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to attempt to diminish the incidence of venereal
disease without doing this. (2) Proper surroundings must be secured. Slums,
discomfort, and overcrowding drive both men and women into drink and into sexual temptation. The provision of open decent refreshment places where the working man may get his beer and where he can take his wife and family for a meal at a reasonable cost, of attractive amusements, and of adequate housing, is one of the
first duties of the State towards the People. (3) Education in sexual and venereal matters is
essential. There must be more open-mindedness and outspokenness on the part of the man in the pulpit; there must be more enthusiasm and more propaganda work on that of the man in the consulting-room. The help of the schoolmaster must be enlisted. Not less important is the education of the medical profession in sex hygiene and in the Public Health aspects of
venereal disease and prostitution. (4) Compulsory notification is absolutely essential,
and so likewise is compulsory treatment. These can bath be secret, and can be brought about without public opposition, provided first of all that the public are made acquainted with the facts. When the public know the truth, both will be demanded. The insistence upon prophylaxis cannot be too strong; and, when these things are on the statute book, penalties of the severest description should be awarded for their breach. The institution of such measures is one of the most urgent needs of the nation at the
present time. (5) The proper place and means for free treatment
must be provided. This must include the provision of free prophylaxis at hospitals. In all public lavatories the means of prophylaxis should be obtainable from automatic machines for one penny. The plan of making the Lock hospitals and the venereal wards of general hospitals, bleak, cheerless, dismal places must cease. Too often the venereal ward is tucked
away in the basement as something loathsome; and the wretched inmate is made to feel that he is not fit for the society of his fellows. This must all be changed, and considerably more humanity and kindness infused into the treat
ment and housing of the venereal patient. (6) There should be a special department in the long
overdue Ministry of Health. It should be staffed by expert people, men and women who have not merely had experience in treatment and research but also have given thought and attention to the matter from the wider and more national point of view. The most fatal mistakes in the past have been narrowness and feebleness. The future must be characterised by breadth of view
and bold measures. Civilisation, since it has been saved from Teutonic barbarism, must tolerate no longer in its midst the weakening ulcer of venereal infection. The most powerful nation of the future will be that which suffers least from venereal disease, for that is undoubtedly the greatest factor in producing national weakness and decay.
E. T. BURKE.
Donne's Sermons. Selected Passages, with an Essay, by
Logan Pearsall Smith. Clarendon Press, 1919.
MANY reasons have been given for the revival of interest in Donne which has been very marked for the last twenty years or more, and still continues. But it is best explained, perhaps, by a cause which I have not seen mentioned. Donne attracts those who are interested in literature to-day, and especially the young among them, for the simple reason that he is the most self-willed individualist of all our older poets. We live in a generation in which all the catchwords and much of the actual spirit are social. We profess the corporate life in affairs of the Church, and socialism or collectivism in those of the State. Possibly, or probably, the inevitable reaction is now impending, and even in these spheres the next generation may go back to some kind of individualism.
However that may be, it already stands plain to every eye that in art and letters the dominant note of all that is youngest, loudest, and most active, whether in France or England, is now individualism, and individualism which is often carried to the stage of lawlessness and even anarchy. It would take us too far to attempt the
has brought this about. It is not the war, for it was in progress before the war began. It may be part of the intellectual and ultra-individualistic reaction against nationalism, on the one hand, and against democracy, the Parliamentary system, and political socialism, on the other, which is exhibited in the contemptuous writings of Nietzsche and embodied in the contemptuous despotism of Lenin. Or it may be the last great wave of the tide of revolt against the classical—that is, the social and generalliterature of the 17th and 18th centuries. The Romantics, speaking broadly, reasserted the claims of the particular and the concrete against the exclusiveness of the general and the abstract; they insisted that the imagination had its rights which must not be trampled upon by the intellect. But they still accepted ideals of beauty, goodness, and truth as real existences and the true goal of their
very difficult task of discussing what
art. And this attitude remained conspicuous thoughout the Victorian period. Now the extremists among our young individualists revolt against all that. Everything is to be made personal. There is no beauty but what each man likes; no law or tradition in art, but each man is to find his own way, and whatever he calls a verse or a picture is to be one. So there is no goodness or truth. A man is to follow his own will, passions, and fancies; whatever he says is to be true, at least for him, and whatever he does is to be right.
It would seem at first sight to be a long journey from anything of this kind to Walton's holy Dean of St Paul's. And so in one way it is. The Dean's ideal of life was as unlike as possible to that professed by many young writers and artists to-day. No doubt it is probable that not even the extremest of our extreme young men seriously believe in the creed of intellectual and moral anarchy; it is more talk than faith or practice, and would not perhaps even be talk if it were not found so handy a weapon in the great game of annoying and alarming the respectable.
However that may be, Donne was assuredly no anarchist. Indeed no man of real intellectual power can be. For without a belief in law ascertained or ascertainable the mind cannot work at all. It is true that Donne uses very free language about moral questions in his early poems. Not only does he declare that happy were our sires in ancient time Who held plurality of loves no crime'; proclaim the supremacy of the 'golden laws of nature against' opinion, which he makes the author of existing morality; and praise the few who, 'strong in themselves and free, Retain the seeds of ancient liberty'; but he can even make this prose lawlessness a stepping-stone to the poetry of freedom, as when he escapes from a justification of licentious loves to that splendid flight of spirit: 'change is the nursery Of music, joy, life and eternity. But no man can have
' known better than he that all true freedom is within law and not outside it. The rest can only have been intellectual casuistry, in which there was ingenious master-a casuistry at first employed in the service of his immorality, as it was later to be employed on behalf of the faith and morals of the Church of
Christ. For the man who talked moral anarchy in his love-poems had already given his mind, though not yet his heart, to the ardent study of theology and jurisprudence, each of which is nothing else but a search for law, human or divine.
Donne, then, was no anarchist, however much he may be acclaimed by those who either are or wish to be thought anarchists. But, short of that, he was several things which naturally and even rightly attract a generation going through the inevitable reaction from Victorian moderation, morality, and patriotism. Mr Gosse, in his delightful Life,' says that Donne was before all things sincere'; that he was not an average man and did not attempt to be; that he lived? more than any Elizabethan poet; that he was 'in a totally new and unprecedented sense a realist’; that there was something exotic in him, something that was 'out of sympathy with insular habits of feeling'; that he showed no interest in Greek or Latin legend, to which his generation (and the Victorian age) was so devoted ; and that, as Johnson said, he was determined to dazzle and excite his contemporaries by something perfectly new. Are not these just so many passports to the enthusiastic admiration of our youthful Bohemian anti-Victorians, and indeed to that of many who are neither anti-Victorian nor Bohemian nor young? We may love the classics and have no inclination to be disloyal to the great Victorians, and yet feel that the poet of Mr Gosse's description was neither echo nor coward but emphatically a man. We cannot but perceive in him one who was neither afraid to be altogether himself nor to embrace all knowledge, of whatever kind, which the world had to show him. And for our young revolutionaries the very defects of this temperament are so many added attractions. The individualism which scorns the traditional models, which even defies the intellectual world into which it is born, and is no more influenced by Spenser or Shakespeare than by Homer or Horace, is exactly to their mind. There may even be some affinity between Donne's devotion to Spanish writers, who seem to have influenced him far more than Greeks, Latins, Italians, or Englishmen, and the worship which our young artists lavish on that curious Greek painter who became