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Lectures  on  The  Harvard  Classics 


William  Allan  Neilson  PhD 
general  editor 


Georoe  Piebce  Bakeh.  a.  B. 

Ernest  Bbrnb*vu,  Ph.  D. 

Charles  J.  BcLtAcK,  Ph.  D. 

Thouab  Nixon  Cabver,  Ph.  D.,  LL.  D. 

OBORas  H.  Chasr,  Ph.  D. 

William  Mohkih  Davis,  M.  K.,  Ph.  D., 

Howard  Mavnadieh.  Ph.  D. 
Cldtorb  Hebschel  Moore,  Ph.  D. 
William      Bennett      Munro,      LL.  B^ 

Be.  D 

Roland  Burraob  Dixon,  A.  M..  P 
William  Scott  FEBCuaoN,  Ph.  D. 
J.  D.  M.  FOBD.  Ph,  D. 
KUNO  Franckk,  Ph.  D.,  LL.  D. 
Chablss  Hall  Ohandoent,  A.  B. 
Chester  Notes  Qrbenough,  Fh, 
Charles  Bubton  Oulick,  Pb.  D. 

I.  D. 



B    JOSE 

[   Hen 

Fbahk  W.  ( 
Hbmbv  Wiman  Holmes,  a.  M. 
WiLLUM  QuiLD  Howard,  A.  M . 
Robert    Hatteson    Johnston, 

Charles   Rockwell    LAnman,   T 


Buss  Perrv,  L.  H.  D.,  Utt,  D.,  LL.I 
Ralph  Barton  Perrv,  Ph.  D. 
Chandler  Rathfon  Post,  Ph.  dl   ' 
.  MuRRAV  Anthony  Potter,  Ph.  iS,   \ 
RoscOE  Pound,  Ph.  D.,  LL.  M.      '  -' 
Fred  Norbis  Robinson,  Ph.  D. 
Alfred  Dwiqht  Sheffield,  a.  M, 
O.   M.   W.   Spragub,   a.  M..  Fh,  D, 
Oliver      Mitchell      Wentworik 

william  roscoe  thayer,  a.m. 
Frederick    Jackson    Turner,    Fh.  D., 

LL.  D. 


P  F  COLLIER   Of  g 

Copyright.  191 4 
Bt  p.  F.  Collier  &  Son 

Designed,  Printed,  and  Boond  ttt 
^fie  Cottier  PreM.  j(to  loci 



History 7 

I.  General  Introduction.  By  Robert  Matteson  Johnston,  M.A. 
(Cantab.),  Assistant  Professor  of  Modern  History  in  Har- 
vard University 7 

II.  ANaENT  History.  By  William  Scott  Ferguson,  Ph.D.,  Pro- 
fessor of  History  in  Harvard  University 24 

III.  The  Renaissance.     By  Murray  Anthonjr  Potter,  Ph.D.,  Assist- 

ant Pk-ofessor  of  Romance  Languages  in  Harvard  University.        33 

IV.  The   French    Revolution.     By    Robert    Matteson   Johnston, 

M.A.     (Cantab.) 38 

V.  The  Territorial  Development  of  the  United  States.  By 
Frederick  Jackson  Turner,  Ph.D.,  LL.  D.,  Litt.D.,  Pro- 
fessor of  History  in  Harvard  University. 43 

Poetry 51 

I.  General  Introduction.     By  Carleton  Koyes,  A.  M.,  formerly 

Instructor  in  English  in  Harvard  University 51 

II.  Homer  and  the  Epic.  By  Charles  Burton  Gulick,  Ph.D., 
Professor  of  Greek  in  Harvard  University,  and  (1911-1912) 
in  the  American  School  of  Classical   Studies  at  Athens.     .         69 

III.  Dante.     By  Charles  Hall  Grandgent,  A.  B.,  Professor  of  Ro- 

mance Languages  in  Harvard  University 74 

IV.  The  Poems  of  John  Milton.     By  Ernest  Bernbaum,  Ph.D., 

Instructor  in  English  in  Harvard  University 79 

V.  The  English  Anthology.     By  Carleton  Noyes,  A.M.     ,     .        84 

Natural  Science 90 

I.  General  Introduction.  By  Lawrence  Joseph  Henderson, 
M.  D.,  Assistant  Professor  of  Biological  Chemistry  in  Har- 
vard   University 90 

II.  Astronomy.     By  Lawrence  Joseph  Henderson,  M.D.   .     .     .       108 

III.  Physics   and   Chemistry.     By   Lawrence  Joseph  Henderson, 

M.D 1x3 

IV.  The  Biological  Sciences.     By  Lawrence  Joseph  Henderson, 

M.D 118 

V.  Kelvin  on  "Light"  and  "The  Tides."  By  William  Morris 
Davis,  M.  E.,  Ph.D.,  Sc.D.,  Sturgis-Hooper  Professor  of 
(^logy>  Emeritus,  in  Harvard  University,  Fellow  of  the 
Amencan  Academy  of  Arts  and  Sciences,  Exchange  Pro- 
fessor to  the  University  of  Berlin  and  to  the  Sorbonne.       •       123 

HCL — I  1 



Philosophy 129 

I.  General  Intsoduction.    By  Ralph  Barton  Perry,  Ph.D.,  Pro- 
fessor   of   Philosophy y   Harvard  University 129 

II.  Socrates,  Plato,  and  the  Roman  Stoics.  Bjjr  Charles  Pome- 
roy  Parker,  B.  A.  (Oxon.),  Professor  of  Greek  and  Latin, 
Harvard  University 148 

III.  The  Rise  op  Modern  Philosophy.     By  Ralph  Barton  Perry, 

Ph.D 153 

IV.  Introduction  to  Kant.    By  Ralph  Barton  Perry,  Ph.D.  .     .       iS9 


V.  EmRsoN.     By   Chester   Noyes   Greenough,   Ph.D.,   Assistant 
Professor  ox   English,   Harvard  University 

Biography .170 

I.  General  Introduction.  By  William  Roscoe  Thayer,  A.M., 
Kniffht  of  the  Order  of  the  Crown  of  Italy,  editor  of  Har- 
vard Graduates'  Magazine 170 

II.  Plutarch.     By  William  Scott  Ferguson,  Ph.D.,  Professor  of 

Modern  History,  Harvard  University 188 

III.  Benvenuto    Cellini.      By    Chandler    Rathfon    Post,    Ph.  P., 

Assistant  Professor  of  Greek,  Harvard  University     .     .     •       193 

IV.  Franklin    and    Woolman.      By    Chester    Noyes    Greenough, 

Ph.D.,  Assistant  Professor  of^  English,  Harvard  University.       X98 

V.  John  Stuart  MxlXt.  By  Oliver  Mitchell  Wentworth  Sprague, 
Ph.  D  ,  Assistant  Professor  of  Banking  and  Finance,  Harvard 
University.       ••••• ••••       203 

Prose  Fiction      .     .     .    , 208 

I.  General  Introduction.  By  William  Allan  Neilson,  Ph.D.. 
Author  of  "The  Origins  and  Sources  of  The  Court  of  Love,'* 
"Essentials  of  Poetry,"  editor  of  "The  Chief  Elizabethan 
Dramatists,"  etc,  general  editor  of  "The  Tudor  Shake- 
speare," "The  Types  of  English  Literature." 208 

II.  Popular  Prose  Fiction.     By  Fred  Norris  Robinson,  Ph.  D., 

Professor  of  English,  Harvard  University a27 

III.  Malory.     By  Gustavus  Howard  Maynadier,  Ph.D.,  Instructor 

in  English,  Harvard  University 232 

IV.  CERVANTEgi    By  J.  D.  M.  Ford,  Ph.  D.,  Smith  Professor  of  the 

French  and  Spanish  Languages,  Harvard  University,  corre- 
sbonding  member  Royal  Spanish  Academy  (Madrid)  and 
Hispanic  Society  of  America 338 

V.  Manzonx.    By  J.  D.  M.  Ford,  Ph.D 243 

Criticism  and  the  Essay 248 

I.  General  Introduction.  By  Bliss  Perry,  L.  H.D.,  LittD-, 
LL.D.,  Professor  of  English  Literature,  Harvard  University, 
formerljr  editor  Atlantic  Monthly,  Harvard  Lecturer  at  the 
University  of   Paria. •••••       348 


Criticism  and  the  Essay — Continued 


II.  What  trb  Middle  Agss  Read.     By  William  Alltn  Neilson, 

Ph.D 264 

III.  Theories  of  Poetry.    By  Bliss  Perry,  L.H.  D.,  Litt.  D.,  LL.D.       370 

IV.  Esthetic  Criticism  ih  Germany.    By  William  Guild  Howard, 

A.M.,  Assistant  Professor  of  German,  Harvard  University.    .  277 

V.  The   Composition   op   a   Criticism      By   Ernest   Bembaum, 

Ph.D.,  Instructor  in  English,  Harvard  University.   •     .     •       aBa 

Education 287 

I.  General  Introduction.     By  Henry  Wyman  Holmes,  A.M., 

Assistant  Professor  of  Education,  Harvard  University    •     •        269 

II.  Francis  Bacon.     By  Ernest  Bembaum,  Ph.D.,  Instructor  in 

English,  Harvard  University 304 

III.  Locks  and  Milton.    By  Henry  Wyman  Holmes,  A.  M.,  Assist- 

ant Professor  of  Education,  Harvard  Univtrsity.  .     .     •     .        309 

IV.  CarlYls   and   Newman.     By   Frank   W.   C   Hersey,   A.  M., 

Instructor  in  English,  Harvard  University* 316 

V.  HvxLEY  ON  Science  and  Culture.    By  A.  O.  Norton,  A.  M., 

Professor  of  Education  in  Wellesley  College.  •     •     •     •     •       32a 

Political  Science 328 

I.  General  Introduction.  By  Thomas  Nixon  Carver,  Ph.  D., 
LL.  D.,  David  G.  Wells  Professor  of  Political  Economy, 
Harvard    University 326 

II.  Theories  op  Government  in  the  Renaissance.  By  O.  M. 
W.  Sprague,  A.  M.,  Ph.  D.,  Edmund  Cogswell  Converse  Pro- 
fessor of  Banking  and  Finance,  Harvard  University.  ...        347 

III.  Adam   Smith  and  the  "Wealth  op  Nations,"     By  Charles 

J.   Bullock,  Ph.  D.,   Professor  of  Economics,  Harvard  Uni- 
versity  353 

IV.  The  Growth  of  the  American  Constitution.     By  William 

Bennett  Munro,  LL.  B.,  Ph.  D.,  LL.  D.,  Professor  of  Munici- 
pal Government,   Harvard  University 359 

V.  Law  and  Liberty.    By  Roscoe  Pound,  Ph.D.,  LL.M.,  Carter 

Professor   of  General  Jurisprudence,  Harvard  University  .       364 

Drama 3^ 

I.  General  Introduction.  By  George  Pierce  Baker,  A.  B.,  Pro- 
fessor of  Dramatic  Literature,  Harvard  University.  .     .      .        369 

II.  Greek  Tragedy.  By  Charles  Burton  Gulick,  Ph.D.,  Professor 
of  Greek,  Harvard  University,  and  (1911-1912)  in  the  Ameri- 
can School  of  Classical  Studies  at  Athens 387 

III.  The  Elizabethan  Drama.    By  William  Allan  Neilson,  Ph.D.       393 

IV.  The  Faust  Legend.     By  Kuno  Francke,  Ph.  D.,  LL.  D.,  Pro- 

fessor of  the  History  of  German  Culture,  and  Curator  Ger- 
manic  Museum,   Harvard  University 398 

V.  Modern  English  Drama.     By  Ernest  Bembaum,  Ph.  D.,  In- 

structor in  English,  Harvard  University.  •      •     •     •     •     • 



Voyages  and  Travel 408 

I.  General  Intkoduction.  By  Roland  Burrage  Dixon,  A.  M., 
Ph.D.»  Assistant  Professor  of  Anthropology,  Harvard  Uni- 
versity  408 

11.  Hexodotus  on  Egypt.    By  George  H.  Chase,  Ph.D.,  Assistant 

Professor  of  Classical  Archxology,  Harvard  University.      .        427 

in.  The  Elizabethan  Adventurers.  By  William  Allan  Neilson, 

PhD 433 

IV.  The  Era  of  Discovery.  By  William  Bennett  Munro,  LL.B., 
Ph.  EX,  LL.D.,  Professor  of  Municipal  Government,  Harvard 
University 438 

V.  Darwin's  Voyage  op  the  Beagle.   By  George  Howard  Parker, 

S.D.,  Professor  of  Zoology,  Harvard  University.      ...       443 

Religion 449 

I.  General    Introduction.      By    Ralph    Barton    Perry,    Ph.D., 

Professor  of  Philosophy,  Harvard  University 449 

II.  Buddhism.     By    Charles    Rockwell    Lanman,    Ph.D.,   LL.D., 

Professor  of  Sanskrit  in  Harvard  Universi^ 469 

III.  Confucianism.    By  Alfred  Dwight  Sheffield,' A.  M.,  Instructor 

in  Wellesley  College 475 

IV.  Greek  Religion.     By  Clifford  Herschel  Moore,  Ph.D.,  Pro- 

fessor of  Latin  in  Harvard  University,  Professor  in  Ameri- 
can School  of  Qassical  Studies  in  Rome,  1905-6 481 

V.  Pascal.    By  Charles  Henry  Conrad  Wright,  M.  A.,  Professor 

of  French  in  Harvard  University 486 

The  Lecture  Series  on  the  contents  of  The  Harvard 
Classics  ought  to  do  much  to  open  that  collection  of  literary 
materials  to  many  ambitious  young  men  and  women  whose 
education  was  cut  short  by  the  necessity  of  contributing  in 
early  life  to  the  family  earnings,  or  of  supporting  themselves, 
"and  who  must  therefore  reach  the  standing  of  a  cultivated 
man  or  woman  through  the  pleasurable  devotion  of  a  few 
minutes  a  day  through  many  years  to  the  reading  of  good 
literature."  (Introduction  to  The  Harvard  Classics.)  The 
Series  will  also  assist  many  readers  to  cultivate  "a  taste  for 
serious  reading  of  the  highest  quality  outside  of  The  Har- 
vard Classics  as  well  as  within  them."  (Ibid.)  It  will  cer- 
tainly promote  the  accomplishment  of  the  educational  object 
I  had  in  mind  when  I  made  the  collection. 

Charles  W.  Eliot. 

The  Harvard  Classics  provided  the  general  reader  with 
a  great  storehouse  of  standard  works  in  all  the  main  depart- 
ments of  intellectual  activity.  To  this  storehouse  the  Lec- 
tures now  open  the  door. 

Through  the  Lectures  the  student  is  introduced  to  a  vast 
range  of  topics,  under  the  guidance  of  distinguished  pro- 

The  Five-Foot  Shelf,  with  its  introductions,  notes, 
guides  to  reading,  and  exhaustive  indexes,  may  thus  claim 
to  constitute  with  these  Lectures  a  reading  course  unpar- 
alleled in  comprehensiveness  and  authority, 

William  Allan  Neilson. 



By  Professor  Rob£rt  Matteson  JoHNstoN 

HISTORY  alone,  of  all  modes  of  thought,  places  the 
readfer  above  his  author.  While  the  historian  rfiofe 
mt  less  diligently  plods  along  his  own  narrow  path, 
perhaps  the  one  millionth  part  of  all  history,  every  avenue 
opeftS  wide  to  the  imagitiatioti  of  tho&e  Who  read  hirti.  To 
them  histoty  may  mean  anything  that  cortcems  man  arid  that 
has  a  past;  not  polities  otily,  but  art,  arid  seienee,  arid  triusic 
have  had  their  birth  and  gtoWth;  tiot  ilistitUtiohS  bnly,  but 
legends  and  chronicles  arid  all  the  masterpieees  of  litetatut^, 
fefifcet  the  clash  of  tiations  and  the  tragedies  bf  gfeat  meri. 
And  it  is  just  because  the  reader*  is  merely  a  reader  that  the 
full  joy  of  history  is  open  to  him.  He  Wears  rib  fetters,  so 
that  eveti  were  he  bent  ort  mastering  the  constitutional  docu- 
ments of  the  United  States  he  could  turn  aside  With  a  calm 
conseletice  to  listen  to  the  echoes  of  dying  Roland's  hbrti  in 
the  gorge  bf  Roneevaux  ot  to  stand  by  Cnut  Watching  the 
North  Sea  tide  as  It  lapped  the  old  Dane*s  feet. 

In  fall  directions,  in  altnost  every  braneh  of  literature,  his- 
toty may  be  discovered,  a  rriultif orm  chameleon ;  and  yet  his* 
tory  does  not  really  exist.  No  one  has  yet  composed  a  record 
of  humanity;  and  no  one  ever  will,  for  it  is  beyond  man's 
powers.  Macaulay's  history  covered  forty  years;  that  of 
Thucydides  embraced  only  the  Peloponnesian  war;  Gibbon, 
a  giant  among  the  modertis,  succeeded  in  sparming  ten  cen- 
tuf ies  after  a  fashion,  but  has  fotmd  no  imitators.  The  truth 
is  there  IS  tio  subject,  save  perhaps  astronomy,  that  is  quite 
so  vast  and  quite  so  little  known.  Its  outline,  save  in  the 
sham  history  of  text  books,  is  entirely  wanting.  Its  details, 
whete  teally  known  to  students,  are  infinitely  diflBcult  to 



bring  into  relation.  For  this  reason  it  may  be  worth  while 
to  attempt,  in  the  space  of  one  short  essay,  to  coordinate  the 
great  epochs  of  history,  from  the  earliest  to  the  most  recent 

The  practical  limit  of  history  extends  over  a  period  of  about 
three  thousand  years,  goes  back,  in  other  words,  to  about 
1000  B,  C.  Beyond  that  we  have  merely  scraps  of  archaeo- 
logical evidence;  names  of  pictures  engraved  on  stone,  to 
show  that  in  periods  very  remote  considerable  monarchies 
flourished  in  Egypt,  along  the  Euphrates,  and  in  other  direc- 
tions. It  was  not  these  people  who  were  to  set  their  imprint 
on  later  ages,  it  was  rather  what  were  then  merely  untutored 
and  unknown  wandering  tribes  of  Aryans,  which,  working 
their  way  through  the  great  plains  of  the  Volga,  the  Dnieper, 
and  the  Danube,  eventually  forced  their  way  into  the  Balkan 
and  the  Italian  peninsulas.  There,  with  the  sea  barring  their 
further  progress,  they  took  on  more  settled  habits,  and 
formed,  at  some  distant  epoch,  cities,  among  which  Athens 
and  Rome  were  to  rise  to  the  greatest  celebrity.  And  about 
the  year  looo  B.  C,  or  a  little  later,  Greece  emerges  from 
obscurity  with  Homer. 

Just  as  Greece  burst  from  her  chrysalis,  a  Semitic  people, 
the  Jews,  were  producing  their  counterpart  to  Homer.  In 
the  Book  of  Joshua  they  narrated  in  the  somber  mood  of 
their  race  the  conquest  of  Palestine  by  their  twelve  nomad 
tribes,  and  in  the  Pentateuch  and  later  writings  they  recorded 
their  law  and  their  religion.  From  this  starting  point, 
Homer  and  Joshua,  whose  dates  come  near  enough  for  our 
purpose,  we  will  follow  the  history  of  the  Mediterranean  and 
of  the  West 


First  the  great  rivers,  the  Nile  and  the  Euphrates,  later  the 
great  inland  sea  that  stretched  westward  to  the  Atlantic, 
were  the  avenues  of  commerce,  of  luxury,  of  civilization. 
Tyre,  Phocaea,  Carthage,  and  Marseilles  were  the  early 
traders,  who  brought  to  the  more  military  Aryans  not  only 
all  the  wares  of  east  and  west  but  language  itself,  the  alpha- 
bet.   Never  was  a  greater  gift  bestowed  on  a  greater  race. 


With  it  the  Greeks  developed  a  wonderful  literature  that  was 
to  leave  a  deep  impress  on  all  Western  civilization.  They 
wove  their  early  legends  into  the  chaste  and  elegant  verse  of 
the  Homeric  epics,  into  the  gloomy  and  poignant  drama  of 
-^schylus,  Sophocles,  and  Euripides.  They  then  turned  to 
history  and  philosophy.  In  the  former  they  produced  a 
masterpiece  of  composition  with  Thucydides  and  one  of  the 
most  delightful  of  narratives  with  Herodotus.  In  the  latter 
they  achieved  their  most  important  results. 

Greek  philosophy  was  to  prove  the  greatest  intellectual 
asset  of  humanity.  No  other  civilization  or  language  before 
the  Grefek  had  invented  the  abstract  ideas :  time,  will,  space, 
beauty,  truth,  and  the  others.  And  from  these  wonderful, 
though  imperfect,  word  ideas  the  vigorous  and  subtle  Greek 
intellect  rapidly  raised  a  structure  which  found  its  supreme 
expression  in  Plato,  Aristotle,  and  Zeno.  But  from  the  close 
of  the  Fourth  Century  before  Christ,  the  time  of  Aristotle 
and  his  pupil  Alexander  the  Great,  Greek  began  to  lose  its 
vitality  and  to  decay. 

This  decadence  coincided  with  events  of  immense  political 
importance.  Alexander  created  a  great  Greek  Empire,  stretch- 
ing from  the  Mediterranean  to  the  Indus.  After  his  death 
this  empire  was  split  into  a  number  of  monarchies,  the  Greek 
kingdoms  of  the  East,  of  which  the  last  to  survive  was  that 
of  the  Ptolemies  in  Egypt  This  perished  when  Augustus  de- 
feated Qeopatra  and  Antony  at  Actium  in  B.  C.  31,  exactly 
three  hundred  years  after  Alexander's  final  victory  over 
Darius  at  Arbela. 


During  these  three  hundred  years  a  more  western  branch 
of  the  Aryans,  the  Romans,  had  gradually  forced  their  way 
to  supremacy.  It  was  not  until  about  B.  C.  200  that  Rome 
broke  down  the  power  of  Carthage,  got  control  of  the  west- 
ern Mediterranean,  and  then  suddenly  stretched  out  her  hand 
over  its  eastern  half.  In  less  than  two  centuries  more  she 
had  completed  the  conquest  of  the  Balkans,  Asia  Minor,  and 
Egypt,  and  the  Mediterranean  had  become  a  Roman  lake. 

The  city  of  Rome  may  go  back  to  B.  C.  1000,  and  the 


legfends  and  history  of  the  Repuhlic  afford  an  outline  of  facts 
since  about  B.  C.  500,  but  it  was  only  after  egtabliahing  con- 
tact with  the  civilization  and  language  of  Greece  that  the 
Romans  really  found  literary  expression.  Their  tongue  had 
not  the  elasticity  and  harmony  of  the  Greek,  nor  had  it  the 
wealth  of  vocabulary,  the  abstract  terms ;  it  was  more  fitted, 
by  its  terseness,  clearness,  and  gravity,  to  be  the  medium  of 
the  legislator  and  administrator.  Under  the  influence  of 
foreign  conquest  and  of  Greek  civilization,  Rome,  however, 
quickly  evolved  a  literature  of  her  own,  an  echo  of  the  su- 
perior and  riper  one  produced  by  the  people  «be  had  con- 
quered; it  tinged  with  glory  the  last  years  of  the  Republic 
and  the  early  ones  of  the  Empire,  the  age  of  Augustus,  Vif- 
gil  produced  a  highly  polished,  if  not  convincing,  imitation  of 
Homer.  Lucretius  philosophized  a  crude  materialistia  uni- 
verse in  moderate  hexameters.  Cicero,  with  better  success 
and  some  native  quality,  modeled  himself  on  Demosth^^ea; 
while  the  historians  alone  equaled  their  Greek  masters,  and  in 
the  statesmanlike  instinct  and  poisoned  irony  of  Tlt^itus  re- 
vealed a  worthy  rival  of  Thucydides. 

Latin  and  Greek  were  the  two  common  languagefi  of  the 
Mediterranean  just  as  the  unwieldy  Republic  of  Rem^  was 
turning  to  imperialism.  The  Greek  universitiei,  Athens, 
Fergamen,  and  Alexandria,  dictated  the  fashions  ^f  inti^l^c- 
tualism,  and  gave  preeminence  to  a  decadent  an4  ^ubtili^ed 
criticism  and  philosophy  perversely  derived  from  the  Orf^ck 
masters  of  the  golden  age.  But  a  third  influence  was  on  the 
point  of  making  itself  felt  in  the  newly  organised  Jtf«^4iter- 
ranean  political  system — that  of  the  Jews. 


To  understand  the  part  the  Jews  were  now  to  play,  }t  js 
necessary  first  of  all  to  look  back  upon  the  general  character 
of  the  social  and  political  struggles  of  those  ancient  centuries. 
At  the  time  of  Homer's  heroes,  and,  in  a  way,  until  tb*t  of 
Alexander  the  Great,  states  were  small,  generally  a  city  or  a 
group  of  cities.  War  was  constant,  and  generally  accompanied 
by  destruction  and  slavery.  As  the  centuries  slipped  by,  the 
scale  increased.    Athens  tried  Xo  create  a  §9loaial  empire  as 


did  Carthage,  and  the  great  continental  states,  Macedon  and 
Rome,  followed  close  at  their  heels.  In  the  last  century  or 
so  before  Christ,  war  was  nearly  continuous  on  a  vast  scale, 
and  it  was  attended  by  at  least  one  circumstance  that  demands 
special  consideration. 

Social  inequality  was  a  fundamental  conception  of  the 
ancient  world.  The  Greek  cities  in  their  origin  had  been 
communities  ruled  by  a  small  caste  of  high-bred  families.  The 
social  hierarchy  proceeded  down  from  them  to  the  slave,  and 
war  was  waged  on  a  slave  basis,  the  victor  acquiring  the 
vanquished.  The  great  wars  of  the  Roman  Republic  against 
the  Greek  monarchies  were  huge  treasure-seeking  and  slave- 
driving  enterprises  that  reduced  to  servitude  the  most  able 
and  most  refined  part  of  the  population  of  the  conquered 
countries.  Rome  had  created  a  great  Mediterranean  state, 
but  at  a  terrible  price.  The  civilization  she  had  set  up  had 
no  religion  save  an  empty  formalism,  and  no  heart  at  all.  It 
was  the  Jews  who  were  to  remedy  this  defect. 

All  through  the  East  and  in  some  parts  of  the  West  the 
Jewish  merchants  formed  conspicuous  communities  in  the 
cities  of  the  Empire,  giving  an  example  of  spiritual  faith,  of 
seriousness  and  rectitude,  that  contrasted  strongly  with  what 
prevailed  in  the  community.  For  materialism  and  epicurean- 
ism were  the  natural  outcome  of  a  period  of  economic  pros- 
perity; religion  was  at  its  best  formalistic,  at  its  worst 
orgiastic;  ethical  elements  were  almost  wholly  lacking. 
Yet  a  revolt  against  the  soullessness  and  iniquities  of  the 
times  was  proceeding  and  men  were  prepared  to  turn  to 
whatever  leaders  could  give  them  a  system  large  enough  to 
satisfy  the  cravings  of  long-outraged  conscience,  and  large 
enough  to  fill  the  bounds  of  the  Mediterranean  Empire. 
Three  Jews — ^Jesus,  Paul,  and  Philo— <ame  forward  to  do 
this  work. 

Jesus  was  the  example,  the  man  of  conscience,  the  redeemer 
God.  For  in  this  last  capacity  he  could  readily  be  made  to 
fit  in  with  the  Asiatic  cults  of  the  sun  and  of  redemption 
which  were  at  that  time  the  most  active  and  hopeful  lines  of 
religious  thought.  Paul  was  the  Jew  turned  Roman,  an  im- 
perialist, a  statesman,  of  wide  view  and  missionary  fervor. 
Philo  was  the  Jew  turned  Greeks  the  angel  of  the  Alexandrian 


schools,  who  had  infused  Hebraic  elements  into  the  moribund 
philosophizing  of  the  Egyptian  Greeks,  and  thereby  given  it 
a  renewed  lease  of  life.  That  lease  was  to  run  just  long 
enough  to  pour  the  Alexandrian  thought  into  the  Christian 
mold  and  give  the  new  religion  its  peculiar  dogmatic  ap- 

For  three  centuries,  until  A.  D.  312,  Christianity  was 
nothing  in  the  Mediterranean  world  save  a  curious  sect  dif- 
fering widely  from  the  hundreds  of  other  sects  that  claimed 
the  allegiance  of  the  motley  population  sheltering  under  the 
aegis  of  the  Emperors.  During  those  three  centuries  the 
Mediterranean  was  a  peaceful  avenue  of  imperial  administra- 
tion, of  trade,  of  civilizing  intercourse.  Its  great  ports  teemed 
with  a  medley  of  people  in  whom  the  blood  of  all  races  from 
the  Sahara  to  the  German  forests,  and  from  Gibraltar  to  the 
valley  of  the  Euphrates,  was  transfused.  The  little  clans  of 
high-bred  men  who  had  laid  the  foundations  of  this  huge 
international  empire  had  practically  disappeared.  The  ma- 
chine carried  itself  on  by  its  own  momentum,  while  wars  re- 
mained on  distant  frontiers,  the  work  of  mercenaries,  insuf- 
ficient to  stimulate  military  virtues  in  the  heart  of  the  Em- 
pire. It  was,  in  fact,  the  economic  vices  that  prevailed, 
materialism,  irreligion,  and  cowardice. 

The  feeble  constitution  of  the  Empire  was  too  slight  a 
framework  to  support  the  vast  edifice.  Emperor  succeeded 
emperor,  good,  bad,  and  indifferent,  with  now  and  again  a 
monster,  and  now  and  again  a  saint.  But  the  elements  of 
decay  were  always  present,  and  made  steady  progress.  The 
army  had  to  be  recruited  from  the  barbarians ;  the  emperor's 
crown  became  the  chief  reward  of  the  universal  struggle  for 
spoils ;  the  Empire  became  so  unwieldy  that  it  tended  to  fall 
apart,  and  many  competitors  sprang  up  to  win  it  by  force  of 


In  312  such  a  struggle  was  proceeding,  and  Constantine, 
one  of  the  competitors,  casting  about  for  some  means  to 
fortify  his  cause  against  his  opponents,  turned  to  Christianity 
and  placed  himself  under  the  protection  of  the  Cross.  What- 
ever his  actual  religious  convictions  may  have  been,  there 


can  be  no  doubt  that  Constantine's  step  was  politic  While 
the  pagan  cults  still  retained  the  mass  of  the  people  through 
habit  and  the  sensuous  appeal,  Christianity  had  now  drawn 
to  itself,  especially  in  the  western  parts  of  the  Empire,  the 
serious  minded  and  better  class.  Administrators,  merchants, 
men  of  position  and  influence  were  Christian.  Constantine 
needed  their  aid,  and  fulfilled  the  one  condition  on  which  he 
could  obtain  it  by  adopting  their  faith. 

Thus  suddenly  Christianity,  after  its  long  struggle  and 
many  persecutions,  became  the  official  religion  of  the  Empire. 
But  Christianity  was  exclusive  and  the  Emperor  was  its 
head;  so  conformity  was  required  of  all  citizens  of  the 
Empire,  and  conformity  could  only  be  obtained  by  paying  a 
price.  The  masses  were  wedded  to  their  ancient  cults,  their 
ancient  gods,  their  ancient  temples,  their  ancient  rites.  To 
sweep  them  away  at  one  stroke  and  to  substitute  something 
different  was  not  possible.  So  a  compromise  was  effected. 
The  priests,  the  temples,  the  ritual,  the  statues,  remained,  but 
they  were  relabeled  with  Christian  labels,  under  cover  of 
which  Christian  ideas  were  slipped  in,  A  great  metamor- 
phosis took  place  of  which  the  intelligent  traveler  and  reader 
of  to-day  can  still  find  traces: — 

'The  fair  form,  the  lovely  pageant  that  had  entwined  the 
Mediterranean  with  sculptured  marble,  and  garlands  of 
roses,  and  human  emotion,  was  fading  into  stuff  for  the 
fantasies  of  dreamers.  The  white-robed  priest  and  smoking 
altar,  the  riotous  procession  and  mystic  ritual  would  no 
longer  chain  the  affections  of  mankind.  No  longer  would 
the  shepherd  blow  his  rude  tibia  in  honor  of  Cybele,  no 
longer  would  a  thousand  delicious  fables,  fine  wrought  webs 
of  poetic  imagination,  haunt  the  sacred  groves  and  colon- 
nades of  the  gods.  Day  after  day,  night  after  night,  as  con- 
stantly as  Apollo  and  Diana  ran  their  course  in  heaven,  had 
all  these  things  run  their  course  on  earth;  now,  under  the 
spell  of  the  man  of  Galilee,  they  had  shivefed  into  a  rainbow 
vapor,  a  mist  of  times  past,  unreal,  unthinkable,  save  where 
the  historian  may  reconstruct  a  few  ruins  or  the  poet  relive 
past  lives.  And  yet  the  externals  in  great  part  remained. 
For  it  was  at  the  heart  that  paganism  was  struck,  and  it  was 
there  it  was  weakest    It  had  attempted,  but  had  failed,  to 


acquire  a  conscience,  while  the  new  faith  had  founded  itself 
on  that  strong  rock.  Christianity  had  triumphed  through  the 
revolt  of  the  individual  conscience;  it  was  now  to  attempt 
the  dangerous  task  of  creating  a  collective  one."* 


The  establishment  of  Christianity  at  Rome  came  not  a 
moment  too  soon  to  infuse  a  little  life  into  the  fast-decaying 
Empire.  Constantine  himself  helped  to  break  it  in  two,  a 
Roman  and  a  Greek  half,  by  creating  a  new  capital,  Con- 
stantinople. More  ominous  yet  was  the  constant  pressure  of 
the  Teutons  at  the  frontier,  a  pressure  that  could  now  no 
longer  be  resisted.  By  gradual  stages  they  burst  through  the 
bounds,  and  at  the  time  Christianity  was  becoming  the  official 
religion  of  the  Mediterranean  world,  Germanic  tribes  had  al- 
ready extorted  by  force  of  arms  a  right  to  occupy  lands  within 
the  sacred  line  of  the  Rhine  and  of  the  Danube.  From  that 
moment,  for  a  century  or  more,  the  processes  of  Germanic 
penetration  and  of  Roman  disintegration  were  continuous, 
culminating  in  375  with  the  great  Germanic  migrations  and 
in  410  with  the  sack  of  Rome  by  Alaric  and  the  Goths. 

During  the  terrible  half  century  that  followed,  the  Roman 
world  was  parceled  out  among  a  number  of  Germanic  princes, 
and  of  the  old  order  only  two  things  were  left  standing,  a 
fragmentary  empire  of  the  East  centering  in  Constantinople, 
and  a  bishopric  of  Rome  of  vastly  increased  importance  that 
was  soon  to  be  known  as  the  Papacy,  and  that  already  showed 
symptoms  of  attempting  to  regain  by  new  means  the  uni- 
versal dominion  which  the  Emperors  had  lost. 

The  Germans  were  crude  and  military;  the  Latins  were 
subtle  and  peaceful,  and  when  the  storm  of  conquest  swept 
through  the  West  they  sought  safety  in  the  cloister.  "There, 
under  the  protection  of  the  Latin  cross,  a  symbol  the  bar- 
barians dare  not  violate,  what  was  left  of  Roman  intellectu- 
alism  could  cower  while  the  storm  blew  over,  presently  to 
reissue  as  the  army  of  Christ  to  conquer,  with  new-forged 
weapons,  lands  that  the  legions  of  their  fathers  had  not  even 
beheld."  * 

*  Johnston,  "Holy  Christian  Church,'*  p.    146. 

*  Johnston,  "Holy  Christian  Church,"  p.   i6j. 


The  Latin  churchmen  quickly  learned  how  to  play  on  the 
credulity  and  the  superstition  of  the  simple  German,  while 
setting  before  him  the  lofty  ideals  and  ethics  of  Christianity. 
They  not  only  held  him  through  religion  but  they  soon  be- 
came the  civil  administrators,  the  legislators,  the  guiding 
spirits  of  the  Germanic  kingdoms. 

Civilization  had  now  taken  on  a  marked  change,  had  be- 
come a  composite  in  which  Christianity  and  Teutonism  were 
large  factors.  Perhaps  this  was  all  clear  gain;  but  in  the 
economic  and  material  sense  there  had  been  great  losses. 
Enormous  wealth  had  been  destroyed  or  scattered,  and  im- 
perial communication  had  broken  down.  The  trader  was  no 
longer  safe  on  the  Mediterranean;  the  great  roads  of  Rome 
were  going  to  ruin ;  boundaries  of  military  states  barred  old 
channels  of  intercourse.  Under  these  conditions  civilization 
could  only  be  more  localized,  weaker  than  before.  And  in 
fact  the  Teutonic  kingdoms  pursued  for  some  time  an  ex- 
tremely checkered  course. 


Then  came,  in  the  seventh  century,  a  new  and  even  more 
terrible  blast  of  devastation.  Mohammed  arose,  created 
Islam,  and  started  the  great  movement  of  Arab  conquest. 
Within  almost  a  few  years  of  his  death  the  fanaticized  hosts 
of  Arabia  and  the  East  were  knocking  at  the  gates  of  Con*- 
stantinople,  and  swept  westward  along  the  southern  shores 
of  the  Mediterranean  until  the  Atlantic  barred  their  steps. 
They  turned  to  Spain,  destroyed  the  Visigothic  kingdom, 
crossed  the  Pyrenees,  and  reached  the  center  of  Gaul  before 
they  were  at  last  checked.  The  Franks  under  Charles  Martel 
defeated  them  at  Tours  in  732,  and  perhaps  by  that  victory 
saved  Christendom.  Had  the  Arabs  succeeded  in  this  last 
ordeal,  who  knows  what  the  result  might  not  have  been?  As 
Gibbon  characteristically  wrote :  "A  victorious  line  of  march 
had  been  prolonged  above  a  thousand  miles  from  the  rock  of 
Gibraltar  to  the  banks  of  the  Loire ;  the  repetition  of  an  equal 
space  would  have  carried  the  Saracens  to  the  confines  of 
Poland  and  the  Highlands  of  Scotland;  the  Rhine  is  not 
more  impassable  than  the  Nile  or  Euphrates,  and  the  Arabian 


fleet  might  have  sailed  without  a  naval  combat  into  the  mouth 
of  the  Thames,  Perhaps  the  interpretation  of  the  Koran 
would  now  be  taught  in  the  schools  of  Oxford  and  her  pul- 
pits might  demonstrate  to  a  circumcised  people  the  sanctity 
and  truth  of  the  revelation  of  Mahomet" 

On  the  wreck  of  the  Arab  hopes  the  descendants  of 
Qiarles  Martel  founded  a  monarchy  which  blazed  into 
ephemeral  power  and  glory  under  Charlemagne.  In  the 
year  800  the  greatest  of  Prankish  rulers  revived  the  im- 
perial title,  and  was  crowned  by  the  Pope  in  the  basilica  of 
St.  Peter's.  But  the  old  Empire  could  not  be  resuscitated, 
nor  for  the  matter  of  that  could  the  Prankish  monarchy  long 
maintain  the  preeminent  position  it  had  reached.  A  new 
visitation  was  at  hand,  and  Charlemagne  before  he  died  saw 
the  horizon  of  his  northern  seas  flecked  by  the  venturesome 
keels  of  the  first  of  the  northern  pirates. 


Por  about  two  centuries  Europe  passed  through  an  epoch 
of  the  deepest  misery.  Danes  and  Scandinavians  ravaged 
her  from  the  northwest,  Saracens  from  the  south,  so  that 
only  the  upper  Rhine  and  Danube,  harboring  a  rich  Teutonic 
civilization,  escaped  destruction.  The  Carlovingian  Empire 
broke  into  pieces.  Prankish,  Lothringian  or  Burgundian,  and 
Germanic,  with  the  last  of  which  went  the  imperial  title. 
And  this  disintegration  might  have  continued  indefinitely  to 
chaos  had  not  feudalism  appeared  to  fortify  and  steady  de- 
clining civilization. 

Only  force  could  successfully  resist  force,  and  at  every 
threatened  point  the  same  mode  of  local  resistance  sprang 
up.  Men  willing  and  able  to  fight  protected  the  community, 
and  exacted  in  return  certain  services.  They  soon  began 
to  build  castles  and  to  transmit  their  powers,  together  with 
their  lands,  to  their  heirs.  Lands  soon  came  to  be  viewed  as 
related  to  other  lands  on  conditions  of  military  and  other 
services.  The  Church  followed  the  example,  until,  finally, 
by  the  eleventh  century,  one  general  formula  underlay 
western  European  ideas:  that  every  individual  belonged  to 
a  class,  and  enjoyed  certain  rights  on  the  performance  of 


various  services  to  a  superior  class,  and  that  at  the  head  of 
this  ladder  of  rank  stood  either  the  Emperor,  or  the  Pope,  or 
both.  The  last  step  was  a  highly  controversial  one;  on  the 
first  all  men  were  agreed. 

By  this  time  feudalism  had  done  its  best  work  in  restoring 
more  settled  conditions,  and  bringing  to  a  conclusion  the 
northern  and  southern  piracy.  From  Sicily  to  the  marches 
of  Scotland,  Europe  was  now  one  mass  of  small  military 
principalities,  only  here  and  there  held  together  in  more  or 
less  efficient  fashion  by  monarchies  like  those  of  France  and 
England,  or  by  the  Empire  itself.  Every  trade  route  was 
flanked  by  fortifications  whence  baronial  exactions  could  be 
levied  on  the  traders.  And  when,  under  more  peaceful  con- 
ditions, great  trading  cities  came  into  existence — in  Italy, 
Germany,  the  Netherlands — ^a  fierce  struggle  arose  for  mas- 
tery between  burghers  and  feudal  potentates. 

Meanwhile  the  Church  itself  had  developed  great  am- 
bitions and  suffered  the  worst  vicissitudes.  While  under 
the  Frankish  protection,  Rome  had  acquired  the  temporal 
domain  she  was  to  hold  until  September  20,  1870,  when  she 
was  dispossessed  by  the  newly  formed  Kingdom  of  Italy. 
With  this  territorial  standing,  and  impelled  forward  by  the 
mighty  traditions  of  ancient  Rome  and  of  the  Church,  she 
deliberately  stretched  out  her  hand  under  Gregory  VII 
(Hildebrand)  in  an  attempt  to  grasp  the  feudalized  scepter 
of  Europe.  The  Germanic  Empire,  the  offshoot  of  the  greater 
domain  of  Charlemagne,  resisted.  The  great  parties  of 
Guelphs  and  of  Ghibellines,  imperialists  and  papalists,  came 
into  existence,  and  for  a  long  period  tore  Germany  and  Italy 
in  vain  attempts  at  universal  supremacy. 

Inextricably  bound  up  with  the  feudal  movement,  and  with 
the  enthusiasm  for  the  service  of  the  Church  that  Rome  for 
a  while  succeeded  in  creating,  came  an  interlude,  religious, 
chivalrous,  economic,  the  Crusades.  Out  of  superabundant 
supplies  of  feudal  soldiers  great  armies  were  formed  to  re- 
lieve the  Holy  Places  from  the  profaning  presence  of  the 
infidels.  The  East  was  deeply  scarred  with  religious  war 
and  its  attendant  butcheries,  and  little  remained  in  perma- 
nent results,  save  on  the  debit  side.  For  the  Crusades  had 
proved  a  huge  transportation  and  trading  enterprise  for  the 


thrifty  republics  of  Genoa  and  Venice,  and  led  to  a  sfreat 
expansion  of  oriental  trade;  while  the  West  had  once  more 
been  to  school  to  the  East  and  had  come  back  less  religious, 
more  sceptical.  And  from  the  close  of  the  period  of  the 
Crusades  (1270)  to  the  outbreak  of  the  Reformation,  two 
hundred  and  fifty  years  later,  economic  activity  and  the 
growth  of  scepticism  are  among  the  most  prominent  facts, 
while  immediately  alongside  of  them  may  be  noted  the  birth 
of  the  new  languages,  and,  partly  resulting  from  all  these 
forces,  the  Renaissance. 


For  a  while  the  Papacy,  spent  by  its  great  effort  of  the 
eleventh  and  twelfth  centuries,  went  to  pieces.  The  Latin 
ideas  for  which  it  stood  began  to  lose  ground  rapidly  as 
Dante  created  the  Italian  language  (1300),  and  as,  in  the 
course  of  the  next  two  centuries,  French,  English,  and  Ger- 
man assumed  definite  literary  shape.  There  was  not  only  a 
loss  of  faith  in  Latin  forms,  but  a  desire  to  transmute  re- 
ligious doctrine  into  the  new  modes  of  language,  and  espe- 
cially to  have  a  vernacular  Bible.  Assailed  in  this  manner, 
Rome  stimulated  theological  studies,  helped  to  create  the 
mediaeval  universities,  and  tried  to  revivify  the  philosophy 
which  Alexandria  had  given  her  in  the  creeds  by  going  back 
to  the  texts  of  the  golden  age  of  Greece  with  Aquinas. 

It  was  of  no  avail.  Europe  felt  a  new  life,  a  new  nation- 
alism moving  within  her.  Voyages  of  discovery  to  India,  to 
America  first  stirred  imaginations,  and  later  poured  into  the 
itching  palms  of  ambitious  statesmen,  soldiers,  artists,  vast 
stores  of  gold.  The  pulse  of  the  world  beat  quicker.  Con- 
stantinople fell,  a  thousand  years  after  its  foundation,  into 
the  hands  of  the  Turk,  and  its  stores  of  manuscripts,  of  art, 
of  craftsmen,  poured  into  Italy.  Men  became  inventors, 
innovators,  artists,  revolutionaries.  Cesare  Borgia  at- 
tempted, but  failed,  to  create  an  Italian  empire.  Martin 
Luther  attempted  to  secede  from  the  Church,  and  succeeded. 

He  declared  that  a  man  could  save  his  soul  by  the  grace 
of  God  only,  and  on  that  basis  started  a  wrangle  of  ideals 
and  of  wordy  disputations  that  plunged  Europe  once  more 


into  an  inferno  of  warfare.  It  lasted  until  1648,  the  peace 
of  Westphalia,  when  it  was  found  that  on  the  whole  jthe 
northern  parts  of  Europe  had  become  Protestant  and  the 
southern  had  remained  Catholic. 


At  this  very  moment  Louis  XIV  was  beginning  the  reign 
that  was  to  mark  out  for  France  the  great  position  she  held 
in  the  Europe  of  the  last  two  centuries.  The  age  of  feudal- 
ism was  fast  passing.  The  last  great  feudatories  had  worn 
out  their  strength  in  the  wars  of  religion.  The  monarchy 
had  gained  what  they  had  lost,  and  now  set  to  work  in  the 
splendor  and  pageantry  of  Versailles  to  reduce  the  once 
semi-independent  feudal  soldier  into  a  mincing  courtier. 
The  Bourbons  succeeded  in  large  part.  They  remained  the 
autocrats  of  France,  with  the  privileged  orders  of  the  clergy 
and  aristocracy  at  a  low  level  beneath  them,  and  in  un- 
checked control  of  the  machinery  of  government.  That  ma- 
chinery they  soon  began  to  abuse.  Its  complete  breakdown 
came  with  the  French  Revolution  in  1789. 

This  dramatic  event  resulted  from  a  large  number  of  con- 
vergent and  slow-acting  causes.  Among  them  we  may  note 
the  fearful  mismanagement  of  the  Bourbon  finances,  inade- 
quate food  supply,  and  the  unrest  of  a  highly  educated  middle 
class  deprived  of  all  influence  and  opportunity  in  matters  of 
government.  That  class  got  control  of  the  States  General 
which  became  a  national  assembly,  and  set  to  work  to  destroy 
Bourbonism  in  the  name  of  liberty,  equality,  and  fraternity. 
Between  the  inexperience  of  this  assembly  and  the  impo- 
tence of  the  Court,  rose  the  wild  force  of  the  Parisian  mob, 
which  eventually  drove  France  into  war  with  outraged 
Europe,  and  brought  the  Bourbons,  with  thousands  of  the 
noblest  and  best  as  well  as  a  few  of  the  worst  people  of 
France,  to  the  guillotine. 

War  which  became  successful,  and  the  feebleness  of  the 
republican  government  that  succeeded  the  Reign  of  Terror, 
inevitably  made  for  a  military  dictatorship  and  a  restoration 
of  the  monarchy.  Napoleon  Bonaparte,  the  greatest  upstart 
in  history,  held  France  by  his  magnetic  gaze  and  iron  grasp 


for  fifteen  years,  while  he  organized  her  as  no  European 
country  had  ever  been  organized,  and  with  her  might  in  his 
control  darted  from  torrid  Egypt  to  arctic  Russia  in  a 
megalomaniac  frenzy  of  conquest.  He  fell,  leaving  France 
so  exhausted  that,  for  a  brief  spell,  the  Bourbons  returned. 

It  had  taken  all  Europe  to  pull  down  France  and  Na- 
poleon, and  in  the  end  distant  Russia  had  dealt  the  most 
fatal  wound.  Yet  it  was  England  that  had  proved  the  most 
constant,  the  most  stubborn,  and  the  most  triumphant  enemy. 
And  the  quarrel  between  these  two  countries,  France  and 
England,  was  that  which  went  furthest  back  in  history. 

For  a  while,  during  the  dark  epoch  that  followed  Charle- 
magne, the  Normans  had  held  by  conquest  a  sort  of  middle 
country  between  France  and  England.  Under  their  duke, 
William,  they  conquered  England  itself  in  1066,  and  there 
set  up  a  strong  insular  monarchy.  Their  foothold  in  France, 
however,  brought  the  Anglo-Norman  kings  in  conflict  with 
their  neighbor,  and  wars  were  to  rage  between  the  two 
countries  with  only  rare  intermissions  until  181 5.  At  first 
their  object  was  largely  territorial  possession ;  later  economic 
factors  grew  more  apparent,  until  in  the  eighteenth  century 
and  under  Napoleon  the  struggle  had  become  one  for  over- 
sea colonial  empire. 


In  the  sixteenth  century,  with  the  House  of  Tudor  on  the' 
English  throne,  the  perennial  struggle  of  the  English  sover- 
eigns against  France  became  complicated  by  the  appearance 
of  a  new  continential  power  that  might  under  given  cir- 
cumstances join  hands  with  the  older  enemy.  This  was 

Since  their  defeat  by  the  Franks  at  Tours,  in  732,  the 
Arabs  had  steadily  lost  ground.  For  several  centuries,  how- 
ever, they  had  prospered  in  Spain,  and  there  they  had  de- 
veloped learning  and  the  arts  with  splendid  success,  at  a 
moment  when  Christian  Europe  was  still  plunged  in  dark- 
ness. But  presently  the  feudal  principalities  lodged  in  the 
Pyrenees  and  Asturian  mountains  began  to  gain  ground, 
and  finally  toward  the  end  of  the  fifteenth  century  these 


states  came  together  in  a  united  monarchy  that  conquered 
the  last  Arab  kingdom  and  founded  modern  Spain. 

At  this  very  moment,  by  one  of  the  most  remarkable  co- 
incidences in  European  history,  marriage  alliances  and  other 
circumstances  almost  suddenly  threw  the  Spanish  kingdom, 
the  great  inheritance  of  the  dukes  of  Burgundy,  and  the 
kingdom  of  Hungary,  into  the  hands  of  the  Hapsburg  dukes 
of  Austria,  who  were  to  seat  their  ruling  princes  on  the  im- 
perial throne  of  Germany  almost  uninterruptedly  until  the 
old  Germanic  empire  closed  its  days  in  1806. 

This  huge  concentration  of  power  in  the  hands  of  the 
Emperor,  Charles  V  (1519-1556),  gave  a  marked  turn  to  the 
'situation  created  by  the  outbreak  of  the  Reformation.  For 
France,  which  remained  Catholic,  and  England,  which  be- 
came Protestant,  had  both  to  face  the  problem  of  the  over- 
topping of  the  European  equilibrium  by  the  inflated  do- 
minions of  the  Hapsburgs.  This  accounted  for  much  in  the 
constantly  shifting  political  adjustments  of  that  age.  It  was 
not  until  the  close  of  the  reig^  of  Louis  XIV  (Treaty  of 
Utrecht,  171 3)  that  the  Hapsburg  power  was  about  bal- 
anced by  the  placing  of  a  Bourbon  prince  on  the  throne  of 
Spain.  From  that  moment  France  and  Spain  tended  to  act 
together  against  England. 

In  England  the  religious  upheaval  lasted  roughly  about  a 
century,  from  Henry  VIII  to  Cromwell;  on  the  whole,  it 
was  less  violent  than  on  the  Continent.  Its  chief  results 
were  the  establishment  of  the  Anglican  Church  and  of  those 
more  markedly  Protestant  sects  from  among  which  came  the 
sturdy  settlers  of  New  England, 


It  was  during  the  wars  of  religion  that  England  came  into 
a  struggle  with  the  new  Hapsburg-Spanish  power.  It  had 
its  tremendously  dramatic  episodes  in  the  cruise  of  the 
Great  Armada,  and  its  fascinatingly  romantic  ones  in  the 
voyages  of  discovery  and  semi-piratical  exploits  of  the 
British  seamen  who  burst  the  paper  walls  that  Spain  had 
attempted  to  raise  around  the  southern  seas.  The  broad 
ocean,  the  gold  of  the  Indies,  the  plantations  of  sugar,  of 


tobacco,  of  coffee,  the  growing  settlements  and  countries  of  a 
new  world,  these  became  the  subject  of  strife  from  that  time 
on.  And  as  Spain  declined  in  her  vigor  after  the  Armada, 
and  a  century  later  became  the  client  of  France,  so  the 
struggle  narrowed  itself  to  one  between  the  latter  power 
and  England. 

In  the  Seven  Years'  War  (1756-1763),  England  estab- 
lished her  supremacy  in  this  world-wide  struggle,  and  al- 
though in  the  next  war  she  lost  her  American  colonies,  yet 
when  she  met  France  again  in  1793,  her  trade  and  manu- 
factures, her  unrivaled  geographical  and  economic  situa- 
tion, and  her  politic  and  businesslike  statesmanship,  had 
placed  her  at  the  head  of  the  nations  of  Europe.  She  joined 
the  European  alliance  against  France  in  1793,  ^^^  ^^^  ^^Y 
two  short  intervals  remained  in  the  field  against  her  until 
at  Waterloo,  twenty-two  years  later,  Napoleon  was  finally 
defeated  by  Wellington  and  Bliicher. 

During  this  gigantic  struggle  France  faced  two  problems, 
that  of  the  sea  and  England,  that  of  the  land  and  the  three 
great  military  powers  of  northeast  Europe — Austria,  Russia, 
Prussia.  Toward  the  end,  after  Napoleon  had  failed  in 
Spain  and  got  into  a  death  grapple  with  Russia,  it  was  the 
Continental  issue  that  obscured  the  other.  But  England 
kept  her  eye  firmly  fixed  on  the  sea,  on  colonies,  on  water- 
borne  trade;  so  that  when  at  the  Congress  of  Vienna  (1815) 
the  powers  parceled  out  the  shattered  empire,  England  was 
left  by  common  consent  the  only  great  sea  and  colonial 


A  period  of  reaction  followed  the  fall  of  Napoleon,  but  in 
1848  it  came  to  a  close  in  a  storm  of  revolution.  Population 
had  grown,  means  of  communication  were  multiplying  fast 
and  promoting  intellectual  as  well  as  economic  activity,  po» 
litical  privileges  were  unduly  restricted,  governments  were 
old-fashioned.  In  Italy,  and  in  Germany  where  the  old 
empire  had  perished  in  1806,  were  the  seeds  of  a  new  nation- 
alism. From  Palermo  to  Paris,  and  from  Paris  to  Vienna,  a 
train  of  revolutionary  explosions  was  fired,  and  for  two 
years  Europe  was  convulsed.     A  new  Bonaparte   empire 


arose  in  France,  and  in  Italy  and  Germany  a  national  idea 
was  founded,  though  not  for  the  moment  brought  to  its  con- 
summation. That  was  to  take  twenty  years  more,  and  to  be 
vastly  helped  by  the  tortuous  ambitions  of  Napoleon  III 
ably  turned  to  use  by  Cavour  and  by  Bismarck. 

In  1859  France  helped  the  House  of  Savoy  to  drive  Austria 
from  the  valley  of  the  Po,  and  thereby  cleared  tjic  way  for 
the  liberation  and  fusion  of  all  Italy  by  Cavour  and  Gari- 
baldi. In  j866  Prussia  esfpelled  the  House  of  Hapsburg 
from  Germany,  and  four  years  later  consolidated  her  work 
by  marching  to  the  walls  of  Paris  at  the  head  of  a  united 
German  host  which  there  acclaimed  William  of  Hbhenzol- 
lern  chief  of  a  new  Germanic  empire. 

What  ha3  happened  3ince  then,  and  chiefly  the  scramble 
for  colonies  or  for  establishing  economic  suzerainty,  belongs 
more  to  the  field  of  present  politics  than  of  history.  For 
that  reason  it  may  be  left  out  of  account  And  so  indeed 
has  much  else  be^n  left  out  of  accotmt  for  which  the  limit 
of  space  fixed  for  this  essay  has  proved  altogether  too  nar- 
row. If  a  last  word  may  be  added  to  help  the  reader  to 
gather  in  the  harvest  from  that  trampled  and  mutilated  field 
which  we  call  history  let  it  be  this,  that  everything  turns  on 
a  point  of  view,  on  a  mental  attitude,  The  reader  is  the 
spectator  of  the  pageant;  he  must  be  cQol  to  judge  an4  dis- 
criminate, with  nQ  Was  toward  praise  or  Wame,  content 
merely  to  observe  as  the  constant  stream  unfold?  itself  in  all 
its  changing  colors,  but  with  a  mind  ready  to  judge  human 
actions  ana  motives,  an  imagination  ready  to  seiz^  on  the 
ever-living  drama  of  fact,  and  a  heart  ready  to  respond  to 
thpse  countless  acts  of  heroism  that  have  ennobled  great 
men  and  great  races,  and  with  them  all  humanity. 


By  Professor  William  Scott  Ferguson 

OF  THE  three  periods  of  approximately  fifteen  hundred 
years  each  into  which  the  history  of  the  Western 
World  falls,  two  belong  to  the  domain  of  antiquity. 

The  first  of  these  "links  in  the  chain  of  eternity"  in- 
cludes the  rise,  maturity,  and  decay  of  the  Oriental  civiliza- 
tion at  its  three  distinct  but  interconnected  centers,  Egypt, 
Babylonia,  and  Crete-Mycenae.  The  second  reaches  from 
1200  B.  C.  to  300  A.  D.,  and  it  too  is  filled  with  the  growth, 
fruition,  and  decline  of  a  civilization — ^the  high  material  and 
intellectual  culture  of  the  Greeks  and  Romans.  Overlapping 
this  for  several  centuries,  the  third  or  Christian  period  runs 
down  to  our  own  time.  The  nineteenth  century  of  our  era 
may  be  regarded  as  the  opening  of  a  fourth  period,  one  of 
untold  possibilities  for  human  development. 

The  Greeks,  like  the  Christians,  went  to  school  for  many 
centuries  to  their  predecessors.  Their  earliest  poems,  the 
"Iliad"  and  "Odyssey"  of  Homer,  are  in  one  sense  a  legacy 
from  the  Cretan-Mycenaean  age,  in  which  the  scene  of  their 
action  is  laid.  None  the  less,  like  the  peoples  of  mediaeval 
and  modern  Europe,  the  Greeks  owed  the  production  of  their 
most  characteristic  things  to  their  own  native  effort. 

It  was  in  the  eighth  and  seventh  centuries  B.  C.  that  the 
Greeks  became  a  new  species  of  mankind.  In  this,  the  time 
of  their  expansion  from  an  ^gean  into  a  Mediterranean  peo- 
ple, they  shook  off  the  bonds  which  had  shackled  the  Ori- 
ental spirit,  and,  trusting  to  their  own  intellects,  faced  with- 
out flinching  the  grave  problems  of  human  life.  When  they 
then  awoke  to  a  realization  of  their  position,  they  found 
themselves  in  the  possession  of  cities  which  were  at  the  same 
time  states.  Political  connection  between  them  there  was 
none,  and  slender  indeed  were  the  ties  of  sentiment,  lan- 



guage,  and  religion  which  bound  to  one  another  the  Hellenes 
of  Miletus,  Corinth,  Syracuse,  Marseilles,  and  the  hundreds 
of  other  Greek  city-states  then  in  existence.  The  complexity 
of  the  map  may  be  appreciated  by  observing  that  Crete  alone 
had  twenty-three  distinct  states.  In  Greece,  as  elsewhere, 
cities  in  which  life  was  at  once  national  and  municipal 
proved  the  most  favorable  soil  for  the  growth  of  free  in- 


The  keynote  of  the  formative  age  of  Greece  was  the  rise 
of  individualism.  Poets  freed  themselves  from  the  Homeric 
conventions,  and  dealt  not  as  of  yore  with  the  deeds  of  an- 
cient heroes,  but  with  their  own  emotions,  ideas,  and  experi- 
ences. They  laid  aside  the  measure  and  diction  of  the  Epos 
and  wrote  every  man  and  woman  in  his  native  rhythm  and 
dialect.  Sculptors  and  painters,  long  since  accustomed  to 
work  in  the  spirit  of  a  school,  and  to  elaborate  more  and 
more  scrupulously  certain  types  of  art,  now  became  con- 
scious that  so  much  of  their  work  was  of  their  own  cre- 
ation that  they  began  laying  claim  to  it  by  adding  their 

The  problems  of  religion  were  no  longer  satisfactorily 
settled  by  the  Homeric  revelation.  They  forced  themselves 
directly  upon  the  attention  of  every  thinking  individual.  One 
man  remained  orthodox,  another  took  refuge  in  the  emo- 
tional cults  of  Dionysos  and  Demeter,  another  revolted  and 
sought  to  explain  the  world  as  a  product  of  natural  laws  and 
not  of  divine  creation.  Men  who  had  earlier  been  obscured 
by  their  respective  families,  clans,  and  brotherhoods,  now 
severed  themselves  for  all  public  purposes  from  these  asso- 
ciations, recognizing  only  the  authority  of  a  state  which 
threw  open  its  privileges  to  all  alike.  There  were  revolters 
in  politics  as  there  were  revolters  in  religion  and  in  art :  the 
tyrants  are  the  kinsmen  of  the  personal  poets,  Archilochus, 
Sappho,  Alcaeus,  and  of  scientists  like  Thales  of  Miletus  and 
the  Ionian  pyhsicists. 

The  Asiatic  Greeks  were  in  general  the  leaders  at  this 
time,  and  Miletus  was  the  greatest  city  in  the  entire  Greek 



The  sixth  century  which  followed  was  ati  age  of  reaction* 
Meti  shr&ilk  from  the  violent  outbreaks  of  the  preceding 
generations.  It  was  the  time  of  the  "seven  wise  mert,"  of 
the  precept  "nothing  in  excess,"  of  the  curbing  of  aristoc- 
racies With  their  claim  to  be  a  law  unto  themselves.  Dur- 
ing this  epoch  of  repression  a  rich  and  diversified  culture 
which  had  developed  in  Sparta  was  narrowed  down  to  one 
single  imperious  interest — ^war  and  preparation  for  war. 
With  the  leveling  down  of  the  Spartan  aristocracy  went  the 
decay  of  the  art  and  letters  of  which  it  had  been  the  bearer* 
The  Spattan  people  became  an  armed  camp  living  a  life  of 
soldierly  comradeship  and  of  puritanical  austerity,  ever 
solicitous  lest  its  serfs  (there  were  fifteen  of  them  to  every 
Spartan)  should  revolt  and  massacre,  ever  watchful  lest  the 
leadership  which  it  had  established  in  Greek  feffairs  (there 
W6re  1 5,000  Spartans  and  3,000,000  Greeks)  should  be  im- 
periled, liti  Athens  the  course  of  development  had  been  di- 
rectly the  opposite  of  this.  Thete,  too,  the  nobles  were 
busted  from  their  monopoly  of  political  rights,  but  on  the 
other  hand,  the  serfs  were  admitted  to  citizenship.  The  men 
who  molded  Athens  in  its  period  of  democratic  growth  were 
themselves  aristocrats  who  never  doubted  for  a  moment 
that  the  culture  of  their  order  would  ennoble  the  life  Of  the 
masses.  Hence  no  pains  or  expenses  were  spared  by  them 
to  build  and  maintain — at  their  own  cost — ^public  palastre 
and  gymnasia  in  which  poor  and  rich  alike  could  obtain  a 
suppleness  and  grace  of  body  that  added  charm  and  vigor  to 
their  movements;  and  to  institute  so-called  musical  contests 
in  which  the  people  generally  had  to  participate,  and  the 
preparation  for  which  incited  all  classes  to  study  literature 
and  art — above  all  to  learn  the  words  and  the  music  of  lyric 
and  dramatic  choruses.  The  aristocracy  died  down  in  Athens, 
but  the  Athenians  became  the  aristocracy  of  all  Greece. 

That  they  did  so  was  largely  the  work  of  their  most  bril- 
liant statesman,  Themistocles,  whose  "Life'*  by  Plutarch  is 
included  in  The  Harvard  Classics.*  Under  his  faf-sighted 
guidance  Athens  built  an  invincible  fleet  at  great  financial 

^Harvard  Classics,  xii,   5* 


sacrifice,  cooperated  with  Sparta  with  singular  devotion  and 
unparalleled  heroism  in  beating  off  the  Persians,  and  estab" 
lished  her  maritime  empire.  Aristides'  was  at  first  his  un-* 
successful  rival  and  later  his  faithful  collaborator,  and 
Pericles,*  whose  interest  in  science,  philosophy,  jurispru- 
dence, art,  and  literature  makes  him  the  best  exponent  of  the 
culminating  epoch  of  Greek  development,  profited  saga* 
ciously  by  their  work.  He  both  perfected  the  institutions  of 
Athenian  democracy  and  defined  and  organized  its  imperial 
mission.  No  man  in  high  place  ever  took  more  seriously 
the  doctrine  that  all  citizens  were  equally  capacitated  for 
public  service,  yet  no  more  ardent  imperialist  than  he  ever 
lived.  The  truth  is  that  Athenian  democracy  with  all  that  it 
implies  was  impossible  without  the  Athenian  maritime  em- 
pire. The  subject  allies  were  as  indispensable  to  the  Atheni- 
ans as  the  slaves,  mechanics,  and  traders  are  to  the  citizens 
of  Plato's  ideal  republic. 

This  empire  Sparta  sought  to  destroy,  and  to  this  end 
waged  fruitless  war  on  Athens  for  ten  years  (431-421  B.  C). 
What  she  failed  to  accomplish,  Alcibiades,*  the  evil  genius 
of  Athens,  effected,  for  at  his  insistence  the  democrats  em- 
barked on  the  fatal  Sicilian  expedition.  After  the  dreadful 
disaster  which  they  sustained  before  Syracuse  ('413  B.C.), 
their  dependencies  revolted  and  ceased  paying  them  tribute; 
whereupon,  unable  to  make  head  against  the  Sicilians, 
Spartans,  and  Persians,  who  had  joined  forces  against  her, 
Athens  succumbed  in  405  B.  C.  It  is  doubtful  whether  any 
other  city  of  50,000  adult  males  ever  undertook  works  of 
peace  and  war  of  similar  magnitude.  Athens  led  Greece 
when  Greece  led  the  world. 

The  Spartans  took  her  place,  but  they  held  it  only  through 
the  support  given  them  by  their  confederates,  Persia  and 
Syracuse.  When  they  quarreled  with  the  Persians  they  at 
once  lost  it;  regained  it  by  the  Kings'  Peace  of  387  B.  C., 
but  only  to  fall  before  Thebes  sixteen  years  later.  Thebes 
depended  solely  upon  her  great  warrior-statesman,  Epami- 
nondas.  His  death  in  battle,  in  362  B.  C.,  meant  the  down- 
fall of  the  Theban  supremacy,  and  at  the  birth  of  Alexander 
the  Great  in  356  B.  C.  the  claim  could  be  made  that  what  the 

«H.  C,  xii,  80.  »H.  C,  xii,  36.  *H.  C,  xii,  110. 


Greeks  had  sought  for  two  hundred  years  had  now  been  ac- 
complished: all  the  European  Greek  cities,  great  and  small, 
were  again  free  as  they  had  been  in  the  seventh  century.  In 
reality,  as  Plutarch's  biography  of  Demosthenes*  shows, 
they  lived  rent  by  factional  struggles,  in  constant  fear  and 
envy  of  one  another,  and  under  the  shadow  of  a  g^eat  peril 
which  union,  not  disunion,  could  alone  avert. 


Philip  of  Macedon  united  Greece  under  his  own  leader- 
ship, and  with  the  power  thus  secured  Alexander  the  Great 
laid  the  Persian  Empire  prostrate  and  open  for  swift  and 
persistent  Greek  colonization.  As  Machiavelli  in  his 
"Prince"*  points  out,  "his  successors  had  to  meet  no  other 
difficulty  than  that  which  arose  among  themselves  from  their 
own  ambitions."  This  was  sufficient,  however.  It  led  to  a 
thirty  years'  war  such  as  had  never  before  been  seen.  At 
its  end  the  Graeco-Macedonian  world  was  paralyzed  by  an 
unstable  balance  of  power  in  which  Egypt,  under  the 
Ptolemies,  by  using  its  great  wealth  to  maintain  a  mag- 
nificent fleet  held  Macedon  and  Asia  in  check.  The 
unification  of  Italy  under  Rome  (343-270  B.  C.)  and  the 
subsequent  destruction  of  the  Carthaginian  Empire 
(264-201  B.  C.)  brought  into  hostile  conflict  with  Egypt*s 
enemies  a  military  state  which  was  far  stronger  than  any 
individual  Greek  kingdom.  This  state  had  a  population  of 
5,000,000,  an  army  list  of  750,000,  and  it  could  keep  100,000 
men  in  the  field  for  many  years  at  a  stretch.  Such  a  force 
could  be  stopped  only  by  a  federation  of  the  entire  Greek 
world.  The  Greeks  again  paid  the  just  penalty  for  their 
disunion,  and  after  a  bitter  struggle  they  sank  under  the 
Roman  sway. 


The  Romans  who  conquered  the  Greeks  were  not  "gentle- 
men" like  Cicero^  and  Caesar*  and  their  contemporaries  of  a 
hundred  and  fifty  years  later.  Their  temper  is  only  partially 
revealed  in  Plutarch's  "Coriolanus,"  *  in  which  a  legend — 

'H.  C  xii,  197.  •/£.  C,  xxxvi,  7.  ^  H.  C,  xii,  225. 

■H.   C,  xii,  274.  'H.  C,  xii,  152. 


which,  however,  the  Romans  and  Greeks  of  Plutarch's  time 
(46-125  A.  D.)  believed  to  be  a  fact — is  made  to  illustrate 
the  alleged  uncompromising  character  of  their  political 
struggles  and  the  lofty  virtues  of  their  domestic  life.  In 
fact,  they  had  many  of  the  qualities  of  Iroquois,  and  when 
they  took  by  storm  a  hostile  city,  their  soldiers — ^uncultured 
peasants,  once  the  iron  bonds  of  discipline  were  relaxed — 
often  slew  every  living  thing  which  came  in  their  way: 
men,  women,  children,  and  even  animals.  The  world  was 
not  subdued  by  Rome  with  rosewater  or  modem  humani- 
tarian methods. 

Five  generations  later  the  Italians  were  in  a  fair  way  to 
being  Hellenized,  so  powerful  had  been  the  reaction  of  the 
eastern  provinces  upon  them  in  the  interval.  During  this 
epoch  of  rapid  denationalization,  the  Roman  aristocracy, 
which  had  guided  the  state  first  to  internal  harmony,  then 
to  stable  leadership  in  Italy,  and  finally  to  world-empire,  be- 
came divided  against  itself.  The  empire  had  nurtured  a 
stock  of  contractors,  money  lenders,  grain  and  slave  dealers 
— ^the  so-called  equestrian  order — ^which  pushed  the  great 
landed  proprietors,  who  constituted  the  senate,  from  position 
to  position ;  wrested  from  them  control  of  the  provinces  which 
it  then  pillaged  most  outrageously,  and  helped  on  the  paralysis 
of  government  from  which  the  rule  of  the  emperors  was  the 
only  escape.  The  youth  of  Cicero  coincided  with  the  suicidal 
strife  between  the  agrarian  and  the  commercial  wings  of 
the  aristocracy.  Cicero,  being  a  "new  man,"  had  to  attach 
himself  to  great  personages  like  Pompey,  in  order  to  make 
his  way  in  politics,  so  that  his  political  course  and  his  po- 
litical views  were  both  "wobbly";  but  he  had  at  least  one 
fixed  policy,  that  the  "harmony  of  the  orders"  must  be  re- 
stored at  all  costs.**    This,  however,  was  impracticable. 


The  empire  had  also  bred  a  standing  army,  and  the  neces- 
sity that  this  be  used  against  the  Teutons,  Italians,  Greeks, 
and  Gauls  bred  leader  after  leader  who  could  dictate  terms  to 
the  civil  government.   The  last  of  these  was  Julius  Caesar.   He 

"See  Cicero's  "Letters**  in  Harvard  Classics,  ix,  81. 


was  the  last  because  he  decided  not  to  coerce  the  senate,  but 
to  put  himself  in  its  place.  His  short  reign  (49-44  B.  C.)  is 
a  memorable  episode  in  the  development  of  Rome,  in  that  it 
was  the  first  reappearance  of  a  world  monarchy  since  Alex- 
ander the  Great's  death.  Caesar  is  greeted  in  contemporary 
Greek  documents  as  "the  Saviour  of  the  entire  race  of  men." 
After  his  murder  a  quarrel  arose  between  rival  candidates 
for  the  command  of  the  troops — Caesar's  troops,  as  the 
assassins  found  to  their  sorrow.  Antony,"  his  master  of 
horse,  finally  took  one  half  of  them  with  him  to  the  East,  to 
finish  Caesar's  projected  campaign  against  the  Parthians,  to 
live  in  Alexandria  at  the  feet  of  Cleopatra,  Caesar's  royal 
mistress — who  was  not  only  an  able  and  unscrupulous 
woman,  but  also  the  heir  of  a  bad  political  tradition — ^to  bring 
Egypt  into  tthe  Roman  Empire  by  annexing  the  Roman  Em- 
pire to  the  Egyptian  crown.  The  most  that  can  be  said  for 
him  is  that  he  was  a  kind  of  bastard  Caesar.  On  the  other 
hand,  Augustus,  Caesar's  adopted  son,  to  whom  the  com- 
mand of  the  rest  of  the  troops  fell,  proved  to  be  a  statesman 
of  the  highest  order.  He  roused  national  and  republican 
feeling  in  Italy  against  Antony  and  his  Egyptian  "harlot"; 
but,  after  defeating  them  at  Actium  in  31  B.  C,  he  had  to 
reckon  with  the  demon — or  was  it  a  ghost? — which  he  had 
conjured  up.  This  he  did  by  establishing  a  peculiar  com- 
promise between  republicanism  and  monarchy  called  the 
principate,  which  lasted,  with  fitful  reversions  to  Caesar's 
model,  and  gradual  degeneracy  toward  a  more  and  more 
complete  despotism,  until  the  great  military  revolt  of  the 
third  century  A.  D.  occurred,  when  the  Roman  system  of 
government,  and  with  it  the  Graeco-Roman  civilization,  sank 
in  rapid  decay.  For  two  hundred  and  fifty  years  sixty  mil- 
lions of  people  had  enjoyed  the  material  blessings  of  peace 
and  orderly  government.  They  had  cut  down  forests,  made 
the  desert  a  garden,  built  cities  by  the  hundreds,  and  created 
eternal  monuments  of  the  sense  for  justice  and  magnificence 
which  penetrated  from  Rome  to  the  ends  of  the  known 
world.  Then  they  became  the  helpless  prey  of  a  few  hun- 
dred thousand  native  and  barbarian  soldiers.  The  decline 
of  the  Roman  Empire  is  the  greatest  tragedy  in  history. 

"  H.  c,  xii,  334. 


During  the  principate  the  prince  or  emperor  seemed  to  be 
the  source  of  all  actions,  good  and  bad.  Upon  the  will  and 
character  of  a  single  individual  hung  suspended,  apparently, 
the  life  and  weal  of  every  human  being.  It  was,  therefore, 
natural  for  this  age  to  be  interested  in  Biography.  Hence 
Plutarch  is  at  once  a  "document*'  for  the  time  in  which  he 
lived  and  a  charming  "betrayer"  of  the  Grseco-Roman  world 
on  which  he  looked  back. 



By  VuovKnmk  Mukkay  Anthony  Potter 

TItK  Renaififiance  followed  what  is,  even  now,  some- 
tItncH  called  the  Dark  Ages,  The  almost  inevitable 
inference  tn  that  a  period  of  darkness  was  succeeded 
by  one  of  light.  The  veil  of  night  rent  asunder,  the 
world,  rejoicing  in  the  sun's  rays,  with  glad  energy  again 
took  ttp  iin  work.  But  much  of  the  darkness  of  what  are 
more  fitly  called  the  Middle  Ages  is  due  to  the  dimness  of 
vlfiion  of  those  who  have  baptized  the  period  with  a  for- 
bidding name,  and  if  we  called  the  Renaissance  an  age  of  light. 
In  it  not  because  we  are  dazzled  by  mere  glamour?  After 
nil,  the  Renaissance  was  the  offspring  of  the  Middle  Ages, 
and  n  child  must  frequently  bear  the  burdens  of  its  parents. 
One  of  the  burdens  of  the  Middle  Ages  was  obscurantism, 
and  obMCurantism  is  that  which  "prevents  enlightenment,  or 
liindcri*  the  progress  of  knowledge  and  wisdom."  Instead  of 
dying  at  the  close  of  the  Middle  Ages,  it  lived  through  the 
Rcnalnsancc,  wary  and  alert,  its  eyes  ever  fixed  on  those 
whom  it  regarded  as  enemies,  falling  upon  them  from  am- 
buKh  when  because  of  age  or  weakness  their  courage  flagged, 
and  It  triumphed  in  the  sixteenth  century.  It  can  never  die 
a«  long  as  there  are  men.  Neither  can  superstition  die,  nor 
fear,  nor  inveterate  evil  passions,  which,  if  they  smolder  for 
a  time»  will  unfailingly  burst  forth  and  rage  with  greater 
fury»  If  such  be  your  pleasure,  you  can,  with  some  plausi- 
bility, represent  the  Renaissance  as  darker  than  the  Middle 
Ages*  Machiavelli/  the  Medicis,  and  the  Borgias  have  long 
been  regarded  as  sin  incarnate  in  odious  forms.  Making  all 
due  allowances  for  exaggeration  and  perversion  of  truth, 
the  Renaissance  was  not  a  golden  age,  and  the  dramas  of 

»  Kor  MtchiAV^IH's  nolitical  )de«]s«  see  his  ••Prince"  in  Harvard  Classics, 
\\\xu  s»  and  MacauUy's  essay  '^On  Mschisvelli"  in  Harvard  Classics, 
xxvii«  j8t« 


horroi*  are  something  more  than  the  nightmares  of  a  mad- 
man. And  yet  it  is  a  luminous  age.  The  sun  has  its  spots, 
and  the  light  of  the  Renaissance  is  all  the  more  intense  be- 
cause of  the  blackness  of  the  intermingling  shadows. 


No  age  can  be  adequately  defined  by  a  short  phrase,  but  it 
was  a  happy  thought  which  prompted  the  statement  that  the 
Renaissance  was  the  age  of  the  discovery  of  man.  Add  the 
importance,  not  only  of  man  in  general,  but  of  the  indi- 
vidual. It  is  true  that  men  of  marked  individuality  abounded 
in  the  Middle  Ages.  You  have  only  to  think  of  Gregory  the 
Great,  Gregory  of  Tours,  Charlemagne,  Liutprand,  Abelard, 
and  Saint  Bernard  of  Clairvaux.  What  is  new  is  a  general 
awakening  to  the  fact  that  the  perfection  of  individuality 
is  so  important,  and  the  desire  to  force  your  contem- 
poraries and  posterity  to  regard  you  as  different  from 
other  men. 

It  might  be  said,  with  a  certain  amount  of  exaggeration 
of  course,  that  the  mediaeval  man  was  Plato's  dweller  in  the 
cave,  who  succeeded  at  last  in  making  his  escape  into  the 
light  of  day,  and  so  doing  became  the  Renaissance  man  en- 
raptured by  what  lay  within  his  field  of  vision,  and  allured 
by  the  infinite  promise  of  what  lay  beyond.  And  as  if  the 
actual  world  cramped  him,  he  must  discover  ideal  realms 
and  live  in  the  past  and  the  future  as  well  as  the  present. 


His  interest  in  antiquity  is  well  known.  With  the  ardor 
of  treasure  hunters,  scholars  sought  for  classical  manu- 
scripts and  antiquities,  in  France,  Switzerland,  Germany, 
Italy,  and  the  East,  and  the  enthusiasm  excited  by  their  suc- 
cess could  not  have  been  greater  had  they  discovered  El 
Dorado.  They  were  generous  with  their  treasures,  door 
after  door  opening  upon  antiquity  was  thrown  back,  and 
men  swarmed  through  them  eager  to  become  better  ac- 
quainted with  their  idols  and  obtain  from  them  information 

•  See,  for  example,  Webster's  "Duchess  of  Malfi"  in  Harvard  Classics, 
xlvii,  719. 


which  their  teachers  of  the  Middle  Ages  were  powerless  to 
furnish.  Some  were  so  dazzled  and  docile  that,  instead  of 
freeing  themselves  from  bondage,  they  merely  chose  new 
masters,  but,  after  all,  more  gracious  ones. 

Petrarch,  anticipating  Andrew  Lang,  writes  letters  to  dead 
authors.  Of  Cicero  he  says:  "Ignoring  the  space  of  time 
which  separates  us,  I  addressed  him  with  a  familiarity  spring- 
ing from  my  sympathy  with  his  genius."  And  in  his  letter 
to  Livy:  "I  should  wish  (if  it  were  permitted  from  on  high), 
either  that  I  had  been  born  in  thine  age,  or  thou  in  ours;  in 
the  latter  case,  our  age  itself,  and  in  the  former,  I  personally 
should  have  been  the  better  for  it."  Montaigne  says  that  he 
had  been  brought  up  from  infancy  with  the  dead,  and  that 
he  had  knowledge  of  the  affairs  of  Rome  "long  before  he 
had  any  of  those  of  his  own  house;  he  knew  the  capitol  and 
its  plan  before  he  knew  the  Louvre,  and  the  Tiber  before  he 
knew  the  Seine.* 


This  infatuation  for  antiquity  may  seem  bizarre,  but  it  did 
not  exclude  intense  interest  on  the  part  of  the  Renaissance 
man  for  the  world  about  him,  his  town,  his  country,  and  re- 
mote as  well  as  neighboring  nations.  Petrarch  likes  to 
speak  of  the  marvels  of  India  and  Ceylon.  There  were 
drops  of  gypsy  blood  in  his  veins,  but  he  was  afraid  of  steal- 
ing time  from  his  beloved  books,  and  remains  an  excellent 
example  of  the  "far-gone"  fireside  traveler,  who  in  his  study 
roamed  through  distant  parts,  spared  the  inclemency  of  the 
weather  and  the  incommodities  and  dangers  of  the  road. 

Montaigne,  who  loved  "rain  and  mud  like  a  duck,"  was  of 
stronger  fiber.  "Nature,"  he  says,  "has  placed  us  in  the 
world  free  and  unbound;  we  imprison  ourselves  in  certain 
straits."  "Travel  is,  in  my  opinion,  a  very  profitable  exer- 
cise; the  soul  is  then  continually  employed  in  observing  new 
and  unknown  things,  and  I  do  not  know,  as  I  have  often  re- 
marked, a  better  school  wherein  to  model  life  than  by  inces- 
santly exposing  to  it  the  diversity  of  so  many  other  lives, 

•Cf.  Montaigne's  "Institution  and  Education  of  Children"  in  Harvard 
Classics^  xxxii,  99-73;  and  especially  on  his  own  education,  pp.  67-71.  See 
also  Sainte'Beuye's  essay  "On  Montaigne"  in  Harvard  Classxcs,  xxxii»  109. 


fancies  and  usances,  and  by  making  it  relish  so  perpetual  a 
variety  of  forms  of  human  nature." 

From  one  source  or  another,  then,  the  Renaissance  men 
acquired  an  immense  number  of  facts,  and  were  ahlt  to  re- 
tain them;  for  much  is  said  about  their  inexhaustible  mem> 
ory.  The  important  thing  to  know  is  what  they  did  with 
them.  Was  their  passion  for  facts  that  of  a  miser  for  his 
gold,  of  a  savage  for  shiny,  many-colored  beads? 

A  fact  is  a  delightful,  wholesome  thing.  To  the  everlast- 
ing credit  of  the  Renaissance  men  they  appreciated  its  value, 
and  worked  hard  to  acquire  it,  thus  grappling  with  reality. 
No  longer  would  they  merely  scan  the  surface  of  things; 
they  would  pierce,  as  Dante  said,  to  the  very  marrow  with  the 
eyes  of  the  mind.  Two  or  more  centuries  later  than  Dante, 
Machiavelli  complained  that  his  contemporaries  loved  an- 
tiquity, but  failed  to  profit  by  the  lessons  which  are  implicit 
in  its  history.  But  Machiavelli  was  not  entirely  just.  The 
Renaissance  men  were  tender  gardeners,  and  in  their  loving 
care  every  fact,  every  theory,  every  suggestion  burgeoned, 
flowered,  and  bore  fruit. 

Some  of  them,  it  is  true,  recognized  limitations  to  the 
versatility  characteristic  of  the  spirit  of  the  age.  Pier  Paolo 
Vergerio,  after  reviewing  the  principal  branches  of  study, 
states  that  a  liberal  education  does  not  presuppose  acquaint- 
ance with  them  all ;  "for  a  thorough  mastery  of  even  one  of 
them  might  fairly  be  the  achievement  of  a  lifetime.  Most  , 
of  us,  too,  must  learn  to  be  content  with  modest  capacity  as 
with  modest  fortune.  Perhaps  we  do  wisely  to  pursue  that 
study  which  we  find  most  suited  to  our  intelligence  and  our 
tastes,  though  it  is  true  we  cannot  rightly  understand  one 
subject  unless  we  can  perceive  its  relation  to  the  rest." 
These  words  might  well  have  been  written  to-day.  Very 
probably  they  were  equally  apposite  in  the  Renaissance;  yet 
they  seem  cautious,  almost  overtimorous,  in  a  period  when 
so  many  men  were  not  only  accomplished  scholars,  authors 
of  repute,  capable  public  servants  or  statesmen,  connoisseurs 
of  the  fine  arts,  painters,  sculptors,  and  architects  them-* 
selves.  There  seems  to  have  been  nothing  that  they  could 
not  do  if  they  wished. 



Every  interest  was  turned  to  account.  In  their  pursuit  of 
perfection  they  required  an  ampler  environment  The  age 
of  the  Renaissance  is  the  age  of  the  great  discoveries,  of 
Diaz,  Columbus,  Vasco  da  Gama,  Vespucci,  the  Cabots, 
Magellan,  Francis  Drake,*  and  others,  whose  journeys  were 
undertaken  with  a  far  different  purpose  than  the  mere  satis- 
fying of  restless  curiosity. 

Equally  practical  was  the  study  of  the  heavens.  The  stars 
had  long  been  regarded  as  flaming  beacons  in  the  sky, 
prophets  and  guides  for  man  to  his  ultimate  goal.  Their  in- 
fluence, benign  or  malignant,  determined  the  fates  of  indi- 
viduals and  nations.  It  behooved  the  prudent  man  to  con- 
sult them,  and  he  studied  the  hidden  workings  of  nature 
not  only  to  comprehend  them,  but  to  make  them  serve  his 
purpose.  There  were  many  failures,  but  if  the  Renaissance 
is  the  age  of  Faust,  it  is  also  that  of  Copernicus. 

In  the  study  of  the  world  about  him,  of  the  firmament,  of 
the  past  and  the  future,  the  Renaissance  man  felt  his  sub- 
ject was  something  created.  In  his  turn  he  took  up  the 
role  of  creator.  To  escape  from  an  importunate  world  he 
called  into  existence  the  Arcadia  of  the  pastorals,  the  fairy- 
land of  the  adult  man.  It  has  almost  vanished  from  our 
sight,  but  its  music  and  fragrance  still  hover  in  the  air.  An- 
other manifestation  of  dissatisfaction  with  the  actual  world, 
more  practical,  is  the  creation  of  ideal  commonwealths. 
Cities  of  the  Sun,  or  Utopias.* 


The  lover  of  beauty  nowadays  shrinks  from  the  Utopias 
of  the  Renaissance,  but  the  practical  men  of  that  age  cher- 
ished beauty  with  an  affection  we  can  hardly  conceive.  It 
was  bone  of  their  bone  and  flesh  of  their  flesh.  It  was  the 
one  guest  ever  sure  of  welcome.  Dante,  in  the  tornata  of 
his  first  ode,  says:  "Ode!  I  believe  that  they  shall  be  but 

*  For  the  narratives  of  these  explorers  see  H.  C,  xliii,  22ff.,  xxxiii,  133!!. 

•  Stc,  for  example,  Sir  Thomas  Mor«'s  "Utopia"  in  if,  C,  xxxvi,  14a. 


rare  who  shall  rightly  understand  thy  meaning,  so  intricate 
and  knotty  is  thy  utterance  of  it.  Wherefore,  if  perchance 
it  come  about  that  thou  take  thy  way  into  the  presence  of 
folk  who  seem  not  rightly  to  perceive  it;  then  1  pray  thee 
to  take  heart  again,  and  say  to  them,  O  my  beloved  lastling : 
'Give  heed,  at  least,  how  beautiful  I  am.' "  They  would  give 
heed,  and  to  such  extremes  did  many  Renaissance  men  go  in 
their  worship  of  beauty  that  they  prostituted  her  and  de- 
based themselves.  The  majority  remained  sound  of  heart, 
and  though  tortured  with  doubts,  and  stumbling  again  and 
again,  they  succeeded  in  making  themselves  worthy  of  com- 
munion with  God. 

Last  of  all,  the  question  might  be  asked :  is  the  Renaissance 
more  than  a  period  of  storm  and  stress,  a  link  between  the 
Middle  Ages  and  Modern  Times?  Like  every  age,  it  is  one 
of  transition,  but  it  is  also  one  of  glorious  achievement.  If 
any  one  doubts  this,  let  him  remember  only  a  few  names 
of  the  imposing  roll  call — Petrarch,  Boccaccio,  Ariosto,  Ma- 
chiavelli,  Rabelais,  Montaigne,  Calderon,*  Lope  de  Vega, 
Cervantes,*  Shakespeare,*  and  in  their  ranks  Dante*  takes 
his  place  with  the  same  serene  and  august  confidence  with 
which  he  joined  the  company  of  Virgil  and  Homer. 

•  H.   C   xrvi,  3flF.  '  H.  C,  xiv. 

•  For  works  W  Shakespeare  and  his  contemporaries  in  the  Elizabethan 
drama,  see  H.  C.,  xlvi  and  xlvii. 

•  H,  C,  XX. 



By  Professor  Robert  Matteson  Johnston 

THE  French  Revolution  concentrates  within  the  narrow 
space  of  five  years,  from  the  5th  of  May,  1789,  to  the 
9th  of  Thermidor,  1794,  all  that  man  can  conceive  as 
most  dramatic,  repulsive,  uplifting,  terrifying,  glorious,  and 
disheartening.  There  is  never  a  happy  medium  about  it, 
nothing  balanced  or  discriminating;  everything  is  extreme, 
human  emotion  rising  to  the  most  intense  collective  utter- 
ance at  the  pangs  of  starvation,  of  murder,  of  oppression,  of 
tyranny,  at  the  joy  of  decisive  action  and  of  climbing  the 
heights  whence  liberty  and  betterment  can  be  seen  streaking 
the  horizon  with  hope.  That  is  why  the  Revolution  fasci- 
nates the  ordinary  reader  more  than  perhaps  any  other  period 
of  history.  It  sets  before  him  the  bounds  of  the  sublime 
and  of  the  ignoble,  of  all  that  lies  undeveloped  in  himself 
never,  in  all  probability,  to  find  expression. 

the  contrasts  of  the  revolution 

How  extraordinarily  difficult  to  interpret  such  a  movement  I 
Even  Carlyle.  with  all  his  his  passionate  humanity,  fails  to 
catch  the  figure  of  that  unfortunate  woman  who  tramped 
through  the  empty  streets  of  Paris  at  dawn  one  gray  autumn 
day,  starvation  and  despair  in  her  eyes,  mechanically  tap- 
pine:  her  drum  and  lugubriously  chanting:  "Du  pain!  Du 
pain!"  ("Bread!  Bread!")  That  distressing  figure,  poign- 
ant in  all  its  naked  emotions,  was  to  uproot  the  Bourbons 
from  Versailles,  to  make  of  Paris  once  more  the  capital  of 
France,  and  by  that  deed  to  divert  the  whole  cuft-ent  of 
French  history  from  a  channel  of  two  centuries.  And  that 
is  the  contrast,  the  difficulty,  at  every  point.  Mirabeau  is  a 
venal    and   corrupt   individual    whose   turpitude   insistently 



pursues  us,  and  yet  at  moments  he  is  the  statesman  of  grand 
vision  whose  eye  unerringly  pierces  through  the  veil  of 
time.  Charlotte  Corday  is  but  a  simple  and  quite  unimpor- 
tant young  woman  from  the  country ;  she  drives  a  knife  into 
Marat's  heart,  and  with  that  heroic  gesture  flashes  light  to 
the  very  depths  of  a  terrific  crisis. 


A  curious  fact  about  the  French  Revolution,  but  not  so 
strange  as  it  would  seem  when  one  thinks  the  matter  over, 
is  that  there  should  be  no  good  history  of  it.  The  three  out- 
standing books  are  those  of  Michelct,  Carlyle,  and  Taine; 
and  all  three  are  destined  to  live  long  as  masterpieces,  in- 
tellectual and  artistic;  yet  not  one  of  them  is  wholly  satis- 
facory  to  the  present  age,  whether  for  its  statement  of  facts, 
for  its  literary  method,  or  for  its  mentality;  while  there  is 
no  sign  at  the  present  day  that  we  are  likely  soon  to  get  an- 
other great  history  of  the  Revolution.  On  the  contrary,  the 
tendency  is  for  historians  to  concentrate  their  attention  on 
the  endless  details  or  varied  aspects  of  the  movement,  find- 
ing in  each  of  these  a  sufficient  object  for  the  exercise  of 
their  industry  and  talents.  Following  that  example,  we  may 
here  perhaps  best  touch  on  the  reaction  between  France  and 
England  in  terms  of  the  Revolution,  and  particularly  in  re- 
gard to  those  two  famous  books,  Voltaire's  "Letters  on  the 
English,"*  and  Burke's  "Reflections  on  the  French  Revo- 
lution." • 


The  early  part  of  the  eighteenth  century  witnessed  a  great 
change  in  the  current  of  ideas  in  France.  The  death  of 
Louis  XIV,  and  the  coming  to  power  of  Philippe  Due 
d'Orleans  as  regent,  dispelled  all  the  old  prestige  of  glitter- 
ing Versailles,  and  gave  France  a  wit  and  debauchee  for 
ruler  who  cared  nothing  for  pomp  or  etiquette.  He  en- 
joyed life  after  "his  own  unedifying  fashion;  he  gambled  and 
encouraged  stock  exchange  speculation;  he  relaxed  the 
muzzle  and  let  slip  the  courtier's  leash  with  which  Louis  had 

^Harvard  Classics,  xxxiv,  65.  *if.  C,  xxiv,  xsz. 


curbed  the  great  men  of  letters  of  his  epoch.  And  unmedi- 
ately  French  writers  dashed  away  into  the  boundless  field 
of  political  satire  and  criticism.  Montesquieu  led  off  with 
his  "Lettres  Persanes/'  in  1721,  and  Voltaire  followed  hard 
at  his  heels  with  his  "Letters  on  the  English,"  in  1734.  The 
hounds  of  spring  were  at  winter's  traces. 

Voltaire's  daring 

Montesquieu's  violent  arraignment  of  the  old  order  passed 
only  because  he  seasoned  it  more  than  generously  with  a 
sauce  piquante  that  titillated  the  depraved  taste  of  the  Re- 
gent to  a  nicety.  Voltaire's  book  was  in  even  worse  case; 
it  was  immediately  condemned,  and  an  order  was  issued  to 
arrest  the  author  and  imprison  him  in  the  Bastille.  Voltaire 
had  to  fly  for  safety.  And  yet,  to  a  modern  reader,  the 
"Letters  on  the  English"  doubtless  seems  a  perfectly  mild 

It  is  only  by  bearing  in  mind  the  conditions  of  political 
despotism  that  then  existed  in  France  that  one  can  realize 
the  boldness  of  the  book.  In  it  Voltaire  gives  his  impres- 
sions of  England  in  his  supremely  lucid  style,  but  after  the 
fashion  of  the  man  who  throws  a  ball  at  some  object  from 
which  he  tries  to  catch  it  on  the  rebound.  He  is  writing  of 
England,  but  he  is  thinking  of  France;  and  in  the  customs 
and  institutions  of  the  former  he  seeks  the  examples  from 
which  he  can  measure  those  of  his  own  country. 

Voltaire  is,  on  the  whole,  inclined  to  think  well  of  the 
strange  people  whom  he  visited  across  the  Channel,  though 
he  cannot  avoid  the  conclusion  that  their  philosophy,  liberty, 
and  climate  lead  straight  to  melancholia.  England  appears 
to  him  the  land  of  contentment,  prosperity,  order,  and  good 
government.  Monarchy  is  restrained  by  a  well-balanced 
parliamentary  system,  and  above  all  there  is  toleration  in 
matters  of  faith  and  in  matters  of  opinion.  He  frankly  ad- 
mires, and  calls  on  his  countrymen  to  copy,  what  seems  to 
him  the  most  admirable  of  models.  It  may  be  noted,  how- 
ever, that  he  is  clearly  nervous  of  strictly  political  questions, 
and  he  always  prefers  getting  around  to  his  plea  for  toler- 
ance by  the  circuitous  road  of  religion. 



With  Burke,  more  than  half  a  century  later,  we  get  the 
strongest  possible  contrast.  He  admires  nothing;  he  repro- 
bates ever)rthing;  he  foresees  the  worst.  For  one  thing,  the 
Revolution  had  now  actually  broken  out.  Already  its  best 
aspects  were  becoming  obscured,  as  disorder  fast  grew,  and 
as  the  National  Assembly  deliberately  adopted  a  policy  of 
destruction  to  defeat  Bourbon  apathy  and  insouciance. 
France  appeared  to  be  threatened  with  anarchy,  and  that 
seemed  to  Burke  more  intolerable  than  the  long-continued 
conditions  of  tyranny  and  misgovernment  that  were  respon- 
sible for  it.  He  was  an  old  man,  and  more  conservative 
than  in  his  younger  days.  To  him  the  glorious  revolution 
of  William  of  Orange  and  the  Whigs  seemed  the  perfect 
model,  and  the  parliamentary  institutions  of  Britain  the 
ideal  form  of  government.  The  disorders  of  Paris  and  the 
methods  of  the  National  Assembly  shocked  and  wounded 
him,  so  he  turned  on  them  and  rent  them.  He  admitted,  in- 
deed, that  he  was  not  in  a  position  to  pronounce  judgment: 
"I  do  not  pretend  to  know  France  as  correctly  as  some 
others,"  and  so  he  confined  himself  to  the  role  of  the  advo- 
cate. His  pleading  against  the  Revolution  echoed  through 
the  Courts  of  Europe,  carried  conviction  in  almost  every 
quarter  where  doubt  existed,  and  to  this  day  remains  the 
most  effective  indictment  against  the  men  who  made  modern 
France.  The  success  of  Burke's  book  was  in  part  due  to 
the  fact  that  its  publication  was  followed  by  the  Reign  of 
Terror,  which  seemed  to  prove  the  author's  argument,  but 
above  all  to  its  brilliant  and  noble,  if  somewhat  too  ample, 
style.    Of  this  one  example  only  will  be  g^ven : 


"It  is  now  sixteen  or  seventeen  years  since  I  saw  the 
Queen  of  France,  then  the  Dauphiness,  at  Versailles;  and 
surely  never  lighted  on  this  orb,  which  she  hardly  seemed 
to  touch,  a  more  delightful  vision.  I  saw  her  just  above  the 
horizon,  decorating  and  cheering  the  elevated  sphere  she 
just  began  to  move  in — glittering  like  the  morning  star,  full 


of  life,  and  splendor,  and  joy.  Oh!  what  a  Revolution! 
And  what  a  heart  must  I  have  to  contemplate  without  emo- 
tion that  elevation  and  that  fall!  Little  did  I  dream  when 
she  added  titles  of  veneration  to  those  of  enthusiastic,  dis- 
tant, respectful  love,  that  she  should  ever  be  obliged  to  carry 
the  sharp  antidote  against  disgrace  concealed  in  that  bosom ; 
little  did  I  dream  that  I  should  have  lived  to  see  such  dis- 
asters fallen  upon  her  in  a  nation  of  gallant  men,  in  a  na- 
tion of  men  of  honor,  and  of  cavaliers.  I  thought  ten 
thousand  swords  must  have  leaped  from  their  scabbards  to 
avenge  even  a  look  that  threatened  her  with  insult.  But 
the  age  of  chivalry  is  gone.  That  of  sophisters,  economists, 
and  calculators  has  succeeded;  and  the  glory  of  Europe  is 
extinguished  for  ever."* 

Thus  Burke  proudly  looked  down  on  the  miseries  of 
France,  while  Voltaire  had  admiringly  looked  up  to  the 
prosperities  of  England.  And  we  who  come  more  than  a 
century  later,  while  recognizing  their  preeminence  as  men 
of  letters,  may  perceive  that  as  thinkers  they  were  perhaps 
a  little  too  near  their  objects.  Burke's  arguments  are  always 
admirable  but  unconvincing;  while  Voltaire's  often  justified 
praise  of  the  English  reposes  on  an  obvious  failure  to  un- 
derstand them. 

•H.  C,  xxiv,  223-224. 


By  Professor  F&ede&ick  JaCKson  TuftKfeR 

EXPANSION  has  been  the  Vfery  hw  d£  Attiefican  life. 
In  the  treaties  which  retdrd  the  sucCfesstvd  annexa- 
tions of  the  territory  of  the  United  States  w^  may 
read  the  story  of  the  nation's  acquisition  Of  lt§  physical 
basis,  a  basis  comparable  in  area  and  r6sourc6S  not  to  any 
single  European  country  but  to  Eur6p6  as  a  whole.  If  a 
map  of  the  United  States  is  laid  dowrt  UpOn  a  map  of 
Europe  drawn  to  the  same  scalfe,  with  Sail  Ffaiichco  fasting 
on  the  coast  of  Spain,  Florida  will  occupy  the  land  of  Pdes- 
tine,  Lake  Superior  will  be  adjacent  to  the  southern  §hol*e  of 
the  fialtic,  New  Orleans  below  the  coast  of  AsiSi  Minor,  and 
the  shores  of  North  Carolina  will  nearly  coincide  with  the 
eastern  end  of  the  Black  Sea.  All  of  Western  Europe  will 
lie  beyond  the  Mississippi,  the  western  limits  Of  the  United 
States  in  1783.  These  treaties*  mark  the  stages  by  which 
the  Union  acquired  an  area  equal  to  all  nations  west  of  the 
Black  Sea. 


Freed  from  the  fear  of  French  attack  after  the  peace  of 
1763,  the  thirteen  colonies  declared  their  independence. 
Against  the  wishes  of  Spain,  and  even  against  the  pressure 
of  her  French  Ally  in  the  Revolutionary  War,  the  United 
States  secured  from  England  by  the  treaty  of  1783"  bound* 
aries  which  extended  along  the  Great  Lakes,  west  to  the 
Mississippi,  and  feouth  to  Florida,  as  well  as  the  ffee  navi- 
gation of  the  Mississippi.     Spain  recovered  from  Britain 

*  The  f cffcfences  ift  this  lecture  affc  to  the  volume  6f  AweHWfi  llistdf ical 
Doekiniilta,  and  especially  t<>  the  colleetidn  of  treaties^  Hmrv^d  Ciitsicst 

« H.  C,  xliii,  185. 



Florida,  which  she  had  conquered  in  the  course  of  the 

But  these  boundaries  were  only  paper  rights,  for  England 
failed  to  give  up  her  posts  on  the  Great  Lakes,  alleging  the 
neglect  of  the  United  States  to  carry  out  the  provisions  of 
the  treaty  in  regard  to  loyalists  and  debts,  and  Canadian 
officials  encouraged  the  Indians  across  the  Ohio  to  resist  the 
advance  of  the  Americans.  In  similar  fashion  on  the  south- 
west Spain  denied  the  right  of  England  to  convey  to  the 
Union  the  territory  between  the  Alleghenies  and  the  Mis- 
sissippi, and  withheld  the  navigation  of  the  river  by  means 
of  her  possession  of  New  Orleans.  She  also,  in  the  period 
of  the  weak  confederation,  intrigued  with  leaders  of  the 
Kentucky  and  Tennessee  settlements  to  withdraw  them  from 
the  Union;  and,  like  England,  she  used  her  influence  over 
the  Indians  to  restrain  the  American  advance. 

While  Indian  wars  were  in  progress  north  of  the  Ohio 
during  Washington's  administration,  the  French  Revolution 
broke  out,  and  England  feared  not  only  that  the  American 
expeditions  against  the  Indians  were  in  reality  directed 
against  the  posts  which  she  retained  on  the  Great  Lakes, 
but  also  that  the  United  States  would  aid  France  in  a  gen- 
eral attack  on  her.  Breaking  her  historic  alliance  with 
Spain,  the  French  Republic,  in  1783,  tried  to  involve,  first 
the  Government  of  the  United  States  and  then  the  western 
frontiersmen  in  attacks  upon  Florida  and  Louisiana. 

These  were  the  critical  conditions  which  in  1794  resulted 
in  Jay's  mission  and  treaty  by  which  England  agreed  to 
give  up  the  western  posts. 


Alarmed  at  the  prospect  of  a  union  of  England  and  the 
United  States,  Spain  not  only  made  peace  with  France  at 
Basle  in  1795,  but  also,  by  Pinckney's  treaty  in  that  year, 
conceded  to  the  United  States  the  Mississippi  boundary  and 
the  navigation  of  the  river.  The  latter  concession  was  vital 
to  the  prosperity  of  the  Mississippi  Valley,  for  only  by  way 
of  this  river  could  the  settlers  get  their  surplus  crops  to  a 


It  had  become  clear  by  1795  that,  with  rival  European 
nations  threatening  the  flanks  of  the  American  advance, 
interfering  in  domestic  politics,  and  tampering  with  the 
western  frontiersmen,  the  United  States  was  in  danger  of 
becoming  a  mere  dependency  of  the  European  state  system.* 
Partly  to  ensure  such  a  dependence  of  the  United  States 
upon  herself,  and  partly  to  procure  a  granary  for  her  West 
Indian  Islands,  France  now  urged  Spain  to  give  her  Louisi- 
ana and  Florida,  promising  protection  against  the  American 

The  Alleghenies  seemed  to  the  leaders  of  French 
policy  the  proper  boundaries  for  the  Union.  At  last,  in 
1800,  Napoleon  so  far  mastered  Spain  as  to  force  her  to 
yield  Louisiana  to  him;  and  the  Spanish  Intendant  at  New 
Orleans,  pending  the  arrival  of  French  troops,  closed  the 
Mississippi  to  American  commerce.  The  West  was  in  a 
flame.  It  had  now  acquired  a  population  of  over  three 
hundred  and  eighty  thousand,  and  it  threatened  the  forcible 
seizure  of  New  Orleans.  Even  the  peaceful  and  French- 
loving  President  Jefferson  hinted  that  he  would  seek  an 
English  alliance,  and  demanded  the  possession  of  the  mouth 
of  the  Mississippi  from  France,  arguing  that  whoever  held 
that  spot  was  our  natural  enemy.  Convinced  that  it  was 
inexpedient  to  attempt  to  occupy  New  Orleans  in  view  of 
the  prospect  of  facing  the  sea  power  of  England  and  an 
attack  by  the  American  settlers.  Napoleon  capriciously 
tossed  the  whole  of  the  Province  of  Louisiana  to  Jefferson 
by  the  Louisiana  Purchase  Treaty*  of  1803,  and  thereby 
replenished  his -exchequer  with  fifteen  million  dollars,  made 
friends  with  the  United  States,  and  gave  it  the  possibility 
of  a  noble  national  career  by  doubling  its  territory  and  by 
yielding  it  the  control  of  the  great  central  artery  of  the 


The  expansive  spirit  of  the  West  grew  by  what  it  fed  on. 
The  Ohio  valley  coveted  Canada,  and  the  South  wished 
Florida,   where   England  exercised   an   influence   upon  the 

•Compare  "Washington's  Farewell  Address,"  in  H.  C,  xliii,  211^  256; 
'H.  C*,  xliii,  zt^• 


Spanish  administration.  It  was  the  West  that  took  the  lead 
—bringing  on  the  war  of  1812.  In  the  peace  negotiation*  in 
1814  Great  Britain  tried  to  establish  a  neutral  zone  of  In* 
dian  country  between  Canada  and  the  Ohio  Valley  settle- 
ments, but  by  the  treaty*  the  United  States  retained  it« 
former  possessions.  By  the  convention  of  1818  they  ex- 
tended the  boundary  between  Canada  and  the  United  States 
from  the  Lake  of  the  Woods  to  the  Rocky  Mountains  along 
the  forty-ninth  parallel,  leaving  the  disputed  Oregon  coun- 
try open  to  each  nation  for  a  term  of  years  without  preju 
dice  to  the  rights  of  either. 


