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apology for his having taken that honor, and protested that it was entirely unanticipated, or he would have. avoided it. The high stand man at Yale, though secretly proud of it, is always ready to excuse himself and to throw out mysterious hints as to how he deceived the faculty. We find but few men who are willing to talk rationally for any length of time on anything that approaches the intellectual side of college life. The college gossip, matters of the moment, of absolutely no importance, engross our attention, and the number of serious conversations the average student indulges in could be easily counted. The subject of desultory reading, of throwing away the time on worthless books when the University Library is open to us, can only be alluded to. These points may seem trivial; they are not. They mark a tendency which, if it becomes strengthened, is sure to be harmful for the best interests of the University.
It is very unfortunate that the advocates of this side of college life invariably have their fling at athletics. This not only betrays a want of tact, but is harmful. It tends to make separate classes in the University, whereas there should be but one class. Athletics have won the position they occupy because they have inherent good. To a greater or less extent they will always have their part in the undergraduate world. It is not only foolish, but useless, to oppose them, and those who would seek a more decided atmosphere of learning will not gain it by attempting to pull down athletics but by creating a new sentiment which will elevate our grind.
But there is here, as indeed there is in almost every aspect of our life, a principle involved. It will be an unfortunate day for us when we look down on honest work of any kind. There is scarcely need of introducing here an extract from some Sophomore composition on the Rewards of Labor or the Dignity of Toil. We well know that many of us who are not now injuring ourselves by outwatching the bear or unsphering the spirit of Plato, will within a year or two be hard at work in the various professions. We would have but a poor opinion of a man
who trifled with medicine or the law. But to many the college is the professional school, nor will they have another chance to perfect themselves. It can not be said that Yale graduates are ashamed to spend several consecutive hours "grinding" on a case, or planning some business venture. If we expect to become grinds ourselves at some future hour, how can we have the least feeling of compassion towards those who have merely anticipated us by few years.
This matter is an extremely delicate one, and the writer does not wish to be misunderstood. That men come here simply because of our athletic supremacy, and that it is difficult to find a genuine student is utterly opposed to the idea of this article. That Yale can not produce scholars of the highest order has been refuted by the Past. The Future will show that her graduates can still maintain her honor. But we do not have the "love of learning" to any dangerous degree, and there is undoubtedly a movement which is opposed to it. Yale is unique; she is one large family. If the statements of undergraduates can be relied upon, the average Yale man is thrown into closer contact with his class, than is the student in our sister Universities. He is fitted for intercourse with his fellow men in a peculiar way because of his peculiar life. We are here to prepare for the future, and many honestly think it is more beneficial to spend less time with books and more with It is a fair question as to which plan is the better. With these men we have no quarrel. We only ask that our grind shall have a place freed from the slightest suspicion of ridicule or unpopularity. We do not all come. to Yale with the same purpose. But there are many men who feel that these four years are the critical ones of their lives; that in them they are to gain inspirations and impulses which will be felt long after they have left the college walls. And if we consider their case impartially, we must admit that there is nothing narrow nor unattractive in it. And these are the grinds, in the true sense. We will ever be proud of our athletes, we will often live over again with pleasure the social life of the dormitories
and campus. But after all Yale will be remembered and maintain her position through the men of learning and culture who have gone out from under these elms to take their part in the world.
Edward B. Reed.
Thou beckonest me, sweet, pensive Phantasy;
As is the slender hand, which o'er
Thy virgin shoulder beckons me
On to that Future land that ever lies before,
And discontent with this low present here,
And I have followed thee,
With strange yearning, unheeding were my footsteps,
At even, when the day with dewey, slumberous kiss
Enters her home just past the reddening west,
When the parting gates, bright glimpses of the Future show,
Beyond the meadows, above the hill along,
While from the blue and hazy vale below
Mounted full soft the chapel vesper song,
I hastened on,
And seemed but to o'ertake thy fleeting step and touch thee,
Forever, just before my pleading grasp,
Thy snowy, fluttering draperies melted into evening mist,
But should I still obey thee, still pursue;
But as thou art, sweet maiden Phantasy?
William A. Moore.
The Yale Lit. Prize Essay.
OPHELIA AND THE SONS OF GERMANIA.
BY LINDSAY DENISON.
CRITICISM, says Matthew Arnold, is essentially the
exercise of curiosity. Its usefulness is quite as essentially the awakening of curiosity. Able criticism deepens and stimulates the reader's appreciation. Unworthy and untrue criticism is apt to excite his combative energy. The much-abused German school of literary criticism is really at fault in that it deadens curiosity; it goes beneath the substance, not into it. "Above," says Lowell, "are the divine poets' larks and daisies, his uncommunicable skies, his broad prospects of life and nature; and meanwhile our Teutonic teredo worms his way below and offers to be our guide into an obscurity of his own contriving." The spectacled Gelehrter looks upon Hamlet as he looks upon Aristotle's Ethics. When he would deal with the character of Ophelia it is much as though he were to pick up a snow-flake in his fingers; he discovers that it is cold; that it originally consisted of water. The physical nature of a snow-flake is a matter we take for granted. Superficially perhaps, we want to know its beauty. We feel that such delicate formations were not made to be handled; we may bring our lights to them, we may theorize, but until we may challenge the genius of the Creator we have no right to destroy them.
Shakespeare was a worker through impressions. Careless of method and even of consistency, he would have us gather our conceptions of his characters by unconscious inference. Not even Hamlet was written to be the object of matured study and contemplation. To reach the true meaning of the play the critic must render himself pliable to register whatever passing impressions the dramatist may have seen fit to give him. He is too much inclined to put himself in the attitude of one upon whom a company
are about to try an experiment in mesmerism, and to be over-sensitive in his eagerness to catch clues to hidden ideas. We can best get the right conception of a dramatic work by a careful but imaginative rapid reading as the nearest approach to a representation by perfect actors upon a perfect stage. Though we can understand how the work might have been elaborated beyond its strictest needs by the loving hand of the master, the interpolation of radical interpretations beyond those suggested by such a reading is a matter for extreme caution. Upon such a principle as this, one man's opinion of a debatable interpretation is as good as another's. A Heidelberg diploma does not certify feeling and sympathy. Every man has experiences that no one else has shared with him, and he may therefore find in the universality of Shakespeare a truth and a beauty of which no one else is aware. The Bard of Avon was no more either general or individual than is the world itself.
In their quarreling over the character of Hamlet the critics have treated Ophelia most unkindly. Each bends and twists his conception of her to support his peculiar figure for Hamlet. One calls her weakly colorless, and another a treacherous plotter for power; at one moment she is supernatural in her goodness, and the next the compound of all that is vile in woman. They are few indeed who speak her fair.
Perhaps the most stupid commentary that ever bore the stamp of authority is the Shakespearian criticism of Anthony, Earl of Shaftesbury, who discovered the Bard's "deficiency in almost all the graces and ornaments of this kind of writing." In his enumeration of the beneficial qualities of Hamlet-he regarded Shakespeare merely as a moral force-he says that "it contains no adoration or flattery of the sex." May we not read out of this remark that the sweet and tender purity of Ophelia and its accompanying tributes do not seem, even to a stern old moralizer, any more than a fair representation of budding womanhood? Her insanity is not a part of her character, but a condition into which she is forced.