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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 188 pages of information about On The Art of Reading.
as to the mediocre painter who still lingers over historical pictures, it is only the violence of the anecdote that appeals, and in his representation thereof does the entire interest of his work consist....  Indeed when I go to a theatre, I feel as though I were spending a few hours with my ancestors, who conceived life as though it were something that was primitive, arid and brutal....  I am shown a deceived husband killing his wife, a woman poisoning her lover, a son avenging his father, a father slaughtering his children, murdered kings, ravished virgins, imprisoned citizens—­in a word all the sublimity of tradition, but alas how superficial and material!  Blood, surface-tears and death!  What can I learn from creatures who have but one fixed idea, who have no time to live, for that there is a rival, a mistress, whom it behoves them to put to death?

M. Maeterlinck does not (he says) know if the Static Drama of his craving be impossible.  He inclines to think—­instancing some Greek tragedies such as “Prometheus” and “Choephori”—­that it already exists.  But may we not, out of the East—­the slow, the stationary East—­fetch an instance more convincing?

V

The Drama of Job opens with a “Prologue” in the mouth of a Narrator.

There was a man in the land of Uz, named Job; upright, God-fearing, of great substance in sheep, cattle and oxen; blest also with seven sons and three daughters.  After telling of their family life, how wholesome it is, and pious, and happy—­

The Prologue passes to a Council held in Heaven.  The Lord sits there, and the sons of God present themselves each from his province.  Enters Satan (whom we had better call the Adversary) from his sphere of inspection, the Earth, and reports.  The Lord specially questions him concerning Job, pattern of men.  The Adversary demurs.  ’Doth Job fear God for nought?  Hast thou not set a hedge about his prosperity?  But put forth thy hand and touch all that he hath, and he will renounce thee to thy face.’  The Lord gives leave for this trial to be made (you will recall the opening of “Everyman"): 

So, in the midst of his wealth, a messenger came to job and says—­

     The oxen were plowing,
     and the asses feeding beside them: 
     and the Sabeans fell upon them,
     and took them away;
  yea, they have slain the servants with the edge of the sword;
  and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.

  While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said,
  The fire of God is fallen from heaven,
  and hath burned up the sheep, and the servants,
     and consumed them;
     and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.

  While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said,
     The Chaldeans made three bands,
     and fell upon the camels,
     and have taken them away,
  yea, and slain the servants with the edge of the sword;
  and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.

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