In  the  same  years  the  United  States  was  pressing  Spain 
to  relinquish  Florida.  Claiming  West  Florida  and  Texus 
as  a  part  of  the  Louisiana  Purchase,  the  Government  an- 
nexed the  former  piecemeal  in  i8io  and  1812.  Taught  by 
General  Jackson's  successful  although  unauthorized  inva- 
sion of  Florida  in  1818  that  she  held  that  position  on  the 
Gulf  only  at  the  pleasure  of  the  United  States,  and  hopeful 
perhapo,  to  avert  the  threatened  recognition  of  the  revolting 
Spanish- American  colonies,  Spain  ceded  Florida  in  1819, 
drawing  an  irregular  line  between  her  possessions  and  those 
of  the  United  States  which  left  Texas  as  well  as  the  other 
southwestern  territory  in  Spain's  hands.  Recognition  of 
the  revolted  republics  followed  in  1833  and  thereafter  the 
Union  had  to  deal  with  Mexico  in  place  of  Spain  in  acquir- 
ing mainland  possessions.  Russia  withdrew  her  claims  to 
territory  south  of  54®  40'  in  1824,  and  as  a  result  of  the 
negotiations  which  preceded  this  action,  as  well  as  by  the 
prospect  of  European  intervention  in  Spanish  America, 
President  Monroe  in  1823  announced  the  famous  Doctrine' 
which  declared  the  American  continents  no  longer  subject 
to  European  colonization  or  intervention  to  oppress  them  or 
control  their  destiny. 

Early  in  the  thirties  American  missionaries  entered  the 
Oregon  country  where  the  Hudson's  Bay  Company  held 
sway  under  the  English  flag.     American  settlers,  chiefly 

•if.  C,  xliii,  373.  *H.  Cv  adiii,  aSfi.  »^,  C,  xliU,  296. 


descendants  of  the  hardy  frontiersmen  of  the  Mississippi 
Valley,  also  made  settlements  in  Mexico's  province  of  Texas. 
In  1836  the  Tcxans  revolted,  declared  their  independence, 
and  appealed  to  the  United  States  for  annexation.  The 
northeastern  boundary  was  settled  by  the  Webster-Ashbur- 
ton  treaty*  in  1842,  leaving  the  fate  of  Oregon  still  unde- 
termined. In  that  very  year  an  emigration  of  American 
farmers  began  across  the  plains  and  mountains  to  that  dis- 
tant land,  and  relations  between  the  Union  and  England  be- 
came strained.  In  Texas  also  European  interests  were  in- 
volved, for  in  the  long  interval  between  the  formation  of 
the  Texan  Republic  and  its  annexation  by  the  United  States, 
England  and  France  used  their  influence  to  keep  it  inde- 
pendent. California,  moreover,  furnished  reason  for  ap- 
prehension, for  England  had  shown  an  interest  in  its  fate, 
as  Mexico,  torn  by  internal  dissensions,  gave  evidence  that 
her  outlying  provinces  were  likely  to  drop  from  her  nerve- 
less hands. 

The  slavery  contest  now  interrupted  the  old  American  ex- 
pansive tendencies,  for  while  the  South  raised  its  voice  of 
warning  against  the  possibility  of  a  free  Texas  under  Brit- 
ish protectorate  and  demanded  its  annexation,  the  Whigs 
and  anti-slavery  men  of  the  North,  alarmed  at  the  spread  of 
slavery  and  the  prospect  of  new  slave  States,  showed  oppo- 
sition to  further  territorial  acquisition  in  the  Southwest. 
But  in  the  election  of  1844,  which  was  fought  on  the  issues 
of  the  "reoccupation  of  Oregon  and  the  reannexation  of 
Texas,"  Polk,  a  Tennessee  Scotch-Irishman,  representing 
the  historic  expansive  spirit,  won  the  Presidency.  Texas 
was  annexed  as  a  State  under  a  joint  resolution  of  Con- 
gress in  184s,  before  Polk  was  inaugurated,  and  immediately 
thereafter  he  determined  that  if  Mexico  made  this  annexa- 
tion an  occasion  for  war,  she  should  be  compelled  to  cede 
us  California  and  her  other  Southwestern  lands  as  the  price 
of  peace. 


He  compromised  the  Oregon  question  with  England  by 
the  Treaty  of  1846,  accepting  the  forty-ninth  parallel  as  the 

•H.  C,  xliii,  299* 


boundary,  in  spite  o^  the  campaign  cry  of  "fifty- four  fofty 
or  fight."  The  same  year  the  Mexican  war  began,  in  which 
American  troops  overran  California  and  the  intervening 

With  the  American  flag  floating  over  the  capital  of 
Mexico,  a  strong  movement  began  to  hold  Mexico  itself,  or 
at  least  additional  territory.  But  by  the  Treaty  of  Guada- 
lupe-Hidalgo* in  1848  the  line  was  drawn  along  the  Gila 
River  and  from  its  mouth  to  the  Pacific.  Agitation  for  a 
southern  route  to  the  Pacific  led  to  the  further  acquisition 
of  a  zone  south  of  the  Gila  by  the  Gadsden  Purchase  of 

By  these  annexations  between  1846  and  1853  the  United 

States  gained  over  1,200,000  square  miles  of  territory.    Gold 

was  discovered  in  California  in  1848,  and  unimagined  riches 

in  precious  metals,  timber,  and  agricultural  resources  were 

later  revealed  in  this  vast  new  empire.    But  most  important 

of  all  was  the  fact  that  the  nation  had  at  last  made  its 

lodgment  on  the  shores  of  the  Pacific,  where  it  was  to  be 

involved   in   the    destiny    of   that    ocean   and    its    Asiatic 


The  South,  deprived  of  the  benefits  of  these  great  acquisi- 
tions by  the  compromise  of  1850,  tried  in  vain  to  find  new 
outlets  by  Cuban  annexation.  But  the  Civil  War  resulting 
from  the  rivalries  of  the  expanding  sections  engrossed  the 
energies  of  the  nation.  At  the  close  of  that  war,  Russia, 
which  had  given  moral  support  to  the  North  when  England 
and  France  were  doubtful,  offered  the  United  States  her 
Alaskan  territory  and,  not  without  opposition.  Secretary 
Seward  secured  the  ratification  of  a  treaty"  in  1867  by  which 
nearly  six  hundred  thousand  square  miles  were  added  to  our 

For  nearly  a  third  of  a  century  after  the  Civil  War  the 
energies  of  the  Union  were  poured  out  in  the  economic  con- 
quest of  the  vast  annexations  in  its  continguous  territory. 
In  1892  the  Superintendent  of  the  Census  announced  that 
the  maps  of  population  could  no  longer  depict  a  frontier  line 
bounding  the  outer  edge  of  advancing  settlement.  The  era 
of  colonization  was  terminating.    The  free  lands  were  being 

*H.  C„  xliii,  309.  ^H*  C,  xliii*  459. 


rapidly  engrossed  and  the  Union  was  reaching  the  condition 
of  other  settled  states. 


In  this  era  the  old  expansive  movement  became  manifest 
in  a  new  form  by  the  Spanish- American  War  and  the  acqui- 
sition of  land  oversea.  It  was  the  recognition  of  the  inde- 
pendence of  Cuba**  by  the  United  States  in  1898  and  the 
intervention  to  expel  Spain  which  brought  about  the  Span- 
ish-American War;  but  once  involved  in  that  war,  the  naval 
exigencies  led  to  the  conquest  of  the  Philippines,  and  Porto 
Rico  as  well  as  Cuba.  Considerations  of  strategy  also 
facilitated  the  annexation  of  Hawaii"  in  1898, 

By  the  treaty  of  peace"  in  1898  Spain  ceded  the  Philippines 
and  Porto  Rico  and  withdrew  from  Cuba,  which  obtained 
its  autonomy  by  the  recall  of  the  American  troops  in 

The  events  of  the  war,  and  especially  the  dramatic  voyage 
of  the  Oregon  around  Cape  Horn  from  the  Pacific  coast  to 
share  in  the  fight  off  Santiago,  gave  an  impetus  to  the  long 
debated  project  of  constructing  the  Isthmian  Canal  by  the 
United  States.  With  her  vastly  increased  power  in  the 
Pacific,  her  new  possessions  in  the  Caribbean  Sea,  and  the 
astonishing  growth  on  the  Pacific  coast,  the  canal  seemed  a 
necessity,  and  almost  a  part  of  our  coast  line.  By  the  Hay- 
Pauncefote  treaty  of  1901,  England  withdrew  the  obstacles 
arising  from  the  Clayton-Bulwer  treaty  of  1850,  and  the 
United  States  acquired  the  rights  of  the  French  Company, 
which  had  failed  in  its  undertaking  to  pierce  the  isthmus. 
When  in  1903  Colombia  rejected  a  treaty  providing  for  the 
canal,  a  revolution  broke  out  in  Panama.  President  Roose- 
velt with  extraordinary  promptness  recognized  the  Republic 
of  Panama  and  secured  a  treaty**  from  this  republic  which 
was  ratified  in  190^4,  granting  the  canal  zone  and  various 
rights  to  the  United  States. 

Thus  at  the  beginning  of  the  twentieth  century  the  long 
process  of  attrition  of  the  United  States  upon  the  Spanish 

»  H.  C,  xliii,  467.  "  H.  C,  xliii,  464.  *»  H.  C,  xliii,  469. 

*»H.  Cv  xUii,  478. 


Empire  was  brought  to  this  striking  climax.  The  feeble 
Atlantic  colonies  had  won  a  land  extending  across  the  con- 
tinent, they  had  acquired  dependencies  in  the  Caribbean,  in 
the  Pacific,  and  off  the  coast  of  Asia,  and  they  had  provided 
for  connecting  the  two  oceans  by  the  Panama  Canal. 



By  Caileton  Noyes,  A.  M. 

THE  human  heart  has  ever  dreamed  of  a  fairer  world 
than  the  one  it  knows.  No  man,  however  dark  his 
spirit,  however  cramped  his  senses,  is  quite  without 
the  yearning  after  wider  horizons  and  a  purer  air.  In  a 
happy  moment  earth  seems  to  hold  for  all  the  promise  of 
larger  things.  The  moment  passes;  and  the  world  closes  in 
again,  actual,  bare,  unyielding,  as  before.  Yet  among  men 
there  are  some  endowed  with  vision,  an  insight  more  pene- 
trating and  more  sustained.  To  their  liberated  spirit  the 
world  unfolds  a  farther  prospect.  Earth  clothes  itself  for 
them  in  radiant  vesture,  mute  forms  are  speaking  presences, 
the  riddle  of  life  resolves  itself  into  a  meaning.  To  them  it 
is  granted  to  arrest  the  moment  of  illumination,  otherwise 
so  fleeting;  and,  gifted  further  with  a  shaping  power,  they 
are  able  to  re-create  the  moment  in  enduring  forms.  The 
men  of  vision  are  the  seers  and  prophets;  the  shapers  of 
the  revelation,  re-creating  it,  are  the  artists  and  the  poets. 

What  each  of  us  is  seeking  the  poet  has  already  found. 
Poetry  is  the  step  beyond,  which  we  were  about  to  take,  but 
were  not  certain  of  the  way.  In  our  experience  from  year 
to  year,  we  are  not  without  glimpses  of  beauty  in  the  world, 
a  sense  of  meaning  somewhere  within  the  shows  of  things. 
Of  this  beauty  and  this  meaning  poetry  is  a  fuller  revela- 
tion. The  poet  gives  us  back  the  world  we  already  know, 
though  it  is  a  world  transfigured;  he  draws  his  material 
from  stores  to  which  we  all  have  access,  but  with  a  differ- 
ence. His  vision,  clearer  and  more  penetrating,  transfigures 
the  facts  and  discloses  the  beauty  only  waiting  to  be  thus 
reveaJed.    His  fresh  sight  of  this  beauty  quickens  in  him  an 



emotion  of  wonder  and  of  joy  which  impels  him  to  expres- 
sion. Seeing  the  world  in  new  combinations,  he  selects 
from  the  common  store  of  experience  certain  images  colored 
by  his  mood.  Of  these  images  he  weaves  a  pattern  of 
words,  which  re-create  the  beauty  he  has  seen  and  are 
charged  with  that  deeper  significance  he  has  divined  within 
the  outward  manifestation.  It  is  just  because  he  sees  far- 
ther and  feels  more  intensely  that  he  is  a  poet;  and  then 
because  he  is  able  to  phrase  his  experience  in  words  which 
have  the  power  to  create  the  vision  and  the  meaning  in  us. 
So  the  poet  fashions  that  fairer  world  of  which  the  heart 
has  dreamed;  and  by  the  mediation  of  his  art  it  becomes 
ours  for  an  enduring  possession.  If  this  be  indeed  the  office 
and  destiny  of  poetry,  we  may  well  ask  whence  it  draws  its 
inspiration  and  by  what  means  it  accomplishes  its  high  ends. 


The  older  poetry  of  a  people  takes  shape  around  a  story. 
Childhood  dearly  loves  a  tale;  for  its  simple  heart  finds  the 
way  out  of  a  reality  it  does  not  understand  by  contriving  a 
world  of  make-believe.  The  young  imagination,  not  yet  be- 
set by  too  urgent  actualities,  admits  no  bounds  to  its  wide 
exercise.  In  the  childhood  of  the  race,  objects  are  spirits, 
moved  by  their  own  inner  life.  Natural  forces  are  gods, 
acting  capriciously  upon  the  fortunes  of  men.  A  man  more 
cunning  or  more  powerful  than  his  fellows  becomes  a  hero 
or  a  demigod  in  memory  and  tradition.  So  a  child  too  ani- 
mates the  common  things  of  his  little  world  with  a  life  of 
their  own  that  suits  the  purposes  of  his  active  fancy.  He 
endows  them  with  a  part  in  his  play,  and  they  act  out  the 
story  that  he  weaves  around  them.  The  imagination  of 
childhood  demands  action,  deeds  done  and  stories  told, — 
high  adventures  of  gods  and  heroes,  or  the  tangled  fortunes 
of  princes  and  damsels,  of  knights  and  captive  ladies,  of 
fairies  and  sprites.  So  a  fable  builds  itself  out  of  free 

The  love  of  a  story  never  passes.  All  through  its  long 
history,  in  every  land  and  among  every  people,  poetry  has 
not  ceased  to  interest  itself  in  all  conceivable  happenings  of 


life.  But  the  stream  of  poetry  is  fed  by  many  sources,  and 
it  takes  color  and  volume  according  to  the  channels  through 
which  it  flows.  From  the  "Iliad"  to  "Enoch  Arden,"  to  cite 
typical  instances  which  by  no  means  set  the  farther  or  the 
nearer  bounds  of  narrative  poetry,  both  the  subject  and  the 
form  have  undergone  varied  and  profound  changes.  This 
movement,  as  each  nation  develops  its  own  art  and  culture, 
has  been  in  the  direction  from  the  general  to  the  particular, 
from  the  interests  of  the  entire  nation  to  the  affairs'  of 
private  persons.  Out  of  the  stirrings  and  strivings  of  a 
whole  people  toward  expression  is  gradually  evolved  the 
separate  individual  artist  or  poet. 


In  elder  days  men  worked  and  played  together.  The 
single  member  of  the  clan  or  the  individual  citizen  was 
completely  merged  in  the  unity  of  the  tribe  or  the  state. 
His  welfare  depended  upon  the  welfare  of  the  group,  his 
interests  were  bound  up  inextricably  with  the  life  of  the 
community  as  a  whole.  This  fact  explains  the  range  and 
character  of  the  earlier  poetry  of  any  people.  All  nations 
have  their  own  distinctive  beginnings,  and  these  are  widely 
distributed  in  time:  the  term  "earlier,"  therefore,  is  relative 
to  each  nation.  Examples  of  such  earlier  poetry  are  the 
"Iliad"  and  the  "Odyssey,"  on  the  one  hand — ^though  these 
represent  the  culmination  rather  than  the  beginning  of  an 
age,  which,  however,  is  relatively  early — and  on  the  other 
hand,  the  English  traditional  ballads.^  In  point  of  time 
these  two  instances  are  separated  from  each  other  by  about 
two  thousand  years,  but  as  earlier  poetry  they  have  this 
trait  in  common,  that  they  are  not  the  work  of  any  one  man. 
Such  poetry  as  this  is  not  made;  it  grows.  It  springs  as  a 
kind  of  spontaneous  expression  of  the  life  of  the  group. 
An  incident  of  common  concern  to  the  whole  people,  a  situa- 
tion involving  the  fortunes  of  all,  furnishes  the  occasion 
and  the  motive  of  the  tale.  Necessarily  some  one,  any  one, 
— ^unknown  by  name, — starts  it  on  its  course.  The  story  is 
•  told  and  retold:  passing  from  lip  to  lip,  it  receives  changes 

*■  See  Harvard  Classics,  xl,  51 -130. 


and  additions.  Again,  finally,  some  6iit,  unknown  by  name^ 
gives  it  the  fofm  in  which  it  is  wHtten  down  and  do  pre- 
served. But  it  is  the  poetry  of  a  people  rather  than  of  a 

This  poetry  has  certain  traits  which  serve  to  mark  it  as 
popular  or  national.  In  the  ease  of  poems  of  gfreater  seope, 
like  the  "Iliad"  or  "Beowulf,"  it  deals  with  action  in  the 
larjre.  The  heroes  whose  deeds  it  celebrates  are  the  posses- 
sion of  the  kindred  or  the  race ;  they  are  king»  and  men  of 
mif  ht  or  valor,  known  to  all  in  the  national  traditions.  Even 
the  gods  are  not  iibsent;  they  play  a  dominant  part  in  the 
action.  Similarly  in  the  popular  ballads,  the  persons  of  the 
story,  though  drawn  from  humbler  life,  acquire  a  legendary 
interest  which  makes  them  typical  figures  and  invests  them 
with  general  importance.  Such  poetry,  then,  mirrors  the 
ideals  of  the  group  or  the  nation.  It  is  shaped  and  colored 
by  the  religious  beliefs  of  the  people  or  by  vligue  question- 
ings and  vaguer  answers  as  to  the  nature  And  meaning  of 
things.  By  the  kind  of  persons  it  sets  in  action,  by  the 
deeds  they  do  and  the  passions  they  feel,  this  poetry  becomes 
the  projection  and  expression  of  life  at  its  best  as  the  whole 
people  conceives  it  to  be.  It  is  the  nation's  interpretation 
of  itself. 

One  characteristic  these  tales  have  which,  apart  from 
their  form  as  verse,  makes  them  poetry.  The  world  which 
they  give  back  is  idealized.  They  come  into  being  in  re- 
sponse to  men's  love  of  a  story.  But  the  action  which  they 
embody  is  not  the  petty  and  commonplace  round  of  daily  af- 
fairs; the  action  is  heightened  and  intensified.  What  we 
call  the  "glamour  of  romance"  is  over  it.  The  free  imag- 
ination is  at  work  to  fashion  a  more  engaging  and  significant 
world.  The  stories  told  ^re  of  a  time  long  past,  in  a  hap- 
pier and  golden  prime.  This,  they  say,  is  the  world  as  it 
was ;  would  that  it  were  so  now,  or  might  be  again !  Across 
the  obscure  yearnings  of  the  present  need,  seen  at  a  dis- 
tance in  the  fresh  light  of  mornings  gone,  the  men  of  an 
elder  age  are  figured  of  heroic  mould.  Their  virtues,  their 
passions,  khd  their  faults  are  nobler  than  the  common 
breed.  The  World  in  which  they  move  and  do  is  an  ampler 
scene,  bathed  in  a  freer  air.    This  transfiguring  of  things, 


making  them  bright,  intense,  and  full  of  a  farther  meanings 
is  the  spirit  of  poetry. 


As  civilization  progresses,  the  individual  begins  to  define 
himself  more  sharply  against  the  background  of  his  group. 
The  common  effort  of  the  group  has  wrought  out  for  itself 
the  arts  of  life;  the  store  of  culture  is  gradually  enriched 
by  collective  striving.  Then  a  time  comes  when  the  various 
functions  of  life  tend  to  be  distributed  more  and  more 
among  the  separate  members  of  the  community;  and  to  them 
it  becomes  possible  to  develop  their  own  special  gifts  and 
aptitudes  as  potter,  weaver,  smith.  One  day  a  man  arises 
who  has  the  gift  of  song.  Conscious  of  himself  now  as  an 
individual,  he  takes  the  stories  which  the  fathers  have  told, 
threads  of  legend  and  tradition,  and  weaves  them  into  a  new 
pattern.  As  the  earlier  poetry  was  the  expression  of  the 
collective  ideals  of  the  group,  so  now  the  poem  conceived 
and  shaped  by  a  single  maker  is  animated  by  his  own  special 
purpose;  colored  by  his  personal  emotion,  it  reflects  the 
world  as  he  himself  sees  it:  and  it  becomes  in  this 
wise  the  expression  of  his  individual  interpretation  of 

Thus  a  new  spirit  comes  into  narrative  poetry.  Less  and 
less  it  is  spontaneous,  impersonal,  objective;  more  and  more 
it  is  the  product  of  a  deliberate,  self-conscious  art;  the  choice 
of  subject  and  the  manner  of  presenting  it  are  determined 
by  the  poet's  own  feeling.  The  world  from  which  he  draws 
his  material  is  nearer  home.  His  characters  are  more  im- 
mediate to  everyday  experience;  what  they  lose  in  glamour 
they  gain  in  directness  of  appeal.  Interest  in  the  action  for 
its  own  sake  does  not  flag,  but  the  persons  who  move  in  it 
are  more  closely  and  definitely  expressive  of  what  the  poet 
thinks  and  feels.  He  chooses  his  characters  because  they 
embody  concretely  and  so  exemplify  the  conception  he  has 
formed  of  a  significant  situation.    The  story  of  the  mythical 

'As  illustrating  the  contrast  in  point  of  view  of  the  work  of  the  in- 
dividual poet  and  of  national  poetry,  it  is  interesting  to  compare  the  acute 
self-consciousness  of  Tennyson's  "Ulysses'*  (K.  C,  xlii,  1007)  with  the 
downrightness  of  Homer's  hero. 


hero  Beowulf  and  his  fight  with  the  weird  sea-monster 
Grendel  is  succeeded  by  Chaucer's  "Canterbury  Talcs."* 
Here  the  poet  assembles  a  motley  company,  of  high  and  low 
degree,  of  clerical  and  lay,  sketched  from  the  life  with  ex- 
quisitely humorous  fidelity.  The  stories  they  tell  to  pass 
the  stages  of  their  pilgrimage  are  as  varied  as  themselves 
— ^none,  however,  more  characteristic  of  the  new  temper  of 
poetry  than  the  Nun's  Priest's  tale.    Now 

A  povre  widwc  somdel  stope  in  age, 
Was  whylom  dwelling  in  a  narwe  cotage, 
Bisyde  a  grove,  stondyng  in  a  dale.* 

And  the  hero  of  the  tale  is  "Chauntecleer"  I  The  cock 
discourses  learnedly  of  dreams,  and  for  authorities  he  in- 
vokes the  great  names  of  antiquity.  But  he  succumbs  to 
inexorable  fate,  figured  by  "Russel  the  fox,"  while  the 
denizens  of  the  barnyard  act  the  chorus  to  his  tragedy.  The 
poem  in  its  mock  heroics  is  a  sly  satire  of  the  grand  manner 
of  the  romantic  epic.  But  beyond  the  entertainment  it  fur- 
nishes by  the  way,  in  it  is  reflected  Chaucer's  own  genial 
though  shrewd  criticism  of  life;  and  we  enjoy  this  contact 
with  the  poet's  own  personality.  So  in  all  narrative  poetry 
of  conscious  art,  whether  the  "Faerie  Queene"  or  "Para- 
dise Lost,"  Keats's  "Endymion"  or  "Enoch  Arden,"  whether 
it  portrays  the  figures  of  romance  and  fable,  or  whether  it 
treats  the  high  argument  of  God's  ways  with  man  or  a 
tragedy  of  humble  souls,  we  discern  the  image  of  a  height- 
ened and  intenser  world,  which  serves  finally  to  express  the 
poet's  own  way  of  conceiving  life,  his  interpretation  of  ex- 


The  same  trend  toward  greater  personality  In  expression 
which  changes  the  import  of  narrative  poetry  gives  rise  to 
poetry  of  a  different  kind  and  purpose.  As  the  individual 
emerges  out  of  the  mass  into  consciousness  of  himself,  he 
is  made  aware  that  life  comes  to  him,  in  contrast  to  other 
men,  with  a  difference.  The  world  is  his  world,  passions 
are  his  passions,  events  take  their  significance  as  they  re- 

•H.  C,  xl,  II.  *H.  C,  xl,  35. 


late  themselves  somehow  to  his  own  experience.  The  great 
sky  arches  overhead,  brightly  blue  or  piled  with  tossing 
clouds.  Outward  in  every  direction  reaches  the  broad  earth, 
a  crowded  pageantry  of  color  and  form  and  sound  and  stir. 
Just  at  the  center,  the  meeting  point  of  all  these  energies, 
stands  a  man,  thinking,  feeling,  willing.  Upon  him  as  a 
focus  converge  all  rays  of  influence  from  the  inclosing 
world.  Responding  to  their  impact,  he  perceives  a  sudden 
harmony  within  the  tumult  of  sensation  and  flashing  idea,  a 
harmony  which  is  beauty,  and  his  whole  being  is  flooded 
with  emotion.  His  joy,  wonder,  worship,  surge  to  expres- 
sion. Out  of  the  chaos  he  compels  a  new  order,  the  image 
of  his  perception;  and  this  he  bodies  forth  in  material  form 
through  the  medium  of  words,  shaping  it  after  the  pattern 
of  his  perception,  and  moulding  it  to  his  mood.  The  mighty 
pulse  of  nature  bids  him  to  sing,  to  voice  his  insight  and  his 
feeling  in  accordant  rhythm.  So  out  of  the  fullness  of  his 
spirit,  quickened  by  the  beauty  of  the  world  and  its  inner 
meaning,  wells  a  song.    The  lyric  is  born. 

It  lies  not  on  the  sunlit  hill 

Nor  in  the  sunlit  gleam 
Nor  ever  in  any  falling  wave 

Nor  ever  in  running  stream — 

But  sometimes  in  the  soul  of  man 

Slow  moving  through  his  pain 
The  moonlight  of  a  perfect  peace 

Floods  heart  and  brain.' 

So  the  external  world  weaves  endlessly  its  subtle  patterns 
of  beauty  and  meaning,  at  times  well  hidden  indeed,  but 
yielding  finally  their  secret  to  the  ardent  searchings  of  the 
human  heart.  Often  the  lyric  ^springs,  as  it  seems  spon- 
taneously, out  of  a  sheer  joy  of  things. 

Sumer  is  icumen  in, 

Lhude"  sing  cuccu ! 
Groweth  sed,  and  bloweth  med, 

And  springth  the  wude^  nu — * 
Sing  cuccu  I 

*  William  Sharp.         *  Loud.    The  final  e's  are  pronounced  as  syllables. 
'Wood.  "Now. 


Awe'  bleteth  after  lomb, 

Lhouth^*  after  calve  cu ; 
BuUuc  sterteth,"  bucke  verteth,*" 

Murie  sing  cuccu! 

Cuccu,  cuccu,  well  singes  thu,  cuccu: 

Ne  swike**  thu  naver  nu; 
Sing  cuccu,  nu,  sing  cuccu. 

Sing  cuccu,  sing  cuccu,  nu ! 

The  bird's  note  gives  the  key.  The  poet  responds,  his  joy 
overflows  into  images,  his  melody  voices  the  music  of 
Spring!  As  this  is  one  of  the  earliest  lyrics  in  our  lan- 
guage, so  it  is  also,  in  spirit,  form,  and  content,  a  veritable 
spring  song  of  the  lyric  mood. 

For  the  lyric  poem  is  born  in  emotion.    Its  moving  spirit 
is  song. 

Piping  down  the  valleys  wild. 

Piping  songs  of  pleasant  glee, 
On  a  cloud  I  saw  a  child. 

And  he  laughing  said  to  me: 

"Pipe  a  song  about  a  lamb  \" 
So  I  piped  with  merry  cheer. 


Piper,  pipe  that  song  again ;" 
So  I  piped :  he  wept  to  hear. 

"Drop  thy  pipe,  thy  happy  pipe; 

Sing  thy  songs  of  happy  cheer  I" 
So  I  sung  the  same  again. 

While  he  wept  with  joy  to  hear. 

"Piper,  sit  thee  down  and  write 

In  a  book  that  all  may  read." 
So  he  vanished  from  my  sight; 

And  I  pluck'd  a  hollow  reed. 

And  I  made  a  rural  pen, 
,  And  I  stain'd  the  water  clear, 

And  I  wrote  my  happy  songs 
Every  child  may  joy  to  hear." 

The  impulse  to  music  is  the  lyric's  source.    But  the  fragile, 
delicately  wrought  vessel  of  lyrical  form  is  capable  of  inex- 

»  Ewe.  "  Loweth.  "  Leaps.  "  Runs  to  the  greenwood. 

^  Cease.     The  music  to  which  this  lyric  was  sung  in  the  first  half  d 
the  thirteenth  century  still  exists. 
"WiUiam  Blake.    H.  C,  xU,  599- 


haustible  variety  and  wealth  of  content.  It  may  hold  as  an 
aroma  the  evanescent  mood  of  a  moment;  or  into  it  may  be 
poured  the  accumulated  treasure^  pf  a  ripe  experience.  The 
only  limitation  of  a  lyric  is  th«it  it  shall  sinj;  otherwise  it 
is  free  to  range  earth  and  sky  and  the  inmost  chambers  of 
the  heart. 


The  lyric,  therefore,  is  a  poet's  fuHesSi  putppuring  of  him- 
self. More  than  any  other  fgrjn  pf  poetry  it  is  toned  to  hi$ 
mood,  and  breathes  the  intensity  of  his  emotion.  But  it  is 
capable  also  of  a  burden  of  thought,  provided  only  that  the 
thought  take  wing  and  rise  from  the  shell  of  abstraction 
into  the  full-embodied  life  of  warm  and  colored  image.  In 
its  simplest  import  the  lyric  is  a  cry.  A  sudden  fr«sh  vision 
of  beauty  releases  the  deep  sources  of  joy,  and  the  emotion, 
gathering  about  the  Image  that  has  quickened  it,  wells  forth 
in  rhythmic  pulse,  into  surgent,  glowing  words. 

Hail  to  thee,  blithe  Spirit! 

Bird   t^ou   never  wert, 
That  from  heaven,  or  near  It, 

Pourest  thy  full  heart 
In  profuse  strains  of  unpremeditated  art 

Higher  still  and  higher 

From  the  earth  thpii  spHng^^t 
J^jkt  i^  clgud  qi  fire  j 

The  blve  4eep  tfeou  wlpgest, 
And  ^ipglng  still  4ost  spar,  and  soaring  ever  singest. 

In  the  fgoHfin  lightning 
Of  th^  sunken  ?up 

O'er  which  cloud?  ?re  brightening. 
Thou  dost  float  and  run. 
Like  an  unbodied  joy  whose  race  !s  just  begun.^ 

The  song  of  a  skylark,  playing  jicross  the  strings  of  the 
poet's  interpreting  and  transfiguring  teippers^ment,  is  cthe- 
reali^ed  into  a  rarer  music  It  floats  us  b«ck  the  bird's 
song;  but  it  u  the  very  spirit  of  poetry. 

Another  poet  thus  describes  this  instant  experience  of 
beauty  in  Us  full  immediacy: 


The  sounding  cataract 
Haunted  me  like  a  passion :  the  tall  rock. 
The  mountain,  and  the  deep  and  gloomy  wood. 
Their  colours  and  their  forms,  were  then  to  me 
An  appetite ;  a  feeling  and  a  love, 
That  had  no  need  of  a  remoter  charm. 
By  thought  supplied,  nor  any  interest 
Unborrowed  from  the  eye." 

But  fresh,  immediate  vision  may  be  attended  by  insight ;  the 
poet  sees  deeper,  feels  more,  and  into  the  precious  vessel  of 
his  verse  he  pours  a  richer  meaning: 

I  have  learned 
To  look  on  nature,  not  as  in  the  hour 
Of  thoughtless  youth ;  but  hearing  oftentimes 
The  still,  sad  music  of  humanity, 
Nor  harsh  nor  grating,  though  of  ample  power 
To  chasten  and  subdue.     And  I  have  felt 
A  presence  that  disturbs  me  with  the  joy 
Of  elevated  thoughts:  a  sense  sublime 
Of  something  far  more  deeply  interfused. 
Whose  dwelling  is  the  light  of  setting  suns. 
And  the  round  ocean  and  the  living  air, 
And  the  blue  sky,  and  in  the  mind  of  man : 
A  motion  and  a  spirit,  that  impels 
All  thinking  things,  all  objects  of  all  thought. 
And  rolls  through  all  things." 

As  poetry,  these  verses  in  themselves  have  not  quite  the  lyric 
impetus.  They  move  to  a  stately  music  suited  to  the  calm 
elevation  of  mind,  in  which  "the  spontaneous  overflow  of 
powerful  feelings"  is  now  "recollected  in  tranquillity."  They 
describe,  however,  rather  than  illustrate,  the  lyric  temper. 
They  are  still  charged  with  emotion  which  heightens  and 
intensifies  the  actual  material  stuff  out  of  which  they  are 
(voven,  and  so  they  are  true  poetry.  But  the  burden  of 
fhought  tends  to  impede  that  upward  spring  of  feeling  which 
is  the  essence  of  the  lyric  mood. 

The  range  of  lyric  poetry  is  limited  onl}'  by  the  capacities 
of  the  human  spirit;  it  is  coextensive  with  the  height  and 
depth  of  man's  mind  and  heart.  A  lyric  is  some  one  poet's 
interpretation  of  the  beauty,  the  wonder,  the  profound 
mystery,  of  life  as  he  perceives  and  feels  it,  by  the  magic  of 

"Wordsworth.     H.  C,  xli,  6soS.    "Wordsworth.     H.  C,  xli,  6soff. 


word-image  made  visible  to  the  inward  eye,  by  the  weaving 
of  tone  and  measured  beat  made  vocal  in  the  soul.  In  swift, 
vivid  phrase  it  may  picture  a  butterfly  or  a  world ;  in  richly- 
freighted  word  it  may  seem,  for  an  illumined  moment,  to 
unlock  the  vast  secret  of  life,  discovering  truth.  The  lyric 
may  be  an  iridescent  jet  of  song,  piercing  the  silence;  it 
may  be  a  mighty  hymn,  resolving  discords  and  voicing  the 
praise  of  things.  No  mood  is  denied  it;  joy  and  sorrow, 
hope  and  regret,  tears  and  laughter,  lie  within  its  compass. 
Its  characteristic  note  is  intense  personality.  But  the  true 
poet  transfigures  the  beauty  he  has  seen  in  his  little  corner 
of  the  earth  into  cosmic  vistas,  opening  to  infinity,  and  trans- 
mutes his  private  joys  and  griefs  into  the  great  passionate 
fountains  of  universal  happiness  and  suffering  accessible  to 
all  men. 


Any  subject  may  be  turned  to  the  uses  of  poetry  accord- 
ing as  the  poet  conceives  it  in  a  certain  way.  At  once  more 
sensitive  and  more  creative  than  other  men,  the  poet  sees 
life  more  intensely  and  more  beautifully.  He  is  stirred  by 
the  splendor  or  tenderness  of  nature's  pageantry  of  shifting 
colors  and  impressive  forms ;  he  is  quickened  to  penetrating 
thought  by  his  insight  into  the  living  principle  which  shapes 
the  world,  and  by  his  sense  of  the  varying  significance  of 
men's  purposes  and  destiny.  His  emotion  impels  him  to  ex- 
press his  perception,  carrying  lightly  also  its  burden  of 
thought,  in  an  ordered  pattern  of  word-symbols,  which  re- 
produce images  from  the  external  world,  but  which  invest 
them  with  associations  and  implicate  further  meanings.  To 
this  transcript  of  the  immediate  and  actual  world  he  adds: 

The  gleam, 
The  light  that  never  was,  on  sea  or  land, 
The  consecration,  and  the  poet's  dream. 

Thus  to  transfigure  the  world  and  life,  under  the  stimulus 
of  feeling  and  by  the  power  of  insight,  is  the  magic  and  the 
mystery  of  the  poet  So,  too,  poetry  may  range  through 
the  vast,  complex  whole  of  experience,  to  draw  thence  its 
inspiration  and  its  material.  But  life  may  be  thus  conceived 
poetically,  and  yet  the  idea  may  be  expressed  in  prose.    To 


give  it  poetical  cxpreision,  there  must  pulse  tlinmgli  the 
subject  matter,  whatever  ^se  it  wear,  that  deep  upwelliiig 
of  emotion  which  prompts  the  poet  to  phrase  his  thought 
in  the  word-pattern  which  is  a  poem. 

The  poetic  impulse,  rising  out  of  vision  and  emotion, 
utters  itself  in  speech,  but  speech  flowing  in  measured  pulse 
and  cast  in  a  determinate  mould  As  the  stuff  out  of  which 
the  web  of  poetry  is  woven  is  both  intellectual  and  emo- 
tional, thou^  the  two  elements  may  combine  in  varying 
proportions,  so  these  elements  together  go  to  the  shaping 
of  the  final  total  form.  This  form,  comprising  both  tiie 
measured  flow  of  words  and  their  ultimate  arrangement  in 
a  pattern,"  is  a  poem.  And  this  form  is  not  accidental  or 
arbitrary,  but  is  conditioned  by  the  nature  itself  of  the 
human  mind  and  spirit 


Within  the  texture  of  every  poem  beats  a  pulse  like  the 
throb  of  coursing  blood  in  a  living  body ;  and  this  pulse  or 
rhythm  is  the  life  of  poetic  form.  Indeed  rhythm  is  the 
very  heart  of  the  universe  itself.  No  manifestation  of  the 
active  principle  in  the  great  frame  of  things  is  so  intimate 
or  so  pervasive.  Day  and  night,  flow  and  ebb,  the  perfect 
return  of  the  seasons,  the  breath  of  our  nostrils  and  the 
stars  in  their  courses  echo  alike  its  mighty  music.  In  the 
little  practical  affairs  of  life,  no  less  than  in  earth's  orbic 
sweep  through  stellar  spaces,  rhythm  is  a  law  of  movement, 
to  which  all  sustained  action  instinctively  conforms.  It 
makes  movement  easier,  as  in  labor — ^whether  the  quick  ts^ 
of  a  smith's  hammer  on  his  anvil  or  the  long-drawn  tug  oJE 
a  gang  at  a  rope.  Soldiers,  marching  to  an  ordered  step 
lighten  the  fatigue  of  weary  miles.  Rhythm  also  make 
movement  pleasurable,  as  in  the  dance.  And,  conversel)^ 
the  perception  of  rhythm  in  things  external  to  oneself  is 
both  easy  and  pleasurable.  Alike  in  its  subjective  and  its 
objective  aspects,  therefore,  rhythm  is  in  essential  harmony 
with  the  spirit  of  man. 

"For  this  suggestion  of  poetrv  as  a  "pattern**  I  am  indebted  to  VtQ» 
f «Mor  J.  W.  Mickail's  Oxford  Lectnres  oa  Poetiy. 



As  the  order  of  the  universe  is  shot  through  with  a  living 
pulse,  so  emotion,  too,  if  sustained,  tends  to  express  itself 
in  rhythm.  The  emotional  stimulus  of  the  perception  of 
beauty,  or  the  excitement  attending  insight  into  the  deeper 
truth  of  life,  quickens  the  heart-throb;  this  heightened 
activity  overflows  to  expression  in  words  which  reproduce 
the  measured  beat  of  the  impetus  out  of  which  they  spring. 
And  so  a  poem  comes  to  birth.  In  its  most  primitive  forms, 
some  scholars  tell  us,  poetry  is  but  the  voice  accompaniment 
to  the  rhythms  of  bodily  movement  in  work  and  play."  A 
woman  grinding  corn  back  and  forth  between  two  stones, 
keeps  time  by  the  crooning  of  unreasoned  words  in  endless 
repetition.  A  fragment  of  an  old  spinning  song  echoes  in 
Ophelia's  ravings:  "You  must  sing  Down-a-down,  An  you 
call  him  a-down'O,  O,  how  the  wheel  becomes  it!"  Lithe- 
bodied  men  shout  in  unison  their  war  chant,  as  they  tread 
the  circle  of  the  dance.  Youths  and  maidens  in  common 
festival  recite  in  turn  the  verses  of  a  ballad,  caught  and 
flung  back  in  the  refrain.  The  principle  holds  true  through- 
out the  age-long  evolution  of  poetry.  From  the  earliest  to 
the  latest  manifestations  of  the  poetic  impulse,  in  the  in- 
stinctive voicing  of  physical  movement  and  in  the  highly 
wrought  creations  of  mature  art,  the  great  deep  pulse  at  the 
heart  of  things  finds  utterance. 

Lo,  with  the  ancient 
Roots  of  man's  nature. 
Twines  the  eternal 
Passion  of  song. 

Deep  in  the  world-heart 
Stand  its  foundations, 
fangled  with  all  things. 
Twin-made  with  all. 

Nay,  what  is  Nature's 
Self,  but  an  endless 
Strife  toward  music. 
Euphony,  rhyme? 

God  on  His  throne  is 
Eldest  of  poets : 
Unto  His  measvires 
Moveth  the  Whole.* 

«»  See  F.  B.  Gummere,  "The  Beginnings  of  Poetry."       «>  William  Watson. 


This  is  the  origin  and  reason-why  of  rhythm  in  poetry. 
Whatever  the  poet's  mood,  whether  it  be  an  outburst  of 
sheer  joy  or  the  chastened  calm  of  meditation,  his  verse  is 
the  counterpart,  made  audible,  of  his  emotion,  and  moves 
to  an  accordant  rhythm.  The  swift  but  sustained  flow  of 
Homer's  dactylic  hexameters,  reciting  the  deeds  of  heroes; 
the  stately  procession  of  Milton's  iambic  pentameter,  un- 
folding a  drama  of  Heaven  and  Hell;  the  soaring  flight  of 
Shelley's  skylark;  the  pounding  hoof-beats  of  Browning's 
mad  ride, 

I  sprang  to  the  stirrup,  and  Joris,  and  he, 

I  galloped,  Dirck  galloped,  we  galloped  all  three;** 

whether  forward  thrust  or  steady  march  or  winged  flight, — 
the  lilt  of  the  verse  expresses  the  emotional  stress  and  im- 
petus within  it. 


And  more.  For  the  rhythm  of  verse  not  only  expresses 
the  emotion  out  of  which  it  springs;  this  it  also  communi- 
cates. It  imparts  to  the  hearer  its  own  energy  and  kindles 
him  to  a  like  emotion.  Poetry  has  much  in  common  with 
other  kinds  of  literature.  Prose  may  render  a  heightened 
image  of  the  world,  as  in  the  novel ;  it  may  rouse  to  action, 
as  in  oratory.  In  essence,  imaginative  literature  may  have 
a  constant  element  within  its  various  manifestations.  What 
primarily  distinguishes  poetry  from  prose  is  this  element  of 
definite  rhythm.  By  virtue  of  it,  poetry  is  more  immediate 
and  more  intense  in  its  appeal.  The  "imitative  movements." 
psychologists  would  say,  set  going  in  our  own  organism, 
rouse  in  us  a  corresponding  emotion.  Rhythm,  too,  makes 
for  ease  of  perception,  and  is  in  itself  a  source  of  pleasure. 
When  rightly  managed,  it  serves  also  to  emphasize  the  in- 
tellectual content  of  the  verse.  The  rhythm  of  poetic  form 
is  not  a  mechanical  contrivance,  but  is  the  inevitable  thrust  of 
the  passion  within.  At  its  best,  it  is  never  monotonous.  It 
should  not  be  a  regularly  recurring  series  of  alternate  beats, 
or  "sing-song";  by  subtle  variations  of  stress,  corresponding 
both  to  the  emotional  impetus  and  to  the  meaning  of  the 

**H.  C,  xlii,  1 1 07. 


words,  it  may  unfold  itself  in  undulations;  the  surge  of  the 
inner  tide  may  break  in  dancing  wave  crests,  an  infinite 
variety  of  light  and  shade,  playing  over  the  surface  of  the 
great  central  unity.  The  meter  may  change  step  at  need, 
obedient  to  an  inner  law. 

Come  lovely  and  soothing  death, 

Undulate  round  the  world,  serenely  arriving,   arriving 

In  the  day,  in  the  night,  to  all,  to  each. 

Sooner  or  later  delicate  death.^ 

And  so  on  through  a  surpassingly  beautiful  poem.  The 
meter,  or  measured  foot,  is  not  evident  here,  but  inevitably 
we  feel  a  deep-drawn  throb  that  lays  hold  on  us,  and  carries 
us  to  its  own  mood.  To  such  lines  as  these  we  gratefully 
accord  the  honorable  name  of  poetry. 

Rhythm  alone,  however,  is  not  enough  to  constitute  a 
poem.     A  mere  drone  of  words  in  meaningless  repetition, 
though  it  may  illustrate  one  of  the  origins  of  poetry,  is  not 
poetry  itself.     There  must  be  progress  in  the  recurrence, 
and  the  repeat  must  build  itself  up  into  a  pattern.    Any  bit 
of  experience,  to  be  truly  understood  or  vitally  assimilated, 
must  be  apprehended  as  a  whole.    In  the  tumult  of  the  world 
external  to  him  the  mind  of  man  insistently  demands  order 
and  significance.    Nature  has  compelled  the  poet  to  her  o\^n 
rhythm;  that  is  his  inspiration.    The  poet  must  now  compel 
nature  to  his  purposes  of  expression;  that  is  his  art.     His 
temperament  has  vibrated  to  the  sweep  of  cosmic  influences ; 
now  his  mind  enters  as  a  controlling  and  organiziilg  force 
to  shape  his  perception  and  his  meaning  into  a  single  total 
unity.     Out  of  rhythm   in   repetition   and  combination   he 
frames  a  harmony.    And  so  his  poem  presents  a  wholeness 
of  impression.     His  pattern  is  built  of  the  repeat  of  single 
elements:  metrical  bars  or  feet  compose  the  line  or  verse; 
lines  combine  into  stanzas;  and  stanzas  fashioned  after  a 
common  design  succeed  one  another  in  progress  to  the  end. 
Here  again,  the  structure  is  not  mechanical  or  arbitrary: 
each  verse  is  measured  to  the  turn  of  the  thought;  and  the 
formal  unity  of  the  whole  poem  corresponds  to  the  unity  of 
mood  or  idea  that  the  poem  is  framed  to  express. 

"Walt  Whitman,  H.  C,  xlii,  1503. 
HCL— 3 



The  poet's  medium,  or  means  of  expression,  is  words. 
The  painter  works  with  color,  the  sculptor  with  form,  the 
musician  with  tone.  Color  and  form  and  tone  are  pleasur- 
able in  themselves,  as  sensations;  they  become  beautiful  and 
significant  by  force  of  what  they  may  be  made  to  express. 
So  words  in  themselves  also  have  a  sensuous  value.  When 
used  as  instruments  of  beauty,  they  may  add  to  the  rhythmic 
structure  of  a  poem  the  element  of  melody.  This  tonal 
quality  is  secured  most  easily  and  obviously  by  rhyme,  which 
is  perfect  concord  of  vowel  sounds  together  with  the  con- 
sonants following  to  complete  the  syllable,  as  in  sight,  night 
Besides  adding  musical  value  to  the  phrase,  rhyme,  when 
adroitly  managed,  serves  to  define  the  pattern  of  the  poem 
and  to  emphasize  the  meaning  of  the  words  in  which  it  falls. 
Lesser  components  of  the  melodic  element  are  assonance, 
alliteration,  and  tone-color.  Assonance  is  the  repetition  of 
the  same  vowel  sound  within  syllables,  but  with  different  con- 
sonants, as  shape,  mate.  Alliteration  is  the  agreement  in 
sound  of  initial  syllables,  as  in  "The  /isp  of  /eaves  and  the 
ripple  of  rain."  Alliteration,  combined  with  stress,  is  the 
essential  verse-principle  of  Anglo-Saxon  poetry;  it  is  used 
to-day  at  the  risk  of  obscuring  the  sense  by  overloading  the 
ornament.  The  melodic  quality  of  tone-color  is  more  subtle; 
it  is  the  suggestion  of  the  meaning  of  the  words  by  the  tonal 
quality  and  value  of  their  syllables,  as  in  "Sweet  dimness  of 
her  loosened  hair's  downfall,"  where  the  slow  change  in 
vowel  quality,  e,  i,  5,  a,  seems  to  invest  the  image  with  a  kind 
of  "penumbra"  of  sound.  These  are  the  notes  of  the  poet's 
gamut;  the  master  craftsman  employs  them  with  a  Just  re- 
ticence to  enhance  the  sensuous  appeal  of  his  art. 

But  poetry  is  not  only  emotional  and  sensuous  in  its  ap- 
peal. By  virtue  of  its  medium  of  words,  it  is  adapted — to 
an  extent  that  the  arts  of  painting,  sculpture,  and  music  are 
not — to  the  expression  of  intellectual  ideas.  It  gains  in 
potency,  however,  in  the  measure  that  it  phrases  these  ideas 
not  in  abstract  terms  but  concretely.  Words  are  not  color 
or  form,  but  they  can  suggest  it  by  means  of  images.  Emo- 
tion always  has  an  object,  which  calls  it  out  and  represents 


it.  The  image  in  the  word  becomes  the  expression  of  the 
poet's  own  feeling;  and  it  is  also  the  symbol  and  occasion  to 
others  of  a  like  emotion.  How  much  Wordsworth^s  apos- 
trophe to  Duty  gains  in  persuasion  by  the  beauty  of  sug- 
gested images  I  So  the  idea  embodies  itself  and  becomes 
warm  and  vivid,  rousingf  the  hearer's  imagination  to  vision 
and  kindling  him  to  emotion.  This  evocative  power  of 
words  is  the  secret  of  the  poet,  and  is  hardly  to  be  analyzed. 
It  attaches  to  the  tonal  beauty  of  their  syllables,  in  them- 
selves and  in  rhythmic  combination,;  it  derives  from  their 
vividness  of  image,  and  from  the  associations,  both  intel- 
lectual and  emotional,  which  cling  around  them  like  an 
aroma  and  an  exhalation. 

Bright  Star!  would  I  were  steadfast  as  tlv)U  strt>— 

Not  in  lone  splendour  hung  aloft  the  night, 

And  watching,  with  eternal  lids  apart, 

Like  Nature's  patient  sleepless  Eremite, 

The  moving  waters  at  their  priestlike  task 

Of  pure  ablution  round  earth's  hiunan  shores." 

Who  can  say  wherein  lies  the  witchery  of  this  word-music! 
It  can  only  be  felt.  In  addition  to  the  common  meaning  of 
its  terms,  therefore,  language  seems  to  have  a  further  ex- 
pressiveness. This  new  significance  is  the  creation  of  the 
poet,  wrought  out  of  the  familiar  words  by  his  cunning 
manipulation  of  them.  The  wonder  of  the  poet's  craft  is 
like  the  musician's, — 

That  out  of  three  sounds  he  frames,  not  a  fourth  sound,  but  a  star.** 


Poetic  form  rouses  the  whole  being  to  sympathetic  action 
by  its  rhythm;  it  delights  the  ear  by  its  melodious  tone;  the 
logic  of  its  coherent  harmonic  structure  satisfies  the  mind; 
its  word-images  stimulate  the  imagination  by  their  power  of 
evocation.  So  poetry  adds  to  fact  its  intellectual  worth  and 
all  the  emotional  value  inhering  in  it.  Finally  form  and 
meaning   become    one.     And   most   intimately    so   in   lyric 


Keats,  H.  C,  xli,  922. 

Browning**  **Abt  Vogler,"  H.  C,  xlii,    xx44-iX48. 


poetry.  Here  we  feel  that  just  this  idea  could  not  be  ex- 
pressed, just  that  emotion  could  not  be  communicated,  in 
any  other  way.  The  essence  and  mystery  of  the  song  arc 
in  the  singing. 

A  poem  is  a  fragment  of  life  rounded  into  momentary 
completeness.  It  compels  the  chaos  of  immediate  sense,  im- 
pressions into  forms  of  beauty,  and  so  it  builds  a  fairer 
world.  It  catches  the  rhythms  that  pulse  at  the  mighty  heart 
of  things  and  weaves  them  into  subtle  and  satisfying  pat- 
terns; its  verbal  melodies  waken  in  the  soul  dim  echoes  of 
the  desired  music  of  the  spheres.  It  floods  life  with  un- 
accustomed light.  But  it  is  illusion  only  in  that  it  sees  be- 
yond the  changing  shows  of  nature  and  discerns  the  loveli- 
ness which  the  human  spirit  would  fain  believe  is  the  vesture 
of  the  Eternal.  Poetry  is  not  illusion,  but  rather  the  express 
image  of  a  higher  reality.  The  poet  would  compass  life  and 
utterly  possess  it.  Not  as  a  patient  observer  of  nature's 
processes,  not  a  passive  spectator  of  the  moving  play  of 
human  fate,  he  loves  what  he  beholds.  To  him,  as  to  a 
lover,  the  world  yields  something  of  its  secret.  By  force  of 
imaginative,  creative  vision,  he  sees  life  in  its  wholeness, 
though  but  for  an  illumined  moment.  Emotion  and  insight 
fuse  into  an  image  of  perfection.  To  the  poet  truth  reveals 
itself  as  beauty.  But  the  revelation  is  never  finished.  There- 
fore all  great  and  true  poetry  is  the  utterance  of  an  inspira- 
tion. It  is  the  dream  of  a  world  ever  realized  and  yet  ever 
to  be  won.  In  the  words  of  one  of  its  prophets :  "Poetry  is 
the  first  and  last  of  all  knowledge — it  is  as  immortal  as  the 
heart  of  man." 


By  Professor  Charles  Burton  Gulick 

EPIC  poetry  might  be  described  as  that  in  which  fewest 
poets  have  achieved  distinction.  Homer,  Virgil,  Mil- 
ton are  the  names  which  occur  to  the  mind  when  we 
try  to  define  the  type,  but  beyond  these  three  it  is  hard  to 
find  any  who  have  successfully  treated  a  large  theme  with 
the  dignity,  grandeur,  and  beauty  which  the  heroic  poem 

This  is  because  the  standard  was  set  at  the  beginning ;  and 
when  we  analyze  the  method  and  the  purpose  of  these  great 
poets,  Homer  emerges  as  the  one  supreme  and  incomparable 
master  of  them  all.  For,  in  "Paradise  Lost,"*  Milton  was 
too  often  diverted  from  the  true  office  of  the  poet  by  theo- 
logical controversy;  Virgil's  "^neid"*  is  the- highly  studied 
product  of  a  self-conscious  age,  and  was  deliberately  written 
to  exalt  the  greatness  of  imperial  Rome. 


And  yet,  although  the  art  of  Homer  is  more  naive  and 
unconscious  than  Virgil's,  it  is  a  mistake  to  think,  as  the 
eighteenth  century  thought,  that  Homer  represents  the  child- 
hood of  the  race.  Fresh,  vigorous,  spontaneous,  swift,  he 
none  the  less  stands  at  the  end  of  many  generations  of 
singers.  From  them  he  inherited  traditions  of  versification, 
diction,  and  phrase  that  reach  back  to  the  very  earliest 
emergence  of  the  Greeks  from  barbarism. 

The  material  of  the  first  epic  songs  was  quite  simple.  In 
the  beginning  the  tribal  gods  would  be  the  theme  of  a  hymn 
of  praise  or  thanksgiving;  and  since  the  heroic  ancestors  of 
the  chieftains  were  thought  to  be  the  sons  of  gods,  it  was 
easy  to  pass  from  god  to  man,  and  contemporary  exploits  in 

*  Harvard  Classics,  iv,  89-362.  •  H.  C,  xiii. 



some  famous  raid  were  not  forgotten.  Sacred  hymn  became 
heroic  lay.  Popular  poetry  it  was,  in  the  sense  that  it  ap- 
pealed strongly  to  popular  interest  and  local  pride.  But  it 
remained  the  possession  of  heaven-gifted  singers  whose  pro- 
fession was  hereditary. 


During  the  twelfth  century  before  Christ  there  came  a 
mighty  upheaval,  involving  the  fall  of  Mycenae  and  the  final 
ruin  of  her  splendid  civilization.  New  adjustments  of  terri- 
tory took  place,  and  wholesale  migrations  of  Greek-speaking 
peoples,  calling  themselves  Achseans,  iEolians,  lonians,  of 
Boeotians,  to  the  littoral  of  Asia  Minor.  The  stir  and  adven- 
ture of  moving  tribes,  the  prowess  of  their  champions,  the 
mingling  of  men  of  the  same  race,  though  of  different  clans, 
on  the  edge  of  a  country  where  barbarians  filled  the  hinter- 
land, developed  a  new  pride  in  national  achievement,  and 
furnished,  in  fact,  just  the  conditions  most  favorable  for  the 
development  of  the  epic.  Legends  brought  from  home, 
where  the  fathers  had  lived  a  simpler  life,  began  to  expand 
to  larger  proportions.  Achilles  and  Hector,  who  had  pos- 
sibly been  rival  chiefs  on  the  border  between  southern 
Thessaly  and  Boeotia,  now  became,  in  the  conception  of  the 
bards,  magnificent  princes,  fighting,  not  for  cattle,  but  for 
national  existence.  The  scene  of  their  exploits  is  shifted 
from  the  old  homeland  to  the  new,  and  as  the  imagination 
of  the  emigrants  grew  with  their  larger  life  in  the  new 
country,  so  their  legends  came  to  embody  more  incident,  to 
take  on  more  brilliant  coloring,  and  to  voice  higher  national 

Thus  Agamemnon,  whose  power  on  the  Greek  main- 
land had  by  no  means  been  limited  to  the  one  small 
citadel  of  Mycenae,  snugly  built  among  the  hills  of  Argos, 
had  room  to  expand  to  something  like  imperial  dimensions 
through  the  patriotic  impulse  of  these  later  epic  singers. 
Growing  more  skillful  in  characterization,  they  helped  to 
rear  the  great  antithesis  between  Achaean  and  Trojan,  be- 
tween Greek  and  barbarian,  the  West  and  the  East;  they 
founded  Hellenism. 



That  the  story  of  the  Trojan  War,  embellished  as  it  is 
with  mythical  details,  reflects  historical  facts — actual  con- 
flicts between  the  Achaean  and  iEolian  immigrants  on  the 
one  hand,  and  the  Dardanian  inhabitants  of  the  Troad,  on 
the  other,  is  now  no  longer  doubted.  The  "Iliad,"  which  in 
•its  present  form  is  the  work  of  a.  single  genius,  is  the  result 
of  complicated  processes  which  include  the  borrowing, 
adaptation,  and  enlargement  of  old  material  and  the  inven- 
tion of  new. 

It  is  not  free  from  inconsistencies  in  detail  and  occa- 
sional lapses  in  interest.  "Even  the  good  Homer  nods," 
says  Horace.  But  though  he  nods  now  and  then,  he  never 
goes  to  sleep, 

The  *'Odyssey"*  probably  belongs  to  a  somewhat  later  era 
than  that  in  which  the  "Iliad"  took  final  shape.  The  wan- 
derings of  Odysseus  reflect  newer  experiences  of  the  same 
Achaean  stock  which  had  won  success  in  stirring  conflicts  in 
Asia,  and  was  now  pushing  out  in  ships  over  the  Medi- 
terranean to  compete  with  the  Phoenician  trader.  The 
"Odyssey"  presupposes  the  events  described  in  the  "Iliad"; 
unlike  the  "Iliad,"  it  is  not  a  story  of  battles  and  sieges, 
but  of  adventure  and  intrigue  which  center  about  a  bold 

It  is  full  of  the  wonder  of  a  new  world;  of  strange  escapes; 
I  of  shipwreck  and  the  terrifying  power  of  winds  and  waves ;  of 
monsters  and  witches  and  giants ;  of  encounters  with  pirates, 
and  exploration  into  wild  countries,  even  to  the  borders  of 
the  earth  and  to  the  underworld.  It  has  furnished  the  model 
of  some  of  Sindbad's*  adventurers,  and  is  the  precursor  of 
Gulliver  and  Munchausen.  It  has  given  to  later  poetry  the 
lotus-eaters*  and  the  Sirens,  and  to  the  language  of  proverb 
Scylla  and  Charybdis,  and  has  enriched  our  nursery  books 
with  some  of  their  most  entrancing  characters.  As  a  relief 
to  the  stir  and  trial  of  the  hero,  it  pictures  the  happiness  and 
beauty  of  rural  life,  and  presents  the  noblest  portrait  of  a 
faithful  wife  in  all  literature. 

•H.  C.  xxii.  9.  *  H.  C.j  xvi,  342-309. 

*Cf.  Tennyson's  poem  in  H.  C,  luil,  2062. 



The  dramatic  structure  of  the  "Odyssey"  has  always  been 
admired.  The  entrance  of  the  hero  is  postponed  in  order  to 
develop  the  situation  and  introduce  his  lovable,  if  soipewhat 
futile,  son  Telemachus,  together  with  some  characters  made 
familiar  by  the  "Iliad":  Nestor,  Helen,  and  Menelaus.  We 
are  then  transported  to  Calypso's  Isle,  there  to  find  Odysseus 
chafing  under  restraint  There  ensue  the  departure,  the 
anger  of  Poseidon,  the  wreck,  and  the  rescue  m  the  land  of 
the  Phseacians.  The  scene  shifts  to  the  brilliant  court  of 
their  king,  Alcinous,  before  whom  Odysseus  recoimts  the 
wonderful  adventures  which  preceded  his  arrival  at  Calyp- 
so's island.  In  Phaeacia  Odysseus  meets  Nausicaa,  the  fair- 
est and  most  radiant  girlish  figure  in  Greek  literature. 
Nothing  will  better  illustrate  the  difference  between  Homer 
and  Virgil  than  a  comparison  of  Nausicaa's  words  of  part- 
ing with  the  violent  outpourings  of  Dido's  spirit  when 
-^neas  leaves  her.'  This  part  of  the  "Odyssey"  is  also 
highly  interesting  and  important  for  the  way  in  which  the 
bard  Demodocus  represents  the  traditions  and  methods  of 
the  heroic  lay. 

The  second  half  of  the  story  begins  when  the  Phaeacians 
carry  Odysseus  home.  Disguised  as  a  beggar,  he  meets  with 
a  series  of  encounters  which  give  full  play  to  the  dramatic 
devices  of  recognition  and  irony,  so  skillfully  practiced  later 
on  the  Greek  stage.  He  discloses  himself  to  Telemachus. 
Then  his  old  dog  Argos  recognizes  him,  in  a  scene  full  of 
pathos.  Finally,  after  a  supreme  trial  of  strength  and  skill, 
and  the  slaughter  of  the  suitors,  the  husband  makes  himself 
known  to  his  wife,  and  then  to  his  aged  father.  Faults  of 
repetition  there  are  in  plenty;  but  they  only  show  with  what 
fondness  the  epic  poets  loved  to  linger  on  the  story,  and 
how  eager  their  audiences  were  to  have  the  tale  prolonged. 


The  Greeks  were  fond  of  recounting  personal  details 
about  their  great  men,  but  they  were  able  to  tell  about 

•  See  "iEncid,"  in  H.  C,  xiia,  i67fBr 


a  real  Homer.  The  later  legends  concerning  his  life  are 
meager,  and  almost  wholly  disregarded  by  the  scholars  of 
Alexandria.  His  blindness  is  a  trait  often  remarked  to-day 
among  the  popular  singers  in  the  villages  of  Greece  and 
Macedonia.  It  is  beautifully  portrayed  in  the  well-known 
bust  in  the  Naples  Museum.  Seven  cities  claimed  the  honor 
of  being  his  birthplace.  They  were  mostly  on  the  shores  of 
Asia  Minor  or  the  adjacent  islands — a  fact  which  attests 
what  we  knew  before  from  the  language  of  the  poems,  that 
their  latest  composers  were  Ionian  Greeks,  and  that  the 
poems  had  a  vogue  on  that  coast  a  long  time  before  wander- 
ing rhapsodists  carried  them  to  the  mainland.  It  is  not 
known  when  they  were  first  committed  to  writing.  Although 
the  Greeks  knew  how  to  write  as  early  as  the  ninth  century 
before  Christ,  and  possibly  long  before  that  time — ^indeed, 
writing  is  mentioned  once  by  Homer — it  played  no  impor- 
tant part  in  the  earlier  transmission  of  the  poems,  and  it  was 
not  until  the  reign  of  the  tyrant  Pisistratus  in  Athens,  in 
the  sixth  century,  that  they  were  gathered  together  and  set 
down  definitely  in  the  form  in  which  we  have  them.  Thus 
virtually  committed  to  the  guardianship  of  the  Athenians, 
who  were  the  leaders  of  culture  from  the  sixth  to  the  third 
centuries,  the  poems  passed  to  the  custody  of  the  Alexan- 
drines, who  prepared  elaborate  editions  with  notes,  and  di- 
vided them  into  the  "books** — twenty-four  each — ^in  which 
they  appear  to-day. 

The  Romans  studied  them  sedulously,  and  to  Quintilian, 
as  to  Plato,  Homer  was  the  fotmtain  of  eloquence.  The 
western  world  during  the  Middle  Ages  had  more  frequent 
recourse  to  Roman  versions  of  the  tale  of  Troy,  but  with  the 
revival  of  learning  Homer  sprang  almost  immediately  into 
his  rightful  position  at  the  head  of  the  ancients,  and  has 
ever  since  held  firm  hold  of  the  affections  of  all  cultivated 
men  and  women. 


By  Professor  Charles  Hall  Grandgent 

DANTE  ALIGHIERI  (1265-1321)  is  rightly  called  the 
supreme  exponent  of  the  Middle  Ages.  In  no  other 
writer,  ancient  or  modem,  do  we  find  the  spirit  of  a 
great  period  so  completely  reflected  as  the  mediaeval  soul  is 
mirrored  in  him.  It  was  the  epoch  of  mighty  builders  and 
mighty  theologians,  of  religious  exaltation,  of  sturdy,  mili- 
tant faith— the  age  that  produced  the  grand  cathedrals  and 
the  *'Summa  Theologia;,"  the  age  of  the  Crusades,  of  St. 
Bernard  and  St.  Dominic,  the  age  of  St  Francis.  So  es- 
sentially is  Dante  a  poet  of  God  that  the  epithet  "Divine" 
has  by  universal  consent  been  attached  to  the  work  which 
he  called  a  "Comedy";  and  so  manifest  is  his  architectural 
genius  that  his  poem  inevitably  suggests  comparison  with  a 
huge  Gothic  church.  The  troops  of  figures  that  live  eter- 
nally in  his  pages,  representing  all  types  of  contemporary 
man  from  burgher  to  Pope,  diversify  without  obscuring  the 
symmetrical  outlines  of  his  plan — a  plan  sufficiently  vast  to 
embrace  nearly  all  that  was  of  much  importance  in  profane 
and  sacred  science. 


The  "Commedia,"  *  with  its  three  books  and  its  hundred 
cantos,  relates  the  whole  progress  of  a  soul  from  sin, 
through  remorse,  meditation,  and  discipline,  to  the  state  of 
purity  that  enables  it  to  see  God.  Lost  in  wickedness,  the 
poet  suddenly  comes  to  his  senses  and  tries  to  escape  from 
it,  but  in  vain.  Reason,  moved  by  grace,  thereupon  leads 
him  step  by  step  to  a  full  understanding  of  evil,  in  all  its 
ugliness  and  folly;  and  he  at  last  turns  his  back  upon  it 
His  next  duty  is  to  cleanse  his  soul  by  penance,  until  its 

*See  Harvard  Classics,  xx,  and  General  Index,  under  DanU,  in  Tot  L 




innocence  Is  gradually  restored.  Then  Revelation  descends 
to  meet  him,  and  lifts  him  heavenward,  higher  and  higher, 
even  to  the  presence  of  his  Maker.  All  this  is  set  forth 
allegorically  in  the  form  of  a  journey,  under  the  guidance  of 
Virgil  and  then  of  Beatrice,  through  the  underground  king- 
dom of  Hell,  up  the  lonely  mountain  of  Purgatory  to  the 
Garden  of  Eden,  and  thence  through  the  revolving  spheres 
to  Paradise. 


To  US  the  universe  of  the  Middle  Ages  seems  small.  The 
whole  duration  of  earthly  life,  from  Creation  to  Judgment 
Day,  is  limited  to  some  7,000  or  8,000  years.  Our  globe,  a 
solid,  motionless  ball,  surrounded  by  air  and  by  fire,  is  the 
center  of  the  material  world.  About  it  turn  the  nine  suc- 
cessive skies,  transparent,  shell-like,  hollow  spheres,  bearing 
the  sun,  the  moon,  the  planets,  and  the  fixed  stars,  which 
together  constitute  the  force  called  Nature.  Outside  this 
round  universe  of  matter  is  the  Paradise  of  pure  spirit,  the 
limitless  abode  .of  God,  the  angels,  and  the  blest  The 
angels,  ministers  of  the  Lord,  direct  the  movements  of  the 
celestial  bodies,  thus  shaping  existence  here  below  and  the 
characters  of  men.  Of  the  earth's  surface  much  more  than 
half  is  covered  by  water ;  but  on  one  side,  with  Jerusalem  in 
the  middle,  is  the  clover-shaped  continent  of  Europe,  Asia, 
and  Africa.  The  Christian  world  is  ruled  by  two  great 
powers,  one  spiritual,  one  temporal,  both  ordained  by  God: 
Papacy  and  Empire,  founded  by  Christ  and  by  Caesar.  Un- 
righteous ambition  has  brought  them  into  conflict  with  each 

Of  ancient  history,  and  of  all  the  wealth  of  classic 
literature  and  art,  but  little  was  known,  and  that  little  was 
translated  into  terms  of  the  present;  for  the  historical  sense 
was  quite  undeveloped,  and  so  was  the  idea  of  progress,  so 
dear  to  us  modems.  To  the  mediseval  mind,  Solomon,  Alex- 
ander, Caesar,  Charlemagne  were  very  much  alike.  The 
most  noteworthy  survivors  among  the  authors  of  pagan 
Rome  were  Virgil,  Ovid,  Lucan,  Statins,  Cicero,  and  Livy ; 
tto  these  should  be  added  the  Christians,  Boethius  and  St. 


Augustine,  and  the  scholars  and  theologians  who  followed. 
Greek  was  lost;  but  Aristotle,  in  Latin  garb,  began  in  the 
thirteenth  century  to  dominate  European  thought,  and  Plato- 
hism  had  been  potent  in  shaping  St  Augustine's  doctrine 
some  800  years  before. 


Most  of  the  learning  of  his  age  Dante  possessed — the 
science  of  Albertus  Magnus,  the  philosophy  of  Aristotle,  the 
theology  of  St.  Thomas  Aquinas,  the  fragment  of  Latin 
literature  that  time  had  spared.  We  find  abundant  evidence 
of  it,  not  only  in  the  "Divina  Commedia,"  but  also  in 
the  unfinished  "Convivio,*'  or  "Banquet,"  an  encyclopsedic 
work  in  the  shape  of  a  commentary  on  some  of  the  author's 

He  wrote  Latin  with  fluency  and  vigor :  besides  his  letters 
and  a  couple  of  eclogues,  he  composed  a  treatise,  "De  Mon- 
archia,"  on  the  relation  of  state  to  church,  and  began  a  dis- 
cussion of  verse  forms  and  the  use  of  the  Italian  language 
in  poetry,  called  "De  Vulgari  Eloquentia";  there  Is  ascribed 
to  him  also  a  lecture,  the  "Quaestio  de  Aqua  et  Terra,"  de- 
bating a  curious  problem  of  physical  geography.  But  while 
his  facts,  ideas,  and  interests  were  those  of  his  day,  certain 
traits  differentiate  him  from  his  fellows:  with  Petrarch  he 
shares  intensity  of  feeling  and  strong  personality;  with 
Chaucer  and  Boccaccio,  clearness  of  vision  and  the  gift  of 
vivid,  dramatic  characterization;  with  none,  his  artistic  re- 
action to  the  wilder  aspects  of  nature,  his  stupendous  im- 
agination, his  conciseness,  his  power  of  suggestion.  In 
language,  too,  he  stands  quite  apart  from  his  predecessors 
and  contemporaries.  Such  picturesqueness,  such  wealth  of 
vocabulary,  had  never  been  conceived  since  classic  antiquity. 
Before  him,  in  fact,  clerical  Latin  had  been  the  regular 
medium  of  serious  discourse.  His  use  of  the  vernacular  for 
the  elucidation  of  philosophy  and  religion  was  a  daring  in- 
novation, which  he  defends  in  the  "Convivio."  Especially 
in  his  own  country  was  the  modem  tongue  despised,  and  the 
literary  output  in  Italian,  before  the  fourteenth  century,  was 
correspondingly  meager. 



Northern  France  had  long  since  witnessed  a  glorious  de- 
velopment of  narrative  poetry,  of  warlike  epic  and  courtly 
romance — songs  of  kings  and  feudal  lords,  adventures  of 
knights  (particularly  those  of  the  Round  Table*)  in  distant 
lands  and  times.  Out  of  liturgical  service  had  grown  the 
drama.  Symbolism,  long  familiar  in  the  interpretation  of 
ancient  poetry  and  of  holy  writ,  had  made  its  way  into 
creative  art,  and  had  produced  the  "Romance  of  the  Rose," 
that  wonder  of  the  thirteenth  century.  Satire,  which  in  this 
poem  is  combined  with  the  allegorical  theme  of  the  quest  of 
love,  had  found  separate  expression  in  the  versified  episodes 
called  "fabliaux,"  and  in  the  tales  of  Reynard  the  Fox. 
Much  of  this  literature  had  been  carried  to  Italy,  as  to  other 
countries  of  Europe.  No  less  renowned  than  the  North 
French  epic,*  and  hardly  less  influential  abroad,  was  the 
great  school  of  amatory  lyric  poetry  that  had  sprung  up  in 
southern  France — a  poetry  of  restricted  scope  but  of  ex- 
quisite artistry,  which  in  the  twelfth  and  thirteenth  centuries 
was  sung  and  imitated  at  many  an  Italian  court.  Not  until 
the  time  of  Frederick  II,  however,  do  we  find  similar  verse 
composed  in  an  Italian  tongue.  About  this  great  emperor 
clustered  a  band  of  clever,  artificial  love  poets  known  as  the 
Sicilian  School.  In  Tuscany  the  vernacular  was  used  for 
lyric  purposes  by  a  group  of  uninspired  but  ingenious 
rhymesters,  for  the  most  part  close  followers  of  Proven<;al 
models.  At  Bologna,  too,  the  famous  university  town,  the 
new  art  began  to  be  cultivated  in  the  middle  of  the  thir- 
teenth century.  Here  lived  Guido  Guinizelli,  whom  Dante 
calls  his  master,  the  first  poet  to  formulate  definitely  that 
theory  of  love  which  was  to  govern  the  "sweet  new  style." 

dante's  conception  of  love 

According  to  this  doctrine,  love  is  an  attribute  of  the 
"gentle"  heart  alone.  There  it  slumbers  until  aroused  to 
activity  by  a  worthy  object.    The  woman  who  awakens  this 

\     *See   Dr.   Maynadier's  lecture   on    "Malory"   in  the   course   on   Prose 

1  Fiction. 

^    *  Of.  **The  Song  of  Roland"  in  H.  C,  xlix,  97ff. 


''gentle"  love  must  be  a  symbol  of  the  angelic  nature,  or 
"heavenly  intelligence" ;  and  devotion  to  her  is  worship.  In 
the  generation  after  Guinizelli  his  teaching  was  extended 
by  a  circle  of  gifted  writers,  who  introduced  the  poetic 
fashion  into  Florence,  a  busy  commercial  town,  already  per- 
haps the  most  prosperous  of  the  bustling,  ambitious,  jealous, 
quarrelsome  little  commonwealths  of  Italy.  Members  of 
this  literary  company  were  Dante's  *'first  friend,"  Guido 
Cavalcanti,  and  Dante  himself.  We  find,  to  be  sure,  a  less 
novel  conception  of  love  in  some  of  our  poet's  works:  in  his 
sweet  verses  on  a  certain  young  lady  who  pitied  him  in  his 
bereavement,  in  his  occasional  complimentary  sonnets  and 
ballads,  in  his  wildly  passionate  and  beautiful  songs  con- 
cerning a  youthful  person  whom  he  calls  "Pietra."  In  his 
canzoni  to  Lady  Philosophy  we  have  excellent  examples  of 
the  amatory  form  put  to  an  allegorical  use.  For  a  more 
literal  expression  of  the  new  thought  we  must  look  to  the 
compositions  inspired  by  his  ideal  lady,  Beatrice — and, 
among  them,  to  the  maturer  ones.  Some  years  after  the 
death  of  his  beloved,  Dante  selected  from  his  previous  verse 
a  series  of  poems  illustrating  the  phases  of  his  inner  life 
under  Beatrice's  influence,  and  surrounded  them  with  a 
dainty  prose  explanation.  This  is  the  "Vita  Nuova/'  or 
"New  Life." 


By  Dr.  Ernest  Bernbaum 

THOUGH  most  of  us  acknowledge  that  Milton  dwells 
on  the  heights  of  English  poetry,  we  are  likely,  be- 
cause of  his  very  sublimity,  to  look  up  to  him  with 
awe,  as  unapproachable.  The  charm  of  the  minor  poems  of 
his  youth  may  be  felt  without  difficulty ;  but  the  obstacles  to 
loving  intimacy  with  his  most  important  works,  those  into 
which  he  poured  "the  precious  lifeblood  of  a  master  spirit," 
seem  many  and  forbidding.  We  remember  that  Byron 
sneer,ed  at  his  angels  and  archangels  joining  in  quibbles,  and 
we  apprehend  that  his  theology  must  be  dull  or  perplexing. 
We  open  "Paradise  Lost"*  at  almost  any  page,  and  meet 
with  phrases  and  allusions  that  are  unfamiliar.  Habituated 
by  our  contemporary  literature  and  journalism  to  receive  an 
easy  delight  from  the  shocking,  the  bizarre,  and  the  excep- 
tional, we  are  not  immediately  attracted  by  an  art  whose 
characteristics  arc  dignity  and  restraint  In  Dr.  Johnson's 
words,  "we  desert  our  master  and  seek  for  companions." 
As  if  to  encourage  our  truancy,  there  arise  those  who  ques- 
tion whether,  after  all,  Milton  is  a  master.  The  chief  of  a 
prominent  American  library  refuses  to  advise  the  reading 
of  "Paradise  Lost,"  an  ultra-modem  critic  professes  to  have 
discovered  "new  literary  valuations"  which  at  last  destroy 
the  poet's  long-established  reputation,  and  respectable  lit- 
erary journals  actually  find  it  necessary  to  defend  a  fame 
that  had  seemed  imperishable. 


The  serious-minded  who,  despite  such  babblings,  conclude 
that  he  to  whom  every  great  man  of  letters  from  Dryden  to 
Meredith  has  granted  the  crowning  laurel  must  surely  be 

^Harvard  Classics,  !▼»  89-362. 



one  whom  it  is  an  honorable  privilege  to  know,  may  be  as- 
sured that  the  obstacles  to  familiarity  with  Milton  are  not  at 
all  insuperable.  From  three  sources  especially  does  his 
greatness  arise — ^the  strength  of  his  imagination,  the  har- 
mony of  his  verse,  and  the  truth  of  his  thought.  Each  of 
these  will  become  more  clearly  apparent  to  the  reader  if  he  will 
accept  certain  practical  suggestions.  To  grow  aware  of  the 
astounding  imaginative  power  of  Milton  in  "Paradise  Lost," 
"Paradise  Regained,"*  "Samson  Agonistes,"*  and  even  the 
"Nativity  Ode,"*  one  should  before  turning  to  those  works 
read  the  biblical  passages,  in  each  case  brief,  which  gave  the 
poet  the  outlines  of  his  themes.  It  need  hardly  be  said  that 
such  a  story  as  that  of  Adam  and  Eve  has  in  the  Bible  a 
simple  and  poignant  beauty  which  is  perfect  in  its  way ;  but 
when  one  turns  from  the  few  chapters  that  contain  it  and 
follows  the  course  of  the  great  epic,  one  begins  to  realize 
how  sublimely  Milton's  imagination  enlarges  our  concep- 
tions of  the  past,  the  distant,  and  the  unseen.  Nor  is  it  only 
realms,  forces,  and  spirits  unvisited  and  unknown  that  he 
reveals.  Read  the  short  account  of  Samson,  or  of  the  temp- 
tation of  Christ;  observe  how  few,  though  graphic,  are  the 
strokes  of  characterization;  and  you  will  thereupon  in 
"Samson  Agonistes"  and  "Paradise  Regained"  recognize 
with  what  vision  Milton  has  penerated  into  the  hearts  of 
hero  and  Lord  and  devil. 

The  mistake  which  prevents  a  full  enjoyment  of  the 
musical  beauty  of  Milton's  blank  verse  is  to  read  it  silently 
— a  sure  way  to  make  it  seem  like  prose  curiously  printed. 
Aloud  the  blind  poet  uttered  the  most  and  the  best  of  it; 
and  aloud  it  should  be  read.  Only  thus  can  the  artistic  sense 
that  slumbers  within  us  be  aroused  to  feel  responsively  the 
grandest  rhythm  and  resonance  that  ever  proceeded  from  an 
English  tongue.  Like  ocean  breakers,  in  varying  lengths 
and  with  tireless  energy,  it  beats  and  surges  upon  our  emo- 
tions; and  presently  we  are  ready  to  receive  those  elevated 
thoughts  it  is  marvelously  designed  to  instill,  because  the 
sound  has  lifted  us  into  a  mood  exalted  above  our  ordinary 
state.  He  who  thus  comes  to  feel  the  artistic  powers  of 
Milton  has  taken  a  decisive  step  toward  literary  culture:  h^ 

»//.  C,  iv,  363.  'H.  C,  iv,  4i8*  *H.  C,  iv,  7' 


will  thenceforth  not  easily  be  imposed  upon  by  whatever  is 
imaginatively  weak  or  fantastic;  and  his  ear,  once  attuned 
to  the  "grand  style"  of  the  master,  will  no  longer  delight  in 
verse  that  is  thin  or  harsh. 


But  Milton  did  not  use  his  poetical  powers  for  the  mere 
pleasure  of  exercising  them.  In  him,  as  in  Isaiah,  the  great 
artist  is  embodied  in  the  greater  prophet.  This  is  a  com- 
monplace, yet  many  approach  Milton  as  if  it  were  untrue. 
In  the  case  of  "Paradise  Lost,"  admittedly  the  fullest  ex- 
pression of  his  message,  the  first  two  books  are  mistakenly 
recommended  as  typical.  In  them,  to  be  sure,  are  superbly 
displayed  his  artistic  powers,  but  certainly  not  his  dominant 
thought.  In  fact,  to  confine  oneself  to  them  has  proved  a 
direct  way  to  misunderstand  him.  Because  they  deal  with 
the  fallen  angels,  we  have  arising  the  persistent  error  that 
Satan  is  the  hero  of  "Paradise  Lost,"  and  that  the  arch- 
rebel  preoccupied  the  poet's  interest.  The  result  in  our  day, 
when  belief  in  a  personal  devil  is  faint,  is  the  impression 
that  Milton  devotes  his  genius  to  themes  that,  however  pic- 
turesque, possess  for  us  slight  moral  significance.  And  so 
we  have  the  pitiable  result  that  the  mere  artist  is  admired, 
but  the  prophet  not  hearkened  to.  Yet  his  message,  grasped 
as  a  whole,  comes  home  to  our  very  hearts. 


The  theme  of  Milton  is  not  primarily  Satan,  nor  even  God 
and  angels,  but  humanity.  Not  only  do  the  opening  lines  of 
"Paradise  Lost"  proclaim  the  subject  "man's  disobedience," 
but  throughout  the  epic  it  is  the  fate  of  man  that  is  made 
the  issue  of  every  event  in  the  universal  creation.  Thus 
Milton  begins  his  story,  not  when  Satan  is  conspiring  against 
God,  but  when  the  defeated  devil  turns  his  revengeful 
thought  toward  the  future  inhabitants  of  the  earth.  Of  that 
new  world  man  is  solemnly  made  the  lord,  God  himself  de- 
scending to  breathe  into  him  a  spiritual  life.  It  is  to  warn 
man  against  his  fall  that  the  rebellion  in  heaven  is  related; 


and  in  the  central  books  it  is  the  glory  and  the  weakness  of 
human  nature  that  we  see  displayed.  Finally,  the  future 
history  of  the  world  is  communicated  to  Adam,  not  so  much 
to  manifest  the  absolute  power  of  God  or  the  futility  of 
Satan's  hate,  as  to  assure  the  children  of  God  of  his  eternal 
love  toward  them.  In  short,  the  subject  is  not  theology  but 
religion — ^not  the  nature  of  God  and  of  Satan,  but  the  rela- 
tion of  the  powers  of  good  and  of  evil  to  ourselves.  G^uld 
a  poet  deal  with  a  problem  of  more  compelling  and  ever- 
lasting interest  to  us  ?  The  reader  who  focuses  his  attention 
upon  the  human  beings  in  *Taradise  Lost"  will  do  what  the 
poet  did,  and  will,  though  accidental  details  may  elude  him, 
follow  Milton's  essential  thought.  The  descriptions  of 
heaven  and  hell,  which  may  not  correspond  precisely  to  the 
reader's  notions  of  the  states  of  bliss  and  of  misery,  will 
recede  into  the  background,  where  they  belong;  and  gradu- 
ally there  will  rise  before  him  Milton's  idea  of  the  true 
meaning  of  human  life. 

milton's  view  of  human  nature 

To  reduce  that  idea  to  a  prose  formula  would  be  to  im- 
poverish and  debase  it;  but  a  hint  or  two  concerning  its 
general  character  may  suggest  its  importance  to  the  indi- 
vidual conscience.  On  the  one  hand,  no  poet,  not  even 
Shakespeare,  has  thought  more  nobly  of  the  glorious  capac- 
ities of  man.  Man  is  to  Milton  no  miserable  puppet  of 
chance,  no  slave  of  his  environment  (Adam  and  Eve  sin 
despite  ideal  surroundings),  but  an  unhampered  master  of 
his  fate,  God  himself  endowing  him  with  freedom  of  the 
will,  and  all  the  spirits  of  the  universe  interested  in  the  use 
he  may  make  of  that  liberty.  On  the  other  hand,  no  poet 
has  felt  more  profoundly  the  constant  peril  of  man's  exalted 
state.  Unless  he  in  his  freedom  throws  off  all  worldly 
temptations,  even  the  most  seductive,  punishment  for  his 
disloyalty  to  spiritual  laws  is  visited  not  only  upon  himself 
but  upon  his  innocent  fellow  men.  The  grave  moral  pre- 
dicaments of  the  Lady  in  "Comus,"  *  of  Adam  and  Eve,  of 
Christ  in  "Paradise  Regained,"  and  of  Samson,  are  not  ex- 

•H.  C.  hr.  46. 


ceptional,  but  typify  the  real  state  of  man  in  every  moment 
of  his  life.  Here  a  sublime  opportunity,  there  a  fatal  dan- 
ger, the  decision  absolutely  in  his  own  hands!  Yet  there 
is  no  panic,  no  wild  cry  for  relief;  the  spirit  is  as  serene  as 
the  utterance  is  restrained.  Uncompromising  independence 
in  earthly  concerns,  patient  humility  before  God — ^these  are 
the  virtues  that  will  redeem  us  at  last. 

Hasty  as  this  glance  at  Milton's  ideas  must  be,  it  reminds 
us  of  the  source  of  his  power.  In  his  first  good  poem,  the 
"Nativity  Ode,"  he  yearned  to  hear  that  music  of  the 
heavenly  spheres,  hymning  divine  truth,  to  which  most 
mortal  ears  are  ever  deaf ;  and  from  then  until  his  end,  amid 
the  din  of  terrestrial  turmoil,  he  was  hearkening  for  the 
voice  of  God.  Thus  inspired,  he  has  ever  revived  those  who 
have  learned  to  resort  to  him,  sending  each  forth  with  a 
braver  heart,  a  serener  mind,  and  a  reawakened  conscience. 
Wordsworth,  sadly  observing  the  worshipers  of  earthly 
idols,  exclaimed: 

Milton,  thou  shouldst  be  living  at  this  hour  I 

and  the  best  in  succeeding  generations  have  echoed  the 
sentiment  Sceptics  may  question  parts  of  Milton's  doctrine ; 
but  they  will  not  easily  shake  its  center,  for  that  is  embedded 
in  the  pertinacious  moral  convictions  of  the  English  peoples. 
The  noblest  American  tradition,  which  founded  the  New 
England  commonwealths,  and  from  which  to  depart  is  a 
kind  of  betrayal  of  our  inmost  selves,  is  precisely  that  ideal 
of  freedom  from  man's  dominion  and  conscientious  obedi- 
ence to  God's  stern  will,  which  is  the  very  spirit  of  Milton. 
To  commune  with  him  is  therefore  to  gain  patriotic  en- 
lightenment as  well  as  religious  insight  and  poetical  culture.* 

*See  also  Bagehot's  essay  on  Milton  in  H.  C,  xxviii,  171. 


By  Carleton  Noyes^  A.M. 

THE  English  Anthology,  contained  in  Volumes  XL  to 
XLII  of  The  Harvard  Classics,  comprises  a  selection 
of  representative  poems  in  English  from  Chaucer  to 
Walt  Whitman,  a  period  of  about  five  hundred  years.  In 
the  range  and  variety  of  subject  and  forms,  these  volumes 
bear  eloquent  witness  to  the  manifold  creative  power  of 
poetry.  But  the  very  abundance  of  their  treasures  suggests 
certain  problems,  at  the  same  time  that  it  offers  material  for 
their  solution.  What  is  the  subject  of  poetry,  and  what  the 
meaning  of  these  varied  forms?  How  shall  the  reader  find 
his  way  to  the  poetry  that  is  truly  for  him,  and  how  may  he 
win  from  it  what  it  holds  of  present  delight  and  of  lasting 
service  ? 

It  is  evident  that  the  spirit  of  poetry,  intensely  real  but 
elusive  as  a  sky-bom  Ariel,  may  incarnate  itself  in  many 
forms  and  wear  a  rainbow  vesture.  As  indicated  in  the 
General  Introduction,  the  shaping  purpose  of  a  poem  is 
either  the  narrative  interest  or  the  lyric  mood.  But  these 
two  impulses  are  subject  to  wide  modifications.  The  dif- 
ferences do  not  affect  the  character  of  each  instance  as 
poetry;  to  note  them,  however,  furnishes  a  convenient 
formula  of  description  and  provides  a  due  to  the  fuller  com- 
prehension of  the  motive  of  a  given  poem. 


When  the  poet's  interest  lies  in  action,  incident,  and  situa- 
tion, his  poem  takes  the  form  of  narrative.  When  such  a 
poem  attains  a  certain  magnitude,  when  the  action  is  on  a 
large  scale,  and  the  personages  are  of  sufficient  eminence 
and  importance,  it  becomes  an  epic.    The  epic  may  be  rcl- 



atively  primitive  and  single-hearted  like  the  "Iliad,"  the 
"Odyssey,"  *  "Beowulf,"  *  or  the  "Nibelungenlied."  It  may 
still  recite  the  deeds  of  heroes  in  an  earlier  golden  prime  and 
yet  be  the  product  of  a  conscious,  highly  elaborated  literary 
art,  like  Virgil's  "JEneid."*  Or  again,  while  celebrating  a 
lofty  theme,  it  may  be  the  deeply  personal  expression  of  the 
poet's  own  interpretation  of  experience  and  the  world,  as 
with  Dante  and  Milton.  In  lesser  compass  than  the  epic,  a 
narrative  poem,  like  the  ballads*  or  the  more  conscious 
poetical  romances  and  tales*  may  range  over  the  whole  wide 
domain  of  men's  adventures  and  fortunes,  finding  nothing 
human  foreign  to  it. 

Narrative  thus  stories  forth  the  doings  of  others;  the  lyric 
rises  out  of  oneself.  And  here  again  the  scope  is  limitless. 
A  lyric  may  phrase  emotion  in  its  purest  essence:  it  is  then 
the  absolute  lyric  or  song.  The  emotion,  gathering  about  a 
simple  little  scene  in  nature,  may  utter  itself  briefly  and 
beautifully  in  an  idyl;  conceived  on  a  more  extensive  scale, 
a  poem  of  rustic  life,  actual  or  feigned,  becomes  a  pastoral,* 
The  passion  of  grief  finds  voice  in  the  elegy?  A  lyric  may 
mirror  the  large  aspects  of  nature  as  colored  by  the  poet's 
feeling,  and  so  it  passes  over  into  descriptive  poetry.  Sensu- 
ous elements  may  be  subordinated  to  thought  or  to  sym- 
pathy; and  the  poem  so  inspired  expresses  reflection  and 
sentiment.  Exaltation  of  thought  and  mood,  moving  through 
sustained  and  complex  metrical  form,  finds  a  fitting  medium 
in  the  ode*  Even  wit  and  satire,  if  feeling  mingle  with  the 
intellectual  element,  are  not  outside  the  scope  of  poetical  ex* 
pression,  as  in  the  epigram.  Poetry  also—provided  only 
that  it  still  be  poetry — ^may  be  didactic.  Although  the  true 
function  of  poetry,  as  of  all  art,  is  not  to  teach,  but  to 
interpret  life  beautifully,  to  touch  the  heart  and  kindle  the 
whole  being  to  heightened  activity,  yet  a  poem  may  voice 
moral  ideas,  as  in  Wordsworth's  "Ode  to  Duty": 

*  Harvard  Classics,  xxii,   pff.  *  H.  C,  xlix,   sff. 
•H.  C.  xiii,  7S^'                                                  *H.  C,  xl,  5 Iff. 

*  Cf.,   tor  example,   Chaucer's  "Nun's  Priest's  Tale,"  H.  C.,  xl,  35(1,   or 
Burns's  "Tam  o*  Shanter,"  vi,  41  iff. 

•For  examples,  see  H.  C,  xl,  252,  259,  411;  xli,  569,  630,  783. 

*  For  examples,  see  Milton's  "Lycidas,"  H.  C,  iv,  74;  H,  C.,  xl.    459; 
xli,  879;  xlii,  1 1 76. 

•For    examples,  see  H.  C,  xl,  305,    389,  394,  459,  463ff.;  xli,  488,  551, 
609,  665,   745,  856,  899ff. 


Stem  lawgiver  I  yet  thou  dost  wear 
The  Godhead's  most  benignant  grace; 
Nor  know  we  anything  so  fair 
As  is  the  smile  upon  thy  face : 
Flowers  laugh  before  thee  on  their  beds, 
And  fragrance  in  thy  footing  treads; 
Thou  dost  preserve  the  Stars  from  wrong; 
And  the  most  ancient  Heavens,  through  thee,  are  fresh 
and  strong.* 

Out  of  the  narrative  interest,  a  primary  instinct  with  men, 
and  out  of  the  interest,  only  gradually  developed,  in  indi- 
vidual character  for  its  own  sake,  is  evolved  a  special  lit- 
erary form,  called  drama.  Here  the  poet  embodies  his 
feelings  and  ideas  in  the  persons  of  others.  He  no  longer 
speaks  for  himself;  he  endows  the  figures  of  his  creation 
or  observation  with  an  independent  substantive  life  of  their 
own.  The  narrative  interest  is  still  strong,  for  the  dramatist 
shows  his  personages  in  action,  but  he  allows  them  to  work 
out  their  own  destiny  in  accordance  with  the  inner  necessity 
of  their  natures.  In  the  drama,  then,  the  poet's  own  "crit- 
icism of  life"  is  implied  rather  than  directly  expressed.  The 
drama,  as  a  literary  form,  is  a  domain  by  itself.  In  so  far 
as  it  is  poetical,  it  does  not  differ  essentially  from  other 
kinds  of  poetry,  and  the  same  principles  hold  true  through- 
out all  manifestations  of  the  poetic  spirit. 

Distinctions  of  motive  and  form,  though  numerous  and 
varied,  are  not  to  be  emphasized  for  their  own  sake.  These 
categories  may  be  recognized  in  the  large,  but  in  concrete, 
single  instances  they  tend  to  overlap  and  to  intermingle. 
The  narrative  poem  has  another  interest  than  the  lyric,  but 
it  may  be  touched  with  the  lyric  passion;  the  drama  is  dif- 
ferent from  either  and  combines  both.  For  the  lover  of 
poetry,  however,  it  is  not  important  to  devise  labels  and 
apply  them  correctly.  Qassification  suggests  the  arrange- 
ment of  a  museum.  But  poetry  is  a  spirit,  a  living  energy. 
We  cannot  imprison  it  in  a  definition.  It  calls  for  wel- 
come and  response. 

In  essence  and  in  effect  poetry  is  an  interpretation  of  ex- 
perience. A  poem  is  an  expression,  in  beautiful  and  sig- 
nificant form,  of  the  poet's  passion  to  understand  and  to 

•H.  C,  xM,  666. 


possess  his  world  But,  though  a  poem  embodies  what  some 
one  man  has  thought  and  felt,  we  must  not  mistake  the 
poet's  representative  character  nor  fail  to  grasp  the  uni- 
versalizing power  of  his  work.  The  individual  poet  is  but 
an  instrument:  he  speaks  for  all  men.  So,  in  our  turn,  as 
we  enter  by  imaginative  sympathy  into  his  mind  and  feel- 
ing,  we  re-create  his  experience  in  ourselves.  The  kind  of 
poetry  which  finds  us  first  is  that  which  relates  itself  some- 
how to  our  immediate  interests.  Its  appeal  depends  upon 
what  we  bring  to  it  of  our  own  knowledge  and  sensibility. 
We  understand  it  because  it  phrases  what  we  have  our- 
selves perceived  and  felt,  though  vaguely.  Thus  it  inter- 
prets our  present  lot,  intensifying  its  quality  and  weaving 
its  tangled  threads  into  a  satisfying  pattern.  The  poetry 
which  seems  to  beckon  to  us  and  is  able  to  hold  us  longer 
h  the  figuring  forth  of  experience,  already  ours  In  part,  into 
which  we  may  enter  more  abundantly;  it  helps  us  tp  take 
the  step  beyond.  The  poetry  to  which  we  finally  make  our 
way— the  great  things  of  all  time — is  the  revelation  of 
farther  depths  of  insight,  of  unsounded  depths  of  emotion. 
Such  poetry  as  this  compels  us  to  its  own  temper  and  mood. 
It  is  not  only  revelation,  it  is  creation;  for  out  of  the  other- 
wise common  things  of  life  it  builds  a  quite  new  world  for 
our  possession. 

If  we  seek  a  standard  by  which  to  try  the  quality  and 
value  of  a  poem,  we  find  it  most  immediately  in  our  present 
need.  But  we  must  be  sure  that  the  need  is  real,  not  a  pass- 
ing caprice,  that  it  is  intrinsically  and  profoundly  a  part  of 
our  expanding  life.  That  poem  is  truly  for  us,  and  so  far 
good,  which  reveals  beauty  to  us  and  some  kind  of  sig- 
nificance; for  it  can  thus  sustain  and  nourish  us  and  min- 
ister to  our  growth.  But  there  is  an  objective  standard  as 
well.  This  is  found  first  of  all  in  the  poet's  genuineness  of 
feeling.  Does  the  word  exactly  measure  the  emotion  it  is 
intended  to  express?  Without  this  primary  and  underlying 
sincerity  of  purpose,  all  the  graces  of  form  and  phrase  can- 
not satisfy  for  long.  Granted  this  sincerity,  however,  we 
may  say  that  that  greatest  poetry  is  that  which  gathers  into 
itself  and  radiates  the  most  of  reality,  that  which  discloses 
the  deepest  insight  into  life,  and  is  charged  with  the  fullest 


intensity  of  emotion,  matched  by  the  greatest  fitness  and 
power  of  expression. 

By  the  witchery  of  its  music  and  the  radiance  of  image, 
poetry  may  rightly  give  pleasure  to  a  leisure  moment.  Ap- 
prehended in  its  deeper  import,  it  may  be  one  of  the  serious 
pursuits  of  life.  To  see  the  world  poetically  is  itself  a  kind 
of  success.  Although  some  quiet  spirits  are  content  with  the 
passive  reception  of  beauty  in  nature  and  in  art,  yet  the 
poetic  interpretation  of  life  is  not  incompatible  with  high 
moral  endeavor,  and  may  even  be  a  stimulus  to  it,  kindling 
in  us  a  passionate  ardor  to  know  and  to  do.  The  revelation 
which  poetry  affords  carries  us  beyond  the  enjoyment  of  the 
instant;  as  it  leads  us  out  into  a  more  beautiful  world,  it 
brings  us  deeper  into  the  true  significance  of  things,  and  so 
it  widens  our  spiritual  horizon.  As  we  see  farther  and  feel 
more  intensely,  we  are  enabled  more  amply  to  understand 
the  meaning  of  our  own  life  in  its  relation  to  the  whole. 

The  reading  of  poetry,  therefore,  helps  toward  the  organi- 
zation of  experience.  The  ideal  waits  in  the  actual.  It  is 
the  privilege  of  the  poet,  gifted  with  vision,  to  discern  the 
ideal,  and  by  the  energy  of  creative  phrase  to  summon  it 
into  warm  and  vivid  reality.  He  marshals  the  fragments  of 
experience  into  a  harmony  with  which  we  may  link  up  our 
own  broken  efforts;  disclosing  the  inner  meaning  of  our 
blind  purposes,  he  brings  them  into  a  unity  of  direction  and 
achievement.  So  he  reveals  us  to  ourselves.  As  the  poet 
interprets  it  for  us,  the  big  scheme  of  things  is  seen  to  be 
more  beautiful  and  more  intelligible.  In  effect,  the  real 
appreciation  of  poetry  is  communion  with  the  great  souls  of 
earth:  In  their  struggles  and  their  conquests  we  read  the 
purpose  of  our  own  efforts  and  the  aspiration  of  our  hearts. 

Yet  the  beauty  and  significance  which  perhaps  we  had 
missed  without  his  leading  the  poet  but  restores  to  us  after 
all.  For  the  poet  is  not  final ;  nor  is  poetry,  with  the  appre- 
ciator,  an  end  in  itself.  In  the  result  it  sends  us  back  to 
life,  to  possess  the  world  more  abundantly  in  ourselves.  It 
gives  us,  in  terms  of  wide-ranging  subject  and  in  varied 
forms,  the  great  moments  of  experience;  but  it  is  to  make 
those  moments  intimately  and  wholly  our  own.  We  must 
love  poetry,  if  we  are  to  understand  it;  appreciation,  there- 



fore,  is  a  discipline  and  a  development.  But  if  we  are  to 
win  from  poetry  its  deepest  final  meaning,  we  must  actually 
live  it  Though  it  has  power  to  console,  sustain,  inspire, 
poetry  is  not  a  substitute  for  life,  it  is  not  an  escape  or 
refuge.  Rather,  it  is  a  challenge  to  fuller  living;  and  to 
that  end  it  is  a  guide  and  a  support. 

Poetry  is  a  fruftion  and  a  promise.  Exhaustless  and  im- 
mortal, the  spirit  of  poetry  is  ever  conquering  new  beauty 
and  new  truth.  So  equally  there  is  no  limit  set  to  what  we 
may  compass  for  ourselves  in  appreciation.  Our  enjoyment 
at  any  moment  is  the  measure  of  our  own  capacity.  Like 
the  sea's  horizon,  the  bounds  of  poetry  are  traced  only  by 
the  sweep  of  our  vision.  The  ocean's  verge  advances  al- 
ways before  us  with  our  progress ;  there  is  always  an  infinite 
which  still  awaits. 

This  day  before  dawn  I  ascended  a  hill  and  look'd  at  the  crowded 

And  I  said  to  my  spirit  When  we  become  the  enf aiders  of  those  orbs, 

and  the  pleasure  and  knowledge  of  everything  in  them,  shall  we 

be  aiVd  and  satisfied  then? 
And  my  spirit  said  No,  we  but  level  that  lift  to  pass  and  continue 


»Walt  Whitman. 



By  Professor  Lawrence  J.  Henderson 

NATURAL  science  is  the  latest  of  man's  great  achieve- 
ments. The  other  important  agents  of  civilization 
long  ago  attained  their  full  stature,  and  many  of  the 
finest  products  of  human  endeavor,  like  literature  and  the 
fine  arts,  have  been  through  many  centuries  the  common 
possession  of  the  race.  Even  music,  the  most  modem  of 
the  arts,  is  no  longer  young.  But  only  in  the  last  half  cen- 
tury has  science  reached  maturity  and  revealed  its  titanic 
power  for  good  and  evil  in  the  reconstruction  of  the  sur- 
roundings of  our  life.  Yet  to-day,  after  a  few  brief  decades 
of  the  scientific  era,  agriculture,  transportation  and  com- 
munication, food,  clothing  and  shelter,  birth  and  death  them- 
selves— in  truth  almost  all  of  man's  experiences  and  activities 
— are  different  from  what  they  were  before,  and  th6  earth 
which  he  inhabits  is  transformed  so  that  it  is  with  diffi- 
culty that  he  can  imagine  the  conditions  of  life  in  past 

Meantime,  these  very  changes  which  science  has  wrought 
have  combined  with  the  great  generalizations  of  science  to 
modify  philosophy  and  to  direct  the  current  of  religious 
thought.  Here  again  the  effects  are  sometimes  good,  some- 
times evil,  but  they  are  always  profound  and  widely  in- 
fluential. Most  wonderful  of  all  is  the  growth  of  natural 
knowledge  itself,  the  basis  of  these  changes.  Ever  more 
extensive  and  complete  is  the  description  of  nature;  all 
things  are  counted,  measured,  and  figured,  then  analyzed 
and  classified.  Out  of  such  orderly  knowledge  generaliza- 
tions and  laws  arise,  and  with  the  help  of  experiment  and 
mathematical   analysis  receive  their  confirmation,  until   at 



length  positive  knowledge  appears  to  extend  to  almost  all 
phenomena,  and,  except  the  origin  of  things,  little  seems 
quite  obscure  or  wholly  unknown,  while  much  is  very 
securely  established. 

