The "form" is lyrical, the stuff is narrative, the mode of presentation is often that of purely dramatic dialogue. Take a contemporary illustration of this blending of types. Mr. Vachel Lindsay has told us the origins of his striking poem "The Congo." He was already in a "national-theme mood," he says, when he listened to a sermon about missionaries on the Congo River.
It was the clear vision of Marcus Karenin much more than any other contemporary influence which brought it back into the texture of human life. He saw religion without hallucinations, without superstitious reverence, as a common thing as necessary as food and air, as land and energy to the life of man and the well-being of the Republic.
All persons who came to Holland, and led decorous lives there, were protected in their opinions and customs. By contemporary writers in other countries this eccentric behaviour of the Dutch government was treated with unspeakable scorn.
The task he set himself was to record the contemporary events of his native town the stronghold of the blood-dripping Baglioni. He enlivened it by every scrap of scandalous gossip that reached him, however alien to his avowed task.
Chopin, who, although among the first of contemporary artists, had given the fewest concerts, wished, notwithstanding, to be borne to the grave in the clothes which he had worn on such occasions.
It caused the young painters to turn resolutely towards the aspects of contemporary life, and to draw style and emotion from their own epoch; and this intention was right. An artistic tradition is not continued by imitating the style of the past, but by extracting the immediate impression of each epoch.
But it still maintained its distinctively English character throughout the Middle Ages. Contrast London or Oxford, for instance, in the twelfth and early thirteenth centuries, with contemporary Paris. In London and Oxford the wall is built once for all, and when it is completed the town may grow into suburbs as much as it likes, no new wall is built.
God and the Bible tells much the same tale. It originally appeared by instalments in the Contemporary Review, where it must have been something of a choke-pear even for the readers of that then young and thoughtful periodical.
The educational authorities were certainly well advised in making Corbett's great work the base from which the contemporary history text-books for use in the national schools were drawn.
They work on parchment from patterns which are supplied by the merchants in Alencon. The women go on from early morning until the light fails, and earn something about a shilling per day! The castle of Alencon, built by Henry I. in the twelfth century, was pulled down with the exception of the keep, by the order of Henry of Navarre, the famous contemporary of Queen Elizabeth.