Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 42.djvu/766

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744

THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

where these arts, independently developed, were first brought together for this purpose. We shall find, on the contrary, that every form of the drama was derived from some simpler form in which all the arts were constituents, until we arrive at the mimetic dance as the prototype of the whole series of dramatic phases. We are by no means justified in supposing that, at some time in the past, near or remote, a sculptor, without predecessors or examples, inspired by the impulse of a divine genius, modeled for himself a perfect human form in clay, and then with chisel and hammer proceeded to disengage a copy of this form from the solid marble. As little can we suppose that a great painter, without antecedents or training, arose in the midst of an inartistic generation, stretched his canvas, mixed for the first time his pigments, and executed a landscape or an ideal head. This is not in analogy with other lines of human development. As every great orator was once a speechless infant, finding language ready for his tongue and comprehension in his hearers, so every great artist has found a language of artistic expression waiting for his genius to improve and lovers of art ready to enjoy his creations. And thus we see that as the mechanic arts do not blush to confess that every wheel in every watch and every factory owes its parentage to the discovery that a fallen tree-trunk will roll under pressure, which probably first revealed the principle of the wheel, so the fine arts need not be ashamed of their descent from the mimetic dance. Let no idealistic devotee of art, therefore, be shocked or offended if we say that all the fine arts were at first incidental contributions to the dramatic festival, and afterward were analyzed out of this common medium of their development as independent forms of culture.

In all dramatization music has had a large place, either as the recurrent drum-tap, the percussion of cymbals, the twanging of stringed instruments like the tetrachord of the Greeks, or the blowing of pipes and horns. Between the intervals of dancing it is common in primitive ceremonies for some person to sing a few words alternated with a uniform chorus—and such, it has been suggested, might be the origin of the Greek strophe and antistrophe, "which are thought to represent the two movements of the universe from east to west, and west to east, the choir performing their dances around the altar of their gods from right to left and left to right." Thus was developed a lyric which gradually expanded into a poetic story. This, in time, developed into the recital of the rhapsodists who sang at the public festivals, which were largely dramatic in their character, and these fragments of heroic verse united and amplified become at last great epics like the Iliad and the Odyssey.

The relation of architecture to the festival is very easy to