The  history  of  science  and  of  its  influence  on  civilization 
is  in  some  respects  the  simplest  of  the  departments  of  his- 
tory, for  it  is  less  complicated  by  those  incalculable  forces 
which,  springing  from  man's  passions  and  personal  interests, 
make  up  much  of  the  charm  and  difficulty  of  general  his- 
tory. Deprived  of  these  psychological  elements,  the  history 
of  science  is  in  fact  more  nearly  a  part  of  the  natural  his- 
tory of  man;  it  is  concerned  with  the  latest  stage  of  his 
struggle  with  the  environment,  with  his  cunning  and  de- 
liberate devices  to  master  it,  and  with  the  marvelous  struc- 
ture of  theoretical  knowledge  which  he  has  built  up  in  the 


Our  lives  are  mainly  occupied  with  the  material  world 
with  production  and  distribution  of  food  and  clothing,  and 
the  construction  of  dwellings  which  shall  adequately  protect 
us  from  the  cold,  the  wind,  and  the  rain.  All  higher  human 
activities  rest  upon  the  successful  establishment  of  these  as 
a  foundation.  Hence  progress,  as  the  word  is  commonly 
understood,  is  most  often  a  step  in  the  control  of  the  en- 
vironment to  the  end  of  better  production,  construction,  and 
distribution  of  some  commodity.  Such  progress  is  not  per- 
haps what  the  heart  of  man  most  ardently  desires,  but  it  is, 
at  all  events,  the  one  kind  about  which  there  can  be  no 

Many  of  the  most  wonderful  advances  in  mastery  of  the 
environment  are  prehistoric,  the  results  of  good  fortune  and 
gradually  widening  experience  utilized  by  primitive  men  of 
native  intelligence.  Thus  clay  is  used  as  the  filling  for  a 
basket,  its  baking  is  accidentally  observed,  and  pottery  re- 
sults; again  a  log,  through  a  long  series  of  gradual  changes 
and  small  inventions,  becomes  transformed  into  a  good  boat 
or  canoe. 

Sophocles,  in  a  famous  chorus  of  the  "Antigone,"  has 
celebrated  such  achievements: 


Strophe  I. 

Many  the  forms  of  life, 

Wondrous  and  strange  to  see, 

But  nought  than  man  appears 

More  wondrous  and  more  strange. 

He,  with  the  wintry  gales, 

O'er  the  white  foaming  sea, 

Mid  wild  waves  surging  round, 

Windeth  his  way  across: 

Earth  of  all  Gods,  from  ancient  days,  the  first. 

Unworn  and  undecayed, 

He,  with  his  ploughs  that  travel  o*er  and  o*er. 

Furrowing  with  horse  and  mule, 

Wears  ever  year  by  year. 

Antistrophe  I. 

The  thoughtless  tribe  of  birds. 

The  beasts  that  roam  the  fields. 

The  brood  in  sea-depths  bom. 

He  takes  them  all  in  nets 

Knotted  in  snaring  mesh, 

Man  wonderful  in  skill. 

And  by  his  subtle  arts 

He  holds  in  sway  the  beasts 

That  roam  the  fields,  or  tread  the  mountain's  height; 

And  brings  the  binding  yoke 

Upon  the  neck  of  horse  with  shaggy  mane, 

Or  bull  on  mountain  crest, 

Untameable  in  strength. 

Strophe  II. 

And  speech,  and  thought  as  swift  as  wind. 
And  tempered  mood  for  higher  life  of  states. 
These  he  has  learnt,  and  how  to  flee 
Or  the  clear  cold  of  frost  unkind, 
Or  darts  of  storm  and  shower, 
Man  all-providing.* 

Many  will  always  regard  this  as  the  final  expression  of 
man's  wonder  and  admiration  at  that  which  man  has  done 
in  winning  his  civilization.  But  while  we  admire  and  mar- 
vel at  the  feats  of  primitive  man,  we  must  not  forget  to 

*■  See    Harvard   Classics,    viii,    253-254,    for    another    translation    of   this 


distinguish  a  very  important  difference  between  such  and 
many  achievements  of  civilized  man — in  fact,  between  pre- 
historic works  and  deeds  and  all  the  greatest  scientific 
achievements.  Very  wonderful  as  the  early  progress  was, 
— think  of  civilized  man's  failure  to  domesticate  animals, 
and,  incomparably  important,  think  of  the  winning  of  fire, — 
it  lacked  a  certain  germ  of  growth,  which  is  familiar  to  us 
in  our  own  times.  Each  thing  came  by  itself,  it  came  by 
accident,  and  it  did  not  directly  lead  to  other  things.  Be- 
yond living  one's  life  and  waiting  for  something  to  turn  up 
so  that  one's  ingenuity  might  be  exercised,  there  was  no 
method  of  discovery  or  invention;  the  knowledge  that  ex- 
isted was  not  systematized;  there  was  no  generalization 
from  experience;  and  each  invention,  aside  from  its  par- 
ticular utility,  led  to  nothing  else.  How  different  have  been 
the  effects  of  Pasteur's  discovery  of  the  place  of  micro- 
organisms in  nature ! '  Almost  at  once  the  causes  of  many 
of  the  gravest  diseases  of  man  and  other  animals  became 
known.  There  followed  the  discovery  of  means  of  avoiding 
disease,  of  curing  disease,  and  we  are  now  well  on  the  way 
to  blot  out  some  of  the  oldest  scourges  of  humanity.  Such 
are  a  few  of  the  results  in  medicine.  When  the  chemical 
and  agricultural  results  are  added,  Pasteur  appears  already 
to  have  influenced  the  life  of  almost  every  civilized  man. 

Qearly  the  early  advances  of  practical  Icnowledge  are  not 
to  be  confounded  with  natural  science.  They  belong  to  the 
period  of  human  development  which  is  the  concern  of  the 
anthropologist,  and  they  only  concern  us  as  they  help  to  an 
understanding  of  what  science  really  is. 


A  very  little  true  science  did,  however,  exist  at  the  dawn 
of  history,  such  as  a  description  of  the  zodiac  and  astronom- 
ical knowledge,  upon  which  more  or  less  perfect  calendars 
could  be  based,  and  knowledge  of  the  properties  of  triangles 
which  was  useful  in  surveying  after  the  Nile  floods.  To 
this  slender  store  the  earliest  of  the  Greek  philosophers  con- 
tributed new  discoveries,  but  before  long  the  genius  and 

*H.  C.«  xxxyiii,  383-402,  and  Lecture  IV  in  this  course. 


power  of  the  Greek  mind  led  to  overweening  confidence  in 
speculation  unaided  by  observation  and  experiment,  and,  as 
a  result,  the  great  period  of  Athens  is  not  scientifically  of 
the  highest  importance.  Aristotle,  to  be  sure,  and  his  pupil 
Theophrastus,  contributed  very  greatly  to  sound  knowledge 
of  animals,  plants,  and  rocks,  but  m  the  theoretical  sciences 
vague  ideas  based  upon  words  rather  than  phenomena  or 
clear  and  precise  concepts  led  them  astray. 

"The  most  conspicuous  example,"  says  Bacon,  "of  the  first 
class  [i.  e.,  of  the  Rational  School  of  philosophers]  was 
Aristotle,  who  corrupted  natural  philosophy  by  his  logic: 
fashioning  the  world  out  of  categories;  assigning  to  the 
human  soul,  the  noblest  of  substances,  a  genus  from  words 
of  the  second  intention;  doing  the  business  of  density  and 
rarity  (which  is  to  make  bodies  of  greater  or  less  dimen- 
sions— ^that  is,  occupy  greater  or  less  spaces),  by  the  frigid 
distinction  of  act  and  power;  asserting  that  single  bodies 
have  each  a  single  and  proper  motion,  and  that  if  they  par- 
ticipate in  any  other,  then  this  results  from  an  external 
cause;  and  imposing  countless  other  arbitrary  restrictions 
on  the  nature  of  things;  being  always  more  solicitous  to 
provide  an  answer  to  the  question  and  afiirm  something 
positive  in  words  than  about  the  inner  truth  of  things;  a 
failing  best  shown  when  his  philosophy  is  compared  with 
other  systems  of  note  among  the  Greeks.  For  the  Homoeo- 
mera  of  Anaxagoras;  the  Atoms  of  Leucippus  and  Democ- 
ritus;  the  Heaven  and  Earth  of  Parmenides;  the  Strife  and 
Friendship  of  Empedocles;  Heraclitus's  doctrine  how  bodies 
are  resolved  into  the  indiflPerent  nature  of  fire,  and  remolded 
into  solids;  have  all  of  them  some  taste  of  the  natural  phi- 
losopher— some  savor  of  the  nature  of  things,  and  experi- 
ence, and  bodies;  whereas,  in  the  physics  of  Aristotle  you 
hear  hardly  anything  but  the  words  of  logic;  which  in  his 
metaphysics  also,  under  a  more  imposing  name,  and  more, 
forsooth,  as  a  realist  than  a  nominalist,  he  has  handled  over 
again.  Nor  let  any  weight  be  given  to  the  fact  that  in  his 
books  on  animals  and  his  problems,  and  other  of  his  treat- 
ises, there  is  frequent  dealing  with  experiments.  For  he 
had  come  to  his  conclusion  before;  he  did  not  consult  ex- 
perience, as  he  should  have  done,  in  order  to  do  the  framing 



of  his  decisions  and  axioms ;  but,  having  first  determined  the 
question  according  to  his  will,  he  then  resorts  to  experience, 
and,  bending  her  into  conformity  with  his  placets,  leads  her 
about  like  a  captive  in  a  procession;  so  that  even  on  this 
count  he  is  more  guilty  than  his  modern  followers,  the 
schoolmen,  who  have  abandoned  experience  altogether."* 

Later,  when  Alexandria  became  the  center  of  the  Greek 
world,  and  the  limitations  of  metaphysics  had  become  some- 
what more  evident,  there  was  a  return  to  positive  science. 
For  nearly  a  thousand  years  men,  notably  Aristarchus, 
Eratosthenes,  Hipparchus,  Euclid,  Hero,  and  Ptolemy,  la- 
bored at  Alexandria,  employing  the  true  methods  of  science 
and  collecting  valuable  stores  of  information  in  astronomy, 
geometry,  trigonometry,  optics,  heat,  and  even  anatomy. 
The  greatest  of  the  scientific  work  of  antiquity  was  done 
during  the  Alexandrine  period  by  Archimedes  at  Syracuse. 
It  consists  in  the  creation  of  the  science  of  statics. 

The  Romans,  practical  men — ^according  to  Disraeli's  defini- 
tion, those  who  practice  the  errors  of  their  forefathers— did 
little  to  advance  the  sciences,  and,  when  the  dark  ages  ex- 
tinguished all  intellectual  endeavor,  it  was  litde  enough  that 
men  had  achieved  in  science,  compared  with  their  other 

Yet  it  is  certain  that  both  true  science  and  the  true  meth- 
ods of  science  had  been  established  in  antiquity.  It  was  not 
so  much  the  errors  of  the  ancient  world  as  the  errors  of 
the  Middle  Ages  in  interpretation  of  the  ancient  world,  and 
the  undue  importance  that  was  assigned  to  Aristotle,  which 
held  back  science  during  the  first  centuries  of  the  Renais- 

On  the  other  hand,  it  cannot  be  denied  that  if  the 
science  of  antiquity  at  its  best,  in  the  mechanics  of  Archi- 
medes, the  descriptive  astronomy  of  Hipparchus,  the  geom- 
etry of  Euclid,  and  the  zoology  of  Aristotle,  did  manifest 
most  of  the  characteristics  of  method  and  treatment  which 
we  know  to-day,  nearly  all  of  the  results  of  modern  science, 
the  modifications  of  life  and  civilization,  are  lacking  in 
antiquity.  Ancient  science  was  in  great  part  sterile ;  modem 
science  is  now  the  principal  agent  in  social  evolution. 

*  Bacon's  "Novum  Organum/'  Bk.  I,  IxiiL 



It  waa  not  mitil  die  seventeenth  century  dot  modem 
science  gamed  a  secure  footing:  Jost  as  in  aiitiqiiit^^  tibe 
minds  of  men  once  more  ranged  over  &e  wiiole  field  of  t&e 
intellectnal  and  the  imaginative,  and  produced  many  worio 
of  commanding'  genius  in  many  difFerent  subjects  before 
again  budding  down  to  the  more  sober  tasks  of  science, 
which  they  were  doomed  to  labor  opon  till  now,  and  quite 
possibly  forever. 

Leonardo  da  Vinci,  most  versatile  of  all  men,  had,  to  be 
lare.  soccessfnlly  sou^t  the  solution  of  problems  in  me> 
chanics,  and  patiently  studied  anatomy  and,  in  trudi,  ahnost 
every  department  of  science.  But,  great  as  was  his  insight 
into  the  phenomena  of  matter  and  motion,  and  it  was  per- 
haps not  less  tiian  his  insight  into  the  fine  arts,  his  work  re- 
mained without  effect,  because  unknown. 

Before  Galileo  there  are  but  two  modem  men  of  science 
^diose  importance  is  capital.  Copernicus  and  Vesalins.  The 
work  of  Copernicus,*  though  destined  finally  to  tear  a  veil 
from  before  the  eyes  of  men,  did  not  amount  to  a  proof  of 
the  heliocentric  hypothesis,  nor  was  it  at  once  profoundly 
inffuential  upon  thought.  As  for  Vesalius,  he  labored  xxfon 
human  anatomy,  a  subject  which  has  never  exerted  a  wide 
influence  upon  the  large  affairs  of  civilization.  The  number 
of  men  who,  in  the  srjrteenth  century  and  even  before,  pur- 
sued natural  science  with  industry  was  considerable.  But 
tradition,  belief  in  authority,  and  the  superstitions  of  the 
pseudo-sciences  of  astrology  and  alchemy,  long  and  success- 
fully resisted  the  advance  of  knowledge.  Time-honored 
ideas,  nevertheless,  had  received  a  rude  shock  at  the  hands 
of  Copernicus,  and  by  the  year  1600,  when  Giordano  Bruno 
was  burned  at  the  stake,  the  far-spreading  influence  of  the 
heliocentric  hypothesis,  both  in  its  direct  hearing,  and  as  an 
illustration  of  the  power  of  the  untranmieled  human  intel- 
lect, was  evident  to  most  thoughtful  men. 

There  followed  in  the  next  century  such  a  revolution  in 
thought  as  has  seldom  occurred  in  the  whole  course  of  his- 
tory.    To  this  many  factors  contributed;  the  conunanding 

*H.  C  zxxix,  55-60. 


genius  of  a  few  great  men,  Newton,  Galileo,  Harvey,"  Kep- 
ler, Huygens,  Descartes,*  Bacon,*  Leibnitz ;  the  growth  of 
algebra,  which  made  possible  the  invention  of  analytical 
geometry  by  Descartes,  and  the  calculus  by  Newton  and 
later  independently  by  Leibnitz;  the  inventions  of  the  tele- 
scope and  compound  microscope,  greatly  increasing  the 
powers  of  the  eye;  finally,  that  indefinable  modernizing  of 
the  human  mind  wrought  by  the  whole  Renaissance,  which 
made  sound  thought  once  more  possible,  and  for  the  first 
time  produced  in  Galileo  a  man  worthy  to  stand  beside 

Newton's  "principia" 

In  many  respects  the  seventeenth  century  is  the  most  in- 
teresting in  the  history  of  science,  and  certainly  science  is 
the  most  important  human  interest  in  the  history  of  this 
century.  Galileo  begins  it.  "Modem  science  is  the  daughter 
of  astronomy;  it  has  come  down  from  heaven  to  earth  along 
the  inclined  plane  of  Galileo,  for  it  is  through  Galileo  that 
Newton  and  his  successors  are  connected  with  Kepler."* 
The  investigation  of  the  falling  body,  and  the  establishment 
of  the  algebraical  and  geometrical  laws  of  fall  by  Galileo, 
joined  with  Kepler's  great  discoveries  of  the  laws  of  plane- 
tary motion,  and  informed  by  the  hypothesis  of  Copernicus, 
led  to  Newton's  "Principia,"  •  a  work  (the  only  other  one  by 
an  Englishman)  that  stands  out  like  that  of  Shakespeare, 
towering  over  all  else. 

This  incomparable  book  contains  all  the  essential  principles 
of  the  science  of  mechanics.  Since  the  year  1687,  when  it 
was  published,  the  labor  of  many  men  of  great  genius  has 
only  availed  to  polish,  to  refine,  and  to  embellish  a  subject 
which  they  could  not  really  extend.  In  the  course  of  the 
studies  leading  up  to  this  work,  Newton,  incidentally  as  it 
were,  invented  the  differential  and  integral  calculus,  which 
became  the  source  not  only  of  countless  achievements  in 
mathematics  and  science,  but  of  perhaps  the  bitterest  con- 
troversy in  the  annals  of  learning. 

The  work  of  Newton  in  establishing  the  science  of  nie- 

•  H.  C,  xxxviii,  65ff.        •  H.   C,  xxxiv,  sflF.         ^  H.  C„  xxxix,   i22ff. 
*Bergson,  "Creative  Evolution,"   translated  by   Mitchell,  p.  335. 
•if.   C,  xxxix,   i57ff. 

HCL— 4 


chanics  was  dependent  upon  a  variety  of  other  achievements 
of  the  century,  in  addition  to  the  idrectly  contributory  labors 
of  Kepler  and  Galileo,  Especially  important  were  the  earlier 
progress  of  mathematics,  marked  by  the  invention  of 
logarithms  by  Napier  and  independently  by  Biirgi,  and  thd 
above  mentioned  discovery  of  analytical  geometry  by  Des- 
cartes. Newton's  work  was  also  depehdent  upon  the  grow- 
ing power  and  precision  of  scientific  ihstniments  and 

This  development  of  mechanics  from  Galileo  to  Newton 
is  perhaps  the  best  illustration  of  the  method  of  scientific 
progress.  Upon  a  vast  basis  of  accurate  descriptive  knowl- 
edge, erected  partly  by  Tycho  Brahe  and  partly  by  earlier 
astronomers,  observations  with  instruments  of  precision  and 
kiigh  power,  quantitative  experiments,  and  finally  mathe- 
matical calculations  produced  in  little  more  than  half  a  cen- 
tury a  work  which  it  taxes  the  highest  powers  of  the  spe- 
cially trained  human  mind  to  understand,  and  which  has 
withstood  all  criticism  for  two  centuries,  the  most  ctitital  in 


Otlly  less  important  than  that  of  mechanics  was  the  de- 
velopment of  biology  in  the  seventeenth  century.  William 
Harvey,  supported  by  the  excellent  work  of  anatomists  that 
had  begun  with  Vesalius,  but  held  back  by  many  vestiges  of 
the  old  superstitious  belief  in  authority  and  the  garbled 
teachings  of  Hippocrates  and  Galen,  in  the  early  years  of 
the  century  discovered  the  circulation  of  the  blood."  After 
long  and  most  admirable  investigations  and  self-criticism,  in 
the  year  1628  he  gave  this  discovery  to  the  world. 

It  is  impossible  to  imagine  a  more  illuminating  contrast 
between  the  false  learning  of  the  Middle  Ages  and  the  sound 
positive  knowledge  of  modern  times  than  is  presented  in 
Harvey's  book.  For  at  almost  every  point  the  work  of  Har- 
vey himself  has  quite  as  much  the  modern  flavor  as  that  of 
Newton.  The  introduction  presents  the  old  traditional 
views  on  the  physiological  functions  of  heart  and  lungs,  and 
bewilders  with  its  meaningless  play  with  words.    There  fol- 


low  upon  this  the  simplest  descriptions  of  observations  and 
experiments,  and  the  soundest  reasoning  from  such  positive 
knowledge,  till  one  feels  that  he  has  passed  from  a  dream 
into  reality. 

The  work  of  Hirvey,  like  sd  much  of  tke  work  of  great 
Englishmen,  was  isolated,  and  the  full  development  of 
biology  came  somewhat  later,  in  mid-century  and  thereafter. 
In  this  later  growth,  aided  by  the  microscope  and  the  prin- 
ciples of  mechanics,  the  studies  of  Swammerdam,  Grew, 
Malpighi,  Redi,  Borelli,  Leeuwenhoek,  and  others,  provided 
many  important  data  in  the  most  widely  different  depart- 
ments of  biology.  But  natural  history  lacked  the  great 
foundation  of  accurate  descriptive  knowledge,  arranged  in 
order,  that  astronomy  possessed,  and,  as  a  result,  much  of 
the  great  work  which  the  biological  renaissance  began  was 
interrupted  for  a  century.  Among  the  feats  of  seventeenth- 
century  biology  were  microscopical  studies  of  the  anatomy 
of  both  plants  and  animals  (Nehemiah  Grew,  Malpighi, 
Leeuwenhoek),  the  beginnings  of  embryology  (Harvey^ 
Swammerdam),  mechanical  phvsiology  (Borelli)  including 
recognition  of  the  nature  of  reflex  action  by  Descartes,  ex- 
perimental studies  tending  to  overthrow  belief  in  sponta- 
neous generation  (Redi),  and  even  observations  on  the 
physiological  action  of  poisons. 

In  this  century,  in  spite  of  the  admirable  work  of  Robert 
Boyle,  somewhat  overestimated  in  his  own  day  however, 
chemistry  languished  under  the  sway  of  a  false  theory. 
Similarly,  heat,  electricity,  and  magnetism  were  of  no  great 
importance,  unless  the  magistral  work  on  magnetism  of 
William  Gilbert,  physician  to  Queen  Elizabeth,  published  in 
i6oOi  be  reckoned. 

Two  other  departments  of  physical  science,  however,  the 
study  of  atitio spheric  pressure  and  optics,  were  more  fortu- 
nate. Torricelli  and  Viviani,  pupils  of  Galileo,  Otto  von 
Guericke,  Pascal,  and  Boyle  investigated  the  barometer  and 
the  pressure  of  gases  and  worked  up  the  fundamental  con- 
clusions. Optics  was  investigated  by  no  less  men  than  New- 
ton and  Huygens,  and  at  their  hands  underwent  a  wonder- 
ful prabtical  transformation.  But  this  subject  requires  a 
peculiarly  subtle  theoretical  foundation,  and  the  times  were 


not  yet  ripe  even  for  a  Newton  to  enter  the  true  path  of 
theoretical  speculation. 


The  great  result  of  seventeenth-century  science  was  to 
show  the  world  that  simple  and  exact  laws  of  nature  can  be 
discovered.  At  the  time  of  their  discovery  the  most  impor- 
tant thing  about  Galileo's  law  of  falling  bodies  and  Newton's 
"Principia"  was  their  amazing  novelty.  Familiarity  with 
such  results  of  science  has  bred  the  modern  contempt  for 
superstition  and  anti-intellectual  views  concerning  the  phen- 
omena of  nature. 

It  must  be  confessed,  however,  that  the  immediate  results 
of  man's  new-found  confidence  in  the  intellect  were  often 
very  unfortunate.  For  there  can  be  little  doubt  that  it  was 
the  successes  of  the  Newtonian  dynamics  and  of  mathe- 
matical analysis  which  gave  the  philosophers  of  the  eigh- 
teenth century  their  assurance  of  the  possibility  of  like 
simple,  exhaustive,  accurate,  positive,  and  wholly  satis- 
factory treatments  of  the  most  complex  of  human  affairs, 
including  economics  and  politics,  to  say  nothing  of  the  bio- 
logical sciences.  Vain  efforts  in  such  directions  consumed 
much  of  the  best  energy  of  the  century,  and  such  striking 
failures  tended  to  obscure  the  real  progress  of  knowledge 
when  more  modest  or  at  least  more  simple  problems  were 

There  were  three  principal  tasks  for  eighteenth-century 
science.  The  organization  of  scientific  men  which  had  been 
begun  in  the  preceding  century  with  the  Royal  Society  of 
London  and  the  Academie  des  Sciences  of  Paris  had  to  be 
widened  and  enlarged.  The  work  of  Newton  had  to  be 
evolved  and  spun  out  finer  and  finer  with  the  aid  of  a  more 
and  more  flexible  mathematical  art.  Above  all,  the  descrip- 
tion of  nature  had  to  be  extended  in  every  direction  and 
classified,  as  the  basis  of  further  progress.  In  promoting 
the  organization  of  science  Leibnitz  is  the  great  figure.  In 
the  development  of  mathematical  physics  there  are  to  be 
noted  the  Bernoulli  family,  Euler,  Lagrange,  and  Laplace. 
In  natural  history  Linnaeus  stands  out  preeminent,  though 


Buffon  must  not  be  forgotten,  and,  as  the  century  nears  its 
close,  biologist  in  the  modem  sense  begin  to  appear. 

One  achievement  of  the  century  could  not  be  foreseen — 
the  creation  of  scientific  chemistry  by  Lavoisier,  aided  by 
Scheele,  Priestley  and  others,  a  deed  hardly  second  to  that 
of  Newton  and  Galileo  in  its  importance  of  science  and 
civilization,  and  far  the  most  important  scientific  advance  of 
a  htmdred  years. 


The  last  decades  of  the  eighteenth  century  and  the  first 
of  the  nineteenth  were  a  period  of  profound  change  po- 
litically, socially,  economically,  and  industrially,  and  not  less 
scientifically.  The  scientific  renaissance  had  come  in  the 
seventeenth  century  and  culminated  in  Newton.  The  suc- 
ceeding period  had  sufficed  to'  develop  his  immortal  work 
and  to  collect  a  vast  array  of  facts  in  the  descriptive 
sciences.  At  the  same  time  the  spirit  of  positive  knowledge 
had  been  applied  to  the  steam  engine  and  the  arts,  and  in 
very  different  directions  had  influenced  the  work  of  Vol- 
taire, Rousseau,  Gibbon,  Adam  Smith,  and  many  others. 
However  they  may  have  differed  among  themselves,  all  these 
men  felt  the  new  forces,  and  responded  to  them  with  novel 
criticism  of  religion,  society,  history,  and  political  economy. 

Lavoisier  had  provided  the  instruments  and  methods  for 
a  revolution  in  chemistry  quite  as  great  as  Newton's  in 
physics.  But  chemistry  differs  very  greatly  from  physics  in 
the  applicability  of  mathematics,  and  a  vast  experimental 
edifice  had  to  be  raised  before,  toward  the  end  of  the  nine- 
teenth century,  anything  like  the  completeness  of  the  New- 
tonian mechanics  could  be  attained  in  the  younger  science. 
Moreover  the  atomic  theory  had  to  be  developed,  had  to  be 
interwoven  with  the  kinetic  theory  of  gases  which  sees  the 
molecules  in  endless  motion,  had  to  be  extended  with  the 
help  of  geometry,  before  this  was  possible.  Still,  a  new 
tendency  had  formed,  which  now  has  become  one  of  the 
steadiest  streams  of  scientific  progress. 

Following  upon  the  work  of  Franklin  and  Coulomb  and 
many   others,    the    discoveries   of   Galvani    and   Volta.    of 


0*rstcd  and  Ampere,  and  above  all,  of  Faraday"  in  elec^ 
tricity,  providing  batteries  and  currents,  showing  the  re- 
lationship of  electrical  to  magnetic,  chemical,  optical,  me- 
chanical, and  thermal  phenomena,  constituted  another 
tendency,  and  both  of  these  have  had  a  profound  influence 
upon  the  arts.  Yoimg  and  Fresnel  created  a  new  science  of 
light.  Heat  became  yearly  more  important  with  the  de- 
velopment of  the  steam  engine  and  the  growth  of  physio- 
logical and  electrical  science.  The  work  of  Sadi  Camot, 
Mayer,  Joule,  Helmholtz,"  Lord  Kelvin,"  and  others  led,  in 
the  middle  of  the  century,  to  the  principles  of  thermo- 
dynamics, and  to  the  laws  of  the  conservation  and  degrada* 
tion  of  energy. 


Microscopical  anatomy  wad  revived  and,  advancing 
through  the  work  of  matiy  trained  observers,  led  to  the 
recognition  of  the  cell  as  the  morphological  element  of  liv- 
ing things,  with  this  as  a  basis,  to  the  systematic  develop- 
ment of  the  whole  of  histology ;  and  so  to  a  new  embryology 
and  pathology.  Thus  the  name^  of  Schleiden,  Schwann, 
Von  Baer,  and  Virchow  have  become  immortal. 

Rigid  ideas  based  upon  classification,  which  had  long 
tottered  before  the  assaults  of  Lamarck,  Goethe,  Erasmus 
Darwin,  Geoffroy  Saint*Hilaire,  and  others,  finally  fell  be- 
fore Charles  Darwin's"  triumphant  conception  of  natural 
selection  by  survival  of  the  fittest,  perhaps  the  most  influ- 
ential idea  upon  the  thought  of  his  time  that  has  ever  been 
put  forward  by  any  man.  Out  of  this  have  grown  the  study 
of  heredity  and,  partly  through  the  efforts  of  Darwin's 
cousin,  Francis  Galton,  a  new  doctrine  of  perfectibility. 

In  another  department  of  biology,  the  study  of  the  phe- 
nomena of  digestion,  fermentation,  putrefaction,  etc.,  after 
varying  fortunes,  culminated  in  Pasteur's"  discovery  of  the 
role  of  micfo-organisms,  confirming  the  views  of  Redi  and 
Swammcrdam  against  spontaneous  generation.  The  re- 
sults of  Pasteur's  discoveries  have  now  swelled  into  the 
greatest  material  benefit  ever  conferred  by  one  man  upon 

"//.  C.  XXX,   5-178.      "H.   C.  XXX,   181-259.        »»H.  C,  xx3t,  363*. 
""Origin  of  Species,"  in  H,  C,  xi.  "H.  C,  xxxviii,  a87-4oa. 


his  fellows.  They  have  led  to  antitoxins,  immunity,  and  the 
greater  part  of  preventive  medicine,  as  well  as  to  antisepsis 
and  asepsis  (Lister),"  and  so  to  the  principal  triumphs  of 


Experimental  methods,  guided  by  mechanics,  optics,  heat, 
electricity,  and  chemistry,  were  now  systematically  applied 
to  physiology,  then  to  psychology,  and,  with  the  help  of  the 
cellular  hypothesis  and  the  sciences  of  embryology,  evolu- 
tion, heredity,  immunity,  etc.,  they  have  transformed  biology. 

Everywhere,  if  other  mathematical  methods  fail,  the 
statistical  method  is  being  applied  and  in  suitable  cases,  as, 
for  example,  life  insurance,  with  great  success ;  thus  literally 
bringing  order  out  of  chaos. 

Meantime  the  world  has  learned  that  science  pays.  Ac- 
cordingly professorships  have  multiplied,  societies  have  be- 
come more  numerous,  journals  are  endowed.  Institutes  of 
research  established,  the  Nobel  prizes  founded,  and  a  liveli- 
hood is  provided  for  large  number  of  workers. 

The  number  of  working  scientists,  if  not  their  quality,  has 
enormously  increased.  An  army  has  been  organized  and 
disciplined,  and  an  amount  of  work  which  can  scarcely  be 
imagined  has  been  produced.  Scientific  literature  has  now 
become  a  flood  that  has  to  be  canalized  with  the  help  of 
special  journals  of  various  descriptions  devoted  solely  to  its 
review,  description,  and  orderly  classification,  in  order  that 
it  may  be  utilized  at  all. 

The  forward  march  of  science  has  now  become  inevita- 
ble, like  that  of  civilization  itself.  This  vast  army  of 
workers  are  engaged,  with  no  stake  in  the  outcome,  with  no 
concern  for  the  influence  of  their  work  upon  church  or 
state  or  any  other  human  institution  or  interest,  according 
to  known  and  tried  and  proved  rules,  by  description,  meas- 
urement, experiment,  and  mathematical  analysis,  in  multi- 
plying our  reliable,  positive  knowledge  of  the  world  around 
us.  Year  by  year  this  knowledge  grows,  by  leaps  and 
bounds  when  commanded  by  genius,  slowly  and  painfully  at 
the  hands  of  most  men,  but  steadily  and  surely  always. 

^H,  C,  xxxriii,  a7<* 




One  of  the  principal  results  of  the  extension  of  science  is 
its  incorporation  with  the  state.  Astronomers  royal  have 
existed  for  three  centuries,  but  to-day  we  have  Departments 
of  Agriculture  with  many  scientific  bureat^s,  and  we  badly 
need  Departments  of  Public  Health.  Moreover,  the  vast 
increase  of  knowledge  of  a  highly  technical  character  has 
made  it  impossible  for  the  executive,  the  legislative,  and  the 
judicial  departments  of  government  even  to  have  an  intelli- 
gent opinion  regarding  much  with  which  they  must  deal. 
Hence  the  expert  is  acquiring  an  importance  which  is 
scarcely  guessed  even  by  most  thoughtful  persons,  and  gov- 
ernment by  expert  commissions  and  expert  advisers  of  the 
legislature  and  the  judiciary  appear  to  be  inevitable  features 
of  the  future  state. 


The  main  currents  of  nineteenth-century  science  have 
produced  more  and  higher  specialization  than  ever  before. 
Descartes  was  philosopher,  scientist,  and  mathematician; 
some  of  the  great  men  of  the  eighteenth  century  were  hardly 
less  so.  Even  through  a  large  part  of  the  nineteenth  cen- 
tury many  of  the  greater  men  ranged  widely  over  the  field 
of  science  and  mathematics.  To-day  the  force  of  circum- 
stances has  largely  changed  all  that.  The  chemist  is  likely 
to  look  upon  the  physicist,  or  even  the  physical  chemist, 
with  suspicion  on  account  of  his  mathematical  interests. 
On  the  other  hand,  the  mathematician,  unlike  Newton, 
Euler,  and  Gauss,  is  commonly  no  longer  a  physicist  at  all. 
There  are  to-day  very  few  men  who  possess  even  a  super- 
ficial acquaintance  with  all  the  principal  departments  of 
science,  and  between  the  work  of  the  astronomer,  on  the  one 
hand,  and  that  of  the  anatomist,  on  the  other,  there  is  per- 
haps no  closer  relationship  than  the  fact  that  both  employ 
optical  instruments  in  their  researches. 

The  nineteenth  century  will  ever  be  known  in  history  for 
at  least  two  of  its  scientific  achievements — ^the  unification 
of  our  knowledge  of  matter,  energy,  and  life,  and  the  final 


organization  of  the  army  of  scientific  workers,  whereby  dis- 
covery ceased  to  be  dependent  solely  upon  the  individual  and 
became  a  part  of  the  business  of  humanity  at  large,  at  length 
and  for  the  first  time  systematically  undertaken. 


I.  Conservation  of  Energy 

The  middle  of  the  nineteenth  century  witnessed  the  dis- 
covery of  all  three  of  the  great  unifications  of  science. 
These  are  the  unification  of  energy  by  the  discovery  of  the 
principle  of  the  conservation  of  energy,  the  unification  of 
matter  by  the  discovery  of  the  periodic  system,  and  the 
unification  of  life  by  the  work  of  Charles  Darwin. 

Not  for  decades  after  Bolton  and  Watt,  as  the  result  of 
commercial  necessity,  introduced  the  idea  of  measuring 
energy  in  horsepower,  was  the  real  nature  of  the  relation- 
ship between  heat  and  mechanical  power  critically  exam- 
ined, save  once  in  a  quickly  forgotten  investigation  by  Sadi 
Carnot.  But  at  length  the  speculations  and  calculations  of 
Julius  Robert  Mayer,  the  admirable  experimental  researches 
of  Joule,  and  the  profound  studies  of  Helmholtz  and  others 
established  the  principle  of  the  conservation  of  energy" — in 
short,  demonstrated  the  proposition  that  energy  is  one  and 
indestructible,  however  it  may  manifest  itself  as  heat,  or 
light,  or  electricity,  or  otherwise. 

2.  Periodicity 

Somewhat  later  the  work  of  Newlands,  Lother  Meyer,  and 
Mendeleeff  brought  to  light  an  extraordinary  series  of  re- 
lationships, periodically  recurring  properties,  among  the  ele- 
ments. It  would  be  impossible  briefly  to  explain  this  re- 
lationship, but  a  simple  analogy  may  serve  to  show  its 

























C.«  XXX, 




Giving  the  numbers  above  arranged,  there  can  be  no  doubt, 
first,  that  they  have  been  correctly  arranged,  and  secondly, 
that  the  numbers  32  and  44  are  missing,  but  have  a  place 
in  the  table.  In  other  words,  it  is  possible  to  predict  the 
"properties"  of  the  two  missing  numbers.  In  like  manner, 
the  studies  of  Mendeleeff  showed  similar  connections  among 
the  elements.  These  could*  be  arranged,  as  he  showed,  in 
the  order  of  their  atomic  weights,  in  a  table  very  similar  to 
the  above,  in  which  the  variation  in  properties  was  regular 
and  periodically  recurrent,  but  with  certain  gaps  in  the 
classification.  Judging  from  the  elements  surrounding 
such  gaps,  Mendeleeff  predicted  the  properties  of  the  miss- 
ing elements  in  certain  cases  in  which  the  missing  elements 
have  now  been  supplied  by  chemical  research.  The  results 
have  invariably  confirmed  the  Russian  chemist's  predictions, 
as  may  be  seen  from  the  following  data  concerning  the  ele- 
ment germanium: 

Atomic  weight 

Specific    gravity     

Atomic    volume    

Specific  gravity  of  oxide 

Boiling  point   of  chloride 

Specific  gravity  of  chloride 

Specific  gravity  of  ethyl  compound . . . 







Less    than    loo** 



Lower  than  water 

Thus  it  has  become  clear  that  the  elements  are  all  related 
to  one  another.  It  is  not  known  how  to  explain  this  rela- 
tionship— ^perhaps  they  have  been  evolved  in  an  orderly 
manner  from  something  else — ^but,  at  all  events,  matter  is 
not  only  indestructible  (Lavoisier),  but  it  makes  up  a 
unitary  system.  To-day  we  feel  sure  that  we  are  acquainted 
with  nearly  all  the  stable  varieties  of  matter  that  exist  in 
the  universe,  though  of  course  there  remain  a  great  variety 
of  arrangements  of  this  matter  which  are  unknown  to  us. 

3.  Biological  Evolution 

The  only  well-known  phenomenon  that  cannot  be  com- 
pletely described  in  terms  of  matter  and  energy  is  life,  with 


its  peculiar  characteristics  of  consciousness  and  thought. 
In  the  year  1859  biology  yielded  to  the  unifying  idea  of 
Charles  Darwin.  Many  had  previously  suspected  that  all 
living  things  are  blood  relations;  the  discoveries  of  em- 
bryologists  in  particular  had  proved  that  the  similarities 
among  living  things  are  far  more  profound  than  had  been 
formerly  realized.  But  Darwin  provided  a  plausible  ex- 
planation of  the  development  of  more  complex  brings  by  a 
continuous  evolutionary  process,  and  this  led  to  the  world's 
final  decision  in  favor  of  the  hypothesis  of  transformation. 
It  is  possible  that  some  of  Darwin's  hypotheses  may  in 
the  end  be  discarded,  but  it  appears  to  be  wholly  unlikely 
that  the  world  will  ever  give  up  its  belief  in  the  evolution 
of  organic  beings,  in  all  their  multitudinous  forms,  from 
earlier  and  simpler  types,  and  probably  originally  from  one 
or  more  exceedingly  simple  forms. 

Finally  the  change  in  the  relation  of  science  to  civiliza- 
tion, accomplished  in  the  nineteenth  century,  marks  a  new 
epoch  in  history.  For  the  first  time  humanity  has  syste- 
matically undertaken  the  task  of  conquering  the  environ- 
ment. A  new  organ  of  the  social  body,  like  the  financial  or 
the  military,  has  been  created  and  has  assumed  relations 
with  the  other  parts  of  the  great  organism  of  modern 

System  replaces  chance  in  the  greater  part  of  human 
affairs,  manufacturing,  warfare,  medicine,  commerce  itself, 
have  become  "scientific";  they  advance  steadily,  ruthlessly, 
and  carry  man  with  them;  whither  he  cannot  guess. 


By  Professor  Lawrence  J.  Henderson 

ASTRONOMY  was  destined  to  liberate  the  modern  in- 
/\  tellect  from  the  bondage  of  the  Middle  Ages,  and 
-*-  ^  by  teaching  man  that  the  earth  is  not  the  fixed  center 
of  the  universe,  but  a  satellite  of  one  among  many  stars,  to 
shake  the  confidence  with  which  he  had  long  regarded  the 
universe  as  made  for  him,  the  earth  for  his  abode,  the 
heavens  for  his  enjoyment.  This  is  the  g^eat  contribution 
of  astronomy  to  thought;  to  civilization  it  has  also  con- 
tributed some  of  the  most  important  advances,  such  as  an 
accurate  calcfndar,  the  standard  of  time,  and  the  exact 
measure  of  time,  sound  methods  of  navigation  and  geog- 
raphy; and  commencing  earlier  than  all  the  other  sciences, 
it  has  built  up  one  of  the  most  admirable  structures  of  sci- 
entific knowledge. 

Astronomy  was  long  the  leader  among  the  sciences,  and 
as  such  gave  to  the  world  trigonometry,  in  part  logarithms, 
and  Newton's  dynamics.  But  though  astronomical  progress 
has  by  no  means  ceased,  the  accelerated  growth  of  other 
sciencesT— first  physics,  then  chemistry,  and  of  late  biology — 
has  rendered  it  less  conspicuous.  The  continued  importance 
of  astronomy  is,  however,  well  illustrated>  by  the  marvelous 
results  of  spectrum  analysis,  while  to-day  the  study  of 
nebulae  and  of  the  physics  of  the  sun  possesses  the  highest 


The  principal  results  of  ancient  astronomy  go  by  the  name 
of  Ptolemy  (the  Ptolemaic  system),  but  are  mainly  due  to 
the  labors  of  Hipparchus. 

Hipparchus  knew  the  latitude  and  longitude  of  150  fixed 
stars  within  a  fraction  of  a  degree,  when,  in  the  year  134 
B.  C,  a  new  star  of  the  first  magnitude  suddenly  appeared. 



Encouraged  by  this  extraordinary  event,  he  applied  himself 
diligently  to  astronomical  measurements,  establishing  the 
position  of  more  than  i,ooo  fixed  stars.  It  was  no  doubt 
this  sound  basis  of  accurate  quantitative  data,  and  the  fa- 
miliarity with  his  subject  which  such  work  provided,  that 
led  to  his  great  achievements.  He  discovered  the  preces- 
sion of  the  equinoxes,  and  measured  it  with  considerable 
accuracy;  he  measured  the  length  of  the  day  with  an  error 
of  but  six  minutes;  but  his  great  achievement  was  a  mathe- 
matical device  whereby  the  position  of  the  sun  and,  with  less 
accuracy,  the  positions  of  the  moon  and  planets  could  be 

The  essential  features  of  this  device  consisted  in  imagin- 
ing the  sun  to  move  in  a  circle  of  which  the  earth  was  not 
quite  the  center;  this  is  the  excentric  of  ancient  astronomy. 
Another  more  difficult  idea  was  that  of  epicycles.  These 
two  mathematical  ideas  did  very  good  service  in  the  work 
of  Hipparchus,  for  the  practical  purposes  of  the  calendar. 
But  later,  in  the  hands  of  Ptolemy,  and  in  the  succeeding 
centuries,  they  ceased  to  be  arbitrary  assumptions,  or  even 
mere  theories,  and  in  the  Middle  Ages  became  dogmas  which 
were  held  most  tenaciously  and  blindly.  As  astronomical 
knowledge  slowly  increased,  it  became  necessary  to  make 
the  theory  more  and  more  complex  in  order  to  fit  the  facts, 
and,  long  before  the  work  of  Copernicus,  astronomical 
theories  had  reached  a  degree  of  absurdity  that  could  not 
have  endured  in  any  other  age.  Yet  more  than  one  of  the 
astronomers  of  antiquity  had  believed  that  the  earth  moves, 
either  rotating  on  its  axis,  or  revolving  round  the  sun,  or 


Copernicus  was  born  at  Thorn  in  Poland  (1473)  o^  ^ 
German  mother.  Educated  first  in  medicine,  he  studied 
astronomy  in  Vienna,  and  he  was  later  in  Italy  (1495-1505) 
at  the  height  of  the  Renaissance.  When  he  returned  home, 
his  uncle,  the  bishop  of  Ermeland,  presented  him  with  a 
clerical  position  at  Frauenburg.  Here  for  forty  years  he 
labored  to  bring  astronomical  calculations  and  observations 
into  harmony,  and  finally,  long  after  he  had  become  con- 


vinced  of  the  soundness  of  the  heliocentric  view  published  the 
work^  which  marks  the  first  great  step  in  modern  science,  a 
work  which  he  saw  for  the  first  time  on  his  deathbed  in  1543. 

Copernicus  showed  that  all  the  difficulties  which  the  move-' 
ments  of  the  planets  present  would  become  very  m^ich  less 
if  the  tnoon  were  left  the  only  satellite  of  the  earth,  and  the 
earth  itself  and  all  the  planets  were  assumed  to  move 
around  the  sun.  He  did  not  prove — in  truth  being  wise  and 
realizing  his  own  limitations,  he  did  not  seek  to  prove — this 
hypothesis,  but  only  to  present  the  .reasons  why  it  must  ap- 
pear the  most  probable  explanation  of  the  principal  astro? 
nqmical  phenomena. 

The  new  doctrine  made  converts  slowly.  At  first  it  was 
opposed  by  the  professional  astronomers,  with  whose  time- 
honored  habits  it  interfered,  and  who  were,  for  the  most 
part,  npt  competent  to  understand  it.  Later  the  opposition 
of  the  great  Tycho  Brahe  worked  against  it  for  many  years. 
Still  later  the  opposition  of  theologians  effectually  cut  off 
many  converts,  most  notably  Descartes.  But  the  discovery 
of  Kepler's  laws  completely  destroyed  the  Ptolemaic  system, 
and  must  have  convinced  nearly  all  reasonable  men  of  the 
correctness  of  that  of  Copernicus.  These  famous  laws  are 
as  follows:  The  line  joining  the  sun  with  a  planet  sweeps 
over  equal  areas  in  equal  periods  of  time.  Every  planet 
moves  in  an  ellipse  with  the  sun  at  one  focus.  The  squares 
of  the  times  of  the  revolution  of  any  two  planets  are  in  the 
same  ratio  as  the  cubes  of  their  mean  distances  from  the 


The  next  important  step  in  the  growtji  of  knowledge  of 
the  solar  system  w^s  Galileo's  study  of  the  laws  of  fall  and 
the  composition  of  two  kinds  of  motion,  like  fall  and  pro- 
jection, as  in  the  case  of  a  projectile.  This  was  followed  by 
Newton's  magnificent  extension  of  gravity  from  the  earth 
to  the  whole  of  space,  with  the  assumption  and  proof  that 
the  intensity  of  gravitational  attraction  varies  inversely  as 
the  square  of  the  distance. 

^  See  bis  Dedication  of  his  "EevoluHons  of  Heavenly  Bodies,"  Harvard 
Classics,  xxxix,  55-60. 


These  ideas,  combined  with  Kepler's  laws,  led  at  once  to 
the  theory  of  planetary  motion  and  its  proof,  in  Newton's 
"Principia."  *  The  motion  of  the  planets  appeared  as  the 
resultant  of  their  tendency  to  go  on  in  the  direction  in  which 
they  were  moving  (inertia),  and  their  tendency  to  fall  to 
the  sun  (gravitation).  The  problem  yielded  completely,  so 
far  as  two  bodies  are  concerned,  to  the  mathematical  genius 
of  Newton. 

Still  the  revolution  of  the  earth  about  the  sun  was  not,  by 
many  astronomers,  considered  to  be  proved,  while  some  even 
denied  it.  For  if  the  earth  really  revolved  about  the  sun, 
the  relative  positions  of  the  stars  ought  not  to  appear  the 
same  to  us  from  different  parts  of  the  orbit.  Yet  no  dif- 
ference in  their  places  at  the  two  solstices  could  be  detected, 
although  the  stands  of  the  observer  were  separated  by  a 
hundred  and  eighty  million  miles  in  the  two  instances. 

James  Bradley  was  the  first  person  to  obtain  important 
results  from  the  investigation  of  this  problem  of  parallax. 
He  found,  not,  to  be  sure,  a  periodic  change  of  the  apparent 
position  of  the  stars  that  could  be  explained  as  parallax,  but 
a  different  change  of  position,  quite  unexpected.  This  he 
called  aberration,  and  recognized  that  it  was  due  to  a  com- 
position of  the  motion  of  the  earth  and  of  the  light  from  the 
star  itself,  which  is  analogous  to  the  entry  of  rain  falling 
straight  down,  yet  into  the  open  front  of  a  moving  carriage. 
Here,  nevertheless,  was  a  proof,  the  more  valuable  because 
unexpected,  of  the  earth's  motion.  It  was  not  till  1837  that 
Bessel  finally  measured  the  parallax  of  a  fixed  star,  and  this 
finally  ended  the  problem.  The  whole  difficulty  had  been 
due  merely  to  the  enormous  distance  which  separates  us  from 
the  nearest  of  the  stars. 


A  new  period  in  the  history  of  astronomy  followed  upon 
the  discovery  of  spectrum  analysis  by  Bunsen  and  Kirchhoff. 
At  the  outset  the  chemical  composition  of  the  sun  revealed 
itself.  Later  that  of  the  stars  became  known;  still  later  it 
became  possible  to  classify  the  stars  on  the  basis  of  their 

*  H,  C,  xxxix,  iS7»  and  see  General  Index  in  vol.  1.  tinder  Newton. 


spectra,  and  at  length  it  has  become  evident  that  variations 
in  spectra  are  at  least  largely  due  to  differences  in  the  age 
of  suns  (the  length  of  time  during  which  cooling  has  gone 
on),  that  all  stars  are  probably  very  much  alike  both 
chemically  and  physically,  and  that  our  sun  is  probably  very 
much  like  all  other  stars.  The  geological  doctrine  of  uni- 
formity has  been  extended  to  astronomy. 

This  results  in  renewed  interest  in  the  nebular  hypothesis 
and  in  novel  speculations  regarding  the  origin  of  the  solar 
system.  In  like  manner,  the  problem  of  the  physicochemical 
nature  of  the  sun,  and  of  the  processes  which  take  place 
within  it,  assumes  great  interest;  for,  if  the  universe  be 
homogeneous,  we  may  extend  our  local  discoveries  to  the 
utmost  confines  of  space.  These,  however,  have  themselves 
turned  out  not  so  unapproachable  as  a  few  years  ago  they 
seemed  to  be.  Certain  peculiarities  of  star  spectra  enable 
astronomers  to  judge  of  the  motion  of  stars  both  relative  to 
the  earth  and  in  rotation.  The  behavior  of  variable  stars 
can  also  in  part  be  accounted  for  by  ingenious  hypotheses. 

Thus  the  old  science  preserves  its  youth  and  promises  to 
continue  its  contributions  to  the  growth  of  human  under- 


By  Professor  Lawrence  J.  Henderson 

THE  history  of  physical  science  in  the  ancient  world  is 
marked  by  few  notable  results.  The  monochord, 
earliest  of  scientific  apparatus,  led  to  the  discovery  of 
the  elements  of  harmony;  geometrical  optics  in  its  simplest 
form  was  developed;  Hero  of  Alexandria  and  others  fa- 
miliarized themselves  with  some  of  the  phenomena  of  steam 
and  air  pressure;  even  Aristotle,  whose  influence  in  this 
department  was  on  the  whole  so  harmful  during  two  mil- 
lenniums, possessed  much  curious  and  interesting  informa- 
tion. But,  apart  from  the  great  work  of  Archimedes  in 
mechanics,  there  is  little  that  bears  the  imprint  of  genius 
in  the  physics  and  chemistry  of  antiquity.  Most  of  the 
knowledge  of  the  time  was  no  better  than  a  collection  of 
rules  of  the  various  trades,  such  as  dyeing,  for  instance. 

the  achievements  of  ARCHIMEDES 

Archimedes  established  the  science  of  statics.  He  dis- 
covered the  law  of  the  lever,  that  unequal  weights  are  in 
equilibrium  when  their  distances  (from  the  fulcrum)  are 
inversely  proportional  to  their  weights;  he  developed  the 
idea  of  center  of  gravity,  and  discovered  rules  concerning 
it;  and  he  discovered  the  laws  of  floating  and  immersed 
bodies,  including  the  so-called  principle  of  Archimedes, 
which  enabled  him,  as  the  story  goes,  by  weighing  Hiero's 
crown  in  air  and  then  in  water,  to  detect  that  the  goldsmith 
had  debased  the  metal.  This  work  of  Archimedes,  together 
with  his  remarkable  mathematical  feats,  marks  him  as  one 
of  the  mightiest  of  human  intellects,  fully  worthy  of  a  place 
among  the  greatest  of  the  Greeks. 

But,  in  spite  of  Archimedes,  it  was  in  fragmentary  and 



disjointed  form  that  the  physical  science  of  antiquity  was 
transmitted  without  important  change  through  the  Middle 
Ages  to  the  Modem  World.  We  have  already  seen  some- 
what of  the  additions  which  the  seventeenth  century  contrib- 
uted, especially  in  dynamics,  from  Galileo  to  Newton.  It 
does  not  appear  that,  apart  from  the  chemioal  work  of 
Lavoisier,  the  eighteenth  century  provided  much  of  the  very 
highest  novelty  and  value  in  this  field.  Perhaps  the  re- 
searches of  two  Americans,  Benjamin  Franklin  and  Ben- 
jamin Thompson,  who  became  Count  Rum  ford,  in  electricjty 
and  in  heat  respectively,  are  among  the  best  which  the  cen- 
tury affords,  as  they  are  at  the  summit  of  all  American 
scientific  work. 


Lavpisier's  achlevepient  consisted  in  his  recognition  of 
the  fact  that  weight  is  neither  increased  nor  diipinished  in 
chemical  changes,  and  in  the  elevation  of  this  discovery, 
which  has  since  been  many  times  confirmed  with  ever-»in- 
creasing  accuracy,  into  the  guiding  principle  of  chemical 
investigation,  the  law  of  the  conservation  of  mass.  This 
advance  involved  the  introduction  of  the  balance  as  the 
chief  instrument  of  chemical  research.  Lavoisier's  great 
success  depended,  further,  upon  the  fact  that  he  chose  the 
pi'ocess  of  oxidation  and  reduction  (the.  reverse  of  the  re- 
action of  oxidation)  for  study.  Not  only  is  oxygen  the 
most  active  of  chemical  elements,  if  both  intensity  and 
variety  of  chemical  behavior  be  considered,  and  far  the 
commonest  upon  the  earth's  surface,  but  also  the  most  im- 
portant chemical  processes  are  reactions  of  oxygen. 

The  pfirtial  tearing  off  of  oxygen  from  the  carbon  of  car- 
bonic acid  and  the  hydrogen  of  water  is  the  first  step  in  the 
formation  of  all  organic  substances  in  the  plant,  and  the  re- 
combination of  oxygen  with  plant  products  the  chief  chemi- 
cal activity  of  the  animal.  AH  this  and  much  more  Lavoisier 
recognized,  and  thereby  revealed  the  true  nature  of  another 
great  phenomenon  of  nature.  These  investigations  also  disr 
closed,  in  thp  sequel,  the  chief  source  of  all  the  energy  which 
is  available  for  the  purposes  of  man. 


It  IS  only  the  energy  stored  up  in  the  plant  (originally  the 
energy  of  the  sunlight  shining  upon  the  green  leai  of  the 
plant 'and  transformed  by  the  action  of  chlorophyll)  which 
is  contained  in  all  coal,  wood,  all  kinds  of  oil,  including  petro- 
leum, alcohol,  in  short  every  fuel.  And  it  is  exclusivdy  by 
the  union  of  the  fuels  with  oxygen  once  more  to  form  water 
and  carbonic  acid  that  this  energy  is  liberated,  as  in  the 
human  body  itself,  and  utilized  by  man.^  The  resulting 
water  and  carbonic  acid  can  then  be  used  over  again  by  the 
plant  The  nature  of  this  cycle  of  matter  was  clearly  recog-  , 
ni^ed  by  Lavoisier.  This  is  the  basis  of  nearly  all  our  in- 
dustry and  commerce. 


The  next  great  achievement  of  physical  science  is  com-'* 
monly  regarded  as  the  establishment  of  the  wave  theory  of 
light'  by  Young  and  Fresnel.  This  view  had  been  put  forth 
in  the  seventeenth  century  in  a  very  weighty  form  by 
Huygens,  and  it  had  even  been  held  before  him  l^y  the  ver- 
satile Hooke.  On  the  assumption  that  light  is  prop^gate4 
as  undulations,  Huygens  had  given  a  most  satisfactpry  ^Pt 
count  of  the  laws  of  reflection  and  refraction;  and  be  bad 
had  good  success  even  in  his  application  of  the  theoi^  to 
the  very  difficult  problem  of  double  refractipi)  in  IceUn4 
spar.  Huygens,  however,  did  not  succeed  in  establishing  his 
hypothesis,  and  Newton's  preference  for  the  so-called  emis- 
sion or  corpuscular  theory  of  light  weighed  heavily  aj^ainst 
the  theory  of  waves. 

Newton  himself  never  quite  rejected  the  wave  theory  pf 
light,  and,  in  truth,  at  many  points  in  bis  writings  seems 
strongly  to  favor  it.  But  there  are  propositions  in  his  works 
which  led  his  followers  to  the  positive  assertioii  of  the  emis- 
sion hypothesis.  The  great  mathematician  Euler,  qn  the 
other  hand,  adopted,  in  the  eighteenth  century,  the  un- 
dulatory  theory.  Between  bis  purely  theoretical  yiew3  and 
the  Newtonians  there  was  great  controversy. 
Again  at  the  beginning  of  the  nineteenth  century  the  IWr  * 

^  See  Faraday  on  the  '•Chemical  History  of  a  Candle"  in  H.  C,  xnx» 
'  See  KelvinU  account  of  the  theory  in  H«  C,  xxx,  a63-a85. 


dulatory  theory  was  set  forth,  this  time,  however,  on  the 
basis  of  exact  observations  upon  the  colors  of  thin  plates, 
by  Thomas  Young,  one  of  the  most  versatile  men  of  genius 
of  the  country.  The  contributions  of  Young  were  destined 
to  prevail,  but,  in  spite  of  their  soundness,  they  were  treated 
with  contempt  by  his  contemporaries  and  forgotten  for 
twenty  years,  until  revived  by  the  confirmations  of  Fresnel. 
Fresnel,  moreover,  gradually  developed  the  mathematical 
theory  of  this  intricate  subject,  and  at  length,  supported  by 
Arago,  he  won  over  the  scientific  world  to  the  belief  in  light 
waves  and  the  luminiferous  ether  with  its  strange  and  para- 
doxical characteristics. 


Of  all  the  results  of  scientific  experimentation,  those  of 
Faraday  probably  contributed  most  to  the  recognition  of 
the  connection  between  the  different  manifestations  of  en- 
ergy, which  was  a  necessary  preliminary  to  the  discovery  of 
the  principle  of  the  conservation  of  energy.*  This  is  but 
one  of  the  merits  of  Michael  Faraday,  whom  many  have 
thought  the  very  greatest  of  scientific  experimenters,  and 
who  was  certainly  one  of  the  noblest  and  most  inspired  of  men. 

The  work  of  Faraday  is  of  a  richness  and  variety  that 
baffles  description.  He  was  interested  in  every  department 
of  physical  science,  and  he  was  a  great  discoverer  wherever 
his  interests  rested.  His  earliest  work  was  chemical,  fol- 
lowing that  of  his  teacher  Davy.  Here  he  discovered  new 
compounds  of  carbon,  for  the  first  time  liquefied  several 
gases,  studied  the  diffusion  of  gases,  the  alloys  of  steel,  and 
numerous  varieties  of  glass.  Next  he  turned  to  electricity, 
his  chief  interest  thenceforth.  With  a  voltaic  pile  he  de- 
composed magnesium  sulphate.  This  led  later  to  his  funda- 
mental electrochemical  law.  Choosing  purely  physical 
problems,  he  for  the  first  time  produced  the  continuous 
rotations  of  wires  and  magnets  round  each  other,  and  in 
1 83 1  he  discovered  induced  currents.  The  greatness  of  his 
work  in  this  department  has  been  explained  by  the  most 
competent  of  all  critics,  Clerk  Maxwell. 

»  Sec  Faraday  on  "Forces  of  Matter/'  H.  C,  xxx,  5-88. 


''By  the  intense  application  of  his  mind  he  had  brought 
the  new  idea,  in  less  than  three  months  from  its  first  de- 
velopment, to  a  state  of  perfect  maturity.  The  magnitude 
and  originality  of  Faraday's  achievement  may  be  estimated 
by  tracing  the  subsequent  history  of  his  discovery.  As 
might  be  expected,  it  was  at  once  made  the  subject  of  in- 
vestigation by  the  whole  scientific  world,  but  some  of  the 
most  experienced  physicists  were  unable  to  avoid  mistakes 
in  stating,  in  what  they  conceived  to  be  more  scientific  lan- 
guage than  Faraday's,  the  phenomena  before  them.  Up  to 
the  present  time,  the  mathematicians  who  have  rejected 
Faraday's  method  of  stating  his  law  as  unworthy  of  the 
precision  of  their  science  have  never  succeeded  in  devising 
any  essentially  different  formula  which  shall  fully  express 
the  phenomena  without  introducing  hypotheses  about  the 
mutual  action  of  things  which  have  no  physical  existence, 
such  as  elements  of  currents  which  flow  out  of  nothing,  then 
along  a  wire,  and  finally  sink  into  nothing  again. 

"After  nearly  half  a  century  of  labor  of  this  kind,  we  may 
say  that,  though  the  practical  applications  of  Faraday's  dis- 
covery have  increased  and  are  increasing  in  number  and 
value  every  year,  no  exception  to  the  statement  of  these 
laws  as  given  by  Faraday  has  been  discovered,  no  new  law 
has  been  added  to  them,  and  Faraday's  original  statement 
remains  to  this  day  the  only  one  which  asserts  no  more  than 
can  be  verified  by  experiment,  and  the  only  one  by  which 
the  theory  of  phenomena  can  be  expressed  in  a  manner 
which  is  exactly  and  numerically  accurate,  and  at  the  same 
time  within  the  range  of  elementary  methods  of  exposition."* 

*  "Encyclopaedia  Britannica>"  9th  ed.»  ix,  30. 


By  Professor  Lawrence  J.  Henderson 

A  MONG  the  central  problems  of  biology  and  scteptific 
l\  medicine,  those  which  group  themselves  about  the 
-^-^  bacteriological  and  pathological  investigations  of 
Pasteur*  have  been  very  fully  represented  in  The  Harvard 
Gassics.  This  is  due  pardy  to  the  fact  that  Pasteur,  in 
providing  an  explanation  of  the  conditions  of  life  of  micro* 
organisms  and  of  the  effects  of  their  activities,  contributed 
many  missing  links  to  the  science  of  life,  and  unified  our 
knowledge  of  the  interrelations  of  living  things.  For,  in 
its  various  ratifications  and  connections,  Pasteur's  prob- 
lem is  one  of  the  most  extensive,  as  it  is  one  of  the  most 
important,  in  the  whole  domain  of  science.  It  includes  or 
touches  the  subjects  of  fermentation  and  putrefaction,  with 
the  old  problem  of  spontaneous  generation  and  the  whole 
question  of  genesis,  the  cause  of  infectious  diseases  and  the 
manner  of  their  communication,  the  nature  and  mechanism 
of  immunity,  including  vaccination  and  antitoxins,  and  a 
host  of  other  equally  important  matters.  The  work  of 
Pasteur  has  led  to  modem  surgery  through  the  wqiIc  of 
Lister,*  to  a  large  part  of  modem  hygiene,  sacrificing  the 
lives  of  many  investigators  in  the  process;  to  new  methods 
in  chemical  industry  and  agriculture,  and  it  has  created  un- 
told wealth  and  saved  countless  lives. 


Aristotle,  though  his  knowledge  of  embryology  in  at  least 
one  instance— :that  of  the  smooth  dog-fish — ^was  very  great  and 
very  exact,  appears  at  times  to  have  been  willing  to  assume 
spontaneous  generation  of  such  large  animals  as  the  eel,  for 

^  Harvard  Classics,  xxxviii.  aSoff. 

*  See  Lifter,  "On  the  Antiseptic  Principle,"  in  H.  C,  xxxviii,  271S, 



instance,  as  a  common  occurrence.  But  there  can  be  no 
doubt  that  even  in  antiquity  common  sense  sometimes  felt 
itself  more  or  less  in  opposition  to  such  an  idea,  and  it 
was  natural  enough  for  the  men  of  the  seventeenth  century, 
when  stirred  by  the  new  spirit  of  scientific  research,  to  seek 
to  solve  a  problem  which  has  always  been  of  the  highest 
interest,  and  never  far  from  the  minds  of  thoughtful 

In  this  great  century  the  most  important  investigations  of 
such  problems  were  those  of  Harvey,  Redi,  and  Swammer- 
dam.  Harvey's  embryological  observations  are  far  less 
valuable  than  his  study  of  the  circulation  of  the  blood.'  It 
may,  in  truth,  be  questioned  if  he  surpassed  Aristotle  in  any 
way  as  an  embryologist.  But,  at  all  events,  his  work  served 
to  draw  the  attention  of  his  successors  to  this  subject,  and, 
however  vague  his  ideas  about  spantaneous  generation  in 
certain  lower  forms  of  life,  he  at  least  took  a  firm  stand  in 
favor  of  the  theory  of  generation  from  the  tgg  in  most 

The  work  of  Redi  is  of  greater  interest  and  importance. 
He  made  elaborate  studies  of  the  putrefaction  of  flesh,  saw 
flies  lay  their  eggs  therein,  and  on  gauze  when  the  flesh  was 
protected  with  it.  He  saw  maggots  develop  in  the  unpro- 
tected meat,  while  the  use  of  gauze  prevented  their  develop- 
ment He  found  that  meat  of  one  kind  could  support  mag- 
gots which  formed  more  than  one  kind  of  fly,  and  that  the 
same  species  of  fly  could  come  from  different  kinds  of  meat. 
Hence  he  concluded  that  the  generation  of  the  fly  is  from  an 
^gSt  ^^^  that  there  is  no  spontaneous  generation  involved  in 
the  putrefaction  of  meat. 

Swammerdam,  one  of  the  greatest  of  naturalists,  and 
many  others  confirmed  the  observations  and  conclusions  of 
Redi,  and,  by  observing  again  and  again  normal  generation 
from  the  egg  in  many  other  species  of  minute  organisms, 
did  much  to  undermine  the  confidence  with  which  the  un- 
accountable appearance  of  living  things  was  ascribed  to 
spontaneous  generation. 

Meanwhile  the  microscopical  studies  of  Leeuwenhoek  had 

•  Sec  Harvey,  "On  the  Motion  of  the  Heart  and  Blood  of  Animals,"  in 
H,  C,  xxxviii,  63S, 


revealed  the  presence  of  hosts  of  minute  organisms  in  putrid 
fluids  and,  in  the  eighteenth  century,  the  problem  of  spon- 
taneous generation  was  transferred  to  the  origin  of  micro- 
scopic life.  This  problem  in  turn  was  answered  unfavor- 
ably to  spontaneous  generation  by  Spallanzani.  His  new 
method  of  investigation  was  to  seal  up  an  infusion  of  meat 
in  a  glass  flask;  next  the  flash  was  immersed  in  boiling 
water  until  the  contents  had  been  thoroughly  heated  through- 
out, and  then  the  behavior  of  the  solution  on  standing  was 
observed.  After  thorough  heating  no  signs  of  putrefaction 
were  revealed  to  the  eye  or  to  the  nose;  no  living  things 
were  ever  visible  in  the  solution  under  the  microscope.  But 
on  admitting  the  air  to  the  flasks  putrefaction  soon  set  in 
and  thus  proved  that  the  fault  was  not  with  the  effect  of 
heat  upon  what  is  to-day  called  the  culture  medium,  but  that 
putrefaction  had  not  previously  occurred  simply  because  all 
germs  originally  present  had  been  killed  by  heat;  sterilized, 
in  short. 


The  early  nineteenth  century  made  two  highly  important 
new  contributions  to  the  old  problem:  the  view  that  all  liv- 
ing things  are  made  up  of  cells  as  their  ultimate  structural 
elements;  and,  secondly,  acquaintance  with  various  digestive 
ferments  contained  in  liquids  like  the  gastric  juice,  which 
are  now  known  to  be  cell  free,  yet  are  capable  of  bringing 
about  processes  resembling  fermentation.  The  latter  dis- 
covery led  at  a  later  date  to  the  distinction  between  organ- 
ized (living)   and  unorganized  ferments. 

Out  of  the  cell  theory  have  grown  the  wonderful  modern 
sciences  of  embryology,  largely  through  the  eflForts  of  K.  E. 
von  Baer,  and  pathology,  in  which  Rudolf  Virchow  has  a 
similar  position.  The  study  of  ferments  and  fermentation, 
and  of  simple  chemical  agents  which  can  produce  like 
changes,  has  led  to  many  new  problems  and  to  new  methods 
of  attacking  old  ones. 

The  chemical  aspects  of  fermentation*  have  a  special  his- 
torical  importance   because   they  are   especially   associated 

*  See   Pasteur,   "The   Physiological   Theory  of  Fermentation/*   in  H.   C, 
xxxviii)  aSpff. 


with  Pasteur's  discoveries.  Trained  as  a  chemist,  he  applied 
the  exact  methods  of  physical  science  to  the  biological 
problem,  and  solved  what  had  been  thought  by  many  in- 
soluble. The  studies  of  Pasteur  convinced  the  scientific 
world  that  life  as  we  know  it  never  originates  spontaneously, 
that  minute  living  organisms — microbes,  gern^s,  bacteria — are 
far  more  active  agents  in  this  world  than  had  been  guessed. 
Such  organisms  turned  out  to  be  the  essential  factors  in 
fermentation  of  all  kinds,  save  only  those  due  to  digestive 
ferments;  it  is  such  organisms  which  form  alcohol,  sour 
milk,  make  vinegar,  etc.  Thus  in  the  organic  cycle  the  role 
of  the  organisms  formed  of  a  single  cell  at  length  appeared 
to  be  a  great  one.  Everywhere  present,  borne  by  the  wind, 
they  are  the  true  scavengers;  for  nothing,  no  matter  how 
small,  can  escape  them.  But  they  are  more  than  this.  Wher- 
ever they  find  organic  matter,  dead  or  alive,  that  can  sup- 
port life,  they  seize  upon  it;  they  transform  many  of  the 
most  important  waste  products  of  the  animal  into  the  food 
of  the  plant;  they  grow  within  larger  living  things,  and  by 
their  growth  cause  disease,  or  do  not,  according  to  their 
nature.  In  short,  it  is  their  activity,  invisible  but  omni- 
present, fitting  in  at  every  point  where  gaps  would  other- 
wise occur,  which  completes  the  organic  cycle. 


At  length  the  chemical  processes  of  life  upon  the  earth 
were  unified.  Living  things  were  seen  to  make  up  a  single 
community,  the  great  laboratory  through  which  alone  mat- 
ter flows  in  its  everlasting  cycle. 

The  results  of  Pasteur's  discoveries  and  of  the  methods  of 
investigation  which  he  introduced  are  probably  already 
greater  than  the  results  of  Napoleon's  life.  The  simple 
great  man,  who  almost  alone  among  the  scientists  of  the 
nineteenth  century  equals  the  genius  and  virtue  of  Faraday, 
shares  with  the  latter  the  first  position  among  those  who 
have  revolutionized  our  twentieth-century  world. 

Pasteur's  discoveries  explained  at  once  such  observations 
as  those  of  Oliver  Wendell  Holmes.*    They  gave  a  clue  to 

•  See    Holmes,    "The    Contagiousness    of    Puerperal    Fever,"    in    H.    C, 
xxxTiii*  27  u 


such  mysterious  processes  as  vaccination.*  And  one  after 
another  each  great  pest  has  yielded  up  its  secret  cause — a 
specific  micro-organism — ^to  the  disciples  of  Pasteur, 


Yet  such  discoveries  are  but  a  beginning  in  the  explana- 
tion of  disease.  It  soon  appeared  that  there  is  something 
vastly  more  important  about  a  bacterium  than  its  ability  to 
grow  in  the  body — ^viz.,  the  kind  of  poison  which  it  yields; 
else  why  the  difference  between  typhoid  fever  and  tubercu- 
losis? Thus  arises  the  search  for  such  poisons  or  toxins,  a 
fruitful  and  important  department  of  medical  investigation. 
But  what  of  the  fate  of  the  toxin  in  the  body — what  of  this 
effect  upon  the  host?  The  result  of  researches  upon  this 
line  has  been  the  discovery  of  antitoxins  and  the  science  of 

In  another  direction  the  progress  of  micro-biology  has 
been  quite  as  important.  Evidently  it  is  not  with  the  help 
of  toxins  that  yeast  forms  alcohol  and  carbonic  acid  from 
sugar;  it  is  with  the  help  of  enzymes  or  soluble  ferments. 
These  are  imprisoned  within  the  cell,  but  otherwise  they 
resemble  pepsin  and  the  other  soluble  ferments  of  digestion. 
But  if  the  yeast  cell  performs  its  chemical  functions  with 
the  help  of  soluble  ferments,  why  not  all  other  cells  as  well? 
Such  is  in  truth  the  case.  Hence  the  study  of  the  chemical 
processes  which  make  up  the  activity  of  unicellular  organ- 
isms has  explained  much  that  takes  place  in  every  living 
thing.  In  short,  our  progress  in  the  solution  of  the  funda- 
mental problem  of  physiology,  the  physico-chemical  organ- 
ization of  protoplasm,  depends  in  no  small  degree  upon 
studies  of  those  minute  living  things  which  have  but  a 
single  cell  within  which  to  enclose  all  the  activities  of  an 
individual  being. 

'See   Jenner's   original   publications   on   vaccination   a^nst  smallpox  in 
H.  C,  xxxviii,  153*- 



By  PROi^Efi^OR  W«  M.  Davis 

SCIENTIFIC  essays,  like  those  by  Lord  Kelvin  on 
I  Light^  and  The  Tides,'  should  be  read  several  times  by 
the  studious  reader,  and  each  time  from  a  different 
point  of  view.  In  the  first  reading,  the  reader  seeks  for  in** 
formation  offered  by  the  author;  in  the  second,  the  reader 
examines  the  scientific  method  by  which  the  author  has 
gained  his  information;  in  the  third,  the  reader's  attention 
should  ht  directed  to  the  style  of  presentation  adopted  by 
the  author  in  telling  his  story.  After  an  attentive  study  of 
Kelvin's  essays  from  these  different  sides,  many  a  reader 
will  find  that  he  has  made  a  distinct  intellectual  advance. 


The  first  reading  of  either  essay  will  disclose  some  Of  the 
most  marvelous  results  that  have  been  reached  by  scientific 
investigation.  For  example,  it  has  been  discovered  that  light 
is  of  an  undulatory  nature;  that  the  vibrations  of  light 
quiver  at  the  rate  of  several  hundred  million  of  million  times 
a  second;  that  light  is  transmitted  over  interplanetary  dis* 
tances  with  a  velocity  of  nearly  200,000  miles  a  second;  and 
that  for  the  transmission  at  such  a  speed  through  what 
seems  to  us  to  be  empty  space,  as  between  the  sun  and  the 
earth,  there  must  be  a  continuous,  extremely  tenuous,  and 
highly  elastic  medium,  all  pervading  and  universally  ex- 
tended, to  which  the  name,  luminiferous  ether,  is  com- 
monly given.  It  is  of  course  not  to  be  expected  that  all 
these  and  many  other  results,  physical,  geometrical,  and 
numerical,  can  be  easily  acquired ;  some ,  paragraphs  must  bt 

*  Harvard  Classics,  xxx,  263!?.  •  H.  C,  xxx,  2878?. 



gone  over  more  slowly  than  others,  and  many  of  them  should 
be  reviewed  more  than  once;  some  are  difficult  of  compre- 
hension because  they  are  without  the  vivid  experiments  by 
which  they  were  illustrated  in  the  original  lecture;  and 
others  because  they  are  compressed  into  terse  statements 
without  explanation.  But  at  the  end  of  what  is  here  called 
the  "first  reading,"  many  of  the  conclusions  announced  re- 
garding the  nature  of  light  should  be  fairly  familiar.  Sim- 
ilar examples  may  be  drawn  from  the  lecture  on  the  tides; 
the  larger  share  of  mathematical  considerations  here  en- 
countered may  make  the  second  essay  more  difficult  than  the 
first;  if  some  readers  do  not  clearly  understand,  for  ex- 
ample, the  statement  regarding  diurnal  inequality  (p.  305), 
they  may  be  excused,  for  the  statement  is  very  brief;  sim- 
ilarly, the  account  of  the  tide  machines  (pp.  307-312)  is  too 
dense  to  be  really  comprehended  by  a  non-mathematical 
reader,  previously  uninformed  on  such  matters  as  harmonic 


The  second  reading  of  the  essays,  directed  to  an  examina- 
tion of  the  scientific  method  employed  by  the  author,  should 
have  for  its  most  valuable  result  a  better  appreciation  of  the 
nature  of  "theorizing**  than  most  persons  possess.  The  im- 
mediately observable  elements  of  such  phenomena  as  light 
and  tides  are  called  "facts";  but  an  intelligent  inquirer  is 
soon  persuaded  that  the  facts  of  observation  are  really  only 
a  small  part  of  the  total  phenomena.  For  example,  some 
invisible  factors  must  determine  that  the  noonday  sky  over- 
head is  blue,  and  the  horizon  sky  near  sunset  or  sunrise  is 
yellow  or  red.  Or,  some  unseen  factors  must  determine  the 
strength  of  the  tides  and  their  hour  of  occurrence  varying 
from  day  to  day.  How  can  light  travel  at  its  incredibly 
rapid  velocity?  How  can  the  moon  cause  changes  of  sea 
level  on  the  earth?  The  true  answers  to  such  questions 
would  acquaint  us  with  phenomena  that,  in  spite  of  their 
invisibility,  take  place  just  as  truly  as  the  phenomena  that 
we  observe.  Such  unseen  phenomena  might  be  called  "facts 
of  inference,"  to  distinguish  them  from  "facts  of  observa- 


tion."  To  discover  the  facts  of  inference  and  to  demon- 
strate their  connection  with  the  facts  of  observation  is  the 
effort  of  all  theorizing.  A  theory  is,  in  brief,  a  statement  in 
which  the  supposed  facts  of  inference  are  reasonably  con- 
nected with  the  known  facts  of  observation.  How  is  such  a 
statement  reached  ?  and  when  it  is  reached,  how  do  we  know 
that  it  is  right?  To  answer  such  questions  fully  would  de- 
mand a  whole  treatise  on  scientific  method,  here  impossible; 
our  intention  is  simply  to  point  out  that  an  introductory 
understanding  of  scientific  method,  much  better  than  none, 
can  be  gleaned  by  a  careful  second  reading  of  Kelvin's  and 
of  the  other  scientific  essays  in  this  collection,  with  the 
constant  effort  to  learn  how  the  announced  results  have  been 

Notice,  first,  that  for  an  active  mind,  it  is  "impossible  to 
avoid  theorizing"  (p.  294).  The  lesson  from  this  is  to  be- 
ware of  those  so-called  practical  persons  who  say  they  do 
not  theorize ;  what  they  really  do  is  to  theorize  in  an  unsafe, 
unscientific  manner;  for  they,  like  everyone  else,  wish  to 
understand  more  than  they  can  see.  The  desire  to  theorize 
should  not  be  resisted,  but  theorizing  should  be  carefully 
cultivated  and  its  results  should  be  carefully  held  apart  from 
those  of  observation.  Notice,  second,  that,  some  facts  of 
observation  having  been  gained,  the  inquisitive  mind  at 
once  sets  about  inventing  schemes  that  may  possibly  include 
the  mental  counterparts  of  the  unseen  phenomena,  or  facts 
of  inference,  and  then  proceeds  to  determine  the  correct- 
ness of  the  inventions  by  certain  logical  devices  or  tests. 
That  particular  scheme  is  finally  adopted  as  true  which 
stands  all  possible  tests.  The  tests  are  mostly  experimental 
in  the  study  of  light;  they  are  largely  computational  in  the 
study  of  the  tides.  Notice,  third,  how  ingenious  the  sci- 
entific mind  must  be  to  conceive  the  extraordinary  schemes 
by  which  the  unseen  phenomena  are  supposed  to  combine 
with  the  seen,  so  as  to  make  a  reasonably  working  total 
process;  how  far  these  mental  processes  must  go  beyond 
the  mere  determination  of  visible  facts  by  observation;  how 
active  the  imagination  must  be  to  picture  the  invisible  proc- 
esses of  the  invented  scheme ;  and  also  how  free  from  pre- 
possessions, how  docile  the  scientific  mind  must  be,  in  order 


to  follow  thfe  experimefatal  or  conipuUtional  deinonstrations 
wherever  they  may  lead !  Still  itiore  important,  notice  how 
large  a  share  of  the  standard  content  of  sciencie^  as  illus- 
trated by  the  essays  on  light  arid  tides,  is  made  up  bf  what 
are  here  called  "facts  of  iriference,"  and  not  simply  of  facts 
of  observation. 

TkE  mer6  Observer  versus  the  THEokizER 

The  problem  of  the  tides  may  be  illustrated  by  a  parable. 
Once  thete  was  a  keen^  unimaginative  observer  living  on  a 
seacoast,  where  a  perpetual  pall  of  clouds  covered  the  sky, 
concealing  the  suri  and  moon,  but  where  the  tides,  with  their 
periodic  variations,  were  familiar  matters;  he  would  gain 
a  godd  knowledge  bf  the  facts  of  observation,  but  he  would 
haVe  no  kribwledgis  of  their  meaning  as  revealfed  by  the  un- 
seen facts  of  inference.  At  the  same  time  a  philosophical 
hermit  was  livihg  alone  under  the  clear  skies  of  a  desert 
continental  interior,  where  he  was  totally  ignorant  of  the 
oceans  and  their  tid^s,  but  familiar  with  the  motions  of  the 
sun  and  moon,  and  acqusiinted  with  the  law  of  gravitation, 
in  accordance  with  which  the  heavfcnly  bodies  move;  he 
might  from  this  beginning  go  on  with  a  series  of  inferences^ 
or  deductions,  which  would  in  the  end  lead  him  to  say: 
"These  distant  bodies  must  exert  unequal  attractions  on  dif- 
ferent parts  of  the  earth,  but  the  earth  is  too  rigid  to  yield 
to  them ;  if,  however,  a  large  part  of  the  earth's  surface  were 
covered  with  a  sheet  of  water,  the  attractions  of  the  sun 
and  moon  would  produce  periodic  variations  in  the  level  of 
such  a  sheet"  .  .  .  and  so  on.  After  a  time,  the  long-shore 
observer  sets  out  upori  his  travels  and  meets  the  hermit  in 
the  interior  desert,  whb  asks  him:  "Do  you  happen  to  have 
seen  a  large  sheet  of  water,  in  which  periodic  changes  of 
level  take  place?"  "I  have  indeed,"  the  observer  exclaims, 
"and  I  was  on  the  point  of  telling  you  about  the  changes  of 
level  in  the  hope  that  you  could  explain  them;  but  how  did 
you  know  that  the  changes  occurred?"  "I  did  not  even 
know,"  the  hermit  replies,  "that  there  was  a  vast  sheet  of 
water  in  which  they  could  occur ;  but  I  felt  sure  that,  if  such 
a  water  sheet  existed,  it  must  suffer  periodic  changes  of 


level,  because  .  *  ."  The  evident  point  of  the  p&fable  is 
that  the  keeii  observer  and  the  speculative  hermit  are  both 
combined  in  a  trained  scientific  investigator;  he  pertotms 
the  two  tasks  of  observation  and  of  eitplansttton  itide^end-' 
ently,  as  if  he  were  two  persons ;  and  hii  philosdphieal  half 
finally  accepts  as  true  that  pkrtietilar  scheme  or  theory 
which  leads  to  the  best  understanding  of  the  facts  gained 
by  his  observational  half. 


The  third  reading  is  devoted  to  the  style  of  presentation, 
and  this  brings  the  reader  more  closely  into  relation  with 
the  author.  The  object  of  the  third  reading  is  thus  unlike 
that  of  the  second,  which  considered  the  author  in  relation 
to  his  problem;  while  both  these  are  unlike  the  first,  in 
which  the  reader  did  not  think  of  the  author  but  only  of 
the  subject  treated.  A  few  leading  characteristics  of  pre- 
sentation in  the  first  essay  may  be  pointed  out;  the  reader 
may  afterward  make  for  himself  a  similar  analysis  of  the 
second  essay.  Note  first  that  the  more  difficult  subject  of 
light  is  introduced  by  the  analogous  and  easier  subject  of 
sound  (pp.  264-268)  ;  this  is  as  if  the  author  kindly  took  the 
reader  by  the  hand  and  guided  him  along  an  easy  path 
toward  a  lofty  summit.  Note  again  the  care  which  the 
author  takes  to  lead  the  reader  by  easy  steps  from  small  to 
large  numbers,  and  the  sympathetic  encouragement  that  he 
gives:  "You  can  all  understand  it"  (p.  270).  Consider  the 
homely  illustration  of  the  teapot  (p.  271)  and  the  large 
concept  which  it  aids  you  in  reaching.  Recognize  the  per- 
sonal touch  given  by  the  reference  to  the  famous  work  of 
the  American  physicist,  Langley  (p.  272)  ;  and  a  little  later 
to  the  epoch-making  discovery  of  the  spectrum  by  Newton. 
See  again  a  homely  illustration  in  the  mention  of  shoe- 
maker's wax,  and  with  it  Kelvin's  quaint  allusion  to  his 
Scotch  birth  (p.  276).  Passing  over  several  other  matters, 
consider  the  care  which  this  profound  investigator,  himself 
able  to  grasp  the  most  complicated  mathematical  formulae, 
gives  to  illustrating  the  nature  of  ether  vibrations  by  means 
of  a  small  red  ball  in  a  bowl  of  jelly  (p.  284). 


The  first  reading  ought  to  excite  a  desire  to  learn  more 
about  light ;  the  second,  to  understand  more  fully  the  method 
of  science;  the  third,  to  know  more  intimately  some  of  the 
great  men  of  the  world.  Thus  the  careful  reading  of  one 
thing  creates  an  appetite  for  reading  many  other  things: 
and  therein  lies  the  greatest  teaching  value  of  any  reading 



By  Professor  Ralph  Barton  Perry 

How  charming  is  divine  philosophy  I 

Not  harsh  and  crabbed,  as  dull  fools  supposer 

But  musical  as  is  Apollo's  lute, 

And  a  perpetual  feast  of  nectar'd  sweets. 

Where  no  crude  surfeit  reigns. 

SINCE  Milton  wrote  thus  gallantly  in  its  behalf,  phi- 
I  losophy  has  fairly  succeeded  in  living  down  its  repu- 
tation for  being  "harsh  and  crabbed."  No  one  who 
has  made  the  acquaintance  of  Scholastic  Philosophy,  the 
philosophy  of  the  Middle  Ages,  and  still  the  established 
philosophy  in  Milton's  day,  can  escape  a  secret  sympathy 
with  the  view  of  these  "dull  fools."  But  in  the  course  of 
the  last  three  centuries,  philosophy,  especially  English  and 
French  philosophy,  has  become  more  free  in  form,  more 
imaginative,  and  more  self-expressive.  So  that  the  critics 
and  belittlers  of  philosophy  to-day,  too  numerous,  alas  I  to 
make  it  safe  to  call  names,  have  taken  up  new  ground. 
Philosophy  is  condemned,  not  for  being  unmusical,  but  for 
being  unpractical.  The  music  of  Apollo's  lute  is  itself  under 
suspicion,  being  too  unsubstantial  and  too  remote  to  suit  the 
temper  of  an  age  of  efficiency  and  common  sense. 


I  sincerely  wish  that  I  could  recommend  philosophy  on 
grounds  of  efficiency  and  common  sense.  I  should  be  lis- 
tened to,  understood,  and  believed.  I  should  at  once  in- 
sinuate myself  into  the  confidence  of  my  reader.  If  I  could 
but  say:  "Now  look  here!  Philosophy  is  just  a  matter  of 
plain,  hard-headed  common  sense";  or,  "If  you  want  to 
succeed,  try  philosophy.     It  will  help  you  to  make  and  to 

HCL— 5  129 


sell,  to  outstrip  competitors,  and  to  be  efl&cient  in  whatever 
you  undertake";  if  I  could  make  such  an  appeal  to  you, 
your  instincts  and  prejudices  would  secure  me  your  ready 
sympathy.  But  I  should  have  deceived  you.  What  I  should 
thus  have  recommended  to  you  would  not  be  philosophy. 
For  philosophy  is  neither  plain  nor  hard-headed;  nor  is  it  a 
means  of  success,  as  success  is  ordinarily  construed.  This 
is  the  case,  not  accidentally,  but  in  principle.  The  very 
point  of  philosophy  lies  in  the  fallibility  of  common  sense, 
and  in  the  arbitrariness  of  vulgar  standards  of  success. 
Philosophy  is  one  of  those  things  that  must  be  met  on  its 
own  ground.  You  must  seek  It  where  it  is  at  home;  if  you 
insist  upon  its  meeting  you  halfway  it  will  turn  out  not  to 
be  philosophy  at  all,  but  some  poor  compromise — the  name 
or  husk  of  philosophy  with  the  soul  gone  out  of  it  No  one 
can  understand  what  philosophy  means  unless  he  leti  it 
speak  for  itself  and  in  its  own  language.  If  philosophy  is 
good,  it  is  because  it  contributes  to  life  something  different, 
something  peculiarly  its  own,  and  which  cannot  be  measured 
by  any  standards  save  those  which  philosophy  itdelf  supplies. 


If  we  cannot  justify  philosophy  by  common  sense,  we  can 
at  least  contrast  it  with  common  sense,  and  so  approach  it 
from  that  more  familiar  ground.  Since  we  must  admit  that 
philosophy  is  at  odds  with  common  sense,  let  us  make  the 
most  of  it.  What,  then,  is  common  sense?  First  of  all  it 
is  evident  that  this  is  not  a  common-sense  questioti.  One  of 
the  things  peculiar  to  common  sense  is  that  it  must  not  be 
questioned,  but  taken  for  granted.  It  is  made  up  of  a  mass 
of  convictions  that  by  common  consent  are  to  be  allowed  to 
stand ;  one  does  not  ask  questions  about  them,  but  appeals  to 
them  to  determine  what  questions  shall  be  asked.  They  are 
the  conservative  opinion,  the  solidified  and  uniform  belief, 
on  which  men  act.  and  which  is  the  unconscious  premise  of 
most  human  reasoning.  As  a  man  of  common  sense,  1  use 
common  sense  to  live  by  or  to  think  by ;  it  is  a  practical  and 
theoretical  bias  which  I  share  with  my  fellows,  but  which  I 
do  not  think  about  at  all. 


Now  suppose  that  in  some  whimsical  and  senseless  mood 
I  do  think  about  common  sense.  Something  very  startling 
happens.  This  once  unchallenged  authority  is  proved  to  be 
highly  fallible.  Its  spell  is  gone.  It  at  once  appears,  for 
example,  that  common  sense  has  had  a  history,  and  that  it 
has  varied  with  times  and  places.  The  absurdities  of  yester- 
day are  the  common  sense  of  to-day;  the  common  sense  of 
yesterday  is  now  obsolete  and  quaint.  The  crank  of  the  six- 
teenth century  was  the  man  who  said  that  the  earth  moved; 
the  crank  of  the  twentieth  century  is  the  man  who  says  that 
it;  does  not.  Moreover,  once  common  sense  is  thus  reflected 
upon.  It  is  seen  to  be  in  part,  at  least,  the  result  of  wholly 
irrational  forces,  such  as  habit  and  imitation.  What  has 
been  long  believed,  or  repeatedly  asserted,  acquires  a  hard- 
ness and  fixity  from  that  fact;  in  the  future  it  is  always 
easier  to  believe,  more  difficult  to  disbelieve,  than  anything 
recent  or  novel.  And  what  others  about  us  believe,  we  tend 
unconsciously  to  reflect  in  our  own  belief,  just  as  our  speech 
catches  the  accent  and  idioms  of  our  social  circle.  Further- 
more, a  belief  once  widely  diffused  takes  on  the  authority  of 
established  usage.  It  is  supported  by  public  opinion,  as  any- 
thing normal  or  regular  is  supported;  unbelievers  are 
viewed  with  hostile  suspicion  as  unreliable  and  incalculable. 
*'You  can  never  tell  what  they  will  do  next."  Or  they  are 
forcibly  persecuted  as  a  menace  to  the  public  peace.  I  have 
called  habit  and  imitation  "irrational"  forces.  By  that  I 
mean  that  they  have  no  special  regard  for  truth.  They 
operate  in  the  same  way  to  confirm  and  propagate  a  bad  way 
of  thinking  as  a  good  way  of  thinking.  It  does  not  follow 
that  common  sense  is  necessarily  mistaken;  indeed  reasons 
can  be  adduced  to  show  that  common  sense  is  a  very  good 
guide  indeed.  But  if  so,  then  common  sense  is  justified  on 
other  grounds ;  it  is  not  itself  the  last  court  of  appeal.  Com- 
mon sense,  despite  its  stability  and  vogue,  perhaps  on  ac- 
count of  its  stability  and  vogue,  is  open  to  criticism.  We 
cannot  be  sure  that  it  is  true;  and  it  may  positively  stand  in 
the  way  of  truth  through  giving  an  unwarranted  authority 
to  the  old  and  familiar,  and  through  shutting  our  minds  so 
that  no  new  light  can  get  in. 

The  philosopher,  then,  is  one  who  at  the  risk  of  being 


thought  queer,  challenges  common  sense;  he  sets  himself 
against  the  majority  in  order  that  the  majority  may  be 
brought  to  reflect  upon  what  they  have  through  inertia  or 
blindness  taken  for  granted.  He  is  the  reckless  critic,  the 
insuppressible  asker  of  questions,  who  doesn't  know  where 
to  stop.  He  has  a  way  of  pinching  the  human  intelligence, 
when  he  thinks  it  has  gone  to  sleep.  Every  time  there 
is  a  fresh  revival  of  philosophical  interest,  and  a  new 
philosophical  movement,  as  there  is  periodically,  this 
is  what  happens.  Some  eccentric  or  highly  reflective 
individual  like  Socrates,  or  Bacon,  or  Descartes,  or  Locke, 
or  Kant,  strays  from  the  beaten  track  of  thought,  and  then 
discovers  that  although  it  was  easier  to  move  in  the  old 
track,  one  is  more  likely  to  reach  the  goal  if  one  beats  out 
a  new'  one.  Such  a  thinker  demands  a  re-examination  of 
old  premises,  a  revision  of  old  methods;  he  stations  himself 
at  a  new  center,  and  adopts  new  axes  of  reference. 

Philosophy  is  opposed  to  common  sense,  then,  in  so  far  as 
common  sense  is  habitual  and  imitative.  But  there  are  other 
characteristics  of  common  sense  with  which  the  true  genius 
of  philosophy  is  out  of  accord.  We  can  discover  these  best 
by  considering  the  terms  of  praise  or  blame  which  are  em- 
ployed in  behalf  of  common  sense.  When  ideas  are  con- 
demned as  contrary  to  common  sense,  what  is  ordinarily 
said  of  them  ?  I  find  three  favorite  forms  of  condemnation : 
ideas  are  pronounced  "unpractical,"  "too  general,"  or  "in- 
tangible." Any  man  of  common  sense  feels  these  to  be 
terms  of  reproach.  It  is  implied,  of  course,  that  to  be  agree- 
able to  common  sense,  ideas  must  be  "practical,"  "particular," 
and  "tangible."  And  it  is  the  office  of  philosophy,  as  cor- 
rective of  common  sense,  to  show  that  such  judgments, 
actual  and  implied,  cannot  be  accepted  as  final. 


What  is  meant  by  "practical,"  in  the  vulgar  sense?  Let 
me  take  an  example.  Suppose  a  man  to  be  trapped  on  the 
roof  of  a  burning  building.  His  friends  gather  round  to 
make  suggestions.  One  friend  suggests  that  a  ladder  be 
brought  from  next  door;  another  friend  suggests  that  the 


man  climb  to  an  adjoining  roof  and  descend  by  the  rain 
pipe.  These  are  practical  suggestions.  A  third  friend,  on 
the  other  hand,  wants  to  know  what  caused  the  fire,  or  why 
the  man  is  trying  to  escape.  He  is  promptly  silenced  on  the 
ground  that  his  inquiries  are  beside  the  point.  Or  approach 
a  man  in  the  heat  of  business  and  offer  him  advice.  You 
will  soon  find  out  whether  your  advice  is  practical  or  not. 
If  you  have  invented  something,  a  physical  or  industrial 
mechanism,  that  will  facilitate  the  matter  in  hand,  you  show 
that  you  are  a  practical  man,  and  there  is  a  chance  that  you 
will  be  listened  to.  But  if  you  ask  the  business  man  why  he 
is  trying  so  hard  to  make  money,  and  express  some  doubt  as 
to  its  being  worth  while — ^well,  let  the  veil  be  drawn.  He 
may  see  you  "out  of  hours,"  but  you  will  scarcely  recover 
his  confidence.  "Practical,"  therefore,  would  seem  to  mean 
relevant  to  the  matter  in  hand.  It  is  usual  with  adults  to 
have  something  "in  hand,"  to  be  busy  about  something,  to  be 
pursuing  some  end.  The  practical  is  anything  that  will 
serve  the  end  already  being  pursued ;  the  unpractical  is  any- 
thing else,  and  especially  reflection  on  the  end  itself.  Now 
the  philosopher's  advice  is  usually  of  the  latter  type.  It  is 
felt  to  be  gratuitous.  It  does  not  help  you  to  do  what  you 
are  already  doing;  on  the  contrary,  it  is  calculated  to  arrest 
your  action.  It  is  out  of  place  in  the  office,  or  in  business 
hours.  What,  then,  is  to  be  said  for  it?  TTie  answer,  of 
course,  is  this :  It  is  important  not  only  to  be  moving,  but  to 
be  moving  in  the  right  direction;  not  only  to  be  doing  some- 
thing well,  but  to  be  doing  something  worth  while.  This 
is  evidently  true,  but  it  is  easily  forgotten.  Hence  it  be- 
comes the  duty  of  philosophy  to  remind  men  of  it;  to  per- 
suade men  occasionally  to  reflect  on  their  ends,  and  recon- 
sider their  whole  way  of  life.  To  have  a  philosophy  of  life 
is  to  have  reasons  not  only  for  the  means  you  have  selected, 
but  for  what  you  propose  to  accomplish  by  them. 


Common  sense  also  condemns  what  is  "too  general."  Id 
life  it  is  said  to  be  a  "situation"  and  not  a  theory  that  con- 
fronts us.    The  man  who  is  trusted  is  the  man  of  experi- 


ence,  and  experience  is  ordinarily  taken  to  mean  acquaint- 
ance with  some  group  of  individual  facts.  In  political  life 
what  one  needs  is  not  general  ideas,  but  familiarity  with 
concrete  circumstances;  one  must  know  men  and  measures, 
not  man  and  principles.  Historians  are  suspicious  of  vague 
ideas  of  civilization  and  progress;  the  important  thing  is  to 
know  just  what  happened.  In  the  industrial  world,  what  is 
needed  is  not  a  theory  of  economic  value,  but  a  knowledge  of 
present  costs,  wages,  and  prices.  As  a  preparation  for  life  it  is 
more  important  to  train  the  eye  and  the  hand,  which  can 
distinguish  and  manipulate,  than  the  reason  and  imagination, 
which  through  their  love  of  breadth  and  sweep  are  likely  to 
blur  details,  or  in  their  groping  after  the  ultimate  are  led  to 
neglect  the  immediate  thing  which  really  counts.  Common 
sense  would  not,  of  course,  condemn  generalization  alto- 
gether. It  has  too  much  respect  for  knowledge,  and  under- 
stands that  there  is  no  knowing  without  generalizing.  There 
must  be  rules  and  classifications,  even  laws  and  theories. 
But  the  generalizing  propensity  of  mind  must  be  held  in 
restraint;  after  a  certain  point  it  becomes  absurd,  fantastic, 
out  of  touch  with  fact,  "up  in  the  clouds."  The  man  of 
common  sense,  planted  firmly  on  the  solid  ground,  views 
such  speculations  with  contempt,  amusement,  or  with  blank 

Philosophy  offends  against  common  sense,  then,  not  be- 
cause it  generalizes,  for,  after  all,  no  one  can  think  at  all 
without  generalizing;  but  because  it  does  not  know  when  to 
stop.  And  the  philosopher  is  bound  to  offend,  because  if  he 
is  true  to  his  calling,  he  must  not  stop.  It  is  his  particular 
business  to  generalize  as  far  as  he  can.  He  may  have  var- 
ious motives  for  doing  this.  He  may  be  prompted  by  mere 
"idle  curiosity"  to  see  how  far  he  can  go.  Or  he  may  be- 
lieve that  the  search  for  the  universal  and  the  contempla- 
tion of  it  constitute  the  most  exalted  human  activity.  Or  he 
may  be  prompted  by  the  notion  that  his  soul's  salvation 
depends  on  his  getting  into  right  relations  with  the  first 
cause  or  the  ultimate  ground  of  things.  In  any  case  he  is 
allotted  the  task  of  formulating  the  most  general  ideas  that 
the  nature  of  things  will  permit.  He  can  submit  to  no 
limitations  imposed  by  considerations  of  expediency.    He 


loses  his  identity  altogether,  unless  he  can  think  more 
roundly,  more  comprehensively,  or  more  deeply,  than  other 
men.  He  represents  no  limited  constituency  of  facts  or  in- 
terests ;  he  is  the  thinker  at  large. 


It  is  significant  that  facts  are  reputed  to  be  "solid,"  gen- 
eral ideas  to  be  of  a  more  vaporous  or  ghostly  substance. 
Thus  facts  possess  merit  judged  by  the  third  standard  of 
common  sense,  that  of  "tangibility."  If  we  go  back  to  the 
original  meaning,  the  tangible,  of  course,  is  that  which  can 
be  touched.  Doubting  Thomas  was  a  man  of  common  sense. 
Now  we.  have  here  to  do  with  something  very  original  and 
elemental  in  human  nature.  Touch  is  the  most  primitive  of 
the  senses.  And  if  we  consider  the  whole  history  of  living 
organisms,  it  is  the  experience  or  the  anticipation  of  contact 
that  has  played  the  largest  and  the  most  indispensable  part 
in  their  consciousness.  That  which  can  have  contact  with 
an  organism  is  a  body;  hence  bodies  or  physical  things  are 
the  oldest  and  most  familiar  examples  of  known  things. 
The  status  of  other  alleged  things  is  doubtful;  the  mind 
does  not  feel  thoroughly  at  home  and  secure  in  dealing  with 
them.  Physical  science  enjoys  the  confidence  of  common 
sense  because,  though  it  may  wander  far  from  bodies  and 
imagine  intangible  ethers  and  energies,  it  always  starts  with 
bodies,  and  eventually  returns  to  them.  Furthermore,  even 
ethers  and  energies  excite  the  tactual  imagination;  one  can 
almost  feel  them.  The  human  imagination  cannot  abstain 
from  doing  the  same  thing  even  when  it  is  perfectly  well 
understood  that  it  is  illegitimate.  God  and  the  soul  are 
spirits,  to  be  sure;  for  that  there  is  the  best  authority.  But 
«vhen  they  have  passed  through  the  average  mind  they  have 
a  distinctly  corporeal  aspect,  as  though  the  mind  were  other- 
wise helpless  to  deal  with  them. 

Philosophy  is  not  governed  by  an  animus  against  the 
physical.  Indeed  philosophy  is  bound  to  recognize  the 
possibility  that  it  may  turn  out  to  be  the  case  that  all  real 
substances  are  physical.  But  philosophy  is  bound  to  point 
out  that  there  is  a  human  bias  in  favor  of  the  physical; 


and  it  is. bound  so  far  as  possible  to  counteract  or  discount 
that  bias.  Philosophy  must  nurture  and  protect  those  theo- 
ries that  aim  especially  to  do  justice  to  the  non-physical 
aspects  of  experience,  and  protest  against  their  being  read 
out  of  court  as  "inconceivable"  or  inherently  improbable.  A 
generation  ago  philosophy  was  usually  referred  to  as 
"mental  and  moral"  philosophy.  There  is  a  certain  propriety 
in  this,  not  because  philosophy  is  to  confine  itself  to  the 
mental  and  moral,  but  because  philosophers  alone  can  be 
depended  upon  to  recognize  these  in  their  own  right,  and 
correct  the  exaggerated  emphasis  which  common  sense, 
and  science  as  developed  on  the  basis  of  common  sense, 
will  inevitably  place  on  the  physical. 


Philosophy,  then,  can  afford  to  accept  the  unfavorable 
opinion  of  common  sense,  and  may  even  boast  of  it.  Phi- 
losophy is  unpractical,  too  general,  and  intangible.  If  the 
condemnation  implied  in  these  terms  were  decisive  and  final, 
then  philosophy  would  be  compelled  to  give  up.  But  phi- 
losophy is  not  merely  contrary  to  common  sense,  for  it 
emancipates  the  mind  from  common  sense  and  establishes 
the  more  authoritative  standards  by  which  it  is  itself  justified. 

Though  I  should  have  persuaded  you  that  philosophy  is 
a  strange  thing  which  you  must  visit  abroad  in  its  own 
home,  nevertheless  I  now  hope  to  persuade  you  that  you 
once  entertained  it  unawares.  Though,  if  philosophy  is  now 
to  enter,  you  must  expel  from  your  mind  the  ideas  that  make 
themselves  most  at  home  there,  this  same  philosophy  was 
once  a  favorite  inmate.  Only  you  were  too  young,  and  your 
elders  had  too  much  common  sense,  to  know  that  it  was 
philosophy.  Unless  you  were  an  extraordinary  child  you 
were  very  curious  about  what  you  called  the  world;  curious 
as  to  who  or  what  made  it,  why  it  was  made,  how  it  was 
made,  why  it  was  made  as  it  is,  and  what  it  is  like  in  those 
remote  and  dim  regions  beyond  the  range  of  your  senses. 
Then  you  grew  up,  and  having  grown  up,  you  acquired 
common  sense,  or  rather  common  sense  acquired  you.  It 
descended   like   a   curtain,   shutting  out   the   twilight,   and 


enabling  you  to  see  more  clearly,  but  just  as  certainly  mak- 
ing your  view  more  circumscribed/  Since  then  you  have 
come  to  feel  that  the  questions  of  your  childhood  were 
foolish  questions,  or  extravagant  questions  that  no  busy  man 
can  afford  to  indulge  in.  Philosophy,  then,  is  more  naive 
than  common  sense;  it  is  a  more  spontaneous  expression  of 
the  mind.  And  when  one  recovers  this  first  untrammeled 
curiosity  about  things,  common  sense  appears  not  as  the 
illumination  of  mature  years,  but  rather  as  a  hardening 
of  the  mind,  the  worldliness  and  complacency  of  a  life 
immersed  in  affairs.  It  would  not  be  unfair  to  say 
that  the  philosophical  interest  is  the  more  liberal,  com- 
mon sense  having  about  it  something  of  the  quality  of 

But  there  is  another  and  a  more  important  sense  in  which 
philosophy  is  entertained  unawares.  It  underlies  various 
mature  activities  and  interests  whose  standing  is  regarded 
as  unquestionable.  When  these  activities  or  interests  are 
reflected  upon,  as  sooner  or  later  they  are  sure  to  be,  it 
appears  that  they  require  the  support  of  philosophy.  This  is 
most  evident  in  the  case  of  religion.  We  all  of  us  partici- 
pate in  a  certain  religious  tradition,  and  with  most  of  us  the 
principal  elements  of  that  tradition  are  taken  for  granted. 
We  assume  that  there  is  a  certain  kind  of  life,  a  life  of 
unselfishness,  honesty,  fortitude  and  love,  let  us  say,  that  is 
highest  and  best.  We  assume  that  the  worth  of  such  a  life 
is  superior  to  wordly  success;  that  it  betokens  a  state  of 
spiritual  well-being  to  which  every  man  should  aspire,  and 
for  which  he  should  be  willing  to  sacrifice  everything  else. 
We  assume,  furthermore,  that  this  type  of  life  is  the  most 
important  thing  in  the  world  at  large.  Thus  we  may  sup- 
pose that  the  world  was  created,  and  that  its  affairs  are 
controlled,  by  a  being  in  whom  this  type  of  life  is  perfectly 
exemplified.  God  would  then  mean  to  us  the  cosmic  su- 
premacy of  unselfishness,  love,  and  the  like.  Or  we  may 
suppose  that  God  is  one  who  guarantees  that  those  who  are 
unselfish  and  scrupulous  shall  inherit  the  earth,  and  experi- 
ence eternal  happiness. 

^  Cf.  Wordsworth's  "Ode  on  Intimations  of  Immortality  from  Recollec- 
tions of  Early  Childhood,"  in  Harvard  Classics,  xli,  609. 




