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it may be the fruit of eternity, but it is not the flower of life. In Hazlitt's phrase it would seem almost to assert that gaiety is incompatible with joy- too gay to be happy, too happy to be gay.'
Yet destiny, howsoever it wounds, shall be justified of its children. "Tout ce qui nous soutient, tout ce qui nous • assiste, dans la vie physique comme dans la vie morale,
vient d'une sorte de justification lente et graduelle, de • la force inconnue qui nous parut d'abord impitoyable ;' and, moreover, it is man himself who arms fatality, • Nous ne souffrons que dans la mesure où nous co-opérons 'à nos souffrances,' says Novalis, and Maeterlinck again emphasises the axiom, in one of those brief figurative phrases which give his sentences a singular hold upon the memory: 'Il n'a d'autres armes que celles que nous lui • tendons.'
And, all the while, neither glad nor yet sorry-for nothing can cast a shadow where the light burns from within-the ultimate allwise soul, immaculate as snow, sits in the silence which is her voice, while the tortured tides of life, loves, hates, sins, despairs, hopes, and desires surge round her throne. And soul with soul holds com. munion in those moments où les âmes se touchent et 6 savent tout sans que l'on ait besoin de remuer les lèvres,' and each soul, from amongst all souls, chooses with closeshut lips its elect fellowship. The hands of man or woman toach, their voices speak one with another, their hearts beat in accord, but, beneath and beyond, the hands of the soul are outstretched to accept or reject, according to far other rules and in fulfilment of far other decrees. It seeks no confidant in the bodily senses or affections; men live with but dim cognisance of its lores, its gifts, or its denials; the pleasures and pains of the body are, again to quote Novalis, merely the sensations of the soul's dreams. Arbitrary and absolute, it cherishes wbat man refuses, and knits its own bonds in regions where the heart, the reason, and the senses tread only as alien guests, where the stained mantle of guilt drops from the sinner in the commonwealth of the spirit, and l'âme d'un forçat viendra se taire divinement avec l'âme d'une vierge.'
So the two destinies, of which life embodies the action and counteraction, are once again brought into juxtaposition, the one whose abode is silence, the other which dwells in the realm of sound. And life sways for ever between that silence and that sound-a silence where all
togalecord, but, be to accept our other deci
things infinite are made known, a sound where all things infinite are forgotten.
Such are some of the aspects, so far as a few sentences may represent the areas of thought M. Maeterlinck's pages cover, under whose guise the life of man is pictured. Of that other life which occupied so large a place in the meditations of Novalis—the earth-life of man's environment
--there is little mention. In the prose works Nature scarcely appears in faint allusion. In the often elaborate stage directions of his dramas, as in the references of the dialogues to the scenes where the dramatis personæ meet, Nature is merely a symbolic décor de théâtre, a word-painted emphasis of thought, a végétation de symboles. The lives of bis characters are for the most part spent in solitary castles with interminable corridors and many-windowed, many-doored rooms. Beneath are sunken vaults leading none know whither; deep, stagnant moats encompass the walls. Fountains, of fathomless depths, serve for the garden trysts of lovers. Beyond are enclosing forests or, it may be, endless marshes, near at band sullen or more rarely moonilluminated seas. Somewhere are mountains, and always mists—mists that brood over sea and land, mists that drift, mists stationary and vaporous, mists that come and go, with poison of fever or poison of chill in their breath; mists that are like persons of the play with exits and entrances. There are sudden winds that seem to fall into sudden silences, shadows that outline the narrow spaces of light, dull heats that trail evil after them through the night, and waters whose profound sleep may be heard by the ear that stoops to listen. And flowers, trees, grass, storm and calm, sea and forest, nature and earth are all steeped, enveloped, in an all-permeating atmosphere of emotional humanity, from which there is neither evasion nor enfranchisement possible on any page M. Maeterlinck has ever penned. He has, it might be said, reversed the order of creation : man is the initial letter of his alphabet, as it is his last word. Every phenomenon, every denizen, animal or vegetable, of earth exists only for its human double-entendre
-a mood, an emotion, a catastrophe of human life. Prophet meteors, like the tears of stars, have l'air de verser • du sang' over Maleine's bridal roof. The sky is black and the moon red; the withered leaves of the willow fall on the hands of the lovers predestined to death. The windblown drops of the water-jet baptise their brows for the grave. And if in later dramas the melodrama of nature is indicated with more reticence, nature is still strictly utilised for purposes of theatrical symbolism. The bloodstreaked swan floating in the moat beneath the window where the little princess lies murdered ; • l'agneau familier' of Alladine, who at the approach of Palomides escapes from her hold to drown in the swirl of the turbulent stream; the doves of Mélisande, flying white fugitives from the tower where Pélléas, standing below, in the scene which repeats the wooing of Rapunzel, sends his kisses to her lips by the ladder of her luminous hair, belong to the same animal world. Earth's children have caught the contagions of humanity, nature is blemished with the infection of its maladies, its sorrows, sins, loves, and deaths; they are but the beast masques of a tragic pantomime.
