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literature is not strong, to adore men of action. Truly great poets—Dante, Milton, Wordsworth—have rated their own sacred calling as it deserved.
The deliberate glorification of war by some poets, the subtle justifications of it by others, are signs of this movement of feeling. Our ancestors felt no need either to glorify or to justify war. They took it as a normal incident of life, and described its beauties with zest. They thought it good exercise, as Shakespeare makes one of his comic characters say : • Let me have war, say I; it exceeds
peace as far as day does night; it's sprightly, waking, audible, and full of vent. Peace is a very apoplexy, lethargy; mulled, deaf, sleepy, insensible; peace makes men hate one another. But Shakespeare's own feeling, as that of all wise men, is rather to be found in these deep lines :
O War, thou son of Hell, Whom angry heavens do make their minister!' War is a great misfortune, a sad necessity, a visitation for the sins of men, a malady burning itself out in fever. If there be reality and truth in the conception that the course of mankind lies upward from the levels of the brute creation, war must vanish from the earth, and civilised war, already half refined away, must become a mere memory, as much as now are, among Europeans, the old barbarous wars with their full and unabated equipment of killing, destroying, ravishing, and enslaving. Modern war is only relatively better; it is evil in itself. The evil may be sometimes necessary, but one may hope that it is so only in consequence of men's crimes and follies. As a foreign writer has lately said, fatality reigns in the lower sphere of human passions, but its chain may be broken by the intervention of wisdom.
We have pointed out that modern poets have on the whole written better war-poetry when they were divided from their subject by time. One may say also that they write better when they are divided from their subject by space. Campbell, who was roaming in Germany in the year of Hohenlinden, did actually cross one field of recent fight covered with dead horses and other debris, and even saw from an adjacent monastery a slight skirmish between French and Bavarians. With this exception and that of Sir Alfred Lyall, no one of the authors of the later English war-poems which we have quoted had ever, we think, heard a shot fired or seen a sword drawn in battle. The
old clan bards who followed the fray, a little, perhaps, behind the front rank, are now represented in this respect, not by our poets, but by the paid correspondents of news. papers, often, certainly, most poetic writers of prose. These now celebrate the heroes, and award the palm. The actual vision of battle does not seem to inspire poetry. No doubt this is partly due to the great specialisation of all occupations in modern life. Perhaps also, since professional armies, with all their machinery, came into use, war has lent itself less easily to the poet's art. But the fact is also due, we think, to the growing separation between the nature of civilised man and delight in war. It is more necessary than of old for poetry that the brutalities of the business should be softened by distance. Macaulay could hardly have written so gaily of the Roman battles, or Scott of Flodden, had they seen at nightfall the field, more horrible than our modern fields of battle. Sadness and disgust would have deprived the poet of the high spirits necessary for this kind of poetry. The modern poet needs to be at a distance of space from scenes of human slaughter, and writes better still, as a rule, if he is also at a distance of time. And the men who fight do not write. The lust of battle in the soldier is followed by a reaction of disgust, though the desire to fight returns again. 'Nothing,' wrote the Duke of Wellington after Waterloo, 'nothing except a " battle lost is half so sad as a battle won.' After war the soldier is often inclined to talk of any other subject in preference. Often he would say, like Claudio in the play
But now I am returned, and that war-thoughts
Saying, I liked her ere I went to wars. Finally, it may be pointed out that it is not, in modern times, the greatest poets who have written the best warpoetry. The author of The Burial of Sir John Moore' was not a professional poet at all. Campbell, Scott, Macaulay do not rank among the highest stars in the poetical firmament, although one of these was the greatest of British romance-writers, and another was one of the greatest of British historians. The distaste of poets for the subject is natural. War, notwithstanding the fine qualities and emotions which it evokes in the nobler natures, is a lower state than peace, as disease, although it, too, may
evoke certain virtues, is a lower state than health, and the poet who devotes himself to celebrate acts of war, although his art may be redeemed if he can reveal the soul of good in things evil, does nevertheless choose a lower region when he might inhabit a higher. A Christian poet may pass through scenes of war, but it must be like Dante through Hell, on his way to Paradise. The loftiest poets have instinctively felt that their true and eternal business is to express, not the darkness of the world, but the manifestations of love and wisdom.