Now  observe  what  happens  when  one  is  overtaken  with 
doubt.  One  may  come  to  question  the  worthiness  of  the 
ideal.  Is  it  not  perhaps  a  more  worthy  thing  to  assert  one's 
self,  than  to  sacrifice  one's  self?  Or  is  not  the  great  man 
after  all  one  who  is  superior  to  scruples,  who  sets  might 
above  right?  Who  is  to  decide  such  a  question?  Surely 
not  public  opinion,  nor  the  authority  of  any  institution,  for 
these  are  dogmatic.  Once  having  doubted,  dogma  will  no 
longer  suffice.  What  is  needed  is  a  thoughtful  comparison 
of  ideals,  a  critical  examination  of  the  whole  question  of 
values  and  of  the  meaning  of  life.  One  who  undertakes 
such  a  study,  every  one  who  has  made  even  a  beginning  of 
such  a  study  in  the  hope  of  solving  his  own  personal  prob- 
lem, is  ipso  facto  a  moral  philosopher.  He  is  following  in 
the  steps  of  Plato  and  of  Kant,  of  Mill  and  of  Nietzsche, 
and  he  will  do  well  to  walk  for  at  least  a  part  of  the  way 
with  them. 

Or  suppose  that  our  doubter  questions,  not  the  correctness 
of  the  traditional  ideal,  but  the  certainty  of  its  triumph 
Suppose  that,  like  Job,  he  is  impressed  by  the  misfortunes  of 
the  righteous,  and  set  to  wondering  whether  the  natural 
course  of  events  is  not  utterly  indifferent  to  the  cause  of 
righteousness.  Is  not  the  world  after  all  a  prodigious  acci- 
dent, a  cruel  and  clumsy  play  of  blind  forces?  Do  ideals 
count  for  anything,  or  are  they  idle  dreams,  illusions,  a 
mere  play  of  fancy  ?  Can  spirit  move  matter,  or  is  it  a  help- 
less witness  of  events  wholly  beyond  its  control?  Ask  these 
questions  and  you  have  set  philosophical  problems;  answer 
them,  and  you  have  made  philosophy. 

It  is  possible,  of  course,  to  treat  doubt  by  the  use  of 
anaesthetics.  But  such  treatment  does  not  cure  doubt.  With 
many,  indeed,  anaesthetics  will  not  work  at  all.  They  will 
require  an  intellectual  solution  of  intellectual  questions; 
their  thought  once  aroused  will  not  rest  until  it  has  gone  to 
the  bottom  of  things.  And  problems  forgotten  In  one  gen- 
eration will  reappear  to  haunt  the  next.  But  even  if  it  were 
possible  that  the  critical  and  doubting  faculty  should  be 
numbed  or  atrophied  altogether,  it  would  be  the  worst  ca- 


lamity  that  could  befall  mankind.  For  the  virtue  of  religion 
must  lie  in  its  being  true,  and  if  it  is  to  be  true  it  must  be 
open  to  correction  as  enlightenment  advances.  Salvation 
cannot  be  won  by  a  timid  clinging  to  comfortable  illusions. 

What  should  be  done  for  the  saving  of  our  souls  depends 
not  upon  an  imaginary  state  of  things,  in  which  the  wish  is 
father  to  the  thought,  but  upon  the  real  state  of  things. 
Salvation  must  be  founded  on  fact  and  not  on  fiction.  In 
short,  the  necessity  of  philosophy  follows  from  the  genuine- 
ness of  the  problems  that  underlie  religion.  In  religion,  as 
in  other  activities  and  interests,  it  will  not  do  forever  to 
assume  that  things  are  so;  but  it  becomes  important  from 
time  to  time  to  inquire  into  them  closely  and  with  an  open 
mind.  So  to  inquire  into  the  ideals  of  life  and  the  basis  of 
hope,  is  philosophy. 


Let  us  turn  to  another  familiar  human  interest,  that  of  the 
fine  arts.  There  exists  a  vague  idea,  sometimes  defended 
by  the  connoisseur,  but  more  often  ignored  or  repudiated  by 
him,  that  the  greatest  works  of  art  must  express  the  general 
or  the  universal.  Thus  we  feel  that  Greek  sculpture  is  great 
because  it  portrays  man,  whereas  most  contemporary 
sculpture  portrays  persons;  and  that  Italian  painting  of  the 
Renaissance,  expressing,  as  it  does,  the  Christian  interpre- 
tation of  life,  is  superior  to  the  impressionistic  landscape 
which  seizes  on  some  momentary  play  of  light  and  color. 
Now  I  do  not  for  a  moment  wish  to  contend  that  such  con- 
siderations as  these  are  decisive  in  determining  the  merit  of 
art.  It  may  even  be  that  they  should  not  affect  our  purely 
aesthetic  judgments  at  all.  But  it  is  clear  that  they  signify 
an  important  fact  about  the  mind  of  the  artist,  and  also 
about  the  mind  of  the  observer.  The  Greek  sculptor  and 
the  Italian  painter  evidently  have  ideas  of  a  certain  sort. 
They  may,  it  is  true,  have  come  by  them  quite  unconsciously. 
But  somehow  the  Greek  sculptor  must  have  had  an  idea  not 
of  his  model  merely,  but  of  human  nature  and  of  the  sort 
of  perfection  that  befits  it  And  the  Italian,  over  and  above 
his  sense  of  beauty,  must  have  shared  with  his  times  an  idea 
of  the  comparative  values  of  things,  perhaps  of  the  supe- 



riority  of  the  inner  to  the  bodily  life,  or  of  heaven  to  this 
mundane  sphere.  And  the  observer  as  well  must  have  a 
capacity  for  such  ideas,  or  he  will  have  lost  something 
which  the  artist  has  to  communicate.  The  case  of  poetry  is 
perhaps  clearer.  Historical  or  narrative  poems,  love  poems 
to  a  mistress's  eyes  or  lips,  evidently  dwell  on  some  concrete 
situation  or  on  some  rare  and  evanescent  quality  that  for  a 
moment  narrows  the  mind  and  shuts  out  the  world.  On  the 
other  hand,  there  are  poems  like  Tennyson's  "Higher 
Pantheism,"  and  "Maud,"  Browning's  "Rabbi  Ben  Ezra," 
Wordsworth's  "Tintern  Abbey,"  or  Matthew  Arnold's 
"Dover  Beach,"*  in  which  the  poet  is  striving  to  express 
through  his  peculiar  medium  some  generalization  of  life. 
He  has  had  some  wider  vision,  revealing  man  in  his  true 
place  in  the  whole  scheme  of  things.  Such  a  vision  is 
rarely  clear,  perhaps  never  entirely  articulate;  but  it  be- 
tokens a  mind  struggling  for  light,  dissatisfied-  with  any 
ready-made  plan  and  striving  to  emancipate  itself  from 
vulgar  standards. 

And  one  who  reads  such  poetry  must  respond  to  its  mood, 
and  stretch  the  mind  to  its  dimensions. 

It  is  not  necessary  for  our  purpose  to  argue  that  the 
merit  of  poetry  is  proportional  to  the  breadth  of  its  ideas; 
but  only  to  see  that  breadth  of  ideas  is  an  actual  feature  of 
most  poetry  that  is  with  general  consent  called  great  The 
great  poets  have  been  men  whose  imagination  has  dared  to 
leave  the  ground  and  ascend  high  enough  to  enable  them  to 
take  the  world-wide  view  of  things.  Now  such  imagination 
is  philosophical;  it  arises  from  the  same  impulse  as  that 
which  generates  philosophy,  requires  the  same  break  with 
common  sense,  and  fundamentally  it  makes  the  same  con- 
tribution to  life.  There  is  this  difference,  that  while  the 
poetic  imagination  either  boldly  anticipates  the  results  of 
future  arguments,  or  unconsciously  employs  the  results  of 
arguments  already  made,  philosophy  is  an  argument.  Poetry, 
because  it  is  a  fine  art,  must  present  a  finished  thing  in 
sensuous  form;  philosophy,  because  it  is  theory,  must  pre- 
sent definitions  of  what  it  is  talking  about,  and  reasons  for 
what  it  says.      And  there  is  need  of  both  poets  and  philos- 

'See  H.  C.^  xlii,  1038.  X052,  1x48,  1183;  xli«  650. 


ophers  since  for  every  argument  there  is  a  vision  and  for 
every  vision  an  argument. 


The  term  "science"  is  now  commonly  employed  to  desig- 
nate a  band  of  special  knowledges,  headed  by  physics,  push- 
ing rapidly  into  the  as  yet  unknown,  and  converting  it  first 
into  knowledge,  then  into  invention,  and  finally  into  civiliza- 
tion. Science  is  patronized  and  subsidized  by  common  sense ; 
and  it  is  a  profitable  investment.  But  science,  although 
often  like  Peter  it  repudiates  philosophy  and  disclaims  ever 
having  known  it,  is  of  philosophical  extraction  and  has 
philosophical  connections  that  it  cannot  successfully  conceal. 
Precisely  as  you  and  I  were  philosophers  before  the  exi- 
gencies of  life  put  a  constraint  upon  the  natural  movements 
of  the  mind,  so  human  knowledge  was  philosophical  before 
it  was  "scientific,"  and  became  divided  into  highly  special- 
ized branches,  each  with  a  technique  and  plan  of  its  own. 
There  are  many  ways  in  which  the  philosophical  roots  and 
ligaments  of  the  sciences  are  betrayed.  The  different 
sciences,  for  example,  all  have  to  do  with  the  same  world, 
and  their  results  must  be  made  consistent.  Thus  physics, 
chemistry,  physiology,  and  psychology  all  meet  in  human 
nature,  and  have  to  be  reconciled.  Man  is  somehow  mech- 
anism, life,  and  consciousness  all  in  one.  How  is  this  pos- 
sible ?  The  question  is  evidently  one  that  none  of  these 
sciences  alone  can  answer.  It  is  not  a  scientific  problem, 
but  a  philosophical  problem;  and  yet  it  is  inseparably  con- 
nected with  the  work  of  science  and  the  estimate  that  is  to 
be  put  on  its  results. 

Again,  science  employs  many  conceptions  with  no 
thorough  examination  of  their  meaning.  This  is  the  case 
with  most,  if  not  all,  of  the  fundamental  conceptions  of 
science.  Thus  mechanics  does  not  inform  us  concerning  the 
exact  nature  of  space  and  time;  physics  does  not  give  us 
more  than  a  perfunctory  and  formal  account  of  the  nature 
of  matter;  the  greater  part  of  biology  and  physiology  pro- 
ceeds without  attempting  carefully  to  distinguish  and  define 
the  meaning  of  life;  while  psychology  studies  cases  of  con- 


sciousness  without  tellingf  us  exactly  what,  in  essence,  con- 
sciousness is.  All  of  the  sciences  employ  the  notions  of  law 
and  of  causality;  but  they  give  us  no  theory  of  these  things 
In  short,  the  special  sciences  have  certain  rough  working 
ideas  which  suffice  for  the  purposes  of  experimentation  and 
description,  but  which  do  not  suffice  for  the  purposes  of 
critical  reflection.  All  of  the  conceptions  which  I  have 
mentioned  furnish  food  for  thought,  when  once  thought  is 
directed  to  them.  They  bristle  with  difficulties,  and  no  one 
can  say  that  science,  in  the  limited  sense  in  which  the 
specialist  and  expert  use  the  term,  accomplishes  anything  to 
remove  these  difficulties.  Science  is  able  to  get  along,  to 
make  astonishing  progress,  and  to  furnish  the  instruments 
of  a  triumphant  material  civilization,  without  raising  these 
difficulties.  But  suppose  a  man  to  ask,  "Where  do  I  stand, 
after  all  is  said  and  done?  What  sort  of  a  world  do  I  live 
in  ?  What  am  I  myself  ?  What  must  I  fear,  and  what  may 
I  hope?"  and  there  is  no  answering  him  except  by  facing 
these  difficulties.  There  is  no  one  who  will  even  attempt  to 
answer  such  questions  except  the  philosopher. 


When  philosophy  goes  about  its  work  it  proves  necessary 
to  divide  the  question.  There  are  no  sharply  bounded  sub 
divisions  of  philosophy;  as  problems  become  more  funda- 
mental, they  tend  to  merge  into  one  another,  and  the  solu- 
tion of  one  depends  on  the  solution  of  the  rest.  But  the 
mind  must  do  one  thing  at  a  time  in  philosophy  as  in  other 
affairs.  Furthermore,  the  need  of  philosophy  is  felt  in  quite 
diflFerent  quarters,  which  leads  to  a  diflference  of  approach 
and  of  emphasis. 

Perhaps  that  portion  of  philosophy  that  is  most  easily  con- 
sidered by  itself  is  Ethics,  or  what  was  a  generation  ago 
usually  referred  to  as  Moral  Philosophy.  There  is  no  better 
introduction  to  Ethics  than  Plato's  famous  dialogue,  "The 
Apology,"  *  in  which  Socrates,  defending  himself  against  his 
accusers,  describes  and  justifies  the  office  of  the  moralist. 
As  moralist,  Socrates  says  that  he  took  it  upon  himself  to 

»H.  C,  ii,  3. 


question  men  concerning  the  why  and  wherefore  of  their 
several  occupations.  He  found  men  busy,  to  be  sure,  but 
strangely  unaware  of  what  they  were  about;  they  felt  sure 
they  were  getting  somewhere,  but  they  did  not  know  where. 
He  did  not  himself  pretend  to  direct  them,  but  he  did  feel 
sure  that  it  was  necessary  to  raise  the  question,- and  that  in 
that  respect,  at  least,  he  was  wiser  than  his  fellows.  The 
moral  of  So^crates's  position  is  that  life  cannot  be  ration- 
alized without  some  definite  conception  of  the  good  for  the 
sake  of  which  one  lives.  The  problem  of  the  good  thus  be- 
comes the  central  problem  of  Ethics.  Is  it  pleasure,  or 
knowledge,  or  worldly  success?  Is  it  personal  or  social? 
Does  it  consist  in  some  inward  state,  or  in  external  achieve- 
ment?  Is  it  to  be  looked  for  in  this  world,  or  in  the  here- 
after? These  are  but  variations  of  the  same  problem,  as  it 
is  attacked  in  turn  by  Plato,  Aristotle,  Christian  theologians, 
Hobbes,  Rousseau,  Kant,  Mill,  and  the  whole  line  of  moral 
philosophers.  Other  special  problems  emerge,  and  take  their 
place  beside  this.  What,  for  example,  is  the  relation  of 
moral  virtue  to  the  secular  law?  In  Plato's  "Crito,"*  So- 
crates teaches  that  it  is  the  first  duty  of  the  good  man  to 
obey  the  law,  and  submit  to  punishment,  even  though  he  be 
innocent;  because  the  good  life  is  essentially  an  orderly 
life,  in  which  the  individual  conforms  himself  to  the  po- 
litical community  to  which  he  belongs  by  birth  and  nature. 
Hobbes  reached  the  same  conclusion  on  different  grounds. 
Morality,  he  says,  exists  only  so  far  as  there  is  authority 
and  law;  to  save  himself  from  the  consequences  of  his  own 
inherent  selfishness  and  unscrupulousness,  man  has  deliv- 
ered himself  up  forever  to  the  state,  and  save  so  far  as 
enforced  by  the  state  there  are  no  rights  or  duties  at  all. 
Either  one  obeys  the  law  or  one  lapses  into  that  primitive 
outlawry  in  which  every  man  is  for  himself,  the  hunter  and 
the  prey.  How  different  is  the  teaching  of  Rousseau,*  who 
prophesied  for  an  age  in  which  men  were  sore  from  the  rub 
of  the  harness,  and  longed  to  be  turned  out  to  pasture.  The 
law,  Rousseau  preaches,  is  made  for  man,  not  man  for  the 
law.  Man  has  been  enslaved  by  his  own  artificial  contriv- 
ancesi  and  must  strive  to  return  to  the  natural  goodness  and 

*H.  C,  u,  31.  'H.  C,  3uqdy,  167. 


happiness  that  are  his  rightful  inheritance.  These  are  the 
questions  that  still  lie  at  the  basis  of  our  political  philosophy, 
and  divide  the  partisans  of  the  day,  even  though  they  know 
it  not. 

A  somewhat  different  and  perhaps  more  familiar  turn  is 
given  to  moral  philosophy  by  Kant*  With  him  the  central 
idea  in  the  moral  life  is  duty.  It  is  not  consequence  or  in- 
clination that  counts,  but  the  state  of  the  will.  Morality  is 
founded  on  a  law  of  its  own,  far  deeper  than  man-made 
statutes.  This  law  is  delivered  to  the  individual  through 
his  "Practical  Reason,**  and  it  is  the  last  word  in  all  matters 
affecting  the  regulation  of  conduct.  Thus  Kant  puts  the 
accent  where  Protestant  and  Puritanic  Christianity  puts  it; 
whereas  Plato,  bidding  us  look  to  the  rounding  and  perfect- 
ing of  life,  is  the  spokesman  of  that  perennial  Paganism 
that  flourishes  as  vigorously  to-day  as  it  did  before  the  ad- 
vent of  Christianity. 


Closely  connected  with  Moral  Philosophy  there  stands  a 
group  of  problems  that  forms  the  nucleus  of  what  may  be 
called  Philosophy  of  Religion.  Suppose  that  a  provisional 
answer  has  been  obtained  to  the  questions  of  Ethics.  The 
good  has  been  defined,  and  the  duty  of  man  made  clear. 
What  hope,  then,  is  there  of  the  realization  of  the  good? 
May  we  be  sure  that  it  lies  within  the  power  of  man  to  per- 
form what  duty  prescribes?  Thus  there  arises,  first  of  all, 
the  question  of  the  status  of  man.  Is  he  a  creature,  merely 
— a  link  in  the  chain  of  natural  causes,  able  at  most  to  con- 
template his  own  helplessness?  Or  is  he  endowed  with  a 
power  corresponding  to  his  ideals,  a  power  to  control  his 
destinies  and  promote  the  causes  which  he  serves?  This  is 
the  old  and  well-known  problem  of  freedom.  If  you  want 
to  know  what  can  be  said  for  the  prerogatives  of  man,  read 
Kant;  if  you  want  to  know  what  is  made  of  man  when  he  is 
assigned  the  status  of  creature  merely,  read  Hobbes/  And 
what  shall  be  said  of  the  chance  of  man's  surviving  the  dis- 
solution  of   his   body,  and   entering  upon   another   life   in 

*H.  C,  xxxii,  323,  337.  ^  H,  C;  xxxiv,  32^ 


which  he  is  not  affected  by  the  play  of  natural  forces  ?  The 
immortality  of  man  is  most  elaborately  and  eloquently 
argued  in  Plato's  "Phaedo," '  and  again  in  Kant's  "Critique  of 
Practical  Reason."  But  the  crucial  question  in  this  whole 
range  of  problems  is  the  question,  not  of  man,  but  of  God. 
What,  in  the  last  analysis,  controls  the  affairs  of  this  world? 
Is  it  a  blind,  mechanical  force,  or  is  it  a  moral  force,  which 
guarantees  the  triumph  of  the  good,  and  the  salvation  of 
him  who  performs  his  duty?  This  is  the  most  far-reaching 
and  momentous  question  that  can  be  asked,  and  it  takes  us 
over  to  that  branch  of  philosophy  that  has  acquired  the 
name  of  "Metaphysics." 


The  term  "Metaphysics"  has  acquired  a  colloquial  mean- 
ing that  will  mislead  us  unless  we  are  on  our  guard.  It  is 
commonly  used  to  mean  such  theories  as  have  to  do  with 
the  mysterious  or  occult.  There  is  a  certain  justification  for 
this  usage,  in  that  metaphysics  is  speculative  rather  than 
strictly  experimental,  and  in  that  it  takes  us  beyond  the  first 
appearances  of  things.  But  this  is  a  question  of  method,  and 
not  of  doctrine.  To  be  a  metaphysician  one  must  push  one's 
thinking  to  the  uttermost  boundaries,  and  one  must  not  rest 
satisfied  with  any  first  appearances,  or  any  common-sense  or 
conventional  conclusions.  But  there  is  no  unnecessary  con- 
nection whatever  between  metaphysics  and  the  doctrine  that 
reality  is  mysterious  or  transcendent  or  supernatural  or  any- 
thing of  the  kind.  It  is  entirely  possible  that  metaphysics 
should  in  the  end  conclude  that  things  are  precisely  what 
they  seem,  or  that  nature  and  nature  alone  is  real.  Meta- 
physics is  simply  an  attempt  to  get  to  the  bottom  of  things, 
and  ascertain  if  possible  what  is  the  fundamental  constitu- 
tion of  reality,  and  what  its  first  and  last  causes.  There  are 
two  leading  alternatives:  the  theory  that  justifies  the  belief 
in  God;  the  theory  that  discredits  it,  reducing  it  to  a  work 
of  the  imagination,  an  act  of  sheer  faith,  of  an  ecclesiastical 
fiction.  The  classic  example  of  the  latter  type  of  meta- 
physics, ordinarily  known  as  Materialism,  is  to  be  found  in 

•  H.  C,  ii.  45. 


Hobbes.  An  excellent  example  of  the  former  U  to  be  found 
in  the  writings  of  Bishop  Berkeley.*  As  Hobbes  sought  to 
show  that  the  only  substance  is  body,  so  Berkeley  sought  to 
show  that  the  only  substance  is  spirit.  The  nature  of  spirit, 
according  to  Berkeley,  is  first  and  directly  known  in  that 
knowledge  which  each  man  has  of  himself.  Then,  in  order 
to  account  for  the  independent  and  excellent  order  of  nature, 
one  must  suppose  a  universal  or  divine  spirit  that  causes  and 
sustains  it,  a  spirit  that  is  like  ourselves  in  kind,  but  infinite 
in  power  and  goodness. 


A  fourth  group  of  problems  that  assumes  great  promi- 
nence in  the  literature  of  philosophy  is  called  the  Theory  of 
Knowledge.  Although  of  all  philosophical  inquiries  this 
may  seem  at  first  glance  most  artificial  and  academic,  a 
little  reflection  will  reveal  its  crucial  importance.  Suppose, 
for  example,  that  it  is  a  question  of  the  finality  of  science, 
or  the  legitimacy  of  faith.  The  question  can  be  answered 
only  by  examining  the  methods  of  science  in  order  to  dis- 
cover whether  there  is  anything  arbitrary  in  them  that 
limits  the  scope  of  the  results.  And  one  must  inquire  what 
constitutes  genuine  knowledge,  or  when  a  thing  is  finally 
explained,  or  whether  there  be  things  that  necessarily  lie 
beyond  the  reach  of  human  faculties,  or  whether  it  be  proper 
to  allow  aspirations  and  ideals  to  affect  one's  conclusions. 
Bacon**  and  Descartes,"  the  founders  of  modern  philosophy, 
devoted  themselves  primarily  to  such  questions,  so  that  all 
thought  since  their  time  has  taken  these  questions  as  the 
point  of  departure.  Furthermore,  philosophy  has  called  at- 
tention to  a  verv  peculiar  predicament  in  which  the  human 
thinker  finds  himself.  He  seems  compelled  to  begin  with 
himself.  When  Descartes  sought  to  reduce  knowledge  to 
a  primal  and  indubitable  certainty  he  found  that  certainty 
to  be  the  knowledge  that  each  thinker  has  of  his  own  ex- 
istence, and  of  the  existence  of  his  own  ideas.  And  if  a 
thinker  begins  with  this  nucleus,  how  is  he  ever  to  add  any- 
thing to  it;  how  is  he  ever  to  be  sure  of  the  existence  of 

•H.  C,  xxxrii,  aoi.        *•//.  C.,  xxxix,  jm2,  150.       ^H.  C,  xxxiv,  5. 


anything  which  is  not  himself  or  his  ideas?  On  the  other 
hand,  while  my  knowledge  is  most  certainly  of  and  within 
myself,  yet  it  can  scarcely  be  knowledge  unless  it  takes  me 
beyond  myself.  This  has  become  the  central  difficulty  of 
philosophy.  It  is  a  genuine  difficulty,  and  yet  everybody 
neglects  it  except  the  philosopher.  Berkeley  was  led  by  an 
examination  of  this  difficulty  to  conclude  that  if  reality  is 
to  be  assumed  to  be  knowable,  then  it  can  be  composed  of 
nothing  but  thinkers  and  their  ideas.  And  in  this  conclu- 
sion Berkeley  has  been  followed  by  the  whole  school  of  the 
idealists,  the  school  which  has  numbered  among  its  members 
the  most  eminent  thinkers  of  later  times,  and  has  inspired 
notable  movements  in  German  and  English  literature.  Other 
schools  have  been  led  by  an  examination  of  the  same  dif- 
ficulty to  quite  different  conclusions.  But  this  difficulty  has 
been  the  crux  of  modern  thought,  and  no  one  can  hope  to 
debate  fundamental  issues  at  all  without  meeting  it. 

Such,  then,  are  some  of  the  matters  that  at  once  come 
under  discussion  when  one  attempts  to  think  radically  and 
fundamentally.  Philosophy  is  brought  to  these  and  like 
problems  because  it  expresses  the  profound  restlessness  of 
the  mind,  a  dissatisfaction  with  ready-made,  habitual,  or 
conventional  opinions,  a  free  and  unbounded  curiosity,  and 
the  need  of  rounding  up  the  world  and  judging  it  for  the 
purposes  of  life. 



By  Professor  Charles  Pomeroy  Parker 

WHEN  Socrates  grew  up  in  the  city  of  Athens,  in 
the  generation  just  after  the  Persian  Wars,  any 
Athenian  citizen,  however  poor  he  might  be,  was 
at  liberty  to  arrange  his  own  life  as  he  wished.  Socrates 
made  up  his  mind  that  money-making  was  not  worth  while, 
in  comparison  with  the  liberty  to  spend  his  time  in  thinking 
about  truth.  There  was  a  great  deal  of  lively  thinking  in 
the  Greek  world  then,  and  Athens,  under  Pericles,*  not  only 
was  winning  her  empire,  but  was  finding  that  great  thinkers, 
or  at  any  rate  their  thoughts,  loved  to  come  to  her.  Pytha- 
gorean philosophers  were  wide  awake  in  those  days.  They 
were  discovering  truth  about  the  art  of  healing,  they  spent 
much  successful  work  on  astronomy,  they  were  making 
progress  in  music,  they  studied  mathematics,  especially 
geometry.  Many  philosophers  of  other  schools  were  study- 
ing fire,  air,  water,  and  earth,  claiming  that  they  changed 
into  each  other,  as  we  say  solids  melt  into  liquids,  and 
liquids  dissolve  into  gases,  and  as  some  thinkers  suppose 
that  gas  atoms  are  made  up  of  electric  units.  Others  were 
impressed  by  the  great  expanse  of  the  sky,  and  said  that  the 
only  way  to  find  truth  was  to  think  of  the  universe  as  a 
great  unchanging  sphere.  Others,  again,  held  a  doctrine 
of  atoms,  tiny  invisible  shapes  of  hard  matter,  which  by 
combining  or  separating  made  the  changing  world. 


Socrates,  eagerly  studying  all  these  theories,  heard  at  last 
of  a  philosopher,  Anaxagoras,  who  said  that  Thought  makes 
the  world;  but  Anaxagoras  did  not  seem  to  him  to  show  the 

*  Harvard  Classics^  xii,  36ff. 



rational  way  in  which  Thought  would  work.  Rational 
Thought,  as  Socrates  viewed  it,  always  tries  to  obtain  some 
practical  good.  Merely  to  show  how  one  physical  thing 
changes  into  another,  or  sets  another  in  motion,  does  not 
account  rationally  for  the  world ;  and  Anaxagoras,  though 
he  talked  about  Thought,  did  not  seem  to  Socrates  to  get  at 
the  heart  of  rational  activity.  But  Socrates,  having  once 
caught  the  suggestion  of  Thought  as  a  cause,  never  could  set 
it  aside.  To  inquirci  into  the  nature  of  rational  activity  im- 
plies a  careful  study  of  men  and  of  human  minds. 


Now  in  that  Age  of  Pericles  there  was  a  great  interest 
in  men  and  all  that  concerned  human  life.  Socrates  loved 
to  talk  with  men.  This  put  him  in  especial  sympathy  with 
the  Pythagoreans,  who  valued  human  souls  and  said  that 
men  are  immortal.  Pythagoras,  the  founder  of  that  school 
of  thought  in  the  previous  century,  had  organized  a  brother- 
hood of  students,  bound  to  each  other  by  ties  of  religion, 
austere  life,  and  high  thinking.  This  brotherhood  had  tried 
to  influence  and  improve  the  political  life  of  the  cities  where 
they  lived.  In  the  days  of  Socrates  they  had  given  up 
politics,  but  never  had  lost  their  religious  and  human  in- 
terest. Not  only  did  they  work  in  healing,  in  astronomy, 
in  music,  and  in  geometry;  they  wanted  to  find  the  essence 
of  justice,  beauty,  life,  and  health.  Such  essences  seemed 
to  give  all  the  reality  to  human  life.  The  Pythagoreans 
conceived  of  them,  strangely  enough,  as  somehow  mixed  up 
with  geometry.  Indeed,  we  ourselves  are  apt  to  speak  of 
justice  as  the  square  thing;  but  this  metaphor  of  ours  was 
perhaps  a  reality  to  their  minds.  Different  forms  or  shapes, 
cubes,  spheres,  pyramids,  triangles,  circles,  and  squares,  may 
have  seemed  to  them  the  essences  of  the  world,  and  they 
took  a  Greek  word,  Wa,  which  meant  form  in  those  times, 
to  express  their  notion  of  essence;  in  that  sense  they  tried 
to  find  the  ideas  of  beauty,  or  of  temperance,  or  of  health. 
Socrates,  being  interested  in  this  line  of  thought,  made  up 
his  mind  to  find  the  ideas.  But  he  was  not  satisfied  with 
such  a  geometrical  notion  of  things  as  the  Pythagoreans 


seem  to  have  hdd.  'He  wanted  to  talk  with  men,  and  study 
life  as  it  was  reflected  in  human  thoughts,  hoping  thus  to  get 
clearer  notions  of  reality  which  would  be  a  practical  help 
to  himself  and  others.  A  thing  is  made  beautiful  by  the 
beauty  in  it.  What  is  beauty  ?  This  was  an  important  ques- 
tion for  a  Greek  thinken;  and  to  find  the  ideally  beautiful 
life  might  be  worth  our  effort  also.  An  act  is  made  just 
by  the  justice  in  it.  What  is  the  essence  of  justice?  We 
and  Socrates  alike  want  to  know  that.  Socrates  found  such 
inquiries  puzzling,  and  was  reduced  to  a  kind  of  despair. 


Perhaps  it  was  at  this  time  that  the  Oracle  of  Delphi, 
which  was  controlled  by  influences  highly  sensitive  to  all 
the  life  of  the  time,  said  one  day  to  an  inquirer  that  So- 
crates was  the  wisest  of  men.  This  declaration  was  very 
perplexing  to  Socrates  himself,  who  felt  keenly  his  own 
ignorance.  Eagerly  questioning  all  kinds  of  men,  to  see  if 
they  could  not  give  him  wisdom  after  all,  he  soon  found 
that  their  notions  about  the  real  essences  of  things  were 
confused  and  contradictory.  He  realized  that  his  mission 
was  to  clear  up  the  thoughts  of  men.  This  is  the  first  step 
in  rational  thinking,  to  define  clearly  our  thoughts  and  agree 
about  the  essential  nature  of  the  things  which  our  words 


The  "Apology,"  "Crito,"  and  "Phaedo"  *  of  Plato  present 
to  us  dramatically,  in  Plato's  words,  the  thoughts  of  Soc- 
rates. They  all  deal  with  the  last  days  of  his  life,  in  which 
his  thoughts  may  well  have  been  at  their  ripest.  Very 
probably  Plato  developed  some  of  the  thoughts  of  Socrates 
to  their  logical  results,  going  beyond  what  the  master  actu- 
ally said,  and  giving  the  tendencies  of  his  thinking.  But  we 
shall  hardly  get  nearer  to  the  essence  of  the  real  Socrates 
than  by  reading  these  dialogues.  For  instance,  he  would 
seem  to  have  felt  that  souls  are  the  permanent  things;  their 
very  essence  is  to  live  and  give  life;  justice,  temperance, 
piety,  beauty,  and  such  ideas  are  eternal  essences  which  give 


reality  to  the  human  world.  Possibly  the  greater  flights  of 
imagination  in  the  "Ph«do"  belong  to  Plato,  and  the  per- 
fecting of  the  whole  theory;  many  have  supposed  that  all 
the  philosophy  of  the  dialogue  is  Plato's.  To  disentangle 
his  thought  from  his  master's  is  hard;  the  two  are  really 
one  great  movement  of  human  thought,  which  has  affected 
the  world  profoundly.  One  line  of  its  influence  is  seen  in 
Aristotle,  who,  in  spite  of  all  his  differences,  was  strongly 
influenced  by  the  doctrine  of  real  essences.  Another  line  of 
Socrates's  influence  is  seen  in  Stoicism. 


Zeno,  the  founder  of  the  Stoic  school  of  philosophy,  was 
a  native  of  Cyprus,  perhaps  a  merchant,  who  was  ship- 
wrecked on  a  certain  voyage,  and  as  a  result  of  this  appar- 
ent misfortune  turned  to  philosophy.  Men  who  wanted  to 
be  philosophers  were  likely  to  come  to  Athens  in  those  days, 
two  or  three  generations  after  Socrates.  Zeno,  being  at 
Athens,  one  day  sat  down,  so  the  story  goes,  by  a  book- 
seller's stall,  where  the  bookseller  was  reading  aloud  from 
a  book  of  Xenophon,  the  "Memorabilia,"  which  described 
^e  conversations  of  Socrates.  Greatly  interested,  Zeno 
inquired  of  the  bookseller  where  such  men  as  Socrates  lived. 
Just  at  that  moment  Crates,  a  good  man,  a  poor  man,  who 
formed  his  life  on  the  life  of  Socrates,  was  passing  by. 
The  bookseller  pointed  to  him,  saying:  "Follow  this  man." 
Zeno  rose  up  and  followed  Crates;  and  the  result  was  that 
Socrates's  belief  in  the  supremacy  of  reason  and  in  the 
human  soul  and  in  the  value  of  human  life  and  freedom 
profoundly  affected  the  teaching  of  Zeno.  We  may  not 
search  out  now  the  other  influences  felt  in  Stoicism.  The 
scientific,  religious,  and  logical  doctrines  of  this  school  are 
very  important,  and  their  development  is  interesting.  But 
certainly  the  Socratic  thought  is  strongly  felt  in  this  famous 


Four  or  five  centuries  later,  Epictetus,*  a  slave  (afterward 
a  freedman),  and  Marcus  Aurelius,*  an  emperor  of  Rome, 

»H.  C,  ii,  ii7ff.  *H.  C".,  ii,  iQSff. 


In  their  meditations  or  conversations  on  human  life  show 
the  living  flame  of  thought  which  was  kindled  in  Socrates, 
and  handed  down  from  him  for  many  generations.  We  are 
apt  to  think  of  Stoics  as  men  who  crushed  all  their  feelings, 
and  went  about  the  world  with  solemn  faces  and  sad  hearts, 
bearing  trouble  as  they  might.  But  the  best  Stoics  of  all 
times  cared  much  for  human  nature  and  human  freedom. 
They  studied  men,  and  found  man's  nature  to  be  essentially 
rational.  The  terrible  thing  to  them  was  to  see  this  rational 
soul  losing  its  self-control  and,  bewildered  in  a  vain  strug- 
gle to  find  happiness  by  submission  to  the  outside  world, 
getting  into  a  turmoil  of  fluttering  excitement  over  things 
which  were  not  in  its  own  power.  But  what  was  in  their 
own  power  they  tried  to  handle  divinely,  with  real  energy. 
For  they  felt  that  man's  rational  soul  is  akin  to  the  good 
Power  which  makes  and  moves  the  universe.  And  herein 
they  agreed  with  Socrates.  The  slave  and  the  emperor  were 
in  harmony  with  the  free  Athenian. 


By  Professor  Ralph  Barton  Perry 

WE  WERE  once  taught  that  after  having  slept 
soundly  through  "the  Dark  Ages,"  Europe  was 
suddenly  awakened  in  1453  ^7  t^^  Fall  of  Con- 
stantinople. We  now  know  that  it  had  been  light  all  the 
while  and  that  Europe  had,  to  say  the  least,  been  in  a  very 
lively  state  of  somnambulism.  We  know  that  for  many  cen- 
turies before  1453  men  had  been  living  very  intensely  and 
very  nobly;  and  with  a  seriousness  and  elevation  of  thought 
that  have  perhaps  had  no  parallel.  The  age  that  created 
Gothic  art,  and  dreamed  so  splendid  a  dream  as  the  Holy 
Roman  Empire,  can  scarcely  be  said  to  be  lacking  in  im- 
agination and  enlightenment. 

But  that  something  important  happened  to  the  European 
mind  in  and  about  the  fifteenth  century  no  scholar  is  so 
iconoclastic  as  to  deny.  It  was  not  so  much  an  awakening 
of  thought  as  a  change  of  direction  which  proved  in  the 
sequel  to  be  amazingly  fruitful.  It  may  perhaps  best  be 
described  as  a  return  to  the  sources.  This  is  characteristic 
of  all  of  its  more  notable  manifestations,  such  as  the  retro- 
spect of  antiquity,  the  reexamination  of  institutions,  and 
the  more  direct  observation  of  nature.  This  turn  of  thought 
back  to  the  originals  and  roots  of  things,  this  general  fresh- 
ening up  by  the  admixture  of  new  experiences,  had  its 
effects  upon  every  interest  and  work  of  man.  So  there  was, 
among  other  things,  a  Renaissance  philosophy,  which  meant 
chiefly  a  new  study  of  some  ancient  philosophy.  Pico  of 
Mirandola  founded  a  new  cult  of  Plato;  Pomponatlus  de- 
fended the  Greek  or  Alexandrist  interpretation  of  Aristotle 
against  the  Averroist  and  orthodox  interpretations;  while 




Montaigne*  revived  the  ancient  scepticism.  But  what  was 
more  significant  for  the  future  of  philosophy,  came  not  di- 
rectly through  the  influence  of  the  spirit  of  the  age  upon 
philosophy,  but  through  the  influence  of  this  spirit  first  upon 
science,  and,  indirectly  through  science,  upon  philosophy. 
The  great  men  of  the  age,  so  far  as  the  future  of  philosophy 
is  concerned,  were  not  Pico  and  Pomponatius,  but  Coper- 
nicus and  Galileo. 


Copernicus*  ventured  to  assert  that  the  earth  moved.  He 
could  scarcely  have  astonished  and  disturbed  men  more  if 
he  had  actually  set  it  moving.  The  belief  in  the  earth  as 
the  firm  center  of  creation,  lighted  by  sun  and  moon,  en- 
circled by  celestial  spheres,  and  furnished  for  the  great 
drama  of  man's  fall  and  redemption — ^this  belief  was  itself 
the  firm  center  of  all  human  belief.  It  seemed  impossible 
to  move  it  without  bringing  down  in  ruin  that  whole  grand 
scheme  of  things  to  which  man  had  been  fitting  himself  for 
centuries,  and  where  he  had  at  length  come  to  feel  himself 
at  home.  How  shall  one  find  a  place  for  God,  and  a  place 
for  man,  and  how  shall  they  find  one  another,  in  a  universe 
with  neither  beginning  nor  end,  neither  center  nor  bound- 
aries? This  was  the  problem  to  which  the  great  martyr 
Bruno  devoted  himself,  and  his  death  in  1600  may  well 
serve  as  a  monument  to  mark  the  beginning  of  modern  phi- 

Bruno  saw  that  the  world  can  no  longer  be  divided  into 
terrestrial  and  celestial  regions,  with  the  empyrean  beyond. 
There  can  be  no  God  above  nature,  or  before  or  after 
nature,  because  nature  itself  is  infinite.  The  universe  is  a 
system  of  countless  worlds,  none  more  divine  than  the  rest. 
God  is  therefore  not  local,  but  universal;  he  is  the  life  and 
beauty  of  the  whole.  This  idea,  recovered  by  Bruno  from 
Stoicism  and  Neo-Platonism,  and  appropriated  to  the  needs 
of  the  age  which  Copernicus  had  robbed  of  its  ancient  land- 

^For  Montaigne,  see  Harvard  Classics^  xxxii,  5,  9;  and  on  the  Renaitsanct 
in  general  see  Lecture  III  in  the  series  on  History  and  Lecture  III  (on 
Cellini)  in  the  series  on  Biography. 

*  See  Copemicus'a  Dedication  of  his  "Revolutions  of  the  HeaTenlj 
Bodies,"  H.  C,  xxxix,  55. 


marks,  persisted  in  the  latent  pantheism  of  Descartes  and 
his  followers,  and  in  the  avowed  pantheism  of  Spinoza,  was 
suffered  to  lapse  during  the  eighteenth  century,  was  revived 
again  by  Lessing^  and  Herder,  and  became  one  of  the  cen- 
tral ideas  of  the  great  Romantic  and  Hegelian  movements  in 
Germany  in  the  nineteenth  century. 


Copernicus  contributed  to  modern  thought  an  epoch-mak- 
ing hypothesis.  Galileo  contributed  something  less  definite, 
but  even  more  germinal — a  new  method.  It  would  be  safer 
to  say  that  he  represented  two  methods,  the  method  of 
discovery,  and  the  method  of  exact  or  mathematical  descrip- 
tion. He  was  neither  the  only  discoverer  of  his  age  nor  the 
only  mathematical  physicist,  but  he  was  the  preeminent  em- 
bodiment of  both  of  these  moving  ideas. 

In  1610,  a  year  or  so  after  the  construction  of  his  tele- 
scope, Galileo  published  his  "Sidereal  Messenger,"  "an- 
nouncing," to  quote  from  the  title-page,  ''great  and  very 
wonderful  spectacles,  and  offering  them  to  the  consideration 
of  every  one,  but  especially  of  philosophers  and  astron- 
omers ;  which  have  been  observed  by  Galileo  Galilei  .  •  .  by 
the  assistance  of  a  perspective  glass  lately  invented  by  him ; 
namely,  in  the  face  of  the  moon,  in  innumerable  fixed  stars 
in  the  milky-way,  in  nebulous  stars,  but  especially  in  four 
planets  which  revolve  round  Jupiter  at  different  intervals 
and  periods  with  a  wonderful  celerity."  This  is  the  Galileo 
of  the  telescope,  the  prophet  of  an  age  of  discovery.  But 
greater  than  the  Galileo  of  the  telescope  is  the  Galileo  who 
formulated  the  three  laws  of  motion,  and  so  became  the 
founder  of  the  modern  science  of  dynamics.  He  explained 
the  fall  of  bodies  to  the  earth,  not  by  ascribing  them 
to  a  vague  force  of  gravity,  but  by  formulating  exact 
mathematical  ratios  of  time  and  distance,  so  that  it  was 
possible  to  deduce,  predict  and  prove,  with  quantitative 
exactness.  In  other  words,  he  brought  the  clearness 
and  certainty  of  mathematics  into  the  field  of  physical 

*  See  Lessing's  "Education  of  the  Human  Race,"  H,  C,  xxxii,  195. 




Now  this  twofold  influence  of  Galileo  is  the  most  impor- 
tant source  of  what  is  new  in  modern  philosophy.  Bacon 
and  Locke  were  philosophical  observers,  trusting  sense  above 
reason,  and  animated  by  the  spirit  of  discovery.  Descartes, 
Hobbes,  and  Spinoza  were  mathematical  philosophers,  ad- 
vocates of  reason,  not  so  much  concerned  at  first  to  widen 
knowledge  as  to  make  it  more  certain. 

Bacon  (1561-1626)  was  the  founder  of  modern  "empiri- 
cism,*' or  the  philosophy  of  sense-experience.  He  criticized 
those  faults  of  his  age  that  he  thought  stood  in  the  way  of 
clear  seeing,  such  faults  as  verbalism,  anthropomorphism,  or 
undue  regard  for  tradition  and  authority.  He  formulated 
a  new  "Organon"  ("Novum  Organum"*),  a  logic  and 
methodology  which  was  to  correct  and  supplement  the 
Aristotelian  organon,  and  afford  a  basis  for  scientific  pro- 
cedure. But  Bacon  was  significant  not  so  much  for  what 
he  formulated  as  for  what  he  prophesied.  He  was  the  first 
to  dream  that  magnificent  dream  which  has  been  so  largely 
realized  in  the  course  of  the  last  century:  the  dream  of  the 
progressive  control  of  nature  through  the  patient  and  self- 
denying  study  of  it.  The  kingdom  of  man,  the  "New 
Atlantis,"  *  is  to  be  founded  on  knowledge.  "Human  knowl- 
edge and  human  power  meet  in  one;  for  where  the  cause  is 
not  known,  the  effect  cannot  be  produced.  Nature  to  be 
commanded  must  be  obeyed;  and  that  which  in  contempla- 
tion is  as  the  cause,  is  in  operation  as  the  rule."  Observe 
nature  in  order  that  you  may  use  nature,  thus  converting 
it  into  the  habitation,  instrument,  and  treasure  of  man. 
Here  is  the  supreme  maxim  of  our  modern  world,  and  the 
chief  ground  of  its  peculiar  confidence  and  hopefulness. 


Descartes  and  Hobbes  were  the  founders  of  modern 
rationalism,  but  each  in  a  different  way.  Descartes  (1596- 
1650)  found  mathematics  a  model  of  procedure.  In  other 
words,  he  proposed  that  men  should  phiksophize  after  the 

*  H.  C,   xxxix,  122,  ISO.  *  H,  C,  iii,  151. 


manner  of  mathematics.  He  did  not  believe  that  mathe- 
matics, with  its  applications  to  physics,  was  itself  the  high- 
est knowledge.  He  sought  rather  to  formulate  a  logic  that 
should  be  as  exact  as  mathematics,  but  more  fundamental 
and  universal;  thus  affording  a  basis  for  the  demonstration 
of  the  higher  truths  concerning  God  and  the  soul.  The 
"Discourse  on  Method"*  is  a  record  of  the  author's  pro- 
found regard  for  mathematics  and  of  his  own  search  for  a 
like  certainty  in  philosophy. 

But  Hobbes  (i 588-1679)  was  a  follower  of  Galileo  in  a 
different  sense.  He  proposed  not  so  much  to  imitate  mathe. 
matics  as  to  adopt  and  extend  it.  He  represents  that  idea 
which  La  Place  so  eloquently  proclaimed  a  century  later, 
and  which  the  work  of  Newton  seemed  so  nearly  to  realize, 
the  idea  of  a  universal  mechanism,  in  which  the  laws  of 
bodily  motion  should  apply  even  to  the  origins  of  nature  and 
to  man.  It  was  hoped  thus  to  bring  it  about  that  all  things 
should  be  as  demonstrably  known,  and  as  certainly  pre- 
dictable, as  the  velocities  and  orbits  of  the  planets.  To  this 
end  the  author  of  "The  Leviathan"*  regards  both  man  and 
society,  the  little  man  and  the  giant  composite  man,  as 
simply  delicate  and  complicated  mechanisms,  moved  by  an 
impulse  of  self-seeking. 

These,  then,  are  the  three  forms  in  which  the  science  of 
the  Renaissance  as  embodied  in  Galileo  is  communicated  to 
modern  philosophy.  Bacon,  Descartes,  and  Hobbes  became 
in  turn  the  sources  of  the  new  tendencies  that  make  up  the 
philosophy  of  the  seventeenth  and  eighteenth  centuries. 
The  empiricism  of  Bacon  was  renewed  in  Locke,"  who  ap- 
plied "the  plain  historical  method"  to  the  study  of  the 
human  mind;  continued  by  Berkeley,*  who  reduced  even 
being  to  perception  ("esse  est,  percipi")  ;  was  brought  to  a 
sceptical  crisis  in  Hume;**  but  persisted  as  the  national  phi- 
losophy of  England.  The  rationalism  of  Descartes  afforded 
a  basis  for  the.  great  metaphysical  systems  of  Continental 
philosophy,  for  the  monism  of  Spinoza  and  the  pluralism  of 
Leibnitz ;  was  degraded  to  a  mere  formalism  and  dogmatism 
ill  Wolff';  but  nevertheless  persisted  in  the  new  idealistic 

•  H.  C,  xxxiv,  5.         *  H.  C,  xxziT,  323.  *  H.  C,  xxxrii,  9. 

*  H,  C,  xxxvii,  20 X.  *•«.  C,  xxxvii,  305. 


German  philosophy  which  was  inspired  by  Kant.  The 
physical  philosophy  of  Hobbes,  mingled  with  similar  ele- 
ments drawn  from  the  philosophies  of  Locke  and  Descartes, 
developed  into  the  French  materialistic  movement  which  at- 
tended the  outbreak  of  the  Revolution,  and  remains  the 
model  for  all  philosophers  who  seek  to  make  a  metaphysics 
out  of  physics.  The  forms  which  these  three  tendencies 
assumed  during  the  eighteenth  century,  and  especially  their 
excessive  emphasis  on  facts  and  necessities,  provoked  the 
great  reaction  which  bore  fruit  in  the  following  century, 
but  which  was  already  anticipated  in  Pascal's  philosophy  of 
faith^  in  Rousseau's  philosophy  of  feeling,^  and  in  Les- 
sing's  philosophy  of  development.^ 

"H.  C,  xlviii,  "H.  C,  xxxiv,  167.  *•//.  C,  xxxii,  195. 


By  Professor  Ralph  Barton  Perry 

IT  IS  generally  admitted  that  Kant  is  one  of  the  great 
epoch-making  philosophers,  like  Socrates  and  Descartes. 
There  are  two  things  that  are  universally  true  of  in- 
tellectual epoch-makers:  first,  they  embody  in  themselves 
certain  general  tendencies  of  their  age,  which  are  usually 
due  to  a  reaction  against  the  more  pronounced  tendencies 
of  the  previous  age;  second,  their  thought  is  peculiarly  ger- 
minal, and  among  their  followers  assumes  a  maturer  form, 
in  which  the  originators  would  scarcely  recognize  it  as  their 
own.  Let  us  consider  these  two  aspects  of  the  philosophy 
of  Kant. 


From  among  the  pronounced  tendencies  of  the  seven- 
teenth and  eighteenth  centuries  I  shall  select  two  for  special 
emphasis.  In  the  first  place,  it  was  characteristic  of  these 
two  centuries  to  isolate  and  over-emphasize  either  one  or 
the  other  of  the  two  great  sources  of  human  knowledge, 
sense-perception  or  reason.  Locke  and  his  followers  at- 
tempted to  convert  reason  into  a  mere  echo  of  sense;  while 
for  Descartes  and  his  followers,  sense  was  always  viewed 
with  suspicion  as  confusing  the  intellect,  or  as  supplying 
only  an  inferior  sort  of  knowledge  which  must  yield  pre- 
cedence to  "rational  science."  Extreme  sensationalism  or 
empiricism  seemed  to  have  reached  an  impasse  in  Hume; 
while  rationalism  degenerated  into  formalism  and  word- 
making  in  Wolff.  Thus  Kant's  greatest  work,  the  "Critique 
of  Pure  Reason"  (1789),  was  an  attempt  to  correct  these 
extreme  views  by  making  the  necessary  provision  for  both 
sense-perception  and  reason.  Perception  without  concep- 
tion, he  said,  is  blind;  while  conception  without  perception 




is  empty.  Kant's  critique  was  aimed  first  at  excessive  em-^ 
phasis  on  sense-perception.  He  showed  that  the  bare 
sequence  of  sense-impressions  can  never  yield  the  connec- 
tions, necessities,  unities,  laws,  etc.,  which  arc  required  for 
science.  The  intellect  must  supply  these  itself.  They  con- 
stitute what  Kant  called  "categories,"  the  instruments  which 
the  mind  must  use  when  it  works  in  that  peculiar  way  which 
is  called  knowing.  But  it  follows  that  they  are  not  by  them- 
selves sufficient  for  knowledge.  They  cannot  themselves  be 
known  in  the  ordinary  way  because  they  are  what  one  knows 
with.  And  since  they  are  instruments,  it  follows  that  they 
require  some  material  to  work  upon;  they  cannot  spin 
knowledge  out  of  nothing.  Hence  the  data  of  sense  are  in- 
dispensable also.  In  short,  to  know  is  to  systematize,  by  the 
instrumentalities  native  to  the  mind,  the  content  conveyed 
by  the  senses.  This  is  the  Kant  of  the  first  Critique,  the 
Kant  of  technical  philosophy  who  numbers  many  faithful 
devotees  among  the  thinkers  of  to-day. 


A  second  and  more  general  tendency  of  seventeenth  and 
eighteenth  century  philosophy  was  its  comparative  neglect 
of  what  are  vaguely  called  the  "spiritual"  demands.  These 
centuries  themselves  may  be  regarded  as  a  reaction  against 
what  was  thought  to  be  the  excessive  anthropomorphism  of 
earlier  times.  Man  had  erred  by  reading  himself  into  his 
world;  now  he  was  to  view  it  impersonally  and  dispassion- 
ately. He  might  prefer  to  record  the  findings  of  perception, 
or  the  necessities  of  reason,  but  in  either  case  he  was  to 
repress  his  own  interests  and  yearnings.  Of  course  at  the 
time  it  was  confidently  expected  that  morality  and  religion 
would  in  this  way  be  served  best.  Men  believed  in  the 
possibility  of  a  "natural  religion,*'  without  mystery  or* 
dogma,  a  rational  morality  without  authority,  and  a  de- 
monstrable theology  without  either  revelation  or  faith. 
But  gradually  there  developed  a  sense  of  failure.  Man  had 
left  himself  too  much  out  of  it,  and  felt  homeless  and  un- 
protected. Early  in  the  seventeenth  century  Pascal  had 
announced   the   religious   bankruptcy   of   the   mathematical 


rationalism  of  Descartes/  Natural  religion  was  readily  con- 
verted into  atheism  by  Hume.  The  most  vigorous  and  stir- 
ring protest  against  the  whole  spirit  of  the  age  was  made  by 
Rousseau,  who  urged  men  to  trust  their  feelings,  make  al- 
lowance for  the  claims  of  the  heart,  and  return  to  the  ele- 
mental and  spontaneous  in  human  nature.  The  same  note 
was  caught  up  by  Jacobi  and  Herder.  Finally  Lessing,  in 
his  "Education  of  the  Human  Race"  (1780),'  turned  the 
attention  of  philosophy  to  the  history  of  culture,  to  the 
significance  of  human  life  in  its  historical  unfolding.  It  is 
a  strange  paradox  that  Immanuel  Kant,  valetudinarian  and 
pedant  that  he  was,  should  have  represented  this  rising 
revolt  of  sentiment  and  faith.  But  such  was  the  fact.  Let 
us,  then,  viewr  him  in  this  light. 


One  of  the  most  famous  of  Kant's  remarks  was  that  he 
proposed  to  effect  a  Copernican  Revolution  in  thought.  As 
Copernicus  had  established  a  new  center  for  the  planetary 
system,  so  he  proposed  to  establish  a  new  center  for  knowl- 
edge. This  new  center  was  to  be  the  mind  itself.  The 
errors  of  the  earlier  period  had  been  largely  due,  he  thought, 
to  the  attempt  to  make  knowledge  center  in  the  object,  it 
being  expected  that  the  mind  should  reflect,  either  by  per- 
ception or  reason,  the  nature  of  an  outward  and  independ- 
ently existing  thing.  This  method  leads  inevitably,  said 
Kant,  either  to  scepticism  or  to  what  is  just  as  bad  for  phil- 
osophical purposes,  dogmatism.  The  new  way  is  to  expect 
that  the  object  shall  conform  to  the  mind.  Thus  nature, 
which  in  the  earlier  view  was  construed  as  an  external  order 
by  which  the  mind  is  affected,  or  which  the  mind  is  some- 
how to  reproduce  by  its  own  ratiocination,  is  now  construed 
as  the  original  creation  of  the  mind.  It  owes  all  of  its  ar- 
rangements and  connections,  even  its  very  distribution  in 
space  and  time,  to  the  constitution  of  the  knower.  The 
mind  imposes  its  conditions  on  the  object,  and  thus  gets  out 
of  nature  what  it  has  already  put  into  it.    The  bearing  of 

^  See  Pascars  "Thoughts,"  Harvard  Classics,  xlviii,  33f.;  414! 
*  H.  C,  xxxii,  195. 

HCL— 6 


this  on  man's  spiritual  claims  is  apparent.  It  is  now  nature 
that  is  creature;  and  man,  in  virtue  of  his  intelligence,  that 
is  creator.  The  fatal  world  of  fact  and  necessity,  that 
seemed  so  alien  to  spirit,  turns  out  to  be  but  an  expression 
of  the  intellectual  part  of  spirit 


But  a  Rousseau  might  still  complain  that  this  victory  of 
spirit  over  matter  was  dearly  bought,  since  it  left  the  rest  of 
spirit  in  harsh  subjection  to  the  intellectual  part  What 
guarantee  is  there  that  the  intellect^  thus  clothed  with  au- 
thority, will  make  due  allowance  for  the  claims  of  sentiment 
and  conscience?  Kant's  answer  lies  in  his  famous  doctrine 
of  the  "primacy  of  the  practical  reason."*  Nature,  he  says, 
is  indeed  the  work  of  the  theoretical  faculties ;  and  the  theo- 
retical faculties  can  recognize  only  facts  and  laws.  But  the 
theoretical  faculties  are  themselves  but  the  expression  of 
something  deeper,  namely,  the  will.  Thinking  is  a  kind  of 
action,  and  action  in  general  has  its  own  laws,  revealed  in 
conscience,  and  taking  precedence  of  the  rules  that  govern 
any  special  department  of  action,  such  as  knowing.  This 
does  not  mean  that  conscience  over-rules  the  understanding, 
or  that  the  will  can  violate  nature;  but  that  conscience  re- 
veals another  world,  deeper  and  more  real  than  nature, 
which  is  the  proper  sphere  for  the  exercise  of  the  will.  This 
is  the  world  of  God,  freedom,  and  immortality.  It  cannot 
be  known  in  the  strict  sense,  only  nature  can  be  known;  but 
it  can  and  must  be  believed  in,  because  it  is  presupposed  in 
all  action.  If  one  is  to  live  at  all,  one  must  claim  such  a 
world  to  live  in.  So  Kant,  who  began  by  justifying  science, 
ended  by  justifying  faith, 


I  have  said  that  it  was  the  fate  of  epoch-makers  to  have 
their  ideas  promptly  converted  into  something  that  they 
never  meant.  Kant  was  a  cautious,  or  as  he  terms  it,  a 
•^critical"   thinker.     He  concerned   himself   with   questions 

*H,  C,  xxxii,  3a3ff,  337ff. 


regarding  the  possibility  of  knowledge  and  the  legitimacy  of 
faith;  and  avoided  so  far  as  possible  making  positive  as* 
sertions  about  the  world.  But  his  followers  were  fired  with 
speculative  zeal,  and  at  once  passed  over  from  **criticism" 
to  metaphysics. 

There  resulted  the  great  Romantic  and  Idealistic  move- 
ment that  formed  the  main  current  of  philosophical  thought 
during  the  nineteenth  century. 

In  the  idealistic  movement  the  Kantian  theory  of  knowl- 
edge is  united  with  a  pantheistic  tendency  that  may  be 
traced  continuously  back  even  to  Plato  himself.  According 
to  this  pantheistic  view,  nature  and  God  are  the  same  thing 
viewed  differently.  God,  foreshortened  and  taken  in  the 
limited  perspectives  defined  by  man's  earth-bound  intelli- 
gence, is  nature;  nature,  consummated,  seen  in  its  fullness 
and  harmony,  is  God. 

For  all  we  have  power  to  see,  is  a  straight  staff  bent  in  a  pool; 

And  the  ear  of  man  cannot  hear,  and  the  eye  of  man  cannot  see; 
But  if  we  could  see  and  hear,  this  Vision — ^were  it  not  He?* 

Nature,  on  Kantian  grounds,  is  the  work  of  intelligence, 
and  intelligence,  in  turn,  obeys  some  deeper  spiritual  law. 
That  law,  when  interpreted  according  to  the  Platonic-pan- 
theistic tradition,  is  the  perfection  of  the  whole.  There  are 
many  possible  variations  of  the  view.  The  perfection  of  the 
whole  may  be  regarded  as  a  moral  perfection,  the  ideal  of 
the  moral  will,  as  suggested  by  Kant,  and  more  positively 
and  constructively  maintained  by  Fichte;  or  as  the  ideal  of 
reason,  as  was  maintained  by  Hegel  and  his  followers;  or 
as  a  general  realization  of  all  spiritual  values,  a  perfection 
transcending  moral  and  rational  standards,  and  more  nearly 
approached  in  the  experience  of  beauty,  or  in  flashes  of 
mystical  insight,  as  was  proclaimed  by  the  sentimentalists 
and  romanticists.  In  the  popular  literary  expressions  of  the 
view,  these  varieties  have  alternated,  or  have  been  indis- 
criminately mingled.  But  it  is  this  view  in  some  form  that 
has  inspired  those  English  poets  and  essayists,  such  as  Cole- 
ridge,    Wordsworth,     Carlyle,    Emerson,    Tennyson,     and 

•Tennyson,  'The  Higher  Pantheism,'*  H.  C,  zUi,  lO^S. 


Browning,"  who  so  profoundly  influenced  the  men  of  the 
last  generation.  There  is  thus  a  continuous  current  of 
thought  from  the  closest  philosophy  of  the  sage  of 
Konigsberg  to  the  popular  incentives  and  consolations 
of  to-day. 

•  See  reference  in  H.  C,  1,  39. 


By  Professor  Chester  Noyes  Greenough 


E  IS,"  said  Matthew  Arnold  of  Emerson,  "the 
friend  and  aider  of  those  who  would  live  in  the 
spirit."  These  well-known  words  are  perhaps  the 
best  expression  of  the  somewhat  vague  yet  powerful  and 
inspiring  effect  of  Emerson's  courageous  but  disjointed  phi- 


Descended  from  a  long  line  of  New  England  ministers, 
Emerson,  finding  himself  fettered  by  even  the  most  liberal 
ministry  of  his  day,  gently  yet  audaciously  stepped  down 
from  the  pulpit  and,  with  little  or  no  modification  in  his 
interests  or  utterances,  became  the  greatest  lay  preacher 
of  his  time.  From  the  days  of  his  undergraduate  essay  upon 
"The  Present  State  of  Ethical  Philosophy"  he  continued  to 
be  preoccupied  with  matters  of  conduct:  whatever  the  ob- 
ject of  his  attention — an  ancient  poet,  a  fact  in  science,  or 
an  event  in  the  morning  newspaper — ^he  contrives  to  extract 
from  it  a  lesson  which  in  his  ringing,  glistening  style  he 
drives  home  as  an  exhortation  to  a  higher  and  more  inde- 
pendent life. 


Historically,  Emerson  marks  one  of  the  largest  reactions 
against  the  Calvinism  of  his  ancestors.  That  stern  creed 
had  taught  the  depravity  of  man,  the  impossibility  of  a 
natural,  unaided  growth  toward  perfection,  and  the  neces- 
sity of  constant  and  anxious  effort  to  win  the  unmerited 
reward  of  being  numbered  among  the  elect.  Emerson  starts 
with  the  assumption  that  the  individual,  if  he  can  only  come 
into  possession  of  his  natural  excellence,  is  the  most  godlike 
of  creatures.    Instead  of  believing  with  the  Calvinist  that  as 



a  man  grows  better  he  becomes  more  unlike  his  natural  self 
(and  therefore  can  become  better  only  by  an  act  of  divine 
mercy),  Emerson  believes  that  as  a  man  grows  in  excel- 
lence he  becomes  more  like  his  natural  self.  It  is  common  to 
hear  the  expression,  wh^n  one  is  deeply  stirred,  as  by  sub- 
lime music  or  a  moving  discourse:  "That  fairly  lifted  me 
out  of  myself."  Emerson  would  have  said  that  such  in- 
fluences lift  us  into  ourselves. 

For  one  of  Emerson's  most  fundamental  and  frequently 
recurring  ideas*  is  that  of  a  ''great  nature  in  which  we  rest 
as  the  earth  lies  in  the  soft  arms  of  the  atmosphere,"  an 
*'Over-Soul,  within  which  every  man's  particular  being  is 
contained  and  made  one  with  all  other,"  which  "evermore 
tends  to  pass  into  our  thought  and'  hand  and  become  wisdom 
and  virtue  and  power  and  beauty."*  This  Is  the  incentive 
— ^the  sublime  incentive  of  approaching  the  perfection  which 
is  ours  by  nature  and  by  divine  intention — ^that  Emerson 
holds  out  when  he  asks  us  to  submit  us  to  Qurselve3  to  all 
instructive  influences. 

The§e  instructive  influences,  according  to  Emerson,  are 
chiefly  Nature,  the  Past,  and  Society.  Let  us  notice  how 
Emerson  bids  us  use  these  influences  to  help  us  into  our 
higher  sdves. 


Nature,  which  he  says*  "is  loved  by  what  is  best  in  us,"  is 
all  about  us,  inviting  our  perception  of  its  remotest  and  most 
cosmic  principles  by  surrounding  us  with  its  simpler  mani- 
festations. "A  man  does  not  tie  his  shoe  without  recogniz- 
ing laws  which  bind  the  farthest  regions  of  nature."  *  Thus 
man  "carries  the  world  in  his  head."*  Whether  he  be  a 
great  scientist,  proving  by  his  discovery  of  a  sweeping 
physical  law  that  be  has  some  such  constructive  sense  as 
that  which  guides  the  universQ,  or  whether  be  be  a  poet  be- 
holding trees  as  "imperfect  men,"  who  "seem  to  bemoan 

»  Pf  rliaPV  mo§t  fflearly  puj  In  "Tb#  Ov«r-8oul,"  Httn/^rd  Classics,  ▼.  1371?, 
•H.  C,  V,  138.     'H.  C.,  V,  238.        *H,  C,  V,  241.       *H,  C,  v,  241. 


their  imprisonment,  rooted  in  the  ground,"*  he  is  being 
brought  into  his  own  by  perceiving  "the  virtue  and  pungency 
of  the  influence  on  the  mind  of  material  objects,  whether 
inorgj^nic  or  organized."* 


Ranging  over  time  a|id  space  with  astonishing  rapidity 
^nd  binding  names  and  things  together  that  no  ordinary 
vision  could  connect,  Emerson  calls  the  Past  also  to  witness 
the  need  of  self-reliance  ancj  a  steadfast  obedience  to  in- 
tuition,* The  need  of  such  independence,  he  thought,  w^s 
particularly  great  for  the  student,  who  so  easily  becomes 
overawed  by  the  great  names  of  the  Past  and  reads  "to 
believe  and  take  for  granted."  •  This  should  not  be,  nor  can 
it  be  if  we  remember  what  we  are.  **Meek  young  men  grow 
up  in  libraries  believing  it  their  duty  to  accept  the  views 
which  Cicero,  which  Locke,  which  Bacon  have  given,  for- 
getful that  Cicero,  Locke,  and  B^con  were  only  young  men 
in  libraries  "v^h^n  thpy  wrote  these  books."  When  w^ 
sincerely  find,  therefore,  th?it  we  cannot  agree  with  the 
Past,  then,  s^ys  Emerson,  \vre  must  break  with  it,  no  mat- 
ter how  great  the  prestige  of  its  messengers.  But  often  the 
Past  does  not  disappoint  us;  pften  it  assists  us  in  our  quest 
to  become  our  highest  selves.  For  in  the  Past  there  have 
been  many  men  of  genius;  and,  inasn^uch  as  the  man  of 
genius  has  come  nearer  to  being  continually  conscious  of  his 
relation  to  the  Over-Soul,  it  follows  that  the  genius  js  actu- 
ally more  ourselves  than  yve  are.  So  we  often  have  to  fall 
back  upon  more  gifted  souls  to  interpret  for  us  what  we 
mean  but  cannot  say.  Any  supreme  triumph  of  expression, 
therefore,  should  arouse  in  us  not  humility,  still  less  dis- 
couragement, but  renewed  consciousness  that  "one  nature 
wrote  and  the  same  re^ds.""  So  it  is  in  travel  or  in  any 
other  form  of  contact  with  the  Past:  we  cannot  derive  any 
profit  or  see  any  new  thing  except  we  remember  that  "the 
world  is  nothing,  the  man  is  all."  " 

•H.  C,  V,  240.  ^  H.  C,  V,  248. 

■  The  uses  ot  the  past  and  the  right  spirit  in  which  to  approach  it,  are 
finely  set  forth  in  "The  American  Scholar"  (H.  C,  v,  sff). 
•Bacon,  "Of  Studies'*  (H.  C^  Hi,  128). 



Similar  are  the  uses  of  Society.  More  clearly  than  in 
Nature  or  in  the  Past,  we  see  in  certain  other  people  such 
likeness  to  ourselves,  and  receive  from  the  perception  of 
that  likeness  such  inspiration,  that  a  real  friend  "may  well 
be  reckoned  the  masterpiece  of  nature.""  Yet  elsewhere 
Emerson  has  more  than  once  urged  us  not  to  be  ''too  much 
acquainted"":  all  our  participation  in  the  life  of  our  fel- 
lows, though  rich  with  courtesy  and  sympathy,  must  be  free 
from  bending  and  copying.  We  must  use  the  fellowship  of 
Society  to  freshen,  and  never  to  obscure,  "the  recollection 
of  the  grandeur  of  our  destiny."  " 

Emerson's  universality 

Such,  in  some  attempt  at  an  organization,  are  a  few  of 
Emerson's  favorite  ideas,  which  occur  over  and  over  again, 
no  matter  what  may  be  the  subject  of  the  essay.  Though 
Emerson  was  to  some  degree  identified,  in  his  own  time, 
with  various  movements  which  have  had  little  or  no  per- 
manent effect,  yet  as  we  read  him  now  we  find  extraordi- 
narily little  that  suggests  the  limitations  of  his  time  and 
locality.  Often  there  are  whole  paragraphs  which  if  we  had 
read  them  in  Greek  would  have  seemed  Greek.  The  good 
sense  which  kept  him  clear  of  Brook  Farm  because  he 
thought  Fourier  "had  skipped  no  fact  but  one,  namely  life," 
kept  him  clear  from  many  similar  departures  into  matters 
which  the  twenty-first  century  will  probably  not  remember. 
This  is  as  it  should  be  in  the  essay,  which  by  custom  draws 
the  subjects  for  its  "dispersed  meditations"  from  the  per- 
manent things  of  this  world,  such  as  Friendship,  Truth, 
Superstition,  and  Honor.  One  of  Emerson's  sources  of 
strength,  therefore,  is  his  universality. 


Another  source  of  Emerson's  strength  is  his  extraor- 
dinary compactness  of  style  and  his  range  and  unexpected- 

»H.  C,  Y,  ii6.  ^H,  C,  V.  217,  »if.  C,  V,  217. 


ness  of  illustration.  His  gift  for  epigram  is,  indeed,  such 
as  to  make  us  long  for  an  occasional  stretch  of  leisurely 
commonplace.  But  Emerson  always  keeps  us  up— not  less 
by  his  memorable  terseness  than  by  his  startling  habit  of 
illustration.  He  loves  to  dart  from  the  present  to  the  re- 
motest past,  to  join  names  not  usually  associated,  to  link 
pagan  with  Christian,  or  human  with  divine,  in  single  rapid 
sentences,  such  as  that  **  about  "Scipio,  and  the  Cid,  and  Sir 
Philip  Sidney,  and  Washington,  and  every  pure  and  valiant 
heart,  who  worshiped  Beauty  by  word  or  by  deed." 

Not  less  notable  than  his  universality  of  thought,  his 
compactness  of  style,  and  his  swiftness  and  range  of  illustra- 
tion, is  Emerson's  delightful  benignity  of  tone.  It  would 
be  hard  to  find  any  one  whose  opposition  is  so  high  minded, 
whose  refusal  is  so  gentle,  whose  good  will — though  per- 
haps never  anxious — is  so  uniformly  evident.  The  sweet- 
ness of  Emerson's  face,  as  we  know  it  from  his  most  famous 
portrait,  is  to  be  felt  throughout  his  work. 

If,  in  spite  of  all  these  admirable  qualities,  Emerson's  ideas 
seem  too  vague  and  unsystematic  to  satisfy  those  who  feel 
that  they  could  perhaps  become  Emersonians  if  there  were 
only  some  definite  articles  to  sign,  it  must  be  remembered 
that  Emerson  wishes  to  develop  independence  rather  than 
apostleship,  and  that  when  men  revolt  from  a  system  be- 
cause they  believe  it  to  be  too  definite  and  oppressive,  they 
are  likely  to  go  to  the  other  extreme.  That  Emerson  did 
go  so  far  toward  this  extreme  identifies  him  with  a  period 
notable  fon  its  enthusiastic  expansion  of  thought.  That  he 
did  not  systematize  or  restrict  means  that  he  was  obedient 
to  the  idea  that  what  really  matters  is  not  that  by  exact 
terminology,  clever  tactics,  and  all  the  niceties  of  reasoning 
a  system  of  philosophy  shall  be  made  tight  and  impregnable 
for  others  to  adopt,  but  rather  that  each  of  us  may  be  per- 
suaded to  hitch  his  own  particular  wagon  to  whatever  star 
for  him  shines  brightest. 

*•//.  C,  V,  22a, 



By  William  RoscOe  Thayer 

BIOGRAPHY  is  the  key  to  the  best  society  the  world 
has  ever  had.  By  the  best  society  I  do  not  mean 
those  exclusive  circles,  based  on  wealthy  privilege,  or 
heredity,  which  have  flourished  at  all  times  and  in  every 
place.  I  mean  the  men  and  women  who,  by  the  richness  of 
their  talents  or  the  significance  of  their  careers,  or,  it  may 
be,  by  some  special  deed,  have  emerged  from  the  throng. 
One  of  the  strongest  instincts  planted  in  us  is  our  aversion 
to  bores.  Biography,  as  by  a  short  cut,  admits  us  to  the 
fellowship  of  the  choice  spirits  of  the  past  four  thousand 
years,  among  whom  we  shall  find  entertainment  in  endless 
variety^  And  not  entertainment  only;  for  entertainment  is 
riot  the  end  of  life,  but  its  sweetener  and  strengthencr. 

To  develop  our  talents  for  good,  to  build  up  character,  to 
fit  ourselves,  like  the  cutwater  of  a  ship,  to  cleave  whatever 
seas  of  experience  Fate  may  steer  us  into,  to  set  ourselves 
a  high,  far  goal  and  always  consciously,  through  storm  or 
shine,  to  seek  that  goal  that  is  the  real  concern  of  life.  On 
this  quest  biography  shows  the  way  by  example. 

Most  of  us  have  intervals  of  tedium  or  depression  when 
we  try  to  get  out  of  ourselves.  Or  it  may  be  some  stroke  of 
ill-fortune,  some  sorrow,  some  moral  lapse,  some  desperate 
blunder,  locks  us  up  within  ourselves  as  in  a  dungeon.  Then 
biography  comes  to  our  rescue,  and  we  forget  ourselves  in 
following  the  career  of  other  men  and  women  who  may 
have  passed  through  similar  ordeals.  The  loneliness  of  grief 
loses  some  of  its  poignancy,  the  agonizing  isolation  which 
sin  creates  round  the  sinner  is  broken  in  upon  by  the  knowl- 
edge that  others  have  suffered  or  failed,  and  yet  found 
strength  to  endure  and  to  return 



Evidently,  great  fidtion,  whether  It  bd  in  the  form  of 
drama,  traf<^dy,  or  novel)  iiervei  the  game  purpose  of  taking 
us  out  of  ourselves,  by  teaching  us  how  imaginary  persons 
plan  and  act,  undergo  joy  or  pain^  conquer  or  fall.  I  do  not 
wish  to  belittle  any  fiction  which  can  justify  itself  by  sub- 
stantial charm  or  s3rmbolical  import;  and  as  I  shall  discus^ 
later  some  of  the  relations  between  fiction  and  biography, 
it  will  sufSce  to  remark  now  that  the  highest  praise  that  can 
be  bestowed  on  the  creations  of  fiction  is  that  they  are  true 
to  life.  Achilles,  sulking  in  his  tent;  Othello,  maddened  by 
jealousy;  visionary  Don  Q\iixote,  mistaking  windmills  for 
giants ;  Mephistopheles,  Becky  Sharp,  Colonel  Ncwcome, 
Silas  Mamer,  and  all  the  other  immortals  in  the  world  of 
fiction  live  on  by  virtue  of  their  lifclikeness*  But  life  Itddf, 
and  not  its  counterfeit,  is  the  very  stuff  of  biography. 

One  reason  why  biography  dropped  behind  in  the  race  for 
popularity  with  fiction  is  that  it  was  taken  for  granted  that  the 
biographer  mu§t  deal  in  eulogy  only.  His  subjects  were  usu' 
ally  marvels*"W6  may  almost  say  monsters^-of  virtue.  Most 
Of  us  are  so  conscious  of  bting  a  Composite  of  good  and  bad 
that  we  are  properly  sceptical  when  we  read  of  persbns  toO 
pure  and  luminous  to  cast  a  shadow.  We  toUrate  the  piouii 
fibs  carved  in  an  epitaph  on  a  tombstone«»the  lapidary,  as 
Dr.  Johnson  remarked,  is  hot  under  oath;  we  discount  the 
flattery  of  the  avowed  panegyrist,  but  when  the-  epitaph  or 
the  eulogy  is  puffed  out  through  a  volume  or  two  6f  biog« 
raphy,  we  balk  and  decline  to  read. 

Lives  of  this  kind  are  seldom  written  nowadays.  They 
are  too  obviously  untrue  to  deceive  any  one.  Candidates  for 
political  or  other  office  may  connive  at  pen  portraits  of  them* 
selves  which  no  more  resemble  them  than  Apollo ;  but  these 
productions,  like  the  caricatures  of  the  day,  are  soon  for- 
gotten. In  earlier  times,  even  among  English-speaking  folk, 
laudation  was  the  accepted  tribute  which  th^  lower  paid  to 
the  higher.  Among  monarchs,  prelates,  nobles,  generals, 
poets,  artistS)  or  persons  of  the  smallest  distinction  whatso- 
ever, modesty  could  not  be  called  a  lost  art,  because  it  had 


never  been  found.  And  only  recently  a  prime  minister, 
equally  cynical  and  subtly  subservient,  divulged  that  even  he 
could  not  appease  his  sovereign's  appetite  for  adulation.  In 
general,  however,  it  is  now  commonly  the  fashion  to  assume 
the  virtue  of  modesty  by  those  who  have  it  not,  and  the  pro- 
fessional flatterer  finds  fewer  opportunities  than  formerly. 
Yet  we  need  only  glance  at  the  biographies  which  have  come 
down  to  us  from  the  ages  most  addicted  to  artificial  man- 
ners and  speech  in  order  to  see  that  these,  too,  bear  the 
stamp  of  sincerity.  There  is  always  the  unconscious  record, 
the  expression  or  tone  peculiar  to  the  time,  to  betray  them; 
and  then,  few  writers  have  ever  been  cunning  enough  to 
dupe  more  than  one  generation — ^their  own. 

Nobody  need  forego  the  inestimable  delights  of  biography 
from  fear  of  being  the  dupe  of  some  devious  biographer. 
It  requires  no  long  practice  to  train  yourself  to  sift  the 
genuine  from  the  false — a  branch  of  intellectual  detective 
work  which  possesses  the  zest  of  mystery,  abounds  in  sur- 
prises, and  can  be  carried  on  at  your  own  fireside. 

So  inevitably  does  temperament  register  itself  that  it  can- 
not be  concealed  even  in  autobiography,  which  some  persons 
unwisely  avoid  because  they  suppose  that  those  who  write 
their  lives  set  out  with  the  deliberate  purpose  of  painting 
themselves  as  more  wise  or  virtuous,  clever  or  courageous, 
than  they  really  were.  But  though  any  special  incident  nar- 
rated by  a  Benvenuto  Cellini  cannot  be  verified,  the  sum  of 
his  amazing  "Life"*  reveals  to  us  Cellini  himself,  that  per- 
fect product  of  the  Italian  Renaissance  in  its  decline — ver- 
satile, brilliant,  wicked,  superstitious,  infidel,  fascinating, 
ready  to  kill  himself  toiling  to  perfect  a  medal,  or  to  kill  a 
neighbor  for  some  passing  whim.  Even  Goethe,  who  wrote 
the  most  artificial  of  autobiographies,  recomposing  the 
events  of  his  childhood  and  youth  so  as  to  give  them  se- 
quence and  emphasis  that  belong  to  a  work  of  fiction,  even 
he,  Olympian  poseur  that  he  was,  could  not  by  this  device 
have  hidden,  if  he  had  wished,  his  essential  self  from  us. 

We  may  well  dismiss,  therefore,  the  suspicion  which  has 
sometimes  hovered  over  biography.  The  best  lives  are 
among  the   most  precious  possessions  we  have;   even  the 

*  Harvard  Classics,  zxxi;  and  cf.  Lecture  III,  bdow. 



mediocre,  or  those  less  than  mediocre,  can  furnish  us  much 
solid  amusement;  and  there  are  many  biographical  frag- 
ments which  reveal  to  us  the  very  heart  of  their  subject,  as 
surely  as  a  piece  of  ore-bearing  quartz  the  metal,  embedded 
m  It 


The  delights  of  biography  are  those  of  the  highest  human 
intercourse,  in  almost  limitless  diversity,  which  no  one  could 
hope  to  enjoy  among  the  living.  Even  though  you  were 
placed  so  favorably  that  you  became  acquainted  with  many 
of  the  most  interesting  personages  of  your  own  time,  were 
it  not  for  this  magic  art,  which  makes  the  past  present  and 
the  dead  to  live,  you  would  still  be  shut  out  from  all  ac- 
quaintance with  your  forerunners.  But,  thanks  to  biog*- 
raphy,  you  have  only  to  reach  out  your  hand  and  take  down 
a  volume  from  your  shelf  in  order  to  converse  with  Napo- 
leon or  Bismarck,  Lincoln  or  Cavour.  You  need  spend  no 
weary  hours  in  antechambers  on  the  chance  of  snatching  a 
hasty  interview.  They  wait  upon  your  pleasure.  No  business 
of  state  can  put  you  off.  They  talk  and  you  listen.  They 
disclose  to  you  their  inmost  secrets.  Carlyle  may  be  never 
so  petulant,  Luther  never  so  bluflf.  Swift  never  so  bitter,  but 
they  must  admit  you,  and  the  very  defects  which  might  have 
interposed  a  screen  between  each  of  them  living  and  you 
are  as  loopholes  through  which  you  look  into  their  hearts. 
So  you  may  come  to  know  them  better  than  their  contem- 
poraries knew  them,  better  than  you  know  your  intimates, 
or,  unless  you  are  a  master  of  self -scrutiny,  better  than  you 
know  yourself. 

The  mixed  motives  which  we  seldom  dissect  in  our  own 
acts  can  usually  be  disentangled  without  difficulty  in  theirs. 
Through  them  we  discover  the  true  nature  of  traits,  fair  or 
hideous,  of  which  we  discern  the  embryos  in  ourselves;  and 
however  far  they  rise  above  us  by  genius  or  by  fortune,  we 
see  that  the  difference  is  of  degree  and  not  of  kind.  The 
human  touch  makes  us  all  solidaire.  Were  it  not  so,  the 
story  of  their  lives  would  interest  us  no  more  than  if  they 
were  basilisks  or  griffins,  phantasmal  creatures  having  no 
possible  relations  with  tts. 


Just  now  I  mentioned  at  random  some  of  the  very  gre^t 
statesmen  and  leaders  in  religion  and  letters,  access  to  whom 
in  the  flesh  would  presumably  have  been  impossible,  but  with 
whom  the  humblest  of  us  find  many  contacts  in  their  biog- 
raphies. Often  we  are  surprised  by  a  thought  or  feeling 
or  experience  such  as  we  have  had  and  scarcely  heeded, 
but  which  at  once  takes  on  dignity  from  being  shared  with 
the  illustrious  man.  Still,  the  touchstone  of  biography  is 
not  merely  greatness,  but  interest  and  significance ; .  and 
herein  it  coincides  with  its  twin  art,  portraiture.  The  finest 
portraits,  assuming  equal  skill  in  the  technique  of  their 
painting,  are  not  of  kings  and  grandees,  but  those  which 
embody  or  suggest  character.  Queen  Victoria's  face,  though 
a  Leonardo  had  painted  it,  could  never  rivet  the  world's 
attention  or  pique  the  world's  curiosity  as  Monna  Lisa's  has 
done.  In  ten  minutes  one  has  revealed  the  uncomplex  and 
uninspired  nature  behind  it;  while  after  four  hundred 
years  the  other  still  fascinates  us  by  its  suggestive  and  per- 
petually elusive  expression. 

So  the  lives  of  persons  who  were  inconspicuous,  measured 
on  the  stale  of  international  or  enduring  fame,  are  some- 
times packed  with  the  charm  of  individuality.  Such,  for 
instance,  is  "The  Story  of  My  Heart,"  by  Richard  Jeffries. 
You  may  not  like  it — one  friend  to  whom  I  recommend  it 
told  me  he  found  it  so  exasperating  that  he  threw  it  into 
the  fire — ^but  you  cannot  deny,  if  you  are  reasonably  sym- 
pathetic, that  it  is  the  genuine  utterance  of  a  genuine  man. 
Solomon  Maimon's  biography  is  another  of  this  sort,  in 
which  we  see  an  unusual  personality  shackled  by  the  cruelty 
of  caste.  John  Sterling  had  talent,  but  he  died  too  yourtg 
to  achieve  any  work  of  lasting  note;  and  yet,  thanks  to 
Carlyle's  exuberantly  vital  memoir  of  him — which  reminds 
me  of  one  of  Rembrandt's  portraits — Sterling  will  live  on 
for  years. 


These  examples  will  suffice  to  prove  that  a  great  biog- 
raphy does  not  require  a  great  man  for  its  original;  but  it 
does  require  a  great  biographer.    For  biography  is  an  art, 


a  very  high  art;  and,  if  we  judge  by  the  comparatively  small 
number  of  its  masterpieces,  we  must  conclude  that  the  con- 
summate biographer  is  rarer  than  the  poet,  the  novelist,  or 
the  historian  of  similar  worth. 

The  belief  that  anybody  can  write  a  life  is  one  of  the 
widespread  fallacies.  As  if  anybody  could  paint  a  portrait 
or  compose  a  sonata!  When  some  notable  person  dies,  it 
is  ten  to  one  that  his  wife  or  sister,  son  or  daughter,  sets 
to  work  to  compile  his  memoir.  The  result,  at  its  best, 
must  present  a  partial,  family  point  of  view,  hardly  more 
to  be  trusted  than  the  official  biographies  of  kings  and 

It  was  the  public  relations  of  the  gentleman  that  warranted 
writing  about  him  at  all ;  but  from  his  wife—doting,  perhaps 
—or  from  his  child — spoiled,  possibly — we  shall  hear  of 
him  chiefly  in  his  role  as  husband  or  as  father. 

Person^  affection,  devotion  even,  may  be  and  usually 
is  a  handicap,  which  the  family  biographer  cannot  over- 
come. The  wise  surgeon  does  not  trust  himself  to 
perform  an  operation  on  his  dearest;  neither  should  a 

Knowledge,  sympmthy,  and  imagination  the  biographer 
must  possess ;  these,  and  that  detachment  of  the  artist  which 
is  partly  intuition  and  partly  a  sort  of  conscience,  against 
which  personal  considerations  plead  in  vain.  Thus,  although 
Boswell,  the  master  biographer  among  all  those  who  have 
written  in  English,  felt  toward  Johnson  admiration  little 
short  of  idolatry,  yet,  when  he  came  to  write,  he  was  the 
artist  striving  to  make  a  perfect  picture,  and  not  the  wor- 
shiper hiding  his  idol  in  clouds  of  incense.  Sir  George 
Trevelyan  was  Macaulay's  nephew,  and  therefore  likely  to 
be  hampered  by  family  reserves;  but  in  him  the  quality 
of  biographer  so  far  surpassed  the  accident  of  nephew 
that  he,  too,  was  able  to  produce  a  biography  which 
portrays  Macaulay  as  adequately  as  Boswell's  portrays 

Such  exceptions  simply  prove  the  rule :  detachment^— which 
ensures  fairness — and  knowledge,  sympathy,  and  imagina- 
tion— ^uniting  in  a  faculty  which  we  may  call  divination— arc 




The  taste  for  biography,  if  it  be  not  born  in  you,  is  quickly 
acquired.  Many  and  many  a  person  has  had  it  first  aroused 
in  boyhood  by  Franklin's  "Autobiography,"*  that  astonish- 
ing book,  which  enchants  you  when  you  are  young  by  its 
simplicity  and  its  teeming  incidents,  and  holds  you  when 
you  are  old  by  its  shrewdness,  its  tonic  optimism,  its  candor, 
its  wisdom,  its  humor.  Franklin  has  done  for  himself  what 
Defoe  did  for  the  fictitious  Robinson  Crusoe ;  but  his  sphere 
was  as  wide  as  Crusoe's  was  confined.  Follow  his  fortunes 
and  you  will  soon  be  swept  into  the  main  currents  of  history, 
not  in  Philadelphia  or  the  Colonies  only,  but  in  Europe.  And 
after  you  have  digested  the  information  which  Franklin  pro- 
vides so  naturally,  you  will  recall  again  and  again  the  human 
touches  in  which  his  book  abounds :  his  remarks  on  his  mar- 
riage: his  confession  that,  when  he  began  to  take  an  ac- 
count of  stock  of  his  moral  condition  he  found  himself  much 
fuller  of  faults  than  he  imagined;  his  admission  that  he  ac- 
quired the  appearance  of  humility  though  he  lacked  the 
reality;  the  irony  of  his  report  of  Braddock's  conversation; 
— ^but  to  mention  its  characteristic  passages  would  be  to 
epitomize  the  book.  Each  reader  will  have  his  favorites 
and  when  he  reaches  the  end  of  the  fragment,  with  its  un- 
finished sentence,  he  will  regret  to  part  from  such  a  mellow 
companion.  What  a  treat  the  world  missed  because  Frank- 
lin died  before  he  had  narrated  his  experiences  between 
1775  and  1785,  that  decade  when,  we  may  truly  say  that,  if 
Washington  was  the  Father,  Franklin  was  the  Godfather  of 
hisf  country. 

Perhaps,  however,  you  were  led  into  biography  through 
other  channels.  The  life  of  Napoleon  or  of  Caesar,  of  some 
painter,  poet,  man  of  letters,  inventor,  or  explorer,  may 
have  been  the  first  to  attract  you;  but  the  outcome  will  be 
the  same.  You  will  feel  that  you  have  gained  a  new  com- 
panion, as  real  as  your  flesh-and-blood  intimates,  but  wittier, 
wiser,  or  more  picturesque  than  they;  a  friend  whose  latch- 
string  is  always  out  for  you  to  pull ;  a  crony  who  will  gossip 
when  you  desire,  who  will  never  desert  you  nor  grow  cold 

*  H.  C.s  i;  and  cf.  Lecture  IV,  below 


nor  yawn  at  your  dulness,  nor  resent  your  indifference.  For 
the  relation  between  you  is  wholly  one-sided.  His  spirit  is 
distilled  in  a  book,  like  some  rare  cordial  in  a  flask,  to  be 
enjoyed  or  not  according  to  your  mood.  He  bestows  his  all 
— himself;  but  only  on  condition  that  you  supply  the  perfect 
sympathy  requisite  for  understanding  him. 

This  relationship  between  the  reader  and  the  dead  and 
gone  who  have  perpetuated  themselves  in  literature  is  abso- 
lutely unique.  In  all  other  affairs  there  must  be  reciprocity, 
the  interplay  of  temperaments,  the  stress  of  moral  obliga- 
tion; but  in  this  transaction  the  author  gives  all,  and  the 
reader  takes  all  (if  he  can)  without  thought  of  making 
returns,  and  withouut  incurring  the  imputation  of  being  a 
sponge  or  a  parasite.  If  you  are  a  free  man,  no  inter- 
mediary stands  between  you  and  the  author  who  draws  you 
or  repels  you  according  to  the  subtle  laws  of  affinity. 
Rarely,  rarely  among  the  living  is  that  condition  for  ideal 
companionship  realized. 


Because  of  the  unique  terms  which  exist  between  author 
and  reader,  we  associate  with  sinners  not  less  than  with 
saints,  and  are  unburdened  by  a  sense  of  responsibility  for 
their  acts.  In  daily  life  few  of  us,  happily,  come  face  to 
face  with  perverts  and  criminals ;  but  through  biography  we 
can,  if  we  will,  measure  the  limits  of  human  nature  on  its 
dark  side  in  the  careers  of  such  colossal  reprobates  as  Caesar 
Borgia  and  his  father;  or  monsters  of  cruelty  like  Ezzelino 
and  Alva;  or  traitors,  spies,  and  informers,  from  Judas  to 
Benedict  Arnold  and  Azeff;  or  of  swindlers  and  more  com- 
mon scoundrels,  George  Law  and  Cagliostro  and  latter-day 
"promoters,"  and  that  peculiarly  offensive,  brood — the  pious 

In  the  long  run,  however,  we  make  our  lasting  friends 
among  those  who  are  normal  but  not  commonplace,  who 
seem  to  carry  our  own  better  traits  to  a  degree  of  perfection 
which  we  have  not  attained,  or  who  have  qualities  which  we 
lack  but  envy.  Unlikeness  also  is  often  a  potent  element  of 
charm.    I  recall  a  frail  little  old  lady,  the  embodiment  of 


peace,  so  gentle  that  she  could  not  bear  to  have  a  fly  harmed, 
who  devoured  every  book  about  Napoleon  and  seemed  al- 
most to  gloat  over  the  details  of  his  campaigns.  Conversely, 
more  than  one  great  captain  has  concentrated  his  reading  in 
one  or  two  books  of  religion. 

Having  entered  the  realm  inhabited  by  those  who  live 
through  the  magic  of  biography,  we  cannot  dwell  there  long 
without  meeting  friends  for  whom  we  have  sought  in  vain 
among  our  actual  associates.  In  finding  them  we  often  find 
our  best  selves.  They  comfort  us  in  our  distress,  they 
clarify  our  doubts,  they  give  fresh  impetus  and  straight  aim 
to  our  hopes,  they  whisper  to  us  the  mystic  word  which  un- 
folds the  meaning  of  life;  above  all — they  teach  us  by  ex- 
ample how  to  live.  Then  we  feel  that  our  gratitude  is  bar- 
ren and  unworthy  unless  it  spurs  us  to  emulation.  Un- 
enviable indeed  is  he  whose  heart  never 

ran  o*er 
With  silent  worship  of  the  great  of  oldt 
The  dead  but  sceptered  sovereigns,  who  still  rale 
Our  spirits  from  their  urns. 

No  matter  what  his  creed  may  be,  no  man  is  so  self- 
sufficient  and  original  as  not  to  be  under  the  sway,  whether 
he  acknowledges  it  or  not,  of  dead  but  sceptered  kings;  and 
biography  brings  them  nearer  to  us  and  humanizes  them, 
and  thereby  adds  to  the  pertinence  of  their  teaching.  These 
are  the  supreme  benefits  conferred  by  biography;  but  as  no 
healthy  soul  lives  continuously  in  a  state  of  ecstasy,  so  there 
are  many  moods  in  which  we  turn  to  other  companions  than 
the  prophets.  We  require  relaxation.  Our  intellect  not  less 
than  our  spirit  craves  its  repast.  Honest  amusement  is  its 
own  justification.  Biography  offers  the  widest  possible 
choice  for  any  fancy. 


One  of  the  surest  ways  to  secure  unfailing  pleasure  is  to 
naturalize  yourself  as  a  member  of  some  significant  group. 
Take,  for  instance.  Dr.  Johnson  and  his  circle.  Having  dis- 
closed to  you  the  imperishable  Doctor,  Boswell  will  whet 


your  curiosity  as  to  the  scores  of  persons,  great  and  small, 
who  figure  in  the  biography.  You  will  go  in  pursuit  of  Sir 
Joshua  Reynolds  and  of  Garrick,  of  Goldsmith  and  of 
Burke:  and  you  will  soon  discover  that  a  mere  bowing  ac- 
quaintance with  any  of  these  will  not  satisfy  you.  When 
Gibbon  enters  the  scene,  you  will  be  drawn  to  his  autobiog- 
raphy. Chatham  and  Fox,  North  and  Sheridan,  must  all  be 
investigated.  You  will  wonder  why  the  other  members  of 
the  Qub  unite  in  declaring  Beauclerk  the  peer  of  the  best  of 
them  in  wit ;  and  after  much  digging,  you  will  conclude  that, 
for  lack  of  other  evidence,  you  must  accept  Beauclerk  on 
the  strength  of  their  commendation.  As  your  circle  widens, 
it  will  take  in  Fanny  Burney — ^whose  menloirs  are  so  much 
more  readable  now  than  her  **Evelina";  Mrs.  Thrale — that 
type  of  the  eternal  feminine,  whose  mission  it  Is  to  cheer 
Genius  by  appreciating  the  man  in  whom  it  dwells;  Mrs. 
Montague,  the  autocratic  blue-stocking,  who  made  and  un- 
made literary  reputations;  and  many  others,  from  Paoli  the 
vanquished  patriot  of  Corsica  to  Oglethorpe  the  colonizer  of 

The  material  for  knowing  Johnson's  group  is  extraor- 
dinarily rich.  It  consists  not  only  of  formal  biographies  and 
histories,  but  of  letters,  recollections,  diaries,  anecdotes,  and 
table  talk  which  are  often  the  very  marrow  of  both  history 
and  biography.  You  cannot  exhaust  it  in  many  seasons. 
Horace  Walpole  alone  will  outlast  any  fashion.  Little  by 
little  you  will  come  to  know  the  chief  personages  in  youth 
and  in  age,  from  every  point  of  view.  You  can  watch  them 
develop,  or  trace  the  interactions  of  one  upon  the  other. 
The  minor  folk  also  will  become  real  to  you — Lovett,  the 
trusty  servant,  and  the  old  ladies  with  whom  the  Doctor 
drank  tea,  the  chance  frequenters  of  the  coffeehouses  where 
he  thundered  his  verdicts  on  books  and  politics,  the  pathetic 
derelicts  whose  old  age  he  solaced  with  a  pension.  You  will 
experience  the  pleasure  of  filling  gaps  in  the  dramatis 
persona  and  the  stage  setting,  or  iii  discovering  a  missing 
link  of  evidence.  And  so  at  last  you  can  mix  with  that 
company  at  will.  No  matter  what  the  cares  and  torments 
of  your  day,  at  evening  you  can  enter  their  magic  city,  for- 
get your  present,  and  follow  in  imagination  those  careers 


which  closed  in  time  so  long  ago,  but  live  on  with  undimmed 
luster  in  the  timeless  domain  of  the  imagination.  And  dur- 
ing all  this  delightful  exploration,  you  have  been  learning 
more  and  more  about  human  nature,  the  mysterious  primal 
element  in  which  you  yourself  have  your  being. 

Instead  of  the  province  over  which  Dr.  Johnson  rules, 
you  can  choose  from  among  many  others.  Take  up  the  Lake 
School  of  poets — Byron,  Shelley,  and  Keats — ^the  mid- 
Victorian  statesmen  and  men  of  lettersr— the  founders  of 
our  Republic — Emerson  and  his  contemporaries — and  by  the 
same  method  you  will  find  your  interest  wonderfully  en- 
hanced. It  is  not  the  surface  of  life,  but  its  depth  and 
height  that  it  behooves  us  to  know;  and  we  can  get  this 
knowledge  vicariously  from  those  who  have  soared  highest 
or  dropped  their  plummet  farthest  into  the  unfathomable 


Autobiography  is  an  important  and  often  very  precious 
product  of  biography.  The  common  prejudice,  that  because 
it  is  egotistical  it  must  be  tedious,  does  not  hold  water.  The 
impulse  toward  self-expression  exceeds  all  others  save  the 
instinct  of  self-preservation.  The  artist  blessed  with  great 
talent  expresses  himself  through  that  talent,  whether  it  be 
painting  or  sculpture,  literature  or  eloquence.  Let  him 
strive  never  so  hard  to  be  impersonal,  the  tinge  of  his  mind 
will  color  it;  the  work  is  his  work.  Men  of  pure  science 
discover  abstract  laws  by  experimenting  with  material  ster- 
ilized as  far  as  possible  from  any  taint  due  to  a  personal 
equation;  but  this  does  not  lessen  our  interest  in  them  as 
human  beings.  Far  from  it.  We  are  all  the  more  curious 
to  learn  how  men,  subject  to  our  passions,  contradictions 
and  disabilities,  have  succeeded  in  exploring  the  passionless 
vastitudes  of  astronomy  and  the  incomputably  minute  worlds 
of  atoms  and  electrons. 

We  rejoice  to  find  Darwin  worthy  of  being  the  prophet  of 
a  new  dispensation — Darwin,  the  strong,  quiet,  modest  man, 
harassed  hourly  by  a  depressing  ailment,  but  patient  under 
suffering,  and  preferring  truth  to  the  triumph  of  his  own 
opinions  or  to  any  other  reward* 



If  self-conceit,  or  egotism,  be  rather  too  obtrusive  in  some 
autobiographies,  you  will  learn  to  bear  it  if  you  regard  it 
as  a  secretion  apparently  as  necessary  to  the  growth  of 
certain  talents  as  is  the  secretion  which  produces  the  pearl 
in  the  oyster.  If  a  pearl  results,  the  pearl  compensates. 
And,  after  all,  such  conceit,  like  the  make-believe  of  little 
children,  is  too  patent  to  deceive  us.  It  is  the  thought  that 
they  are  trying  to  humbug  us  into  supposing  them  greater 
than  we  know  them  to  be  that  irritates  us  in  the  conceit  of 
little  men.  But  since  conceited  men  have  been  great,  even 
very  great,  although  this  blemish  in  them  offends  us,  it  ought 
not  to  blind  us  to  their  other  positive  accomplishments !  And 
how  much  harmless  amusement  we  owe  to  such  unconscious 
humorists !  When  Victor  Hugo  grandly  announces :  "France 
is  the  head  of  civilization;  Paris  is  the  head  of  France;  I 
am  the  brains  of  Paris,"  are  we  seized  with  a  desire  to  re- 
fute him?  Hardly.  We  smile  an  inward  smile,  too  deeply 
permeating  and  satisfactory  for  outward  laughter.  So 
Ruskin's  inordinate  vanity  in  "Praeterita**  cannot  detract 
from  the  iridescent  beauties  of  that  marvelous  book;  it 
seems  rather  to  be  the  guarantee  of  truthfulness. 

Whatever  may  be  your  prepossessions,  you  cannot  travel 
far  in  the  field  of  biography  without  recognizing  the  value", 
even  if  you  do  not  feel  the  fascination,  of  autobiographies, 
of  which  in  English  we  have  a  particularly  rich  collection. 
I  have  spoken  of  Franklin's,  to  which  Gibbon's  may  serve 
as  a  pendant.  It  discloses  the  eighteenth-century  cosmo- 
polite, placid,  rational,  industrious,  a  consummate  genius  in 
one  direction,  but  of  tepid  emotion;  who  immortalized  in  a 
single  line  his  betrothal  which  he  docilely  broke  at  his 
father's  bidding:  "I  sighed  as  a  lover,"  he  writes,  '1)ut  I 
obeyed  as  a  son." 

Halfway  between  the  man  of  pure  intellect,  like  Franklin 
and  Gibbon,  and  the  man  of  sentiment,  comes  John  Stuart 
Mill,*  in  whom  the  precocious  development  of  a  very  re- 
markable mind  did  not  succeed  in  crushing  out  the  religious 
craving  or  the  life  of  the  feelings.  Newman's  "Apologia," 
largely  occupied  in  the  vain  endeavor  to  transfuse  the  warm 
blood  of  the  emotions  into  the  hardened  arteries  of  theo- 

'H.  C,  zxv;  and  cf.  Lecture  V,  below. 

183  fltOGKAPMY 

logical  dogmas,  stands  at  the  other  extreme  in  this  eUss  of 

Contrast  with  it  John  Woolman's  "Journal,"*  the 
austerely  sincere  record  of  a  soul  that  does  not  spend  its 
time  in  casuistical  interpretations  of  the  quibbles  pro- 
pounded by  mediseval  theologians^  but  dwells  consciously  in 
the  immediate  presence  of  the  living  Gk)d. 

Our  only  quarrel  with  Woolman  is  that,  owing  to  his  com- 
plete other-worldiness,  he  disdains  to  tell  us  facts  about 
himself  and  about  his  time  that  we  would  gladly  hear. 

In  other  fields  there  is  equal  abundance.  Many  soldiers 
have  written  memoirs;  enough  to  cite  General  Grant's,  to 
parallel  which  we  must  go  back  to  Cdesar's  ''Commentaries.'^ 
Authors,  poets,  men  of  affairs,  the  obscure  and  the  con- 
spicuous, have  voluntarily  opened  a  window  for  us.  From 
Queen  Victoria's  "Leaves  from  a  Journal,"  to  Booker  T. 
Washington's  "Up  from  Slavery,"  what  contrasts,  what 
richness,  What  range  1 

And  in  other  lands  also  many  of  the  pithiest  examples  of 
human  faculty  are  to  be  sought  in  autobiographies.  To 
Benvenuto  Cellini's  life  I  have  already  referred.  Alfieri, 
Pellico,  Massimo  d'Aiseglio,  Maz^ini,  Garibaldi  are  other 
Italians  whose  self-^revelations  endure.  The  French,  each 
of  whom  seems  to  be  more  conscious  than  men  of  other 
races  that  he  is  an  actor  in  a  drama,  have  produced  a 
library ful  of  autobiographies.  At  their  head  stands  Rous- 
seau's "Confessions,"  in  style  a  masterpiece,  in  substance 
absorbing,  by  one  of  the  most  despicable  of  men. 


In  the  larger  classification  of  literature,  biography  comes 
midway  between  history  and  fiction.  One  school  of  his- 
torians, indeed,  unwilling  to  cramp  their  imaginations  into 
so  mean  a  space  as  a  generation  or  a  century,  reckon  by 
millenniums  and  lose  sight  of  mere  individuals.  They  are 
intent  on  discovering  and  formulating  general  laws  Of  cos- 
mic progress  J  on  tracing  the  collective  action  of  multitudes 

through  long  periods  Of  time;  on  watching  institutions 

filOdHAPHlr  19S 

CTdlve.  In  theif  eyes,  even  N2lt)oleoli  is  a  "tiegligible 

I  would  not  fdt  a  motnent  disparage  the  effotts  of  these 
investigators.  Most  of  Us  have  felt  the  fascination  of  tlldv- 
ing  io  and  fro  over  vast  reaches  of  time,  sis  imperially  Us 
the  astronomer  moves  through  space.  Such  flights  are  ex- 
hilarating. They  involve  us  in  no  peril;  we  begin  and  erid 
them  in  our  armchair;  they  attach  to  us  no  responsibility. 
The  power  of  generalizing,  which  eveh  the  humblest  and 
most  ighorant  exercise  daily,  sheds  upon  us  a  peculiar  satis- 
faction ;  but  we  must  not  value  the  generalizations  we  arrive 
at  by  the  pleasurablertess  of  the  process.  Counting  by  the 
hundred  thousand  years,  individual  man  dwindles  beyond  the 
recall  of  the  most  powerful  microscope.  So  we  may  well 
disregard  an  seon  or  two  in  speculating  on  the  rate  of  prog- 
ress between  oligocene  and  neolithic  conditions.  But  aftet* 
mankind  have  plodded  out  of  geology  into  history  there  is 
nothing  more  certain  than  that  the  masses  have  been  pio- 
neered by  individuals.  You  can  prove  it  wherever  two  or 
more  persons  meet— one  inevitably  leads. 

As  the  race  emerged  from  barbarism,  the  number  and 
variety  of  individuals  increased.  Men  in  the  mass  are 
plastic;  or,  to  change  the  figure,  they  are  like  reservoirs  of 
latent  energy,  awaiting  the  leader  who  shall  apply  their 
force  to  a  special  work.  In  many  cases  the  great  man  is  far 
from  being  the  product  of  his  time,  but  he  has  some  interior 
and  unborrowed  faculty  for  influencing,  controlling,  we  may 
even  say  hypnotizing,  his  generation.  It  is  idle  to  suppose 
that  a  Napoleon  can  be  explained  on  the  theory  that  he  is 
the  sum  of  a  hundred,  or  ten  thousand,  of  his  average 
French  contemporaries.  He  shared  certain  traits  with 
them,  just  as  he  had  organs  and  appetites  common  to  all 
normal  men ;  but  it  was  precisely  those  uncommon  attributes 
which  were  his  and  not  theirs  that  made  him  Napoleon. 

