Imatges de pàgina

settlement of any strike or lock-out, there lurks a feeling that in the interests of the whole community neither employers nor workmen ought to' be allowed to paralyse their own industry. If one side or the other persists in standing out, we have a clamour for 'compulsory arbitration :' that is, the intervention of the power of the State. We need not enter into the numerous suggestions that have been made for ‘State Boards of Arbitration,' authoritative intervention by the Board of Trade, or the deposit, by both parties, of sums of money to be legally forfeited upon breach of the award. The authors of such suggestions always find themselves in a dilemma. If resort to this kind of arbitration is still to be voluntary, the liability to penalties or legal proceedings is not calculated to persuade either employers or workmen to come within its toils." If, on the other hand, it is to be compulsory, it will amount to legal regulation, of a novel kind. It may well be argued that the community, for the protection of the public welfare, is entitled to step in and decide the terms upon which mechanics shall labour, and upon which capitalists shall engage them. In such a case the public decision could perhaps best be embodied in the award of an impartial arbitration tribunal, invested with all the solemnity of the State. But here we pass outside the domain of “arbitration’ properly so called. The question is then no longer the patching up of a quarrel between capitalists and workmen, but the deliberate determination by the community of the conditions under which certain industrial operations shall be allowed to be carried on. Such an award would have to be enforced on the parties whose recalcitrance had rendered it necessary. This does not imply, as is sometimes suggested, that workmen would be marched into the works by a regiment of soldiers, or that the police would open the gates (and the cash box) of stubborn employers. All that the award need decree is, that if capitalists desire to engage in the particular industry they shall do so only on the specified conditions. The enforcement of these conditions would become a matter for official inspection, followed by prosecutions for breaches of what would in effect be the law of the land. Here, it is true, we do find an effective panacea for strikes and lock-outs. Although industrial history records plenty of agitations and counter-agitations for and

11 The following extract from a recent report of so experienced and well-informed a society as the United Textile Factory Workers' Association is significant: ‘Boards of Conciliation.—Any number of Bills are constantly being introduced on this question, but your Council do not see that any useful purpose can be served by their becoming law. The assumption on which all these proposals are based is that .. when the return goes down the wages of labour and the profits of capital should go down together. ... The umpire is never a workman, but always a member of the upper class, whose sympathies and interest lie in the direction of keeping wages down. . . . They believe that the Bills now being brought forward are meant as so many traps with which to catch a portion of the workers' wages, and they have consequently opposed them.'-Report of the Legislative Council of the United Textile Factory Workers' Association for 1893-4, p. 17.

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against the fixing by law of various conditions of employment, there has never been either a lock-out or a strike against a new Factory or Truck Act. But by adopting this method of avoiding the occasional breaking off of negotiations which accompanies collective bargaining, we should supersede collective bargaining altogether. The conditions of employment would no longer be left to the higgling of masters and men, but would be authoritatively decided without their consent in the manner which the community, acting through an arbitrator, thought most expedient. Compulsory arbitration' means, in fact, the fixing of wages by law.






The creative gift of Mr. Morris, his distinctive power of imagination, cannot be defined or appreciated by any such test of critical comparison as is applicable to the work of any other man. He is himself alone, and so absolutely that his work can no more be likened to any mediæval than to any contemporary kinsman's. In his love of a story for a story's sake he is akin to Chaucer and the French precursors of Chaucer : but if he has not much of Chaucer's realistic humour and artistic power of condensation and composition, he has a gift of invention as far beyond Chaucer's as the scope of a story like The Well at the World's End is beyond the range of such brief romances as Amis and Amile or Aucassin and Nicolette. Readers and lovers (the terms should here be synonymous) of his former tales or poems in prose will expect to find in this masterpiece—for a perfect and unique masterpiece it is—something that will remind them less of Child Christopher than of The Wood beyond the World: the mere likeness in the titles would suggest so much : and this I think they will not fail to find : but I am yet more certain that the quality of this work is even finer and stronger than that of either. The interest, for those who bring with them to the reading of a work of imagination any auxiliary or sympathetic imagination of their own, is deeper and more vivid as well as more various : but the crowning test and triumph of the author's genius will be recognised in the all but unique power of touching with natural pathos the alien element of magical or supernatural fiction. Coleridge could do this: who else till now has done it? And when we venture to bring in the unapproachable name of Coleridge, we are venturing to cite the example of the most imaginative, the most essentially poetic, among all poets of all nations and all time.

