Hide Articles List

3 articles on this Page

LITERARY AND OTHER NOTES.

News
Cite
Share

LITERARY AND OTHER NOTES. Bernard Shaw, in his play John Bull's Obher Island," describes two very common characters in national politics-Tom Broadbent and Larry Doyle. Tom Broadbent is a big, blustering English- man, who regards his own abysmal ignorance as the highest wisdom, who believes with true Saxon tenacity in the divinity of the Liberal party and considers its programme a panacea for all social and political ills. When the Liberals are in office, it is only natural, to his mind, that the death-rate should be low, and if any one finds another cause for such a decrease in mor- tality, Tom Broadbent presciribes for his insanity. Like all enthusiastic Liberals, he believes in the reality of Ireland's grievances because he has in his mind an idea that Ireland is Liberal at heart. He owes Gladstone Home Rule for Ireland," and he will spare no effort in paying off this long outstanding debt. He goes to Ire- land to solve all Irish problems on the spot, tramples upon the finest feelings of the people, is laughed at everywhere he goes, on account of his innocent clownishness, but finally becomes the lord of Roscommon, and if we are allowed to use our imagination ever so slightly, its representa- tive in Parliament. The other character is the intellectual Larry Doyle, the son of the soil, the man who has left his country long long since, but who has never forgotten the needs of his home, who will not trust himself to return to his native heath, as he has a horror of the geographical and climatic power that has become a deadly fate for his people but who, when he returns, in spite of his inactivity and his cursed habit of dreaming, dreaming, dreaming sacrifices all, even his own prospects, rather than compromise and sell his race. Such are the two central characters of the only purely political drama with which I am acquainted in English Literature. The other evening I had an opportunity of watching these characters (with variations) in actual life. I had gone along thoughtlessly to a meeting of the Welsh National League, held at the Conference Room of the National Liberal Club, where "Sub Rosa" was speaking on Welsh Politics, from the journalist's standpoint. Sub Rosa" is too keen, too intellectual, too humorous for a good Tom Broadbent. In spite of all his intellect, however, and in spite of his failure to eliminate from his own nature, what is generally known as the Celtic character, Mr. Hughes is essentially politically a Tom Broadbent. He commenced his lecture with the wonderful state- ment that Welsh politics, with the exception of one important matter, are exactly similar to English politics. In a Welsh League of Young Liberals we were not in the least surprised to hear it. We are far too apt to forget that a political system is as much a product of economic conditions as it is of anything, and for that very reason political institutions bear upon them- selves a national impress. We have a tremen- dous respect for the League of Young Liberals as a political institution eminently suited for Eng- land. It is as much an English product as roast beef, or the frock coat and top hat but we are astounded to think that anyone should, even in the course of an eloquent and necessarily extra- vagant vote of thanks, have the temerity to affirm that, if sufficient Welshmen pay their half- crowns, this institution will win for Wales the crown of its political liberty. » Someone suggested (with a great deal of eloquence) that the lecturer should go down to Wales and contest a Welsh seat. Of course, "Sub Rosa" is too keen a humorist to con- sider any Welsh seat as his own, simply because the Welsh League of Young Liberals handed over to him any one of them which he would care to accept. The sad fact is that there are in this world a class of parasites parading under the Maine of a Nationalists, who pretend to represent their country's interests, and who, on every possible ocsasion, betray their homeland and its people. Tom Broadbent is, apparently, a tremendous success in politics. He knows all about Irish affairs once he has fallen in love with an Irish girl and slept on an Irish sofa with a protruding nail. He knows all about Welsh affairs after spending a month in Wales "trying to catch fish" in our streams. If any one tries to block his way, he is a mad nationalist and a parochial fanatic." When I hear Wales groaning beneath its burdens, and wailing on account of neglect eternal at the hands of its apparent friends, I boil with rage remembering how many Tom Broadbents it sends to Westminster at every election. I know the sufferings of Wales well- as well as a lad born and bred on a Welsh hill- side can ever know them and I also know that Wales courts its own disasters. Liberalism is not, and never will be, a cure for the cancer at the heart of Wales. Cambria's saviour will be born in a Welsh cottage, will suckle at the breast of a Welsh mother, will romp on Welsh hillsides, will draw his inspiration from the romance and poetry of Welsh history, and will never have any truck with the alien. He will wake the Arthur who sleeps in Avalon. So much for Welsh politics. Politically, Wales is dead (or is in a deep slumber), but in literature and in art, Wales is intensely alive. No better proof of this can be had than Professor Morris Jones' volume of poems. The reviewer of the Nationalist has called it "machine-made poetry on hand-made paper." I have no idea what the industrial theories of the Nationalist may be, but if this volume be one of its products, I shall welcome the era of machinery in art and literature. Next week we shall say more about this matter. NORICK.

----__--------The Welsh Club.

Advertising