We  may  safely  cultivate  biography,  therefore,  not  merely 
as  an  adjunct  of  history,  but  as  one  of  history's  mighty 
sources.  In  proportion  as  the  materials  concerning  a  given 
period  or  episode  abound,  it  becomes  easier  to  trace  the 
significance  of  the  great  men  who  directed  it — easier  and 
most  entrancing^  for  in  this  detective  work  we  are  shadowing 


Destiny  itself.  We  see  how  some  apparently  trivial  personal 
happening — Napoleon's  lassitude  due  to  a  cold  at  Borodino, 
Frederick  the  Second's  seasickness  on  starting  on  his  cru- 
sade, McDowell's  cholera  morbus  at  the  first  battle  of  Bull 
Run — ^was  the  hazard  on  which  Fate  hung  the  issue  of  his- 
tory. We  see,  further,  that  men  and  women  are  not  ab- 
stractions— ^that  what  we  regard  as  laws  in  human  evolution 
are  the  result  of  the  motives  and  deeds — ^motives  and  deeds 
— of  human  beings ;  and  that  a  flaw  or  twist  in  a  single  in- 
dividual may  break  the  current  of  development  or  deflect  it 
into  an  unexpected  channel. 

The  lives  of  state  builders  and  of  state  preservers  and 
pilots  offer,  accordingly,  a  double  attraction:  they  show  us 
history  at  those  moments  when,  ceasing  to  be  abstract  and 
impersonal,  it  turns  upon  us  recognizable  human  features 
and  works  through  the  heart  and  brain  of  highly  indi- 
vidualized genius.  They  show  us  also  biography,  when  in- 
dividual genius  becomes  so  powerful  that  it  diffuses  itself 
through  multitudes,  yet  is  never  more  truly  itself  than  in 
this  diffusion. 


On  the  Other  hand,  biography  touches  fiction  at  many 
points.  Novelists  discovered  long  ago  the  allure  which  any 
period  except  the  present — for  the  present  has  always  been 
Time's  black  sheep — exerts  over  the  imagination. 

The  three-legged  stool  was  only  that  and  nothing  more  to 
our  Puritan  ancestors ;  now  it  is  a  piece  of  old  Plymouth  or 
old  Salem,  glorified  by  that  association,  and  by  the  possi- 
bility that  Governor  Bradford  or  Priscilla  Mullens  may  have 
sat  on  it.  There  lies  the  spell  which  historical  novelists  have 
cast  with  stupendous  effect;  and,  having  the  environment, 
they  introduce  into  it  the  historical  personages  who  once  be- 
longed there. 

The  novelist,  by  his  trade,  may  take  or  reject  what  he 
pleases;  so  that,  if  he  finds  the  facts  of  history  intractable, 
he  may  change  or  omit  them.  Or,  since  his  deepest  interest, 
like  the  biographer's,  is  in  persons  and  the  unfolding  of 
character,  he  may  achieve  a  lifelike  gortrait.    At  best,  how- 


ever,  historical  personages,  as  they  appear  in  fiction,  can 
never  escape  from  the  suspicion  of  being  so  far  modified  by 
the  novelist  that  they  are  no  longer  real. 

As  to  the  larger  question  of  the  relative  value  of  fiction 
and  biography,  we  would  not  dogmatize.  We  would  no 
more  promote  biography  by  abolishing  fiction — if  it  were 
possible — than  we  would  magnify  sculpture  by  dwarfing 
painting.  And  yet,  if  talents  equal  to  those  of  the  fore- 
most novelists  had  been  or  were  devoted  to  writing  biog- 
raphy, the  popularity — ^at  least  among  cultivated  readers — of 
the  two  branches  of  literature  might  be  reversed.  As  I  have 
said,  the  utmost  achievement  for  the  novelist  is  to  create  an 
illusion  so  perfect  that  the  characters  in  his  books  shall 
seem  to  be  real. 

In  other  words,  so  far  as  concerns  reality,  the  novelist 
leaves  off  where  the  biographer  begins.  And  if  the  novelist 
has  an  apparent  advantage  in  dealing  with  unruly  facts,  he 
is  under  the  immense  disadvantage  of  being  restricted  in 
his  choice  of  characters.  So  true  is  this  that,  if  all  other 
records  except  the  novels  of  the  past  century  were  to  be 
destroyed,  posterity  five  hundred  years  hence  would  have 
slight  means  of  knowing  the  men  and  women  through  whom 
human  evolution  has  really  operated  in  our  age.  In  no  art 
has  the  process  of  vulgarization  gone  so  far  as  in  fiction. 
The  novelist  to-day  dares  not  paint  goodness  or  greatness; 
his  upper  limit  is  mediocrity;  his  lower  is  depravity,  and  he 
tends  more  and  more  to  exploit  the  lower. 

An  art  which,  pretending  to  mirror  life,  instinctively  shuts 
out  a  large  province  of  life — an  art  which  boasts  that  it 
alone  can  display  human  personality  in  all  its  varieties  and 
yet  becomes  dumb  before  the  highest  manifestations  of  per- 
sonality— ^has  no  right  to  rank  among  the  truly  universal  arts 
— ^painting  and  sculpture,  the  Elizabethan  drama  and  biog- 

All  the  myriad  novelists  writing  in  English  since  1850 
have  not  created  one  character  comparable  to  Abraham 
Lincoln  or  to  Cavour,  nor  havie  the  romances  imagined  any 
hero  to  match  Garibaldi.  Or,  to  take  contemporary  ex- 
amples, what  novelist  would  venture  to  depict,  even  if  his 
imagination  could  have  conceived,  a  Theodore  Roosevelt  or 


a  J.  P.  Morgan?  For  myself,  if  it  were  necessary,  in  a 
shipwreck,  to  choose  between  saving  the  Georgian  novelists 
and  Bosweirs  "Life  of  Johnson,"  I  would  unhesitatingly 
take  Boswell. 


Before  concluding,  let  me  recur  to  biography  as  an  art. 
You  cannot  read  far  in  this  field  without  being  struck  by 
the  great  differences  in  the  ability  of  biographers.  One 
makes  a  brilliant  subject  dull,  or  a  juicy  subject  dry;  while 
a  biogrs^pher  of  other  quality  holds  you  spellbound  over  the 
life  story  of  some  relatively  unimportant  persont  Gracjually 
you  come  to  study  the  laws  of  the  art;  to  determine  how 
much  depends  upon  the  biographer  and  how  much  on  the 
biographee;  above  all,  to  define  just  what  portion  of  a  given 
subject's  life  should  be  described.  Remepiber  that  not  a 
hundredth  part  of  any  life  can  be  recprded.  The  biog- 
rapher must  select.  But  what?  The  significant,  the  indi- 
vidual, the  revealing.  How  shall  those  be  settled?  By  the 
judgment  of  the  biographer.  Selection  and  perspective  are 
the  sun  and  moon  of  all  art,  and  unless  they  shine  for  him, 
his  portrait  will  be  out  of  drawing.  When,  for  instance,  the 
writer  on  Havelock  deyotes  almost  ^s  much  space  to  his 
piety  as  to  his  military  achievement,  you  recognise  the 
faulty  selection;  or  when  another  describes  General  Qrant's 
later  misfortune  as  the  dupe  of  a  financial  sharper  as  amply 
as  his  Vicksburg  campaign,  you  h^ye  a  fine  ei^ample  of 
bungled  perspective.  With  practice,  you  will  learn  how  to 
recover  some  of  the  true  features  of  the  victims  of  such 

Comparison,  the  mother  of  Criticism,  will  help  you  to 
ampler  pleasures.  I  have  already  suggested  comparing 
Woolman's,  Franklin's  and  Mill's  autobiographies;  but  the 
process  can  be  carried  forward  in  many  directions.  You 
can  investigate  what  matters  were  regarded  as  essential  for 
a  biographer  to  tell  at  any  period.  Plutarch,  for  instance, 
has  left  a  gallery  of  portraits  of  ancient  statesmen  and 
soldiers.*  Wherein  would  the  method  and  results  of  a 
modern   Plutarch   differ   from   his?     If   Boswell,   and  not 

f  H.  Cu  xii,  and  cl.  Lecture  II»  below. 


Xenophon,  had  written  the  familiar  life  of  Socrates,  what 
would  he  have  added?  What  do  you  miss  in  quaint  Izaak 
Walton's  lives  of  Wotton  and  Donne  and  Herbert?*  Do  we 
really  know  Napoleon  better,  for  all  the  thousands  of  books 
about  him,  than  we  know  Caesar?  How  far  does  sameness 
of  treatment  in  Vasari's  "Lives"  blur  their  individuality? 

These  and  many  other  question3  will  stimulate  you  in  any 
comparative  reading  of  biography.  They  all  refer  to  three 
deeper  matters:  differences  in  the  skill  of  biographers; 
changes  in  the  angle  of  curiosity  from  which  the  public  re- 
gard c^l^brJtiQs;  and,  finally,  the  variation,  «lowly  effec- 
tuated, in  human  Personality  itidf. 

The  putlppk  for  biography  never  was  brighter.  Its  vo- 
taries will  practice  it  with  a  constantly  increasing  skill  The 
demand  for  veracity  will  not  slacken.  The  public,  grown 
more  discerning,  will  read  it  with  greater  relish. 

The  fact  that  the  perspng  and  events  whom  the  biographer 
depicts  were  i^^ol  will  lend  to  them  an  additional  attractive- 

Given  life,  the  first  impulse  of  life,  the  Incessant,  trium- 
phant impulse,  is  to  manifest  itself  in  individuals.  From 
the  beginning  there  has  never  been  a  moment,  qr  the  ff*e- 
tion  of  a  second,  when  the  universe,  or  the  tiniest  part  of  it, 
became  abstract.  In  the  world  of  matter,  not  less  than  in 
the  organic  world  of  animals  and  plants,  always  and  every- 
where and  forever — individuals!  from  atom  to  Sirius,  noth- 
ing but  individuals!  Even  in  the  protean  transmutation  of 
one  thing  into  another,  of  life  into  death  and  death  into  life, 
individuality  keeps  pace  with  each  changing  stage. 

Since  the  process  of  individualization  is  from  lower  to 
higher,  from  simple  to  complex,  the  acknowledged  great  men 
in  history,  or  the  persons  who  stand  out  from  any  mass,  are 
endowed  with  unusual  qualities,  or  with  common  qualities  in 
an  uncommon  degree — ^an  endowment  which  gives  them  more 
points  of  contact,  more  power,  more  Interest,  more  charm. 
These  are  the  men  and  women  whom  biography  perpetuates. 
The  master  creations  of  fiction  spring  from  the  human 
brain;  the  subjects  of  biography  are  the  very  creations  of 
God  himself:  the  realities  of  God  must  forever  transcend 
the  fictions  of  man. 

•  H.  C„  XV,  337,  377ff, 


By  Professor  W.  S.  Ferguson 

PLUTARCH  was  a  kindly  man,  well  educated  in  phi- 
losophy and  rhetoric.  He  lived  between  46  and  125 
A.  D.  in  little,  out-of-the-way  Boeotian  Chseronea. 
He  spent  his  days  lecturing  and  in  friendly  correspondence 
and  conversation  with  many  cultivated  contemporaries 
among  both  Greeks  and  Romans.  He  was  fortunate  In  his 
age.  "If  a  man  were  called  to  fix  the  period  in  the  history 
of  the  world  during  which  the  condition  of  the  human  race 
was  most  happy  and  prosperous,  he  would,"  says  Gibbon, 
"without  hesitation,  name  that"  in  which  Plutarch  wrote. 
It  was  the  twilight  time  of  antiquity;  and  in  the  works  of 
Plutarch*  are  clearly  mirrored  the  charm  and. languor,  the 
incentive  to  stroll  and  loiter,  and  the  dimming  of  vision, 
characteristic  of  the  hour  before  "the  sun  sank  and  all  the 
ways  were  darkened." 

Plutarch's  superstition 


His  versatility  is  remarkable,  and  he  has  ever  at  hand  an 
apt  illustration  for  every  situation;  but  his  fertility  tempts 
him  to  digress,  and  his  learning  is  not  matched  by  critical 
power.  An  admirable  example  of  his  mode  of  thought  as 
well  as  an  epitome  of  his  natural  philosophy  appears  in  the 
following  passage  from  his  "Life  of  Pericles" :  "There  is  a 
story,  that  once  Pericles  had  brought  to  him  from  a  country 
farm  of  his,  a  ram's  head  with  one  horn,  and  that  Lampon, 
the  diviner,  upon  seeing  the  horn  grow  strong  and  solid  out 
of  the  midst  of  the  forehead,  gave  it  as  his  judgment,  that, 
there  being  at  that  time  two  potent  factions,  parties,  or 
interests  in  the  city,  the  one  of  Thucydides  and  the  other  of 
Pericles,  the  government  would  come  about  to  that  one  of 

*  For  a  volume  of  selected  "Lives,"  see  Harvard  Classics,  xii. 



them  in  whose  ground  or  estate  this  token  or  indication 
of  fate  had  shown  itself.    But  that  Anaxagoras,  cleaving  the 
skull  in  sunder,  showed  to  the  bystanders  that  the  brain  had 
not  filled  up  its  natural  place,  but  being  oblong,  like  an  tgg, 
had  collected  from  all  parts  of  the  vessel  which  contained  it, 
in  a  point  to  that  place  from  whence  the  root  of  the  horn 
took  its  rise.     And  that,  for  that  time,  Anaxagoras  was 
much  admired  for  his  explanation  by  those  that  were  pres- 
ent; and  Lampon  no  less  a  little  while  after,  when  Thucy- 
dides  was  overpowered,  and  the  whole  affairs  of  the  state 
and  government  came  into  the  hands  of  Pericles.    And  yet, 
in  my  opinion,  it  is  no  absurdity  to  say  that  they  were  both 
in  the  right,  both  natural  philosopher  arid  diviner,  one  justly 
detecting  the  cause  of  this  event,  by  which  it  was  produced, 
the  other  the  end  for  which  it  was  designed.     For  it  was 
the  business  of  the  one  to  find  out  and  give  an  account  of 
what  it  was  made,  and  in  what  manner  and  by  what  means 
it  grew  as  it  did;  and  of  the  other  to  foretell  to  what  end 
and  purpose  it  was  so  made,  and  what  it  might  mean  or 
portend.     Those  who  say  that  to  find  out  the  cause  of  a 
prodigy  is  in  effect  to  destroy  its  supposed  signification  as 
such,  do  not  take  notice  that,  at  the  same  time,  together 
with  divine  prodigies,  they  also  do  away  with  signs  and 
signals   of   human  art   and   concert,   as,   for   instance,   the 
clashings  of  quoits,  fire-beacons,  and  the  shadows  on  sun- 
dials, every  one  of  which  things  has  its  cause,  and  by  that 
cause  and  contrivance  is   a   sign  of  something  else.     But 
these  are  subjects,  perhaps,  that  would  better  befit  another 


Plutarch  was  a  widely  read  man.  The  world  in  which  he 
lived  was  rather  the  world  which  his  mind  portrayed  than 
that  upon  which  his  eyes  looked.  In  other  words,  he  lived 
in  his  past  much  more  fully  than  in  his  present.  For  every- 
thing that  had  happened  he  had  a  gentle  but  persistent 
curiosity.  Customs  hallowed  by  time  evoked  in  him  the 
utmost  tenderness;  but  his  nature  was  without  a  vestige  of 
fanaticism.  To  the  hot,  strenuous  youth  of  his  age,  to 
zealots  for  preserving  the  old,  and  to  harsh  innovators  alike 


he  seemed  probably  a  trifler  and  perhaps  a  bore.  They 
must  have  turned  with  impatience  from  his  universal  char- 
ity; for  he  was  a  widely  loyal  man,  loyal  to  his  petty  civic 
duties,  his  family  obligations,  his  friends,  his  reputation,  his 

By  his  interest  in,  and  profession  of,  practical  morality 
Plutarch  was  called  to  be  a  biographer,  but  it  is  to  his 
loyalty  to  his  people  that  we  owe  his  "Parallel  Lives."  In 
their  composition  he  was  guided  by  the  desire  to  show  the 
arrogant  Romans  and  the  later  Greeks  in  whose  midst  he 
lived,  that  a  great  Hellenic  man  of  affairs  could  be  put  in 
worthy  comparison  with  every  outstanding  Roman  general 
and  statesman. 


Biography  in  antiquity  was  a  branch  of  science  and  also  a 
branch  of  philosophy.  Scientific  biography  was  interested 
in  facts  as  such,  in  the  collocation  of  miscellaneous  informa- 
tion about  persons.  It  laid  claim  to  objectivity  of  details, 
but  left  free  room  for  individuality  to  display  itself  in  their 
selection.  The  principle  of  choice  might  be  pruriency,  po- 
litical, class,  or  philosophic  animosity,  or  mere  love  of 
scandal.  Such  biography  might  be  with  or  without  style, 
with  or  without  painstaking:  it  was  commonly  without 
critical  method.  The  precipitate  of  much  lost  scientific  biog- 
raphy lies  before  us  in  the  "Lives  of  the  Twelve  Caesars" 
by  Plutarch's  contemporary,  Suetonius. 

In  Plutarch's  "Parallel  Lives,"  we  have,  on  the  other  hand, 
the  precipitate  of  much  lost  philosophic  biography.  He 
stands  for  us  at  the  end  of  a  long  development,  in  the  course 
of  which  many  contemporary,  or  approximately  contem- 
porary, biographies  were  produced,  each  to  be  superseded 
perhaps  by  its  successor,  as  they  all  were  finally  superseded 
and  destroyed  by  those  of  Plutarch.  The  plundering  of  the  , 
countless  books  and  pamphlets,  plays,  and  memoirs,  cited  in 
the  "Parallel  Lives,"  the  culling  of  the  multitude  of  anec- 
dotes and  bons  mots  with,  which  they  are  set  and  enlivened, 
were  by  no  means  the  personal  work  of  Plutarch.  Many,  if 
not  most,  of  them  he  found  gathered  for  him  by  his  nam^- 


less  predecessors.  He  was  under  no  professional  sense  of 
duty  to  look  up  and  verify  his  references,  and  he  regularly 
omitted  to  do  it.  Mistakes  abound  in  Plutarch's  "Lives." 
But  even  the  historian  finds  them  pardonable  when  he  has 
the  assurance  that  the  materials  in  conjunction  with  which 
they  appear  were  taken  by  men  of  greater  patience  and 
leisure  than  Plutarch  from  works,  many  of  them  lost,  reach- 
ing back  over  the  centuries  to  the  earliest  Greek  literature. 


The  "Lives"  of  Plutarch  are  thus  in  a  sense  the  product 
of  many  ages  and  of  many  minds.  But,  like  mediaeval 
cathedrals,  they  have  unity  of  design  and  style.  This  is 
not  wholly  the  result  of  their  origin  in  a  community  of  phil- 
osophic biographers.  It  is  in  large  part  the  result  of  Plu* 
tarch's  own  architectonic  powers.  He  was  far  from  being  a 
colorless  and  characterless  compiler.  His  "Lives"  seldom 
seem  "lumpy."  They  reveal,  throughout,  the  quaint  per- 
sonality of  the  author.  His  philosophic  standpoint  is  be- 
trayed in  almost  every  line  of  criticism  they  contain.  His 
mastery  of  literary  technique  is  never  wanting.  The  quiet 
humor,  unobtrusive  and  delicate,  is  unmistakably  his. 
Piquancy  is  a  Greek  trait,  and  Plutarch  was  a  Greek,  He 
is  never  indecent,  as  his  contemporaries  understood  that 
term,  but  he  never  forgot  the  natural  human  interest  in  the 
intimate  relations  of  men  and  women.  His  dramatic  sense 
needs  no  more  than  mention:  Shakespeare's  debt  to  Plu- 
tarch in  his  "Julius  Caesar,"  "Coriolanus,"  and  "Antony  and 
Cleopatra"  speaks  volumes  on  this  point. 

Yet,  when  everything  has  been  said  in  praise  of  his  fine 
qualities,  it  is  still  true  that  his  mind,  like  that  of  the  phil- 
osophic biographers  who  preceded  him,  was  an  unfortu- 
nate medium  for  the  great  men  of  affairs  of  antiquity  to 
have  to  pass  through  on  their  way  to  us.  They  were  all 
sicklied  over  by  the  pale  cast  of  ethical  interpretation.  Men 
of  fiesh  and  blood,  actuated  by  all  the  reasons  and  passions 
of  which  human  beings  of  diverse  but  distinguished  en- 
dowments were  capable,  tend  to  appear  as  puppets  ex- 
emplifying laudable  virtues  and  deterrent  vices.    Man  whose 



natures  are  truly  revealed  only  in  the  work  which  they  ac- 
complished are  isolated  from  their  societies,  and  character- 
ized by  what  they  did  or  said  at  insignificant  moments. 
Trivialities  serve  Plutarch's  purpose  of  ethical  portraiture  as 
well  as  or  better  than  the  historic  triumphs  and  failures  of 
his  heroes.  Trite  ethical  considerations  are  made  de- 
cisive for  the  formation  of  policies  and  the  reaching  of 
decisions  instead  of  the  realities  of  each  historical  situation. 
Hence  one  of  the  chief  duties  of  modern '  historians  and 
modern  historical  biographers  has  been  to  murder  "Plu- 
tarch's men/'  and  put  in  their  stead  the  real  statesmen  and 
generals  of  ancient  times.  The  latter  part  of  their  task, 
however,  they  could  not  even  attempt  without  the  materials 
Plutarch  furnishes  to  them.  As  for  the  difficulty  of  the 
former,  it  is  well  disclosed  by  the  story  Mahaffy  tells  of  the 
illiterate  Irish  peasant  who  said  of  a  certain  fortunate 
neighbor  that  "he  had  as  many  lives  as  Plutarch." 



By  Professor  Chandler  Rathfon  Post 

THE  Italian  Renaissance*  produced  many  works,  such 
as  the  polemics  of  the  humanists  upon  subjects  that 
have  long  since  lost  their  significance,  which  are  inter- 
esting rather  as  illustrations  of  cultural  conditions  than  for 
their  intrinsic  value.  Compositions  like  the  pastoral  romance 
of  Sannazzaro,  or  the  dramas  based  upon  Senecan  or  upon 
Plautine  and  Terentian  models,  acquire  importance  as  revivals 
of  ancient  literary  types  and  as  the  seeds  from  which  later 
great  masterpieces  were  to  be  evolved.  Much  smaller  is  the 
number  of  works  in  which,  as  in  the  sonnets  of  Michel- 
angelo, the  absolute  value  preponderates  over  the  historical. 
Still  fewer,  such  as  the  writings  of  Machiavelli,*  have  the 
distinction  of  possessing  an  equal  interest  archaeologically 
and  in  themselves,  and  to  this  class  the  "Autobiography"  of 
Benvenuto  Cellini*  belongs.  No  other  production  of  the 
period  embodies  more  vividly  the  tendencies  of  the  Renais- 
sance or  enjoys  a  more  universal  and  enduring  appeal.  We 
can  best  appreciate  it  by  considering  it  under  these  two 


Its  great  importance  as  a  document  for  the  study  of  con- 
temporary Italian  life  is  obvious  to  the  reader,  but  its  tem- 
per also  is  strikingly  related  to  certain  spiritual  movements 
of  the  day.  Of  the  two  determinative  characteristics  of  the 
Renaissance,  humanism,  or  the  devotion  to  antiquity,  and 
individualism,   or   the   devotion   to    self -development,   Ben- 

*  See   Professor   Potter's   lecture   on   the   Renaissance   in   the   course   on 

*  Harvard  Classics,  xxxvi,  7ff;  and  xxvii,  38 iff. 

*H.  C,  xxxi.    The  dates  of  his  life  are  1500*1 571;   the   "Autobiography 
was  firct  published  in  1568. 

«<X-7  ^^ 


venuto  emphasizes  the  latter.  The  very  natural  transition 
from  a  study  of  self  to  the  study  of  other  personalities  gave 
rise  to  the  genre  known  as  biography,  eminent  instances  of 
which  are  Vespasiano  da  Bisticci's  "Lives  of  Illustrious 
Men,"  and  Giorgio  Vasari's  more  renowned  **Lives  of  the 
Most  Excellent  Painters,  Sculptors,  and  Architects."  Auto- 
biography, however,  is  an  even  more  pronounced  manifesta- 
tion of  individualism,  and  as  the  composer  of  the  first  great 
and  definite  example  of  this  literary  form  in  modern  times, 
Benvenuto  stands  forth  as  a  brilliant  exponent  of  his  age. 
It  is  possible,  doubtless,  for  an  author  to  exhibit  in  an  auto- 
biography little  of  his  own  individuality,  confining  himself 
largely,  like  Trollope,  to  a  narrative  of  events  and  a  dis- 
cussion of  his  books;  but  such  was  not  the  spirit  of  the  six 
teenth  century,  and  Benvenuto  even  exceeds  his  time.  He 
strips  to  the  very  soul.  Unblushingly  he  lays  bare  alike  his 
virtues  and  his  vices,  his  public  and  his  most  private  actions, 
his  loves  and  hatreds.  He  seems  unconscious  of  modesty's 
existence,  and  takes  a  palpable  delight,  which,  by  the  magic 
of  his  style,  he  causes  the  reader  to  share,  in  analyzing  his 
own  passions  and  in  recounting  his  own  deeds  and  mis- 
deeds; typical  and  widely  varying  examples  are  the  affair 
with  the  Sicilian  girl,  Angelica,*  the  terrible  revenge  for  his 
brother's  assassination,*  the  celestial  visions  experienced  in 
his  long  and  gruesome  incarceration.* 


Hand  in  hand  with  this  attitude  struts  an  exalted  opinion 
of  his  own  charms,  prowess,  and  artistic  superiority.  In  his 
conceit  (for  it  is  only  a  heroic  form  of  this  defect),  he  em- 
bodies not  only  individualism  but  also  the  concurrent  phe- 
nomenon of  humanism,  which  resurrected  from  ancient  Rome 
such  self-appreciation  as  appears  so  disagreeably  in  Cicero. 
With  his  high  estimate  of  his  own  art  modem  criticism  does 
not  unqualifiedly  agree.  Of  his  labor  as  goldsmith  so  little 
that  is  certainly  authentic  remains  that  judgment  is  difficult ; 
the  chief  extant  example,  the  saltcellar  of  Francis  1/  now 

*H.  C,  xxxi,  132-144.  *  H.  C.  xxxi,  102-110. 

*H.  C.»  xxxi,  245,  2$2,         ^  S«e  iliuttration  facing  p.  jao^  H.  C   xxxL 


in  the  Imperial  Treasury  at  Vienna,  is  unpleasant  in  compo- 
sition and  too  ornate.  In  his  few  plastic  works  on  a  large 
scale,  one  of  which,  the  bronze  bust  of  Bindo  Altoviti, 
America  is  fortunate  enough  to  possess  in  the  wonderful 
collection  of  Mrs.  John  L.  Gardner,  Boston,  he  is  perhaps 
less  affected  than  most  of  his  rivals  by  the  degeneration  into 
which  Italian  sculpture  lapsed  in  the  second  and  third  quar- 
ters of  the  Cinquecento ;  but  in  comparison  to  the  produc- 
tions of  the  earlier  Renaissance,  or  of  his  contemporary 
Michelangelo,  his  profound  affection  and  admiration  for 
whom  form  one  of  his  noblest  trains,  he  betrays  too  close  a 
dependence  upon  the  antique,  a  tendency  to  excessive  nicety 
and  elaboration,  derived  from  his  training  as  a  jeweler  but 
unsuited  to  the  broader  manner  of  monumental  statuary,  a 
leaning  toward  ostentatious  and  luxuriant  decoration,  and 
a  fatal  predilection  for  sacrificing  aesthetic  considerations  to 
the  display  of  virtuosity  in  composition  and  in  processes. 
All  these  characteristics  are  exemplified  in  what  remains 
from  his  work,  and  may  also  be  read  between  the  lines  of 
the  "Autobiography."  The  inclination  to  a  display  of  skill 
is  especially  evident  in  the  absorbing  and  famous  description 
of  the  casting'  of  the  Perseus.*  Over  his  whole  art,  as  in- 
deed over  most  of  the  art  of  the  later  sixteenth  century, 
there  broods  a  certain  deadness  and  a  sense  of  the  per- 
functory, which  are  strangely  contrasted  with  the  spon- 
taneity that  runs  from  his  pen.  The  somewhat  unjustifiable 
braggadocio  about  this  phase  of  his  activity  arouses  sus- 
picions as  to  the  veracity  of  the  tales  about  his  courage  and 
other  achievements.  Some  of  the  details,  such  as  the  worm 
that  he  vomited  forth  after  his  long  sickness,*  or  the  sight 
of  the  demons  in  the  Colosseum,"  seem  hardly  credible,  but 
it  must  be  remembered  that  we  are  dealing  with  a  man  of  a 
high-strung,  nervous  temperament,  whose  imagination  easily 
materializes  the  visions  of  his  mind.  Other  episodes,  like 
the  various  brawls  and  homicides  in  which  he  engaged,  or 
the  escape  from  the  Castel  Sant'  Angelo,  are  improbable 
from  our  standpoint,  but  not  in  an  epoch  of  extravagances 
like  the  Renaissance  or  for  one  of  those  supermen  of  Cel- 

*  See  frontispiece  in  H.  C,  xiod,  and  pp.  390-398. 
•H.  C,  xxxi,  178.  ^H.  C,  xx»,  13$. 


lini's  caliber,  in  which  the  period  was  so  rich.  Much  of  the 
"Autobiography"  receives  confirmation  from  contemporary 
documents,  and  its  main  fabric  is  certainly  trustworthy, 
though  highly  colored,  doubtless  to  increase  its  artistic  worth 
and  to  set  off  to  advantage  the  central  figure  of  the  writer. 
I  have  spoken  of  Benvenuto  as  a  superman,  and  herein, 
too,  he  is  a  result  of  the  astounding  development  of  the  in- 
dividual witnessed  by  the  Renaissance.  In  his  versatility  he 
is  second  only  to  such  giants  of  universal  talent  as  Leon 
Battista  Alberti,  Leonardo  da  Vinci,  and  Michelangelo.  He 
excels  equally  as  musician,  goldsmith,  and  sculptor;  he  is  an 
adept  with  the  sword  and  with  the  musket;  his  skill  as  a 
diplomatist  is  paralleled  only  by  his  merriness  as  a  jester;  a 
languishing  lover  one  day,  he  is  a  fierce  murderer  the  next; 
a  part  of  his  imprisonment  he  spends  in  devising  a  miracu- 
lous escape,  and  the  rest  in  mystic  religious  trances;  he  can 
write  you  passable  occasional  sonnets  and  respectable 
treatises  on  art;  and  finally  he  bequeaths  to  the  world  what 
is  probably  the  most  remarkable  autobiography  in  existence. 

Cellini's  morality 

Much  of  his  activity  is  far  from  Christian.  Benvenuto 
vies  with  Pietro  Aretino  for  notoriety  as  an  exponent  of 
that  Paganism  which  was  a  consequence,  on  one  hand,  of 
the  indiscriminate  acceptance  of  all  that  was  ancient,  even 
the  license  of  decadent  Rome,  and,  on  the  other,  of  the 
.  inevitable  degeneration  of  self-development  into  self-grati- 
fication. The  loose  morals  of  the  Renaissance  have  been 
much  exaggerated  by  such  writers  as  John  Addington 
S)anonds,  who  base  their  assertions  too  confidently  upon 
the  prejudiced  Protestant  accounts  of  the  north  and  upon 
the  short  stories  or  noveUe  of  the  period,  which  magnify 
current  abuses  for  humorous  purposes.  The  ethical  con- 
dition of  Italy  had  still  remained  fairly  sound  in  the  fifteenth 
century,  and  it  was  not  until  now  in  the  sixteenth  that  a 
debased  humanism  and  individualism  were  developed  to  the 
bitter  end  with  an  effect  that  was  baneful,  but  not  so  en- 
tirely fatal  as  is  very  commonly  supposed.  Almost  every 
page  of  the  "Autobiography,"  however,  betrays  the  absence 


of  any  adequate  moral  standard.  Cellini  fathers  an  illegiti- 
mate child  or  cuts  down  an  enemy  as  lightly  as  he  sallies 
forth  on  a  hunting  expedition.  There  is  little  or  no  realiza- 
tion of  sin;  religion  he  has,  but  a  religion  which,  however 
fervent,  is  divorced  from  morality  and  consists  chiefly  in  an 
emotional  mysticism  and  an  observance  of  lovely  and  im- 
pressive ceremonies.  He  has  shaken  off  the  Christian  curb 
upon  the  passions,  and  emulating  the  Paganism,  not  of  the 
great  days  of  antiquity,  but  of  the  Greek  and  Roman  decline, 
he  gives  free  rein  to  self. 


The  historical  importance  of  the  work,  then,  lies,  not  only 
in  its  painting  of  contemporary  life,  but  also  in  its  lively 
presentation  of  the  individualism,  the  versatility,  and  the 
Paganism  of  the  late  Renaissance;  its  intrinsic  value  is 
proved  by  an  almost  unique  and  widespread  popularity  from 
among  so  much  Italian  literature  of  the  sixteenth  century 
that  is  forgotten  or  known  only  to  specialists.  Benvenuto 
has  succeeded  in  transfusing  it  with  the  magnetism  of  his 
own  personality.  So  intimate  is  the  manner  which  he  adopts 
that  we  seem  to  be,  not  readers,  but  a  company  of  boon 
companions  listening  to  good  tales,  half  the  attraction  of 
which  is  afforded  by  the  very  force  and  charm  of  the 
speaker's  genial  character.  The  matter  is  often  such  as 
should  be  bruited  only  in  this  society;  the  style  is  distinctly 
that  of  an  easy  conversationalist,  full  of  picturesque  Tuscan 
idioms,  colloquial  to  the  last  degree,  frequently  lapsing  into 
the  loose  grammar  that  is  permitted  to  the  raconteur.  Be- 
hind this  apparent  facility,  however,  is  concealed  the  art  of  a 
supreme  master  of  narrative,  who  knows  how  to  choose  the 
piquant  episodes  and  details  and  to  exclude  the  irrelevant; 
who  dexterously  avoids  monotony  by  contrasts  of  high  lights 
and  shadows ;  who  is  all  the  greater  because  he  nowhere  re- 
veals the  methods  of  his  craft,  but  appears  always  the  clever 
and  spontaneous  entertainer. 


By  Professor  Chester  Noyes  Greenough 

IN  ALL  the  literature  of  fact — as  distinguished  from  the 
literature  of  fiction — hardly  any  kind  of  book  surpasses 
a  good  biography  in  its  power  to  interest  and  instruct. 
It  combines  the  suspense  of  the  novel  with  the  actuality  of 
history.  It  fills  in  the  detail  without  which  history  would 
be  too  impersonal,  and  it  shows  us  how  people,  not  at  all 
points  unlike  ourselves,  have  ordered  their  lives — ^what  their 
guiding  principles  have  been,  and  how  principles  have  some- 
times been  modified  to  meet  circumstances.  Especially  in 
the  case  of  autobiography  is  all  this  true,  for  here  we  have 
the  pleasure  of  feeling  that  the  record  is  both  authentic  and 
intimate.  The  best  of  biographers,  however  learned,  vivid, 
or  philosophical,  leaves  between  us  and  the  past  an  interval 
which  only  a  good  autobiography  can  span.  Such  an  auto- 
biography may  possess  great  historical  value  if  its  author 
was  intimately  connected  with  significant  events  and  had 
some  capacity  to  perceive  their  causes  and  their  effects. 
But  if  the  writer  happens  to  be  earnest  about  his  career, 
free  from  self-consciousness,  and  blest  with  a  good  prose 
style,  we  have  sufficient  reasons  for  valuing  the  record  of  his 
life  even  though  the  historical  importance  of  it  may  be  quite 
secondary.  Such  is  the  basis  of  our  permanent  regard  for 
autobiographies  like  those  of  Benjamin  Franklin*  (1706- 
1790)  and  John  Woolman'  (1720-1772). 

the  breaking  down  of  PURITANISM 

Neither  Franklin  nor  Woolman  would  have  been  at  home 
among  the  makers  of  the  literature  which  is  most  significant 
of  America  before  their  time.  The  latter  as  a  Quaker,  the 
former  as  a  person  whose  general  attitude  may  be  indicated 

^Harvard  Classics,  i,  sff.  'H.  C,  i,  17 7 ft, 



by  his  casually  uttered  remark*  that  he  was  usually  too  busy 
to  go  to  church,  would  have  been  either  punished  or  cast 
out  (if  not  both)  by  most  New  England  communities,  who 
acquiesced  in  the  banishment  of  some  and  the  whipping  or 
execution  of  others,  in  order  that  by  uniform  obedience  to 
the  theocratic  ideal  the  purpose  of  the  founders  might  be 

But  in  the  eighteenth  century  there  began  to  be  a  change. 
The  growing  interest  in  science,  the  influence  of  such 
writers  as  John  Locke,  the  rise  of  other  learned  professions 
than  the  ministry,  the  advance  of  the  merchant  class,  the 
increasing  concern  about  political  relations  with  the  mother 
country,  the  founding  of  other  churches  than  the  Congre- 
gational ones  which  hitherto  had  virtually  constituted  an 
Establishment — all  of  these  influences  make  American  life 
and  letters  in  the  eighteenth  century  radically  different  from 
the  century  of  colonization.  Strikingly  unlike  each  other 
as  Franklin  and  Woolman  are  in  most  respects,  they  agree 
in  representing  aspects  of  the  American  mind  that  could 
hardly  flourish  in  American  literature  until  in  the  eighteenth 
century  that  literature  began  to  move  out  of  New  England 
and  itn  intolerant  church. 

franklin's  methods  in  literature  and  science 

The  career  of  Franklin  well  illustrates  these  changes. 
He  finds  himself  cramped  in  Boston  and  moves  to  Phila* 
delphia.  He  pays  the  most  careful  attention  to  the  matter 
of  writing  well,*  because  he  sees  that  it  pays  to  consult  the 
convenience  of  the  reader.  In  his  writing  he  employs  the 
secular  arts  of  humor  and  irony  and  takes  particular  care  to 
"forbear  all  direct  contradiction  to  the  sentiments  of  others, 
and  all  positive  assertions  of  [his]  own."*  He  seeks  the 
convenience  of  mankind  also  by  various  mechanical  im- 
provements and  by  the  better  organization  of  certain  depart- 
ments of  the  public  service.  His  experiments  in  pure  science 
mark  him  as  patient,  observant,  and  logical  to  an  unusual 
degree.  But  most  of  his  attention---in  business,  science,  and 
public  service — is  given  to  matters  of  immediate  utility. 

•H.  C,  i,  17.  *H.  C,  U  !«.  X7.  •«.  C,  i,  91. 



In  politics  he  was  eminently  successful,  though  probably 
not  entirely  uncorrupt.  He  managed  delicate  affairs  of 
state  with  conspicuous  coolness  and  skill.  He  was  par- 
ticularly useful  to  the  colonies  in  explaining  abroad  the 
actual  condition  and  views  of  the  average  American.  His 
solid  merits  and  unusual  tact  made  him  a  great  favorite  in 
France,  where,  as  commissioner  for  the  colonies,  he  attained 
a  personal  popularity  which  was  of  the  greatest  advantage 
to  his  coimtry.  In  spite  of  some  loss  of  reputation  from 
the  suspicion  that  he  had  not  always  used  his  privileges  un- 
selfishly, Franklin  returned  to  America  to  spend  his  last 
years  in  a  position  of  honor  not  much  below  that  of  Wash- 
ington himself. 

franklin's  morals  and  religion 

Such  eminence  was  not  achieved  without  the  most  careful 
management.  Indeed,  the  fact  that  most  strongly  impresses 
a  reader  of  Franklin's  "Autobiography"  is  the  astonishing 
degree  to  which  he  regulated  his  acts  and  developed  his 
character  by  a  system  of  what,  in  the  language  of  our  day, 
.  might  almost  be  termed  "scientific  management"  For  ex- 
ample, he  drew  up,*  as  many  others  have  done,  a  list  of 
virtues  and  of  precepts  for  attaining  them.  Then,  appar- 
ently untroubled  by  any  suspicion  that  what  he  was  doing 
was  at  all  funny,  he  kept  a  tabular  record  which  showed, 
week  by  week,  how  good  a  score  he  was  making  in  the  im- 
portant game  of  living  a  moral  life.  His  entire  attitude  to- 
ward life  was  of  this  prudential  sort.  Sins  which  would 
have  prostrated  a  Puritan  in  the  fear  of  eternal  torment  are 
to  Franklin  a  matter  of  regret  because  of  their  expense  and 
their  injurious  effect  upon  his  health.  Virtue  he  seems  to 
have  regarded  chiefly  as  a  means  to  the  favor  of  man.  The 
favor  of  God,  which  the  Puritan  implored  in  fasts  and 
vigils,  Franklin  tranquilly  expected  as  the  outcome  of  a  life 
regulated  by  prudence  and  virtue.  "Having  experienced  the 
goodness   of   that    Being   in   conducting   me    prosperously 

•H.  C,  i,  83ff. 


through  a  long  life,"  he  wrote  to  President  Stiles  of  Yale, 
"I  have  no  doubt  of  its  continuance  in  the  next,  though 
without  the  smallest  conceit  of  meriting  such  goodness/' 


Strikingly  different  in  almost  every  respect  are  the  life 
and  aims  of  John  Woolman.  "There  was  a  care  on  my 
mind,"  he  writes,  "so  to  pass  my  time  that  nothing  might 
hinder  me  from  the  most  steady  attention  to  the  voice  of 
the  true  Shepherd."*  This  is  the  guiding  principle  of  a  life 
so  inconspicuous  in  its  outward  circumstances  and  immedi- 
ate rewards  that  we  cannot  possibly  apply  to  it  that  some- 
what worldly  and  dubious  word  "career,"  yet  so  steadily 
and  unconsciously  holy  as  to  deserve  our  most  affectionate 

Even  as  a  young  man  Woolman  began  to  be  troubled  by 
his  own  sins  and  by  the  dissolute  life  of  many  around  him. 
Sometimes  he  felt  moved  to  speak  to  others  of  their  manner 
of  life;  oftener  he  concerned  himself  only  with  his  own 
shortcomings  and  found  that  although  "nature  was  feeble," 
yet  "every  trial  was  a  fresh  incitement  to  give  himself  up 
wholly  to  the  service  of  God."*  From  the  humility  of 
Woolman's  utterances  one  can  hardly  doubt  that  his  own 
sins  were  less  grave  than  he  felt  them  to  be,  or  that  his 
warnings  to  others  had  no  touch  of  the  pharisaical  about 
them,  but  came  from  a  heart  that  unaffectedly  desired  the 
good  of  all  men. 


Having  learned  the  trade  of  a  tailor,  and  having  perceived 
that  large  possessions  are  an  unnecessary  temptation  and 
trouble,  Woolman  began  to  journey  about  and  to  "pursue 
worldly  business  no  further  than  as  truth  opened  [his] 
way."*  He  presently  began  to  be  much  concerned  about 
the  evils  of  slavery,  at  that  time  practiced  by  Quakers  as  by 
others,  and  quietly  set  his  face  against  an  institution  which 
he  believed  was  destined  to  be  "grievous  to  posterity."  "    To 

»H.  C,  i,  i88.        •H.  C,  i.  185.       •«.  C,  I,  185.       »H.  C,  1,  191. 


act  upon  his  convictions  in  this  matter  was  not  always  easy 
or  profitable,  as  we  see  from  the  account"  of  his  refusal  to 
write  the  will  of  a  certain  Quaker  slaveholder.  Woolman 
felt  regret  at  the  loss  of  the  employment  and  at  the  neces- 
sity of  giving  offence.  But  far  more  deeply  he  felt  "that 
acting  contrary  to  present  outward  interest,  from  a  motive 
of  Divine  love  and  in  regard  to  truth  and  righteousness, 
and  thereby  incurring  the  resentment  of  people,  opens  the 
way  to  a  treasure  better  than  silver,  and  to  a  friendship 
exceeding  the  friendship  of  men."" 

The  temper  shown  in  this  incident  is  typical  of  the  entire 
journal,  and  it  inclines  one  to  believe  that  such  beautiful 
serenity  and  modesty  as  Woolman's  are  perhaps  more  rare, 
as  they  are  certainly  more  lovely,  than  mere  avoidance  of 
sin.  Woolman's  care  was  not  to  be  seen  of  men,  but  to  be 
prompted  by  "the  pure  spirit  which  inwardly  moves  upon  the 
heart**"  A  man  taught,  as  he  was,  "to  wait  in  silence, 
sometimes  many  weeks  together,"  **  until  he  hears  God's 
voice,  is  not  likely  to  offend  by  an  appearance  of  self-seeking 
or  self-praise. 

Yet  it  would  be  a  mistake  to  leave  these  two  interesting 
and  instructive  autobiographies  with  the  feeling  that  one  is 
the  record  of  a  pure  and  exalted  spirit,  the  other  a  story  of 
mere  self-seeking.  Woolman,  though  both  in  deed  and  in 
temper,  far  above  this  world,  wrought  no  small  part  of  a 
great  practical  reform.  If  Franklin's  life  seems  earthy  in 
comparison,  it  should  be  remembered  that,  whatever  his 
motives,  he  did  manage  to  confer  upon  his  country  such 
benefits  in  science,  in  literature,  diplomacy,  practical  arts, 
and  public  welfare  as  should  entitle  him  to  a  respect  which 
we  may  well  deny  to  many  of  his  rules  for  practicing  the 
art  of  life.  We  could  spare  the  practical  advantages  of  hav- 
ing had  among  us  a  man  like  Franklin  only  if  it  were  neces- 
sary to  do  so  in  order  that  the  inner  light  which  guided 
John  Woolman  might  not  be  extinguished. 

M/f.  C,  5   197.        "H.  C,  i,  197.      ^H.  C,  i,  184.       *«H.  C,  1,  184- 


By  Professor  O.  M.  W.  Sprague 

THE  first  three  chapters  of  the  "Autobiography  of  John 
Stuart  Mill/'  *  by  far  the  most  interesting  part  of  the 
work,  are  concerned  with  the  methods  and  results  of 
his  extraordinary  education.  Under  the  direct  supervision 
of  his  father  he  began  serious  study  with  Greek  at  the 
tender  age  of  three;  at  twelve  he  had  covered  the  equiva- 
lent of  the  classical  and  mathematical  requirements  for 
graduation  at  the  English  universities,  while  in  history  and 
philosophy  he  had  gone  far  beyond  the  requirements  of 
those  institutions  of  learning.  Thereafter  he  continued  his 
studies  with  unflagging  industry,  though  along  more  special 
lines  and  in  large  measure  independently,  very  much  after 
the  manner  of  scholarly  graduates  of  the  universities  ten 
years  his  senior.  Before  he  was  twenty  he  had  edited  a 
ponderous  legal  treatise  in  a  fashion  which  would  have 
been  highly  creditable  to  any  scholar  in  the  full  maturity  of 
his  powers.  He  was  then,  at  twenty,  clearly  five,  and  per- 
haps ten,  years  in  advance  of  that  stage  of  intellectual  ac- 
quirement which  he  would  presumably  have  reached  if  he 
had  received  the  education  then,  or,  indeed,  now,  customary. 


By  Mill  himself  this  industrious  childhood  and  youth  was 
looked  upon  as  an  unmixed  blessing.  In  the  opening  para- 
graph of  the  "Autobiography"  he  expresses  the  opinion  that 
his  experience  shows  that  usually  the  early  years  of  life  are 
littie  better  than  wasted.  But  though  no  one  can  doubt  that 
the  rigorous  mental  discipline  to  which  the  younger  Mill 
was  subjected  by  his  father  was  highly  effective,  educational 
methods  fortunately  have  not  been  influenced  by  it  in  the 

*  Harvard  Classics,  xxv* 


204    .  BIOGRAPHY 

slightest  degree.  Contrasted  with  accepted  methods,  his 
education  was  superior  in  only  one  respect — it  did  save  time. 
It  enabled  Mill  to  begin  work  as  a  mature  writer  at  an 
unusually  early  age.  But  even  so  it  does  not  follow  that  he 
was  consequently  able  to  do  more  or  better  work  during  his 
life  than  he  would  have  otherwise  accomplished.  The  ad- 
dition of  five  or  ten  years  at  the  outset  of  a  life  of  normal 
length,  and  the  work  accomplished  during  those  particular 
years,  are  not  necessarily  a  net  addition  to  its  total  achieve- 
ment. Before  drawing  this  conclusion  we  should  need  to 
be  sure  that  physical  strength  and  mental  alertness  were 
not  prematurely  lessened  in  consequence  of  the  early  train- 
ing. After  all,  for  continuous  constructive  intellectual  work, 
the  keeping  of  the  mind  open  to  new  impressions  and  ideas 
is  the  one  thing  fundamentally  important;  and,  while  Mill 
was  far  superior  to  many  of  the  world's  great  thinkers  in 
this  respect,  this  trait  does  not  seem  to  have  been  due  to  the 
character  of  his  education. 


That  he  was  deprived  of  the  ordinary  activities  and  pleas- 
ures of  childhood  and  youth  does  not  seem  to  have  been  an 
occasion  of  regret  to  Mill.  As  a  philosopher  and  psychol- 
ogist he  might  have  been  expected  to  recognize  that  his 
exclusive  absorption  in  study  during  his  early  years  must 
have  narrowed  the  range  of  his  knowledge  of  life  and  his 
capacity  to  act  with  and  to  lead  other  men.  Mill's  attitude 
toward  life  was  always,  and  especially  in  the  earlier  yjears 
of  his  career,  excessively  intellectual.  He  exaggerated  the 
force  of  reasoned  conclusions  as  a  factor  in  individual  con- 
duct and  as  a  means  of  bringing  about  social  improvement. 
One  cannot  but  feel  that  the  few  years  saved  by  Mill  in  the 
acquiring  of  knowledge  from  books  involved  some  sacrifice 
of  knowledge  and  understanding  of  the  ordinary  impulses 
and  motives  of  men  and  women. 

Still  another  defect  in  an  education  such  as  Mill  received 
remains  for  consideration,  though  happily  he  escaped  its 
threatened  consequences.  His  father  was  one  of  the  fore- 
most of  the  utilitarian  philosophers.    He  applied  the  prin- 


ciples  of  that  school  to  the  various  problems  of  individuat 
and  of  social  improvement  earnestly  and  with  no  lack  of 
dogmatism.  He  impressed  his  views  upon  the  mind  of  his 
son  when  he  was  far  too  young  to  subject  them  to  critical 
analysis  and  to  form  an  independent  judgment  regarding 
them  through  comparison  with  the  opinions  of  other 
thinkers  and  from  experience  of  life  itself.  Mill's  early 
writings  are,  therefore,  and  quite  naturally,  little  more  than 
the  expression  of  the  views  of  his  father  with  such  acute 
modifications  as  might  be  expected  from  one  gifted  with  his 
powerful  intellect. 


In  the  course  of  time  the  utilitarian  philosophy,  in  the 
form,  in  which  it  had  come  to  him  from  his  father,  ceased 
to  satisfy  the  distinctly  more  emotional  nature  of  the  son. 
He  became  so  completely  disillusioned  with  the  dry  content 
of  this  philosophy  that  he  became  depressed,  lost  all  joy  in 
work  and  therewith  the  capacity  for  constructive  intellectual 
effort.*  Perhaps  the  most  valuable  part  of  the  "Autobiog- 
raphy" is  the  account  of  this  distressed  and  anxious  period, 
and  of  the  various  influences  which  widened  his  horizon  and 
humanized  his  views  of  life  and  its  significance.  Being  a 
man  of  books,  it  was  largely  through  a  change  in  the  char- 
acter of  his  reading  that  he  found  solace.  The  poems  of 
Wordsworth  were  the  most  potent  single  influence.  It  is 
altogether  likely  that  a  person  born  with  less  varied  natural 
endowments  would  have  remained  content  with  and  fixed 
in  the  cast  of  thought  resulting  from  premature  acquaint* 
ance  with  a  single  school  of  philosophy. 

mill's  contribution  to  utilitarianism  and  liberalism 

This  experience  is  reflected  in  the  contribution  made  by 
Mill  to  utilitarian  ethical  theories.  While  adhering  to  the 
position  that  happiness  is  simply  the  sum  total  of  pleasures, 
he  made  a  distinction  between  higher  and  lower  qualities  of 
pleasure,  regarding  the  higher  as  indefinitely  more  desirable 

s  See  H.  C,  zxt,  88-98. 



than  the  lower.  The  criteria  for  making  an  exact  dassifica* 
tion  of  pleasures  were,  however,  not  folly  and  adequately 
worked  out  by  Mill.  Varions  branches  of  knowledge,  in 
particular  psychology  and  sociology,  had  not  been  devdoped 
suffidently  far  for  the  purpose.  On  this,  as  on  many  other 
subjects,  the  work  of  Mill  has  been  superseded,  owing  to 
fundamental  differences  in  methods  of  approach  even  more 
than  to  the  acctmiulation  of  additional  data.  Among  in- 
fluences of  special  far-reaching  importance  may  be  men- 
tioned the  evolutionary  hjrpothesis,  and  what  may  be  called, 
'  in  conlradistinction  to  the  intellectual  analytical  psychology 
of  Mill's  time,  the  scientific  psychology  of  the  present. 

The  most  influential  of  all  Mill's  writings  has  been  "The 
Principles  of  Political  Economy,''  published  in  1848.  In 
writing  this  treatise,  Mill  had  two  purposes  in  view.  In 
the  first  place,  he  wished  to  bring  together  the  many  im* 
provements  which  had  been  made  in  the  principles  of  the 
subject  since  the  appearance  of  "The  Wealth  of  Nations"* 
in  1776  and,  following  the  example  of  Adam  Smith,  to 
illustrate  their  practical  applications.  Here  he  was  con- 
spicuously successful.  Many  writers  in  recent  years  have 
set  themselves  the  same  task  with  no  such  measure  of  ac- 
complishment. In  the  second  place,  he  wished  to  relate 
economic  principles  and  phenomena  to  his  own  social  ideals 
and  social  philosophy.  The  character  of  these  social  ideals 
and  the  nature  of  his  social  philosophy  are  abundantly  set 
forth  in  the  "Autobiography,"*  where  particular  attention 
is  given  to  the  influence  upon  his  mind  of  his  wife  and  of 
Aug^ste  Comte,  the  father  of  the  science  of  sociology.  It 
can  hardly  be  said  that  Mill  was  fully  successftd  in  this 
effort.  The  purely  economic  part  of  the  treatise  and  the 
social  philosophy  are  not  fused  together  and  at  times  are 
positively  contradictory.  Nevertheless,  the  treatise  gained 
in  human  interest  from  the  effort  thus  made,  and  at  all 
events  the  way  was  indicated  toward  a  broader  treatment 
of  social  and  economic  questions  than  had  been  customary 
among  economists  since  the  time  of  Adam  Smith. 

The  personality  revealed  in  the  "Autobiography"  is  one 

*H.  C,  X,  and  see  lecture  on  Adam  Smith  in  the  course  on  Political 
*H,  C,  XXV,  146- 1 53. 


that  cannot  fail  to  command  respect  and  admiration.  An 
ardent  desire  for  social  as  well  as  individual  progress  is 
conspicuous  both  in  the  analysis  of  the  growth  of  his  own 
mind  and  in  what  is  said  about  his  own  writings.  Detailed 
consideration  of  the  various  reforms  which  he  advocated  in 
his  writings  is  impossible  within  the  narrow  limits  of  a 
single  lecture.  In  a  general  way  it  may  be  noted  that  Mill 
expected  greater  results  from  the  removal  of  obstructions 
to  freedom  of  thought  and  action*  and  from  education  than 
in  fact  have  been  realized.  It  is  now  more  clearly  evident 
that  the  removal  of  restrictions  is  often  no  more  than  an 
indispensable  preliminary  to  positive  means  of  improvement 
and  that  opportunities  thus  provided  are  by  no  means  cer- 
tain to  be  made  use  of.  After  making  every  qualification, 
however,  the  liberal  movement  of  the  nineteenth  century 
surely  made  possible  a  long  step  forward  in  human  progress. 
In  this  movement  the  writings  of  John  Stuart  Mill  were  a 
potent  factor, 

■  See  also  the  lecture   on  "The  Idea  of   Liberty"  in  the  series  on  Po* 
^Itical  Science. 



By  Professor  W.  A.  Neilson 

WHEN  the  literary  historian  seeks  to  assign  to  ea*oh 
age  its  favorite  form  of  literature,  he  finds,  no 
difficulty  in  dealing  with  our  own  time.  As  the 
Middle  Ages  delighted  in  long  romantic  narrative  poems, 
the  Elizabethans  in  drama,  the  Englishman  of  the  reigns  as 
Anne  and  the  early  Georges  in  didactic  and  satirical  verse, 
so  the  public  of  our  day  is  enamored  of  the  novel.  Almost 
all  types  of  literary  production  continue  to  appear,  but 
whether  we  judge  from  the  lists  of  publishers,  the  statistics 
of  public  libraries,  or  general  conversation,  we  find  abun- 
dant evidence  of  the  enormous  preponderance  of  this  kind 
of  literary  entertainment  in  popular  favor. 


Though  the  instinct  for  a  good  story,  on  which  the  in- 
terest in  fiction  is  based,  is  of  immemorial  antiquity,  and 
may  well  be  as  old  as  human  speech,  the  novel,  as  we  under- 
stand it,  is  comparatively  modern.  The  unsophisticated  folk 
tale,  represented  by  the  contents  of  such  collections  as  that 
of  the  brothers  Grimm,*  lacks  the  element  of  lifelikeness 
both  in  incident  and  character,  and  is  too  limited  in  scale  to 
be  regarded  as  anything  but  a  very  remote  ancestor.  The 
"Fables"  ascribed  to  ^Esop'  are  mere  anecdotes  with  a  moral. 
The  myths*  of  both  the  Mediterranean  and  the  Northern 

^Harvard  Classics,  xvii,  5 iff.  *H.  C,  xvii,  gff, 

*  As  contained,  for  example,  in  the  "Odyssey,"  H,  C,  ToL  xxii,  and  the 
"Song  of  the  Volsungs/'  xnx,  265 ff. 



nations  are  not  primarily  concerned  with  human  life  at  all. 
Epic  poetry,*  besides  deriving  from  its  verse  a  sustained 
emotional  elevation  usually  impossible  in  prose,  €nds  its 
central  interest,  not  in  individual  personality  or  the  passion 
of  love,  but  in  some  great  national  or  racial  issue.  The 
romances*  of  the  Middle  Ages,  though  usually  centering  in 
the  fortunes  of  individuals  and  often  dealing  with  love,  are 
superficial  in  treatment,  loose  in  construction,  and  primarily 
interesting  as  marvelous  adventure.  The  fabliaux^  of  the 
same  period,  which,  with  the  novelle'  of  the  Renaissance, 
belong  to  the  ancestry  of  the  short  story  of  the  modern 
magazine,  are  concerned  with  single  situations,  and  do  not 
attempt  to  display  a  whole  phase  of  life  in  its  subtlety  and 
complexity.  All  these  forms  contain,  in  the  imaginative 
nature  of  their  material,  an  element  common  to  them  and 
the  novel;  but  the  negative  statements  which  have  been 
made  regarding  each  show  how  much  they  fall  «hort  or  go 
beyond  our  modern  conception  of  prose  fiction. 


Yet,  though  differing  in  these  important  and  often  funda- 
mental respects  from  the  modern  novel,  these  earlier  varie- 
ties of  imaginative  narratives  contributed  in  a  number  of 
ways  to  the  making  of  the  type  dominant  to-day.  In  the 
sixteenth  century,  for  instance,  we  find  appearing,  first  in 
Spain  and  then  in  England,  the  so-called  picaresque  novel,' 
a  story  told  in  the  first  person  by  a  roguish  servant,  who 
passes  from  master  to  master  and  exposes  both  his  own 
rascality  and  the  seamy  side  of  the  more  fashionable  life  of 
his  time.  Many  of  the  episodes  are  of  the  kind  narrated  in 
the  fabliaux  and  novelle,  but  they  are  strung  together  by  the 
history  of  the  rogue  hero.  This  type  has  persisted  with 
variations,  especially  the  loss  of  the  servant  element,  down 

*For  examples  in  H.  C,  see  "Odyssey,**  vol.  xxii;  "iEncid,**  vol.  xiii; 
"Paradise  Lost"  and  "Paradise  Regained,"  iv,  SpfF.  and  363ff.;  and  cf.  the 
lectures  on  Poetry. 

■  Cf.,  especially  Malory,  H.  C,  xxxv,  io7ff. 

•  Such  as  the  Tales  of  the  Miller  and  the  Reeve  in  Chaucer's  "Canterbury 

^  Such  as  the  storied  in  Boccaccio's  "Decameron." 

'  The  earliest  English  example  is  Nash's  "Jack  Wilton,  or  the  Unfortunate 


to  our  own  time,  and  reached  its  highest  pitch  of  art  in 
English  in  Thackeray's  "Barry  Lyndon." 

The  Elizabethan  romance,  represented  by  such  a  work  as 
Sir  Philip  Sidney's  "Arcadia,"  is  in  respect  of  realism 
much  farther  from  our  novel  than  the  picaresque  tale.  But 
in  its  abundance  of  sentiment  and  frequency  of  moral  pur- 
pose, it  has  elements  which  the  novel  of  roguery  lacked. 
Characterization,  which  so  far  had  rarely  been  a  prominent 
feature  in  any  form  of  fiction  except  the  drama,  was  de- 
veloped in  the  seventeenth  century  in  a  peculiar  species  of 
writing  known  as  the  Character,^  outside  of  fiction  alto- 
gether. The  character  was  a  short  sketch  of  a  typical  figure 
of  the  time,  used  largely  for  purposes  of  social  satire,  ap- 
parently general  in  its  application,  but  not  infrequently 
written  with  an  individual  in  view. 

We  find  this  form  elaborated  in  a  slight  setting  of  situa- 
tion and  narrative  in  the  De  Coverley  papers"  contributed 
by  Addison  and  Steele  to  the  "Spectator";  and  when  the 
novel  in  the  modern  sense  arose  about  a  generation  later, 
the  practice  in  the  analysis  and  presentation  of  typical 
human  beings  which  the  character  had  afforded  proved  of 
considerable  service. 


Perhaps  more  contributive  than  either  the  older  story  of 
romantic  adventure  or  the  character  sketch,  was  the  drama. 
The  seventeenth  century  had  seen,  especially  in  comedy,  the 
drama  descending  from  heroic  themes  of  kings  and  princes 
to  pictures  of  contemporary  life  in  ordinary  society,  not 
highly  realistic  as  we  understand  the  term,  yet  reproducing 
many  of  the  types  and  much  of  the  atmosphere  existing 
around  the  author.  It  had  cultivated  the  sense  of  a  well- 
knit  plot,  of  effective  situation,  and  of  the  interplay  of  char- 
acter and  action — all  elements  transferable  to  prose  narra- 
tive. And  when,  in  the  middle  of  the  eighteenth  century,  we 
find  the  novel  beginning  to  take  the  place  of  the  stage  as 
the  dominant  kind  of  imaginative  entertainment,  it  is  easy 

*  Among  the  best-known  collections  is  that  of  Orttbary, 
»H.  C  xxvii,  Sofle. 


to  see  how  much  the  younger  form  owed  to  the  elder.  There 
had  long  been  an  interchange  of  material  between  the  two 
species.  In  the  time  of  Shakespeare,  to  go  no  farther  back, 
the  playwrights  frankly  dramatized  familiar  stories  from 
history,  romance,  and  novella,  and  occasionally  the  story  of 
a  popular  play  was  retold  in  prose  narrative.  Both  processes 
are  familiar  to-day.  Many  successful  novels  appear  later 
on  the  stage,  and  not  a  few  successful  plays  are  "novelized." 
There  are,  of  course,  marked  differences  in  the  kind  of 
thing  that  can  be  best  told  by  narrative  or  action  respec- 
tively, and  the  failure  to  recognize  these  differences  accounts 
for  the  frequent  ill  success  of  this  kind  of  translation.  But, 
after  all  allowance  for  this  has  been  made,  many  of  the  ele- 
ments of  effective  story-telling  remain  common  to  both 
novel  and  play. 


The  two  chief  claimants  for  the  credit  of  founding  the 
modem  English  novel  are  Daniel  Defoe"  and  Samuel  Rich- 
ardson. Defoe's  stories  depend  for  their  unity  chiefly  upon 
the  personality  of  the  leading  character.  They  are  usually 
series  of  episodes  strung  along  the  thread  of  the  hero's  or 
heroine's  life.  Many  of  them,  from  their  pre-occupation 
with  the  criminal  classes,  approach  the  picaresque;  and  even 
"Robinson  Crusoe,"  justly  the  most  popular,  is  more  an 
adventure  tale  than  a  novel.  His  most  notable  characteristic 
is  a  singular  realism,  achieved  by  a  skillful  selection  of 
matter-of-fact  details,  which  produces  a  circumstantial  ef- 
fect like  that  of  a  modern  newspaper  report  But  the  real- 
ism, clever  though  it  is,  is  mainly  external;  and  compara- 
tively little  in  the  way  of  insight  into  character  or  motive 
is  to  be  found  in  most  of  his  stories. 

The  great  works  of  Richardson,  "Pamela,"  "Clarissa 
Harlowe,"  and  "Sir  Charles  Grandison,"  are  novels  without 
question.  Not  only  does  he  achieve  a  large  unity  of  action, 
building  into  a  shapely  structure  round  his  central  figure  a 
complex  of  persons,  motives,  and  social  conditions,  but  he 
deals  in  detail  with  the  inner  life  of  his  characters,  and  he 
gives  to  passion  and  sentiment  the  pervading  importance 

^H»  Cm  xxrii,  148. 


that  has  now  become  traditional  in  this  form  of  literature. 
Sentiment,  indeed,  with  him  often  enough  degenerated  into 
sentimentality,  and  he  dwelt  on  the  emotional  and  pathetic 
elements  in  his  narrative  with  a  deliberation  and  an  em- 
phasis successfully  calculated  to  draw  from  his  readers  the 
greatest  possible  lachrymose  response. 


It  was  largely  this  exaggeration  of  the  pathetic,  and  the 
idealizing  of  the  chief  character  in  order  to  gain  an  op- 
portunity for  the  pathetic,  that  led  Fielding"  to  begin  his 
first  novel,  "Joseph  Andrews,"  as  a  parody  of  Richardson's 
•'Pamela."  Pamela  had  been  pictured  as  a  virtuous  maid- 
servant, chastely  resisting  the  approaches  of  her  young 
master,  and  Fielding  planned  the  story  of  Pamela's  brother 
Joseph,  placed  in  a  corresponding  position  toward  his  mis- 
tress, to  ridicule  the  absurdities  of  his  predecessor's  method. 
But  he  soon  became  interested  in  his  hero  for  his  own  sake,  and 
in  this  novel,  and  still  more  in  his  masterpiece,  "Tom  Jones," 
he  treated  human  nature  with  a  robust  frankness  that  earned 
for  him  the  famous  compliinent  of  his  disciple,  Thackeray, 
that  he  wias  the  last  English,  novelist  who  dared  to  draw  a  man. 

Some  of  Fielding  and  perhaps  more  of  Defoe  is  to  be 
found  in  the  sordid  tales  of  Tobias  Smollett;  and  in  Lau- 
rence Sterne  we  have  the  sentimental  tendencies  of  Richard- 
son carried  to  the  last  extreme,  but  mingled  in  extraordinary 
fashion  with  a  conscious  humor  that  doubles  back  on  the 
sentiment,  the  whole  related  in  a  style  of  remarkable  in- 
dividuality and  brilliant  wit.  In  the  same  period,  Oliver 
Goldsmith  produced  his  one  novel,  "The  Vicar  of  Wake- 
field," a  delicately  drawn  picture  of  a  phase  of  contem- 
porary society  enriched  with  a  group  of  characters,  broadly 
typical,  but  delineated  with  an  abundance  of  tender  sym- 
pathy and  gentle  humor, 


Meantime,  there  had  begun  in  England,  as  elsewhere,  that 
complex  reaction   against  the  intellectualism  of  the  eigh- 

"H.  C,  xxxix,  z84« 


tccnth  century  known  as  the  Romantic  Movement  Among 
its  more  obvious  phases  was  the  revival  of  interest  in  remote 
places  and  periods,  and  especially  in  the  Middle  Ages.  The 
extent  to  which  this  interest  was  ill-informed  and  merely 
sentimental  is  nowhere  better  illustrated  than  in  the  rise  of 
the  so-called  **Gothic  Romance."  This  variety  of  fiction  is 
usually  regarded  as  beginning  with  "The  Castle  of  Otranto" 
of  Horace  Walpole,  the  son  of  the  great  Whig  minister,  Sir 
Robert  Walpole,  and  the  type  of  the  fashionable  dilettante 
of  the  London  of  his  day.  Walpole  had  no  real  understand- 
ing or  sympathy  for  the  spirit  of  the  Middle  Ages,  but  one 
of  his  fads  was  mediaeval  armor,  furniture,  and  architecture, 
and  out  of  this  arose  his  curious  half -sincere  experiment  in 
fiction.  The  real  leader  in  the  production  of  this  sort  of 
"thriller,"  however,  was  Mrs.  Radcliffe,**  who  was  followed 
by  Clara  Reeves"  and  scores  of  minor  imitators.  The  novels 
of  these  ladies  were  set  in  a  vaguely  remote  period  of 
chivalry,  their  scenes  were  ancient  castles,  with  concealed 
panels,  subterranean  passages,  and  family  ghosts;  their  plots 
turned  upon  the  usurpation  of  family  estates  by  wicked 
uncles  or  villainous  neighbors,  and  on  the  reparations  and 
sufferings  of  missing  heirs  and  heroines  of  "sensibility"; 
and  their  characters  were  the  stereotyped  figures  of  ordinary 
melodrama.  A  special  development  of  this  type  appeared 
in  the  "School  of  Terror"  headed  by  M.  G.  Lewis,  whose 
nickname  of  "Monk"  Lewis  was  derived  from  his  novel  of 
"Ambrosio,  or  the  Monk,"  in  which  the  terrifying  and,  it 
must  be  said,  the  licentious  possibilities  of  the  Gothic 
romance  were  carried  to  a  high  pitch. 

This,  on  the  whole,  rather  worthless  species,  which  had 
been  accompanied  by  many  feeble  attempts  at  a  more  defi- 
nitely historical  type  of  novel,  culminated  surprisingly  in  the 
romances  of  Sir  Walter  Scott.  Scott,  however,  had  in  his 
training  and  in  his  vast  reading  a  basis  for  historical  and 
romantic  fiction  all  his  own.  He  stripped  the  Gothic  type  of 
romance  of  its  sentimentality  and  absurdity,  strengthened  it 
with  his  great  fund  of  historical  and  legendary  information, 
gave  it  stability  with  his  sanity  and  humor,  and  interest  by 

"For  example,  "The  Mysteries  of  Udolpho." 
^  As  in  "The  Old  EngUsh  Baron." 

214  1»R0SB  FICTION 

his  creation  of  a  great  series  of  vigorous  and  picturesque 
creations.  The  art  of  fiction  has  gained  in  technical  dex- 
terity since  Scott's  day,  stories  now  begin  sooner  and  move 
more  rapidly,  conversation  is  reported  with  a  greater  life- 
likeness,  the  tragedy  in  human  life  is  more  often  given  its 
due  place;  but  the  entrancing  narratives  of  Scott,  with  all 
their  deliberation,  are  likely  to  retain  their  charm,  and  his 
men  and  women  still  have  blood  in  their  veins.  He  created 
the  historical  novel,  not  only  for  Britain  but  for  Europe,  and 
all  its  writers  since  have  been  proud  to  sit  at  his  feet. 


In  the  time  of  Doctor  Johnson,  Fanny  Bumey,  the  daugh- 
ter of  a  noted  musician,  and  lady-in-waiting  to  the  Queen, 
gathered  out  of  her  experience  of  London  society  materials 
for  her  "Evelina,"  a  novel  of  manners  shrewdly  observed 
and  acutely  chronicled.  She  is  the  chief  predecessor  of 
Scott's  contemporary  and  rival,  Jane  Austen,  the  daughter 
of  a  provincial  clergyman,  whose  knowledge  of  the  world 
was  practically  confined  to  the  county  in  which  she  lived 
and  the  watering  places,  like  Bath,  where  she  spent  an 
occasional  vacation.  But  she  had  tact  enough  to  confine 
her  books**  to  the  life  she  knew;  and  this  life,  with  its 
squires,  its  curates,  its  old  ladies,  its  managing  mothers  and 
eligible  daughters,  is  pictured  with  a  minuteness  and  fidelity 
that  has  scarcely  been  surpassed.  She  writes  smoothly,  with 
an  evasiveness  in  her  characteristic  irony  that  makes  her 
personality  hard  to  grasp,  while  it  prevents  that  personality 
from  coming  between  the  picture  and  the  spectator.  Limited 
in  scope,  commonplace  in  incident,  and  deliberately  ordinary 
in  type  of  characters,  her  novels  have  the  exquisite  finish 
and  perfection  of  a  miniature. 

Parallel  in  some  respects  to  Miss  Austen's  novels  of  Eng- 
lish provincial  life  are  Miss  Edgeworth's ,"  dealing  with  the 
Irish,  and  Miss  Ferrier's"  with  the  Scottish  field.  Together 
these  ladies  stand  at  the  head  of  that  still  vigorous  branch 
of  fiction  which  in  America  is  mapping  the  life  of  the  whole 

»  E.g.,  "Pride  and  Prejudice,"  "Sense  and  Sensibility,"  "Emma."     For  a 
satire  on  the  Gothic  Romance,  cf.  her  "Northanger  Abbejr." 
^E.g„  "Castle  Rackrcnt,"  and  "The  Absentee?'         ^B.g.,  "Marriage.'* 


country  with  sectional  novels,  like  those  of  New  England 
by  Miss  Jewett,  Miss  Wilkins,  and  Mrs.  Riggs,  of  the  South 
by  James  Lane  Allen,  George  W.  Cable,  and  Thomas  Nel- 
son Page,  of  the  Middle  West  by  Meredith  Nicholson  and 
Booth  Tarkington. 


Fifty  years  ago  the  world  of  readers  was  divisible  into 
the  partisans  of  two  great  novelists,  who,  despite  their  lim* 
itations,  made  more  obvious  by  the  development  of  fiction 
on  the  Continent,  still  rank  among  the  highest.  William 
Makepeace  Thackeray,  who  went  back,  as  has  been  said, 
to  the  work  of  Fielding  for  his  models,  devoted  himself 
chiefly  to  the  picturing  of  English  society,  in  the  more  re^ 
stricted  sense  of  the  word,  from  Queen  Anne  to  Queen 
Victoria.  Definitely  and  perhaps  restrictedly  English  in 
his  outlook  on  life,  his  view  of  the  human  scene  is  somewhat 
insular.  His  natural  sentiment  was  tempered  by  an  acute 
perception  of  the  meaner  elements  in  human  nature  to  such 
a  degree  that  his  work  has  a  strong  satirical  element,  and 
some  have  even  been  misled  into  thinking  him  character- 
istically a  cynic.  Gifted  with  a  superb  style,  with  profound 
sympathy  and  insight  into  human  emotion,  and  with  a  power 
of  rendering  the  picturesque  aspects  of  a  society,  Thackeray 
remains  a  great  master. 

The  work  of  his  contemporary,  Charles  Dickens,  has  had 
an  even  greater  popular  success.  Dickens's  early  career 
gave  him  a  knowledge  of  a  much  humbler  grade  of  society 
than  Thackeray  pictures,  and  at  the  same  time  left  him  with 
a  vivid  sense  of  the  wrongs  under  which  the  more  unfortu- 
nate members  of  that  society  suffered.  This  led  him  to  de^- 
vote  many  of  his  works  to  the  redress  of  social  grievances, 
and  connects  him  with  the  general  humanitarian  movements 
of  modern  times.  Powerful  as  was  Dickens's  influence  for 
reform  in  his  own  time,  it  seems  clear  that  the  very  specific 
nature  of  the  evils  he  attacked  is  bound  to  impair  the  per- 
manence of  his  work,  as  it  always  impaired  the  artistic  value. 
But  we  relish  still  his  buoyant  humor  and  geniality,  the 
binding  interest  of  bis  complex  though  sometimes  confus- 


ing  plots,  and  the  charm  of  his  immense  throng  of  creations, 
typical  to  the  point  of  caricature,  but  in  their  setting  vital, 
appealing,  and  eminently  memorable. 


In  spite  of  the  abundant  humor  in  both  Thackeray  and 
Dickens,  the  novel  with  them  had  become  a  very  serious 
form,  the  vehicle  of  important  moral  and  social  truths.  In 
the  hands  of  its  more  notable  masters,  serious  it  has  re- 
mained. The  prevalence  of  the  scientific  point  of  view,  so 
marked  since  the  promulgation  of  the  theories  of  Charles 
Darwin,  has  left  distinct  traces  on  the  history  of  fiction. 
The  philosophical  and  scientific  learning  of  George  Eliot 
appears  in  her  work  in  the  emphasis  on  the  reig^  of  law  in 
the  character  of  the  individual,  and,  although  she  too  pos- 
sesses a  rich  vein  of  humor,  the  charming  playfulness  in 
which  her  immediate  predecessors  permitted  themselves  to 
indulge  is  replaced  by  an  almost  portentous  realization  of 
the  responsibilities  of  art  and  life.  In  Thomas  Hardy,  too, 
the  scientific  influence  is  plainly  felt,  the  overwhelming 
power  of  environment  and  circumstance  being  presented 
with  a  force  so  crushing  as  to  leave  the  reader  depressed 
with  a  sense  of  the  helplessness  of  the  individual,  without 
any  compensating  faith  in  a  benevolence  controlling  the  ex- 
ternal forces  which  overwhelm  him.  Yet  these  writers  dis- 
play profound  psychological  insight,  and  make  distinguished 
contributions  to  the  progress  of  the  art  of  fiction  in  its  ad- 
vance toward  a  more  and  more  complete  and  penetrating 
portrayal  of  the  whole  of  human  life. 

Less  somber  in  tone,  but  no  less  brilliant  in  workmanship, 
are  the  novels  of  George  Meredith.  Hampered  in  regard 
to  the  greater  public  by  a  style  at  once  dazzling  and  obscure, 
Meredith  has  been  acclaimed  by  his  fellow  craftsmen  as  a 
great  master.  Beginning  partly  under  the  influence  of 
Dickens,  Meredith  gained  for  himself  at  length  a  peculiar 
and  distinguished  position  as  perhaps  the  most  intellectual 
of  the  English  novelists,  or,  at  least,  the  novelist  who  con- 
cerns himself  most  with  the  intellectual  processes  of  his 
character.     Yet  he  is  far  from  impoverished  on  the  emo- 


tional  side,  and  there  are  few  scenes  in  fiction  more  poignant 
in  their  tragedy  than  that  which  closes  "The  Ordeal  of 
Richard  Feverel." 

Besides  the  influence  of  modern  science,  English  fiction 
has  latterly  been  much  affected  by  foreign  models,  especially 
French  and  Russian.  The  tracing  of  these  streams,  how- 
ever, would  bring  us  to  the  consideration  of  men  still  writ- 
ftig,  and  involve  us  in  a  mass  of  production  which  cannot 
be  characterized  here,  and  on  which  we  cannot  hope  to  have 
as  yet  a  proper  perspective.  The  great  amount  of  dis- 
tinguished writing  in  the  field  of  the  English  novel  which 
has  been  revealed  even  in  his  rapid  survey  of  its  history 
will  have  suggested  to  the  reader  why  it  was  found  hopeless 
to  try  to  represent  it  in  The  Harvard  Qassics.  But  these 
writers  are  easy  of  access,  and  this  is  the  side  of  literature 
which  the  modern  reader  is  least  apt  to  ignore.  Yet  it  is 
also  the  side  which  is  most  likely  to  be  read  carelessly,  with- 
out consideration  of  purpose  or  method;  so  that  it  may  now 
be  worth  while  to  try  to  come  to  some  understanding  as  to 
its  aim  and  the  conditions  of  its  excellence. 



In  considering  the  purpose  which  works  of  fiction  may  be 
supposed  to  fulfill,  it  will  be  of  interest  and  value  to  note 
what  some  of  the  more  prominent  writers  have  said  with  re- 
gard to  their  reasons  for  practicing  the  art  The  more 
selfishly  personal  motives  may  be  passed  over  quickly. 
Money  and  fame  have  been  desired  and  welcomed  by  most 
authors,  as  by  most  men,  but  they  help  us  little  to  an  under- 
standing of  the  purpose  of  literature.  Yet  there  are  some 
who  have  written  with  neither  of  these  in  view,  like  Jane 
Austen,  who  died  leaving  a  considerable  part  of  her  work 
unpublished,  and  apparently  without  having  sought  to  pub- 
lish it.  Since  the  motives  of  men  are  more  usually  complex 
than  simple,  it  is  a  safe  assumption  that  even  those  who 
have  frankly  written  for  a  living,  or  who  have  acknowl- 

218  PROSB   FICnOlf 

edged  the  lure  of  ambition,  have  had  odier  things  in  Tiew 
as  well,  and  have  not  found  profit  or  honor  incompatible 
with  deeper  and  more  altruistic  aims. 

Of  these  last,  the  most  commonly  claimed  is  the  moral 
improvement  of  the  reader.  No  one  has  been  more  explicit 
about  this  than  Richardson,  whose  preface  to  'Tamela^  is 
characteristic  enough  to  quote  at  length: 

"If  to  divert  and  entertain,  and  at  the  same  time  to  in- 
struct and  improve  the  minds  of  the  youth  of  both  sexes ; 

"If  to  inculcate  religion  and  morality  in  so  easy  and  agree- 
able a  manner  as  shall  render  them  equally  delightful  and 
profitable ; 

"If  to  set  forth,  in  the  most  exemplary  lights,  the  parental, 
the  filial,  and  the  social  duties; 

"If  to  paint  vice  in  its  proper  colours,  to  make  it  deserv- 
edly odious;  and  to  set  virtue  in  its  own  amiable  light,  and 
to  make  it  look  lovely; 

"If  to  draw  characters  with  justness  and  to  support  them 
distinctly ; 

"If  to  effect  all  these  good  ends  in  so  probable,  so  natural, 
so  lively,  a  manner,  as  shall  engage  the  passions  of  every 
sensible  reader,  and  attach  their  regard  to  the  story; 

"If  these  be  laudable  or  worthy  recommendations,  the 
editor  of  the  following  letters  ventures  to  assert  that  all 
these  ends  are  obtained  here,  together." 

In  similar  vein  his  "Qarissa"  is  "proposed  as  an  exemplar 
to  her  sex,"  and  is  made  as  perfect  as  is  "consistent  with 
human  frailty,"  her  faults  being  put  in  chiefly  lest  there 
should  be  "nothing  for  the  Divine  grace  and  a  purified  state 
to  do/' 

Fielding,  though  less  verbose,  is  no  less  explicit.  He 
claims  for  "Tom  Jones"  that  "to  recommend  goodness  and 
innocence  hath  been  my  sincere  endeavour  in  this  history," 
and  that  he  has  "endeavoured  to  laugh  mankind  out  of  their 
favourite  follies  and  vices."  Of  "Amelia"  he  says:  "The 
following  book  is  sincerely  designed  to  promote  the  cause  of 
virtue."  The  frequent  satirical  tone  of  Thackeray,  as  well 
as  the  nature  of  his  analysis  of  human  motive,  testifies  to 
his  sharing  Fielding's  desire  to  drive  men  out  of  their  follies 
and  vices  by  ridicule  and  contempt 



Dickens  characteristically  combines  the  improvement  of 
the  individual  with  the  reform  of  institutions.  Of  *'Martin 
Chuzzlewit"  he  says:  "My  main  object  in  this  story  was  to 
exhibit  in  a  variety  of  aspects  the  commonest  of  all  the 
vices;  to  show  how  selfishness  propagates  itself,  and  to 
what  a  grim  giant  it  may  grow  from  small  beginnings," 
Again,  "I  have  taken  every  possible  opportunity  of  showing 
the  want  of  sanitary  improvements  in  the  neglected  dwell- 
ings of  the  poor." 

In  contrast  to  such  ethical  claims  as  these,  Scott's  con- 
fession, **I  write  for  general  amusement,"  sounds  more  than 
humble.  Yet  he  frequently  repeats  it.  He  hopes  "to  relieve 
anxiety  of  mind,"  "to  unwrinkle  a  brow  bent  with  the  fur- 
rows of  daily  toil."  At  times  he  approaches  the  moral  aim 
of  his  more  serious  brethern,  "to  fill  the  place  of  bad 
thoughts  and  suggest  better,"  "to  induce  an  idler  to  study 
the  history  of  his  country." 


In  contrast  with  these  older  statements  of  purpose  is  the 
assumption  prevailing  among  the  more  serious  of  modern 
novelists  that  fiction  is  primarily  concerned  with  giving  a 
picture  of  life.  This  aim  is  set  forth  not  only  in  explana- 
tion of  their  own  work,  but  as  a  test  of  the  value  of  that  of 
others,  irrespective  of  intention.  By  it  is  displayed  the 
peculiar  danger  of  "novels  with  a  purpose,"  whether  that 
purpose  is  moral  or  social,  They  point  out  that  Richard- 
son's method  of  "exemplars,"  whether  of  virtue  to  be  imi- 
tated or  vice  to  be  shunned,  is  apt  to  result  in  creations 
snow-white  or  pitch  black,  which  fail  in  truth  because 
human  nature,  even  in  the  best  and  worst,  is  a  complex  of 
good  and  evil;  and  which  fail  in  effectiveness,  because  the 
reader  finds  no  corroboration  in  his  experience  and  remains 
unconvinced  of  their  reality.  Similarly  the  novelist  with  a 
theory  to  prove,  of  the  stupidity  or  cruelty  of  bad  poor 
laws,  foul  prisons,  red  tape  and  the  law's  delays,  as  in 
Dickens;  of  the  rights  of  women,  the  falsity  of  Calvinism, 
the  wickedness  of  commercial  marriages,  as  in  more  modern 
writers,  is  likely  to  drive  his  point  home  by  exaggeration, 


false  proportion,  some  interference  with  the  natural  way  of 
the  world.  The  aim  to  recommend  virtuous  action  by  the 
display  of  "poetic  justice"  is  open  to  the  same  objections. 
In  both  cases  there  results  loss  of  both  truth  and  effective- 
ness. The  same  may  be  true  of  both  the  satirical  and  the 
merely  entertaining  aims:  in  the  first,  the  emphasis  on  the 
traits  held  up  to  ridicule  runs  the  risk  of  going  beyond  the 
bounds  of  the  normal;  in  the  second,  the  curious,  the  mar- 
velous, the  mysterious,  or  the  amusing  may  be  sought  for  at 
the  expense  of  the  natural,  with  the  result  that  the  reader's 
skepticism  prevents  his  submitting  himself  to  the  illusion  of 
reality  necessary  for  the  enjoyment  of  the  pleasure  or  the 
advantages  to  be  derived  from  imaginative  art. 


The  zeal  for  true  pictures  of  life  which  thus  censures  the 
older  theories  of  "instruction  and  delight"  is  part  of  the 
modern  tendency  to  realism,  and  is  connected  with  the  tri- 
umph of  the  scientific  point  of  view.  Indeed,  its  most 
extreme  advocates  are  at  times  quite  explicit  about  this: 
"We  should  work,"  says  Zola,  "upon  characters,  passions, 
human  and  social  facts,  as  the  physicist  and  chemist  work 
with  inorganic  bodies,  as  the  physiologist  works  with  living 
organisms."  On  this  theory  he  believed  himself  to  have 
constructed  his  novels;  and  though  he  did  not  carry  it  out 
as  rigorously  as  he  supposed  he  did,  the  results  of  it  are  all 
too  evident  in  the  assembling  in  his  pages  of  vast  masses  of 
almost  statistical  facts,  set  down  without  regard  to  taste, 
convention,  or  decency. 

But  not  all  modem  realists  interpret  their  creed  in  so 
mechanical  a  manner.  Many  have  held  to  the  belief  in  true 
pictures  of  life  without  committing  themselves  to  the  ex- 
treme view  that  the  record  should  be  untinged  with  the 
personality  of  the  writer.  And,  indeed,  it  is  now  fairly  well 
agreed  that  such  absolute  objectivity,  is  neither  possible  nor 
desirable.  It  is  not  possible  for  many  reasons.  All  the 
facts  concerning  any  human  episode,  not  to  say  life,  cannot 
be  recorded  in  a  book,  so  infinitely  numerous  and  complex 
are  they,  linked  to  thousands  of  others  which  are  necessary 


to  a  full  statement  of  them,  and  themselves  involving  a  life 
history  and  an  immemorial  ancestry.  Thus  in  the  most 
severely  realistic  work  selection  is  necessary,  the  selection 
of  what  seems  significant  to  the  author ;  and  with  this  selec- 
tion the  personal  element  has  already  entered.  Again,  the 
sympathy  of  the  author  unconsciously  determines  questions 
of  relative  stress  and  emphasis;  and  intimate  qualities  of 
temperament  and  imagination  affect  the  atmosphere  in 
which  the  most  baldly  reported  incidents  take  place. 


So  we  arrive  at  the  important  distinction  between  artistic 
and  literal  truth.  This  is  a  distinction  which  everyone  is 
accustomed  to  recognize  in  daily  intercourse,  yet  which  even 
professional  critics  are  liable  to  muddle  at  times  in  the  dis- 
cussion of  art.  We  all  know  how  it  is  possible  to  report  the 
bare  facts  of  an  action  or  the  actual  words  of  a  conversa- 
tion so  as  to  convey  to  the  hearer  a  totally  false  impression. 
On  the  other  hand,  an  accurate  view  of  what  was  done  and 
said,  with  the  right  implications  as  to  character,  motive,  and 
tone,  may  be  conveyed  without  any  reproduction  of  facts, 
in  the  narrow  sense,  at  all.  The  second  method  is  clearly 
that  at  which  the  artist  should  aim.  His  business  is  with 
the  typical,  not  the  individual;  the  permanently  character- 
istic, not  the  temporarily  actual;  the  spirit,  not  the  letter. 
*  Most  of  us  have  heard  discussions  of  a  book  in  which  a 
critic  has  urged  as  an  objection  that  a  certain  incident  is  * 
not  lifelike,  when  a  friend  of  the  author  has  triumphantly 
answered  that  that  precise  incident  is  the  thing  in  the  work 
which  actually  happened.  Supposing  that  the  criticism  was 
just,  we  see  at  once  that  one  of  two  things  must  have  oc- 
curred; either  the  author  did  not  understand  what  happened 
in  real  life,  failed  to  see  its  true  causes  and  relations,  and 
so  did  not  himself  know  the  real  facts;  or  else  he  reported 
it  out  of  its  true  relations,  and  so  deprived  the  reader  of 
the  means  of  knowing  the  real  facts.  An  apparent  third 
possibility  might  also  be  mentioned;  that  the  episode  in 
question  was  what  might  be  called  a  "fre^k"  happening,  an 
abnormal  occurrence  like  the  birth  of  an  eight-legged  calf. 


which,  while  historically  actual,  is  really  out  of  the  order  of 
nature,  and  not  in  itself  fit  to  be  a  link  in  the  chain  of  hap- 
penings which  a  true  picture  of  life  represents.  Of  course, 
such  an  abnormality  has  a  cause;  but  the  obscurity  of  the 
cause  makes  this  possibility  a  special  case  under  our  first 
explanation — it  is  not  easily  displayed  in  connection  with  its 
true  causes. 

THE   author's    philosophy    OF    LIFE 

It  is  evident,  then,  that  the  recording  of  mere  detached 
fact,  untouched  by  the  author's  personality,  is  not  only  im- 
possible, but  may,  when  attempted,  lead  to  the  violation  of 
actual  truth.  The  door  is  thus  opened  to  the  exercise  of 
the  artistic  judgment,  both  in  the  selection  of  material  and 
in  its  manipulation  and  presentation.  The  background  of 
this  judgment,  as  it  were,  is  the  general  view  of  human 
nature  and  of  the  world  at  large  which  the  individual  author 
entertains.  This  view  has  been  arrived  at  by  the  observa- 
tion and  meditation  which  he  has  practised  throughout  his 
life;  the  conclusions  which  it  involves  affect  the  interpreta- 
tion of  everything  that  comes  under  his  notice;  and  its  first 
effect  on  his  art  is  in  determining  the  choice  of  subjects  to 
be  treated.  Individual  people  and  events  will  arrest  his  at- 
tention and  suggest  artistic  treatment  according  as  they  are 
happy  illustrations  of  what  he  has  perceived  to  be  general 
truths;  and  in  his  treatment  he  will  not  scruple  to  modify 
them  to  make  them  more  apt.  He  will  choose  what  Bagehot 
calls  "literatesque"  subjects,  subjects  fit  to  be  put  in  a  book, 
as  he  calls  picturesque  subjects  those  fit  to  be  put  in  a  pic- 
ture; and  he  defines  both  as  those  summing  up  in  a  single 
instance  the  characteristics  that  mark  the  class  as  a  whole 
to  which  they  belong. 


Let  us  now  compare  this  conclusion  as  to  the  legitimate 
purpose  of  the  novel  with  such  a  moral  aim  as  that  of 
Richardson.  As  a  matter  of  fact,  the  difference  lies  more 
in  his  way  of  stating  his  theory  than  in  his  practice.  So  far 
as  his  observation  of  life  led  him  to  believe  that  people  of 


the  type  of  Pamela  and  Clarissa  act  in  general  as  these 
heroines  do,  and  that  their  fortunes  in  general  are  deter- 
mined by  their  character  and  their  society  in  the  manner  he 
represents,  so  far  he  is  merely  using  them  properly  as 
illustrations  of  the  view  of  life  of  which  experience  has 
convinced  him.  So  far,  however,  as  he  modifies  their  char- 
acters or  careers  to  conform  not  to  the  way  the  world  is, 
but  to  the  way  he  wants  people  to  believe  the  world  is,  he  is 
artistically  false,  his  picture  fails  in  truth,  and  the  modern 
reader  declines  to  be  interested  or  convinced.  The  whole 
question  turns  on  which  the  author  puts  first,  artistic  truth 
or  effect.  If  he  is  more  concerned  with  specific  effects  than 
with  truth,  his  "novel  with  a  purpose"  will  deserve  the  con- 
tempt with  which  the  phrase  is  usually  employed.  If  his 
main  concern  is  with  truth,  his  "purpose,"  being  merely  a 
special  illustration  of  the  truth  with  whatever  practical  re- 
sult in  mind,  will  do  no  harm,  but  may  add  greatly  to  the 
zest  with  which  he  paints  his  picture. 


Assuming  the  correctness  of  the  view  that  the  novelist's 
business  is  to  give  true  pictures  of  life,  we  are  met  by  the 
question  of  the  value  of  this  result.  The  answer  to  this  is  two- 
fold: there  is  an  intellectual  value  and  an  emotional  value. 

The  amount  and  range  of  experience  that  comes  to  the 
ordinary  man  is  of  necessity  limited.  Most  of  us  are  tied 
to  a  particular  locality,  move  in  a  society  representing  only 
a  few  of  the  myriad  human  types  that  exist,  spend  the  ma- 
jority of  our  waking  hours  attending  to  a  more  or  less  mo- 
notonous series  of  duties  or  enjoying  a  small  variety  of 
recreations.  In  such  a  life  there  is  often  no  great  range  of 
opportunity ;  and  the  most  adventurous  career  touches,  after 
all,  but  a  few  points  in  the  infinite  complex  of  existence. 
But  we  have  our  imaginations,  and  it  is  to  these  that  the 
artist  appeals.  The  discriminating  reader  of  fiction  can 
enormously  enlarge  his  experience  of  life  through  his  ac- 
quaintance with  the  new  tracts  brought  within  his  vision 
by  the  novelist,  at  second  hand,  it  is  true,  but  the  vivid 
\irriter  can  often  bring  before  our  mental  eyes  scenes  and 


persons  whom  we  can  realize  and  understand  with  a  greater 
thoroughness  than  those  we  perceive  directly  through  our 
senses.  The  materials  for  the  understanding  of  men  and 
life  are  thus  greatly  increased,  and  at  the  same  time  the 
data  for  the  forming  of  those  generalizations  which  col- 
lectively make  up  our  philosophy. 

The  basis  of  all  sound  altruistic  activity  is  sympathy,  and 
sympathy  again  depends  on  the  imagination.  We  act  tact- 
fully and  effectively  for  the  relief  of  another's  suffering 
when  we  are  able  imaginatively  to  put  ourselves  in  that 
other's  place.  Now,  familiarity  with  well-described  char- 
acters in  fiction  not  only  makes  us  acquainted  with  a  much 
wider  variety  of  human  beings  and  enables  us  to  understand 
them,  but  it  provides  us  with  a  kind  of  emotional  gymnastic, 
increasing  our  capacity  for  putting  ourselves  whole-heart- 
edly and  clear-mindedly  in  the  other  man's  place.  Thus 
such  familiarity  is  a  corrective  of  both  provincialism  and 
selfishness,  broadening  the  outlook  and  enlarging  the  emo- 
tional range  through  the  development  of  the  imagination. 
Here  is  an  ethical  result  more  effective  by  far  than  that 
indicated  by  the  old  formula  of  "exemplars,"  warnings,  and 
poetic  justice,  and  one  that  implies  no  forcing  of  the  truth 
to  bring  its  lessons  home. 


In  what  has  been  said  about  fiction  as  a  picturing  of  life, 
something  has  already  been  implied  as  to  the  methods  in- 
volved. There  remain,  however,  some  other  important  ques- 
tions of  technic  on  which  we  may  briefly  touch. 

However  true  a  writer's  picture  of  life,  it  is  of  little  value 
if  it  does  not  impress  itself  on  the  reader.  The  question  of 
effectiveness  is  thus  of  great  importance,  and  with  certain 
classes  of  authors  it  not  infrequently  absorbs  them  to  the 
exclusion  even  of  the  question  of  truth. 

The  most  comprehensive  element  of  effectiveness  is 
structure.  A  story  that  does  not  hang  well  together,  in 
which  the  scenes  are  mere  scattered  episodes,  which  has  no 
palpable  thread,  no  climaxes,  and  no  conclusion,  is  not  likely 
to  be  read  through,  and,  if  it  is,  it  rouses  no  deep  interest, 


intellectual  or  emotional,  and  leaves  no  definite  stamp  on  the 
memory.  The  factors  which  it  lacks  are  those  that  give 
unity  of  structure.  From  this  point  of  view,  the  problem 
of  the  novelist  is  to  make  as  close-knit  and  thoroughly 
organized  a  plot  as  possible  without  violating  natural  prob- 
ability in  appearance  or  reality.  This  is  the  greatest  of 
technical  problems  for  the  author,  as  the  critical  appreci- 
ation of  structure  is  the  last  power  to  be  acquired  by  the 
careless  reader;  yet  no  sound  capacity  for  judging  or  en- 
joying fiction  is  possible  to  him  who  cannot  thus  view  the 
work  as  a  whole. 

Somewhat  similar  faculties  are  required  on  a  smaller  scale 
in  the  handling  of  situation  and  incident.  Many  writers  are 
able  to  present  these  effectively  in  isolation;  but  the  great 
writer  treatis  them  not  as  beads  on  a  string,  but  as  stones  in 
a  great  building. 

Both  plot  and  incident  in  turn  must  be  vitally  related  to 
character.  Not  only  must  the  persons  stand  out  clearly 
described  and  recognizable  as  the  people  we  know,  but  the 
things  that  happen  and  the  kind  of  characters  through  and 
to  whom  they  happen,  must  reciprocally  explain  each  other. 
Much  discussion  has  taken  place  with  regard  to  the  pro- 
priety of  explicit  analysis  of  character  in  the  novel,  some 
writers  feeling  bound  to  let  a  character's  words  and  deeds 
alone  explain  him  as  they  do  in  the  drama,  others  feeling 
free  to  come  forward  in  their  own  persons  and  explain 
frankly  the  motives  and  feelings  of  their  creatures.  Much 
naturally  depends  on  the  way  it  is  done.  Thackeray's 
friendly  gossip  with  the  reader  behind  the  backs  of  his 
dramatis  personce  is  often  so  charming  that  we  should  be 
loath  to  lose  it;  and  often  the  explicit  statement  of  the 
author  saves  us  much  labor  and  prevents  important  mis- 
understanding. On  the  other  hand,  there  is  unquestionably 
great  satisfaction  in  the  drawing  of  our  own  inferences, 
and  a  considerable  gain  in  the  illusion  of  reality  when  the 
actors  are  allowed  to  exhibit  their  quality  unaided  by  a  talk- 
ing showman. 

The  attempt  has  here  been  made  to  outline  some  of  the 
main  principles  of  the  art  of  fiction  without  adopting  the 

crr«r Q 


partisan  attitude  of  any  one  school.  Within  the  limits  of 
these  principles  there  is  room  for  a  great  variety  of  type, 
for  realism  and  romance,  for  chronicles  of  the  common- 
place and  annals  of  adventure,  for  stirring  tales  of  action 
and  subtle  psychological  analysis.  The  endless  variety  of 
human  life  supplies  an  equally  endless  variety  of  themes; 
and  the  nature  of  the  theme  will  properly  lead  to  emphasis 
now  on  the  external,  now  on  the  internal,  now  on  the  or- 
dinary, now  on  the  extraordinary,  with  appropriate  vari- 
ation of  the  technical  methods  employed.  But  with  all  this 
variation  the  demand  holds  for  truth  to  the  permanent  and 
essential  traits  of  human  nature  and  human  life,  and  for 
vitality  and  interest  in  the  presentation  of  this  truth. 

But  what,  the  reader  may  ask,  of  the  pleasure  from 
novels?  naturally,  since  the  giving  of  pleasure  is  usually  as- 
sumed as  the  main  end  of  fiction.  Well,  pleasure  largely 
depends  on  who  is  to  be  pleased:  there  are  readers  who 
could  demand  no  greater  pleasure  than  that  sense  of  en- 
largement of  personality,  of  the  scope  of  experience  and 
sympathy,  which  has  been  put  down  as  the  chief  value  of 
the  novd.  It  may  be  claimed,  also,  that  in  the  demand  that 
fiction  should  impress  vividly  and  hold  the  interest  power- 
fully we  have  provided  for  the  seekers  after  pleasure.  The 
greatest  pleasure  is  to  live  broadly  and  intensely,  to  feel 
oneself  in  a  world  significant  at  every  point  and  palpitating 
in  response  to  our  activities,  and  this  the  greatest  fiction 
surely  tends  to  give.  One  of  the  finest  of  modem  masters 
of  the  art,  Mr.  Henry  James,  has  summed  up  the  matter  in 
an  epigram  as  true  as  it  is  brilliant,  that  we  are  entertained 
by  the  novelist  because  we  live  at  his  expense. 


By  Professor  F.  N.  Robinson 

THE  WORKS  to  be  dealt  with  in  the  present  lecture 
are  widely  separated  in  time  and  place.  They  in- 
clude "-^sop's  Fables,"  a  collection  which  bears  the 
name  of  a  Greek  slave  of  the  sixth  century,  but  is  actually  a 
growth  of  many  generations  before  and  after  him;  the 
"Arabian  Nights,"  which  contains  Oriental  stories  of  diverse 
origin;  the  sagas  of  mediaeval  Ireland,  as  represented  by 
"The  Destruction  of  Da  Derga's  Hostel";  and  the  folk 
origin;  the  sagas  of  mediaeval  Ireland,  as  represented  by 
the  Grimms  or  imitated  by  Hans  Christian  Andersen.  In  so 
broad  a  range  of  writings  there  is  naturally  great  variety 
of  matter  and  style,  and  there  might  seem  at  first  to  be  few 
common  characteristics.  But  all  the  works  mentioned — or 
all  except  Andersen's  tales — are  alike  in  being  popular  prose 
fiction,  and  Andersen's  collection  is  an  artistic  imitation  of 
similar  productions. 


The  term  "popular"  is  here  employed,  of  course,  in  a 
technical  meaning,  and  does  not  have  reference  to  vogue  or 
popularity,  in  the  ordinary  sense.  Popular  works,  in  the 
stricter  definition  of  the  term,  are  anonymous  and  are  held 
to  be  the  product  of  many  successive  authors.  They  com- 
monly pass  through  a  long  period  of  oral  transmission  be- 
^  fore  being  committed  to  writing,  and  they  are  consequently 
cast  in  a  conventional  or  traditional,  rather  than  an  indi- 
vidual, style  and  form.  The  exact  nature  and  extent  of 
popular  composition  is  a  matter  of  dispute.  In  the  case  of 
ballad  poetry,  with  its  dancing,  singing  throng,  the  process 
of  communal  authorship  can  sometimes  be  actually  ob- 
served; but  in  the  case  of  the  prose  tales  no  such  opportunity 
.exists    for    collective    composition.      Still    even    there    the 



changes  and  additions  introduced  by  successive  narrators 
make  of  a  story  a  common  product,  for  which  no  single 
author  is  responsible.  Popular  works  in  both  prose  and 
verse  show  various  stages  of  artistry;  and  just  as  in  the 
Anglo-Saxon  epic  of  "Beowulf,"*  there  is  evidence  of  the 
hand  of  a  single  poet  of  high  order,  so  in  the  "Arabian 
Nights,'"  for  example,  one  may  suspect  that  the  style  and 
structure  were  largely  molded  by  a  single  writer,  or  group 
of  writers,  of  skill  and  literary  training.  There  arc  many 
mooted  questions  as  to  the  history  of  the  whole  type,  or  as 
to  the  exact  nature  of  particular  works,  but  there  can  be  no 
doubt  of  the  existence  of  a  great  body  of  literature  which 
is  in  a  real  sense  public  property — ^popular  somehow  in  or- 
igin and  transmission,  and  thereby  determined  in  its  char- 
acter. Both  the  verse  and  the  prose  of  this  popular  sort  are 
well  represented  in  The  Harvard  Classics,  the  former  by 
the  traditional  ballads  and  the  latter  by  the  works  enu* 
merated  above. 


Writings  of  the  kind  under  consideration  would  probably 
have  had  a  less  conspicuous  place  in  a  literary  or  educa- 
tional collection  a  few  generations  ago.  For  interest  in 
popular  literature,  or,  at  least,  formal  attention  to  it  on  the 
part  of  the  learned  and  cultivated,  is  largely  a  growth  of 
the  eighteenth  and  nineteenth  centuries.  In  earlier  periods, 
and  especially  in  those  when  classical  standards  prevailed, 
the  study  of  literature  meant  primarily  the  study  of  great 
masterpieces  of  poetry,  philosophy,  or  oratory,  and  the  art  of 
criticism  consisted  largely  in  the  deduction  of  rules  and 
standards  from  such  models.  The  products  of  the  people,  if 
noticed  at  all  by  men  of  letters,  were  likely  to  be  treated 
with  condescension  or  perhaps  judged  by  formal  standards, 
as  Addison  praised  the  ballad  of  "Chevy  Chase,"*  for  con- 
forming in  great  measure  to  the  narrative  method  of  the 
"i^neid."  *  But  in  more  recent  times  the  spirit  of  criticism 
has  changed,  and  writers  have  even  swung  to  the  opposite 

^Harvard  Classics,  xlix,  sff.  »H.  C,  xvi,  lyff, 

•H.  C,  xl,  94-  «H.  C,  xiu.. 


extreme  of  adulation  of  all  popular  products.  The  part  of 
the  people  in  composition  has  been  magnified,  until  the 
"Iliad"  or  the  Beowulf"  has  been  conceived  as  the  actual 
production  of  a  whole  community.  With  this  renewed  ad- 
miration for  popular  literature  in  its  highest  forms  has  come 
an  enthusiastic  interest  in  all  the  minor  products  of  popular 
or  semi-popular  composition,  and  vast  numbers  of  scholars 
have  devoted  themselves  to  the  collection  and  investigation 
of  folk  songs  and  folk  tales  from  every  corner  of  the  world. 
Most  interest  has  doubtless  centered  in  the  poetry,  as  most 
labor  and  ingenuity  has  been  spent  upon  the  great  epics, 
such  as  the  "Iliad"  or  the  "Nibelungenlied."  But  the  excel- 
lence of  much  popular  prose  narrative  has  also  been  rec- 
ognized, and  this  also  has  been  very  extensively  studied. 