It should be remembered that when an allegorical intention was 1 The Well at the World's End.

By William Morris. Longmans & Co., 1896.

2 vols.

London :

detected in the beautiful story of adventure and suffering and love which enchanted all readers in The Wood beyond the World, Mr. Morris for once condescended to disclaim the misinterpretation of his meaning, and to point out the difference between allegorical and simple narrative in words of perfect and conclusive accuracy. No commentator, I should hope, will ever waste his time on the childish task of inventing an occult significance for the incidents and adventures, the lurid and the lovely landscapes, set before him and impressed upon his memory in this later and yet more magically beautiful tale. The perfect simplicity and the supreme nobility of the spirit which informs and pervades and quickens and exalts it must needs make any but an inept and incapable reader feel yet once more a sense of wonder at the stupidity of the generations which could imagine a difference and a contrast between simple and noble. The simplest English writer of our time is also the noblest: and the noblest by reason and by virtue of his sublime simplicity of spirit and of speech. If the English of the future are not utterly unworthy and irredeemably unmindful of the past, they will need no memorial to remind them that his name was William Morris.




This little square book, the colour of meadow forget-me-nots, is so modest and simple that it may very easily be passed over in a period which has little sympathy with tenderness of feeling and simplicity of expression. The verses, of which this small volume is full, resemble the stornelli and rispetti of Italian songs rather than any kind of verse which has preceded them in English literature, unless it be the earliest and briefest songs of Robert Lytton, with which they have a certain kindred, both in their measure and in their themes. Auberon Herbert is known to the world as a daring and original thinker, a sociologist who lives three centuries before his time, a fearless preacher of new liberties and ideal creeds ; in this tiny azure booklet he is also a poet, or, as he would rather himself say, a singer. The verse springs from the depths of his heart, and calls to those who, like himself, have loved and suffered and found nothing endure except the consolations of natural beauty.

i Windfall and Waterdrift. By Auberon Herbert. London: Williams & Norgate.

In the West is the golden glory,

As the great king goes to his rest;
In the East the purple staineth

The hills from foot to crest.

And I stand and look in wonder

heart is cleft in twain,
Half for the vision of glory,

And half for the dying pain.

Like the Italian canzone, these little lyrics, brief as a summer breeze, which momentarily sways the stalks of grass, must be heard with the ear of the heart. Coldly criticised by the mind alone, they will lie like the gathered field-poppy, inert and colourless. They are the cries of the heart, like those stornelli which the Tuscan lover sings to the sobbing lute beneath the moon. He who has killed his heart in the pressure of the world will find nothing in them. They who are steeped in the chill indifference of mundane interests will no more heed them than such heed the skylark's or the linnet's song which they resemble. They were not written in the study, or fashioned with the pruning-knife; they were born by the edge of the sea, in the woodland shade, by the clover path of the country hedge, in the falling rain of the peach and pear-blossoms, in the starlight above the olives. They are the elder children of the lonely shores and flowering pastures; they have never known the gaslight of the streets or the electric light of the drawing-room. They are as sweet and pure as violets. .

To those who know, and respect as they should be respected, the virile and original philosophies of the writer, there is an added charm in these tender blossoms in the fact that they spring from the same intelligence as that which proclaims individualism in its boldest forms and attacks the tyrannies of social and political superstitions.

They are but little songs, short as a ripple of music from a woodlark's throat, of no more account, if you will, than the blue stars of mouse-ear by the brook's side, than the dog-rose on the bank; too simple it may be said, speaking of emotions too tríte, of sorrow too common, of sights too familiar, in language that the dullest can scarce fail to understand. Yes; no doubt, they are like fieldflowers, like hedge-birds; they claim to be no more than these; they were not wrestled for as Wordsworth wrestled for an ode beneath the shadow of Rydal, or as Coleridge strove with the rebellious forces of a halting sonnet when lying down face foremost amongst the common grass.' They are spontaneous utterances, as natural as the ripple of the water over the cresses in a brook's bed beneath willow and alder. It may be easy to dismiss them with indifference, to underrate them with hypercritic sneer, and assuredly those who take pleasure in the strained archaic obscurities of much modern verse will find no more Vol. XL—No, 237

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