ART. III.-1. La situation en Epire, mémoire adressé à la
Commission des Ambassades d'Angleterre, d'Autriche et d'Allemagne à Constantinople. Athens : P. D. Sakellarios.
1900. 2. Proclamation of the Albanian League at Athens to the
Brethren in Albania. Athens : Anaplasis. 1899. TOE TURKEY, like an examination paper on mathematics, is a
list of problems all waiting for solution. To the Armenian and the Macedonian, already painfully familiar to every newspaper reader, have of late years been added the Syrian, the Samian, the Tripolitan, the Arabian, and the Albanian questions, differing from each other in degree of gravity and urgency, as well as in the number and nature of the factors involved.
involved. In a previous issue of the 'Edinburgh • Review'. we have dealt with one of these questions. It is our purpose to give here a summary of another no less interesting and equally complex problem. This is the problem known to the student of Near East politics as the Albanian Question.
Albania, from one point of view, may be described as the Armenia of Turkey in Europe. Like that unhappy province, it is a district seamed with mountain ranges, which afford a safe retreat to a highland population chiefly subsisting by the robbery of their lowland and less warlike neighbours. It is also a district inhabited partly by Christians and partly by Mohammedans, two elements which ever live on terms resembling the relations prevalent between the feline and the canine species of brute creation. But here the similarity ends. The Albanians, be they Christian or Mohammedan, both are sections of one and the same stock, both share the same racial attachment to liberty, and both show an equal capacity for preserving it. Their feuds are family affairs, and, like most people engaged in domestic disputes, the Albanians resent nothing more bitterly than interference on the part of outsiders. Whatever the differences which separate the two elements may be, there is one point on which they both agree—namely, a distrust of and contempt for the Turk, to whom they apply an opprobrious and untranslatable nickname. Indeed,
Albania can hardly be considered a portion of the Ottoman Empire in the same sense as Macedonia or Armenia.
* The Macedonian Problem and its Factors,' October 1901.
Though conquered, it has never been subdued. Nominally consisting of two vilayets, that of Skutari in the north and that of Jannina in the south, with portions of the vilayets of Monastir and Kossovo on the east, it really is a conglomeration of clans to all intents and purposes independent of one another and of all central authority-independence meaning less autonomous administration, or, for that matter, any kind of administration, than the privilege of waging war against each other, plundering their neighbours and abducting their daughters. This is the only form of freedom for which the average Albanian really cares, and he generally succeeds in enjoying it. The Porte in older days tried repeatedly to confirm its grip on the province. The suppression of Ali Pasha, the famous satrap of Epirus, in 1822, and the coup ever since known as the massacre of the Beys at Monastir, in 1830, had the same object in view. A later attempt to enforce conscription in Albania led to the insurrection both of north and south, in 1846. But those and similar attempts, though comparatively successful in the south, have never produced any lasting result in the north of the province. The North Albanian of the present day, like his forefathers of the remotest period of which there is any faint record in history, recognises no other rule than that of the chief of his phara or clan. This régime the Ottoman conqueror was compelled to sanction, and, since the nominal subjugation of Albania in the fifteenth century, the heads of clans have been known by the title of hereditary Beys.
Turkish authority, such as it is, is exercised through the medium of these tribal chiefs, and the Porte, whenever it meditates the introduction of any legislative novelty, is extremely anxious to conciliate them and to secure their good will and support by means of presents and promises. Even normal taxation cannot be enforced except through the Beys. The amount to be levied depends entirely on their approval, and is collected through their instrumentality. It is obvious that the Beys will never lend their countenance to any measure which is likely to affect their own privileges and purses, and accordingly two of the main sources of Turkish revenue, the Public Debt imposts and the Tobacco Monopoly, are institutions unheard of in Albania. The only tribute which the Beys are occasionally inclined to pay, and that as a voluntary contribution rather than as a matter of obligation, is the cattle tax (djeleb). Again, in matters judicial no Albanian charged with a capital offence is