Though  popular  fiction  has  not  always  occupied  a  dig- 
nified place  in  the  works  on  literary  history,  it  has  long 
exerted  an  important  influence  on  the  more  sophisticated 
forms  of  literature.  In  the  ancient  world,  it  is  almost  too 
obvious  to  point  out,  the  myths  upon  which  drama  and  epic 
turned  were  at  the  outset  often  popular  tales  of  gods  and 
heroes.  The  fable,  as  the  embodiment  of  moral  wisdom, 
has  been,  of  course,  the  constant  resource  of  speakers  and 
writers,  and  in  the  hands  of  such  poets  as  Marie  de  France 
in  the  twelfth  century,  or  La  Fontaine  in  the  seventeenth, 
it  has  received  the  highest  finish  of  art.  Though  the 
"Arabian  Nights"  collection,  as  a  whole,  is  of  recent  intro- 
duction into  European  literature.  Oriental  tales  of  the  sort 
which  compose  it  circulated  extensively  in  Europe  from  the 
time  of  the  crusades  and  supplied  much  material  for  the 
fiction  of  the  Middle  Ages.  In  the  last  century,  too,  poets 
have  found  a  rich  storehouse  in  the  traditions  of  the  days 
of  "good  Haroun  Alraschid."  The  folktales  of  northern 
Europe,  again,  as  represented  by  Celtic  and  Scandinavian 
sagas  or  by  the  modern  German  collection  of  the  Grimms, 
have  been  the  source  of  much  lofty  poetry  and  romance. 
Many  a  great  play  or  poem  goes  back  in  substance  to  some 
bit  of  fairy  mythology  or  to  a  single  tale  like  that  of  a 

230  PROSE  Ficnoir 

persecuted  Cinderella,  or  of  a  father  and  son  Unwittingly 
engaged  in  mortal  combat  The  splendid  romances  of  King 
Arthur'  have  derived  many  of  their  essential  elements  from 
popular  sagas  not  very  different  in  character  from  the  ac* 
count  of  Da  Derga*  printed  in  this  series.  In  the  hands  of 
court  poets  or  polite  romancers  the  original  stories  were,  of 
course,  often  disguised  beyond  easy  recognition.  Their 
motives  were  changed^  and  they  were  transferred  to  the 
setting  of  a  higher  civilization.  Oftener  than  not  the 
authors  who  treated  them  were  wholly  unaware  of  the  his- 
tory or  meaning  of  the  material.  Yet  a  chief  result  of  the 
critical  scholarship  of  the  last  hundred  years  has  been  to 
show  how  the  highest  products  of  literary  aft  are  derived 
from  simple  elements  of  popular  tradition. 


From  the  historical  point  of  view,  then,  popular  fiction 
has  an  important  place  in  literary  education.  But  in  and 
for  itself  also,  without  regard  to  historical  standards,  this 
great  body  of  writings  possesses  a  direct  human  interest 
not  inferior  to  that  of  the  literature  of  aft.  The  works 
selected  for  the  present  series  illustrate  very  well  the  va- 
rieties of  the  type  and  the  phases  of  life  with  which  it  may 
be  concerned.  The  collections  of  Andersen'  and  the 
Grimms*  offer,  in  general,  the  least  complicated  of  narra- 
tives. The  tales,  or  Mdrchen  (as  they  have  come  to  be 
called  in  English  as  well  as  in  German),  deal  with  simple 
episodes,  localized,  to  be  sure,  but  having  for  the  most  part 
no  marked  national  or  personal  character.  They  are  uni- 
versal in  appeal,  and  almost  universal  in  actual  occurrence 
wherever  folklore  has  been  collected.  A  very  simple  stage 
of  narrative  is  likewise  exhibited  by  the  yEsopic  fable.*  The 
hero  tale  of  Ireland,  on  the  other  hand,  is  a  more  complex 
product.  Here  there  is  accumulation  of  episodes,  with 
something  like  epic  structure;  and  definite  characters,  half- 
historic  and  half -legendary,  stand  out  as  the  heroes  of  the 
action.    The  localization  is  significant,  and  the  stories  re* 

•H.  C,  XXXV,   107 fi,  *H.  C,  xlix,  21  iff.  'H.  C,  xvil,  2375. 


produce  the  life  and  atmosphere  of  the  northern  heroic  age. 
Both  the  narrative  prose  and  the  numerous  poems  that  are 
interspersed  in  the  sagas  testify  to  the  existence  of  a  dis- 
tinct literary  tradition,  still  barbaric  in  many  respects,  in 
the  old  bardic  schools.  Finally,  the  "Arabian  Nights"  pre- 
sents a  still  more  elaborate  development  in  a  different  di- 
rection. The  fundamental  elements  again  are  beast  fables, 
fairy  lore,  and  popular  anecdotes  of  love,  prowess,  or  in- 
trigue ;  but  they  are  worked  up  under  the  influence  of  a  rich 
and  settled  civilization  and  depict,  with  something  like  his- 
toric fullness,  the  life  and  manners  of  the  Mohammedan 
Middle  Ages.  The  collection,  like  the  works  mentioned 
earlier,  is  of  unknown  authorship,  and  is  plainly  the  product 
of  many  men  through  many  generations.  But  the  style 
gives  evidence  of  a  finished  literary  tradition;  the  nameless 
and  numerous  contributors  appear  to  have  been  men  of 
books  rather  than  the  simple  story-tellers  of  an  age  of  oral 
delivery.  Though  not  in  the  stage  of  individual  authorship, 
the  "Arabian  Nights"  stands  yet  outside  the  range  of  the 
strictly  popular  and  within  the  realm  of  literary  composition. 
Even  in  its  most  elaborate  development,  however,  popular 
fiction  remains  something  quite  different  from  the  cus- 
tomary modem  novel  or  narrative  poem.  It  commonly 
lacks  a  sustained  plot,  worked  out  with  close  regard  to 
cause  and  effect.  Still  more  characteristically  it  lacks  the 
study  of  character  and  the  intellectual  analysis  of  such 
varied  problems  as  occupy  the  -fiction  of  the  present  age. 
The  popular  romances  lay  their  stress  chiefly  on  incident  and 
adventure  or  simple  intrigue,  and  set  forth  only  the  more 
familiar  and  accepted  moral  teachings.  They  represent,  on 
the  whole,  an  instinctive  or  traditional,  rather  than  a  highly 
reflective,  philosophy  of  life.  For  all  these  reasons  they 
have  come  to  be  regarded  chiefly  as  the  literature  of  chil- 
dren; a  natural  result,  perhaps,  of  the  fact  that  they  orig- 
inated largely  in  the  childhood  of  civilization  or  among  the 
simple  peoples  in  more  advanced  ages.  But  it  Is  note- 
worthy that  they  were  not,  in  most  cases,  really  intended 
for  the  young;  and  the  man  or  woman  who  has  outgrown 
them  completely  has  one  serious  loss  to  set  down  against 
the  g^ins  of  advancing  years. 


By  Dr.  G.  H.  Maynadier 

SIR  THOMAS  MALORY  is  unique  among  English 
writers.  His  famous  "Morte  Darthur,"  which  came 
from  the  press  of  William  Caxton,  the  first  English 
printer,  in  1485,  he  completed  probably  in  1470.  Thus  he 
wrote  at  a  time  when  the  printing  press  was  beginning  to 
make  the  various  European  languages  less  changeable  than 
they  had  been  when  a.  gentleman's  library  might  consist  of 
but  a  single  parchment  manuscript;  he  was  near  enough  to 
our  own  day  to  be  the  first  English  author  whose  work  can 
now  be  read  with  enjoyment  and  yet  without  special  study. 
Save  for  an  occasional  word  which  one  must  look  up  in  a 
glossary — like  the  obsolete  wood,  meaning  frensied — a  page 
of  Malory,  despite  its  archaisms  of  grammar  and  expression, 
is  as  intelligible  as  one  of  the  latest  magazines  or  novels. 
Nevertheless,,  when  he  wrote,  the  world  of  European  civil- 
ization was  still  narrow  materially  and  intellectually.  The 
Atlantic  was  its  bound  to  the  west;  the  Sahara,  to  the 
south;  the  Far  East  was  an  almost  mythical  Cathay.  The 
Renaissance  had  scarcely  made  itself  felt  beyond  Italy;  to 
all  but  a  very  few  scholars,  the  old  worlds  of  Greece  and 
Rome  and  Palestine  were  known  solely  through  stories  from 
poetry  and  history  so  metamorphosed  that  King  David, 
Julius  Caesar,  and  Alexander  the  Great  wore  mediaeval 
armor  and  held  splendid  court  like  Capet  and  Plantagenet 
kings.  In  spirit  Malory  is  as  much  of  the  Middle  Ages  as 
if  he  had  died  two  hundred  instead  of  two  score  years  be- 
fore Columbus  set  out  to  solve  the  mystery  of  the  western 
seas.  It  is  hard  to  believe  that  only  half  a  century  after  his 
death.  Englishmen  should  be  reading  Homer  at  Oxford 
and  Cambridge,  and  Luther  translating  the  New  Testament 
into  German;  that  a  few  years  more,  and  the  leading  coun- 
tries of  Europe  should  be  making  plans  for  colonial  empire 



which  have  resulted  in  the  world-powers  of  the  present. 
Thanks  to  his  living  in  just  the  years  that  he  did,  Malory 
has  left  us  in  his  "Morte  Darthur"  a  work  full  of  mediaeval 
spirit  with  almost  no  mediaeval  difficulty  of  language,  though 
with  a  very  charming  suggestion  of  mediaeval  ism  in  style. 


Even  if  the  "Morte  Darthur"  had  not  this  charm  of  style, 
it  would  be  important  in  literature  as  giving  the  modern 
world  the  most  easily  intelligible  mediaeval  version  of  what 
Tennyson  called  "the  greatest  of  all  poetic  subjects."  Of 
the  several  valuable  contributions  of  the  Middle  Ages  to  the 
general  store  of  European  art  and  thought,  none  is  richer 
than  their  mass  of  legend — stories  of  saints  and  martyrs,  of 
many  local  champions  of  more  or  less  fame,  and  of  a  fe^ 
who  attaining  wider  fame  became  great  epic  heroes  of  the 
world.  In  nearly  every  case,  poetic  fame  has  a  basis  of 
historical  fact,  but  most  of  the  superstructure,  and  all  its 
adornment,  is  popular  story.  Such  a  hero  is  Siegfried,^ 
now  the  typical  representative  of  the  Germanic  hero-age,  but 
at  first  no  better  known  than  half  a  dozen  other  warriors, 
like  Dietrich  of  Verona,  whose  stories  grew  out  of  the  un- 
settling migrations  of  the  Germanic  peoples  in  the  fourth, 
fifth,  and  sixth  centuries.  Another  is  Charlemagne,*  as 
colossal  a  figure  in  mediaeval  romance  as  in  history  is  the 
monarch  who  was  crowned  Holy  Roman  Emperor  on 
Christmas  Day  in  the  year  800.  An  even  greater  epic  hero 
of  the  Middle  Ages  is  Arthur,  who  is  much  better  known  to 
English  readers  than  the  others  largely  because  of  Sir 
Thomas  Malory. 


The  historical  basis  of  the  Arthur-legends  is  the  Anglo- 
Saxon  conquest  of  Britain.  In  the  three  centuries  after 
the  first  settlement  of  the  Germanic  invaders  in  that 
island,  the  Britons  were  gradually  driven  into  the  moun- 

*  See  "The  Song  of  the  Volsunga"  in  Harvard  Classics,  xlix,  26sS, 

*  See  "The  Song  of  Roland"  in  H.  C,  xlix,  97S, 


tains  of  Wales  and  Cumberland  and  the  peninsula  of 
Cornwall,  or  they  fled  across  the  Channel  to  turn 
Armorica  into  Brittany.  Meanwhile  they  suffered  almost 
uniform  defeat.  But  for  a  while  about  the  year  500  they 
won  victories  that  for  nearly  half  a  century  checked  the 
Saxon  advance.  Their  leader  was  Arthur,  a  good  general, 
but  probably  not  a  king.  Now  men  much  in  the  public  eye 
attract  stories  to  themselves,  as  witness  the  countless  anec- 
dotes related  of  Abraham  Lincoln.  With  peoples  of  slight 
civilization,  such  stories  are  full  of  marvels  and  portents. 
Thus  hero-legends  are  made ;  thus  the  Arthur-legend  grew  up. 
Probably  immediately  after  Arthur's  death,  popular  story 
began  to  increase  his  fame.  In  the  so-called  chronicle  of  a 
British  monk,  Nennius,  written  three  hundred  years  after 
Arthur's  victories,  we  have  our  sole  literary  glimpse  of  the 
'  romantic  hero-legend  in  the  making,  for  Nennius  associates 
several  supernatural  tales  with  the  British  leader.  Pre- 
sumably among  Britons  on  both  sides  of  the  Channel — for 
Arthur  won  his  victories  before  the  principal  migration  to 
Armorica— similar  association  of  marvel  and  adventure  with 
the  national  champion  was  common.  By  degrees  these  hero- 
tales  passed  to  the  neighbors  of  the  Britons.  Because  of 
their  interest  and  poetic  charm  they  came  to  be  known  in 
both  France  and  England,  though  always  purely  popular — 
"old  wives'  tales"  beneath  the  notice  of  serious  writers. 

The  Norman  Conquest,  however,  had  quickened  tremen- 
dously interest  in  everything  connected  with  Britain,  even  its 
legendary  heroes;  and  so,  early  in  the  reign  of  Stephen, 
grandson  of  the  Conqueror,  the  clerk,  Geoffrey  of  Mon- 
mouth, drawing  on  the  store  of  British  legend  and  altering 
it  freely,  ventured  to  publish  his  "History  of  the  Kings  of 
Britain,"  an  alleged  chronicle  in  Latin  prose.  Here  we 
have  for  the  first  time  in  literary  form  the  story  of  Arthur, 
King  of  Britain,  of  his  wide  conquests,  and  of  his  death  at 
the  hands  of  traitorous  Mordred.  Soon  other  authors, 
mostly  Anglo-Norman  or  subject  to  Anglo-Norman  influ- 
ence, began  to  use  material  similar  to  Geoffrey's.  They 
celebrated  Arthur's  Round  Table,  and  various  knights  whom 
Geoffrey  had  not  mentioned.  By  the  beginning  of  the  thir- 
teenth century,  the  stories  of  Arthur  and  his  knights  had 

pitosB  FICTION  m 

become  world  literature,  for  Geoffrey's  "Chronicle"  and  the 
first  French  Arthurian  romance*  had  been  translated  or 
adapted  into  every  language  of  western  Europe,  Wherever 
they  went,  these  stories  retained  certain  common  traits.  In 
all  was  poetic  wonder;  in  all  was  utter  geographical  con- 
fusion and  historical  inaccuracy ;  kings,  knights,  and  ladies 
were  characters  contemporary  with  the  authors  who  wrote 
about  them;  instead  of  the  rough  manners  of  the  sixth  cen- 
tury, there  was  the  polish  of  mediaeval  chivalry.  And  with 
the  exception  of  Geoffrey's  work,  the  first  Arthur-stories 
were  in  verse,  and  the  adventures  of  different  knights 
formed  the  subjects  of  different  romances. 

In  historical  inaccuracies,  mediaeval  authors  did  not 
change.  Nor,  for  that  matter,  did  postmediaeval  authors; 
Arthur  and  his  knights  remain  for  all  time  typical  romantic 
representatives  of  the  age  of  chivalry.  But  early  in  the 
thirteenth  century,  writers  began  to  turn  metrical  romances 
into  prose.  Then  they  began  to  combine  the  adventures  of 
one  knight  with  another  in  one  romance,  till  by  degrees 
there  grew  up  vast  jumbles  of  adventure  which  clumsily 
tried  to  give  something  like  comprehensive  tales  of  the 
adventures  of  Arthur  and  all  his  principal  knights.  Owing 
to  multiplicity  of  sources  and  mistakes  of  scribes,  these 
composite  stories  were  sometimes  contradictory  and  con^ 
fusing  in  the  extreme.  A  late  copy  of  one  of  them  seems  to 
have  been  Malory's  principal  source.  Probably  he  modified 
this  source  by  information  from  other  manuscripts,  and  by 
independent  judgment  in  putting  materials  together.  How- 
ever that  may  be,  he  has  by  no  means  brought  order  out  of 
chaos.  Yet,  taken  as  a  whole,  Malory's  work  has  some 
organic  structure.  It  is  the  best  and  clearest  comprehensive 
story  of  ''King  Arthur  and  of  his  Noble  Knights  of  the 
Round  Table"  that  the  Middle  Ages  have  left  us, 


Like  the  other  principal  Round  Table  stories,  the  story 
of  the  Grail  came  from  ancient  folk-tales,  if  not  from  the 
mythology,  of  the  insular  Celts.  Both  British  and  Gaelic 
Celts  kn^w  tales  of  life-giving  or  healing  vessels  analogous 


to  the  Grail;  and  they  frequently  associated  with  such  a 
vessel  a  spear  and  sometimes  a  sword.  There  is  even  a  talc 
of  Irish  fairies  who  had  a  caldron  from  which  no  man  ever 
went  away  unsatisfied,  a  spear,  a  sword,  and  a  ''stone  of 
fate"  that  is  perhaps  related  to  the  stone  "hoving  on  the 
water"  from  which  Galahad  draws  his  fated  sword.  Ex- 
planations of  the  way  in  which  pagan  talismans  of  old  Celtic 
story  changed  into  objects  of  Christian  significance  in 
mediaeval  story  can  probably  never  be  more  than  conjecture. 
There  is  no  doubt,  though,  that  after  the  Grail  story  was 
incorporated  in  the  g^eat  Arthur  cycle  about  1175,  the  ten- 
dency was  to  make  it  more  and  more  significant  of  mediaeval 
Christianity,  perhaps  because  the  mysterious  vessel  called 
Grail  suggested  the  sacred  mystery  of  the  sacramental  cup. 
So  Percival,  a  good  worldly  knight,  the  first  hero  of  the 
Grail,  was  superseded  in  the  early  thirteenth  century  by 
Galahad,  invented  by  an  unknown  romancer  for  the  sole 
purpose,  apparently,  of  being  an  ideally  ascetic  hero.  Al- 
ready the  Grail  had  become  the  cup  from  which  Christ  drank 
at  the  Last  Supper,  and  symbolical  of  the  Communion  Cup. 
A  long  account  had  been  written  of  its  journey  from  Pales- 
tine to  Britain,  which  is  not  included  in  the  "Morte  Dar- 
thur."  Marvels  in  the  story  were  explained  after  the  fash- 
ion of  the  scriptural  interpretation  of  dreams.  Sir  Lancelot, 
Galahad's  father,  was  made  to  "come  but  of  the  eighth 
degree  from  our  Lord  Jesu  Christ."  And  among  the  many 
monkish  grafts  on  the  old  pagan  tree  was  that  so-called 
"wonderful  tale  of  King  Solomon  and  his  wife,"  and  their 
three  spindles,  and  Solomon's  ship,  all  of  which  is  not  so 
"wonderful"  as  senseless. 

If  Malory's  version  of  the  Grail  legend  is  characteristic  of 
mediaeval  romance  in  introducing  the  superstition  and  ig- 
norance of  mediaeval  Christianity,  it  introduces  also  its 
mystical  beauty.  Galahad  in  his  incomprehension  of  human 
temptation  may  lack  human  sympathy,  but  he  is  a  very  fair 
picture  of  innocent  youth  when,  led  by  "a  good  old  man, 
and  an  ancient,  clothed  all  in  white,"  he  comes  to  sit  in  the 
siege  perilous,  in  red  arms  himself  and  a  "coat  of  red 
sendal,"  and  "a  mantel  upon  his  shoulders  that  was  furred 
with  ermine."    He  must  be  a  very  hard-headed  agnostic  or 



insensitive  puritan  who  is  not  awed  by  the  "alighting"  of 
"the  grace  of  the  Holy  Ghost"  on  the  knights  when  the  Grail 
appears  miraculously  at  Arthur's  court,  and  impressed  by 
the  celebration  of  the  Mass  at  Carbonek  and  Sarras. 

Also  in  secular  ways,  Malory's  Grail  chapters  are  typical 
of  mediaeval  romance.  The  institution  of  "courtly  love" — 
that  is,  a  knight's  unquestioning  obedience  to  his  lady,  such 
as  we  see  in  Lancelot's  devotion  to  Guinevere — the  obliga- 
tion to  the  vows  of  knighthood,  with  its  ideals  of  frank- 
ness, chastity,  courtesy,  and  service  to  all  who  are  weak  and 
suffering,  and  also  the  forgetting  of  these  vows  in  the  heat 
of  human  passion — all  this  may  be  found  in  Malory's  chap- 
ters of  the  Grail,  as  in  the  rest  of  his  "Morte  Darthur."  As 
Caxton*  says  in  the  oft-quoted  words  of  his  Preface  to 
Malory's  book:  "Herein  may  be  seen  noble  chivalry,  cour- 
tesy, humanity,  friendliness,  hardyhood,  love,  friendship, 
cowardice,  murder,  hate,  virtue,  and  sin."  But  the  general 
impression  of  it  all  is  of  good  rather  than  evil,  "of  many 
joyous  and  pleasant  histories,  and  noble  and  renowned  acts 
of  humanity,  gentleness,  and  chivalry." 

*H.  C,  xxxix.  a  iff. 


By  Professor  J.  D.  M.  Ford 

in  the  little  Spanish  university  town  of  Alcala  de 
Henares,  in  1547.  His  father  was  a  poor  physician 
with  a  large  family  and  with  somewhat  nomadic  propen- 
sities, haling  his  offspring  about  from  Alcala  to  various 
other  cities,  such  as  Valladolid,  Madrid,  and  Seville.  The 
chances  are  that  Miguel  did  not  receive  a  university  train- 
ing. It  is  conjectured,  on  fairly  reasonable  grounds,  that  he 
qualified  for  teaching  and  became  a  tutor  in  a  school  at 
Madrid.  At  all  events,  by  1569  he  was  attached  to  the  train 
of  the  Italian  prelate,  Acquaviva,  who  had  come  to  Spain 
as  papal  nuncio,  and  with  the  latter  he  went  to  Rome  toward 
the  end  of  that  year. 

He  did  not  long  remain  there,  for  in  1570  he  was  a  gentle- 
man volunteer  on  one  of  the  vessels  which,  under  Don  John 
of  Austria,  inflicted  a  crushing  defeat  upon  the  Turk  at  the 
battle  of  Lepanto.  In  the  engagement  Cervantes  was 
wounded  quite  seriously  in  his  left  hand,  which  remained 
forever  after  somewhat  crippled.  Still,  after  a  period  of 
convalescence  spent  in  Italy,  he  played  a  part  in  other  cam-, 
paigns.  Wearying  of  warfare,  he  took  ship  for  Spain  in 
September  of  iS75,  having  first  provided  himself  with  letters 
of  recommendation  from  his  military  superiors  and  the 
viceroy  of  Naples.  These  credentials,  by  means  of  which 
he  had  hoped  to  obtain  preferment  at  home,  proved  to  be 
his  undoing,  for  his  vessel  was  captured  by  Moorish  pirates 
and  he  was  carried  off  to  Algiers,  where,  because  of  the 
terms  of  praise  in  which  these  letters  spoke  of  him,  he  was 
deemed  a  person  of  high  degree  and  held  for  an  excessively 
large  ransom. 

As  his  family  and  his  friends  could  not  raise  the  exorbi- 
tant sum  demanded  for  his  release,  he  remained  five  years  a 




captive  at  Algiers,  passing  through  most  varied  experiences. 
Finally,  as  a  result  of  a  happy  chance,  he  was  liberated  and 
could  return  to  Spain.  He  has  himself  adverted  to  the  man* 
ner  of  his  life  as  a  slave  at  Algiers  in  his  play,  "El  trato  de 
Argel,"  and  in  the  episode  of  **E1  cautivo"  in  "Don  Quixote," 
and  tradition  has  even  more  to  say  respecting  it.  It  would 
seem  that  he  headed  many  attempts  at  escape  on  the  part 
of  the  Christian  captives  and  nevertheless  was  not  sub- 
jected to  the  penalties  for  such  attempts,  of  which  empale* 
ment  was  the  most  usual.  Possibly  his  captors  regarded 
him  as  a  madman  and  therefore,  according  to  Mohammedan 
ideas,  exempt  from  punishment  for  his  oflFenses. 


Back  in  Spain,  he  may  have  engaged  again  in  military 
service  for  a  brief  period,  but,  at  all  events,  by  1584  he  had 
entered  seriously  upon  a  literary  career,  for  in  this  year  he 
had  completed  his  pastoral  romance,  "Galatea."  This  is  a 
work  of  little  merit,  being  as  unnatural  and  tedious  in  its 
treatment  of  the  life  of  shepherds  and  shepherdesses  as  are 
the  many  native  and  foreign  works  of  its  kind;  yet,  occa- 
sionally it  does  betray  some  real  emotion,  and  it  is  thought 
to  have  brought  to  a  happy  termination  his  courtship  of 
Catalina  de  Palacios.  A  man  without  private  means,  now 
facing  the  exigencies  of  married  life,  Cervantes  conceived 
the  idea  of  supplying  his  needs  by  providing  plays  for  the 
Spanish  stage,  which  was  already  entering  upon  its  age  of 
glory.  The  idea  was  a  bad  one,  for  of  the  more  than  a 
score  of  pieces  composed  by  him  at  this  time  not  one  was 
either  a  dramatic  or  a  financial  success.  Defeated  in  this 
purpose,  he  was  fain  to  fall  back  upon  the  meager  salary 
which  he  gained  as  a  minor  officer  of  the  Royal  Treasurer, 
for  during  some  years  after  1587  he  was  engaged  in  collect- 
ing provisions  for  the  royal  forces  or  in  extracting  taxes 
from  reluctant  subjects  of  the  king. 

The  sober  facts  at  our  command  would  incline  us  to  be- 
lieve that  Cervantes  was  leading  a  life  of  misery.  No  doubt 
he  was,  but  in  spite  of  this  he  was  constantly  producing 
lyric  effusions  in  praise  of  one  or  another  friend,  or  cele- 


brating  this  or  that  event  Once  for  all  be  it  said  that  as 
a  lyric  poet  Cervantes  occupies  quite  a  minor  rank;  his 
verses  are  rarely  imaginative  or  sprightly,  and  now  and 
then,  as  when  he  strikes  the  solemn  note,  does  he  rise  to 
any  great  poetic  height.  But  Cervantes  was  not  only  versi- 
fying during  all  this  time  that  he  was  meeting  with  mis- 
fortune in  carrying  out  the  duties  of  his  humble  public 
office;  he  was  doing  something  vastly  more  important  for 
us  all;  he  was  contemplating  the  composition  of  the  "Don 
Quixote/'  Legend  has  it  that  he  wrote  the  "Don  Quixote" 
in  prison,  but  the  legend  is  based  on  an  unjustifiable  inter- 
pretation of  a  passage  in  the  Prologue  to  that  novel.  Still, 
the  first  thought  of  it  may  have  occurred  to  him  in  the  en- 
forced leisure  of  some  one  of  his  incarcerations,  although 
the  chances  are  that  the  actual  writing  of  the  First  Part  ex- 
tended over  some  years  of  the  last  decade  of  the  sixteenth 
century  and  through  the  first  three  or  four  years  of  the 
seventeenth.  In  1605  the  first  edition  of  the  First  Part  ap- 
peared, and  the  story  met  with  an  acclaim  which  called  forth 
speedily  new  editions  at  home  and  abroad,  and  no  few  trans- 
lations into  foreign  languages. 


But  eleven  years  more  of  life  remained  for  Cervantes^ 
and  during  these,  in  so  far  as  our  knowledge  goes,  he  met 
with  no  more  worldly  prosperity  than  in  the  past;  although 
it  is  possible  that  his  pecuniary  distress  was  alleviated  some- 
what by  modest  returns  from  his  books,  and  by  the  bounty 
of  his  patron,  the  Conde  de  Lemos.  In  one  of  the  chapters 
of  the  First  Part  of  the  "Don  Quixote"  Cervantes  mentions 
by  name  a  little  tale  of  roguish  doings,  the  "Rinconete  y 
Cortadillo."  This,  his  own  composition,  reappears  with 
eleven  additional  short  stories  in  the  collection  entitled  "No- 
velas  ejamplares,"  which  was  issued  from  the  press  in  1612. 
Had  he  written  nothing  but  the  "Exemplary  Tales,"  his 
fame  would  be  secure  in  the  annals  of  Spanish  literature. 
They  were  the  best- framed  short  stories  so  far  produced  in 
Spanish ;  they  are  interesting  and  realistic,  although  at  times 
brutally  offensive  to  morality.     One  of  the  proofs  of  the 


interest  that  they  excited  abroad  is  to  be  found  in  the  fact 
that  English  dramatists  like  Fletcher,  Massinger,  Middleton, 
and  Rowley  drew  upon  them  for  the  plots  of  some  of  their 

While  composing  these  dramatic  pieces,  Cervantes  was 
carrying  on  apace  a  sequel  to  the  First  Part  of  the  "Don 
Quixote."  This  Second  Part  and  conclusion  of  the  story  of 
the  adventures  of  Don  Quixote  and  Sancho  Panza  he  com- 
pleted hurriedly  and  published  in  1615,  upon  learning  that 
a  spurious  Second  Part  had  been  put  forth  at  Tarragona  in 
Aragon  in  1614  by  a  person  who  masquerades  under  the 
pseudonym  of  Fernandez  de  Avellaneda,  and  whose  identity 
remains  an  enigma.  The  days  of  Cervantes  were  drawing 
to  their  close,  but  he  continued  to  labor  to  the  end,  and  on 
his  dying  couch  he  put  the  finishing  touches  to  a  novel  of 
love  and  adventurous  travel,  the  "Persiles  y  Sigismunda." 
On  April  23,  1616,  Cervantes  passed  away  at  Madrid, 
nominally  on  the  same  day  as  Shakespeare,  but  not  precisely 
so  on  account  of  the  difference  still  existing  between  the 
Spanish  and  the  English  calendar.  His  remains  are  sup- 
posed to  rest  in  a  community  house  of  the  Redemptionists 
in  the  Spanish  capital. 


For  the  modern  world  at  large,  the  "Don  Quixote"  is  that 
one  among  the  works  of  Cervantes  which  exercises  a  para- 
mount claim  upon  attention,  and  this  it  does  both  because  it 
is  the  greatest  novel  as  yet  produced  in  the  literatures  of 
civilization  and  because  it  is  the  sole  work  of  cosmopolitan 
importance  that  Spain  has  given  to  the  rest  of  humanity. 
But  in  giving  it  Spain  gave  a  noble  gift,  one  which  has 
brought  unfeigned  delight  to  the  hearts  and  the  minds  of 
millions  of  human  beings  peopling  both  the  Eastern  and  the 
Western  Hemisphere,  and  this  delight  remains  ever  fresh 
although  three  centuries  have  passed  since  Don  Quixote 
made  his  first  sally  forth. 

Cervantes  began  the  "Don  Quixote''  with  the  intention  of 
making  it  a  satirical  burlesque  of  the  romances  of  chivalry, 
which  for  more  than  a  century;  before  had  beguiled  the 


Spanish  fancy  with  accounts  of  absurdly  impossible  deeds 
of  dcrring-do.  Their  influence  served  only  to  entrance  the 
Spanish  mind,  fascinating  it  with  the  glamour  of  aspects 
of  mediaevalism  that  had  long  since  ceased  to  exist,  and  di-  . 
verting  its  attention  from  the  real  world  with  its  serious 
daily  tasks.  As  a  matter  of  fact,  the  sway  of  the  chivalric 
romances  had  begun  to  weaken  even  before  the  close  of  the 
sixteenth  century,  but  it  was  from  the  "Don  Quixote"  that 
they  received  their  death  stroke,  for  no  new  work  of  their 
kind  appeared  after  the  "Don  Quixote'*  was  published.  How 
did  Cervantes  achieve  his  purpose?  Simply  by  adopting 
the  methods  of  the  romance  of  chivalry  and  showing  the 
falseness  of  their  application  to  modern  life;  in  a  word,  by 
demonstrating  that  they  were  out  of  date.  But  Cervantes 
built  a  structure  far  more  grandiose  than  at  first  he  had 
planned,  for  his  work  grew  under  his  hand  and,  transcend- 
ing the  author's  original  intent,  became  a  great  modern 
novel  which  may  be  read  and  is  generally  read  with  intense 
interest  by  countless  thousands  who  know  not  at  all  and  care 
not  at  all  that  it  is  an  attack  upon  a  literary  genre.  "Under 
Cervantes's  vagabond  pen,"  says  Morel-Fatio,  a  masterly 
critic  of  the  work,  "governed  only  by  the  inspiration  of  the 
moment,  his  'Don  Quixote,'  issuing  forth  from  a  simple  idea 
[that  of  ridiculing  the  novels  of  chivalry],  of  which  no  great 
development  could  have  been  expected,  has  become  little  by 
little  the  great  social  novel  of  the  Spain  of  the  beginning  of 
the  seventeenth  century,  in  which  all  that  marks  this  epoch, 
its  sentiments,  passions,  prejudices,  and  institutions,  has 
found  a  place.  Hence  the  powerful  interest  of  the  book, 
which,  independently  of  its  value  as  a  work  of  the  Imagina- 
tion, and  as  an  admirable  treatise  in  practical  philosophy, 
possesses  in  addition  the  advantage  of  fixing  the  state  of 
civilization  of  a  nation  at  a  precise  moment  of  its  existence, 
and  of  showing  us  the  depths  of  its  conscience." 


By  Professor  J.  D.  M.  Ford 

AT  AS  early  a  date  in  their  literary  history  as  the  thir- 
l\  teenth  century,  the  Italians  began  to  evince  a  pro- 
-^-^  pensity  for  tale-telling,  and  they  have  continued  to 
indulge  it  unremittingly  down  to  our  own  times.  Until  the 
nineteenth  century,  however,  they  favored  the  short  story 
or  tale,  rather  than  the  longer  and  more  ambitious  form  of 
narrative  prose  fiction  called  the  novel  or  romance.  If  in 
the  fourteenth  century  Boccaccio  wrote  his  "Fiammetta," 
if  about  the  end  of  that  century  or  at  the  beginning  of  the 
next  Andrea  da  Barberino  compiled  the  "Reali  di  Francia," 
and  if  the  fifteenth  and  sixteenth  centuries  saw  the  appear- 
ance of  the  pastoral  romance  (the  "Arcadia"),  and  of  novels 
of  adventure  as  well  as  others  infused  with  the  erotic,  or  the 
sentimental,  or  the  moralizing  spirit,  it  must  be  admitted 
that  all  these  works  are  either  of  poor  vein,  or,  as  is  the 
case  for  the  "Fiammetta,"  the  "Reali  di  Francia,"  and  the 
"Arcadia"  of  Sannazaro,  they  are  far  more  important  in 
other  connections  than  as  examples  of  prose  fiction.  The 
seventeenth  and  eighteenth  centuries  present  hardly  any- 
thing of  interest;  with  the  early  nineteenth  century  and  the 
publication  of  the  "Lettere  di  Jacopo  Ortis"  of  Foscolo 
(1802)  the  true  novel  was  inaugurated  in  Italian,  and  with 
the  historical  romance,  "I  Promessi  Sposi,"  of  Manzoni,  first 
put  forth  in  1827,  its  lasting  success  was  achieved. 


Alessandro  Manzoni  (he  never  used  his  title  of  Count) 
was  born  of  a  patrician  family  at  Milan,  on  March  7,  1785. 
His  maternal  grandfather  was  the  noted  publicist,  the 
Marquis  Cesare  Beccaria.  In  his  early  studies,  pursued 
mainly  at  Milan,  he  inclined  naturally  toward  belles  lettres, 



and,  reading  assiduously  by  himself,  he  developed  the  seeds 
of  genius  within  him.  Toward  the  literary  career  his  steps 
were  guided  also  by  his  relations  with  the  kindly  Italian 
poet,  Monti,  whom  he  venerated.  In  1805  his  mother  took 
him  to  Paris,  where  he  frequented  salons,  the  atmosphere  of 
which  was  wholly  rationalistic  and  Voltairean,  and  in  which 
he  imbibed  doctrines  of  skepticism.  These,  however,  were 
not  to  last  with  him.  At  this  time  there  was  formed  his 
friendship  with  the  French  scholar  and  man  of  letters, 
Claude  Fauriel,  who  now  and  for  many  years  later  helped 
to  mold  his  mind.  Back  in  Milan  in  1808,  he  married  there 
in  that  year  the  Protestant  lady,  Enrichetta  Blondel.  Two 
years  later,  she  became  a  Catholic,  and  Manzoni,  impelled 
by  her  example  and  by  a  deep-rooted  love,  hitherto  latent, 
for  the  ancestral  religion,  followed  her  into  the  Church,  to 
remain  thereafter  a  sincere  and  devout  communicant.  Abid- 
ing in  the  Milanese  region,  he  wrote  there  in  1821  his  re- 
markable ode,  the  "Cinque  Maggio,"  commemorating  the 
death  of  Napoleon,  and  at  about  this  same  time  he  com- 
menced the  composition  of  "I  Promessi  Sposi."  When  it 
was  fully  published  in  1827,  he  removed  with  his  family  to 
Florence,  and  for  a  while  enjoyed  the  favor  of  the  grand 
duke, — who  decorated  the  walls  of  his  palace  with  scenes 
from  "I  Promessi  Sposi," — and  the  society  of  leading  states- 
men and  writers,  such  as  Giusti,  Capponi,  Niccolini,  and 
Leopardi.  Returning  ere  long  to  Milan,  he  had  the  mis- 
fortune to  lose  (1833)  his  wife,  as  well  as  his  daughter, 
Giulia,  who  was  married  to  the  novelist  Massimo  d*AzegIio. 
In  the  sorrow  of  this  period  he  derived  no  little  comfort 
from  his  friendship  with  the  brilliant  although  impetuous 
philosopher  Rosmini  and  the  novelist  Tommaso  Grossi.  He 
remarried  in  1837.  During  the  stirring  days  of  1848,  he 
showed  himself  a  sterling  Italian  patriot,  and  urged  his 
three  sons  to  fight  valiantly  against  the  Austrian  arms  then 
engaged  in  subjugating  his  native  region  of  Lombardy. 
With  the  success  of  the  Austrians  he  retired  voluntarily  to 
a  villa  on  Lake  Maggiore,  but  the  liberation  of  Lombardy 
again  in  1859  brought  him  prominently  to  notice.  King 
Vittorio  Emmanuele  bestowed  honors  upon  him  and  as- 
signed him  a  pension,  which  to  one  in  his  straitened  circum- 


stances  was  very  grateful.  He  was  made  a  senator  in  i860, 
and  played  a  part  in  the  Assembly  which  proclaimed  the 
Kingdom  of  Italy.  Shortly  after,  in  1864,  ^^  was  one  of 
the  National  Assembly  that  voted  for  the  transference  of 
the  capital  from  Turin  to  Rome.  The  Holy  City  he  never 
visited,  but  in  1872  he  was  elected  an  honorary  citizen  of 
Rome,  and  in  the  letter  in  which  he  thanked  the  mayor  for 
the  courtesy  shown  him  he  expressed  his  joy  at  the  con- 
summation of  Italian  unity.    He  died  on  May  22,  1873. 


Among  modern  Italian  poets  Manzoni  takes  high  rank. 
Besides  some  minor  lyrics  and  other  poems  of  an  occasional 
nature  he  wrote  the  "Inni  Sacri,"  hymns  in  which  he  gives 
poetical  form  to  the  noblest  and  highest  manifestations  of 
the  Christian  religion,  emphasizing  especially  the  principles 
of  charity,  hope,  and  eventual  comfort  for  all  human  ills; 
the  ode  "Cinque  Maggio,"  already  mentioned;  the  ode 
"Marzo,  182 1,"  dealing  with  the  aspirations  and  endeavors 
of  the  liberal  party  in  Piedmont;  and  the  two-verse  dramas, 
the  "Conte  di  Carmagnola"  and  the  "Adelchi."  These 
tragedies  figure  among  the  best  productions  of  the  Romantic 
movement  in  Italy,  and  they  are  the  first  examples  of  the 
historical  play  in  Italian.  The  "Conte  di  Carmagnola"  is 
concerned  with  the  story  of  the  famous  captain  of  free 
lances,  Francesco  Bussone,  called  Carmagnola,  who  in  the 
fifteenth  century  was  undeservedly  done  to  death  by  his 
employers,  the  Venetians;  the  "Adelchi"  turns  upon  events 
in  Lombardy  back  in  the  time  of  its  king  Desiderius  and  his 
foe  and  conqueror,  Charlemagne. 

Noteworthy  among  the  minor  prose  works  of  Manzoni 
are  the  documents  in  which  he  discusses  the  validity  of  the 
French  system  of  unities  as  applied  to  dramatic  composition 
("Lettre  a  M.  Chauvet"  and  the  purposes  of  the  Italian 
Romantic  school  ("Lettera  al  Marchese  Cesare  d'Azeglio 
sul  Romanticismo").  In  various  writings  he  discusses  the 
often-mooted  question  as  to  what  is  the  true  form  of  speech 
for  Italian  literary  expression,  and  he  ranges  himself  on  the 
side   of   sanity   by  advocating  the   use   of   the  Florentine 


vocabulary  on  the  part  of  Italian  authors  from  all  parts  of 
the  peninsula. 

I  PROMESSI  sposi 

His  masterpiece  is,  of  course,  *'I  Promessi  Sposi,"  *  which, 
begun  as  we  have  seen  in  1821,  occupied  Manzoni  for  some 
six  years  with  its  composition  and  its  printing;  yet,  hardly 
had  it  appeared  when,  faithful  to  his  belief  that  the  Floren- 
tine speech  was  the  correct  language  of  cultured  Italians,  he 
set  to  work  to  eliminate  the  dialectisms  and  Gallicisms  in  it, 
and  the  result  was  that  in  pure  Tuscan  the  novel  appeared, 
after  seventy-five  reprints  of  the  first  edition  had  been  made, 
in  the  perfected  form  of  1842.  Its  main  plot  is  simple;  for 
the  central  story  is  that  of  the  long-deferred  marriage  of 
two  peasants,  Lorenzo  and  his  beloved  Lucia.  A  tyrannical 
local  potentate,  aided  by  the  proverbial  Italian  bravos,  for- 
bids their  nuptials,  because  his  own  evil  fancy  has  fallen 
upon  the  girl,  and  her  parish  priest,  whose  duty  it  is  to  per- 
form the  marriage  ceremony  irrespective  of  all  exterior 
influences,  avoids  doing  so  through  terror  of  the  tyrant, 
Don  Rodrigo,  and  his  bloodthirsty  satellites.  Eventually  a 
pest  carries  away  Don  Rodrigo,  and  the  union  of  the  lovers 
is  effected.  They  are  married  by  their  own  timid  parish 
priest,  Don  Abbondio,  who  has,  in  the  meantime,  been  taught 
his  duty  by  his  noble  superior,  the  saintly  Cardinal  Carlo 

Following  Sir  Walter  Scott,  whom  he  expressly  acknowl- 
edges as  his  model  for  his  methods,  Manzoni  gave  to  his 
novel  an  historical  setting,  adapting  it  to  the  Romantic 
sentiments  then  dominating  the  literary  world.  He  chose 
for  the  period  of  action  the  three  years  between  1638  and 
1 63 1,  during  the  Spanish  supremacy  at  Milan,  when  a  ter- 
rible famine  and  pestilence  made  desolate  that  part  of  Italy, 
and  he  confined  operations  between  Lake  Como,  which  he 
knew  so  well,  and  the  city  of  Milan.  Before  undertaking 
the  writing  of  his  great  work  he  made  a  serious  study  of 
works  dealing  with  the  pestilence  and  with  administrative 
affairs  of  the  time  in  which  it  occurred.  Then,  with  the 
intuition  of  the  true  artist,  having  the  historical  and  social 

*  See  Harvard  Chssics,  vol.  xxi. 


conditions  well  in  mind,  and  possessing  the  power  to  analyze 
the  most  delicate  of  human  feelings,  he  assembled  a  number 
of  characters  of  divers  sorts,  through  the  play  of  which  he 
presents  us  with  a  vivid  picture  of  Lombardy  in  the  early 
seventeenth  century. 

Next  to  Dante  and  Ariosto,  Manzoni  is,  perhaps,  the 
greatest  of  Italian  authors,  the  most  universal  in  appeal. 
His  worth  was  quickly  acknowledged  abroad,  by  Goethe  in 
Germany,  by  Chateaubriand  in  France,  by  Scott  in  the 
British  Empire,  and  the  last  named  was  proud  to  have  pro- 
voked imitation  on  the  part  of  a  genius  of  so  high  an  order. 



By  Professor  Bliss  Perry 

NO  ONE  can  turn  over  the  pages  of  The  Harvard 
Classics  without  realizing  how  much  of  the  most 
delightful  writing  of  the  last  three  hundred  years 
has  taken  the  form  of  the  essay.  No  literary  form  is  more 
flexible  than  this,  and  no  form  except  lyric  poetry  has 
touched  upon  a  wider  variety  of  topics.  Yet  there  is  one 
subject  of  enduring  human  interest  to  which  essayists  are 
perpetually  turning,  and  upon  which  they  always  find  some- 
thing new  to  say.  It  is  the  subject  of  Books  and  Reading. 
In  the  essays  which  deal  with  this  perennially  Interesting 
topic,  there  is  a  constant  expression  of  literary  judgments 
— judgments  that  convey  racial  and  national  convictions,  the 
ruling  ideas  of  a  generation  or  a  school,  or  the  likes  and 
dislikes  of  individuals.  These  judgments,  properly  collected 
and  classified,  become  the  material  for  a  history  of  literary 
criticism.  Indeed,  a  surprisingly  large  proportion  of  the 
epoch-making  documents  of  criticism  are  really  essays,  both 
in  form  and  mood. 


The  significance  of  the  essay  in  the  formation  and  per- 
petuation of  critical  doctrine  is  also  apparent  if  one  turns 
to  the  formal  histories  of  criticism.  Systematic  treatises  on 
the  theory  of  the  fine  arts,  including  literature,  have  ap- 
peared at  intervals  since  the  time  of  Aristotle.  The  science 
of  aesthetics,  as  we  know  it,  was  developed  in  Germany  dur- 
ing the  latter  half  of  the  eighteenth  century,  and  it  forms 
an  integral  portion  of  the  philosophical  system  of  Kant  and 



of  many  other  philosophers.  But  these  formal  treatises 
upon  the  nature  of  beauty,  involving  as  they  do  the  analysis 
of  the  beautiful  as  it  exists  in  the  natural  world  and  in 
works  of  art,  appeal  primarily  to  a  few  thinkers  and 
scholars,  and  not  to  the  general  public.  It  is  true  that  men 
of  genius  like  Goethe,  Schiller,  and  Burke  have  the  faculty 
of  discussing  the  philosophic  basis  of  aesthetic  theories  in 
such  a  way  as  to  make  them  interesting  and  highly  instruc- 
tive to  the  general  reader.  But  as  a  rule  the  systematic 
treatises  upon  the  nature  and  history  of  the  fine  arts,  and 
of  literature  in  particular,  have  been  necessarily  addressed 
to  a  limited  audience.  The  discussions  which  have  really 
caught  the  ear  of  the  public  have  been  the  casual  utterances 
of  brilliant  men  in  the  act  of  attacking  or  defending  a 
literary  creed,  of  writing  a  preface  to  a  book  or  a  play,  or 
of  hazarding,  in  some  dialogue,  pamphlet,  or  essay,  a  new 
opinion  about  beauty,  a  new  theory  of  poetry  or  of  prose. 

WHAT    IS    AN    ESSAY? 

To  understand,  therefore,  the  history  of  actual  critical 
opinion,  one  must  study  the  essay.  It  is  a  very  variable, 
highly  personalized  literary  form :  resembling  now  a  dinner- 
table  monologue  or  dialogue,  and  now  a  letter  to  a  friend. 
Here  it  is  a  mere  sparkling  fragment  of  some  solid  mass  of 
philosophical  theory,  and  there  it  is  a  tiny  jewel  of  paradox 
interrogation,  or  fancy;  here  an  echo  of  some  great  his- 
torical debate  over  tragedy  or  comedy,  and  there  the  first 
faint  stirring  of  some  new,  living  idea,  which  by  and  by 
will  be  tossed  about  with  all  the  winds  of  doctrine.  But 
however  changeable  this  literary  type  may  be,  one  who  reads 
the  various  essays  in  The  Harvard  Classics  can  hardly  fail 
to  get  a  general  notion  of  the  nature  of  "the  essay."  The 
type  will  gradually  make  itself  clear  to  him,  as  something 
different  from  the  formal  treatise,  the  dialogue  or  the  letter 
or  the  magazine  article.  He  will  learn  to  watch  the  type 
emerge  into  clear  outline  with  Montaigne*  and  Bacon."  He 
will  see  that  it  modifies  itself  under  the  influence  of  national 
traits  or  of  the  fashions  of  successive  historical  periods, 

*  Harvard  Classics,  xxxii,  sff.  •  H.  C,  Hi,  7ff. 


that  it  differentiates  itself  into  species  and  varieties,  pre- 
cisely as  other  literary  types  undergo  variation  and  develop- 
ment under  specific  conditions.  It  will  flourish  in  one  age 
and  decline  in  another,  as  do  the  drama  and  the  lyric,  al- 
though, like  them,  the  essay  represents  a  certain  permanent 
mood  which  never  goes  wholly  out  of  fashion. 


The  reader  who  is  interested  in  literary  criticism  will 
soon  find  that  the  essay  has  been  a  particularly  convenient 
form  for  conveying  literary  theories  from  one  mind  or  age 
to  another.  The  "critical  essay,"  while  conforming  in  gen- 
eral to  the  flexible  laws  of  "the  essay,"  is  used  for  a  specific 
purpose.  It  deals  with  the  emergence,  continuance,  and  dis- 
appearance of  critical  opinions;  it  records,  in  an  informal 
but  none  the  less  effective  manner,  the  judgment  of  Europe 
upon  books.  Let  us  take  a  specific  example.  Charles  Lamb's 
"Essay  on  the  Tragedies  of  Shakespeare"*  is  a  singularly 
perfect  specimen  of  "the  essay"  type.  It  is  personal  and 
casual.  It  opens  with  the  sentence:  "Taking  a  turn  the 
other  day  in  the  Abbey,  I  was  struck  with  the  affected 
attitude  of  a  figure,  which  I  do  not  remember  to  have  Seen 
before,  and  which  upon  examination  proved  to  be  a  whole- 
length  of  the  celebrated  Mr.  Garrick";  and  then  Lamb 
passes,  with  apparent  artlessness,  from  the  affectations  and 
tricks  of  actors  to  the  profound  question  of  the  possibility 
of  an  adequate  representation  of  the  personalities  of  Ham- 
let and  Lear  upon  the  stage.  This  personal  essay,  with  its 
odd  whims  and  fancies,  deepens  page  by  page  into  a  mas- 
terly critical  essay,  which  makes  a  distinct  phase  of  the 
attitude  of  the  English  mind  toward  England's  greatest  poet. 

In  similar  fashion,  Victor  Hugo's  preface  to  his  drama 
"Cromwell"*  is  a  capital  example  of  a  personal  essay — an 
essay  "rampant"  in  its  defense  of  the  author's  own  literary 
creed.  But  that  creed  as  it  happens,  becomes  also  the  tri- 
umphant creed  of  the  young  French  Romanticists.  They 
rallied  around  the  preface  to  "Cromwell"  as  soldiers  rally 
around  a  flag,  and  the  essay  became  a  concrete  embodiment 

•//.  C,  xxvii,  313.  *H.  C,  zxxix,  354ff« 


of  a  new  reaction  against  Classicism,  a  significant  document 
in  the  literary  history  of  modern  Europe. 


The  two  essays  which  have  just  been  mentioned— personal 
in  their  immediate  character,  and  yet  even  more  significant 
as  representing  doctrines  which  came  to  be  held  by  a  gen- 
eration of  a  school— 4nay  also  serve  to  illustrate  a  third 
aspect  from  which  essays  may  be  regarded.  One  may  study 
them,  in  chronological  order,  as  successive  indications  of  a 
national  point  of  view.  Thus  the  English  critical  essay,  in 
the  Elizabethan  period,  in  the  seventeenth  century,  or  in 
any  subsequent  epoch,  reveals  the  precise  extent  to  which 
the  English  mind  accepts,  modifies,  or  rejects  the  main  body 
of  European  critical  doctrine.  As  affording  material  for 
such  a  chronological  study,  it  is  not  essential  that  any  par-* 
ticular  English  critical  essay  should  be  marked  by  personal 
distinction  of  style,  or  by  special  critical  acumen.  The 
undistinguished  mass  of  book  reviews,  of  gossip  about 
writers,  about  the  stage  and  other  forms  of  contemporary 
art,  is  often  the  most  valuable  evidence  of  the  instinctive 
working  of  the  English  mind.  What  does  an  average 
bookish  Englishman,  in  a  given  decade,  understand  by  the 
words  "tragic,"  "comic,"  "heroic,"  "the  unities,"  "wit," 
"taste,"  "humor,"  "Nature"?  The  historian  finds  the  an- 
swer in  a  thousand  casual  expressions,  each  one  of  which 
bears  the  stamp  of  the  period  and  the  race.  The  English- 
man interprets  the  general  laws  and  phrases  of  European 
criticism  in  terms  of  his  own  neighborhood  and  time,  and 
a  collection  of  English  critical  essays  thus  illustrates  the 
traits  of  the  English  national  character. 


Let  us  now  turn  from  the  broader  relations  of  the  essay 
with  criticism,  and  endeavor  to  ascertain  precisely  what  the 
word  "essay"  means.  The  older  English  form  of  the  word 
is  ''assay,"  i.  e.,  a  trial  or  experiment.  It  is  derived, 
through  the  French,  from  a  late  Latin  word  "exagium/' 


which  means  a  standard  weight,  or  more  precisely,  the  act 
of  weighing.  The  word  "examine"  comes  from  the  same 
Latin  root.  As  defined  by  the  "Century  Dictionary,"  "essay" 
means  i,  A  trial,  attempt  or  endeavor;  2,  An  experimental 
trial  or  test;  3,  An  assay  or  test  of  metal;  4,  In  literature,  a 
discursive  composition  concerned  with  a  particular  subject, 
usually  shorter  and  less  methodical  and  finished  than  a 
treatise ;  a  short  disquisition.  Dr.  Samuel  Johnson,  who  was 
himself  one  of  the  most  famous  essayists  of  his  day,  defines 
"essay"  in  his  Dictionary  as  "A  loose  sally  of  the  mind;  an 
irregular  indigested  piece;  not  a  regular  and  orderly  com- 
position." Possibly  it  was  the  Doctor's  happy  word  "sally" 
which  suggested  to  a  recent  writer,  Mr.  F.  N.  Zabriskie,  the 
following  excellent  definition:  "The  essay  is  properly  a 
collection  of  notes,  indicating  certain  aspects  of  a  subject, 
or  suggesting  thoughts  concerning  it;  .  •  ,  not  a  formal 
siege,  but  a  series  of  assaults,  essays  or  attempts  upon  it." 
It  is  for  this  reason  that  Mr.  Zabriskie  calls  the  essayist  the 
excursionist  of  literature,  the  literary  angler,  the  meditator 
rather  than  the  thinker;  and  he  points  out  that  the  German 
mind  is  not  adapted  to  the  essay,  since  the  Germans  are  not 
satisfied  to  make  mere  assaults  upon  a  subject,  mere  excur- 
sions into  it;  they  must  go  through  a  subject  from  end  to 
end  and  leave  it  a  conquered  territory. 


Montaigne,  who  was  the  initiator  of  the  modern  essay 
(1580),  laid  stress  upon  its  essentially  autobiographic 
nature.  He  confesses  that  he  writes  "not  to  discover  things, 
but  to  lay  open  myself."  He  thinks  that  an  essay  should  be 
spontaneous  and  free  from  every  artificial  trammel.  It 
should  have  the  characteristics  of  open,  varied,  wide-rang- 
ing talk :  "I  speak  unto  paper  as  unto  the  first  man  I  meet." 
Lord  Bacon,  whose  first  edition  of  essays  appeared  in  1597, 
is  more  orderly  than  Montaigne.  He  masses  his  material 
more  closely,  keeps  to  his  topic,  packs  his  sentences  as  full 
as  they  will  hold.  He  is  too  austere  for  the  leisurely,  per- 
sonal method  of  Montaigne;  he  imparts  his  concentrated 
worldly   wisdom  coolly,   almost  impassively;   he   loves   the 


pregnant  opening  and  close.  "To  write  just  treatises,"  he 
says,  "requireth  time  in  the  writer  and  leisure  in  the  reader, 
which  is  the  cause  that  hath  made  me  choose  to  write  cer- 
tain brief  notes,  set  down  rather  significantly  than  curiously, 
which  I  have  called  essays;  the  word  is  late,  but  the  thing 
is  ancient.  For  Seneca's  Epistles  to  Lucilius,  if  one  mark 
them  well,  are  but  essays — ^that  is,  dispersed  meditations." 
And  finally,  Addison,  whose  essays  sum  up  in  the  early 
eighteenth  century  as  completely  as  Montaigne  and  Bacon 
represent  the  late  Renaissance,  is  quite  as  explicit  as  they 
are  in  emphasizing  the  informal  character  of  this  type  of 
literature:  "When  I  make  choice  of  a  subject  that  has  not 
been  treated  on  by  others,  I  throw  together  my  reflections 
on  it  without  any  order  or  method,  so  that  they  may  appear 
rather  in  the  looseness  and  freedom  of  an  essay,  than  in  the 
regularity  of  a  set  discourse." 


"The  thing  is  ancient";  there  is  no  doubt  of  that.  Anal- 
ogies to  the  mood  of  the  modem  essay  and  to  its  urbane, 
free,  flexible  methods  of  discussion,  may  be  found  in  the 
"Dialogues"  of  Plato,*  in  the  "Lives"'  and  "Morals"  of 
Plutarch,  in  the  letters  of  Cicero,'  Horace,  and  the  younger 
Pliny,'  in  the  gossipy  "Attic  Nights"  of  Aulus  Gellius,  in 
the  talks  of  Epictetus,*  and  the  Meditations  of  Marcus 
Aurelius."  There  is  nothing  new  under  the  sun;  and  there 
were  Greek  and  Roman  gentlemen  quite  as  capable  as 
Montaigne  of  writing  with  frankness,  ease,  quaintness,  and 
an  open-minded  attitude  of  skeptical  inquiry.  But  though 
they  often  revealed  the  spirit  of  the  modern  essayist,  they 
were  groping  uncertainly  after  the  appropriate  literary 
form.  Montaigne's  great  achievement  was  to  hazard  his 
fortunes  in  an  imsurpassed  series  of  "sallies,"  "assaults," 
"assays"  upon  a  hundred  entrenched  topics,  and  always  to 
come  bravely  off — so  that  his  tactics  became  the  model  for 
all  literary  skirmishes.  To  think  and  feel  and  write  like 
Montaigne  was  to  produce  the  modem  essay.    Without  his 

•  Sec,  for  example,  H.  C,  ii,  aff.       •  H.  C,  xii,  sff.       »  H.  C,  ix,  yS. 
•H.  C,  ix,  i95ff.  *H.  C,  ii,  xi7ff.     »H.  C,  ii,  iwff. 


example^  it  is  doubtful  if  we  should  have  had  the  essays  of 
Lamb,  of  Emerson,  and  of  Stevenson. 


Supporting  the  whole  theory  and  practice  of  Montaigne, 
tmdoubtedly,  stood  the  Renaissance  itself.  This  "re-birth" 
of  the  human  mind,  this  new  awakening  of  vital  energies 
and  intellectual  powers,  involved  a  new  way  of  looking  at 
the  world.  Nothing  seemed  quite  the  same  as  it  had  been. 
Church  and  empire  and  feudal  system  were  apparently 
weakening;  new  nationalities,  new  languages  were  to  be 
reckoned  with;  new  continents  were  explored,  new  inven* 
tions  altered  the  face  of  daily  life;  a  new  intellectual  con- 
fidence, inquiry,  criticism,  supplanted  the  mediaeval  obedi- 
ence to  authority.  There  was  a  new  "weighing,"  "assaying" 
of  all  things.  The  actual  world  was  changing  before  men's 
eyes,  and  the  inner  world  changed  no  less.  There  was  tmi- 
versal  curiosity  about  individual  capacities  and  opinions, 
experiences  and  tastes.  The  whole  "undulating  and  vari- 
ous" scheme  of  things — to  use  a  favorite  expression  of 
Montaigne — ^was  a  direct  provocative  of  the  essay  state  of 
mind;  and  the  essay  form,  in  turn,  in  its  looseness,  vague- 
ness, and  range,  was  singularly  adapted  to  the  intellectual 
spirit  of  the  period. 


One  type  of  Renaissance  essay,  for  example,  concerned  it- 
self with  a  casual  survey  of  the  fragments  of  the  classical 
and  mediaeval  world.  Modern  books  like  Taylor's  "Classical 
Heritage  of  the  Middle  Ages,"  and  "The  Mediaeval  Mind," 
Einstein's  "Italian  Renaissance  in  England,"  Sir  Sidney 
Lee's  "French  Renaissance  in  England,"  Spingarn's  "Lit- 
erary Criticism  in  the  Renaissance,"  and  Saintsbury's  "His- 
tory of  Criticism"  set  before  us,  with  abundance  of  detail, 
the  kind  and  extent  of  knowledge  of  the  past  which  was 
possessed  by  Renaissance  essayists.  Caxton's  naive  Pro- 
logues and  Epilogues"  to  the  popular  classical  and  mediaeval 


books  which  he  issued  in  English,  Sir  Philip  Sidney's  chiv- 
alrous "Defense  of  Poesy,""  and  Edmund  Spenser's  ex- 
planation to  Sir  Walter  Raleigh  of  the  purpose  of  "The 
Faerie  Queene""  are  good  illustrations  of  the  attitude  of 
typical  Englishmen  toward  the  imaginative  life  of  the  past. 
Gregory  Smith's  collection  of  "Elizabethan  Critical  Essays" 
affords  a  fairly  complete  view  of  the  critical  ideas  which 
sixteenth-century  England  had  inherited  from  Europe. 
The  evolution  of  the  English  critical  essay,  during  the  three 
hundred  years  which  have  elapsed  since  then,  is  mainly  the 
story  of  the  preservation  of  these  ideas  and  their  modifica- 
tion or  transformation  under  the  successive  impacts  of  new 
intellectual  forces,  and  of  differing  social  and  literary  con- 


Another  type  of  essay,  originating  in  the  Renaissance, 
and  a  favorite  with  Montaigne,  deals  not  so  much  with 
books  as  with  life  itself.  The  new  culture,  the  novel  in- 
tellectual perceptions,  altered  at  once  the  accepted  theories 
of  man's  duty  and  destiny.  Montaigne  does  not  dogmatize 
about  these  matters:  he  asks  questions,  he  suggests  possible 
answers.  The  speculative  essay,  the  philosophical  and 
scientific  essay,  the  social  essay  which  draws  its  materials 
from  the  ever-renewed  revelation  of  the  actual  life  of  man, 
all  find  their  source  in  an  awakened  curiosity.  The  en- 
thusiasm, the  gusto,  with  which  sixteenth-century  men  dis- 
cussed every  topic  within  their  range  of  vision,  has  re- 
mained an  integral  element  of  the  effective  essay.  A  man 
may  set  himself  sadly  and  grimly  to  work  upon  his  formal 
treatise,  and  write  it  through  to  the  end  with  disillusion  in 
his  soul.  But  the  born  essayist,  though  knowing  well 
enough  that  his  raids  into  unconquered  territory  must  be 
merely  a  perpetual  series  of  sallies  and  retreats,  neverthe- 
less advances  gayly  to  the  assault.  Like  Lamb  and  Steven- 
son, he  preaches  without  being  a  preacher ;  like  Huxley  and 
Tyndall,  he  teaches  when  he  means  only  to  inform;  so  com- 
municable and  infectious  is  this  gift  of  curiosity  about  life. 

^H.  C.»  xacva,  7ff.  »H.  C.  xxxix,  64. 



There  is  a  third  type  of  essay,  originating  in  the  Renais- 
sance emphasis  upon  individualism,  and  confidently  assert- 
ing itself  upon  the  pages  of  Montaigne,"  Addison,  Hazlitt, 
De  Quincey,**  Emerson,"  Thoreau,*^  and  a  hundred  other 
men.  It  is  the  autobiographic,  "egotistic"  essay — in  which 
there  is  rarely  any  insolence  of  egotism,  but  only  an  in- 
satiable curiosity  about  oneself,  and  an  entire  willingness 
to  discuss  that  question  in  public.  If  you'  like  the  man  who 
is  talking,  this  kind  of  essay  is  the  most  delightful  of  all. 
But  it  betrays  a  great  deal,  and  like  lyric  verse — ^the  most 
intensely  personalized  mode  of  poetry — it  sometimes  betrays 
too  much.  When  the  right  balance  is  struck  between  opeij- 
ness  and  conceit,  or  when,  as  with  Emerson,  the  man  is 
sweet  and  sound  to  the  core,  the  self -revealing  essay  justifies 
itself.  Indeed,  it  is  thought  by  some  critics  that  the  sub- 
jective or  lyrical  quality  of  the  essay  is  a  part  of  its  essen- 
tial character.  Thus  Professor  A.  C.  Bradley  has  asserted: 
"Brevity,  simplicity,  and  singleness  of  presentation;  the 
strong  play  of  personality,  the  subjective  charm,  the  deli- 
cate touch,  the  limited  range  of  theme  and  of  treatment,  and 
the  ordered  beauty  through  exclusion  of  all  disordered  moods 
and  fiercer  passions — these  flow  directly  from  the  presence 
and  dominance  of  the  lyrical  element,  and  these  are  the  con- 
stant features  of  the  Essay." 

One  should  add,  perhaps,  that  all  three  of  the  essay  types 
here  touched  upon — the  "critical,"  the  "ethical"  or  "phi- 
losophic," and  the  "personal" — were  strongly  colored  dur- 
ing the  Renaissance,  as  they  have  been  at  intervals  ever 
since,  by  the  spirit  of  nationalism.  French  criticism,  in  the 
sixteenth  century  as  in  the  nineteenth,  is  very  French.  Eng- 
lish criticism,  in  Dryden  and  Arnold,  is  very  English;  the 
moralizing  of  Milton's  tractates  and  of  Samuel  Johnson's 
"Lives  of  the  Poets,"  the  personal  assertiveness  of  Thoreau's 
essay  on  "Walking,"  and  Lowell's  essay  on  "Democracy"" 
bear  the  unmistakable  accents  of  England  and  of  America. 
Blood  tells,  in  the  essay  as  elsewhere. 

"H.  C,  xxxii,  sff.         >»H.  C,  xxvii,  Saff.,  281  ff.,  33sff. 

^H,  C,  V,  5ff.  "  H.  C,  xxviii,  407n.         ^H.  C,  xxviii,  464ff. 



In  fact,  one  of  the  most  interesting  studies  made  available 
through  The  Harvard  Classics  is  the  survey  of  various 
national  moods  in  successive  historical  periods.  Take,  for 
instance,  the  English  essayists  of  the  eighteenth  century. 
Here  are  characteristic  utterances  of  men  so  differently  yet 
richly  endowed  as  Addison  and  Swift,  Steele  and  Defoe," 
Sidney  and  Samuel  Johnson,  Hume*  and  Burke,**  yet  the 
student  of  the  eighteenth  century,  whether  he  is  reading 
Hume  or  Burke  on  Taste,  or  Johnson  explaining  the  plan  of 
his  great  Dictionary,"  Defoe's  ironical  scheme  for  ridding 
the  world  of  Dissenters,  or  Addison's  delicately  sentimental 
musings  in  Westminster  Abbey,  detects,  beneath  all  the  dif- 
ferences in  style  and  varieties  of  personal  opinion,  the  un- 
mistakable traits  of  race,  nation,  and  period.  These  essays 
are  thus  historical  documents  of  high  importance.  One 
understands  better,  for  reading  them,  the  England  of  Marl- 
borough and  of  Walpole,  the  England  of  the  Pitts  and  the 
four  Georges.  Any  one  century,  as  Carlyle  said  long  ago, 
is  the  lineal  descendant  of  all  the  preceding  centuries,  and 
an  intelligent  reading  of  the  English  essays  of  the  seven- 
teenth, eighteenth,  and  nineteenth  centuries  is  one  of  the 
best  ways  of  learning  that  significant  lesson. 


Even  if  the  reader  of  these  essays  has  no  special  knowl- 
edge of  English  history,  and  has  hitherto  paid  but  little  at- 
tention to  the  influence  of  one  school  of  thought  upon  its 
successors,  he  cannot  help  discovering  one  difference  be- 
tween what  we  have  called  "the  essay"  and  its  more  spe- 
cialized form  "the  critical  essay."  "The  essay"  moves  in  a 
circle.  Its  orbit  tends  to  return  perpetually  upon  itself.  One 
may  even  say  that  the  type  was  already  complete  in  Mon- 
taigne, and  that  since  then  it  has  made  no  real  advance; 
that  we  have  only  a  succession  of  essayists,  doing,  of  course 
with  infinite  personal  varieties  of  pattern  precisely  what 

»H.  C,  xxvii,  97flf.,  Spff.,   I43ff.  *H.  C,  xxvH,  215. 

•*if.  C,  xxiv,  II.  **H.  C.f  xxxix,  191  ff. 


Montaigne  showed  them  how  to  do.  But  the  critical  essay 
advances,  albeit  by  zigzag  lines.  It  is  obliged  to  tack,  as 
the  winds  of  doctrine  shift  and  the  tides  of  opinion  ebb  and 
flow,  yet  it  is  always  steering,  and  not  merely  drifting.  Take, 
for  example,  the  most  famous  critical  essay  of  the  Greeks, 
the  "Poetics"  of  Aristotle.  It  is  an  attempt  to  establish 
certain  fundamental  principles  of  aesthetic  criticism,  such  as 
the  laws  of  epic  poetry  and  the  nature  of  tragedy.  It 
analyzed  the  structure  of  contemporary  works  of  literary 
art,  tested  the  psychological  effect  of  poem  and  play  upon 
\  the  mind  of  the  reader  and  spectator,  and  laid  down  some 
shrewd  rules  for  the  guidance  of  poets.  It  is  an  essay 
rather  than  an  exhaustive  treatise,  but  it  is  by  no  means  the 
sort  of  essay  which  Montaigne  would  have  written  had  he 
been  a  Greek.  It  is  impersonal,  analytical,  scientific.  And 
so  logical  is  its  matter,  so  penetrating  its  insight,  that  it  be- 
came a  model  of  sound  critical  procedure. 

The  "rules"  of  Aristotle,  based  as  they  were  upon  the 
facts  of  human  nature  and  the  character  of  the  literature  of 
his  day,  deserved  the  reverence  with  which  they  were 
treated  by  the  men  who  rediscovered  them  in  the  Renais- 
sance. Trouble  came  only  when  the  attempt  was  made  to 
apply  them  rigidly  and  mechanically  to  poems  and  dramas 
of  a  type  different  from  anything  that  Aristotle  had  known. 
Yet  out  of  this  very  confusion  and  necessity  for  readjust- 
ment came  the  "critical  essay"  as  we  know  it.  Aristotle 
had  set  up  Truth  as  his  beacon  mark:  Truth  to  the  physical 
and  psychological  facts,  to  the  laws  of  beauty  which  are 
also  laws  of  the  mind.  When  the  critics  of  the  Renaissance 
and  of  the  age  of  Neo-Classicism  in  France  and  England, 
confronted  as  they  were  by  new  facts,  tried  loyally  to  adjust 
the  Aristotelian  formulae  to  the  writings  of  Tasso,  Shake- 
speare, and  Moliere,  they  made  queer  work  of  it.  They  en- 
deavored to  keep  in  mind  both  "the  polestar  of  the  ancients" 
and  the  "rules  of  the  French  stage  among  the  modems,"  to 
say  nothing  of  the  cross  currents  of  actual  contemporary 
fact.  It  was  a  difficult  course  to  sail,  and  it  is  no  wonder 
that  the  history  of  the  critical  essay  exhibits  every  variety  of 
daring  or  faltering  seamanship.  But  the  beacon  mark  of 
Truth  was  there  all  the  while,  and  though  no  navigator  has 


ever  succeeded  in  beating  quite  up  to  it,  it  is  reward  enough 
for  the  critical  essayist  if  he  seems  to  be  making  headwaj. 


The  writer  of  the  critical  essay,  in  short,  finds  that  his 
course  has  been  laid  out  for  him  by  the  very  nature  of  the 
task  which  he  has  undertaken.  The  mere  essayist,  as  we 
have  seen,  can  sail  in  a  circle,  starting  and  ending  with  his 
own  fancies;  but  the  man  who  uses  the  essay  as  the  vehicle 
of  criticism  must  use  chart  and  compass ;  must  proceed  from 
a  given  starting  point  to  a  definite  point  of  arrival.  And  he 
cannot  do  this  if  he  is  ignorant  of  the  efforts  of  his  prede- 
cessors, and  unaware  of  the  general  aims  and  methqds  of 
critical  procedure.  If  he  is  writing,  for  instance,  on  the 
theory  of  poetry,  he  does  not  wish  to  leave  the  matter  where 
he  found  it:  he  desires  to  make,  if  he  can,  a  contribution  to 
that  branch  of  human  knowledge.  But  he  is  not  likely  to 
succeed  unless  he  has  a  tolerably  clear  notion  of  just  how 
far  the  world-old  discussion  has  proceeded  at  the  point 
where  he  himself  takes  up  the  debate.  When  Horace  wrote 
that  clever  versified  essay  on  the  poet's  art,  an  essay  which 
has  been  irreverently  termed  **the  business  man's  guide  to 
poetry,"  he  had  no  intention  of  slavishly  imitating  the  rules 
of  the  Greek  theorists.  But  after  all,  his  father  had  sent 
him  to  a  Greek  University,  and  the  ghosts  of  his  old  pro- 
fessors were  peeping  over  his  shoulders  as  he  wrote.  And 
when,  long  afterward,  the  Italian  Vida  and  the  Frenchman 
Boileau  came  to  write  their  own  verse  essays  on  the  same 
topic,  the  ghost  of  the  clever  Roman  held  their  pens.  Sidney 
and  Shelley,  in  composing  their  eloquent  Defences  of 
Poetry,"  had  probably  no  conscious  thought  of  continuing 
the  formal  discussion  of  poetic  theory  which  the  Greeks 
began  and  the  Renaissance  resuscitated;  nevertheless,  their 
confessions  of  faith  in  poetry  form  an  essential  chapter  in 
the  evolution  of  criticism.  So  with  the  prefaces  of  Words- 
worth and  Coleridge  and  Walt  Whitman.**  These  men  are 
innovators  in  theory  and  practice  of  their  craft,  but,  like 
most  of  the  successful  innovators  and  "modernists"  in  art, 

*if.  C,  xxyii,  7ff.  and  345^-  ^  See  Lecture  III,  below. 


they  possessed  a  fairly  accurate  kncywledge  of  tiie  andent 
defenses  which  they  were  trying  to  carry  by  assault.  Yet 
these  assaults,  no  matter  how  brilliant,  never  really  end  the 
si^e.  The  final  truth  escapes  complete  analysis  and  defini- 
tion. The  history  of  the  critical  essay  shows  only  a  series 
of  approximations,  a  record  of  endeavors  which  must  be 
constantly  renewed 


Out  of  all  this  variety  of  effort,  however,  three  tendencies 
of  criticism  emerge.  They  arc  usually  called  the  "judicial," 
the  "interpretative,"  and  the  "impressionistic."  The  theo- 
retical distinction  between  these  tendencies  of  criticism  is 
clear  enough.  "Judicial"  criticism  passes  judgment  upon 
established  facts.  It  deals  primarily  with  rules,  with  the 
"canons"  of  criticism,  although  it  may,  of  course,  examine 
the  principles  upon  which  these  rules  are  based.  Its  esti- 
mates are  likely  to  be  dogmatic  and  magisterial.  It  says 
bluntly,  in  the  voice  of  Jeffrey,  that  Wordsworth's  "Excur- 
sion" "will  never  do" ;  that  his  "White  Doe  of  Rylstone"  is 
"the  very  worst  poem  we  ever  saw  imprinted  in  a  quarto 
volume."  It  declares,  with  Professor  Churton  Collins,  that 
"Criticism  is  to  literature  what  legislation  and  government 
are  to  states."  The  aim  of  "interpretative"  criticism,  on  the 
other  hand,  is  not  so  much  to  pass  judgment  upon. a  specific 
work,  as  to  explain  it.  It  seeks  and  establishes,  if  possible* 
correct  texts;  it  makes  clear  the  biographical  and  historical 
facts  essential  to  an  understanding  of  the  work  in  question. 
It  finds  and  reveals  the  meaning  and  beauty  there  contained. 
It  points  out  the  ethical  and  social  significance  of  the  literary 
product  To  explain  a  book,  no  doubt,  is  often  tantamount 
to  judging  it;  for  if  the  book  be  demonstrated  to  be  full  of 
corruption,  that  is  the  most  effective  way  of  declaring  it 
a  corrupt  book.  Nevertheless,  the  object  of  the  "interpre- 
tative" or  "appreciative"  critic  is  primarily  expository,  and 
he  prefers  that  the  reader  himself  should  pass  ultimate 
judgment,  in  the  light  of  the  exposition  which  has  been 
made.  He  puts  the  needful  facts  before  the  jury,  and  then 
rests  his  case.     Sainte-Beuve"  is  a  master  of  this  sort  of 

*H.  C,  xxxii,  i09ff. 


criticism,  as  Jeffrey  is  of  the  magisterial.  The  "impression- 
istic" critic,  finally,  does  not  concern  himself  overmuch  with 
the  canons.  He  leaves  "universal  considerations"  and  "the 
common  sense  of  most"  to  his  rivals.  Textual  criticism 
bores  him.  The  examination  of  principles  strikes  him  as 
too  "scientific,"  the  massing  of  biographical  and  historical 
details  seems  to  him  the  work  of  the  historian  rather  than 
the  critic.  He  deals  frankly  in  his  own  "impressions,"  his 
personal  preferences,  the  adventures  of  his  soul  in  the 
presence  of  masterpieces.  He  translates  the  sensations  and 
emotions  which  he  has  experienced  in  his  contact  with  books 
into  symbols  borrowed  from  all  the  other  arts  and  from 
the  inexhaustible  stores  of  natural  beauty.  His  rivals  may 
call  him  a  man  of  caprice  rather  than  a  man  of  taste,  but 
they  cannot  really  confute  him,  for  such  are  the  infinitely 
varied  modes  of  physical  and  psychological  reaction  to  the 
presence  of  the  beautiful,  that  nobody  knows  exactly  how 
the  other  man  feels.  We  must  take  his  word  for  it,  and  the 
words  of  impressionist  criticism  have  often  been  uttered 
with  an  exquisite  delicacy  and  freshness  and  radiance  that 
make  all  other  types  of  literary  criticism  seem  for  the  mo- 
ment mere  cold  and  formal  pedantries. 


So  much  for  the  theoretical  distinction  between  the  three 
tendencies.  But  no  one  can  read  many  pages  of  the  masters 
of  modern  criticism  without  becoming  aware  that  all  three 
tendencies  frequently  reveal  themselves  in  the  same  man, 
and  even  in  the  same  essay.  Some  of  the  famous  "im- 
pressionists," like  Lamb,  Stevenson,  Lemaitre,  and  Anatole 
France,  know  a  great  deal  more  about  the  "canons"  than 
they  wish  at  the  moment  to  confess.  They  play  so  skillfully 
with  the  overtones  of  criticism  because  they  know  the  funda- 
mental tones  so  well.  Stevenson  attempts  "scientific"  criti- 
cism in  his  essay  on  "Style,"  "historical"  criticism  in  his 
essay  on  Pepys.**  Jeffrey  occasionally  writes  "national 
character"  criticism  quite  in  the  expository  method  of 
Sainte-Beuve.       Coleridge     and     Emerson,     Arnold     and 

**H.  C,  xxviii,  apsff. 


Ruskin,"  are  too  many-sided  and  richly  endowed  men  to 
limit  their  literary  essays  to  any  one  type  of  criticism. 

The  justification  of  this  eclecticism  of  practice  is  found, 
as  we  have  tried  to  show,  in  the  nature  of  the  essay  itself. 
It  is  the  most  sinuous,  varied,  and  individualized  of  all  the 
forms  of  prose  literature.  The  moment  it  begins  to  deal 
with  critical  theory,  however,  it  is  obliged  to  make  its  reck- 
oning with  some  one  or  more  of  the  processes  of  judgment 
which  have  been  evolved  in  the  history  of  the  race ;  it  tends 
then  to  become  "historical,"  "scientific,"  "expository," 
"judicial";  it  sails,  as  we  have  said,  by  the  chart,  instead  of 
in  the  capricious  circle  of  purely  personal  preferences. 
And  it  is  in  this  relation  of  "the  essay"  to  "the  critical 
essay"  that  we  discover  something  of  the  literary  and  social 
significance  of  essay  writing.  It  meets  a  need  of  the  indi- 
vidual, and  performs  at  the  same  time  a  function  for  so- 
ciety. The  individual  reader  turns  to  the  essayists  for 
delight,  for  stimulus,  for  consolation,  for  a  fortification  of 
the  will.  Cicero  and  Montaigne  and  Thoreau  will  talk  to 
him  about  friendship  and  books  and  behavior.  What  more 
can  he  ask  for?  He  finds  in  the  essayists,  as  in  the  lyric 
poets,  the  reflection  of  his  own  moods,  his  own  tastes,  his 
own.  varied  contact  with  experience.  In  their  company,  as 
in  the  company  of  every  form  of  art,  he  becomes  intimately 
aware  of  the  fullness  and  richness  of  life.  As  for  society 
at  large,  the  essayists — and  particularly  those  who  have  oc- 
cupied themselves  with  criticism — have  aided  in  the  estab- 
lishment of  standards  of  judgment.  These  standards  are 
impersonal  and  relatively  stable.  They  alter  somewhat,  it 
is  true,  with  the  progress  of  civilization,  and  with  the  tem- 
per of  successive  historical  periods  in  each  of  the  civilized 
races  of  the  world.  But  for  any  one  generation  the  "norm" 
exists.  The  departures  from  it  and  the  returns  to  it  con- 
stitute the  aesthetic  and  intellectual  activity  of  that  genera- 
tion. Expansion  and  contraction,  the  study  of  mankind  fol- 
lowed by  the  study  of  individual  men  and  women;  then  a 
new  series  of  generalizations  followed  by  another  series  of 
concrete  applications  of  ideas  to  life — ^that  is  the  history  of 

WH.  C,  xxviii,  95ff. 


culture.  And  while  "the  essay"  has  from  time  to  time 
asserted  the  claims  of  liberty  in  all  matters  of  the  mind, 
"the  critical  essay"  has  with  equal  persistence  recognized 
and  maintained  the  claims  of  authority.  One  generation 
needs,  no  doubt,  that  its  literary  skirmishes  should  fight 
mainly  on  the  side  of  freedom,  and  another  generation  will 
need  no  less  that  they  should  rally  to  the  defense  of  law. 
There  can  be  little  doubt  of  the  primary  need  of  our  own 
generation  in  America.  We  shall  find  most  profit  in  reading 
those  essayists  who  have  a  respect  for  literary  standards, 
who  are  on  the  side  of  law. 


By  Professor  W.  A.  Neilson 

THE  HISTORY  of  English  literary  criticism  may  be 
said  to  begin  with  Sir  Philip  Sidney's  "Defense  of 
Poesy.***  A  few  treatises  on  rhetoric  and  prosody 
preceded  it,  but  it  was  with  this  book  that  there  reached 
England  the  first  important  influx  from  the  main  current 
of  the  Italian  and  French  criticism  of  the  Renaissance.  In 
the  preceding  centuries  men  had,  of  course,  expressed  opin- 
ions about  books;  but  these  were  random  and  personal, 
backed  by  no  theory,  part  of  no  system,  the  casual  utter- 
ances of  men  who  merely  knew  what  they  liked. 


But  the  taste  of  an  age  can  be  inferred  from  other 
sources  than  the  formal  judgments  of  official  critics.  The 
evidence  of  vogue,  when  it  can  be  obtained,  is  more  sig- 
nificant, for  the  obvious  reason  that  a  man's  spending  tells 
us  more  than  his  words  of  what  he  values.  For  the  cen- 
turies when  books  circulated  in  manuscript  only,  the  facts 
as  to  popularity  are  hard  to  get  at,  since  the  numbers  of 
those  that  have  survived  are  the  residuum  of  a  thousand 
accidents ;  but  the  introduction  of  printing  in  the  latter  part 
of  the  fifteenth  century  affords  an  opportunity  of  an  ex- 
ceptional kind  to  learn  which  of  the  works  then  in  existence 
were  judged  most  promising  and  most  worthy  of  the  wider 
publicity  which  the  new  process  made  possible.  It  is  for 
this  reason  that  William  Caxton,  the  first  of  English 
printers,  is  really  an  important  figure  in  the  history  of 
literary  opinion;  for  not  only  did  he  preface  the  books  he 
printed  with  quaint  and  ingenuous  statements  of  his  own 

^Harvard  Classics.  xxriU  7-5Si  and  cf.  Professor  Bliss  Perry's  lecture  on 
''Theories  of  Poetry''  in  this  series. 




reasons  for  thinking  them  important,  but  the  mere  fact  of 
his  choosing  them  is  a  valuable  evidence  of  their  popularity 
as  estimated  by  a  shrewd  man  of  business. 


As  a  matter  of  fact,  this  evidence  coincides  remarkably 
with  the  inferences  that  literary  historians  have  drawn  from 
other  data.  The  fables  which  pass  under  the  name  of 
"-<Esop,""  to  begin  with  what  is  probably  the  most  ancient 
of  the  works  he  issued,  had  been  popular  for  many  cen- 
turies, and  the  tangle  of  the  relationships  of  the  endless 
mediaeval  collections  in  various  languages  is  one  of  the 
most  puzzling  problems  left  for  the  modem  scholar  to 
solve.  Their  value  Caxton  seems  to  take  for  granted, 
largely,  we  may  presume,  because  the  didactic  purpose 
which  he  always  looks  for  first  lies  upon  the  surface  and 
did  not  need  to  be  pointed  out  Indeed,  more  than  half  of 
the  publications  of  Caxton  the  Prologues  and  Epilogues  of 
which  are  printed  in  The  Harvard  Classics  are  confessedly 
of  that  improving  kind  for  which  the  Middle  Ages  had  so 
insatiable  an  appetite.  The  "Dictes  and  Sayings  of  the 
Philosophers"'  and  the  "Distichs"*  of  "Cato"  were  collec- 
tions of  aphoristic  wisdom,  the  appeal  of  which  is  apparent, 
not  merely  from  the  number  of  copies  made,  but  also  from 
the  frequency  with  which  we  find  them  quoted  by  all  kinds 
of  mediaeval  writers. 


The  "Golden  Legend" "  was  more  specifically  pious.  It  is 
the  best-known  collection  of  those  marvelous  stories  of 
saints  which  happily  performed  the  double  service  of  culti- 
vating faith  and  of  providing  entertainment  by  their  con- 
stant stimulation  of  the  sense  of  wonder.  It  is  only  the 
former  of  those  services,  however,  which  is  explicitly 
recognized  by  Caxton.  "As  gold  is  most  noble  above  all 
other  metals,  in  like  wise  is  this  legend  holden  most  noble 

•H.  C.»  xxxix,  i8f.  JH.  C,  xxxix,  lo. 

*if.  C,  xxxix,  15,  *H.  C«  xxxix*  14. 


above  all  other  works,''  he  says,  and  he  prays  "that  it  profit 
to  all  them  that  shall  read  or  hear  it  read,  and  may  increase 
in  them  virtue,  and  expel  vice  and  sin,  that  by  the  example 
of  the  holy  saints  amend  their  living  here  in  this  short  life." 


Of  Chaucer's  works  he  prints  the  immortal  "Canterbury 
Tales" ;  and  in  the  "Proem"  *  to  this  book  he  expatiates  in 
praise  of  Chaucer's  style  and  substance,  both  because  "he 
comprehended  his  matters  in  short,  quick,  and  high  sen- 
tences, eschewing  prolixity,  casting  away  the  chaff  of  super- 
fluity, and  shewing  the  picked  grain  of  sentence  uttered  by 
crafty  and  sugared  eloquence" — a  characterization  of  the 
first  great  master  of  English  which  few  of  his  later  critics 
have  bettered.  The  whole  tone  of  this  "Proem"  is  of  a 
singularly  noble  and  elevated  enthusiasm,  and  in  its  evi 
dent  genuineness  and  warmth  it  makes  us  forget  that  we 
are  reading  one  of  the  earliest  of  English  publishers'  ad- 


The  story  of  Troy,  as  everyone  is  aware,  was  unknown  to 
the  Middle  Ages  in  the  Homeric  version.  Two  Latin  prose 
works  purporting  to  be  derived  from  Greek  contemporary 
accounts  by  Dares  the  Phrygian  and  Dictys  the  Cretan 
formed  the  basis  of  the  mediaeval  tradition.  These  were 
elaborated  into  a  French  metrical  romance  by  Benoit  de 
Sainte  Maure  in  the  twelfth  century,  and  from  him  the 
Sicilian  Guido  delle  Colonne  derived  the  material  for  his 
Latm  prose  history  of  Troy.  For  the  later  Middle  Ages 
Guido  was  the  main  source.  It  is  to  this  tradition  that 
Boccaccio's  romance  of  "Filostrato"  belongs,  with  Chaucer's 
expansion  and  paraphrase  of  it  in  his  "Troilus."  On  Guido 
also  depends  that  French  priest  Raoul  le  Feure,*  whom 
Caxton  translated  in  Bruges  and  Ghent,  and  "finished  in 
Cologne,  in  the  time  of  the  troublous  world,"  when  England 

*H.  C,  xxxix,  19.    For  examples  of  the  "Canterbury  Tales/'  see  H,  C^ 
xl,  11-51. 


was  torn  by  the  Wars  of  the  Roses,  and  there  was  little 
peace  for  letters  at  home.  Under  these  circumstances  it  is 
perhaps  little  wonder  that  the  chief  justification  he  offers 
for  his  labor  in  translation  is  the  hope  that  the  destruction 
of  Troy  "may  be  example  to  all  men  during  the  world  how 
dreadful  and  jeopardous  it  is  to  begin  a  war,  and  what 
harms,  losses,  and  death  followeth." 

The  Troy  story  he  continued  in  his  translation  of  a  French 
version  of  the  "^Eneid"*  of  Virgil,  "that  noble  poet  and 
great  clerk/'  In  this  work  he  tells  us  he  stood  in  great 
doubt  between  those  advisers  who  urged  him  to  use  lan- 
guage which  could  be  understood  of  the  common  people  and 
those  who  wanted  him  to  use  the  most  curious  terms  he 
could  find  He  chose  a  middle  path,  "forasmuch  as  this 
present  book  is  not  for  a  rude  uplandish  man  to  labour  there- 
in ne  read  it,  but  only  for  a  clerk  and  a  noble  gentleman 
that  feeleth  and  understandeth  in  feats  of  arms,  in  love  and 
in  noble  chivalry." 


Finally,  we  have  his  Prologue  to  the  great  book  of  "King 
Arthur"  *  compiled  by  his  contemporary.  Sir  Thomas  Malory. 
If  the  Troy  story  was  the  favorite  classical  tale  in  mediaeval 
times,  the  romances  connected  with  King  Arthur  were  the 
most  notable  and  the  most  widely  diffused  of  more  recent 
imaginative  literature.  Founded  on  a  minute  basis  of  old 
British  history,  the  Arthurian  legends  had  passed  from  the 
chronicles  into  romance,  finding  their  most  important  artistic 
development  in  France,  but  spreading  in  translation  and 
paraphrase  into  every  country  of  western  Europe.  At  the 
close  of  the  Middle  Ages,  an  English  knight,  Sir  Thomas 
Malory,  collected,  chiefly  from  French  prose  versions,  ma- 
terials for  a  loosely  organized  compilation  of  all  the  more 
important  adventures,  and  retold  them  in  a  style  and  spirit 
that  make  his  book  one  of  the  great  monuments  of  English 
prose.  For  this  book  Caxton  had  the  warmest  admiration; 
and,  though  here,  if  anywhere,  we  have  a  literature  of  en- 

*H.  Cjj  xxxix,  35.    For  a  modern  translation,  see  H.  C,  vol.  xiii. 

•if»  C.,  xxxix,  21.  For  the  story  of  the  Holy  Grail  from  MaJory.  sec 
H.  C,  xxxTf  iog'226,  and  cf.  Dr.  Maynadier'a  lecture  in  the  aeries  on  Proae 


tertainment,  in  it  also  Caxton  finds  a  possibility  of  moral 
and  spiritual  improvement.  Few  of  his  words  are  better 
known  than  his  worthy  praise  of  Malory:  "And  I,  accord- 
ing to  my  copy,  have  down  set  it  in  print,  to  the  intent  that 
noble  men  may  see  and  learn  the  noble  acts  of  chivalry,  the 
gentle  and  virtuous  deeds  that  some  knights  used  in  those 
days,  by  which  they  came  to  honour,  and  how  they  that  were 
vicious  were  punished  and  oft  put  to  shame  and  rebuke; 
humbly  beseeching  all  noble  lords  and  ladies  and  all  other 
estates,  of  what  estate  or  degree  they  be  of,  that  shall  see 
and  read  in  this  said  book  and  work,  that  they  take  the  good 
and  honest  acts  in  their  remembrance  and  to  follow  the 
same,  wherein  they  shall  find  many  joyous  and  pleasant 
histories  and  noble  and  renowned  acts  of  humanity,  gentle- 
ness, and  chivalry.  For  herein  may  be  seen  noble  chivalry, 
courtesy,  humanity,  friendliness,  hardyhood,  love,  friend- 
ship, cowardice,  murder,  hate,  virtue  and  sin.  Do  after  the 
good  and  leave  the  evil  and  it  shall  bring  you  to  good  fame 
and  renown.  And  for  to  pass  the  time  this  book  shall  be 
pleasant  to  read  in ;  but  for  to  give  faith  and  believe  that  all 
is  true  that  is  contained  herein,  ye  be  at  your  liberty.  But 
all  is  written  for  our  doctrine." 

This  last  sentence  sums  up  the  chief  points  in  the  pro- 
fessional faith  of  the  father  of  English  printing.  Edifica- 
tion was  assumed  by  him  as  by  his  age  as  the  prime,  if  not 
the  only,  justification  for  writing  and  publishing.  Yet,  in 
spite  of  this  narrow  assumption,  Caxton  and  the  authors  he 
did  so  much  to  make  accessible  were  clearly  sensitive  to  the 
element  of  delight  as  well  as  of  instruction  in  literature; 
and  enough  has  been  said  of  the  contents  of  these  Prologues 
to  show  how  rich  they  are  in  indications  not  only  of  what 
the  Middle  Ages  read,  but  why  they  read  it. 

As  for  Caxton's  own  motives,  if  we  took  hfm  literally,  we 
should  suppose  that  he  translated  and  printed  mainly  to 
save  himself  from  the  sin  of  idleness.  Yet  a  more  generous 
impulse  is  easily  read  between  the  lines;  and  it  is  no  mere 
self -regarding  purpose  that  finds  utterance  in  the  words  he 
penned  as  he  closed  wearily  his  long  labor  on  the  "Recuyell 
of  the  Histories  of  Troy" :   "Thus  end  I  this  book,  which  I 


have  translated  after  mine  Author  as  nigh  as  God  hath 
given  me  cunning,  to  whom  be  given  the  laud  and  praising. 
And  for  as  much  as  in  the  writing  of  the  same  my  pen  is 
worn,  my  hand  weary  and  not  steadfast,  mine  eyne  dimmed 
with  overmuch  looking  on  the  white  paper,  and  my  courage 
not  so  prone  and  ready  to  labour  as  it  hath  been,  and  that 
age  creepeth  on  me  daily  and  feebleth  all  the  body,  and  also 
because  I  have  promised  to  divers  gentlemen  and  to  my 
friends  to  address  them  as  hastily  as  I  might  this  same  book, 
therefore  I  have  practised  and  learned  at  my  great  charge 
and  dispense  to  ordain  this  said  book  in  print,  after  the 
manner  and  form  as  ye  may  here  see,  and  is  not  written 
with  pen  and  ink  as  other  books  be,  to  the  end  that  every 
man  may  have  them  at  once." 


By  Professor  Buss  Perry 

AMONG  the  various  critical  essays  presented  in  The 
l\  Harvard  Classics  no  group  is  more  interesting  than 
•^-^  that  which  deals  with  the  theory  of  poetry.  Our 
consideration  of  the  literary  form  or  quality  of  the  essay 
has  already  shown  us  that  we  should  not  expect  from  the 
essayist  an  exhaustive  treatise,  but  rather  a  free  and 
spirited  and  suggestive  discussion  of  certain  aspects  of  his 
subject.  To  write  adequately  upon  the  general  theme  of 
poetry,  expounding  its  nature,  its  aesthetic  and  social  sig- 
nificance, and  its  technique,  would  be  an  enormously  difficult 
task.  But  there  are  few  poets  who  have  not  uttered  at  one 
time  or  another  some  of  the  secrets  of  this  craft,  or  some 
phase  of  their  admiration  for  it.  Let  us  glance  at  the  essays 
of  eight  English  and  American  poets,  ranging  in  time  from 
the  age  of  Elizabeth  to  the  Victorian  epoch:  Sidney,  Dry- 
den,  Wordsworth,  Coleridge,  Shelley,  Poe,  Whitman,  and 
Arnold.  Four  of  this  group,  Dryden,  Coleridge,  Poe,  and 
Arnold,  are  acknowledged  adepts  in  general  literary  criti- 
cism ;  while  Sidney  and  Shelley,  Wordsworth  and  Whitman, 
have  given  expression  to  some  of  the  most  eloquent  and 
revealing  things  that  have  ever  been  written  about  their 
own  art  of  poetry. 


Sidney's  "Defense  of  Poesy,"*  like  Shelley's,  is  a  reply 
to  an  attack,  but  neither  poet  is  very  angry,  nor  does  either 
believe  that  his  opponent  has  done  much  harm.  Shelley's 
antagonist  was  a  humorously  Philistine  essay  by  his  friend 
Peacock.  Sidney  is  answering  somewhat  indirectly  a  fellow 
Puritan,  Gosson,  whose  "School  of  Abuse"  ( 1579)  had  attacked 

^  Harvard  Classics,  xxvii,  7S, 



the  moral  shortcomings  of  ancient  poetry  and  the  license  of 
the  contemporary  stage.  Yet  Sidney's  "pitiful  defense  of  poor 
poetry/'  as  he  playfully  terms  his  essay,  is  composed  in  no 
narrowly  controversial  spirit,  but  rather  in  a  strain  of  noble 
enthusiasm.  He  brings  to  his  task  a  sufficient  learning,  a 
knowledge  of  the  poetics  of  Plato  and  Aristotle,  and  an 
acquaintance  with  the  humanistic  critics  of  Italy  and  France. 
He  knows  his  Homer  and  Virgil,  his  Horace  and  Ovid,  but 
he  does  not  on  that  account  despise  the  "old  song  of  Percy 
and  Douglas."  The  nobility  of  Sidney's  tone  and  his  beauty 
of  phrasing  are  no  less  notable  than  the  clear  ordering  of 
his  thought.  In  one  close-packed  paragraph  after  another, 
he  praises  the  poet  as  a  teacher  and  creator,  compares 
poetry  with  history  and  philosophy,  and  finds,  as  Aristotle 
has  done  before  him,  that  it  is  nobler  than  either.  He  dis- 
cusses the  various  types  of  poetry,  testing  their  capacities 
for  teaching  and  moving  the  reader.  Then,  after  a  skillful 
refutation  of  the  current  objections  against  poetry,  he  turns, 
like  a  true  Englishman,  to  the  poetry  of  his  own  race,  which 
was  just  then  beginning,  though  Sidney  did  not  foresee  it, 
its  most  splendid  epoch.  He  condemns,  for  instance,  as 
being  "neither  right  tragedies  nor  right  comedies,"  that  type 
of  tragi-comedy  which  Shakespeare  was  soon  to  make 
illustrious.  This  opinion  is  now  reckoned,  of  course,  a 
heresy,  as  is  Sidney's  other  opinion  that  verse  is  not  essential 
to  poetry.  Yet  no  one  who  loves  Sidney  can  quarrel  with 
him  over  this  or  that  opinion.  His  essay  has  proved  Itself, 
for  more  than  three  centuries,  to  be  what  he  claimed  for  the 
beautiful  art  which  he  was  celebrating — a  permanent  source 
of  instruction  and  delight. 


One  hundred  years  after  Sidney's  untimely  death,  thp 
prince  of  English  criticism  was  John  Dryden.  He  made  no 
pretense  of  actual  government:  he  "follows  the  Rules  afar 
off."  He  is  full  of  contradictions,  reflecting  the  changing 
hues  of  contemporary  taste,  compromising  between  the 
classic  and  the  romantic,  changing  his  views  as  often  as  he 
likes,   always   readable   and  personal,  always,   in  the  best 


sense,  "impressionistic,"  always,  as  Professor  Ker  has  said 
of  him,  "sceptical,  tentative,  disengaged."  His  early  essay 
"Of  Dramatic  Poesy"  is  full  of  youthful  zest  for  Shake- 
speare and  romance.  Then  he  turns  conformist,  aiming  "to 
delight  the  age  in  which  I  live"  and  to  justify  its  prevalent 
neo-classic  taste;  but  presently  he  comes  back  to  his  "in- 
comparable Shakespeare,"  praises  Longinus,  and  abandons 
rhyme.  In  his  next  period  he  turns  rationalist,  and  exalts 
"good  sense"  and  "propriety."  In  the  last  dozen  years  of 
his  life  his  enthusiasm  for  highly  imaginative  literature  re- 
turns; he  translates  Juvenal  and  Virgil,  and  modernizes 
Chaucer;  he  is  "lost  in  admiration  over  Virgil,"  though  at 
heart  he  "prefers  Homer."  It  is  in  this  final  stage  of  his 
career  as  a  critic  that  he  writes  the  charming  praise  of 
Chaucer,  which  is  reprinted  in  The  Harvard  Classics.'  It  is 
the  perfection  of  essay  writing.  "Here  is  God's  plenty,"  as 
he  exclaims  of  the  elder  poet,  in  whom  he  finds  a  soul  con- 
genial to  his  own.  Dryden  did  not,  it  is  true,  quite  under- 
stand Chaucer's  verse,  else  he  could  never  have  found  it 
"not  harmonious,"  yet  he  makes  royal  amends  by  admitting 
that  "there  is  the  rude  sweetness  of  a  Scotch  tune  in  it, 
which  is  natural  and  pleasing,  though  not  perfect."  In  his 
earlier  "Apology  for  Heroic  Poetry"  (1677)  he  salutes  "the 
deceased  author  of  'Paradise  Lost,' "  then  three  years  dead, 
and  calls  Milton's  masterpiece  "one  of  the  greatest,  most 
noble,  and  most  sublime  poems  which  either  this  age  or 
nation  has  produced." 


Dryden's  best  pages  of  criticism  tempt  one,  in  brief,  to 
agree  with  him  in  declaring  that  "Poets  themselves  are  the 
most  proper,  though  I  conclude  not  the  only  critics."  The 
critical  writings  of  Wordsworth  and  Coleridge  confirm  us 
in  that  opinion.  Wordsworth  is  less  facile  than  Dryden,  and 
he  does  not  range  so  far.  Coleridge,  by  natural  endowment 
one  of  the  greatest  of  literary  critics,  is  desultory  and  in- 
dolent. But  the  two  men,  when  focusing  their  masterly 
powers  upon  the  defense  and  interpretation  of  that  mode  of 

*  H.  Cm  xxxix,  z6off. 


Romantic  poetry  in  which  their  own  creative  energies  were 
for  a  time  absorbed,  produced  criticism  which  has  affected 
the  whole  subsequent  development  of  English  literature. 
Coleridge's  lecture  on  "Poesy  or  Art,"*  for  instance,  is  full 
of  those  flashes  of  penetrative  insight  which  reveal  the  born 
critic:  Art  "is  the  power  of  humanizing  nature";  "passion 
itself  imitates  order";  "beauty  is  the  union  of  the  shapely 
with  the  vital"i;  "the  subjects  chosen  for  works  of  art  should 
be  such  as  really  are  capable  of  being  expressed  and  con- 
veyed within  the  limits  of  those  arts."  Wordsworth's  "Pref- 
ace"* to  his  epoch-making  early  poems  should  be  read  in 
connection  with  Coleridge's  comments  in  the  "Biographia 
Literaria,"  and  in  the  light  of  the  well-known  fact  as  to  the 
proposed  division  of  labor  between  the  two  young  poets  in 
the  composition  of  the  "Lyrical  Ballads."  Coleridge  in- 
tended to  treat  supernatural  objects  as  if  they  really  existed. 
Wordsworth  wished  to  find  in  natural  objects  elements  of 
novelty  and  surprise,  that  is,  the  romance  of  everyday  ex- 
perience. The  two  methods  blended  of  course,  like  the 
colors  at  the  extreme  edges  of  the  spectrum.  Wordsworth's 
successive  statements  of  his  purpose  emphasize  now  his  use 
of  "the  language  of  conversation  in  the  middle  and  lower 
classes,"  as  if  it  were  mainly  a  question  of  poetic  diction; 
then  he  stresses  the  necessity  of  truth  to  "the  primary  laws 
of  our  nature,"  and  debates  the  aesthetic  question  of  "the 
association  of  ideas  in  a  state  of  excitement" ;  finally,  he 
qualifies  his  first  utterances  by  pointing  out  that  the  diction 
should  be  a  "selection  of  language  really  used  by  men,"  and 
that  the  incidents  and  situations  treated  by  the  poet  should 
have  "a  certain  colouring  of  the  imagination."  Such  criti- 
cism as  this,  if  accompanied  by  close  study  of  the  verbal 
alterations  which  Wordsworth  made  in  the  text  of  his 
poems  as  his  theories  changed,  is  in  the  highest  degree 
stimulating  and  profitable. 


The  influence  of  Coleridge  is  traceable  throughout  Shel- 
ley's "Defence  of  Poetry"*  (1821).     Shelley  rides  into  the 

•  H*  C,  xxvii,  €69ff.  *  H.  C>,  xxxix,  28xff.,  307!?.,  327ff. 

'H.  C.«  xxvii,  34Sff. 


lists  with  as  high  a  heart  as  Sidney,  to  repel  the  attack,  not 
of  the  "moralists"  but  of  the  utilitarians.  He  is  not  con- 
scious, like  Sidney,  Dryden,  and  Arnold,  of  the  history  of 
criticism.  He  has  steeped  himself,  it  is  true,  in  Plato,  but  he 
writes  with  the  enthusiasm  of  a  new  and  personal  vision. 
Poetry,  to  him,  is  primarily  the  expression  of  the  imagina- 
tion: "it  redeems  from  decay  the  visitations  of  the  divinity 
in  man";  "it  is  the  record  of  the  best  and  happiest  moments 
of  the  happiest  and  best  minds" ;  "a  poem  is  the  very  image 
of  life  expressed  in  its  eternal  truth";  poetry  "acts  in  a 
divine  but  unapprehended  manner,  beyond  and  above  con- 
sciousness"; "a  poet  participates  in  the  eternal,  the  infinite, 
and  the  one."  Though  the  student  of  poetical  theory  can 
easily  claim  that  such  sentences  as  these  are  post-Cole- 
ridgean,  they  are  really  timeless,  like  the  glorious  spirit  of 
Shelley  itself. 


Poe's  essay  on  "The  Poetic  Principle,"*  written  to  serve 
as  a  lecture  during  the  last  year  (1849)  of  his  brief  life, 
illustrates  his  conviction  that  "the  truly  imaginative  mind  is 
never  otherwise  than  analytic."  As  applied  to  Shelley,  this 
dictum  is  far  from  true,  but  it  expresses  Poe's  idealization 
of  his  own  extraordinary  gift  for  logical  analysis.  He  was 
a  craftsman  who  was  never  weary  of  explaining  the  trade 
secrets  of  his  art,  and  though  his  criticism  is  uneven  in 
quality  and  uninformed  by  deep  and  accurate  scholarship, 
he  expounded  certain  critical  principles  with  incomparable 

In  "The  Poetic  Principle,"  together  with  some  populariza- 
tion of  Coleridge,  and  some  admixture  no  doubt  of  that 
"fudge"  which  Lowell  thought  so  inextricably  compounded 
with  Poe*s  "genius,"  there  will  be  found  the  famous  defini- 
tion of  the  "Poetry  of  words  as  The  Rhythmical  Creation  of 
Beauty."  Poetry,  according  to  Poe,  excites,  by  elevating 
the  soul.  But  as  all  excitements,  by  psychological  necessity, 
are  transient,  it  is  only  short  poems  that  are  truly  poems  at 
all.  Such  brief  and  indeterminate  glimpses  of  the  supernal 
loveliness,  "the  creation  of  supernal  beauty,"  is  the  poet's 


struggle — ^and  despair.  If  Poe's  formulation  of  the  task  and 
method  of  poetry  lacks,  as  it  doubtless  does,  universal 
validity,  it  is  nevertheless  a  key  to  the  understanding  of  his 
own  exquisitely  musical  fragments  of  lyric  verse. 


