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the others by mistake

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the others by mistake

““This, however, is a digression; the question before us is whether Aristophanes really liked AEschylus or only pretended to do so. It must be remembered that the claims of AEschylus, Sophocles and Euripides, to the foremost place amongst tragedians were held to be as incontrovertible as those of Dante, Petrarch, Tasso and Ariosto to be the greatest of Italian poets, are held among the Italians of to-day. If we can fancy some witty, genial writer, we will say in Florence, finding himself bored by all the poets I have named, we can yet believe he would be unwilling to admit that he disliked them without exception. He would prefer to think he could see something at any rate in Dante, whom he could idealise more easily, inasmuch as he was more remote; in order to carry his countrymen the farther with him, he would endeavour to meet them more than was consistent with his own instincts. Without some such palliation as admiration for one, at any rate, of the tragedians, it would be almost as dangerous for Aristophanes to attack them as it would be for an Englishman now to say that he did not think very much of the Elizabethan dramatists. Yet which of us in his heart likes any of the Elizabethan dramatists except Shakespeare? Are they in reality anything else than literary Struldbrugs?

“I conclude upon the whole that Aristophanes did not like any of the tragedians; yet no one will deny that this keen, witty, outspoken writer was as good a judge of literary value, and as able to see any beauties that the tragic dramas contained as nine-tenths, at any rate, of ourselves. He had, moreover, the advantage of thoroughly understanding the standpoint from which the tragedians expected their work to be judged, and what was his conclusion? Briefly it was little else than this, that they were a fraud or something very like it. For my own part I cordially agree with him. I am free to confess that with the exception perhaps of some of the Psalms of David I know no writings which seem so little to deserve their reputation. I do not know that I should particularly mind my sisters reading them, but I will take good care never to read them myself I do notknow the immediate sequelto theforegoing correspondence..

This last bit about the Psalms was awful, and there was a great fight the editor as to whether or not it should be allowed to stand. Ernest himself was frightened at it, but he had once heard someone say that the Psalms were many of them very poor, and on looking at them more closely, after he had been told this, he found that there could hardly be two opinions on the subject. So he caught up the remark and reproduced it as his own, concluding that these psalms had probably never been written by David at all, but had got in among
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