Page:Rolland - People's Theater.djvu/151

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gentlest of the poets, Schiller, he who took the most serene view of his own art, did not hesitate to plunge into the fray, and set himself "the task of attacking vice, and wreaking vengeance upon the enemies of religion, morality, and the social order."[1] But in art it is not necessary to combat evil with evil, but with light. The evil that is seen face to face, the evil that is conscious of being seen, is more than half conquered. It is the function of the social drama to throw the imperious power of reason into the uncertain scales.

There are many other types of drama which up to the present have been seldom seen in our theaters. The rural drama, the poem of Earth, impregnated with the odor of the fields and overflowing with peasant humor and rich language, is a precious mine. It preserves what is poetic in the life of the small communities and records for posterity their vanishing individuality. Pouvillon, in certain of his pastoral tragedies; Pottecher in his comedies of the Vosges country; the Swiss René Morax in his vigorous and quietly sentimental plays of the Var district—these dramatists furnish us with splendid examples of this type of play. And finally come the greatest of these poets, Mistral, the Provençal Homer, whose language is as harmonious as his ancient soul.

We must likewise make use of the rich Celtic treasure lying hidden in our soil, and bring to life once more the forgotten legends and popular tales.

  1. Preface to Die Räuber, 1781.