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the day is misspent if they do the United States can provide. not carry away with them We know well enough that, as some trophy, however small. a result of the war, we are When they are content with faced with many difficulties. an insignificant prey, not much We know also that if we do harm is done, except to them- not trust too fondly to the selves. Unfortunately, they Government, if we recognise sometimes fly at bigger game. that all benefits come not Not long ago a visitor to a from legislation but from a northern cathedral noticed that change of heart in the people, a piece of beautiful carving in we shall overcome our diffistone had been wrenched from culties. Meanwhile we do not the door of the Chapter-house. ask the good opinion nor the “The Americans have been help of the United States. So here,' said the visitor to the long as we pay our annual verger. "Yes," replied the tribute they can have nothing verger, a party of sixty came to say to us. A report, lately to see the cathedral the other issued by the British Federaday. I could not keep an eye tion of Industries, tells us what upon them all, and I discovered the United States think of us. only when they were gone the “Even in the most friendly damage they had done.” Not quarters,” we are told, “the even the wealth of those whose general impression seems to be standard of living is the highest that England is down and out. known to history can restore All our difficulties are exaggerthe damage thus wantonly done. ated, and the progress we have And until this indelicate habit made towards reconstruction is corrected, the United States ignored. We are painted as cannot hope to live on terms of being at the mercy of Comintimacy with civilised Europe, munists. One hears that our whose standard of living may plants are out-of-date, our be unhappily depressed., methods antiquated, we cannot
Not for one moment would compete, our spirit of initiative we give our tradition, our has deserted us, and the British respect for intelligence, our workman neither can nor will care for things of the mind, work.” It is a pleasant picture, for all the gold which is stored painted in the colours of amiain the treasury of New York. bility. But if the Americans There is very little that money count upon our being down can buy, and no sane man and out, they will have a would demand from the gods rude awakening.
Of course, the gift of Midas. We would we have suffered more than rather have a dinner of herbs they from
They, with contentment and a little indeed, had not much to do wine than all the dry banquets with the war, except to make which the enslaved riches of money out of it. We risked VOL. CCXVIII.-NO. MCCCXXII.
all our money and all our 'The Conversations of Jonson men of military age, and we and Drummond' (Oxford : have not yet had time to Blackwell) should have aprebuild the fabric of our life peared so soon after the imand trade. Presently we shall portant work of Messrs Herrecover completely—we have ford and Simpson, which might travelled far on the road to easily have resolved most of recovery,--and until that time his doubts. He is a dogmatic arrives we are content that and explosive critic, who deour deeds shall speak for us. lights to end his sentences The British Federation of In- with notes of exclamation. His dustries suggests that “one or method of criticism is simtwo Englishmen of the highest plicity itself. He makes up standing should visit the United his mind what are the quesStates, and in a series of tions which Drummond would speeches in different parts of have asked Jonson and how the country correct the harm Jonson would have answered, done to British interests.” For and not finding in the 'Conour part we have no faith in versations ’his method followed propaganda of this sort. The he pronounces the ConversaAmericans will go on believing tions' a forgery. He knows what they want to believe what he would have done had about us and about themselves., he been a poet, like Jonson, It would be hardly worth while, visiting a friend after a tramp were it possible, to correct the of four hundred miles.
He false news they listen to, the would have sat him down, like false statements that they the poor victim of an intermake. We should be content view, and given the reporter to discover the Englishmen who faced him a brief account who write articles in the Ameri- of his life and travels. “ Did can Press to the
the discredit Jonson really speak of his of their country, and put them youth,” he asks, “and yet not in a moral pillory. For the give the name of his father rest, we believe that we are and mother? Had he formerely at the beginning of a gotten the name of his wife great career, and we shall not and son ? Had he nothing waste a minute in envying fresh to tell of his early educathose who, without literature tion, of his rank when a soldier, and without art, have attained of his early writings ?... Was to “the highest standard of there nothing to tell Drumliving in the country's history, mond of the adventure of and therefore the highest in walking to Scotland ? No vilall history.”
lages, no inns, no friends, not
even the weather !” IngenuIt is unfortunate for Mrousness can go no further than Stainer that his little book on this. Jonson did not deal in
the facts and statistics which admits the truth of a stateare dear to journalists. There- ment, he declares that the fore the Conversations which statement has been taken from Drummond wrote down are a book, and that therefore the forgeries.
