is a remarkable air of realism about the scenes of "Oliver Twist," which are darkened by the presence of this fiendish being; their dinginess itself seems warrant for their verisimilitude, especially when we turn upon them eyes fresh from the brilliant romance of "Ivanhoe." That grimy thieves' kitchen, black with age and dirt, peopled by poor, common, ungainly British thieves and uncomely harlots; that villainous looking old man, the presiding genius of the place, whose sinister features are shadowed by matted red hair, and whose shrivelled form is

While the magician's spell is on us, we wrapped in greasy flannel-surely there

daughter Rebecca-shapes much less realistically faithful than Shylock and Jessica, but drawn with an amount of tenderness which tells us that a new era in toleration has opened. Isaac is depicted, indeed, as a servile, crouching money-lover, not incapable of insolent self-assertion if it should be absolutely safe, and too ready in using that pitiful weapon of the weak-prevarication that merges into falsehood. But we are not allowed to forget that his timid guilefulness is that of a feeble, hunted creature; and that, if he holds to his hoarded wealth with frenzied tenacity, to that wealth alone he owes the bare right to live in the midst of a community that loathes him and his, and only tolerates him because of his financial usefulness. To him Scott has attributed in full measure the strong domestic affection of his people, without indicating how that affection could on occasion transform itself into the savage feeling displayed by "the Jew whom Shakespeare drew," who, in his wrath against his apostate child, would gladly bury with her death the gold and gems of which she has robbed him; "I would my daughter were dead at my feet, and the jewels in her ear! would she were hearsed at my foot, and the ducats in her coffin!" Isaac of York is imagined as a creature of softer mould, holding his fair, wise, high-hearted Rebecca dearer even than his hoarded wealth, since for her sake he will make some sacrifice of that "god of his idolatry;" feeble-hearted as he is, there is little Jewish bitterness in him; witness his kindly will towards the Gentile Ivanhoe, who has shown him some kindness; he will take some pains to serve this benefactor, and incurs some risk of loss for his sake. The contrast is more dramatic than probable between Isaac and his noble daughter, so justly proud of the past glories of her race, so humbly acquiescent in its present humiliation; merciful and generous to all, be they children of Israel or not; constant under fierce temptation, possessing her soul in lofty calmness amid the most appalling perils.

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