The masked element is indeed an essential characteristic of those dramas where M. Maeterlinck deals with the two great crises of life-Love and Death-and with that destiny which, in relation to life, constitutes the leading thought of his prose works. Souvent,' wrote Novalis, speaking of romance proper, 'il contient les événements d'une mascarade '... un événement masqué entre personnes masquées.' And no one has applied the conception of romance so defined with more originality and subtlety in the performance than M. Maeterlinck. Life in his plays is a symbol within a symbol. His characters stand in relation to actuality, not as symbols of types, but as counterfeit presentments of single individualities in whose personality a phase of emotion finds its embodiment. His incidents, often violent to the brink of extravagance, are but a shadow pageantry, an outward framework on whose surface emotion may be mirrored. Episodes and characters are alike the mere threads on which passion's rosary is strung, and emotion in itself is virtually both plot and episode.
The method, so far as it admits of a rough analysis, varies but little in the nine dramas or dramatic scenes which bear his signature. We are usually confronted with a group of actors, who by a first touch, significantly indicative of a first remove from the exacting realities of life, are mostly relegated to the ranks of an indeterminate royalty. Amongst them the distinctive grades of life in its temporal conditions are generally introduced-old age, with the manhood and womanhood leaning towards the same incline; childhood, with the youth that still scales the ascent at whose base lies infancy. It is life severed into those great divisions defined by Novalis with an intuitive accuracy that
rejects the fallible measuring-line of years--youth-when • the future; age—when the past, predominates.' Having before us this representative group-man, woman, childwe are made aware of the relationships they bear one to another, relationships sometimes founded upon the fellowships of the soul, more often only soldered by the hands of destiny at the forge of fate. We see the central figures subjected to the influence of those vast impersonal factors in human life, those three unsent-for things,' the passions of the Gaelic proverb, love, jealousy, and fear; likewise to the influence of those other passions which may be taken as emanations of the soul, pity, the self-condemnation in which all other men's sins find pardon, and, as in ' Aglavaine
et Sélysette,' the love whose pulse is sacrifice. And each man, each woman draws to himself or to her that special catastrophe, emotional or actual, which is in affinity with his or her individual temperament, or with that inscrutable personality that lies behind temperament. Where the wisdom of láme intérieure leaves the entrances of life unguarded, love, hate, suffering, and death approach what in most instances must be regarded as their unresisting victim, and the emotion possessed of its prey henceforth dominates the scene. Love, suffering, hate, or pity, whatever the master-passion may be, flashes momentarily its dyed limelight upon the face of girl or woman man or youth-faces that heretofore moved before us in the pallid neutrality of a human puppet-show. For a brief instant the voices ring clear and sharp as the voices of sleepers awakened; some vivid vitality seems stirring towards birth. Then the mist of that dusk twilight of morning or evening, which lies like a grey veil between us and the actors in M. Maeterlinck's dramas, floats back enclosing all; the colours are lost in it, the strings of life are muted almost before they were touched, the sound of the feet of those who pass is muffled as feet barefooted on snow. The curtain falls on figures faint as shadows, on words which are but as echoes, intermingled and confused, while the consistent incoherency of the sentences would seem now to relate to
les événements idéaux,' now to the parallel train of actualities. They are phrases which come as it were from two severed planes of existence, and express the contradictions resulting from the interactions of soul and body, contributing not a little to the apparently intentional obscurity of outline—the literary atmospheric effect-of M. Maeterlinck's art.
The plays themselves admit of two broad divisions-love dramas, where the passion belongs to the region of the emotions; death dramas, where the appeal to the imagination is based mainly upon the nerves.
In love, as in life, M. Maeterlinck recognises a duality of nature, l'amour prédestinée et véritable,' whose fountain head is in les grandes villes spirituelles où nous vivons sans
le savoir,' and those other loves severed from la vie intime, loves human and of earth, exiles of the soul. 'Notre vie se . passe à mille lieues de l'amour .... Notre maîtresse nous
abandonne ... nos yeux pleurent mais notre âme ne pleure pas. Ces baisers refuseront de s'ajouter aux • baisers réels de notre vie.' "Les passions de l'esprit et du 'coeur, aux yeux d'une intelligence étrangère, ressemble'raient à des querelles de clochers.' The picture of Othello's love, turned to jealousy as Shakespeare drew it, ' est défini
tive dans les premiers cercles de l'homme,' but it penetrates no further; 'il doit se passer dans son âme . . . des 'événements mille fois plus sublimes.' So sentence after sentence of his prose may be multiplied, denoting the severance of those divided loves of the soul within and of the soul without.
In the dramas in some secondary, in one principal character (Sélysette), we catch glimpses of that fashion of loving which is le soleil inconscient de notre âme.' But for the most part love, as Novalis defines it, le produit de • l'action réciproque de deux individus,'the specialised attraction of man for woman, of woman for man, appears mainly as a death lure to human hearts—to their truth, to their loyalty, to their joy. In M. Maeterlinck's best known dramas he conceives of the nature of love after a manner especially his own. Between the theoretical conceptions of love as wholly spiritual or as wholly material there lie for most of us the idea of innumerable intermediate loves, loves of as many aspects as the flame of burning saltwood has colours, where body and soul, in infinitely differing proportions, play each their generating part. In the romance of Novalis, as in his other writings, love born of both, receives of each its own element of perfectness, a perfectness which, in relation to humanity, either without the concurrence of the other, could not attain. For Novalis, according to the simplest interpretation of what is rather an atmosphere than a dogma of thought, the body supplies corporeal form, incarnating the spirit, while the soul endows matter, 'the shadow of the ' inward image,' with its spiritual vitality, its infinity, its
his conceives of joy. In a hearts for man, ecia