· Conversations are an obvious It takes two to make a forgery. If, on the other hand, conversation, and if the con he discovers a false statement, versation be recorded, it is he declares that none but a perforce the work of both. forger would have been at the The chief discourser, who in pains to write it down. It is these “Conversations' is Jon- not after so simple a fashion son, selects such topics as come that the human mind works. by hazard to his mind. He A statement is not forged talks as
he thinks, and he because Ben Jonson makes it thinks perchance more about twice, nor because, in the medthe art of Shakespeare, or the ley of talk, it is imperfectly lack of it, and about the bad remembered or incorrectly writtemper of Marston, or of the ten down by Drummond. Nor, accent which Donne did not when he descends to particukeep, than about the names lars, is he more happily inof his father and mother, or spired than when he clings to even about the weather. And general principles. Jonson's when Jonson had talked, loudly impresa fills him with a wild and not always soberly, Drum- fury. “ Jonson describes his mond took up his part of the impresa,” he says, “ which task. He made another selec- writes him down an ass.” Why tion. He put down upon paper does it ? Mr Stainer does not the few scattered sayings which explain. He merely says that he remembered,
which it is "an impertinent adaptachimed with his fancy. And tion ” of some words in the $0 the Conversations came Epistle to Selden, which has about, much to the displeasure not a word of a broken comof Mr Stainer, who cannot He is full of contempt understand the result of this for those who, after his burning double process of selection. For denunciation, would accept the us, the general tenor and Conversations as genuine, shape of the record are clear because Jonson told Drummond proofs of its authenticity. Thus that he was Master of Arts in and thus only would a lettered both Universities. Only a and fussy worshipper of the forger could have made this great set down upon paper statement, because Jonson was what a great man had told him. inducted formally in the degree
Mr Stainer, in attempting to of Master of Arts on 19th July destroy the authenticity of an 1619. This was after Jonaccepted document, wishes to son's return from Scotland ! ” have it both ways. If he The italics and the note of
exclamation are Mr Stainer's. Henslowe removes all possiUnfortunately for his argu- bility of doubt. ment, the degree had been con Then he is troubled because ferred upon Jonson long before, Ben Jonson tells Drummond at the suggestion of Lord Pem- that he was accused of popery broke. It was merely the in- and treason before the Council duction which took place after by Northampton. Another Jonson's return from Haw- plain proof of forgery. For thornden.
“Northampton was a Roman It is unnecessary to correct Catholic !” So he was at all Mr Stainer's foolish argu- times ; at other times he was ments. We have but space to a violent anti-Catholic, either deal with one or two. Here with sincerity or with the is one which is typical of Mr design of covering up the traces Stainer's method. Jonson tells of his Catholicism. The man Drummond that since his who was active in the trial of coming to England, being ap- Guy Fawkes might easily have pealed to the fields, he had persecuted Ben Jonson. Again killed his adversary." Mr writes Mr Stainer, with the Stainer's comment is of high jubilation of italics (after quotvalue. The name of Jonson's ing from the Conversations': adversary is not given," says "He married a wife who was he triumphantly. “This alone a shrew yet honest ; five years indicates that the passage was he had not bedded with her, written at a late date.” Why but remained with my Lord should the absence of the name Albany”), “Jonson's wife was indicate so much as that? It dead when he visited Scotland.” might indicate either that Jon- Why should she not be dead ! son thought it not worth while Her death did not belie what to repeat the name of Gabriel Jonson said, and there is no Spencer, or that Drummond reason why he should not have had heard and forgotten it. told Drummond this simple
The name was unknown," anecdote though his wife lay goes on Mr Stainer irrelevantly, in her grave. It would have
to Gifford when he been more difficult for a forger edited Jonson's works in 1816.” to in vent it. Mr Stainer is It was not unknown to Jonson, no less unlucky when he atwho might have given it, if he tempts to show that Jonson's chose, nor to Henslowe, nor to quarrel with Inigo Jones was the Rolls of the Middlesex of a later date than the ConSessions. And Mr Stainer can- versations. If he will consult not get out of it on the plea Messrs Herford and Simpson, that the Benjamin Jonson men- he will see that the feud was tioned in the Session's papers already old in 1619. Thus he was not the poet but another goes on, page after page, with man of the same name, for his irrelevancies and inaccu
racies, nor does he seem to is a better hand at assumption take his task very seriously. than research. Having started He tries hard to prove-unsuc upon his quest, he does not cessfully, of course—that Drum carry it on to the end, nor mond was not in Scotland at attempt to discover the cause the time he held the 'Con- of the mystery. “ It is not versations with Jonson, and my task," he confesses, “to then suddenly throws up the inquire why a Scotch antisponge. “ Let me say at once quarian should dabble in for-thus he writes—“that, as gery." Still less is it our task far as I am concerned, the ques- to inquire why Mr Stainer, tion as to whether Drummond M.A., should have given himwas in Scotland really is not self the trouble to write as very important. It requires foolish a piece of literary too much research.” Indeed criticism
have ever it does from Mr Stainer, who seen.