Walt  Whitman,  like  Poe  and  Coleridge,  is  mystic  and 
transcendental  in  his  theory  of  poetry.  Unlike  them,  he  is 
an  arch-rebel  in  poetic  practice.  The  Preface  to  'Teaves 
of  Grass"*  (1855)  is  not  so  much  a  critical  essay  as  a  mani- 
festo. It  is  vociferous,  impassioned,  inconsecutive.  Some 
paragraphs  of  it  were  later  turned  into  verse,  so  rich  was  it 
in  emotion.  The  central  theme  is  the  opportunity  which  the 
immediate  age  in  America  offers  to  the  poet.  The  past  has 
had  its  fit  poetical  expression,  but  the  new  world  of  de- 
mocracy and  science  now  demands  a  different  type  of  bard. 
The  qualifications  are  obdurately  clear:  he  must  love  the 
earth  and  animals  and  common  people;  he  must  be  in  his 
own  flesh  a  poem,  at  one  with  the  universe  of  things;  his 
soul  must  be  great  and  unconstrained.  He  must  perceive 
that  everything  is  miraculous  and  divine.  The  poet  is  to  be 
the  priest  of  the  new  age,  and  of  all  the  coming  ages.  Whit- 
man does  not  enter,  in  the  Preface,  upon  the  discussion  of 
the  technique  of  his  own  unmetrical,  rhapsodic  verse.  Yet 
this  verse,  which  has  challenged  the  attention  of  two  gen- 
erations, and  which  is  slowly  making  its  way  toward  general 
recognition,  is  scarcely  to  be  understood  without  a  knowl- 
edge of  the  theory  of  poetry  which  underlies  it.  The  Pref- 
ace states  that  theory,  confusedly,  if  one  tries  to  parse  and 
weigh  it  sentence  by  sentence,  but  adequately,  if  one  watches 
simply,  as  Whitman  bids,  the  "drift"  of  it. 


"I  do  not  contest  Mr.  Walt  Whitman's  powers  and 
originality,"  wrote  Matthew  Arnold  in  1866,  but  he  adds 
this  warning:  "No  one  can  afford  in  literature  to  trade 
merely  on  his  own  bottom  and  to  take  no  account  of  what 

*if.  C,  xxxix,  409ff. 


the  other  ages  and  nations  have  acquired:  a  great  original 
literature  America  will  never  get  in  this  way,  and  her  in- 
tellect must  inevitably  consent  to  come,  in  a  considerable 
measure,  into  the  European  movement."  It  is  not  the 
least  useful  service  of  Arnold's  own  essay  on  "The  Study  of 
Poetry"*  that  it  takes  us  at  once  into  this  European  move- 
ment. The  essay  was  written  as  a  preface  to  a  collection  of 
English  verse — "one  great  contributory  stream  to  the  world 
river  of  poetry."  Arnold  insists  throughout,  in  character- 
istic fashion,  upon  the  necessity  of  developing  a  sense  for 
the  best,  for  the  really  excellent.  He  points  out  the  fallacies 
involved  in  the  purely  historical  and  the  purely  personal 
estimates.  He  uses  lines  and  expressions  of  the  great  mas- 
ters as  "touchstones"  for  detecting  the  presence  or  absence 
of  high  poetic  quality.  He  takes  Aristotle's  remark  about 
the  "higher  truth"  and  "higher  seriousness"  of  poetry  as 
compared  to  history,  and  tests  therewith  the  "classic"  matter 
and  manner  of  English  poets. 

There  are  pitfalls,  without  question,  lurking  in  the  path 
of  Arnold's  apparently  sure-footed  and  adroit  method,  but 
the  temper  of  his  performance"  needs  no  praise.  He  brings 
us  steadily  and  serenely  back  to  "the  European  movement," 
to  the  laws  and  standards  that  endure.  But  he  also  teaches 
that  life  and  art  are  inexhaustible  in  their  resources.  "The 
future  of  poetry  is  immense";  that  is  the  first  sentence  of 
Arnold's  essay;  and  it  will  be  also  the  confirmed  final  truth 
of  any  reader  who  has  taken  pains  to  acquaint  himself  with 
the  utterance  of  poets  about  poetry.  Walter  Bagehot  wrote 
long  ago:  "The  bare  idea  that  poetry  is  a  deep  thing,  a 
teaching  thing,  the  most  surely  and  wisely  elevating  of 
human  things,  is  even  now  to  the  coarse  public  mind  nearly 
unknown.  .  .  .  All  about  and  around  us  a  faith  in  poetry 
struggles  to  be  extricated,  but  it  is  not  extricated.  Some 
day,  at  the  touch  of  the  true  word,  the  whole  confusion  will 
by  magic  cease ;  the  broken  and  shapeless  notions  will  cohere 
and  crystallize  into  a  bright  and  true  theory."  We  are  still 
waiting,  no  doubt,  for  that  true  and  final  word,  but  if  it  is 
ever  spoken,  it  is  likely  to  be  uttered  by  one  of  the  poets. 

■H.  C,  xxviii,  6sflf. 



By  Professor  W.  G.  Howard 

GOETHE  admonishes  the  artist  to  create  in  forms  of 
"  beauty,  not  to  talk  about  beauty,  and  it  is  certain 
that  no  man  ever  became  a  poet  from  the  study  of 
an  "art  of  poetry."  Language  is  abstract,  and  art  is  con- 
crete, the  tmderstanding  is  slow  and  emotion  is  swift,  the 
reason  may  be  convinced,  but  the  senses  cannot  be  per- 
suaded. There  is  no  disputing  about  tastes.  Nevertheless, 
we  know  that  taste  can  be  cultivated,  and  that  understand- 
ing not  only  makes  the  taste  more  discriminating  but  also 
multiplies  the  sources  of  aesthetic  pleasure.  Artists,  as  well 
as  amateurs  and  philosophers  have  ever  sought  to  further 
such  understanding. 

The  sculptor  or  the  painter,  whose  primary  means  of  ex- 
pression are  forms  and  colors,  assumes  the  secondary  func- 
tion of  teacher  when  he  places  at  the  disposal  of  his  "school" 
the  results  of  his  studies  in  technique  or  theory.  The  phil- 
osophical lover  of  art  delights  to  speculate  on  the  con- 
stituents of  beauty,  and  the  critic  boldly  formulates  the  laws 
upon  the  basis  of  -which  he  judges  and  classifies.  Poetry, 
probably  the  earliest  of  the  fine  arts,  was  first  subjected  to 
this  aesthetic  legislation;  but  music,  dancing,  sculpture,  and 
painting  were  soon  brought  under  the  same  dominion,  and 
have  long  been  regarded  as  sisters  of  one  and  the  same 
household  with  poetry. 


Especially  since  the  revival  of  learning  in  the  fifteenth 
and  sixteenth  centuries,  practice  in  the  arts  has  been  ac- 
complished by  a  running  commentary  of  theory.    The  men 



of  the  Renaissance,  having  before  them  not  merely  nu- 
merous examples  of  Greek  sculpture  and  the  epics  of  Homer 
and  Virgil,  but  also  Aristotle's  "Poetics"  and  Horace's  "Art 
of  Poetry,"  and  seeing  in  these  products  of  antiquity  the 
height  of  human  achievement,  attempted  in  various  ways  to 
apply  the  canons  of  ancient  taste  to  the  settlement  of  con- 
temporary problems.  Accordingly,  we  find  in  Italy  and, 
following  the  Italians,  in  France,  England,  and  Germany, 
many  writers  on  aesthetics  only  gradually  emancipating 
themselves  from  the  constraint  of  certain  axioms  which, 
being  ancient,  are  unhesitatingly  received  as  authoritative. 
Thus,  all  of  the  fine  arts  are,  with  Aristotle,  regarded  as 
arts  of  imitation — imitation,  not  of  real  but  of  ideal  nature, 
of  beautiful  nature,  as  the  French  call  it;  and  this 
vague  and  elusive  conception  is  usually  left  without  any 
very  illuminating  definition.  Similarly,  a  painting  is 
thought  of,  after  Simonides,  as  a  dumb  poem,  and  a  poem 
as  a  speaking  picture;  and,  repeating  a  misunderstood 
phrase  of  Horace,  men  confidently  say,  "Like  picture,  like 

The  tendency  is,  then,  to  assimilate  or  at  most  to  compare 
the  several  arts,  and  few  observations  penetrate  beneath  the 
surface.  Artists  calculated  proportions  and  devised  elab- 
orate rules  of  technical  procedure;  writers  of  poetics  dis- 
cussed diction  and  rhetorical  figures;  but  in  treatises  on 
painting  and  poetry  alike,  three  "parts" — invention,  dispo- 
sition, and  coloring — -furnished  the  traditional  subdivisions. 
Intelligence  and  industry  seemed  competent,  if  not  to  vie 
with  the  ancient  genius,  at  least  to  follow  the  paths  that  the 
ancients  had  trod.  With  all  their  formalism,  however,  the 
critics  seldom  failed  to  insist  that  the  end  of  art  is  to 
arouse  emotion;  to  instruct,  indeed,  but  also,  as  Horace 
had  said,  to  please.  Now  pleasure  is  a  personal  reaction. 
We  may  ask  what  it  is  that  pleases  us  in  a  work  of  art, 
or  what  there  is  in  us  that  makes  us  sensitive  to  aesthetic 
pleasure;  and  the  principal  advance  that  modern  theory  has 
made  beyond  the  point  reached  by  the  Renaissance 
consists  in  a  better  answer  to  the  second  question. 
In  other  words,  our  theory  has,  or  seeks,  a  psychological 



To  be  sure,  that  modern  work  in  which  the  sharpest  line 
is  drawn  between  the  fields  of  painting  and  poetry,  Les- 
sing's  "Laocoon,"  appears  to  treat  the  two  arts  in  their  most 
objective  aspect,  and  is,  in  fact,  far  more  concerned  with 
the  means  than  with  the  purpose  or  the  substance  of  artistic 
expression.  Lessing  argues  that  if  the  means  of  painting 
be  lines  and  colors  in  space,  and  the  means  of  poetry 
articulate  words  in  time,  then  evidently  painting  most  prop- 
erly addresses  itself  to  the  treatment  of  stationary  bodies, 
and  poetry  to  the  treatment  of  successive  actions;  so  that 
the  attempt,  carried  too  far,  to  represent  actions  in  painting 
and  to  describe  bodies  in  poetry  is  a  perversion  of  the 
legitimate  means  of  painting  and  poetry.  We  should  not 
forget  the  qualifications  that  Lessing  made  to  this  rigid 
principle,  nor  the  fact  that  he  published  only  the  first  part  of 
his  projected  treatise.  He  referred  the  effect  of  painting  as 
well  as  of  poetry  to  the  imagination.  But  his  purpose  was  to 
establish  boundaries  determinable  by  the  difference  in  artistic 
means;  and  his  "Laocoon"  is  a  rationalistic  document  based 
upon  knowledge  and  observation  of  external  facts,  not  upon  a 
study  of  internal  reactions. 


Among  the  many  predecessors  of  Lessing  in  the  realm  of 
asthetic  speculation,  two  men,  not  philosophers  by  profes- 
sion, are  conspicuous  for  attention  to  the  personal  phe- 
nomena which  he  did  not  much  consult;  the  Abbe  Dubos  in 
France  and  Edmund  Burke*  in  England.  Dubos  recognizes 
differences  in  the  arts  conditioned  by  their  symbols  of  ex- 
pression!; but  he  compares  and  rates  the  arts  according  to 
their  effect  upon  the  senses,  and  so  prepares  the  way  for  a 
purely  impressionistic  criticism.  Burke  did  not  agree  with  , 
the  Frenchman's  ratings,  nor  did  he  in  any  manner  imitate 
his  book,  however  much  he  respected  it;  but  he  was  in  sub- 
stantial agreement  with  Dubos  as  to  the  operation  of 
aesthetic  causes;  and  just  as  Dubos  saw  in  the  desire  of  the 
mind  to  be  stimulated  by  samething  the  prime  motive  for 

^Harvard  Chstics,  xxiv,  izff. 


interest  in  the  arts,  Burke  found  in  two  of  our  strongest 
passions,  love  and  terror,  a  definition  of  the  chief  ends  of 
artistic  endeavor,  the  beautiful  and  the  sublime.*  Burke  was 
not  much  affected  by  painting.  This  art,  the  aim  of  which  is 
to  represent  the  beautiful,  has,  he  says,  little  effect  on  our  pas- 
sions. But  poetry,  to  which  he  was  sensitive,  and  which,  he 
holds,  does  not  depend  for  its  effect  upon  the  power  of  raising 
sensible  images,  is  capable  of  stirring  the  passions  with  a 
vague  sense  of  the  sublime,  and  is,  strictly  speaking,  not  an  art 
of  imitation. 


Though  reached  by  a  different  process,  Burke's  conclusion 
as  to  the  province  of  poetry  is,  in  its  negative  aspect, 
identical  with  Lessing's:  words  are  ill  adapted  to  the  vivid 
presentation  of  objects  by  means  of  detailed  description. 
And  though  crude  and  materialistic,  his  "Inquiry"  is  an  ex- 
cellent introduction  to  the  study  of  aesthetics  as  a  branch  of 
psychology.  .  The  real  founder  of  this  science,  however,  and 
the  philosopher  from  whom  it  derives  its  name,  was  a  con- 
temporary of  Burke's  in  Germany,  Alexander  Gottlieb 

Adopting  the  monistic  system  of  Leibnitz  and  Wolf, 
Baumgarten,  a  clear  thinker  and  a  lover  of  poetry,  but  no 
connoisseur  of  the  formative  arts,  undertook  to  fill  the  gap 
left  by  his  forerunners  in  the  logic  of  the  lower  powers  of 
the  soul,  that  is,  the  senses.  His  theory  of  the  beautiful  is 
general;  he  defines  beauty  as  the  perfection  of  sensuous 
perception;  but  clinging  to  the  maxim,  "Like  picture,  like 
poetry,"  he  does  not,  in  his  application  of  the  theory,  pro- 
gress far  beyond  the  treatment  of  poetry  as  the  typical  art, 
rating  it,  like  Burke,  higher  than  painting.  Poetry  he  de- 
fines as  perfect  sensuous  speech.  So  Milton  says  that 
poetry  is  more  simple,  sensuous,  and  passionate  tlian  prose. 
And  that  perfection  which  is  the  definition  of  beauty  and  of 
poetry  is  a  set  of  harmonious  relationships  in  the  object, 
and  between  the  object  and  the  sensitive  soul,  of  which  the 
intellect  may  take  cognizance,  but  of  which,  above  all,  the 
senses  make  us  conscious,  being  impressed  with  an  extensive 

•  H,  C,  xxiv,  2gS. 


clearness  separable  from  intensive  distinctness;  so  that  a 
poem  is  a  poem  not  for  the  accuracy  of  any  "imitation,"  nor 
for  the  loftiness  of  its  idea,  nor  for  the  elegance  of  its  forms, 
but  for  the  fullness  of  its  appeal  to  those  functions  which  most 
immediately  respond  to  man's  contact  with  his  material  en- 
vironment; that  is  to  say,  for  intuitively  perceptible  reality. 


Baumg^arten's  doctrine  was  taken  up  by  Lessing's  friend, 
Mendelssohn;  it  furnished  fundamental  presuppositions  for 
"Laocoon" ;  and  it  persisted  to  the  time  of  Kant  and  Schiller. 
Kant,  the  analyst  and  rationalist,  tended  to  separate  the 
spheres  of  reason,  sense,  and  morals,  and  to  refer  all  three 
to  subjective  judgment.  But  Schiller,*  his  disciple,  fired  as 
he  was  by  moral  enthusiasm,  wished  to  find  an  objective 
foundation  for  a  theory  of  the  beautiful  that  should  make 
aesthetics  a  mediator  between  science  and  ethics,  and  should 
give  to  the  beautiful  the  sanction  of  a  perfecter  of  the  mind, 
the  heart,  and  the  will.  Not  unlike  Lessing,  whose  "Educa- 
tion of  the  Human  Race"  *  meant  a  gradual  liberation  from 
leading  strings  and  final  reliance  upon  trained  natural 
faculties,  Schiller  conceived  aesthetic  education  as  a  process 
of  freeing  man  from  bondage  to  the  senses  and  leading 
him  through  culture  to  a  state  of  more  perfect  nature,  in 
which,  as  of  old  among  the  Greeks,  truth  and  goodness 
shall  be  garbed  in  beauty.  Civilization  has  been  won  through 
specialization,  division  of  labor;  it  is  a  gain  for  the  com- 
munity, but  at  the  loss  of  harmonious  development  of 
powers  in  the  individual  life.  The  beautiful  soul  longs  to 
restore  the  balance.  If  this  be  impossible  in  the  world  of 
actuality,  it  is  attainable  in  the  world  of  appearance.  There  the 
mind  is  free  to  follow  the  image  of  beauty  and  to  endow  this 
image  with  the  wealth  of  all  its  knowledge  and  all  its  goodness 
— ^not  for  any  ulterior  purpose,  but  in  obedience  to  a  native  im- 
pulse. And  so  the  poet  is  the  sole  modern  representative  of 
perfect  humanity,  with  all  his  powers,  intellectual,  sensuous, 
and  moral,  cooperating  toward  the  realization  of  an  ideal. 

•W.  C,  xxxii,  22iflF. 

*  H,  C,  xxxii,  losff.    See  also  Goethe's  "Introduction  to  the  Propyraen," 
xxxix,  264ff,  and  Hume,  "On  the  Standard  of  Taste,"  xxvii,  215. 



By  Dr.  Ernest  Bernbaum 

OF  THE  critical  essays  not  discussed  in  the  previous 
lectures  the  most  important  are  those  by  Hugo, 
Sainte-Beuve,  Renan,  Taine,  and  Mazzlni.  As  their 
doctrines  are  quite  obviously  related  to  those  expounded  in 
the  foregoing  pages,  it  seems  desirable  to  consider  here  the 
manner  in  which  their  opinions  are  expressed.  The  critical 
essays  published  in  this  series  are  classics,  not  merely  be- 
cause they  contain  significant  doctrines  about  literature  but 
also  because  they  are  in  themselves  literary  works.  They 
confer  pleasure  as  well  as  profit.  What  distinguishes  them 
from  the  journalistic  book  review  on  the  one  hand,  and  the 
pedantic  study  on  the  other,  is  their  artistic  composition. 
By  what  methods  are  their  artistic  effects  produced? 


The  title  of  a  work  cited  by  Sainte-Beuve  suggests  what  a 
literary  criticism  should  not  be.  It  runs  as  follows :  "Michel 
de  Montaigne,  a  collection  of  unedited  or  little-known  facts 
about  the  author  of  the  Essays,  his  book  and  other  writings, 
about  his  family,  his  friends,  his  admirers,  his  detractors." 
Sainte-Beuve,  Taine,  and  the  other  masters  never  present 
us  with  a  "collection."  They  marshal  their  numerous  facts 
into  a  system,  and  dominate  them  with  a  thought  which, 
however  complex,  is  coherent.  Most  of  us  arise  from  the 
perusal  of  an  author  with  a  chaotic  throng  of  impressions. 
But  in  the  mind  of  a  true  literary  critic  the  chaos  becomes 
order.  Renan,  in  his  "Poetry  of  the  Celtic  Races,"*  "giving 
a  voice  to  races  that  are  no  more,"  lets  us  hear  not  a  con- 

^  Harvard  Classics,  xxxii,  143. 



fusion  of  tongues  but  an  intelligible  unity  of  national  utter*^ 
ance — sad,  gentle,  and  imaginative.  Hugo,  surveying  in  his 
"Preface  to  Cromwell"  *  the  highly  intricate  romantic  move-, 
ment,  sees  therein  the  harmonious  union  of  the  grotesque 
and  the  sublime.  Sainte-Beuve  answers  his  sweeping  ques- 
tion, "What  is  a  Classic?"  with  the  succinct  definition — a 
work  that  reveals  in  a  beautiful  and  individual  manner  an 
eternal  truth  or  emotion.  Mazzini  characterizes  Byron  as  a 
subjective  individualist,  and  Goethe  as  an  objective  one. 
Taine,  prefacing  his  "History  of  English  Literature,*"  un- 
locks the  riddle  of  literary  growth  with  the  keys  "race, 
environment,  and  epoch."  The  truth  of  these  doctrines  does 
not  for  the  moment  concern  us.  What  is  important  for  us  is 
that  each  of  these  long  essays  may  be  summed  up  in  a  single 
sentence ;  for  in  each  a  powerful  mind  grasps  and  expresses 
a  single  idea. 

When  a  critic  has  conceived  the  leading  idea  of  his  essay, 
he  is  still  in  danger  of  obscuring  its  presentation.  The  more 
richly  informed  he  is,  the  more  he  is  tempted  to  introduce 
facts  not  strictly  related  to  his  dominant  thought.  But  the 
great  critical  essayists,  resisting  that  temptation,  subordinate 
all  details  to  the  general  design.  Hugo,  in  sketching  the 
development  of  the  world's  literature,  selects  only  those 
phases  which  forecast  the  timeliness  of  romanticism.  Sainte- 
Beuve  and  Mazzini,  in  dealing  with  the  lives  of  Montaigne* 
and  Byron,*  which  offer  many  opportunities  for  recounting 
interesting  but  irrelevant  incidents,  mention  only  those 
which  illustrate  their  conception  of  the  authors. 


In  the  arrangement  of  the  materials,  the  same  conscious 
art  is  observable.  Each  of  the  sections  of  the  essays  of 
Taine  and  Renan  is  a  firm  and  necessary  foundation  for 
those  that  succeed  it.  Not  until  Renan  has  described  the 
secluded  national  existence  of  the  Celts  does  he  draw  the 
resultant  national  traits  of  character,  which  thereupon  we 
are  ready  to  trace  intelligently  in  the  various  branches  of 

«K.  C,  xxxix,  354.  *H.  C,  xxxix,  433- 

*H.  C,  audi,  X09.  *H.  C,  xxxii,  39^ 


Celtic  literature.  The  method  of  Tainc's  essay  is  even  more 
admirably  logical.  To  understand  the  growth  of  literature, 
he  tells  us,  we  must  know  first  "the  visible  man,"  next  "the 
invisible  man,"  then  the  race,  environment,  and  epoch  which 
determined  his  character,  and  finally  the  way  in  which 
those  causes  distribute  their  effects.  Thus  is  our  progress 
through  unknown  fields  made  easy :  we  are  not  asked  to  leap 
from  point  to  point,  or  to  retrace  our  way;  our  guide  takes 
us  step  by  step  along  the  path  of  his  discovery. 


The  sustained  and  methodically  expounded  idea  which  is 
the  basis  of  every  great  critical  essay  would,  however,  like 
all  abstractions,  seem  dull  or  unintelligible  if  it  were  not 
constantly  and  vividly  illustrated.  The  logical  must  flower 
in  the  picturesque.  This  even  the  great  critics  occasionally 
forget:  one  or  two  passages  in  Mazzini's  essay  would  be 
more  convincing  if  more  fully  illustrated  by  references  to 
Goethe's  works;  and  the  only  pages  of  Hugo  where  our 
interest  flags  a  little  are  those  in  which  he  describes,  with- 
out examples,  the  character  of  romantic  verse.  But  such 
lapses  are  highly  exceptional.  Taine,  the  most  intellectual 
and  least  emotional  of  these  men,  makes  it  a  rule  to  clothe 
the  skeleton  of  his  theory  in  flesh  and  blood.  To  show 
what  he  means  by  "the  visible  man,"  he  clearly  portrays  a 
modem  poet,  a  seventeenth-century  dramatist,  a  Greek 
citizen,  and  an  Indian  Purana.  Renan,  to  exhibit  the  Celtic 
love  of  animals  and  nature,  tells  the  story  of  Kilhwch  and 
Olwen;  and  to  explain  Celtic  Christianity,  recounts  the 
legend  of  St.  Brandan.  Sainte-Beuve  states  his  definition 
of  classicism  in  a  few  lines,  and  devotes  the  rest  of  his 
essay  to  applying  it  to  particular  authors. 

All  these  masters  have  the  gift  of  happy  quotation. 
Montaigne's  "I  commend  a  gliding,  solitary,  and  silent  life," 
quoted  by  Sainte-Beuve,  and  Goethe's  "I  allow  objects  to 
act  tranquilly  upon  me,"  quoted  by  Mazzini,  clarify  and 
confirm  out  of  the  authors'  own  mouths  those  impressions 
which  the  critics  wish  to  impart.  The  astonishing  effective- 
ness of  the  close  of  Hugo's  essay  is  due  to  his  apt  quotations 


from  Aristotle  and  Boileau,  which  seem  to  bring  over  those 
great  classicists  to  Hugo's  romantic  party. 

The  illustrations  are  not  derived  only  from  literary  works. 
Taine,  insisting  upon  the  delicacy  with  which  a  literature 
records  changes  in  national  character,  likens  it  to  the  sen- 
sitive instrument  of  a  physicist.  The  similes  of  Hugo  are 
exceptionally  frequent  and  elaborate.  "To  make  clear  by  a 
metaphor  the  ideas  that  we  have  ventured  to  put  forth,"  he 
writes,  "we  will  compare  early  lyric  poetry  to  a  placid  lake 
which  reflects  the  clouds  and  stars;  the  epic  is  the  stream 
which  flows  from  the  lake,  and  rushes  on,  reflecting  its 
banks,  forests,  fields,  and  cities,  until  it  throws  itself  into 
the  ocean  of  the  drama.  Like  the  lake,  the  drama  reflects 
the  sky;  like  the  stream,  it  reflects  its  banks;  but  it  alone 
has  tempests  and  measureless  depths."  His  poe,*:  "is  a  tree 
that  may  be  blown  about  by  all  winds  and  waten  d  by  every 
fall  of  dew;  and  bears  his  works  as  his  fruits,  as  the  fablier 
of  old  bore  his  fables.  Why  attach  one's  self  to  a  master, 
or  graft  one's  self  upon  a  model?  It  were  better  to  be  a 
bramble  or  a  thistle,  fed  by  the  same  earth  as  the  cedar  and 
the  palm,  than  the  fungus  or  the  lichen  of  those  noble  trees." 
Mazzini  begins  his  comparison  of  Byron  and  Goethe  by 
contrasting  an  Alpine  falcon  bravely  floating  in  the  midst 
of  a  storm,  with  a  tranquil  stork  impassive  amid  the  warring 
elements;  and  Renan  prepares  us  for  his  conception  of 
Celtic  literature  by  giving  us  at  the  outset  the  character- 
istic tone  of  the  Breton  landscape.  What  the  intellect  has 
firmly  outined,  fancy  and  imagination  paint  in  lively  colors. 


An  essay  which  has  by  these  means  achieved  clearness 
may  be  pleasant  to  read  but  still  lacking  in  power.  To  give 
force  to  his  ideas  about  an  author  or  a  literature,  the  mas- 
terful critic  exhibits  the  peculiarity  of  his  subject  by  the 
use  of  contrast.  The  brilliancy  of  Mazzini's  essay  proceeds 
largely  from  its  striking  antithesis  between  Byron  and 
Goethe.  Renan  enforces  his  doctrine  of  the  individuality 
of  Celtic  literature  by  emphasizing  the  differences  between 
the  French  "Roland"  and  the  Celtic  "Peredur,"  between  the 


gentle  Isolde  and  the  "Scandinavian  furies,  Gudmn  and 
Chrimhilde."  Hugo  intensifies  our  conviction  of  the  com- 
plex character  of  modem  life  by  describing  the  simplicitj 
of  the  ancients. 

If  a  critic  does  not  observe  this  principle,  we  may  say  of 
his  essay:  "These  ideas  are,  to  be  sure,  clear  and  enjoyable; 
but  what  do  they  matter?"  The  great  critics  do  not  leave 
us  calmly  indifferent;  they  are  on  occasion  critics  militant 
Even  the  gentle  Sainte-Beuve  admonishes  the  "Montaign- 
ologues,"  who,  he  feels,  do  not  understand  the  spirit  of 
Montaigne.  Taine  manifests  the  novelty  and  importance  of 
his  method  of  criticism  by  mentioning  the  imperfections  of 
the  eighteenth-century  method.  Mazzini  reproves  the 
enemies  and  misinterpreters  of  Byron.  Hugo  above  all 
shows  the  stimulating  value  of  pitting  one's  ideas  against 
those  of  others.  He  calls  his  essay  his  "sling  and  stone 
against  the  classical  Goliaths";  and  by  making  his  oppo- 
nents utter  their  arguments  against  him  gives  to  his  work 
the  force  of  dramatic  combat  Critical  essays  that  thus  add 
vigor  to  lucidity  arouse  and  delight  our  minds.  When  we 
recognize  how  skillfully  they  fuse  logic,  imagination,  and 
emotion,  we  perceive  the  superficiality  of  the  distinction  be- 
tween so-called  criticism  and  so-called  creative  literature. 
Grood  criticism  is  indeed  creative,  and  its  composition  is  a 
high  art. 



By  Professor  H.  W.  Holmes 

IN  ALL  profitable  thinking  about  modern  education  one 
central  fact  is  stated  or  assumed — ^the  fact  that  educa- 
tion has  become  a  public  enterprise.  To  think  of  it  as 
a  matter  mainly  of  private  interest,  to  discuss  it  chiefly  in 
terms  of  personal  development,  is  to  ignore  the  achieved 
conditions  of  civilized  life  and  the  clear  trend  of  progress. 
The  spread  of  public  schools  is  but  the  obvious  outward  sign 
of  a  growing  conviction  concerning  all  educational  endeavor. 
That  conviction  was  long  ago  proclaimed  and  has  now  be- 
come a  guide  to  action — ^the  conviction  that  the  communit}' 
has  a  vital  stake  in  the  education  of  every  child.  Education 
is  a  common  concern  not  merely  because  there  are  many 
children  to  be  educated,  but  because  there  can  be  no  sig- 
nificant outcome  in  the  education  of  any  child  which  Is  not 
of  importance,  not  to  him  only,  but  also  to  others,  im- 
mediately to  many,  more  remotely  to  all. 


This  has  always  been  true.  Modem  life,  with  cities  and 
the  inventions  which  belittle  time  and  space,  has  only  made 
it  more  apparent  and  action  upon  it  more  pressing.  No 
one  can  think  with  penetration  upon  the  results  of  education 
who  does  not  come  at  last  to  a  fuller  vision  of  the  interde- 
pendence of  men.  That  men  shall  live  less  and  less  each  for 
himself,  more  and  more  each  for  the  common  good,  is  not 
merely  a  consequence  of  increasing  numbers  on  the  earth, 
but  an  essential  condition  of  human  progress,  in  the  indi- 
vidual as  well  as  in  society.    It  is  a  poor  and  meager  culture 



which  does  not  end  in  greater  power  to  serve.  To  become 
a  man  is  to  become  capable  of  living  effectively  with  others 
and  for  all,  in  the  normal  relationships  of  life — not  in  sub- 
servience to  custom,  but  in  devotion  to  a  welfare  larger 
than  one's  own,,  a  welfare  at  least  not  incompatible,  in  the 
end,  with  the  welfare  of  the  world.  It  is  not  enough  to 
say  that  the  common  interest  is  at  stake  in  the  education  of 
every  child;  the  very  process  of  education  is  properly  a 
training  for  effective  membership  in  the  common  life. 

Such  is  the  reasoning  behind  the  great  outlay  of  public 
money  on  schools,  libraries,  museums,  and  other  educational 
agencies.  Civilized  communities  undertake  education  as  a 
part  of  their  proper  business,  not  as  a  charity,  but  as  a 
necessary  public  function.  Schools  are  tax  supported  and 
education  is  compulsory.  The  state  claims  final  authority  to 
prescribe  standards  and  to  supervise  even  private  educational 
ventures.  It  calls  on  all  citizens  for  their  full  support  in 
this  task  of  conserving  and  developing  human  resources.  It 
considers  every  taxpayer  as  much  in  duty  bound  to  support 
ultimate  social  improvement  through  education  as  to  direct 
social  improvement  through  public  enterprises  of  any  other 
sort.  Personal  return  cannot  be  taken  into  the  account;  the 
good  to  be  achieved  is  primarily  a  public  good,  in  which  the 
childless  also  share.  And  the  problems  of  education  are 
problems  of  public  policy,  involving  the  whole  theory  of 
the  state,  of  government,  of  the  social  order,  and  of  civic 

All  educational  questions  have  thus  become  increasingly 
complex.  The  character  of  modern  life  makes  even  well- 
rounded  personal  development  a  matter  of  much  difficulty, 
for  the  life  of  the  individual  child  is  in  some  ways  narrower 
td-day  than  it  was  in  simpler  times.  To  secure  for  modern 
children  the  full  exercise  of  body,  intellect,  imagination, 
sympathy,  and  will  is  in  itself  a  task  which  calls  for  in- 
sight, energy,  and  cooperation,  to  say  nothing  of  money. 
Yiet  to  provide  for  the  formal  cultivation  of  personal  capac- 
ities, faculties,  and  powers,  is  by  no  means  to  solve  the 
problem  of  education,  even  for  a  given  child.  The  results 
may  happen  to  be  good,  but  the  problem  has  not  been 
solved,  for  it  has  not  been  adequately  stated. 



It  happens,  in  the  first  place,  that  "body,  intellect,  im- 
agination, sympathy,  and  will"  are  poor  terms  to  use  in  the 
actual  direction  of  teaching.  They  name  abstractions  which 
have  induced  more  futile  educational  discussion  and  more 
useless  educational  effort  than  can  ever  be  reckoned.  No 
child  is  a  collection  of  general  faculties  which  can  be 
trained  for  universal  use.  But  even  when  we  have  dis- 
covered the  special  capacities  with  which  the  individual  is 
actually  endowed,  and  with  which  we  may  therefore  profit- 
ably work,  the  problem  is  only  in  part  before  us.  It  is  quite 
as  important  to  consider  what  our  child  is  to  do  with  his 
capacities,  what  stuff  he  is  to  exercise  them  on.  It  is  the 
content  of  education  that  gives  it  social  direction  and  social 
importance;  from  the  public  standpoint  it  is  the  school,  the 
course,  the  subject  that  mean  most,  for  these  determine  the 
concrete  character  of  the  individual's  later  activities  and 
interests.  That  ancient  educational  saw,  "I  care  not  what 
you  study,  if  you  study  it  well,"  is  profoundly  misleading — 
a  mischievous  piece  of  common  sense  which  hides  the  truth 
in  order  to  emphasize  a  part  of  it.  No  matter  what 
"faculty"  a  subject  "trains,"  it  is  the  information,  the  ideas, 
the  ideals,  principles,  points  of  view,  methods.  Interests, 
enthusiasms,  purposes,  and  sympathies  it  imparts  that  chiefly 
determine  its  educational  value.  It  is  the  content  of  a  man's 
education  which  helps  most  to  fix  his  place  in  the  community, 
his  vocation,  his  avocations,  and  his  availability  for  special  « 


Education  presents  not  one  problem,  therefore,  but  many. 
In  the  earlier  years,  to  be  sure,  all  children  need  much  the 
same  intellectual  experience,  at  least  in  school.  "The  funda- 
mentals" are  the  subjects  everybody  ought  to  master.  Thus 
at  first  there  is  only  the  complexity  of  meeting  individual 
differences  among  children — the  brilliant,  the  backward,  the 
well  nurtured,  the  neglected.  Complexity  enough!  And 
even  so,  each  subject  presents,  besides,  its  own  problem  of 
social  interpretation:  "What  everybody  ought  to  master"  in 


arithmetic  or  in  geography  is  by  no  means  clear,  and  new 
definitions  of  the  aim  and  scope  of  each  subject  are  con- 
tinually needed.  Such  definitions  must  be  made  from  the 
standpoint  of  public  service  and  the  real  demands  of  life, 
not  from  the  standpoint  of  complete  mastery  of  the  subject 
A  social  view  of  education  demands  selection  and  reorgani- 
zation of  the  elements  of  knowledge.  But  beyond  this  is  the 
fact  that  children  cannot  long  be  kept  in  the  same  educa- 
tional highway.  The  need  to  separate  arises  at  least  as  early 
as  adolescence,  the  end  of  childhood  and  the  gate  of  youth. 
Here  differences  of  native  endowment,  economic  condition, 
and  conscious  purpose  force  the  first  fundamental  differentia- 
tion of  schools,  courses,  and  classes.  Even  if,  in  some 
millennium  of  social  justice,  the  stern  necessity  of  earning  a 
living  in  the  teens  were  to  be  done  away,  the  social  necessity 
for  variety  of  schooling  would  remain.  Society  needs  many 
kinds  of  thinkers  and  workers,  just  as  there  are  many  kinds 
of  aptitude  to  be  trained.  There  is  no  "general  course" 
which  can  provide  an  "all-round  education,"  in  the  sense  of 
providing  all  that  is  really  needful  for  anybody  who  knows 
what  is  good  for  him.  To  discover  the  best  in  education  for 
one  child  or  class  of  children,  though  with  the  public  inter- 
est well  in  mind,  is  to  answer  but  one  of  the  questions  the 
educator  must  hereafter  always  ask. 

For  the  public  interest  goes  far  beyond  the  need  of  supply- 
ing to  all  a  uniform  minimum  of  schooling.  Democracy 
means  far  more  in  education  than  the  warding  off  of  danger 
from  illiteracy.  It  is  a  crude  and  at  bottom  a  wholly  mis- 
taken view  of  public  education  which  confines  it  to  "the 
three  R's,"  or  to  those  admitted  necessities  and  such  other 
subjects  as  the  common  good  may  dictate  for  the  common 
school.  The  public  interest  is  not  met  by  merely  elementary 
education.  It  is  met  only  when  every  prospective  citizen 
may  secure  without  undue  sacrifice  that  extent  and  kind  of 
education  which  will  make  him  most  efficient  in  his  funda- 
mental social  relationships,  including  his  vocation.  The 
state  needs  knowledge,  efficiency,  insight,  and  idealism  in 
industry,  commerce,  the  arts,  science,  philosophy,  religion, 
and  family  life  as  much  as  in  citizenship  more  narrowly 
defined.     The  only  logical  result  of  the  thoroughly  social 

SDirCATIOK  891 

character  of  education  is  public  support  of  every  socially 
profitable  kind  of  schooling,  with  commensurate  public  au- 

Democracy  in  education  invites,  to  be  sure,  the  evils  of 
political  control;  yet  education  is  one  of  the  few  permanent 
means  of  counteracting  political  evil.  No  one  need  fear  to 
trust  educational  authority  to  a  public  aroused  to  the  mean- 
ing and  value  of  education,  and  this  essential  condition  of 
public  support  depends  on  the  slow  growth  of  public  con- 
science and  public  intelligence.  In  any  case,  private  initia- 
tive will  long  have  an  honorable  part  to  play  in  education, 
and  the  very  policy  of  the  state  may  often  best  be  served  by 
leaving  the  special  and  the  higher  schools  in  private  hands :  but 
there  are  a  few  communities  in  which  the  extension  of  public 
provision  and  public  authority  in  education  is  not  imperative. 

Of  that  extension  what  must  be  the  guiding  conceptions? 
Before  all  else  must  come  the  honesty  of  an  attitude  at  once 
scientific  and  ethical.  Educators  must  face  the  facts,  with- 
out abatement  of  their  enthusiasm  for  ideals. 


Teachers  and  school  officers  find  before  them  not  mere 
types  of  humanity,  with  abstract  virtues  and  vices,  general 
habits,  faculties,  and  powers  waiting  to  be  cultivated  for 
"life"  as  it  may  be  philosophically  defined;  they  have  to  deal 
with  real  and  ever-varying  human  beings,  whose  impulses, 
emotions,  and  purposes  reach  forward  to  the  actual  chal- 
lenge of  the  specific  duties,  interests,  and  rewards  of  the 
real  world.  To  provide,  for  every  normal  individual,  what- 
ever his  endowment,  nurture,  or  experience,  an  opportunity 
to  prepare  himself  for  a  part  in  the  legitimate  work  of  the 
world,  a  share  in  its  proper  pleasures,  and  an  understand- 
ing of  the  meaning  and  value  of  the  life  he  leads — ^this  is 
the  problem  to  be  solved.  What  are  the  things  men  do  in 
which  the  public  interest  calls  for  intelligence  and  efficiency 
such  as  may  be  got  in  schools?  For  the  getting  of  such  in- 
telligence and  efficiency  in  the  doing  of  such  things,  what 
schools  are  needed?  In  these  schools  what  subjects  shall  be 
^ught  and  how? 


These  questions  present  the  problem  of  education  as  it 
must  be  viewed  from  the  standpoint  of  the  common  good — 
and  the  questions  presented  by  education  viewed  from  any 
other  standpoint  are  far  less  important.  No  doubt  we  need, 
in  the  crash  and  strain  of  modern  life,  remembrance  of  the 
old  ideal  of  personal  distinction.  Grace  is  worth  too  much 
to  lose  it  beyond  retrieving,  even  for  efficiency.  But  how 
impoverished  now  appears  that  aristocratic  ideal  which  made 
much  of  personal  charm  and  little  of  social  worth — for 
which  the  education  of  women  could  consist  chiefly  of  danc- 
ing, French,  and  hand  embroidery!  Whatever  its  faults 
and  dangers,  it  is  a  stronger  age  which  approves  for  women 
schools  of  household  economy,  of  nursing,  or  philanthropy, 
to  say  nothing  of  clerical  training,  medicine,  or  law.  But 
he  interprets  the  modern  ideal  too  narrowly  who  would  have 
it  take  no  account  of  beauty,  leisure,  or  reflection.  The 
work  of  the  world  is  fundamental,  and  in  itself  neither 
selfish  nor  undignified;  but  the  world's  play — its  generous 
sport,  its  curious  science,  its  philosophic  speculation,  its  art, 
and  its  worship — is  a  region  of  enduring  values.  It  is  only 
the  separation  of  work  and  play  that  belittles  either.  A 
social  conception  of  the  ends  of  education  finds  reason  for 
folk-dancing  and  pageants  in  the  public  schools,  but  none 
for  the  exploitation  of  children  through  premature  indus- 
trial training.  The  common  good  demands  education  for 
play  no  less  than  education  for  work,  education  for  the 
larger  efficiency  of  insight,  breadth  of  view,  and  reflective 
intelligence  no  less  than  education  for  the  narrower  effi- 
ciency of  habit.  Democracy  cannot  perpetuate  slavery 
through  schools. 


But  the  essential  conditions  of  freedom  cannot  be  estab- 
lished through  education;  only  the  love  of  it,  the  under- 
standing of  it,  and  the  power  and  will  to  use  it  for  service 
can  be  gained  from  the  most  liberalizing  of  curricula.  The 
possibility  and  the  extension  of  freedom  are  the  work  of 
direct  social  and  political  reform.  It  is  futile,  meanwhile, 
to  insist  that  liberal  studies  shall  be  all  that  schools  shall 


offer.  It  IS  simple  error  to  insist  that  a  traditional  range  of 
studies — the  classics,  science,  mathematics,  even  history,  or 
English — ^provide  the  only  possible  culture  for  freedom. 
Schools  must  meet  the  need  of  the  world  as  frankly  and 
directly  as  they  can,  without  squeamish  prejudice  against 
practical  or  vocational  studies.  Shopwork  may  afford  more 
liberal  culture  to  a  given  boy  than  Greek — and  the  problem 
of  educational  values  is  always  thus  specific.  The  only  prof- 
itable distinction  between  liberal  studies  and  vocational 
studies  is  one  which  looks  out  and  forward  to  the  life  the 
individual  is  to  lead.  A  man's  calling,  if  it  be  of  much  dif- 
ficulty, demands  vocational  training;  his  life  in  the  family, 
the  community,  the  state,  and  the  church  demands  an  educa- 
tion which  may  justly  be  called  liberal;  the  worthy  use  of 
his  leisure  demands  an  education  which  may  properly  be 
called  cultural.  But  what  is  vocational  for  the  artist  will  be 
cultural  for  others;  and  a  given  subject  may  serve  many 
uses  in  every  normal  life.  A  complete  education  will  pre- 
pare for  life  in  all  its  relationships,  either  by  direct  study  of 
the  problems  they  present,  or  by  the  study  of  subjects  valu- 
able in  one  of  them  or  in  all. 

This  conception  of  the  ends  to  be  attained  is  clear  enough ; 
it  is  the  means  that  fail.  And  the  failure  of  means  is  due 
less  to  public  apathy  than  to  inherent  difficulty  in  finding 
them.  New  schools,  new  courses,  new  subjects  must  be 
created.  A  new  interpretation  of  old  subjects  and  a  new 
method  of  teaching  them  must  be  worked  out.  Much  of  our 
traditional  teaching,  especially  in  high  schools,  academies, 
and  colleges,  goes  quite  astray;  it  is  fruitless  because  its 
uses  are  not  clear  or  because  they  are  not  made  clear;  and 
the  "intellectual  discipline"  which  is  supposed  to  result  from 
it  either  does  not  occur  or  is  not  carried  over  into  the  con- 
duct of  mature  life.  Mental  and  moral  habits  and  ideals, 
such  attitudes,  tendencies,  and  principles  of  conduct  as 
"thoroughness,"  "order,"  "concentration,"  "self-reliance," 
may  be  taught  by  precept  and  example  in  the  work  of  any 
subject;  in  every  case  they  must  be  generalized  and  held 
consciously  in  mind,  practiced  and  renewed  in  vision  if  they 
are  ever  to  permeate  life.  In  this  general  training  of  the 
mind  and  will,  the  unconscious  effect  of  one  subject  is  little 



better  than  that  of  another  of  similar  complexity  and  scope. 
Science  is  as  good  as  Latin,  and  mechanical  drawing  may  be 
better  than  either.  Much  depends  on  the  ethical  enthusi- 
asm, the  insight,  the  sympathy,  and  the  leadership  of  the 
teacher ;  much  on  the  methods  of  teaching  and  class  manage- 
ment he  employs.  More  depends  on  the  traditions  and  the 
administrative,  disciplinary,  and  social  policies  of  the  school. 
This  is  to  say  that  these  precious  moral  results  of  education 
are  chiefly  matters  of  personal  contagion,  direct  inspiration, 
and  experience  in  the  common  effort  of  work  and  play. 
They  are  achieved  as  much  in  the  home  or  on  the  play- 
ground as  in  the  school.  It  is  the  specific  habits  of  atten- 
tion, the  special  methods  of  observing,  comparing,  classify- 
ing, and  reacting  on  facts,  the  particular  forms  of  skill,  the 
definite  information,  the  peculiar  outlook,  the  actual  in- 
centives which  a  given  subject  may  possess  that  make  it 
serviceable  in  education.  In  these  things  subjects  differ  and 
lend  themselves  to  different  uses.  In  these  things  history 
differs  from  dressmaking,  science  from  agriculture.  And 
in  these  things  the  same  subject  will  differ  as  it  is  taught 
for  different  purposes,  to  pupils  of  different  ages  and  differ- 
ent capacities  and  motives.  Literature  cannot  yield  the 
same  fruit  in  a  night  school  that  it  yields  in  a  college. 
Under  a  conception  of  education  which  demands  preparation 
for  all  the  essential  activities  of  life,  in  schools  designed  to 
meet  the  needs  of  every  age  and  class,  subjects  must  be 
evaluated  and  organized  anew. 


The  schools  and  courses  now  most  needed  are  partly 
known,  partly  to  be  conceived.  Vocational  education  has 
come  to  stay,  but  its  various  forms  and  alliances  have  yet  to 
be  completely  determined.  The  fear  that  vocational  train- 
ing will  materialize  and  lower  education  is  groundless,  even 
in  theory.  To  train  carpenters  and  printers  in  schools  in- 
stead of  by  apprenticeship  is  not  a  threatening  educational 
revolution;  doctors,  lawyers,  and  engineers  were  once 
trained  by  personal  tuition  under  practitioners.  Vocational 
training  has  long  existed  in  the  higher  professions;  its  estab- 



lishment  for  industry  and  business  is  the  result  of  social 
changes  which  have  undermined  apprenticeship ;  and  the 
fact  that  this  training  is  now  given  at  public  expense  shows 
a  new  sense  of  the  social  importance  of  labor.  In  the  life 
of  the  modern  world  artisans  are  no  more  to  be  neglected 
than  artists,  farmers  than  philosophers.  Vocational  educa- 
tion is  a  mighty  step  in  advance,  which  offers  inspiring  op- 
portunities for  the  extension  of  general  education,  as  an 
accompaniment  of  technical  training,  to  those  who  might 
otherwise  have  secured  neither.  Ought  we  not  to  rejoice  at 
the  retention  of  boys  and  girls  in  schools,  where  they  can 
be  under  the  disinterested  influence  of  teachers,  whereas 
they  might  have  drifted  from  one  shabby  and  depressing 
experience  to  another  until  they  had  been  able,  perhaps,  to 
**pick  up  a  trade,"  acquiring  their  views  of  life  and  their 
ethical  principles  and  habits  who  knows  how?  The  press- 
ing problem  of  vocational  training  is  not  the  problem 
of  justification  and  defense,  but  of  organization  and 

The  kind  and  number  of  vocational  schools  to  be  estab- 
lished must  be  settled  partly  by  the  economic  return  for 
special  forms  of  vocational  efficiency.  In  the  long  run  the 
social  need  for  efficiency  in  a  trade  or  profession  determines 
the  legitimate  rewards  of  success  in  that  calling.  The  fact 
that  people  will  pay  well  for  medical  skill  is  an  indication  of 
social  need  for  it.  It  cannot  be  said,  of  course,  that  schools 
should  be  established  to  train  men  for  every  calling  in  which 
they  may  earn  a  good  living.  A  school  may  be  established 
as  much  to  teach  men  the  value  of  training  for  knowledge 
and  power  in  a  special  form  of  service  as  to  prepare  indi* 
viduals  to  profit  by  rendering  that  service;  for  it  is  only  in 
the  end  that  economic  demand  justly  reflects  true  social 
need.  Accordingly,  the  public  interest  calls  upon  the  edu- 
cator to  define  social  need  and  correct  social  demand,  no 
less  than  to  meet  it.  To  plan  a  system  of  schools  requires 
vision  of  a  new  and  better  order,  in  which  the  wants  of  men, 
and  their  consequent  willingness  to  pay  for  the  satisfaction 
of  them,  are  more  reasonably  founded  in  the  general  wel- 
fare. Yet  in  discussing  the  advisability  of  training  for  any 
occupation,  the  possibility  of  earning  a  living  in  it  cannot  b« 


ignored.  If  agriculture  could  not  be  made  to  pay  we  should 
not  have  agrieultural  high  schools  or  agricultural  colleges. 
Even  a  school  of  philanthropy  finds  added  sanction  in  the 
fact  that  trained  social  workers  are  paid  for  their  services.' 
In  vocational  education,  then,  there  is  at  least  an  obvious 
basis  for  discussion  concerning  schools,  courses,  and  curric- 
ula. The  state  must  train  its  workers,  and  work  for  which 
there  is  fundamental  need  is  work  which  pays.  Vocational 
education  presents  problems  of  the  most  vexing  sort,  but  its 
rationale  is  clear. 


It  is  the  persistent  need  for  general  education  that  com- 
plicates the  issue.  Economic  demand  may  justify  child 
labor,  but  educational  theory  does  not.  A  theory  of  educa- 
tion which  finds  no  place  for  vocational  education  is  anti- 
quated and  meager;  but  a  theory  which  considers  only  the 
requirements  of  work  is  meager  and  inhuman.  No  training 
for  special  skill  in  a  trade  is  conceivable  in  the  elementary 
school:  manual  training,  gardening,  sewing,  cooking,  and 
agriculture  have  a  place  in  childhood  because  children  can- 
not learn  by  books  alone,  but  need  a  training  of  body,  hand, 
and  eye,  of  purpose,  loyalty,  and  leadership  which  these  sub- 
jects can  provide.  This  need  does  not  disappear  with 
adolescence,  but  generalized  manual  training — constructive 
work  on  objects  without  economic  value,  the  making  of 
childish  jimcracks,  of  joints  which  join  nothing,  or  of  seams 
which  sew  no  garment — ceases  early  to  have  even  an  educa- 
tional value.  The  purely  educational  worth  of  any  form  of 
manual  training  comes  gradually  to  depend  on  the  economic 
value  of  the  ends  for  which  the  pupil  works.  Manual  train- 
ing as  a  part  of  the  general  curriculum  of  a  high-school 
pupil  must  be  practical  training  in  some  form  of  manual 
skill  of  actual  value  in  the  working  world.  Even  a  pupil 
who  intends  to  go  to  college  may  well  take  one  or  two 
courses  of  handwork  in  the  secondary  school,  for  the  broad- 
ening of  his  experience  and  outlook  and  the  specific  train- 
ing he  may  thus  secure:  a  course  in  the  elements  of  many 
occupations  would  be  better  still.    But  this  is  not  vocational 


education.  True  vocational  education  aims  at  efficiency  in 
a  special  field  of  work — it  trains  printers,  stenographers, 
dressmakers,  carpenters,  mechanicians,  doctors,  lawyers, 
clergymen,  journalists,  engineers.  It  brings  into  play  the 
purpose  to  earn  a  living  by  what  one  learns — ^which  Presi- 
dent Eliot  has  called  the  "life-career  motive."  It  narrows, 
not  unjustifiably,  but  inevitably.  The  difficulty  is  to  educate 
for  citizenship,  for  the  duties  of  parenthood  and  social  liv- 
ing, for  leisure,  and  for  the  interpretation  of  life — in  spite 
of  the  need  for  early  specialization,  when  that  need  is 

That  need  does  not  arise  altogether  from  differences  in 
wealth.  After  adolescence  many  pupils  lack  incentive  for 
an  education  that  has  no  direct  reference  to  a  career.  But 
the  demand  for  vocational  training  is  so  overlaid  and  en- 
tangled with  economic  pressure  that  selection  of  candidates 
for  vocational  schooling  on  the  ground  of  individual  apti- 
tude and  free  choice  is  visionary.  While  our  social  system 
permits  comparative  poverty  to  constrain  the  vast  majority 
of  young  men  and  women  to  go  to  work  at  the  earliest  pos- 
sible age,  we  must  face  the  necessity  of  early  specialization 
in  training,  whatever  their  capacity  or  need  for  further 
general  culture.  Education  can  only  emphasize  the  value  of 
liberal  studies  and  strive  to  include  in  every  curriculum  as 
many  as  possible,  and  in  profitable  form.  It  can  also  resist 
the  tendency  to  specialize  too  soon. 


Education  has  thus  to  struggle,  like  government  or  phi- 
lanthropy, beneath  the  burdens  imposed  by  the  injustice  of 
our  economic  order.  We  must  make  educational  provision 
for  social  conditions  which  ought  not  to  exist — night  schools 
for  illiterate  foreigners,  specialized  vocational  training  for 
factory  workers  and  shopgirls  who  ought  to  have  at  least 
the  time  for  a  much  extended  general  education  in  addition 
to  their,  preparation  for  work.  We  must  also  be  content  to 
see  the  high  privilege  of  general  education  seized  by  boys 
and  girls  whose  easy  lives  make  them  careless  of  its  value 
and   inconstant  in   its  pursuit     These   conditions   schools 


themselves  cannot  change.  But  by  public  provision  and  by 
scholarships  the  opportunity  for  prolonged  education  may  be 
kept  open  to  the  able  and  ambitious.  The  spirit  of  teaching 
and  school  administration  may  iielp  to  prevent  the  formation 
of  social  caste.  By  precept  and  example  democratic  ideals 
and  the  will  to  serve  may  be  encouraged  in  those  who  are  in 
danger  of  losing  them.  And  no  academic  bars  Heed  be 
hastily  and  blindly  set  up — as  in  the  narrow  interpretation 
of  college  entrance  requirements  or  in  failure  to  provide  a 
reasonable  opportunity  for  higher  education  of  some  desira- 
ble sort — against  those  who  seek  further  training  after  mis- 
taken choice  of  a  high-school  course  or  the  early  disad- 
vantages of  having  to  earn  a  living.  In  a  democracy  the 
educational  system  must  at  least  guard  jealously  against  the 
perpetuation  of  special  privilege.  Schools  must  discourage 
the  advance  of  the  unfits  not  of  the  unfortunate. 

Obviously  there  is  need  for  wise  guidance  of  individuals 
into  the  kind  of  schooling  which  will  best  fit  them  for  the 
life  they  can  best  lead.  Vocational  guidance  is  but  part  of 
the  larger  problem  of  "the  redistribution  of  human  talent*' 
(a  phrase  recently  and  aptly  coined  by  Professor  Carver) 
and  it  is  often  best  to  be  accomplished  as  a  part  of  an  edu- 
cational guidance  which  takes  account  of  the  need  for  liberal 
culture  as  well  as  for  vocational  training.  Transcendent 
ability  is  doubtless  seldom  obscured  through  lack  of  counsel 
or  of  privilege ;  educational  guidance  will  not  discover  many 
a  mute  inglorious  Milton  nor  send  to  schools  of  pharmacy 
many  a  discouraged  Keats.  It  may  prevent,  however,  less 
disastrous  misfittings  in  a  thousand  cases,  and  therein  is  its 
sufficient  sanction.  But  guidance  will  be  futile  if  there  are 
no  proper  paths  to  tread.  The  money  now  provided  for 
schools  must  be  increased  many  fold,  if  schools  are  to  be- 
come for  all  men  the  gates  of  opportunity  and  the  highways 
to  service.  We  must  remember,  to  be  sure,  that  there  are 
many  educational  agencies  besides  schools;  libraries  often 
do  far  more  toward  education.  But  any  systematic  educa- 
tion is  schooling,  and  if  the  interests  of  society  are  to  be 
adequately  met,  all  valuable  forms  of  educational  activity 
must  be  organized,  supported,  and  made  available  to  the 
individuals  who  seek  to  use  them. 



To  increase  the  size  of  schools  is  not  enough.  Schools  and 
classes  are  already  far  too  large.  System  is  not  enough.  More 
schools  and  courses,  of  greater  variety;  smaller  schools  and 
smaller  classes,  with  greater  opportunity  for  personal  contact 
between  teachers  and  taught ;  more  teachers,  of  higher  native 
capacity  and  better  training — all  these  are  needed.  But 
these  things  we  shall  not  have  until  the  common  conception 
of  schools  and  teachers  has  suffered  change.  We  still  think  of 
teaching  too  narrowly  or  too  vaguely — too  narrowly  if  we 
look  upon  teachers  as  purveyors  of  learning  for  its  own 
sake,  too  vaguely  if  we  think  of  them  as  taskmasters  in  a 
dubious  abstract  discipline  of  mind.  The  task  of  the 
teacher  must  be  reconceived;  we  must  think  of  him  and  he 
must  become  a  guide  to  worthy  living,  teaching  not  only  his 
subject  but  how  to  use  it  and  what  it  is  for,  making  clear  its 
incentives  and  ideals,  its  methods  and  its  values,  and  help- 
ing his  pupils  to  interpret  life  more  justly  because  they  have 
seen  it  in  a  new  light.  This  is  the  larger  opportunity  of 
every  teacher,  but  especially^  of  the  teacher  of  a  traditional 
subject  in  a  traditional  course.  The  teacher  of  stenography 
may  niore  safely  confine  himself  to  skill  and  speed  with  dots 
and  dashes  than  the  teacher  of  Latin  to  exactness  in  the  use 
of  tenses.  The  first  task  of  any  teacher  is  to  teach  his  sub- 
ject well,  but  he  cannot  leave  the  social  interpretation  and 
application  of  education  wholly  to  principals,  parents,  school 
pamphlets,  and  chance.  If  the  public  is  to  value  the  teacher's 
work  more  highly,  he  must  make  it  more  valuable. 

To  become  more  valuable,  teaching  must  develop  both  a 
science  and  a  philosophy  of  its  own,  teachers  must  study 
their  problems  as  physicians  study  theirs  and  as  statesmen 
theirs.  For  the  problems  of  teaching  are  at  once  problems 
of  efficiency  and  problems  of  destiny.  The  teaching  of  any 
subject  calls  for  scientific  study  of  methods  and  ethical  study 
of  ends.  How  shall  we  teach  it  well?  depends  for  its  an- 
swer in  part  on  the  answer  to  What  shall  we  teach  it  for? 
These  questions  have  not  yet  been  answered  with  finality 
for  any  subject.  With  due  change  of  wording  they  may  be 
asked  of  any  school  or  course :  How  shall  we  manage  it  well  ? 


and,  What  shall  wc  manage  it  for?    All  questions  of  educa- 
tional practice  are  thus  both  scientific  and  philosophical. 


In  the  elementary  school  we  need  better  methods  of  drill 
— ^greater  efficiency  in  the  formation  of  habits,  as  for  in- 
stance in  arithmetic.  To  gain  it  we  must  turn  to  experi- 
ments in  the  psychological  laboratory  and  to  exact  measure- 
ment of  arithmetical  progress  in  the  school.  It  is  only  in 
the  last  few  years  that  we  have  had  an  adequate  knowledge 
of  what  arithmetical  ability  is.  We  do  not  yet  know  with 
much  precision  how  it  develops  under  different /methods  of 
instruction.  The  teaching  of  every  subject  suffers  for  want 
of  accurate  records  of  results.  We  lack  standards,  funda- 
mental tests,  and  a  sufficiently  detailed  knowledge  of  the 
psychology  of  the  subjects  we  teach.  But  measurement  and 
experiment  apply  in  the  main  to  memory  work  and  the 
formation  of  habits.  They  will  not  quickly  show  us  how  to 
relate  one  subject  to  another  or  to  the  life  outside  school 
walls;  they  cannot  yet  help  us  to  vitalize  our  subjects  and 
make  them  yield  opportunity  for  independence  and  coopera- 
tion on  the  part  of  our  pupils.  They  will  not  soon  teach  us 
how  to  make  learning  a  light  to  life.  In  the  arithmetic  of 
the  elementary  school  we  need  a  social  philosophy  to  govern 
our  selection  of  topics  to  be  taught  or  omitted,  to  justify 
varying  emphasis  on  logical  conceptions,  drill  in  calculation, 
or  exercise  with  real  problems.  So  in  the  teaching  of  every 
subject  we  need  new  study,  both  exact  and  broad. 


In  the  work  of  the  high  school  this  double  duty  is  even 
more  apparent.  We  face  the  immediate  necessity  of  extend- 
ing the  period  of  compulsory  school  attendance  far  into  the 
period  of  secondary  education.  But  we  cannot  lightly  set 
aside  both  the  need  to  earn  and  the  impulse  to  work,  and 
the  demand  for  workers  will  not  readily  yield  to  the  idealism 
of  the  educator  who  would  ignore  it  in  favor  of  general 
culture.     Compromise  must  be  the  outcome,  but  also  coop- 


eration:  we  must  have  many  forms  of  vocational  training, 
and  employers  of  young  workers  must  aid  the  state  to 
educate  them  through  schemes  of  part-time  schooling.  Such 
schemes  are  already  in  operation  and  commend  themselves 
as  both  eflficient  and  humane.  In  this  increased  provision 
for  schooling  the  purely  technical  subjects  lend  themselves 
readily  to  measurement  of  results  and  standardization  of 
method;  it  is  the  subjects  of  larger  social  value,  such  as 
civics  or  English,  that  must  be  studied  anew,  in  the  light  of 
clearer  conceptions  of  their  aims  and  closer  observation  of 
their  effects.  We  have  to  learn  how  to  use  these  traditional 
means  of  education  (and  such  newer  ones  as  the  study  of 
household  sanitation  or  personal  hygiene)  under  new  and 
trying  conditions  and  with  new  purposes,  as  the  liberal  ad- 
juncts of  many  forms  of  vocational  training. 

Yet  in  the  secondary  school  which  aims  wholly  at  general 
culture  (or  at  preparation  for  college,  which  is  not  sup- 
posed to  be  an  obstacle  to  general  culture),  the  problems  of 
aim  and  method  in  the  teaching  of  traditional  subjects  are 
more  pressing  still.  How  shall  a  modern  language  be 
taught  to  some  real  purpose?  For  what  purpose  shall  it  be 
taught?  The  actual  mastery  of  the  tongue  can  be  achieved 
very  much  more  effectively  than  it  is  now  achieved  if 
methods  of  teaching  can  be  based  on  fuller  knowledge  of 
the  psychology  of  learning  and  completer  tests  of  classroom 
work  and  home  study.  The  fundamental  values  of  the  sub- 
ject can  be  more  clearly  conceived  and  more  directly  pur- 
sued if  we  can  shake  ourselves  free  from  the  befogging 
belief  in  general  discipline  as  the  goal  of  teaching  in  this  or 
any  given  subject.  Ability  to  handle  the  language  as  an 
instrument  of  thought  and  expression — for  the  achievement 
of  this  aim  we  need  a  new  analysis  of  the  fundamentals  and 
more  accurate  standards  of  progress:  appreciation  of  the 
foreign  civilization  represented  in  its  literature — for  the 
achievement  of  this  aim  we  need  new  selection  of  material 
and  more  vital  reference  to  life.  In  this  and  in  many  tra- 
ditional subjects  teachers  are  constantly  at  work  at  this 
double  adjustment,  and  from  them  as  well  as  from  psycholo- 
gists and  students  of  education  we  may  look  for  progress 
and  reform. 


For  scientific  study  of  method,  whether  by  experiment 
in  the  psychological  laboratory,  by  classroom  test,  or  by 
exact  statistical  record,  can  but  provide  the  basis  for  cont 
structive  reorganization  of  teaching  in  any  subject;  discus* 
sion  of  aims  by  educational  leaders  can  but  define  in  gen- 
eral terms  a  new  interpretation  of  material);  the  teachers  in 
the  schools  must  make  effective  or  prove  visionary  the  ideals 
thus  achieved.  If  they  cling  to  traditional  conceptions  and 
tried  method*— ^s  many  do,  especially  in  private  schoolfyi^ 
they  block  progress;  and  if  by  personal  worth  and  the 
power  of  leadership  they  win  respect  and  affect  deeply  the 
lives  of  their  pupils,  the  weight  of  their  conservatism  is  the 
harder  to  bear.  But  the  hasty  and  ill-considered  ^application 
of  scientific  generalization  or  social  conception  is  an  equal 
if  a  rarer  fault  The  teacher  must  master  for  hipiself  the 
science  and  the  philosophy  of  his  subject  and  be  critical 
practitioner  as  well.  He  must  be  open-minded,  critical, 

(c)    IN    THE   COLLEGE 

This  attitude  is  more  general  among  teachers  and  princi^ 
pals  of  elementary  schools  and  among  school  superintend- 
ents than  among  teachers  and  masters  of  secondary  schools ; 
among  public  secondary-school  teachers  than  among  private 
secondary-school  teachers;  and  least  general  among  college 
teachers.  Yet  to  these  latter  the  call  to  professional  study 
of  the  problems  of  their  own  work  is  loudest.  They  have 
greatest  need  to  test  their  results  and  possibly  revise  their 
methods,  to  reconceive  their  aims  and  discover  new  ways  tp 
achieve  them.  In  America  the  college  stands  perforce  for 
culture ;  yet  it  clears  itself  with  difficulty  from  the  snares  of 
technical  specialization  in  chosen  fields  of  knowledge — a 
specialization  essentially  vocational.  College  professors 
must  be  specialists — scholars  in  the  full  sense  of  the  term; 
but  college  students  do  not  for  their  part  commonly  intend 
or  care  to  specialize  in  the  same  sense.  To  study  one  field 
with  greater  thoroughness  than  others;  to  gain  from  it  a 
disinterested  enthusiasm  for  learning;  to  approach  in  one 
direction  the  limits  of  achieved  knowledge;  to  taste  the  joy 
of  constructive  intellectual  effort;  these  are  essential  ele- 


merits  in  a  college  student's  curriculum.  But  this  does  not 
call  for  the  methods  or  ideals  of  graduate  specialization, 
even  in  the  student's  chosen  field.  The  privilege  of  college 
study  is  the  opportunity  to  reach  safe  ground,  in  all  the 
more  important  fields  of  scholarship,  for  the  exercise  of 
reflective  intelligence.  With  a  view  to  providing  this  op- 
portunity college  teachers  may  well  spare  time  from  re- 
search for  that  close  observation  of  methods  and  results 
and  that  unprejudiced  discussion  of  aims  which  are  needed 
in  the  teaching  of  all  subjects  everywhere. 


By  Dr.  Ernest  Bernbaum 

WE  HONOR  Francis  Bacon  as  the  prophetic  inspirer 
of  modern  science.  In  perusing  the  long  list  of 
the  activities  of  that  scientific  establishment 
which  is  described  in  the  closing  pages  of  "The  New  At- 
lantis/'* we  are  astonished  by  again  and  again  recognizing 
in  its  imaginary  methods  and  achievements  precise  anticipa- 
tions of  what  is  actually  being  done  in  modern  medicine, 
meteorology,  engineering,  aeronautics,  etc.  Bacon  himself, 
to  be  sure,  modestly  protested  that  he  was  but  "stirring  the 
earth  a  little  about  the  roots  of  science."  He  was  indeed 
no  great  discoverer  of  data,  and  from  Harvey  to  Huxley 
the  scientific  specialists  have  sneered  at  his  rather  futile 
experiments.  Even  his  method,  which  he  sincerely  believed 
a  new  and  rapid  way  tb  complete  mastery  of  our  environ- 
ment, is  now  considered  somewhat  impractical.  Yet  the 
prefaces  to  his  "Instauratio  Magna,"*  though  no  longer 
accurate  guideposts,  are  revered  as  monuments  in  the  his- 
tory of  scientific  progress.  They  served  an  even  nobler 
purpose  than  to  show  the  scientist  just  where  to  go;  they 
sent  him  forth  to  seek  his  way  with  a  new  and  conquering 
spirit,  the  spirit  of  confidence  and  of  cooperation.  The 
works  of  Bacon  instilled  in  his  successors  the  faith  that  by 
united  effort  they  would  presently  understand,  and  thus 
control,  those  physical  forces  which  in  the  past  had  toyed 
with  the  life  of  man,  and  exposed  him  to  poverty,  disease, 
and  all  the  accidents  of  circumstance.  In  this  hope  were 
undertaken  the  Royal  Society  and  the  French  "Encyclo- 
pedic"— leading  enterprises  in  advancing  respectively  the 
discovery  and  the  dissemination  of  rational  knowledge. 
"We  shall  owe  most,"  says  Diderot  in  his  prospectus  to  the 
"Encyclopedic,"  "to  the  Chancellor  Bacon,  who  threw  out 

^ Harvard  Classics,  in,  15 iff.  *  H    C,  xxxix,   122S.,   isoff. 



the  plan  of  a  universal  dictionary  of  sciences  and  arts  at  a 
time  when,  so  to  speak,  neither  sciences  nor  arts  existed. 
That  extraordinary  genius,  at  a  time  when  it  was  not  pos- 
sible to  write  a  history  of  what  was  known,  wrote  one  of 
what  it  was  necessary  to  learn."  Wherever  experimental 
investigators  are  to-day  discovering  new  laws  of  nature, 
and  thus  more  and  more  subjecting  the  physical  world  to 
the  welfare  of  man,  the  spirit  of  Bacon  is  fruitfully  at  work. 


Among    writers    on    education,    the    very    magnitude    of 
Bacon's  position  in  the  history  of  science  has  tended  to  over- 
shadow his  influence  in  other  respects.     Yet  he  urged  the 
development  of  science  because  in  his  day  it  was  relatively 
the  most  neglected  and  chaotic  department  of  human  en- 
deavor, and  not  because  he  thought  it  absolutely  and  for- 
ever the  most  important.    Newman  himself  does  not  insist 
more  strongly  than  Bacon  on  the  truth  that  science,  though 
great,   is  not  the   complete  satisfier  of  human  needs.     In 
"The  Advancement  of  Learning,"  the  first  part  of  the  "In- 
stauratio  Magna,"  Bacon  pleads  for  the  discovery  and  ap- 
plication to  life,  not  merely  of  pure  scientific  truth,  but  also 
of  clear  ideals  of  mental,  moral,  and  spiritual  well-being. 
Religion  and  the  so-called  liberal  studies  had  his  eloquent 
and  loyal  support.     "The   New  Atlantis"  presents  us  not 
only  with  the  model  of  a  public  institution  of  scientific  re- 
search, but  also  with  ideals  of  social  and  personal  character. 
His  Utopia  was  not,  as  some  mistakenly  declare,  a  merely 
industrial  civilization,  but  a  Christian  commonwealth  whic 
exalted  the  humane  feelings,  family  life,  and  artistic  beautj' 


Both  in  the  prefaces  to  the  "Instauratio  Magna"  and  in 
The  New  Atlantis,"  Bacon  is  thinking  of  the  world  as  he 
believed  it  should  and  would  become.  The  assumption  that 
he  had  a  similar  purpose  in  his  famous  "Essays"*  unfortu- 
nately misleads  many  modern  critics,  and  tends  to  obscure 

•H.  C,  iii,  7ff. 



the  peculiar  merits  of  his  most  popular  work.  Yet  Bacon 
himself  tells  us  that  in  his  opinion  we  already  had  enougb 
books  which  enthusiastically  described  moral  ideals,  and 
that  what  we  rfeally  needed  were  accurate  observations  on 
the  extent  to  which  those  ideals  were  attainable,  and  on  the 
methods  by  which,  under  the  actual  conditions  of  everyday 
life,  they  might  be  put  into  practice.  What  he  wished  to 
present  in  the  essays  was  human  life,  not  as  it  ought  to  be, 
but  as  it  is.  "Let  us  know  ourselves,"  he  said,  "and  how  it 
standeth  with  us." 


The  result  is  a  portrait  of  mankind  beneath  which  may  be 
inscribed  his  characteristic  sentence:  "It  is  good  to  retain 
sincerity."  So  accurate  and  candid  an  observer  of  human 
life  is  instinctively  disliked  by  persons  of  sentimental 
temperament,  and  they  call  Bacon  cynical  and  heartless. 
Ignoring  his  realistic  intention,  they  turn,  for  instance,  to 
the  essays  on  love  and  on  marriage,^  excepting  eloquent 
praise  of  what  love  and  marriage  may  be  at  the  very  best ; 
and  they  are  disappointed,  perplexed,  and  sometimes  dis- 
gusted with  what  they  find.  In  their  haste  they  exclaim: 
"What  a  cold  and  calculating  ereature  1  All  he  says  of  the 
love  between  husband  and  wife  is  'Nuptial  love  maketh 
mankind !' "  These  accusations,  which  may  substantially  be 
found  in  one  of  the  best  known  editions  of  the  "Essays," 
are  as  inaccurate  as  they  are  typical.  Any  careful  reader, 
not  led  astray  by  the  usual  misconception  of  Bacon's  pur- 
pose, will  observe  that  the  kind  of  love  which  he  discusses 
in  his  essay  on  that  subject  is  "the  wanton  love  which  cor- 
rupteth  and  embaseth,"  the  condemnation  of  which  should 
hardly  be  considered  objectionable.  As  for  family  life 
(which,  as  I  have  mentioned,  he  idealizes  in  "The  New 
Atlantis"),  it  is  true  that  he  dispatches  it  briefly  in  the  essay 
on  love;  but  in  the  essay  on  marriage  he  does  not  estimate 
it  as  cynically  as  we  are  led  to  suppose.  He  points  out,  to 
be  sure,  that,  as  a  matter  of  sober  fact,  marriage  may  inter- 
fere with  extraordinary  public  ambition;  but  he  gives  it 
preference  over  a  selfish  single  life,  he  scorns  those  who 

•H.  C  iii,  22,  28. 


consider  children  mere  "bills  of  charges"  Instead  of  "dearest 
pledges,"  and  he  calls  matrimony  a  "discipline  of  humanity/' 
that  is,  a  school  of  kindness  or  a  humane  education.  To 
study  the  comparative  merits  and  defects  of  many  condi- 
tions of  human  life,  to  mark  the  extent  and  the  limitations  of 
human  faculties,  and  to  do  so  with  even  handed  Justice,  is 
his  ruling  purpose. 


To  create  an  ideal  of  life  is  a  noble  task;  but  to  penetrate 
some  of  the  perplexing  realities  of  existence  is  as  difficult 
and  at  least  as  serviceable.  This  Bacon  does  with  supreme 
success.  A  lawyer,  judge,  and  statesman,  he  knew  the 
vicissitudes  of  life  and  the  varieties  of  human  character. 
He  observed  his  fellow  men  with  the  eye  of  a  genius,  pon- 
dered their  motives  with  the  thoughtfulness  of  a  student,  and 
recorded  his  observations  with  the  precision  of  a  scientist. 
Time  has  wrought  superficial  changes  in  some  of  the  social 
and  political  conditions  he  examined ;  but  human  nature  and 
human  intercourse  are  essentially  immutable,  and  the  im- 
pressive truth  of  his  judgments  is  enduring.  To  this  day 
he  guides  his  readers  in  the  conduct  of  life;  and  if  it  be 
too  much  to  say  that  those  who  heed  his  advice  will  make 
no  mistakes,  it  is  certain  that  they  will  blunder  less  fre-. 
quently  than  does  the  average  man  who  knows  him  not. 


Bacon  does  more  than  enrich  us  with  practical  maxims 
applicable  to  particular  situations ;  he  trains  us  to  think  more 
wisely  in  the  face  of  any  and  all  occasions.  He  begins  by 
informing,  he  ends  by  educating.  His  essays,  valuable  as 
discussionai  of  special  topics,  are  precious  as  exercises  in  a 
peculiar  way  of  approaching  all  aspects  of  life.  This  way 
is  one  unusual  and  not  inborn ;  it  runs  counter  to  the  ways  of 
the  untrained  mind.  Just  as  children  are  apt  to  regard  a 
person  as  either  "nice"  or  "horrid,"  many  of  larger  growth 
tend  to  look  on  anything  as  wholly  good  or  wholly  bad. 
Bacon  methodically  weighs  advantages  and  disadvantages, 


and  seeks  to  discover  which  predominate.  In  many  of  his 
essays  he  reasons  somewhat  after  this  manner :  "This  thing 
is  good  in  this  respect,  but  bad  in  that;  it  is  useftil  to  this 
extent,  but  harmful  beyond;  it  will  aid  this  kind  of  person, 
but  will  hinder  that  sort."  For  example,  in  describing  youth 
and  age  he  assigns  distinct  superiority  to  neither,  but  points 
out  the  special  strength  and  the  special  weakness  of  each. 
Innovation,  to  the  radical  pure  delight,  to  the  conservative 
mere  destructiveness,  is  to  him  neither  the  one  nor  the 
other.  "Discriminate!"  is  his  motto:  things  that  men  call 
by  the  same  name  are  really  of  different  values;  "some 
books  are  to  be  tasted,  others  to  be  swallowed,  and  some  few 
to  be  chewed  and  digested."  What  he  says  about  any  given 
subject,  we  may  forget;  but  by  frequent  recourse  to  him  we 
shall  form  the  judicious  habit  of  mind. 


Most  of  us  can  be  judicious  on  a  few  occasions,  especially 
on  occasions  in  which  we  are  not  deeply  interested;  but  to 
be  so  habitually  has  always  been  among  the  rarest  of  virtues. 
It  probably  never  was  more  rare  than  in  this  country  at 
this  time.  In  approaching  the  intricate  problems  that  con- 
front us,  we  display  boundless  enthusiasm,  aspiration,  and 
self-confidence.  The  defects  in  human  character,  the  fast- 
rooted  evils  in  society,  that  have  baffled  the  efforts  of  saints 
and  sages  from  the  beginning  of  history,  we  hope  to  dispel 
by  the  sheer  energy  of  emotional  fervor.  We  are  too  im- 
patient to  ascertain  the  exact  facts  that  are  to  be  dealt  with, 
we  heartily  dislike  those  facts  which  disturb  our  precon- 
ceived notions;  in  plain  words,  we  do  not  love  truth  and  we 
distrust  the  intellect.  To  Bacon,  the  intellect  was  the  in- 
dispensable aid  to  moral  progress,  whether  of  the  individual 
or  of  society.  He  does  not  dry  up  enthusiasm,  but  he 
teaches  us  to  make  it  effective  by  directing  it  into  rational 
channels.  In  his  day  he  helped  to  rescue  science  from 
superstition,  and  in  our  own  he  may  save  morality  from 


By  Professor  H.  W.  Holmes 

IN  THE  history  of  education  the  seventeenth  century  is 
a  period  of  much  interest  and  importance.  It  is  a  time 
of  earnest  thought,  of  noble  expression,  and  of  zealous 
and  faithful  effort;  yet  throughout  the  century  educational 
progress  is  at  best  sporadic.  For  education,  it  is  a  century 
of  preparation.  That  the  reformers  of  the  period  were 
thus  pioneers  whose  endeavor  bore,  for  the  most  part,  little 
immediate  fruit,  was  an  almost  inevitable  consequence  of 
the  circumstances  of  their  day. 

Theirs  was  an  age  of  reorganization  in  religion,  in  po- 
litical life,  and  in  philosophy  and  science.  The  Thirty 
Years'  War  and  the  Civil  War  in  England  were  conflicts  in 
which  the  basis  of  modern  religious  toleration  was  laid  in 
suffering  and  desolation.  In  America  the  Colonies  were 
begun.  In  England  the  continued  struggle  with  the  House 
of  Stuart  resulted  in  the  assurance  of  political  liberty,  to  be 
secured  at  length  by  an  evolution  without  the  price  of  blood 
which  the  Continent,  and  especially  France,  had  later  on  to 
pay.  On  the  Continent  itself,  despotisms,  big  and  little, 
were  strengthened,  often  to  the  direct  detriment  of  educa- 
tion. Meanwhile  modern  science  had  its  birth  in  the  work 
of  many  a  courageous  intellectual  adventurer,  from  Kepler 
and  Galileo,  astronomers,  to  Harvey,  physiologist. 

Francis  Bacon  was  herald  and  journalist  of  that  revolt 
against  scholasticism  which  attacked  mediaeval  error  and 
superstition  by  the  new  method  of  observation,  experiment, 
and  inductive  reasoning.  With  the  writings  of  Descartes 
and  his  contemporaries  began  modern  philosophy.  In  a 
century  of  such  spiritual  and  material  disturbance,  what 
wonder  that  there  should  have  been  much  inspiration  to 
educational  effort,  with  but  little  fixed  accomplishment? 

A  new  world  of  knowledge  had  already  been  partly  ex- 
plored; but  the  schoolmasters  had  not  entered  it,  and  it  was 



only  years  afterward  that  science  became  even  meagerly 
available  for  school  purposes.  A  new  method  had  also  been 
discovered,  a  method  not  more  important  in  the  search  for 
truth  than  in  the  attainment  of  intellectual  freedom;  but  the 
schoolmasters  did  not  know  it,  or  thought  less  of  intellectual 
freedom  than  of  more  obvious  results  in  linguistic  profi- 
ciency. A  new  need  for  universal  education  had  begun  to  be 
foreseen;  but  to  the  schoolmasters  of  the  seventeenth  cen- 
tury democracy  was  not  even  a  Utopian  promise.  Schools 
remained,  therefore,  narrow  in  curriculum  and  authoritative 
in  method,  and  education  the  opportunity  of  the  privileged. 
Writers  on  practical  school  keeping,  such  as  John  Brimsley 
and  Charles  Hoole,  were  more  concerned  over  Improve- 
ments in  the  teaching  of  the  classics  than  over  fundamental 
changes  in  programs  of  study,  in  the  spirit  of  instruction 
and  discipline,  or  in  the  extension  of  educational  op- 


To  dream,  therefore,  in  that  time,  of  an  educational  sys- 
tem, state-administered,  state-supported,  compulsory,  and 
hence  democratic;  a  system  serving  the  varying  need  of  all 
individuals,  yet  aiming  in  the  education  of  each  at  a  socially 
valuable  result ;  a  system  culminating  in  great  academies  of 
research  and  experiment,  with  parallel  graduate  schools  for 
professional  training,  including  the  training  of  teachers;  a 
system,  finally,  in  which  all  subjects  were  to  be  taught  and 
learned  by  the  mind-freeing  method  of  science,  and  all 
schools,  classes,  and  subjects  to  be  ordered  and  managed 
in  natural  yet  effective  ways :  this  was  an  achievement,  even 
among  reformers.  This  dream  and  a  life  of  effort  to  realize 
it  must  be  credited  to  the  greatest  educator  of  the  century, 
who  was  neither  John  Locke  nor  John  Milton,  but  the 
Moravian  bishop,  John  Amos  Comenius. 


It  cannot  be  denied  that  neither  Locke's  "Thoughts  on 
Education"*   nor   Milton's   "Tractate  on   Education""  is   a 

^Harvard  Classics,  ill,  245ff.  'H.  C,  xxxvii,  gS, 


document  of  such  historical  importance  as  the  chief  work  of 
Comenius,  "The  Great  Didactic."  Indeed  we  might  well 
wish  that  both  Locke  and  Milton  had  studied  this  treatise 
and  had  written  in  the  light  of  it.  Their  minds,  better 
trained,  both  of  them,  than  that  of  the  Moravian,  and  more 
highly  endowed  by  nature,  might  have  given  mor6  per- 
manently profitable  form  to  his  far-reaching  projects.  As 
it  is,  Locke  does  not  refer  to  Comenius's  work  at  all,  and 
Milton  refers  to  it  only  slightingly,  as  by  hearsay.  Accord- 
ingly, although  we  have  in  the  "Thoughts"  an  essay  on 
the  education  of  a  gentleman's  son  at  home,  with  tht  im- 
provements on  current  practice  suggested  by  the  sound 
sense  of  one  of  the  first  modern  psychologists  and  one 
of  the  most  clear-headed  of  moral  philosophers,  and  in 
the  "Tractate"  a  scheme  for  the  education  of  the  better 
classes  under  requirements  suggested  by  the  vigorous 
mentality  of  a  great  poet  and  an  ardent  patriot,  we  can  find 
in  neither  much  sympathy  with  the  new  movement  for 
science  nor  any  forecast  of  democracy  in  and  through 

Yet  these  works  of  Locke  and  Milton  are  still  readable 
and  profitable  English  essays,  whereas  the  "Didactica 
Magna"  (which  was  first  Written  in  Czech  and  later  trans- 
lated by  its  author  into  Latin)  is  now  to  be  remembered 
chiefly  as  an  important  document  in  the  history  of  edu- 

The  power  of  Milton's  prose,  his  generous  vision,  and 
his  place  in  English  literature  and  English  history  lend  an 
interest  to  the  "Tractate"  aside  from  any  present  pertinence 
in  Milton's  practical  suggestions.  Locke's  place  in  English 
philosophy  and  the  insight  and  consistency  of  his  views, 
especially  as  to  the  government  of  children  in  the  home, 
give  to  the  "Thoughts"  a  permanent  value.  If  we  read 
Milton's  essay  for  the  vigor  and  dignity  of  its  style  and  for 
its  general  inspiration,  admitting  the  present  inapplicability 
of  most  of  its  detailed  proposals,  it  will  well  repay  us.  If 
we  take  into  account  the  avowed  limitation  of  scope  in 
Locke's  treatise  and  make  due  allowance  for  the  conditions 
of  life  and  schooling  in  his  day,  we  may  still  find  his  advice 
worthy  of  careful  study. 



The  aim  of  education  set  forth  in  the  "Tractate"  is  ma- 
jestic: "I  call  therefore  a  compleat  and  generous  Education 
that  which  fits  a  man  to  perform  justly,  skilfully,  and 
magnanimously  all  the  offices,  both  private  and  publick,  of 
Peace  and  War."  It  is  plain  that  the  complexity  of  modem 
life  makes  it  hopeless  for  any  individual  now  to  realize  this 
ideal.  But  it  may  be  noted  that  Milton's  conception  of 
education  agrees  with  the  modern  conception  in  that  it  is 
social.  The  individual  is  to  be  prepared  for  the  duties  of 
life,  not  cultivated  merely  for  the  possession  of  accom- 
plishments or  learning.  Indeed  the  burden  of  the  "Tractate" 
is  that  learning  is  to  be  put  to  use.  Milton  insists,  there- 
fore, that  the  first  principle  of  that  "better  education  in 
extent  and  comprehension  far  more  large"  for  which  he 
pleads,  shall  be  emphasis  on  matter  rather  than  on  form. 
Education  is  to  be  primarily  through  literature  and  is  to  be- 
gin with  Latin  grammar — ^to  this  extent  is  Milton  conven- 
tional; but  it  is  to  come  rapidly  to  the  place  where  the 
content  and  meaning  of  the  books  to  be  studied — "the  sub- 
stance of  good  things" — shall  be  chiefly  the  aim  in  view. 
This  advice  is  as  sound  to-day  as  it  ever  was;  and  if  it  is 
less  needed,  it  is  still  not  without  application.  Abstractions 
and  technicalities  of  form  so  easily  encumber  teaching  that 
we  may  hardly  expect  ever  to  outgrow  the  warning  not  to 
give  our  pupils  "ragged  notions  and  babblements,  while  they 
expected  worthy  and  delightful  knowledge." 

If,  then,  Milton's  scheme  of  national  academies  wherein 
picked  youths  are  to  be  brought  to  a  mastery  of  every  art, 
science,  and  profession  be  impracticable,  we  need  not  there- 
fore fail  to  find  in  this  brief  but  pithy  essay  an  ideal  to  be 
cherished.  It  is  a  plea  for  sound  learning.  Learning  to- 
day may  be  had  from  sources  unknown  to  Milton,  and  many 
sources  he  esteemed  highly  are  to-day  quite  unimportant; 
but  sound  learning,  now  as  then,  is  learning  which  comes  at 
the  realities  of  life.  The  author  of  "Lycidas"  and  "Comus" 
can  never  be  accused  of  forgetting  the  requirements  of  form. 
We  may  heed  him  the  more,  therefore,  when  he  warns  us. 
against  "intellective  abstractions"  for  "young  unmatriculated 


Novices"  and  the  learning  of  "meer  words  or  such  things 
chiefly,  as  were  better  unlearnt."  Happily  it  is  one  effort  of 
modern  education,  from  the  first  teaching  of  reading  and 
arithmetic  to  the  highest  studies  of  the  university  to  make 
learning  serve  life  and  to  make  life  illuminate  learning. 


In  Locke's  "Thoughts"  we  have  no  such  comprehensive 
scheme  as  is  presented  in  the  "Tractate."  At  another  time 
Locke  sketched  in  outline  a  national  system  of  education; 
here  he  deals  only  with  the  home  training  of  a  gentleman's 
son.  He  scorns  the  schools  of  the  day,  and  urges  great  care 
in  the  selection  of  a  tutor.  Since  Locke's  time  schools  have 
so  improved  that  he  might  now  revise  his  opinion  on  this 
point,  as  he  might  on  others;  for  it  must  be  confessed  that 
Locke  was  not  in  the  modern  sense  a  student  of  child 
psychology,  nor  of  mental  and  physical,  development  in  gen- 
eral. Thus  his  advice  on  the  feeding  of  children,  the  general 
tenor  of  which  is  good,  could  hardly  be  followed  with  safety 
in  detail.  But  for  us  the  chief  interest  of  Locke's  essay  is 
in  his  conception  of  the  moral  discipline  of  children  by 
their  parents  and  teachers ;  and  since  he  was  a  man  of  keen 
observation,  wide  experience,  clear  principles,  and  much 
human  sympathy,  his  remarks  on  this  subject  are  worth 
careful  study. 

The  gist  of  his  counsel  may  be  put  thus :  abandon  the  rod, 
except  as  a  last  resort;  abandon  scolding,  threats,  rules,  re- 
wards, arguments,  and  persuasion;  train  to  right  thinking 
and  right  action  through  the  use  of  approval  and  affection, 
with  all  their  normal  accompaniment  of  benefits,  when  chil- 
dren behave  properly,  and  of  disapproval  and  coldness,  with 
their  natural  consequences  in  the  withdrawal  of  pleasures 
and  companionship,  when  children  misbehave.  But  above 
all,  use  this  moral  discipline  morally — that  is,  with  direct 
reference  to  your  child's  motives,  to  his  will  in  the  matter, 
not  with  reference  merely  to  the  outward  effect  of  his  ac- 
tions. Locke  urges,  in  reality,  a  steady,  consistent,  sym- 
pathetic, yet  dispassionate  moral  pressure  as  the  surest 
means  of  bringing  children  to  good  conduct.    He  would  have 


them  learn  "to  love  what  they  ought  to  love  and  hate  what 
they  ought  to  hate"  as  a  matter  first  of  habit,  to  be  approved 
by  reason  only  as  they  mature:  but  from  the  beginning  he 
would  have  children  act  not  in  mere  conformity  to  external 
requirements,  but  with  a  willing  adoption  of  standards  al- 
ways clearly  revealed  and,  as  time  goes  on,  properly  ex- 
plained. He  would  use  authority  as  a  moral  agent  to  induce 

There  is  wisdom  in  Locke's  words.  Even  under  more 
modern  conceptions  of  child  nature,  parents  can  hardly  find 
general  principles  better  than  those  he  gives  for  guidance 
in  the  concrete  exigencies  of  moral  training  in  the  home. 
All  moral  training  is  difficult,  because  it  demands  character 
and  judgment:  it  is  truly  as  much  a  "training  of  parents" 
.  as  of  children.  But  although  there  is  much  to  be  learned 
from  modern  writing  on  many  an  aspect  of  child  life  of 
which  John  Locke  was  wholly  ignorant,  he  put  in  his  way 
certain  essential  truths  which  have  often  been  put  since  in 
different  terms  but  to  the  same  effect. 

As  to  learning,  Locke  agrees  with  the  fundamental  point 
in  Milton's  "Tractate."  In  Latin,  he  decries  overemphasis 
on  grammar  and  would  substitute  for  it  extended  reading. 
He  would  also  combine  with  literary  study  a  training  in 
handicraft,  which  parallels  Milton's  scheme  of  learning 
from  workers  in  the  various  fields  of  practical  activity.  But 
the  contrast  between  Locke's  point  of  view,  which  is  indi- 
vidualistic, and  Milton's,  which  is  national,  is  brought  out 
by  the  fact  that  Milton  would  have  practical  men  teach  his 
young  academicians  with  a  view  to  the  serious  use  of  their 
knowledge  and  skill  in  public  affairs,  whereas  Locke  looks 
upon  a  handicraft  chiefly  as  a  good  gentlemanly  avocation. 

On  one  point  Locke  has  been  generally  misinterpreted. 
He  has  been  held  to  be  a  typical  advocate  of  the  "doctrine 
of  formal  discipline" — the  doctrine  which  asserts  that 
studies  are  to  be  chosen  not  because  of  their  objective  use- 
fulness but  because  of  their  supposed  efficacy  in  the  training 
of  some  intellectual  "faculty"  or  in  the  production  of  an 
obscurely  defined  (and  in  reality  wholly  mythical)  "general 
power."  The  passage  on  the  training  of  memory,  §  176,  is 
clear  proof  that  Locke  held  no  such  views  as  have  been  im- 


puted  to  him.  He  did  insist,  to  be  sure,  on  the  necessity  of 
intellectual  and  moral  discipline,  but  only  on  such  discipline 
of  specific  habits  of  mind  and  will  as  is  generally  admitted 
to  be  possible  and  desirable. 

These  two  essays  were  written  some  three  hundred  years 
ago.  They  reflect  many  customs,  standards,  and  traditions 
foreign  to  modem  thought.  They  name  men  and  books 
most  modern  readers  never  heard  of.  Their  authors  were 
not  even  imbued  with  some  of  the  most  forward-looking 
conceptions  and  ideals  of  their  own  day.  But,  these  things 
admitted,  we  must  also  admit  that  the  essays  are  essentially 
fresh  and  valuable  still — and  profit  by  their  wisdom  if  we 

'The  best  single  book  on  education  In  the  seventeenth  century  Is  Adam- 
son's  ''Pioaeers  of  Modem  Education/'  Cambridge  University  IVess. 


By  Frank  Wilson  Cheney  Hersey,  A.  M. 

A  MONG  the  great  voices  that  stirred  England  in  the  early 
/\  years  of  the  Victorian  era,  none  were  more  eloquent 
-^  ^  than  those  of  Newman  and  Carlyle — ^the  one  a 
suave  ecclesiastic  who  lighted  again  the  candles  of  the 
mediaeval  church;  the  other  a  volcanic  Scots  peasant  who 
set  the  Thames  on  fire.  We  may  still  hear  the  sound  of 
their  voices,  and  note  the  vast  difference  in  their  appearance, 
their  manner,  their  tone  and  method,  their  appeal  to  their 
generation.  Matthew  Arnold's  description  of  Newman  at 
Oxford*  remains  forever  in  the  memory: 

"Who  could  resist  the  charm  of  that  spiritual  apparition, 
gliding  in  the  dim  afternoon  light  through  the  aisles  of  St. 
Mary's,  rising  into  the  pulpit,  and  then,  in  the  most  entranc- 
ing of  voices,  breaking  the  silence  with  words  and  thoughts 
which  were  a  religious  music — subtle,  sweet,  mournful?  I 
seem  to  hear  him  still,  saying:  'After  the  fever  of  life,  after 
weariness  and  sickness,  fightings  and  despondings,  languor 
and  fretfulness,  struggling  and  succeeding;  after  all  the 
changes  and  chances  of  this  troubled,  unhealthy  state, — ^at 
length  comes  death,  at  length  the  white  throne  of  God,  at 
length  the  beatific  vision.' " 

Now  the  other  man  comes  before  us  (noted  by  Caroline 
Fox  in  her  journals)  : 

"Carlyle  soon  appeared,  and  looked  as  if  he  felt  a  well- 
dressed  London  audience  scarcely  the  arena  for  him  to 
figure  in  as  a  popular  lecturer.  He  is  a  tall,  robust-looking 
man;  rugged  simplicity  and  indomitable  strength  are  in  his 
face,  and  such  a  glow  of  genius  in  it — not  always  smoulder- 
ing there,  but  flashing  from  his  beautiful  gray  eyes,  from 
the  remoteness  of  their  deep  setting  under  that  massive 
brow.     His  manner  is  very  quiet,  but  he  speaks  like  one 

*  See  Newman's  description  of  Oxford  in  Harvard  Classics,  xxviii,  47-50. 




tremendously  convinced  of  what  he  utters,  and  who  had 
much — ^very  much — in  him  that  was  quite  unutterable,  quite 
unfit  to  be  uttered  to  the  uninitiated  ear ;  and  when  the  Eng- 
lishman's sense  of  beauty  or  truth  exhibited  itself  in  vocif- 
erous cheers,  he  would  impatiently,  almost  contemptuously, 
wave  his  hand,  as  if  that  were  not  the  kind  of  homage 
which  Truth  demanded." 

And  this  man  flung  forth  such  ringing  words  as:  "Be  no 
longer  a  Chaos  but  a  World  or  even  Worldkin.  Produce! 
Produce!  Were  it  but  the  pitifullest  infinitesimal  fraction 
of  a  Product,  produce  it,  in  God's  name!  Tis  the  utmost 
thou  hast  in  thee:  out  with  it,  then.  Up,  up!  Whatsoever 
thy  hand  findeth  to  do,  do  it  with  thy  whole  might.  Work 
while  it  is  called  To-day:  for  the  Night  cometh,  wherein  no 
man  can  work/' 


The  careers  of  Newman  and  Carlyle  were  no  more  similar 
than  their  personalities.  Newman  spent  his  life  in  the  heat 
of  theological  controversy.  He  was  the  leader  and  kindling 
spiritual  force  of  the  Oxford  Movement,  1833-1845,  often 
called  the  Tractarian  Movement  from  "Tracts  for  the 
Times."  This  was  a  movement  within  the  Church  of  Eng- 
land to  revive  the  Catholic  doctrines  which  had  always  been 
retained  in  the  Prayer  Book.  These  doctrines  were  the 
apostolic  succession,  the  priesthood,  the  sacramental  system, 
and  the  real  presence  of  Christ  in  the  Eucharist.  The 
Anglican  Church  was  sadly  in  need  of  zeal,  "Instead  of 
heroic  martyr  Conduct,"  said  Carlyle*  in  1831,  "and  inspired 
and  soul-inspiring  Eloquence,  whereby  Religion  itself  were 
brought  home  to  our  living  bosoms,  to  live  and  reign  there, 
we  have  'Discourses  on  the  Evidences,'  endeavoring,  with 
smallest  result,  to  make  it  probable  that  such  a  thing  as 
Religion  exists."  "Soul-inspiring  eloquence"  was  just  what 
Newman  brought  to  the  Movement.  Sunday  after  Sunday, 
year  after  year,  his  sermons  and  tracts  quickened  the  spirit 
of  men.  A  mysterious  veneration  gathered  round  him.  "In 
Oriel  Lane  light-hearted  undergraduates  would  drop  their 

■  H.  C,  XXV,  353, 


voices  and  whisper,  There's  Newman/'*  In  his  eyes  the 
Christian  Church  was  "the  concrete  representative  of  things 
invisible"  The  pageant  of  ritual  was  necessary  to  bring 
home  the  symbolism  of  the  Church  to  the  imaginaticm. 
Dogmas,  far  from  being  barnacles  on  Scriptural  tradition^ 
were  defenses  erected  by  authority  to  preserve  the  spirit  of 
primitive  Christianity  against  barnacles.  Newman  had  de- 
fended the  Church  of  England  as  the  Via  Media — the  middle 
road-— between  the  theology  of  the  Church  of  Rome  and  the 
theology  of  Calvinism.  But  he  and  his  younger  followers 
gradually  came  to  believe  that  the  weight  of  authority  and 
permanence  was  on  the  side  of  Rome.  Tract  90,  on  the 
Catholic  doctrines  in  the  Thirty-nine  Articles,  the  bulwarks 
of  the  Protestant  Church,  raised  a  storm  of  opposition  in 
that  church.  And  finally  in  a  dramatic  scene  at  the  Con- 
vocation of  February  13,  1845,  ^^^  Oxford  Movement  was 
snuffed  out  Newman  at  once  left  the  Via  Media  for  the 
Via  Appia  and  entered  the  Roman  Catholic  Church.  Sev- 
eral years  later,  in  1864,  he  became  involved  in  a  contro- 
versy with  Charles  Kingsley,  during  which  he  wrote  his 
religious  autobiography,  the  "Apologia  pro  Vita  Sua."' 
This  famous  book,  though  it  cannot  be  considered  a  convinc- 
ing refutation  of  the  charges  which  Kingsley  brought 
against  Rome,  was  a  triumphant  vindication  of  Newman's 
integrity  and  nobility  of  spirit. 


With  Newman,  Carlyle  had  little  sympathy.  "Jo^^^  Henry 
Newman,"  he  said,  "has  not  the  intellect  of  an  average- 
sized  rabbit."  Carlyle's  own  life*  was  spent  in  writing  the 
histories  of  great  movements  such  as  the  French  Revolu- 
tion, and  of  great  men  such  as  Cromwell  and  Frederick  the 
Great.  He  thundered  forth  denunciations  of  the  evils  of 
society.  The  gospel  he  preached  was  of  Books,  Silence, 
Work,  and  Heroes.  "In  Books  lies  the  soul  of  the  whole 
Past  Time."  "Silence  is  the  eternal  Duty  of  a  man." 
'Work  while  it  is  called  To-day."    "Universal  history  is  at 

•  See  George  Moore's  "Salve,"  chap,  xv.,  for  a  vigorous  attack  on  New- 
man's style. 

*For  a  full  account  sec  H.  C,  xxv,  339. 


bottom  the  history  of  the  Great  Men  who  have  worked  here." 
These  doctrines  you  will  find  summed  up  in  the  Inaugural 
Address  at  Edinburgh.*  "Carlyle/'  wrote  George  Meredith 
in  one  of  the  most  luminous  estimates*  of  the  Sage  of 
Chelsea,  "Carlyle  was  one  who  stood  constantly  in  the 
presence  of  those  'Eternal  verities'  of  which  he  speaks.  ,  .  . 
The  spirit  of  the  prophet  was  in  him.  ...  He  was  the 
greatest  of  the  Britons  of  his  time — and  after  the  British 
fashion  of  not  coming  near  perfection:  Titanic,  not 
Olympian:  a  heaver  of  rocks,  not  a  shaper.  But  if  he  did 
no  perfect  work,  he  had  lightning's  power  to  strike  out 
marvelous  pictures  and  reach  to  the  inmost  of  men  with  a 


Could  men  so  apparently  antipodal  as  these  in  tempera- 
ment, utterance,  and  life  have  a  thought  or  doctrine  in  com- 
mon? Yet  it  was  the  great  paradox  of  the  Victorian  era 
that  the  heart  of  their  mystery,  the  source  and  pivot  of 
their  teaching,  was  the  same  dominating  idea.  The  same 
idea  led  one  man  to  insist  on  the  value  of  the  oldest  clothes, 
and  led  the  other  to  insist  on  getting  rid  of  them.  This 
dominating  principle  was  the  "Doctrine  of  the  Uncon- 
scious." ^ 

Carlyle  first  expounded  this  doctrine  in  his  essay 
"Characteristics."  *  "The  truly  strong  mind,"  he  says,  "view 
it  as  Intellect,  as  Morality,  or  under  any  other  aspect,  its 
nowise  the  mind  acquainted  with  its  strength;  here  as  be- 
fore the  sign  of  health  is  unconsciousness.  In  our  inward, 
as  in  our  outward,  world  what  is  mechanical  lies  open  to  us ; 
not  what  is  dynamical  and  has  vitality.  Of  our  thinking,  we 
might  say,  it  is  but  the  mere  upper  surface  that  we  shape 
into  articulate  Thoughts;  underneath  the  region  of  argu- 
ment and  conscious  discourse  lies  the  region  of  meditation; 
here,  in  its  quiet  mysterious  depths,  dwells  what  vital  force 
is  in  us;  here,  if  aught  is  to  be  created,  and  not  merely 

•  H,  C.  XXV,  37 S« 

•  See  ''The  Letters  of  George  Meredith,"  Vol.  II,  332. 

^  For  an  extended  account  see  Professor  T.  B.  Fletcher's  article  "Newman 
and  Carlyle"  in  the  "Atlantic  Monthly,"  Vol.  XCV,  p.  669. 

