Page:Rolland - People's Theater.djvu/152

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Our plains and woods were once peopled: there is no part of our land without its collections of fabulous romances, its beautiful and quaintly humorous stories. The people of the large cities have long since broken with the past; they no longer belong to the great family; but the country people are for the most part far different. You will find among them the purest types of long ago, such as are sculptured on the portals of Gothic churches. Nor is the resemblance confined to externals: the races of today are morally close akin to those of past ages, more so than you would think. Who knows in how many of their souls there still exists the forest of the fairies, of the Sleeping Beauty, of Lancelot and Guinevere, of Tristan and Iseult; of Puss in Boots, of Tom Thumb and the Four Sons of Aymon; and the echo of Roland's horn? Let us revive the stories of the past. Who, be he old or young, does not take pleasure in hearing them? We still remember the stories of our youth and think regretfully of the time when we listened to them. But they are ever alive. We have been silently awaiting for eight centuries—ever since Marie de France—the return of the Blue Bird.

Legendary material in drama requires the aid of music. Music indeed has a most important part to play in poetic and rustic drama. L'Arlésienne is the finest example. We may say that music has not yet received the treatment in our drama which it deserves. The poets have dispensed with it, partly through sheer ignorance, and partly through fear