•  H,  C,  XXV,  333. 


manufactured  and  communicated,  must  the  work  go  on. 
Manufacture  is  intelligible,  but  trivial;  Creation  is  great, 
and  cannot  be  understood."  What  is  intuitive  and  sponta- 
neous should  be  our  guide.  "The  healthy  understanding  is 
not  the  Logical,  argumentative,  but  The  Intuitive."  "The 
characteristic  of  right  performance  is  a  certain  spontaneity, 
an  unconsciousness;  'the  healthy  know  not  of  their  health, 
but  only  the  sick.' "  On  this  idea  Carlyle  bases  his  doctrines 
of  Work  and  Heroes.  By  work  the  spontaneous  self  has  a 
chance  to  reveal  itself.  Heroes  are  those  Great  Men  who 
are  spontaneous  and  sincere,  those  masters  of  their  time 
who  draw  up  into  themselves  the  thoughts  of  masses  of 

Newman's  belief  in  the  power  of  the  unconscious  was  equally 
firm  and  thoroughgoing.  In  his  sermon  on  "Explicit  and  Im- 
plicit Reason,"  he  means  by  "implicit  reason"  "unconscious 
meditation."  "Reasoning  is  a  living,  spontaneous  energy 
within  us,  not  an  art."  "Progress,"  he  said  later,  "is  a  liv- 
ing growth,  not  a  mechanism;  and  its  instruments  are 
mental  acts,  not  the  formulas  and  contrivances  of  language." 
"As  each  individual  has  certain  instincts  of  right  and  wrong 
antecedently  to  reasoning,  on  which  he  acts — and  rightly — 
so  has  the  world  of  men  collectively.  God  gave  them  truths 
in  His  miraculous  revelations.  .  .  .  These  are  transmitted 
as  the  'wisdom  of  our  ancestors.' "  It  was  Newman's 
staunch  belief  in  what  is  intuitive  and  instinctive  that  made 
him  accept  the  wisdom  of  the  race  as  more  trustworthy  than 
the  reason  of  the  individual.  Consequently  he  believed  that 
Christian  truth  is  preserved  not  by  the  reasoning  of  the  in- 
dividual but  by  the  diversified  powers,  insight,  and  feeling 
which  are  found  in  a  long-continuing  society.  For  New- 
man, therefore,  the  Catholic  Church  was  the  articulate  voice 
of  the  body  of  Christian  believers  in  the  past — "the  con- 
crete representative  of  things  invisible."* 

These  two  great  men,  who  did  not  understand  each  other, 
based  their  teachings  on  the  same  initial  principle— 4he 
"doctrine  of  the  unconscious."  However  far  apart  they 
were  at  the  end,  they   insisted  with  graceful   pleading  or 

•  Readers  interested  in  Newman  should  see  the  new  "Life"  by   Wilfrid 


with  tumultuous  eloquence  on  these  high  moral  truths: 
faith  in  what  is  spontaneous  and  sincere  in  one's  own 
nature,  and  spontaneous  and  instinctive  submission  to  those 
highly  endowed  men  whose  innate  sincerity  will  redeem  the 




By  Professor  A.  O.  Norton 

HUXLEY'S  address  on  "Science  and  Culture"*  was 
delivered  in  1880,  at  the  opening  of  Mason  Science 
College  in  Birmingham,  England.  Like  many  aca- 
demic addresses,  it  not  only,  celebrates  a  local  event,  but 
also  deals  with  questions  of  the  day,  chosen  to  suit  the  oc- 
casion. Unlike  most  such  addresses,  however,  it  is  of  per- 
manent value  as  a  document  in  the  history  of  a  great  epoch 
in  English  educational  progress.  The  event  which  it  cele- 
brates marks  "a  crisis  in  the  long  battle,  or  rather  of  the 
long  series  of  battles"  which  were  fought  over  education 
during  the  nineteenth  century;  the  discussion  concerns  two 
of  the  most  significant  educational  reforms  of  that  century; 
the  speaker  was  a  great  leader  in  the  struggle  which  brought 
those  reforms  to  pass;  the  style  of  the  address  illustrates 
the  "strenuous  and  attractive  method  of  exposition"  which 
characterizes  all  of  Huxley's  writings,  and  which  was  a 
powerful  means  of  winning  public  support  for  his  views. 

HuxLEY^s  opponents:   (i)  the  business  men 

The  full  significance  of  "Science  and  Culture"  appears 
only  when  it  is  placed  in  its  historical  setting.  To-day  Hux- 
ley's views  seem  commonplace,  because  to-day  everyone  ac- 
cepts them.  Who,  nowadays,  disputes  his  proposition  that 
the  sciences  are  an  essential  element  of  modern  culture? 
And  who  denies  that  "the  diffusion  of  a  thorough  scientific 
education  is  an  absolutely  essential  condition  of  industrial 
progress"  ? 

In  England  in  1880,  however,  these  ideas  seemed  shock- 

^  Harvard  Classics,  xxviii,  217S, 



ingly  radical  to  a  very  large  majority  of  the  people  who 
were  doing  the  thinking  of  the  country  and  managing  its 
affairs;  and  the  advocates  of  scientific  studies  faced  a 
pow:erful  opposing  party  composed  of  two  groups — th^ 
practical  men  of  business,  and  the  men  of  liberal  education. 

Scientific  education  was  despised  by  practical  business 
men  because  it  seemed  not  only  unnecessary,  but  actually 
harmful  as  a  preparation  for  business.  English  industries 
had  flourished  amazingly  without  the  aid  of  the  sciences, 
and  the  captains  of  industry  saw  no  reason  to  believe  that 
"rule  of  thumb,"'  by  which  they  had  succeeded,  would  not 
continue  to  suffice  for  their  needs.  They  failed  to  see  the 
importance  of  the  connection  between  scientific  education 
and  the  industries;  but  it  was  even  then  perceived  in  Ger- 
many, that  "land  of  damned  professors,"  with  the  result  that 
Germany  rose,  in  the  next  twenty-five  years,  from  industrial 
insignificance  to  the  position  of  England's  leading  industrial 

A  further  result  was  a  general  outcry  in  England  for  the 
kind  of  training  which  Huxley  advocated. 


The  entrance  of  the  sciences  into  the  circle  of  liberal 
studies  also  met  powerful  opposition.  School  and  university 
men  in  general  doubted,  and  most  of  them  denied,  that  the 
sciences— physics,  chemistry,  biology,  geology,  and  the  like 
— ^were  at  all  essential  to  culture.  And  Huxley's  conviction 
that,  "for  the  purpose  of  attaining  real  culture,  an  exclu- 
sively scientific  education  is  at  least  as  effective  as  an  ex- 
clusively literary  education"  was  as  shocking  to  the  aca- 
demic world  of  that  day  as  the  advent  of  a  band  of  shooting 
cowboys  would  have  been  to  an  English  garden  party. 
Huxley  states  very  fairly  the  working  ideal  of  culture  which 
was  held  by  "the  great  majority  of  educated  Englishmen" 
of  1880,  and  which  had  shaped  the  whole  course  of  liberal 
education  during  the  three  centuries  preceding:  "In  their 
belief,"  he  says,  "culture  is  obtainable  only  by  a  liberal 
education;  and  a  liberal  education  is  synonymous,  not 
merely  with  education  and  instruction  in  literature,  but  in 


one  particular  form  of  literature,  namely  that  of  Greek  and 
Roman  antiquity.  They  hold  that  the  man  who  has  learned 
Latin  and  Greek,  however  little,  is  educated;  while  he  who 
is  versed  in  other  branches  of  knowledge,  however  deeply, 
is  a  more  or  less  respectable  specialist,  not  admissible  into 
the  cultured  caste.  The  stamp  of  the  educated  man,  the 
University  degree,  is  not  for  him."  The  best-trained  uni- 
versity men  undoubtedly  took  a  more  liberal  attitude  than 
this,  but  schoolmasters  in  general,  and  university  men  of 
mediocre  quality,  often  maintained  this  position  with 
patronizing,  not  to  say  insolent,  superiority. 


Another  group  of  educated  men  also  opposed  scientific 
studies— especially  biology — on  religious  grounds.  Since  the 
appearance  of  Darwin's  "Origin  of  Species"  in  1859  there 
had  been;  "endless  battles  and  skirmishes"  between  scientists 
and  theologians  over  the  doctrine  of  evolution.  It  is  almost 
impossible  for  readers  of  this  generation  to  realize  the  bit- 
terness of  the  feelings  aroused  over  this  doctrine,  or  the 
violence  with  which,  during  the  sixties  and  early  seventies, 
evolution  and  its  champions  were  attacked.  To  clergy  and 
the  devout  laity  alike  it  seemed  to  undermine  theology  and 
to  sap  the  very  foundations  of  Christian  belief.  Scientists 
who  defended  it — iHuxley  chief  among  them — ^were  re- 
garded as  the  deadly  enemies  of  religion,  as  rationalists, 
materialists,  atheists  beyond  redemption.  Naturally,  scien- 
tific studies  were  opposed  on  the  ground  that  they  were 
anti-religious  in  their  effect,  the  breeders  of  atheism,  and 
the  destroyers  of  faith.  The  stormiest  period  of  the  debate 
had  passed  by  1880,  but  the  feelings  which  it  aroused  were 
still  strong.  And,  although  Huxley  does  not  directly  ad- 
dress these  opponents  in  "Science  and  Culture,"  some  remi- 
niscences of  the  conflict  may  be  traced  in  its  pages. 

Under  these  cirumstances,  the  address  was  hardly  the 
tame  affair  which  it  seems  to  readers  of  the  younger  genera- 
tion. On  the  contrary,  it  was  the  challenging  utterance  of 
a  champion  in  the  warfare  of  science,  at  the  crisis  of  the 


As  above  suggested,  the  two  ^^reat  refonns  for  which 
Huxley  contended  in  this  address,  and  elsewhere,  were,  first, 
the  diffusion  of  scientific  education  as  a  benefit  to  industrial 
workers  and  an  aid  to  the  industries  themselves ;  second,  the 
revision  of  the  program  of  liberal  studies  to  include  modern 
studies,  especially  the  natural  sciences,  as  well  as  the  tradi- 
tional Latin  and  Greek.  Thus  he  confronted  two  of  the 
three  groups  of  opponents  of  scientific  studies — ^the  practical 
men  of  business,  and  the  men  of  liberal  culture. 

Huxley's  appeal  to  the  business  world 

The  first  thing  to  note  in  reading  the  address  is  the  skill 
with  which  Huxley  meets  each  of  these  antagonists.  To 
the  practical  men  he  appeals  in  a  practical  way.  His  ap- 
peal, summarized,  is  this:  I  won't  try  to  reason  you  out  of 
your  opposition  to  scientific  education.  But  consider  what 
Sir  Josiah  Mason,  the  founder  of  this  College,  has  done. 
He  is  a  practical  man  like  yourselves,  and  yet  he  believes 
in  scientific  education  enough  to  spend  a  great  part  of  his 
fortune  in  providing  it  for  young  men  and  women  who  are 
to  enter  the  industries  of  Birmingham.  No  one  is  better 
qualified  to  judge  than  he.  This  College  is  his  practical 
answer  to  your  practical  objections.  I  can  say  nothing 
which  will  add  to  its  force. 

Toward  the  close  of  the  address  Huxley  returns  to  the 
charge  with  evidence  that  the  general  sciences  are  of  practi- 
cal value  to  the  industries,  and  with  the  further  remark  that 
considered  as  culture  alone  they  are  of  practical  value,  for 
they  both  ennoble  character  and  increase  and  improve  in 
quality  the  variety  of  desires  which  are  satisfied  by  the 
'  products  of  industry. 


Huxley's  method  of  dealing  with  the  second  gfroup  of  an- 
tagonists is  very  different  from  this.  Here  his  appeal  is  to 
reason.  He  begins  with  a  definition  of  culture  which  hardly 
anyone  could  refuse  to  accept.  Next,  he  points  out  that  the 
real  matter  on  which  they  disagreed  is  the  answer  to  the 


question.  How  is  culture  to  be  obt^iined  ?  Why  do  we  differ 
so  sharply  on  this  matter?  he  asks.  History  tells  us  why. 
The  studies  which  have  been  supposed  to  give  culture  have 
changed  from  age  to  age.  In  the  Middle  Ages  theology  was 
the  sole  basis  of  culture,  because  it  furnished  the  best 
ideals  and  standards  then  available  for  the  criticism  of  life. 
In  the  fifteenth  century  the  great  body  of  classical  literature 
was  revealed  to  western  Europe.  This  in  turn  became  the 
basis  of  culture,  displacing  theology,  because  in  many  ways 
it  furnished  better  ideals  and  standards — especially  in 
literature,  sculpture,  and  above  all  in  the  use  of  reason. 
But  since  the  fifteenth  century  vast  new  sources  of  culture 
h^ve  developed^^the  modern  literatures,  modern  music, 
modern  painting,  and  above  all  the  great  structure  of 
modern  science,  which  gives  us  ideals  and  standards  of 
judgment  drawn  from  a  new  field,  the  book  of  Nature  her» 
self.  The  reason  why  we  differ  is  clear.  You  still  live  in 
the  views  of  the  fifteenth  century,  and  you  take  no  account 
of  the  vast  changes  in  our  knowledge  since  that  time.  But 
if  culture  is  to  be  an  effective  criticism  of  modem  Ufe^- 
^s  we  agree-^is  it  not  clear  that  the  ideals  and  standards 
given  by  these  new  fields  of  learning  must  form  a  part  of 
any  scheme  of  complete  culture?  Thus  by  clear  definition, 
and  by  reasoning  based  on  the  historic  facts,  Huxley  drivei 
home  his  conclusion  with  telling  power. 


The  style  of  the  address  deserves  notice.  It  is  character* 
istic  of  all  Huxley's  writings.  Perfect  clearness  and  sim« 
plicity  are  its  most  obvious  qualities.  So  clear  and  simple 
is  it,  indeed,  that  one  constantly  forgets  that  the  printed 
page  is  before  one.  One  seems  to  be  looking  directly  at 
the  thought  expressed  rather  than  at  the  words  themselves, 
just  as  one  looks  through  a  clear  window  at  a  landscape. 
At  the  same  time,  the  style  is  never  dry.  The  "bottled  life" 
which,  according  to  a  reviewer,  Huxley  always  "infused 
into  the  driest  topic  on  which  human  beings  ever  contrived 
to  pro#e,"  is  evident  here  as  in  all  his  writings.  Forcible 
and  interesting,  as  he  always  is,  Huxley  also  makes  this 


address  ptmgent  by  picturesque  phrases  and  keen  thrusts  at 
his  antagonists. 

A  last  word  must  be  given  to  Huxley  as  a  man.  He  was 
one  of  the  most  distinguished  and  striking  personalities  of 
his  day  in  England.  Hardly  any  character  will  better  re- 
pay study.  Let  the  r.eader  turn  to  his  "Collected  Essays," 
and  especially  to  the  two  volumes  of  his  "Life  and  Letters," 
edited  by  his  son.  There  he  will  find  a  portrait,  sharply 
drawn.  It  is  the  portrait  of  a  passionate  seeker  of  truth, 
fearless  in  its  defense  against  all  odds,  and  at  any  cost  to 
himself— a  man  ruggedly  honest  and  straightforward,  big  of 
mind,  broad  of  vision,  the  soul  of  simplicity,  sincerity,  and 



By  Professor  Thomas  Nixon  Carver 

or    TheArt<i 
of    House 
hold    Man 


i  Getting  an  Income  (Business  Bconomicsy 
\  Utilising  an  Income   (Home  Economics) 


Public         . 



(How  the 
state  can 
manage  its 
own   affairs) 

f  I  Dtred 

Taxation  < 

Public  Domain 
JPublic  Trading 

^Public  Expenditure 

By    encouraging    the    ^oducHon 
of  wealth 

Social   E  c  o  n-^ 

(H  ow  the 
general  wel- 
fare may  be 

By   facilitating    the    exchange  oi 

By  securing  an  advantageous  dis» 
tribution  of    wealth 

By  directing  the    wise   consumsp* 
"    tion   of    wealth 

THE  term  Economics,  as  originally  used  by  the  Greeks, 
meant  the  art  of  household  management,  or  the 
principles  which  govern  the  wise  management  of  the 
household.  Xenophon's  treatise  on  this  subject  is  a  de- 
scription of  the  management  of  a  simple  agricultural  house- 
hold where  problems  of  revenue  and  expenditure,  of  busi- 
ness and  home  life,  are  not  very  sharply  separated.  In 
modem  times,  particularly  in  urban  life,  the  business,  or  the 
source  of  income,  is  so  sharply  separated  from  the  home, 
where  the  income  is  utilized,  that  we  now  have  two  distinct 
branches  of  the  subject  instead  of  one.    To  one  branch  we 



now  give  the  name  business  economics,  business  manage- 
ment, or  business  administration.  The  other  is  known  by 
such  names  as  home  economics,  household  economics,  house- 
hold management,  domestic  science,  etc.  That  these  two 
branches  are  now  so  sharply  separated  as  to  seem  tmrelated 
is  a  commentary  on  how  far  we  have  departed  from  the 
simple  conditions  of  the  self-sufficing  rural  household,  and 
how  thoroughly  we  have  divorced  business  from  life. 

Xenophon  also  wrote  a  treatise  on  the  Revenues  of 
Athens.  While  this  cannot  be  regarded  as  a  general  treatise 
on  public  finance,  it  serves  at  least  to  show  that  he  had 
some  interest  in  that  field,  which  may  not  inaptly  be  called 
public  housekeeping.  Every  government,  considered  as  a 
corporate  body,  has  needs  of  its  own  apart  from  those  of 
the  people  whom  it  governs.  Whether  it  be  a  city,  a  state, 
or  a  smaller  governing  unit,  it  must  solve  the  problems  of 
revenue  and  expenditure  just  as  a  private  household.  Later 
writers  applied  the  term  economics  mainly  to  this  group  of 
problems  to  which  we  now  apply  the  name  public  finance, 
rather  than  to  that  g^oup  which  in  the  diagram  above  are 
included  under  Private  Economics.  In  a  monarchy  the 
providing  of  revenues  for  the  king's  household,  and  the 
expenditure  of  those  revenues  in  the  support  of  the  house- 
hold, may  approximate  very  closely  to  the  character  of 
private  economics,  as  when  the  chief  source  of  revenue  is 
the  royal  demesne,  or  to  public  economics  when  the  chief 
source  of  revenue  is  taxation,  and  the  king  is  regarded 
merely  as  a  public  official  to  be  supported  as  other  public 
officials  are. 


In  the  mediaeval  and  early  modern  period,  the  chief  inter- 
est in  economics  had  shifted  from  the  private  to  the  public 
aspects  of  the  science,  but  was  still  centered  mainly  in  prob- 
lems of  public  revenue  and  expenditure,  or,  as  we  should 
now  say,  public  finance.  The  chief  students  in  this  field 
were  the  finance  ministers,  who  were  charged  with  the  office 
of  raising  revenue  for  the  royal  household  and  the  enter- 
prises both  constructive  and  military  of  the  king.    It  was 


soon  apparent  that  the  amount  of  royal  revenue  was  strictly 
limited  by  the  wealth  of  the  people.  If  larger  revenues 
were  needed,  the  people  must  be  made  more  prosperous  in 
order  that  they  might  pay  heavier  taxes.  From  that  time 
forward  students  gave  increasing  attention  to  the  problems 
of  national  prosperity,  until,  at  the  present  time,  that  is  the 
primary  object  of  interest,  problems  of  public  revenue  and 
expenditure  being  strictly  subordinated.  That  is  to  say,  in- 
stead of  trying  to  promote  national  prosperity  in  order  that 
there  may  be  more  taxes  and  other  forms  of  public  revenue, 
the  modern  policy  is  to  promote  general  prosperity  for  its 
own  sake,  and  to  raise  revenue  for  the  government  only 
when,  and  to  the  extent  that,  it  is  necessary  to  do  so  in 
order  to  promote  the  general  welfare, 


Even  when  students  began  to  focus  their  attention  upon 
general  economic  prosperity,  it  took  them  some  time  to  de- 
velop a  really  broad  view  of  that  problem.  One  school, 
known  as  the  mercantilists,  emphasized  commerce,  particU' 
larly  foreign  commerce,  to  such  an  extent  as  to  make  it 
seem  that  they  identified  prosperity  with  foreign  trade. 
Writers  of  this  school,  for  example,  were  accustomed  to 
point  out  that  an  abundant  supply  of  cheap  labor  was  one 
factor  in  the  development  of  foreign  trade,  because  with 
cheap  labor  the  country  could  compete  with  rival  nations  in 
international  trade.  This  was  obviously  not  intended  to 
promote  the  prosperity  of  the  laborers  who  were  to  supply 
the  cheap  labor.  Another  school,  the  physiocrats,  empha- 
sized the  importance  of  agriculture  as  the  industry  which 
really  produced  a  surplus  over  and  above  the  cost  of  pro- 

Both  these  schools  made  the  mistake  of  assuming  an 
analogy  between  public  prosperity  and  private  prosperity, 
A  private  business  which  sells  more  than  it  buys,  or  takes 
in  more  money  than  it  pays  out,  is  said  to  be  prosperous. 
The  mercantile  school  assumed  the  same  to  be  true  of  the 
nation  at  large,  overlooking  the  fact  that  in  the  nation  at 
large  what  is  profit  to  one  man  may  be  cost  to  some  one 

WLltlCAL   SClBljtdft  m 

the,  as  in  tht  tkse  of  the  merchsitits  who  exported  goods  at 
a  profit  because  they  paid  the  laborers  so  little  for  their 
work.  Again,  a  private  business  tnay  be  said  to  be  prosper- 
ous wh^ti  its  products  are  greater  than  its  costs.  In  agri- 
cUltute  there  is  the  rent  of  land,  whicih  is  not,  strictly  speak- 
ing, a  cost,  but  a  surplus  ittcofrie  to  the  owrtef.  This  sur- 
plus ihcomc  is  the  surplus  value  of  the  produce  over  and 
above  the  dost  of  producing  it.  Since  very  little  rent  was 
produced  by  th^  handicraft  manufacturers  of  the  day,  the 
physiocrats  assumed  that  these  were  not  very  profitable 
industries  for  the  country  at  large,  but  that  its  main  pros- 
perity came  from  agriculture,  where  the  main  surplus, 
namely  rent,  accrued.  Like  the  mercantilists,  they  over- 
looked the  fact  that  this  surplus  might  be  the  result,  in 
part  at  least,  of  the  poverty  of  the  fartn  laborers.  With 
a  given  efficiency,  the  cheaper  they  would  work  the  lower 
the  ebst  of  growing  crops  arid  the  higher  the  rent  of  the 

it  was  hot  Until  Adstm  Smith's  ^poch-making  work,  the 
"Wealth  of  Nations,*'  *  was  given  to  the  world  that  students 
began  to  take  a  really  broad  and  comprehensive  view  of  tht 
problems  of  national  welfare.  Different  students  naturally 
ilfeve  different  special  interests,  but  they  generally  realize 
the  bearing  of  their  specialties  upon  the  larger  problem.  It 
has  Seethed  at  times  that  too  marty  were  focusing  their  at^ 
tfcntion  upon  produttidrt  or  exchange,  and  too  few  upon 
problems  of  distributlbh.  For  the  last  twenty-five  years  th6 
pt'Oblem  of  distribution  has  attracted  more  attention  than  all 
the  others;  but  now  the  idea  is  beginning  to  dawn  that  con- 
suhiptioh  is  the  most  important  field  of  all,  though  it  has 
been  receiving  the  least  attentiori  of  any. 


Now  that  economics  is  definitely  focusing  attention  upon 
problems  of  national  prosperity,  it  is  important  that  th* 
student  should  understand  clearly  the  leading  concepts  of 
the  science  before  proceeding  to  study  its  literature.  The 
leading  concept  is  that  of  wealth,  but  this  is  k  ternl  with 

^  ^ee  Harvard  ClasHcs,  H,  And  Lectiif  ^  lit  in  this  Course. 


two  distinct  but  closely  related  meanings.  In  the  first  place, 
it  is  the  name  of  a  condition  of  well-being,  in  which  sense 
it  is  not  very  different  from  the  Saxon  term  weal,  from 
which  it  is  descended.  In  the  second  and  more  usual  sense, 
wealth  is  the  collective  name  for  a  category  of  goods. 
Goods  are  the  means  of  satisfying  desires,  but  not  all  goods 
are  wealth.  Only  those  goods  are  wealth  upon  which  the 
satisfaction  of  desires  depends  in  a  very  special  and  practical 
sense.  People  desire  air,  sunlight,  and  a  number  of  other 
things  which  do  not  constitute  wealth.  But  if  they  not  only 
desire  a  thing,  but  desire  more  than  they  have,  or  more  than 
there  is  to  be  had  at  once,  then  that  thing  is  wealth.  Their 
state  of  satisfaction  is  definitely  affected  by  the  question  of 
more  or  less  of  this  thing.  More  of  it,  more  satisfaction; 
less  of  it,  less  satisfaction.  Though  we  could  not  live  at  all 
without  air,  yet  we  do  not  ordinarily  desire  more  than  we 
have.  There  is  enough  to  go  around  and  satisfy  every- 
body. We  should  not  notice  the  difference  if  there  were  a 
little  less.  If  special  conditions  should  arise  in  any  time 
and  place  where  there  was  not  enough  air  for  everybody, 
so  that  people  should  desire  more  than  they  had,  air  would 
then  and  there  be  wealth. 

Wealth  may  also  be  defined,  tentatively,  as  the  name  of 
those  goods  upon  which  weal  or  well-being  depends,  in  this 
immediate  and  practical  sense.  If  our  weal  is  increased  by 
having  more  of  a  certain  class  of  things,  and  decreased  by 
having  less  of  them,  those  things  therefore  constitute  wealth. 
They  become  the  objects  of  conscious  and  active  human 
desire  and  therefore  of  conscious  and  active  human  en- 
deavor. More  bread,  more  weal;  less  bread,  less  weal. 
Because  we  can  say  that,  bread  is  wealth.  Broadly  speaking, 
everything  to  which  we  can  apply  that  formula  in  any  time 
and  place  is  then  and  there  wealth.  Nothing  is  wealth  which 
cannot  be  brought  under  that  formula. 

This  statement  calls  for  one  qualification,  namely,  that 
men  may  not  know  upon  what  their  weal  or  well-being  de- 
pends. That  upon  which  they  think  that  their  well-being 
depends  they  will  regard  as  wealth.  In  other  words,  if  they 
desire  a  thing,  and  desire  more  of  it  than  they  have,  that 
indicates  that  they  think  their  weal,  or  state  of  satisfaction. 


would  be  increased  by  having  more  of  it.  The  fact  that  they 
want  more,  and  try  to  get  it,  either  by  producing  or  pur- 
chasing it,  indicates  that  they  regard  it  as  wealth,  or  as  the 
means  to  well-being.  Therefore  it  sometimes  happens  that 
the  student  is  compelled  to  include  some  things  under  wealth 
which  he  regards  as  not  only  useless  but  deleterious  and 
immoral — the  means  of  satisfying  vicious  appetites,  such  as 
opium,  tobacco,  and  alcohol.  If  one  were  to  make  much  of 
this  qualification,  he  would  probably  choose  to  divorce  the 
word  wealth  from  well-being,  and  define  it  as  scarce  means 
of  satisfying  desires. 

Any  of  these  definitions  will  be  found  to  harmonize  per- 
fectly with  another  that  has  had  some  currency,  namely,  that 
wealth  is  the  collective  name  for  all  goods  which  have  value 
or  power  in  exchange;  for  only  those  things  which  are  de- 
sirable and  scarce  will  have  power  in  exchange,  or  value. 
In  fact  they  are  evaluated,  bought  and  sold,  solely  because 
they  are  scarce  and  some  one  wants  more  than  he  has. 


The  idea  of  scarcity  as  an  essential  to  the  concept  of 
wealth  suggests,  next,  the  meaning  of  economy,  which  is 
another  fundamental  concept  of  the  science  of  economics. 
Economy  suggests  the  adjusting  of  means  to  ends,  making 
a  little  go  a  long  way,  or,  in  the  last  analysis,  choosing 
among  one's  desires  and  sacrificing  the  less  important  in 
order  that  the  more  important  may  be  satisfied.  This 
choice  is  forced  upon  us  by  the  fact  of  scarcity,  without 
which  such  choosing  would  be  unnecessary,  since  we  could, 
if  everything  were  sufficiently  abundant,  satisfy  all  our  de- 
sires without  sacrificing  any.  It  is  in  the  utilization  of 
those  things  which  are  scarce  that  economy  is  called  for. 
These  things  which,  being  scarce,  need  to  be  economized  in 
the  interest  of  the  largest  satisfaction  or  well-being  con- 
stitute economic  goods,  for  which  wealth  is  only  another 
name.  These  are  the  things  which  have  to  be  appraised, 
evaluated,  and  compared  with  one  another  with  respect  to 
their  utility,  in  order  that  the  limited  supplies  may  be 
meted  out  and  made  to  go  as  far  as  possible  in  the  satis- 


faction  of  human  desires,  and  in  order  that  they  may  satisfy 
the  greater  rather  than  the  lesser  desires. 

The  economizing  of  scarce  goods  cannot  be  dissociated 
from  such  outstanding  facts  as  production  and  exchange.  The 
things  toward  which  we  must  practice  economy  come  to  be 
esteemed  or  evaluated  in  a  very  direct  and  practical  sense 
which  is  not  true  of  anything  else.  When  we  desire  a  thing 
and  desire  more  than  we  have,  we  not  only  try  to  get  more, 
either  by  purchase  or  by  production,  but  the  more  intensely 
we  desire  tnore  of  it  the  more  we  will  give  in  exchange  for 
a  given  unit  of  it,  or  the  harder  we  will  try  to  produce  more 
of  it.  This  process  of  evaluation  gives  such  a  thing  power 
in  exchange  in  proportion  to  its  scarcity,  or  rather  in  pro- 
portion to  the  intensity  of  our  desire  for  more.  It  also  de- 
termines the  direction  in  which  the  productive  energies  of 
society  will  be  turned.  Whether  a  given  individual  himself 
desires  more  of  a  thing  or  not,  if  there  is  somewhere  in  the 
community  such  a  desire  for  more  as  will  give  the  thing  a 
high  power  in  exchange,  or  a  high  value,  that  value  will 
serve  as  effectively  to  induce  the  individual  to  produce  it  as 
though  he  desired  the  thing  itself. 


The  process  of  production,  in  turn,  calls  for  a  new  exer- 
cise of  economy,  because  the  means  of  production  are  scarce 
in  some  cases  and  abundant  in  others.  In  the  last  analysis, 
all  industry  consists  in  moving  materials  from  one  place  to 
another.  That  is  all  that  the  moving-picture  machine,  or 
the  human  eye  as  a  mechanical  device,  would  reveal.  But 
the  mind  sees  plans,  purposes,  and  laws  back  of  this  process 
of  moving  materials.  One  of  the  great  generalizations  of 
the  scientific  observer  is  that  all  this  moving  of  materials  is 
for  the  purpose  of  getting  things  together  in  the  right  pro- 
portions. Of  course  there  are  purposes  back  of  all  this,  but 
the  observed  fact  is  that  every  industrial  purpose  is  carried 
out  by  getting  materials  together  in  the  right  proportion. 
All  this  moving  of  materials  which  the  eye  sees  is  dom- 
inated by  the  law  of  proportionality,  and  the  skill  of  the 
producer  consists  first  in  knowing  the  right  proportions  in 


which  to  combine  materials,  and,  second,  in  his  ability  to 
bring  them  together. 

This  applies  everywhere  from  a  chemical  experiment  to 
the  irrigation  of  a  desert,  from  the  work  of  the  artist  in  his 
studio  to  that  of  the  farmer  in  his  field.  The  chemist,  how- 
ever, works  under  a  law  of  definite  proportions,  under  which 
chemical  elements  have  to  be  combined  in  exact  mathe- 
matical ratios,  whereas  the  greater  part  of  the  work  of  pro- 
duction is  under  the  law  of  variable  proportions.  In  the 
irrigation  of  a  piece  of  land,  for  example,  there  are  variable 
quantities  of  water  which  may  be  used  in  the  growing  of  a 
crop.  One  cannot  say  that  an  exact  quantity  of  water  must 
be  applied,  otherwise  there  will  be  no  crop  at  all,  or  that  the 
slightest  variation  either  way  would  utterly  ruin  the  crop. 
Within  fairly  wide  limits  of  moisture  a  crop  can  be  grown, 
though  within  these  limits  the  crop  will  vary  somewhat — ^but 
not  exactly — according  to  the  quantity  of  moisture  provided. 

Wherever  the  law  of  variable  proportions  holds,  that  is, 
wherever  the  law  of  definite  proportions  does  not  hold,  the 
product  may  vary  whenever  any  of  the  factors  which  are 
necessary  to  its  production  varies;  but  the  product  will 
seldom  vary  in  exact  proportion  as  any  single  factor  is 
varied.  Adding  one-tenth  to  the  quantity  of  moisture  in 
the  soil  will  seldom,  and  only  accidentally,  result  in  the  in- 
crease of  exactly  one-tenth  to  the  crop.  The  same  may  be 
said  with  respect  to  fertilizer,  or  to  any  single  element  of 
fertility,  with  respect  to  the  labor  of  cultivation,  or  with 
respect  to  any  other  single  factor  which  enters  into  the 
determination  of  the  size  of  a  crop.  Moreover,  all  this  can 
be  repeated  with  respect  to  any  productive  plant,  say  a 
factory,  and  of  the  factors  of  production  which  have  to  be 
combined  in  it. 

The  work  of  assembling  the  factors  of  production  in  any 
productive  establishment,  whether  it  be  a  shop,  farm,  fac- 
tory, or  transportation  system,  calls  for  a  degree  of  knowl- 
edge and  care  comparable  with  that  of  the  chemist  in  the 
assembling  of  chemical  elements,  though,  as  stated  before, 
the  chemist  must  follow  definite  formula  with  mathematical 
precision,  because  of  the  law  of  definite  proportions. 

This  law  of  variable  proportions  is  difficult  to  state  con<- 


cisely,  but  the  following  formulae  may  serve  to  give  a  fairly 
accurate  notion  as  to  its  meaning  and  import    Let  us  as- 
sume that  three  factors,  x,  y,  and  s,  are  necessary  to  get  a 
certain  desirable  product,  which  we  will  call  p. 
If  10  jr  with  20  y  with  30  's  will  produce  100  p, 

more  than  no  p; 

then  II  X  with  20  y  with  30  ^  J  (3)  less  than  no  but 
will  produce  |  more  than  100  p; 

100  p; 

less  than  100  p. 
If  it  should  be  found  by  experiment  that  the  addition  of  one 
imit  of  X  resulted  in  (i)  more  than  no  p,  or  (2)  no  p, 
bat  would  indicate  that  the  proportion  of  x  to  the  other 
bctors  y  and  s  was  too  low.  Since  an  additional  unit  of  x 
will  result  in  such  a  large  increase  in  the  product,  it  is 
evident  that  more  of  x  will  be  strongly  desired,  as  compared 
with  more  of  y  and  '£,  for  if  there  is  too  little  of  jt  in  the 
combination  there  must  be  too  much  of  y  and  s.  If,  how- 
ever, it  were  found  that  the  addition  of  one  unit  of  x  re- 
sulted in  (4)  100  p — ^that  is,  no  increase  at  all — or  (5)  in 
less  than  100  ^— that  is,  less  than  was  produced  before — ^it  is 
obvious  that  the  proportion  of  x  to  the  other  factors  is  too 
high.  Consequently,  more  of  x  will  be  little  desired  as  com- 
pared with  y  and  s,  because  if  there  is  too  much  of  x  in  the 
combination  there  must  be  too  little  of  y  and  2.  But  if  the 
increase  in  x  results  in  an  increase  of  five  units  of  product 
proportional  increase,  in  the  product,  then  the  factors  are 
nearing  the  right  proportions.  Whether  it  is  better  to  in- 
crease X  by  one  unit  will  then  depend  upon  the  cost  of  x  and 
the  value  of  the  increased  product.  Let  us  suppose  that  the 
increase  in  x  results  in  an  increase  of  five  units  of  product 
(105  p).  If  one  unit  of  x  cost  less  than  five  units  of  p,  it 
will  be  profitable  to  increase  the  factor  x  from  10  to  n; 
otherwise  it  will  not. 

Of  course  the  formula  and  all  that  comes  after  it  could 
be  repeated  with  respect  to  y  or  ^r,  as  well  as  oi  x,  if  either 
were  regarded  as  the  variable  factor,  x,  y,  and  2  may  repre- 
sent labor,  land,  and  capital  in  industry  in  general;  they 
may  represent  different  grades  of  labor  in  any  industry; 


they  may  represent  nitrogen,  potash,  and  phosphorus  in  the 
soil;  or  they  may  represent  any  group  of  factors  anywhere 
combined  to  get  any  product.  The  essential  thing  to  re- 
member is  that  in  any  combination  the  scarcest  factor  is 
the  limiting  factor,  and  the  product  will  vary  more  directly 
with  that  than  with  any  other.  Since  the  variation  in  the 
product  follows  more  sharply  the  variation  in  this  scarce 
factor  than  that  of  any  of  the  more  abundant  factors  in  the 
combination,  it  is  not  uncommon  to  speak  of  the  scarcest 
factor  as  having  the  highest  productivity.  Whether  that 
be  an  accurate  use  of  terms  or  not,  there  is  not  the  slightest 
doubt  that  it  will  be  most  highly  prized,  will  command  the 
highest  price,  and  will  need  to  be  economized  most  carefully. 
This  formula  and  the  remarks  under  it  will  serve  to  bring 
out  the  underlying  physical  fact  of  productivity  upon  which 
the  law  of  supply  and  demand  is  based. 


That  utility  and  scarcity,  and  these  alone,  are  the  factors 
which  give  value  to  a  thing,  whether  its  utility  consists  in 
its  power  to  satisfy  wants  directly  or  indirectly,  that  is, 
whether  it  be  an  article  of  consumption  or  a  factor  of  pro- 
duction, is  now  perhaps  sufficiently  clear.  That  the  factor 
of  scarcity  creates  the  necessity  for  economy  is  also  fairly 
obvious.  That  it  is  the  source  also  of  the  conflict  of  human 
interests  out  of  which  most  of  our  moral  and  social  prob- 
lems grow  may  not  be  quite  so  obvious,  but  the  following 
considerations  will  show  it  to  be  true.  The  fact  of  scarcity 
means  that  man  has  wants  for  which  nature  does  not  spon* 
taneously  provide.  This  in  turn  implies  a  lack  of  harmony 
between  man  and  nature,  which  it  is  the  purpose  of  pro- 
ductive industry  to  restore. 

That  phase  of  the  disharmony  between  man  and  nature 
which  takes  the  form  of  scarcity  gives  rise  also  to  a  dishar- 
mony between  man  and  man.  Where  there  is  scarcity  there 
will  be  two  men  wanting  the  same  thing;  and  where  two  men 
want  the  same  thing  there  is  an  antagonism  of  interests. 
Where  there  is  an  antagonism  of  interests  between  man  and 
man^  there  will  be  questions  to  be  settled,  questions  of  right 


and  wrong,  of  justice  and  injustice;  and  these  qtiestioiis 
could  not  arise  under  any  other  condition.  The  antagonism 
of  interests  is,  in  other  words,  what  gives  rise  to  a  moral 
problem,  and  it  is,  tfierefore,  about  the  most  fundamental 
fact  in  sociology  and  moral  philosophy* 

This  does  not  overlodc  the  fact  that  there  are  many  har- 
monies between  man  and  man,  as  there  are  between  man 
and  nature.  There  may  be  innumerable  cases  where  all 
human  interests  harmonize,  but  these  give  rise  to  no  prob- 
lem and  therefore  we  do  not  need  to  concern  ourselves  with 
them.  As  already  pointed  out,  there  are  many  cases  where 
man  and  nature  are  in  complete  harmony.  There  are  things, 
for  example,  which  nature  furnishes  in  sufficient  abundance 
to  satisfy  all  our  wants,  but  these  also  give  rise  to  no  prob- 
lem. Toward  these  non-economic  goods  our  habitual  atti- 
tude is  one  of  indifference  or  unconcern.  Where  the  rela- 
tions between  man  and  nature  are  perfect,  why  should  we 
concern  ourselves  about  them?  But  the  whole  industrial, 
world  is  bent  on  improving  those  relations  where  they  are 
imperfect  Similarly  with  the  relations  between  man  and 
man;  where  they  are  perfect,  that  is,  where  interests  are  all 
harmonious,  why  should  we  concern  ourselves  about  them? 
As  a  matter  of  fact  we  do  not  But  where  they  arc  imper- 
fect, where  interests  are  antagonistic  and  trouble  is  con- 
stantly arising,  we  are  compelled  to  concern  ourselves 
whether  we  want  to  or  not  As  a  matter  of  fact,  we  do  con- 
cern ourselves  in  various  ways;  we  work  out  systems  of 
moral  philosophy  and  theories  of  justice,  after  much  dis- 
putation ;  we  establish  tribunals  where,  in  the  midst  of  much 
wrangling,  some  of  these  theories  are  applied  to  the  settle- 
ment of  actual  conflicts;  we  talk  and  argue  interminably 
about  the  proper  adjustment  of  antagonistic  interests  of 
various  kinds,  all  of  which,  it  must  be  remembered,  grow  out 
of  the  initial  fact  of  scarcity — ^that  there  are  not  as  many 
things  as  people  want 

That  underneath  all  these  disharmonies  there  is  a  deep 
underlying  harmony  of  human  interests  is  the  profound  be- 
lief of  some.    But  this  belief,  like  that  in  a  harmony  between 

*  Cf.  '^he  Economic  Bans  of  the  Problem  of  Evil/'  by  T.  N.  Carver,  m 
••Harvard  Theological  Review,"  VoL  I,  No.  6. 


man  and  nature,  is  not  susceptible  of  a  positive  proof.  It 
rests  upon  philosophical  conjecture — and  faith.  To  be  sure, 
it  is  undoubtedly  true  that  most  men,  even  the  strongest, 
are  better  off  in  the  long  run  under  a  just  government, 
where  all  their  conflicts  are  accurately  and  wisely  adjudi- 
cated, than  they  would  be  in  a  state  of  anarchy,  where 
everyone  who  was  able  did  what  he  pleased,  or  what  he 
could  if  he  was  not  able  to  do  what  he  pleased.  This  might 
possibly  be  construed  to  imply  a  harmony  of  interests,  in 
that  all  alike,  the  strong  as  well  as  the  weak,  are  interested 
in  maintaining  a  just  government.  But  the  argument  is 
violently  paradoxical,  because  it  literally  means  that  inter- 
ests are  so  very  antagonistic  that  in  the  absence  of  a  govern- 
ment to  hold  them  in  check  there  would  be  such  a  multi- 
plicity of  conflicts,  wasting  the  energies  of  society,  that  in 
the  end  everybody  would  suffer,  even  the  strongest.  This 
is  an  excellent  argument  in  favor  of  the  necessity  of  gov- 
ernment, but  it  is  the  poorest  kind  of  an  argument  in  favor 
of  the  universal  harmony  of  human  interests. 

Fundamentally,  therefore,  there  are  only  two  practical 
problems  imposed  upon  us.  The  one  is  industrial  and  the 
other  moral ;  the  one  has  to  do  with  the  improvement  of  the 
relations  between  man  and  nature,  and  the  other  with  the 
improvement  of  the  relations  between  man  and  man.  But 
these  two  primary  problems  are  so  inextricably  intermingled, 
and  they  deal  with  such  infinitely  varying  factors,  that  the 
secondary  and  tertiary  problems  are  more  than  we  can  count 


But  whence  arises  that  phase  of  the  conflict  with  nature 
out  of  which  grows  the  conflict  between  man  and  man?  Is 
man  in  any  way  responsible  for  it,  or  is  it  due  wholly  to  the 
harshness  or  the  niggardliness  of  nature?  The  fruitfulness 
of  nature  varies,  of  course,  in  different  environments.  But 
in  any  environment  there  are  two  conditions,  for  both  of 
which  man  is  in  a  measure  responsible,  and  either  of  which 
will  result  in  economic  scarcity.  One  is  the  indefinite  ex- 
pansion of  human  wants,  and  the  other  is  the  multiplication 
of  numbers. 


The  well-known  expansive  power  of  human  wants,  con- 
tinually running  beyond  the  power  of  nature  to  satisfy,  has 
attracted  the  attention  of  moralists  in  all  times  and  places^ 
"When  goods  increase,  they  are  increased  that  eat  them; 
and  what  good  is  there  to  the  owners  thereof,  saving  the 
beholding  of  them  with  their  eyes?"  is  the  point  of  view  of 
The  Preacher.*  It  was  the  same  aspect  of  life,  obviously 
throwing  man  out  of  harmony  with  nature,  which  gave  point 
to  the  Stoic's  principle  of  "living  according  to  nature."  To 
live  according  to  nature  would  necessarily  mean,  among 
other  things,  to  keep  desites  within  such  limits  as  nature 
could  supply  without  too  much  coercion.  Seeing  that  the 
best  things  in  life  cost  nothing,  and  that  the  most  ephemeral 
pleasures  are  the  most  expensive,  there  would  appear  to  be 
much  economic  wisdom  in  the  Stoic  philosophy.  But  the 
pious  Buddhist  in  his  quest  of  Nirvana,  overlooking  the  real 
point — that  the  expansion  of  wants  beyond  nature's  power 
to  satisfy  is  what  throws  man  inevitably  out  of  harmony 
with  nature  and  produces  soul-killing  conflicts — sees  in  de- 
sire itself  the  source  of  evil,  and  seeks  release  in  the  erad- 
ication of  all  desire. 

Out  of  the  view  that  the  conflict  of  man  with  nature  is  a 
source  of  evil  grow  two  widely  different  practical  conclu- 
sions as  to  social  conduct.  If  we  assume  that  nature  is  benefi- 
cent and  man  at  fault,  the  conclusion  follows  as  a  matter 
of  course  that  desires  must  be  curbed  and  brought  into  har- 
mony with  nature,  which  is  closely  akin  to  Stoicism,  if  it  be 
not  its  very  essence.  But  if,  on  the  contrary,  we  assume 
that  human  nature  is  sound,  then  the  only  practical  conclu- 
sion is  that  external  nature  must  be  coerced  into  harmony 
with  man's  desires  and  made  to  yield  more  and  more  for 
their  satisfaction.  This  is  the  theory  of  the  modem  in- 
dustrial spirit  in  its  wild  pursuit  of  wealth  and  luxury. 

Even  if  the  wants  of  the  individual  never  expanded  at  all, 
it  is  quite  obvious  that  an  indefinite  increase  in  the  number 
of  individuals  in  any  locality  would,  sooner  or  later,  result 
in  scarcity  and  bring  them  into  conflict  with  nature,  and 
therefore  into  conflict  with  one  another.  That  human 
populations  are  physiologically  capable  of  indefinite  increase, 

*H,  C»s  xliy,  34S. 



if  time  be  allowed,  is  admitted,  and  must  be  admitted  by  any- 
one who  has  given  the  slightest  attention  to  the  subject. 
Among  the  non-economizing  animals  and  plants,  it  is  not  the 
limits  of  their  procreative  power  but  the  limits  of  sub- 
sistence which  determine  their  numbers.  Neither  is  it  lack 
of  procreative  power  which  limits  numbers  in  the  case  of 
man,  the  economic  animal.  With  him  also  it  is  a  question 
of  subsistence,  but  of  subsistence  according  to  some  stand- 
ard. Being  gifted  with  economic  foresight,  he  will  not  mul- 
tiply beyond  the  point  where  he  can  maintain  that  standard 
of  life  which  he  considers  decent.  But — and  this  is  to  be 
especially  noted — so  powerful  are  his  procreative  and  do- 
mestic instincts  that  he  zvill  multiply  up  to  the  point  where 
it  is  difficult  to  maintain  whatever  standard  he  has.  Whether 
his  standard  of  living  be  high  or  low  to  begin  with,  the 
multiplication  of  numbers  will  be  carried  to  the  point  where 
he  is  in  danger  of  being  forced  down  to  a  lower  standard. 
In  other  words,  it  will  always  be  hard  for  us  to  make  as 
good  a  living  as  we  think  we  ought  to  have.  Unsatisfied 
desires,  or  economic  scarcity,  which  means  the  same  thing 
are  therefore  inevitable.  It  is  a  condition  from  which  there 
is  no  possible  escape.  The  cause  lies  deeper  than  forms  of 
social  organization :  it  grows  out  of  the  relation  of  man  and 


These  considerations  reveal  a  third  form  of  conflict — 
perhaps  it  ought  to  be  called  the  second — z,  conflict  of  in- 
terests within  the  individual  himself.  If  the  procreative  and 
domestic  instincts  are  freely  gratified,  there  will  inevitably 
result  a  scarcity  of  means  of  satisfying  other  desires,  how- 
ever modest  those  desires  may  be,  through  the  multiplica- 
tion of  numbers.  If  an  abundance  of  these  things  is  to  be 
assured,  those  instincts  must  be  only  partially  satisfied. 
Either  horn  of  the  dilemma  leaves  us  with  unsatisfied  de- 
sires of  one  kind  or  another.  We  are  therefore  pulled  in 
two  directions,  and  this  also  is  a  condition  from  which  there 
is  no  possible  escape.  But  this  is  only  one  illustration  of 
the  internal  strife  which  tears  the  individual.  The  very 
fact  of  scarcity  means  necessarily  that  if  one  desire  is  sat- 


isfied  it  is  at  the  cxjicii^^  of  some  other.  What  I  s^d  i6t 
luxttfies  I  cannbt  spend  for  necessaries;  what  I  spend  for 
clothing  I  cahnot  spend  for  food;  and  what  I  spend  fof  one 
kind  of  food  I  cannot  spend  for  some  other  kind.  This  is 
the  situation  which  calls  for  economy,  since  to  economise 
is  merely  to  choose  whkt  desires  shall  be  gratified,  knowing 
that  certain  othets  must,  on  that  account,  remain  un- 
gratified.  Economy  always  ind  everywhere  means  a  three- 
fold conflict;  a  conflict  between  man  and  nature,  between 
man  ahd  man,  and  between  the  different  interests  of  the 
same  man. 


This  suggests  the  twofold  nature  of  the  problem  of  evil. 
Evil  in  the  broadest  sense  merely  means  disharmony,  since 
any  kind  of  disharmony  is  a  source  of  pain  to  somebody. 
But  that  form  of  disharmony  which  arises  between  man 
and  natui-e  has,  in  itself,  no  moral  qualities.  It  is  an  eVil 
to  be  cold  or  hungry,  to  have  a  tree  fall  Upon  ohe,  to  be 
devoured  by  a  wild  beast,  or  wasted  by  micfobes.  But  to 
evils  df  this  kind,  unless  they  are  in  some  way  the  fault  of 
other  men,  we  never  ascribe  any  moral  significance  what- 
ever. It  is  also  an  evil  for  one  man  to  rob  another,  or  to 
cheat  him,  or  in  any  way  to  injure  him  through  careless- 
ness or  malice;  and  we  do  ascribe  a  moral  significance  to 
evils  of  this  kind — to  any  evil,  in  fact,  which  grows  out  of 
the  relations  of  man  with  man.  But,  as  already  pointed 
out,  this  latter  form  of  evil — ^moral  evil — grows  out  of,  ot 
results  from,  the  former,  which  may  be  called  non-moral 
evil.  Any  true  account  of  the  origin  of  moral  evil  must 
therefore  begin  with  the  disharmony  between  man  and 

Let  us  imagine  a  limited  number  of  individuals  living  in  a 
very  favorable  environment,  where  all  their  wants  could  be 
freely  and  fully  gratified,  where  there  was  no  scarcity  nor 
any  need  for  economy.  Under  a  harmony  with  nature  so 
nearly  perfect  as  this,  there  could  arise  none  of  those  con- 
flicts of  interests  within  the  individual,  since  the  gratifica- 
tion of  one  desire  would  never  be  at  the  expense  of  some 
other;  nor  could  there  arise  any  conflict  of  interests  among 


individuals,  since  the  gratification  of  one  individual's  desire 
would  never  prevent  the  gratification  of  another's.  There 
being  no  conflict  of  interests  either  within  the  individual  or 
among  different  individuals,  there  could  never  arise  a  moral 
problem.  That  would  be  paradise.  But  suppose  that  wants 
should  expand,  or  new  wants  develop;  or  suppose  that, 
through  the  gratification  of  an  elemental  impulse,  numbers 
should  increase  beyond  any  provision  which  nature  had 
made.  Paradise  would  be  lost.  Not  only  would  labor  and 
fatigue  be  necessary,  but  an  antagonism  of  interests  and  a 
moral  problem  would  arise.  Human  ingenuity  would  have 
to  be  directed,  not  only  toward  the  problem  of  increasing 
the  productivity  of  the  earth,  but  toward  the  problem  of  ad- 
justing conflicting  interests.  Questions  of  justice  and  equity 
would  begin  to  puzzle  men's  brains. 

It  would  be  difficult  to  find  in  this  illustration  any  sug- 
gestion of  original  sin  or  hereditary  taint  of  any  kind.  The 
act  which  made  for  increase  of  numbers,  instead  of  being  a 
sinful  one,  for  which  punishment  was  meted  out  as  a  matter 
of  justice,  would,  on  the  contrary,  be  as  innocent  of  moral 
guilt  as  any  other.  But  the  inevitable  consequence  of  it 
would  be  the  destruction  of  the  preexisting  harmony,  giving 
rise,  in  turn,  to  a  conflict  of  human  interests.  Nor  does  the 
illustration  suggest  or  imply  any  "fall"  or  change  in  human 
nature,  but  rather  a  change  of  conditions  under  which  the 
same  human  qualities  would  produce  different  social  results. 
Moreover,  the  illustration  does  not  depend  for  its  validity 
upon  its  historical  character.  That  is  to  say,  it  is  not  neces- 
sary to  show  that  there  ever  was  a  harmony  between  man 
and  nature  so  nearly  complete  as  the  illustration  assumes  to 
begin  with.  The  fundamental  basis  of  conflict  is  clearly 
enough  revealed  by  the  illustration  when  it  is  shown  to  be 
inherent  in  the  nature  of  man  and  of  the  material  world 
about  him. 

This  theory  of  the  origin  of  evil  is  already  embodied  in 
a  well-known  story,  which  need  not  be  interpreted  as  having 
a  historical  basis  in  order  to  have  a  profound  meaning — 
more  profound,  probably,  than  its  most  reverent  students 
have  seen  in  it.  Once  upon  a  time  there  was  a  garden  in 
which  lived  a  man  and  a  woman^  all  of  whose  wants  were 


supplied  by  the  spontaneous  fruits  of  the  earth.  There  was 
no  struggle  iEor  existence,  no  antagonism  of  interests;  in 
short,  that  was  paradise.  But  the  gratification  of  a  certain 
desire  brought  increase  of  numbers,  and  increase  of  numbers 
brought  scarcity,  and  paradise  was  lost.  Thenceforward 
man  was  to  eat  his  bread  in  the  sweat  of  his  brow.  The 
struggle  for  existence  had  set  in.  Man  had  to  contend 
against  either  natural  or  human  rivals  for  the  means  of 
satisfying  his  wants,  and  every  form  of  greed  and  rapacity 
had  a  potential  existence.  When  his  eyes  were  opened  to 
these  inherent  antagonisms,  that  is,  when  he  became  a  dis- 
cemer  of  good  and  evil,  of  advantages  and  disadvantages, 
both  near  and  remote,  he  became  an  economic  being,  an 
adapter  of  means  to  ends;  a  chooser  between  pleasures  and 
pains.  In  short,  the  process  of  industrial  civilization,  of 
social  evolution,  had  made  its  first  faint  beginning.  The 
human  race  was  caught  in  a  network  of  forces  from  which 
it  was  never  to  extricate  itself.  It  was  adrift  upon  a  current 
which  set  irresistibly  outward — ^no  man  knew  whither. 


In  this  antagonism  of  interests,  growing  out  of  scarcity, 
the  institutions  of  property,  of  the  family,  and  of  the  state, 
all  have  their  common  origin.  No  one,  for  example,  thinks 
of  claiming  property  in  anything  which  exists  in  sufficient 
abundance  for  all.  But  when  there  is  not  enough  to  go 
around,  each  unit  of  the  supply  becomes  a  prize  for  some- 
body, and  there  would  be  a  general  scramble  did  not  society 
itself  undertake  to  determine  to  whom  each  unit  should  be- 
long. Possession,  of  course,  is  not  property;  but  when 
society  recognizes  one's  right  to  a  thing,  and  undertakes  to 
protect  him  in  that  right,  that  is  property.  Wherever  so- 
ciety is  sufficiently  organized  to  recognize  these  rights  and 
to  afford  them  some  measure  of  protection,  there  is  a  state; 
and  there  is  a  family  wherever  there  is  a  small  group  within 
which  the  ties  of  blood  and  kinship  are  strong  enough  to 
overcome  any  natural  rivalry  and  to  create  a  unity  of  in- 
terests. This  unity  of  economic  interests  within  the  group 
is  sufficient  to  separate  it  from  the  rest  of  the  world,  or 


from  other  similar  groups  among  which  the  natural  rivalry 
of  interests  persists.  Saying  nothing  of  the  barbaric  notion 
that  wives  and  children  are  themselves  property,  even  in 
the  higher  types  of  society  it  is  the  desire  to  safeguard 
those  to  whom  one  is  bound  by  ties  of  natural  affection,  by 
sharing  the  advantages  of  property  with  them,  which  fur- 
nishes the  basis  for  the  legal  definition  of  the  family  group. 


Qosely  associated  with  the  right  of  property — as  parts  of 
it  in  fact — ^is  a  group  of  rights  such  as  that  of  contract,  of 
transfer,  of  bequest,  and  a  number  of  other  things  with 
which  lawyers  occupy  themselves.  It  would  be  difficult  to 
find  any  question  in  the  whole  science  of  jurisprudence,  or 
of  ethics,  or  politics,  or  any  of  the  social  sciences  for  that 
matter,  which  does  not  grow  out  of  the  initial  fact  of 
economic  scarcity  and  the  consequent  antagonism  of  inter- 
ests among  men.  This  reveals,  as  nothing  else  can,  the 
underlying  unity  of  all  the  social  sciences,  that  is,  of  all  the 
sciences  which  have  to  do  with  the  relations  between  man 
and  man;  and  it  shows  very  clearly  that  the  unifying  prin- 
ciple is  an  economic  one.  Even  the  so-called  gregarious 
instinct  may  very  probably  be  the  product  of  the  struggle 
for  existence,  which,  in  turn,  is  the  product  of  scarcity — ^the 
advantage  of  acting  in  groups  being  the  selective  agency  in 
the  development  of  this  instinct.  But  that  question,  like  a 
great  many  others,  lies  beyond  the  field  of  positive  knowl- 
edge. This  does  not  necessarily  constitute  economics  as  the 
"master  science,"  with  the  other  social  sciences  subordinate 
to  it;  but  it  does  signify  that,  if  there  is  such  a  thing  as  a 
master  science,  economics  has  the  first  claim  to  that  position 
among  the  social  sciences.  The  economic  problem  is  the 
fundamental  one,  out  of  which  all  other  social  and  moral 
problems  have  grown. 


This  conflict  of  man  with  man,  when  uncontrolled  by  so- 
ciety, either  through  moral  codes  or  legal  procedure,  does 


not  differ  materially  from  the  struggle  for  existence  among 
brutes.  But  there  is  no  human  society  which  does  not  con- 
trol the  struggle  in  some  way.  In  fact  the  one  purpose  for 
which  organized  society  exists  is  that  of  controlling  the 
struggle  and  directing  it  into  productive  channels.  The 
self-interested  individual  cares  nothing  for  production  as 
such.  What  he  is  interested  in  is  the  acquisition  of  things 
which  are  scarce.  If  the  easiest  method  of  acquisition  is 
that  of  production,  then  he  will  produce.  If  there  is  some 
easier  way,  he  will  pursue  that  way.  The  purpose  of  the 
law  and  government  is  to  make  it  difficult  and  dangerous 
to  acquire  by  any  other  method  than  that  of  production,  or 
free  and  voluntary  exchange  of  products,  which  means  the 
same  thing.  In  so  far  as  the  state  succeeds  in  this  attempt 
and  thus  forces  all  individuals  to  acquire  by  methods  of 
production,  it  is  justifying  its  existence. 

When  the  struggle  for  existence  is  thus  turned  into  pro- 
ductive channels,  when  every  individual  finds  that  he  can 
acquire  desirable  things  only  by  producing  them,  or  by  offer- 
ing the  producer  something  of  equal  value  in  exchange  for 
them,  then  the  brutal  struggle  for  existence  is  transformed 
into  economic  competition.  Perfect  economic  competition  is 
merely  a  system  under  which  each  individual  finds  it  most 
advantageous  to  acquire  by  productive  or  serviceable  effort 
of  some  kind,  and  so,  in  Adam  Smith's  words,  "to  promote 
the  public  good  while  trying  to  promote  his  own." 

When  we  consider  that  the  individual's  value  to  the  rest 
of  society  is  measured  by  the  excess  of  his  production  over 
consumption,  while  his  position  in  industry  is  determined  by 
his  rate  of  accumulation,  which  is  merely  his  acquisition 
minus  his  consumption,  we  shall  see  how  important  it  is 
that  acquisition  and  production  should  be  identified.  This 
may  be  expressed  by  means  of  the  following  formulae: 

The  value  of  a  man=his  production  —  his  consumption. 

His  competing  power=his  acquisition -— his  consumption. 
When  acquisition = production 
Then  his  value = his  competing  power. 

The  purpose   of  the   state   is  to   make   acquisition =gro« 



By  Professor  O.  M.  W.  Sprague 

AVERY  small  number  of  books  on  political  and  social 
subjects  have  exerted  a  profound  and  continuous  in- 
•  fluence  both  upon  the  development  of  thought  and 
upon  the  determination  of  the  policies  adopted  regarding 
public  questions.  Aristotle's  "Politics"  and  Adam  Smith's 
"Wealth  of  Nations"*  are  notable  works  belonging  to  this 
exceptionally  distinguished  group.  A  much  greater  number 
of  political  writings  had  a  potent  influence  at  the  time  of 
their  composition  but  now  possess  little  other  than  historical 

Among  such  works  may  be  mentioned  Luther's  "Address 
to  the  German  Nobility"  and  "Concerning  Christian 
Liberty,'"  and  Rousseau's  "Social  Contract."  Machia- 
velli's  "Prince"'  and  More's  "Utopia"*  do  not  fall  exactly 
within  either  of  these  categories.  They  were  not  the  start- 
ing points  from  which  great  and  fruitful  advance  in  knowl- 
edge has  been  made,  and  at  no  time  have  they  been  power- 
ful factors  in  determining  the  legislation  or  policy  of  any 
nation.  Both  are  indeed  highly  significant  and  character- 
istic products  of  the  age  in  which  they  were  written;  com- 
pared with  the  writings  of  Luther,  they  were  immensely  less 
influential  in  shaping  contemporary  opinion;  but  they  are 
quite  as  representative  of  the  thought  of  the  time  and  so 
possess  great  historic  interest.  Moreover,  although  the 
specific  conclusions  of  Machiavelli  and  of  More  have  never 
been  followed  closely  in  practice,  they  do  exemplify  in  their 
work  the  two  strikingly  different  attitudes,  one  or  the  other 
of  which  invariably  appears  in  the  methods  and  conclusions 
of  writers  upon  political  and  social  problems. 

*  Harvard  Classics,  x,  pff.  ■  H.  C,  xx^vi,  276?..  353flf- 

*  H,  C.«  xxacvit  ffL  *H,  C^  xxxvi,  1430. 




The  "Prince"  and  the  "Utopia"  were  both  written  in  the 
second  decade  of  the  sixteenth  century,  at  the  time  when 
those  various  influences  which  made  the  Renaissance  period 
in  history  were  being  most  completely  exemplified  in  educa- 
tion, art,  morals,  and  indeed  in  virtually  every  field  of 
human  activity  and  aspiration.  In  almost  every  direction 
the  human  spirit  had  freed  itself  from  mediaeval  traditional 
limitations;  political  and  social  arrangements  among  others 
were  subjected  to  philosophic  analysis  and  investigation  un- 
restrained by  ancient  concepts  and  regardless  of  the  revolu- 
tionary conclusions  that  might  be  the  outcome.  Among  the 
political  writers  of  the  period,  Machiavelli  and  More  ex- 
hibited in  preeminent  measure  the  working  of  the  Renais- 
sance spirit.  Machiavelli  subjected  governmental  machinery 
and  policy  to  the  test  of  facts.  More  subjected  not  only 
political  but  also  social  arrangements  to  the  test  of  what  he 
deemed  ideally  desirable.  Both  are  in  agreement  that  noth- 
ing in  the  social  order  is  necessarily  perfect  even  at  the 
moment  and  certainly  not  for  all  time.  Institutions  and 
customs  are  to  be  judged  by  results,  and  all  may  be  changed 
if  something  better  can  be  devised.  This  is  distinctly  the 
modern  point  of  view.  It  is  quite  as  essentially  the  Re- 
naissance point  of  view.  Modern  history  begins  with  the 


In  an  age  like  the  present,  marked  by  swift  advance  in 
the  exact  sciences,  the  test  of  fact  is  apt  to  seem  the  one 
promising  method  of  approach  to  the  investigation  of  po- 
litical and  social  problems.  The  test  of  the  ideal  exemplified 
in  the  "Utopia"  has  given  the  language  an  adjective, 
"Utopian,"  which  connotes  the  impractical,  the  visionary, 
and  even  the  fanciful.  The  test  of  fact  exemplified  in 
Machiavelli  has  also,  however,  yielded  an  adjective,  "Ma- 
chiavellian," of  even  more  damning  connotation.  If  the  test 
of  fact  is  to  be  a  true  test,  all  significant  facts  must  be  con- 
sidered, and  ideals  are  facts  of  vast  importance  in  the 
development    and    maintenance    of    social    arrangements. 



Machiavelli's  method  was  scientific  in  its  general  character; 
but  his  low  estimate  of  human  nature,  founded  as  it  was 
upon  an  assumption  contrary  to  fact,  rendered  much  of  his 
analysis  fundamentally  inexact  and  unscientific. 


Even  within  the  field  of  the  kind  of  facts  to  which  he 
attaches  significance,  Machiavelli's  analysis  was  far  from 
being  comprehensive.  At  the  time  he  wrote,  and  indeed  for 
a  century  and  more  before,  Italy  had  been  split  up  into  a 
large  number  of  political  entities,  most  of  which  were  in  a 
chronic  state  of  political  instability  not  unlike  that  of  many 
Central  American  countries  to-day.  Few  Italian  rulers  were 
secure  from  either  domestic  or  foreign  foes.  Machiavelli 
made  much  use  of  the  comparative  method  in  his  analysis, 
and  properly;  but  as  he  was  mainly  concerned  with  the 
means  of  securing  and  maintaining  personal  rule  under  con- 
ditions which  at  best  could  not  provide  a  solid  basis  for 
governmental  authority,  his  conclusions  seldom  possess  gen- 
eral validity.  They  were  not  applicable  to  the  centralized 
governments  of  large  territorial  areas  then  in  process  of 
development  north  of  the  Alps,  where  the  ruling  dynasties 
were  already  strongly  entrenched  in  power.  It  is  even  more 
evident  that  his  analysis  affords  little  of  practical  value  in 
the  solution  of  modern  problems  of  government.  Possibly 
there  is  some  analogy  between  the  conditions  described  by 
Machiavelli  and  the  struggle  for  political  power  carried  on 
upon  a  low  plane  between  rival  bosses  in  misgoverned 
municipalities.  One  would,  however,  search  the  pages  of 
the  "Prince"  in  vain  for  a  remedy  for  such  ills  of  demo- 
cratic government. 

In  the  field  of  international  politics,  Machiavelli's  analysis 
has  undoubtedly  been  measurably  in  accord  with  practice 
in  his  own  time  and  since.  Ethical  restraints  have  been 
relatively  weak  in  the  dealings  of  the  nations  one  with 
another;  and  it  is  a  significant  fact  that  nowhere  has 
Machiavelli  found  so  many  close  readers  as  among  those 
statesmen  who  have  been  mainly  concerned  with  foreign 


After  making  every  qualification,  it  must  still  be  recog* 
nized  that  in  the  "Prince"  Machiavelli  took  a  long  step  in 
advance  toward  the  development  of  a  sound  method  of 
analyzing  political  problems.  His  example  was,  however, 
not  followed  very  generally  by  writers  on  government  in 
his  own  and  the  two  succeeding  centuries.  Questions  of 
divine  right  and  theories  of  natural  rights  and  natural  law 
rather  than  the  facts  of  government  absorbed  the  attention 
of  most  publicists.  In  the  nineteenth  century  more  exact 
methods  have  been  adopted  in  this  as  in  other  fields  of 
knowledge ;  but  in  bringing  about  this  desirable  change  little 
or  no  direct  influence  can  be  attributed  to  the  work  of 



With  the  exception  of  Plato's  "Republic,"  the  "Utopia"  is 
the  best  instance  of  the  use  of  the  device  of  an  imaginary 
society  as  a  vehicle  for  analysis,  and  indeed  arraignment,  of 
social  and  political  conditions.  During  the  mediaeval  period, 
uniformity  of  ideals  and  conditions  throughout  Europe  was 
too  great  to  suggest  writings  of  this  character,  but  the  dis- 
coveries in  the  New  World  disclosed  the  existence  of  so- 
cieties which  had  never  been  in  touch  with  the  European 
world.  The  assumption  of  the  finality  of  European  arrange- 
ments was  consequently  somewhat  weakened,  at  least  for 
men  of  a  reflective  cast  of  mind.  In  placing  his  "Utopia" 
somewhere  in  the  New  World,  More  must  have  greatly 
heightened  the  imaginative  effect  of  the  work  to  readers  of 
his  own  time.  The  sense  of  illusion  thus  given  at  the  outset 
is  remarkably  well  maintained  throughout.  No  other  creator 
of  imaginary  societies  has  been  so  successful  in  directly  im- 
pressing the  reader  with  the  feasibility  of  his  scheme  of 
social  betterment. 

Later  writers  of  Utopias  have  been  commonly  too  anx- 
iously concerned  to  put  together  a  society  which  should 
meet  the  criticisms  of  experts  in  economics,  sociology, 
and  government.  To  attempt  this,  is  to  miss  the  true 
aim  and  lose  much  of  effectiveness  in  this  style  of  com- 


position.  It  is  certain  that  society  will  never  be  suddenly 
transformed  into  something  quite  different  which  may  be 
worked  out  in  advance  by  thoughtful  investigators.  Quite 
evidently  also  the  exact  course  of  social  evolution  in  the 
distant  future  cannot  be  foreseen.  Books  like  the  "Utopia** 
are  effective  means  of  weakening  the  feeling  of  complete 
satisfaction  with  the  existing  social  order,  a  state  of  mind 
which  is  neither  helpful  nor  conducive  to  human  better- 

Effectiveness  is  far  from  being  in  direct  ratio  to  the  scien- 
tific possibilities  of  the  imaginary  society  described.  The 
imaginary  society  is  simply  the  vehicle  for  satire  and  criti- 
cism of  things  as  they  are.  In  other  words,  it  is  as  literature 
and  not  as  a  scientific  treatise  that  ideal  commonwealths 
should  be  considered.  The  possession  of  literary  qualities 
has  made  a  few  of  them  effective.  More's  **Utopia"  meets 
this  test  admirably  and  is,  therefore,  properly  included 
among  the  Five-Foot  Shelf  of  Books. 


Some  acquaintance  with  social  conditions  and  politics  in 
the  time  of  More  adds  much  to  the  significance  and  interest 
of  the  book;  but  society,  and  even  more  human  nature, 
changes  so  slowly  from  age  to  age  that  much  of  it  can 
hardly  fail  to  prove  full  of  stimulating  suggestion  even  to 
readers  familiar  only  with  present  conditions.  Speaking 
generally,  our  own  society  is  no  nearer  that  depicted  in  the 
"Utopia"  than  was  that  of  More's  own  period.  In  some 
respects  it  is  further  removed  from  Utopian  conditions, 
notably  in  the  greater  relative  importance  of  manufacturing 
and  commercial  as  contrasted  with  agricultural  activities. 
In  some  directions  changes  have  taken  place  which  all  would 
agree  are  for  the  better,  though  they  are  contrary  to  the 
Utopian  ideal.  The  government  of  "Utopia"  was  distinctly 
aristocratic.  To  a  modern  idealist  the  best  of  all  conceiva- 
ble societies  would  certainly  be  democratic  in  form  and  in 
practice.  Slavery,  though  of  an  ameliorated  sort,  was  an 
essential  foundation  of  the  Utopian  polity.  No  better  illus- 
tration may  possibly  be  found  of  the  difficulty  experienced 


in  getting  away  from  the  blinding  influence  of  one's  own 
environment,  even  when  gifted  with  an  exceptionally  hu- 
mane spirit  and  a  powerful  imagination  One  may  hazard 
the  hope,  in  this  connection,  that  in  the  distant  evolution  of 
society  a  higher  level  of  improvement  may  be  reached  than 
can  now  be  foreseen. 



By  Professor  Charles  J.  Bullock 

FROM  1752  to  1764  the  author  of  the  "Wealth  of  Na- 
tions" occupied  the  chair  of  moral  philosophy  at 
Glasgow  College,  and  his  writings  were  the  natural 
outgrowth  of  the  lectures  delivered  to  his  college  classes. 
Following  an  unbroken  tradition  received  from  Greek  phi- 
losophy, Smith  conceived  the  province  of  moral  philosophy 
to  be  as  broad  as  the  entire  range  of  human  conduct,  both 
individual  and  social.  "Wherein,"  says  Smith,  "consisted  the 
happiness  and  perfection  of  a  man,  considered  not  only  as 
an  individual,  but  as  a  member  of  a  family,  of  a  state,  and 
of  the  great  society  of  mankind,  was  the  object  which  the 
ancient  moral  philosophy  proposed  to  investigate."  Smith's 
own  lectures  followed  substantially  this  plan  of  treatment. 


At  Smith's  hands,  however,  many  of  the  traditional  sub- 
jects received  new  treatment  and  development.  In  1759, 
Smith  published  his  "Theory  of  Moral  Sentiments,"  a 
treatise  on  ethics  which  immediately  won  for  him  inter- 
national fame  as  a  philosopher.  This  work  presented  the 
doctrine  that  the  moral  judgment  is,  in  the  last  analysis,  an 
expression  of  impartial  sympathy  with  the  motives  and  re- 
sult of  human  action.  From  sympathy  Smith  derives  the 
sense  of  justice,  which  is  "the  main  pillar  of  the  social 
structure,"  Underlying  the  book  is  the  common  eighteenth- 
century  theory  of  a  beneficent  natural  order,  by  which  it 
was  held  that  a  benevolent  Creator  had  so  ordered  the  uni- 
verse as  to  produce  the  greatest  possible  human  happiness. 
In  this  view  of  the  matter  the  problem  of  philosophy,  in- 



eluding  politics  and  economics,  is  to  discover  the  nataral 
laws  which  make  for  the  happiness  of  God's  creatures.  Of 
these  laws  the  chief  seems  to  be  that  Providence  has  com- 
mended the  welfare  of  every  man  chiefly  to  his  own  keeping, 
not  to  that  of  others;  and  has  so  ordered  things  that  men, 
in  pursuing  their  own  welfare  within  the  limits  set  by 
justice,  are  ordinarily  contributing  to  the  general  Welfare. 
Upon  this  doctrine  of  a  natural  harmony  of  interests.  Smith 
based  his  theory  of  natural  liberty,  according  to  which 
every  man,  "as  long  as  he  does  not  violate  the  laws  of 
justice,"  is  naturally  free  to  pursue  his  own  welfare  in  his 
own  way. 

Smith  projected,  but  never  published,  a  treatise  on  jurii- 
prudence  and  government,  subjects  which  in  his  lectures  had 
naturally  followed  ethics.  His  "Wealth  of  Nations,*'  which 
was  published  in  1776,  treated  of  political  economy  which  in 
his  lectures  had  followed  the  subject  of  government. 


The  "Wealth  of  Nations"*  combines  a  firm  grasp  of 
principles  with  a  remarkable  knowledge  of  the  facts  of 
economic  life,  derived  from  reading  and  personal  observa- 
tion. Smith's  generalizations  are  usually  supported  by  an 
appeal  to  the  facts  of  economic  life,  and  in  this  manner  he 
gives  the  work  an  air  of  reality  that  is  lacking  in  many 
economic  treatises.  He  does  not  deal  extensively  with  defini- 
tions. Without  defining  wealth  he  plunges  directly  into  the 
causes  of  national  opulence,  but  in  the  last  sentence  of  his 
"Introduction"  states,  parenthetically,  that  "real  wealth"  is 
"the  annual  produce  of  the  land  and  labor  of  the  society." 
Even  here  he  merely  indicates  that  he  considers  the  annual 
income  of  a  society  as  its  real  wealth :  whereas  most  econo- 
mists prior  to  his  time  had  conceived  wealth  as  the  accumu- 
lated stock  of  durable  goods  which  a  society  possesses. 
Again  Smith  commences  the  treatise  without  offering  a 
definition  of  political  economy,  and  the  nearest  approach  to 
such  a  definition  is  found  in  the  first  sentence  of  the  fourth 
book:   "Political  economy,  considered  as  a  branch  of  the 

*  Harvard  Ciassics,  VoL  x. 


science  of  a  statesman  or  legislator,  proposes  two  distinct 
objects:  first,  to  supply  a  plentiful  revenue  or  subsistence 
for  the  people,  or,  more  properly,  to  enable  them  to  provide 
such  a  revenue  or  subsistence  for  themselves;  and  secondly, 
to  supply  the  state  or  commonwealth  with  a  revenue  suffi- 
cient for  the  public  services.  It  proposes  to  enrich  both  the 
people  and  the  sovereign." 


Captious  critics  have  pronounced  the  arrangement  of  the 
"Wealth  of  Nations"  unsystematic,  but  it  is  in  fact  well 
suited  to  Smith's  purpose.  The  first  book  studies  the  process 
by  which  wealth  is  produced  and  then  distributed  among 
laborers,  entrepreneurs,  and  landlords.  It  lays  down  the 
doctrine  that  the  increased  productivity  of  the  industry  of 
modern  societies  is  due  to  division  of  labor.  The  discussion 
of  this  subject  is  an  economic  classic,  and  the  reader  should 
observe  that  Smith  finds  here  an  illustration  of  his  cardinal 
doctrine  that  it  is  self-interest,  not  the  action  of  govern- 
ment, that  has  brought  about  the  improvement  of  economic 
conditions.  Division  of  labor  presupposes  exchange,  and  so 
Smith  naturally  proceeds  to  consider  money  and  price.  His 
study  of  price  leads  to  an  investigation  of  its  component 
parts—wages,  profits,  and  rent;  and  thus  Smith  is  led  to 
consider  fully  the  subject  of  the  distribution  of  wealth.  His 
theory  of  value  at  the  hands  of  certain  later  writers  becomes 
the  classical  cost-of-production  theory;  while,  given  another 
slant,  it  becomes  the  labor  theory  of  Marx  and  the  socialists. 
His  theory  of  wages  becomes,  at  the  hands  of  later  writers, 
the  wage- fund  theory  of  the  classical  English  school.  His 
theory  of  profits  supplied  much  material  for  his  followers, 
particularly  concerning  the  difference  of  profits  in  the  vari- 
ous employments  of  capital.  His  theory  of  rent,  or  rather 
his  three  different  theories,*  needed  to  be  reconstructed  by 
Ricardo  before  it  could  be  added  to  our  stock  of  economic 

*  He  first  treats  rent  as  the  surplus  product  of  land  above  the  substance 
of  the  laborers.  He  also  speaks  of  it  as  a  form  of  monopoly  income  extorted 
l^  landlords;  and  again,  in  treating  of  the  rent  of  mines,  says  that  it  varies 
with  fertility  and  fituation. 



The  second  book  investigates  the  nature  and  employment 
of  "capital  stock,"  which  is  the  force  that  sets  laborers  at 
work  and  puts  industry  in  motion.  Smith  holds  that  capi- 
tal originates  in  saving,  that  its  function  is  to  maintain 
productive  labor,  and  that  it  may  be  either  fixed  or  circu- 

Unproductive  labor,  the  reader  should  observe,  is  not  use- 
less labor;  it  may,  indeed,  be  very  useful;'  but  it  does  not 
produce  any  durable  material  product,  and  for  that  reason 
Smith  does  not  consider  it  productive.  Parsimony,  or  sav- 
ing, leads  to  an  increase  of  the  capital  available  for  the  em- 
plo3rment  of  productive  labor;  while  spending  consumes 
funds  which  otherwise  might  have  been  given  such  employ- 

Private  frugality,  due  to  the  desire  to  better  one's  con- 
dition, is  the  cause  of  the  growth  of  capital  and  the  in- 
crease of  national  opulence ;  while  government  can  do  noth- 
ing more  than  protect  the  individual  and  allow  him  liberty  to 
act  in  the  manner  he  finds  most  advantageous.  Finally 
Smith  considers  the  different  employments  of  capital 
Agriculture  gives  more  employment  to  productive  labor  than 
manufactures,  and  both  are  superior,  in  this  regard,  to  trans- 
portation and  trade.  Domestic  trade  gives  more  employment 
than  foreign,  and  foreign  trade  gives  more  than  the  carry- 
ing trade. 

All  these  employments  are  useful;  but  a  country  with 
insufficient  capital  to  engage  in  all  of  them  will  increase  in 
opulence  most  rapidly  if  it  employs  its  capital  in  agri- 
culture first  of  all,  then  engages  in  manufactures  and  the 
home  trade,  and  refrains  from  entering  upon  foreign  com- 
merce and  the  carrying  trade  until  the  natural  increase  of 
capital  makes  such  a  course  advantageous.  If  governments 
merely  withhold  their  hands,  this  is  the  course  that  in- 
dustrial development  will  actually  follow  under  the  free  play 
of  individual  self-interest.  Smith's  argument  at  this  point  is 
exceedingly  important,  for  it  lays  the  foundation  for  his 
doctrine  of  freedom  of  trade. 

»  See  "Wealth  of  Nations,"  H.  C,  x,  a?^ 



After  examining  in  the  third  book  the  various  policies  of 
restriction  and  preference  adopted  by  the  countries  of 
Europe,  Smith  in  the  fourth  book  launches  into  the  famous 
polemic  against  the  so-called  mercantile  system  of  political 
economy.  Smith  shows  that  the  restrictive  measures  of  the 
mercantilists  tended  rather  to  prevent  men  serving  each 
other  than  to  promote  public  opulence.  He  assailed  the 
theory  of  the  balance  of  trade,  much  as  David  Hume  had 
done.  Everywhere  he  vindicated  the  system  of  natural  lib- 
erty, and  maintained  that  prosperity  is  not  manufactured  by 
governments  but  comes  from  "the  natural  effort  of  every 
individual  to  better  his  own  condition."  After  disposing  of 
the  mercantilists,  Smith  treats  of  the  "agricultural  system" 
of  political  economy,  which  held  that  the  net  produce  of  the 
land  is  the  sole  source  of  national  opulence.  Since  econo- 
mists of  this  school  had  maintained  that  perfect  liberty  is  the 
only  policy  that  can  raise  this  annual  produce  to  a  maximum, 
Smith  considered  their  doctrines  "the  nearest  approximation 
to  the  truth  that  has  yet  been  published  upon  the  subject  of 
political  economy." 


The  fifth  book  treats  of  public  finance.  His  chapter  upon 
the  expenses  of  the  sovereign  is  the  first  philosophical  in- 
vestigation of  this  important  subject.  The  second  chapter 
presents  a  noteworthy  treatment  of  the  subject  of  taxation, 
and  lays  down  the  celebrated  maxims  which,  perhaps,  have 
been  quoted  oftener  than  any  other  paragraphs  in  economic 
literature.  Smith  was  especially  successful  in  correlating 
his  theory  of  taxation  with  his  theory  of  the  production  and 
distribution  of  wealth,  while  on  the  practical  side  he  pro- 
posed reforms  many  of  which  were  later  adopted.  The 
chapter  on  public  debts,  while  unduly  pessimistic,  criticizes 
forcibly  the  unwise  financial  policies  pursued  by  Great 
Britain  and  other  countries  during  the  eighteenth  century. 
In  his  theory  of  the  essential  nature  of  a  public  debt  Smith 
was  undoubtedly  correct. 

The  "Wealth  of  Nations"  achieved  instant  success,  went 


through  five  editions  in  the  author's  lifetime,  and  was  soon 
translated  into  French,  German,  Italian,  Spanish,  and  Dan- 
ish. In  the  United  States  it  began  to  be  quoted  by  statesmen 
before  the  end  of  the  Revolution,  and  an  American  edition 
was  published  at  Philadelphia  in  1789.  Alexander  Hamil- 
ton's state  papers  show  the  clearest  evidence  of  his  indebted- 
ness to  Smith's  masterpiece.  In  time  the  book  began  to  in- 
fluence legislation,  and  to  contribute  powerfully  to  the  re- 
moval of  obsolete  restrictions  on  industry  and  commerce. 
Its  place  as  an  economic  classic  is  secure,  and  the  lapse  of 
time  seems  to  detract  nothing  from  its  eminence. 


By  Professor  W.  B.  Munro 

IF  HISTORY  is  to  perform  properly  its  function  as  an 
agency  of  instruction,  it  must  be  careful  to  record  hu- 
man events  fairly  and  with  accuracy,  otherwise  the 
lessons  which  it  asks  posterity  to  draw  from  the  past  are  sure 
to  be  misleading.  Now  the  most  reliable  sources  of  informa- 
tion concerning  all  that  has  happened  in  the  public  life  of 
past  generations  are  of  course  the  contemporary  records, 
the  writings  of  those  who  had  a  hand  in  the  events  them- 
selves and  the  public  documents  which  set  new  historical 
landmarks.  The  makers  of  history  are  the  men  most  com- 
petent to  write  about  it;  they  are  the  ones  best  qualified  to 
interpret  their  own  experience. 

These  writings  are  the  piers  upon  which  the  historian 
builds  his  long  bridge  of  narrative,  and  the  historical  struc- 
ture can  be  no  stronger  than  its  foundations.  American 
history  is  well  supplied  with  them,  for  it  spans  a  period  of 
only  three  centuries — three  modem  centuries  in  which  men 
have  written  much  concerning  the  outstanding  events  of 
their  own  day.  Due  allowance  must  of  course  be  made  for 
human  shortcomings  even  in  the  records  left  to  us  by  the 
wisest  and  most  open-minded  of  writers.  But  the  fact  re- 
mains that  contemporary  materials  afford  the  only  sure 
basis  on  which  to  build  our  knowledge  of  what  has  gone 
before.  The  history  of  America,  accordingly,  may  be  best 
studied  in  the  chronicles  of  early  explorers,  in  the  narra- 
tives of  those  who  first  made  their  homes  on  this  side  of  the 
Atlantic,  in  the  colonial  charters  and  later  State  laws,  in 
the  messages  and  decrees  of  presidents,  the  treaties  with 
foreign  nations,  the  decisions  of  courts,  the  correspondence 
of  public  men,  or,  to  put  it  broadly,  in  the  great  mass  of 



official  and  unofficial  writings  which  constitute  the  public 
literature  of  the  New  World. 


The  English  settlements  in  America,  during  the  century 
and  a  half  of  their  existence  as  colonies,  encountered  many 
difficult  problems.  In  the  earlier  years  of  this  period  there 
were  troubles  with  the  Indians ;  in  the  later  years  there  were 
almost  incessant  bickerings  with  the  French  colonists  to  the 
north.  But  in  due  time  the  redskins  were  humbled  and 
France  was  expelled  from  her  American  territory.  Then 
there  were  religious  troubles  which  at  times  rent  the  Eng- 
lish colonies  in  twain.  Some  of  these  settlements,  it  is 
true,  had  been  founded  as  a  protest  against  ecclesiastical 
bigotry  at  home;  but  that  did  not  make  them  tolerant  of 
heresy  within  their  own  borders.  Those  who  failed  to  make 
outward  compliance  with  the  established  religious  practices 
were  in  some  cases  harried  out  of  the  land,  and  a  rigid  en- 
forcement of  this  policy  in  Massachusetts  led  to  the  found- 
ing of  Rhode  Island  and  Connecticut  as  separate  colonies. 

Another  difficult  problem  was  that  of  providing  a  satis- 
factory frame  of  civil  government.  Every  colony  had  its 
own  series  of  experiments  embodied  in  charters,*  funda- 
mental laws'  and  bodies  of  liberties.'  At  this  historical 
distance  these  quaint  documents  make  instructive  reading, 
for  they  portray  with  great  fidelity  the  earliest  political 
ideals  of  the  American  people.  Despite  the  rigor  with  which 
these  codes  attempted  to  regulate  the  daily  walk  and  con- 
versation of  citizens,  one  can  nevertheless  trace  in  every 
line  a  firm  loyalty  to  the  principle  that  governments  should 
be  of  laws  and  not  of  men.  The  faith  in  constitutional 
guarantees  of  civil  liberty  goes  back  to  the  very  origins  of 
American  government. 


But  the  most  difficult  of  all  colonial  problems  was  that  of 
determining  proper  political  relations  with  the  motherland. 

*  First  Charter  of  Virginia,  Harvard  Classics,  xliii,  51-61. 

'The  Fundamental  Orders  of  Connecticut  (1639). 

*The  Massachusetts  Body  of  Liberties  (1641),  etc.,  H.  C«  xliiJ,  6^S, 



While  the  colonies  were  weak  and  exposed  to  external  dan- 
gers these  relations  gave  rise  to  no  acute  controversies; 
but  after  1760,  when  America's  economic  interests  had 
grown  greatly  in  importance,  and  when  the  treacherous 
arm  of  France  had  been  removed  from  the  northern 
frontiers — ^then  it  was  that  serious  estrangements  began. 
Matters  which  might  have  been  easily  adjusted  under  earlier 
conditions  became  sources  of  open  friction  and  ill-feeling; 
the  breach  widened  and  active  resistance  to  the  authority 
of  the  home  government  ensued. 

It  is  to  be  borne  in  mind,  however,  that  the  causes  of  the 
American  Revolution  were  neither  superficial  nor  few.  The 
Declaration  of  Independence  catalogues  the  colonial  griev- 
ances as  the  colonists  saw  them,  and  their  name  is  legion.* 

The  thirteen  revolted  colonies  could  not  very  well  manage 
their  struggle  for  independence  as  a  joint  enterprise  with- 
out some  form  of  central  government,  and  a  congress  of 
delegates,  sitting  at  Philadelphia,  was  established  to  meet 
this  necessity.  With  no  legal  basis  during  the  early  years 
of  its  existence,  this  congress  eventually  framed  and  secured 
the  adoption  of  the  Articles  of  Confederation  which  served 
as  a  working  constitution  for  the  body  of  States  during  the 
next  decade.'  These  articles  gave  very  little  power  to  the 
central  government  and  while  they  served  a  useful  purpose 
in  their  time,  facilitating  the  settlement  of  matters  at  the 
close  of  the  war,  it  was  realized  everywhere  that  they  could 
not  afford  a  permanently  satisfactory  basis  of  union. 


Two  outstanding  defects  in  the  Articles  of  Confederation 
were  the  failure  to  give  the  central  government  an  assured 
annual  revenue  and  the  lack  of  any  provision  for  securing 
uniformity  in  the  regulation  of  commerce.  The  urgent 
necessity  of  strengthening  the  articles  on  these  points  in- 
spired the  calling  of  a  constitutional  convention  at  Phila- 
delphia in  the  spring  of  1787.  Most  of  the  leaders  of  public 
opinion  were  members  of  this  convention,  among  them 
Washington,  Madison,  Hamilton,  and  Benjamin  Franklin. 

*H.  C,  xUii,  160-165.  •H.  C,  xliii,  168-179. 


It  was  deemed  impracticable  to  secure  the  desired  ends  by 
merely  amending  the  Articles  of  Confederation;  so  an  en- 
tirely new  constitution  was  prepared.  The  task  occupied 
the  entire  summer  of  1787,  and  when  the  document  was 
finished  it  went  to  the  thirteen  States  for  their  approval.* 
In  some  of  them  the  issue  of  adoption  was  doubtful,  for 
many  provisions  in  the  new  constitution  were  bitterly  at- 
tacked. But  its  friends  were  as  active  in  Its  defense; 
Hamilton  and  Madison  wielded  their  pens  to  good  purpose 
in  a  publicity  campaign,  and  in  the  course  of  time  all  thir- 
teen States  gave  the  document  their  indorsement.  These 
letters  of  Hamilton  and  Madison  in  advocacy  of  the  new 
constitution,  subsequently  published  as  "The  Federalist," 
form  a  notable  treatise  on  the  principles  of  federal  govern- 
ment.' The  new  central  government  began  its  career  forth- 
with; and  in  his  first  inaugural  Washington  called  upon  the 
representatives  of  the  people  ''to  lay  the  foundations  of 
national  policy"  in  a  way  that  would  "command  the  respect 
of  the  world."* 



Three  outstanding  features  marked  the  trend  of  American 
political  history  during  the  first  thirty  years  after  the  nation 
became  welded  into  a  federal  unit  The  first  of  these  was 
the  steady  extension  of  those  powers  which  the  Constitution 
had  intrusted  to  the  new  central  government  A  dozen 
years  after  the  establishment  of  the  United  States  Supreme 
Court  the  post  of  Chief  Justice  was  given  to  John  Marshall 
and  was  occupied  by  him  with  firmness  and  dignity  until 
1835.  Marshall  was  a  believer  in  an  efficient  central  govern- 
ment; he  was  sure  that  this  was  what  the  framers  of  the 
Constitution  had  meant  to  establish;  and  for  thirty-four 
years  he  devoted  his  great  powers  to  the  work  of  assaying 
from  the  nation's  organic  law  all  the  jurisdiction  it  could 
yield  to  the  authorities  of  the  union.  It  was  under  his 
leadership  that  the  court  took  the  epoch-marking  step  of 
declaring  that  the  Constitution  gave  to  the  Federal  Govem- 

•H.  C,  xliii,  X9a-aii.     'H.  C„  xliii,  2xa-jji.  *H.  C,   xliii,  243. 


ment  not  only  express  but  implied  powers,  and  that  where 
the  Constitution  gave  a  power  to  Congress  it  intrusted  to 
that  body  a  choice  of  the  means  to  be  used  in  carrying  its 
authority  into  practical  operation.  "Let  the  end  be  legiti- 
mate, let  it  be  within  the  scope  of  the  Constitution,  and  all 
means  which  are  appropriate,  which  are  plainly  adapted  to 
that  end,  which  are  not  prohibited,  but  consist  with  the 
letter  and  spirit  of  the  Constitution,  are  constitutional."" 
When  Marshall  put  aside  his  robes  of  office  in  1835,  the 
Constitution  had  been  securely  anchored  in  its  station  as 
the  supreme  law  of  the  land  and  the  Washington  govern- 
ment, chiefly  through  his  masterly  legal  skill,  had  been 
brought  to  a  dominating  place  in  the  national  life. 

These  three  decades  covered,  in  the  second  place,  an  era 
of  territorial  expansion,  the  successive  steps  of  which  have 
beenf  traced  in  another  lecture." 

In  the  third  place  the  relations  between  the  United  States 
and  European  powers  were  placed  on  a  better  footing  dur- 
ing the  first  quarter  of  the  nineteenth  century.  The  with- 
drawal of  France  and  Spain  from  contiguous  territory  re- 
moved a  source  of  possible  danger.  The  war  with  England 
(1812-1815)  cleared  the  international  atmosphere  of  some 
noxious  features,  and  in  the  era  of  better  feeling  which 
followed  its  conclusion  came  the  virtual  neutralization  of 
the  Great  Lakes — a  stroke  of  great  and  statesmanlike  pru- 
dence." Within  a  few  years  came  the  promulgation  of  the 
Monroe  Doctrine  with  its  unfaltering  enunciation  of  Ameri- 
can diplomatic  policy  in  relation  to  the  lands  of  the  New 
Hemisphere.**  In  the  twenty  years  intervening  between 
1803  and  1823  the  Republic  has  cleared  her  boundaries  to 
the  south,  removed  a  possible  menace  from  her  boundaries 
to  the  north,  and  frankly  made  known  the  fundamentals  of 
her  future  policy  as  respects  all  surrounding  lands. 

"  Opinion  of  Chief  Justice  John  Marshall  in  the  case  of  McCulIoch  vs.  the 
State  of  Maryland,  H.  C,  xfiii,  222-240. 

*®  See  Professor  P.  J.  Turner  in  the  lecture  on  "The  Territorial  Develop- 
ment of  the  United  States,"  Historyt  V. 

**  Arrangement  as  to  the  Naval  Force  to  be  Respectively  Maintained  on 
the  American  Lakes,  H.  C,  xliii,  283-285. 

^  The  Monroe  Doctrine,  H.  C.,  xliii,  296-298. 



By  Professor  Roscoe  Pound 

FOR  what  end  does  the  legal  order  exist?  What  do  we 
seek  to  achieve  through  the  political  organization? 
What  is  the  ultimate  purpose  in  lawmaking,  that  is, 
in  the  selection  and  formulation  of  the  standards  for  the 
public  administration  of  justice  which  organized  society 
establishes  or  recognizes?  These  are  the  first  questions  in 
legal  and  in  political  philosophy.  The  history  of  juristic 
thought  and  of  political  thought  is  chiefly  a  history  of  the 
way  in  which  men  have  answered  them. 


In  primitive  societies  the  answers  are  that  the  legal  order 
exists  simply  to  keep  the  peace,  that  men  seek  through  the 
legal  order  to  avert  individual  self- redress  and  prevent 
private  war,  and  that  the  purpose  of  lawmaking  is  to  estab- 
lish rules  by  which  controversies  may  be  adjusted  peaceably. 
Accordingly,  whereas  to-day  we  seek,  as  we  say,  to  do 
justice,  seeking  to  preserve  the  peace  and  to  adjust  contro- 
versies peaceably  simply  as  means  thereto  and  incidents 
thereof,  primitive  legal  systems  make  peace  the  end.  Where 
to-day  we  think  of  compensation  for  an  injury,  primitive 
law  thinks  only  of  composition  for  the  desire  to  be  avenged. 
Where  to-day  we  seek  to  give  to  each  what  he  ought  to 
have  or  the  nearest  possible  equivalent,  primitive  law  seeks 
only  to  give  him  a  substitute  for  vengeance  in  case  he  is 

(2)    IN   GREECE   AND   ROME 

Greek  philosophy  and  Roman  law  soon  passed  beyond  the 
crude  conception  of  the  end  of  the  legal  order  in  primitive 
society.  Instead,  they  gave  these  answers:  The  legal  order 
exists  to  preserve  the  social  status  quo;  men  seek  through 




the  legal  order  to  keep  each  individual  in  his  appointed 
groove,  and  thus  to  prevent  the  friction  with  his  fdlowmcn 
•which  primitive  law  sought  only  to  mitigate.  This  is 
brought  out  very  clearly  in  Greek  political  philosophy. 
Thus,  in  Plato's  ideal  state  the  state  is  to  assign  everyone 
to  the  class  for  which  he  is  best  fitted  and  the  law  is  to  keep 
him  there,  in  order  that  a  perfect  harmony  and  unity  may 
prevail.  St.  Paul's  well-known  exhortation  (Eph.  v,  22ff. 
and  vi,  1-5)  in  which  he  calls  on  all  the  faithful  to  exert 
themselves  to  do  their  duty  in  the  class  in  which  they  find 
themselves,  proceeds  upon  the  same  conception.  The  Roman 
lawyers  turned  this  idea  of  political  philosophy  into  law.  In 
the  great  institutional  book  of  Roman  law,  the  Institutes  of 
Justinian,  we  are  told  that  the  precepts  of  law  come  to  three ; 
to  live  honorably,  not  to  injure  another,  and  to  give  to 
everyone  his  due.  The  idea  here  is  that  the  state  and  the 
law  exist  to  maintain  harmoniously  the  existing  social 
order.  What  the  interests  of  another  are,  which  one  is  not 
to  injure,  what  makes  anything  another's  due,  so  that  it  is  to 
be  given  him,  are  matters  which  are  left  wholly  to  the  tra- 
ditional social  organization. 


On  the  downfall  of  the  Roman  empire  the  Germanic  in- 
vaders brought  back  for  a  season  the  primitive  ideas  of  buy- 
ing off  vengeance  and  keeping  the  peace  through  arbitrary 
peaceful  solution  of  disputes  by  mechanical  modes  of  trial 
and  hard  and  fast  rules.  But  during  the  Middje  Ages  these 
conceptions  gradually  yielded  to  the  classical  idea  of  the 
legal  order  as  a  means  of  preserving  the  social  status  quo, 
the  more  since  the  latter  was  fortified  by  the  unassailable 
authority  of  texts  of  scripture  and  of  the  Roman  law. 
Moreover,  from  the  thirteenth  century  on,  philosophers 
more  and  more  sought  to  sustain  authority  by  reason,  and 
in  this  way  they  prepared  the  way  for  a  new  conception 
which  developed  in  the  seventeenth  century.  For  by  that 
time  two  events  of  capital  importance  had  compelled  a  com- 
plete revolution  in  legal  and  political  philosophy.  In  the  first 
place  the  Reformation  had  divorced  the  philosophy  of  law 


and  of  politics  from  theology  and  had  set  them  free  from 
the  authority  of  the  church.  This  was  the  work  of  the 
Protestant  jurist  theologians  of  the  sixteenth  century/ 
Secondly,  following  the  nationalist  movement  which  re- 
sulted from  the  breakdown  of  the  unifying  and  universal 
authorities  of  the  Middle  Ages,  the  church  and  the  empire,* 
the  Gcrmanists  overthrew  the  idea  of  the  binding  authority 
of  the  Roman  law  in  modern  Europe.  Accordingly  it  be- 
came necessary  to  find  new  bases  for  legal  and  political 
authority,  and  those  bases  were  found  in  reason  and  in  con- 
tract, or  the  consent  and  agreement  of  the  individual.' 


In  the  seventeenth  and  eighteenth  centuries  reason  was 
made  the  measure  of  all  obligation.  Seventeenth-century 
legal  and  political  philosophers  considered  that  law  existed 
in  order  to  produce  conformity  to  the  nature  of  rational 
creatures.  In  practice,  however,  though  they  had  broken 
with  authority  as  such,  they  accepted  the  Roman  law  as  em- 
bodied reason  and  essayed  very  little  that  did  not  have 
authority  behind  it.  In  consequence  the  Roman  maxim — 
not  to  injure  another  and  to  give  to  everyone  his  own — was 
taken  to  express  the  nature  of  rational  creatures,  and  re- 
spect for  personality  and  respect  for  acquired  rights  re- 
mained the  two  cardinal  principles  of  justice.  But  these 
principles  raised  two  obvious  questions:  (i)  What  is  there 
in  personality  that  makes  aggression  an  injury,  and  (2) 
what  is  it  that  makes  anything  one's  own  ?  The  answer  was 
sought  in  a  theory  of  natural  rights,  or  of  certain  qualities 
inherent  in  individual  human  beings  and  demonstrated  by 
reason  to  which  society,  state,  and  law  were  bound  to  give 
effect.  According  to  this  theory,  justice  is  the  maximum  of  • 
individual  self-assertion;  it  is  the  function  of  the  state  and 
of  the  law  to  make  it  possible  for  the  individual  to  act  freely. 
Hence  the  sphere  of  law  is  limited  to  the  minimum  of  re- 
straint and  coercion  necessary  to  allow  of  the  maximum  of 
self-assertion  by  each,  limited  by  the  like  self-assertion  by  all. 

*  See  Harvard  Classics,  xxxvi,  353. 

•For  this  nitionalist  idea  aee  H.  C,  xxxri,  7.  •H.  C,  xxxiv,  319* 



This  purely  individualist  theory  of  justice  culminated  in  the 
eighteenth  century  in  the  Declarations  of  the  Rights  of  Man 
and  Bills  of  Rights  which  are  so  characteristic  of  that  time.* 

At  the  close  of  the  eighteenth  century  the  foundations  of 
the  seventeenth  and  eighteenth  century  theory  were  shattered 
by  Immanuel  Kant.*  But  he  furnished  a  new  metaphysical 
foundation  for  the  conception  of  justice  as  the  maximum  of 
individual  self-assertion  and  in  consequence  it  survived  for 
about  a  hundred  years  and  was  given  complete  logical  de- 
velopment in  the  political,  economic,  and  juristic  writing  of 
the  nineteenth  century,  although  the  actual  law  began  to 
break  away  from  this  idea  in  Europe  by  the  middle  of  the 
century  and  was  definitely  breaking  away  in  America  in  the 
last  decade  thereof. 

In  the  nineteenth  century,  then,  legal  and  political  philoso- 
phers were  agreed  that  the  end  of  the  legal  order,  the  pur- 
pose of  political  organization  and  purpose  of  lawmaking, 
were  to  secure  and  maintain  individual  liberty.  The  his- 
torian found  in  history  the  unfolding  of  this  idea  in  human 
experience.  The  philosophical  jurist  postulated  free  will  as 
the  fundamental  principle  and  deduced  therefrom  an  ideal 
system  of  principles  of  liberty  to  which  law  ought  to  con- 
form. The  utilitarian  legislator  took  individual  liberty  for 
the  one  sure  means  of  producing  human  happiness  and  so 
made  it  the  goal  of  all  lawmaking.  Mill's  treatise  "On 
Liberty"  *  is  the  best  example  of  a  thoroughgoing  exposition 
of  this  nineteenth-century  idea  of  abstract  liberty.  More- 
over, it  is  much  more  tempered  and  reasonable  in  its  attitude 
toward  what  we  now  call  social  legislation,  so  far  as  it  re- 
strains an  abstract  liberty  of  action  whereby  under  pressure 
the  weak  barter  away  their  actual  liberty,  than  most  con- 
temporary or  even  subsequent  writing  from  the  same  stand- 


To-day  the  social-philosophical  school  has  given  us  a  new 
conception  of  the  end  of  the  legal  order.  Instead  of  the 
maximum  of  individual  self-assertion  consistent  with  a  like 
self-assertion  by  all  others,  we  are  now  putting  as  the  end 

*M.  C,  xHH,  70,  157,  160.      *H.  C,  xxxil»  323.       •//.  C,  xxv,  aosff. 


the  maximum  satisfaction  of  human  wants,  of  which  self- 
assertion  is  only  one,  even  if  a  very  important  one.  Hence 
juristic  and  political  theory  to-day  thinks  of  interests,  that 
is  of  claims  which  a  human  being  may  make,  and  of  secur- 
ing or  protecting  the  greatest  number  of  these  interests  pos- 
sible with  the  least  sacrifice  of  other  interests.  Moreover 
there  are  public  interests,  or  claims  which  the  organized 
political  society  may  make,  and  social  interests,  or  claims  of 
society  at  large.  Ultimately  all  interests,  individual  and 
public,  are  secured  and  maintained  because  of  a  social  in- 
terest in  so  doing.  But  this  does  not  mean  that  individual 
interests,  the  details  of  which  the  nineteenth  century  worked 
out  so  well,  are  to  be  ignored.  On  the  contrary,  the  chiefest 
of  social  interests  is  the  moral  and  social  life  of  the  indi- 
vidual, and  thus  individual  interests  become  largely  identical 
with  a  social  interest.  In  securing  them  because  of  the 
social  interest  in  the  moral  and  social  life  of  the  indi- 
vidual, however,  and  in  recognizing  that  individual  self- 
assertion  is  only  one  human  want,  which  must  be  weighed 
with  others  in  a  finite  world  where  all  wants  cannot  be 
satisfied,  a  governmental  paternalism  or  even  maternalism 
may  become  proper,  which  would  have  seemed  intolerable 
to  thinkers  in  the  last  century.  In  this  connection.  Mill  on 
Liberty  has  a  permanent  value,  despite  the  entire  change  in 
our  views  as  to  the  end  of  law  and  of  the  state.  Just  as  in 
the  seventeenth  century  an  undue  insistence  upon  public  in- 
terests, thought  of  as  the  interests  of  the  sovereign,  de- 
feated the  moral  and  social  life  of  the  individual  and 
required  the  assertion  of  individual  interests  in  Bills  of 
Rights  and  Declarations  of  Rights,  there  is  a  like  danger 
that  certain  social  interests  will  be  unduly  emphasized  and 
that  governmental  maternalism  will  become  an  end  rather 
than  a  means  and  will  defeat  the  real  purposes  of  the  legal 
order.  Hence,  although  we  think  socially,  we  must  still 
think  of  individual  interests,  and  of  that  greatest  of  all 
claims  which  a  human  being  may  make,  the  claim  to  assert 
his  individuality,  to  exercise  freely  the  will  and  the  reason 
which  God  has  given  him.  We  must  emphasize  the  social 
interest  in  the  moral  and  social  life  of  the  individual,  but  we 
must  remember  that  it  is  the  life  of  a  free-willing  being. 



By  Professor  George  Pierce  Baker 

RARE  is  the  human  being,  immature  or  mature,  who 
has  never  felt  an  impulse  to  pretend  he  is  some  one 
*  or  something  else.  The  human  being  who  has  never 
felt  pleasure  in  seeing  such  a  pretending  is  rarer  still. 
Back  through  the  ages  of  barbarism  and  civilization,  in  all 
tongues,  we  find  this  instinctive  pleasure  in  the  imitative 
action  that  is  the  very  essence  of  all  drama.  The  instinct 
to  impersonate  produces  the  actor;  the  desire  to  provide 
pleasure  by  impersonations  produces  the  playwright;  the 
desire  to  provide  this  pleasure  with  adequate  characteriza- 
tion and  dialogue  memorable  in  itself  produces  dramatic 
literature.  Though  dramatic  literature  has  been  sporadic, 
dramatic  entertainment  by  imitative  action  has  been  going 
steadily  on  since  we  first  hear  of  it  in  connection  with  the 
Bacchic  festivals  of  early  Greece;  and  the  dramatic  instinct 
has  been  uninterruptedly  alive  since  man's  creation.  We  do 
not  kill  the  drama,  we  do  not  really  limit  its  appeal  by  fail- 
ing to  encourage  the  best  in  it ;  but  we  do  thereby  foster  the 
weakest  and  poorest  elements.  In  1642  the  English  Parlia- 
ment, facing  war,  closed  the  theatres  and  forbade  all  plays. 
Yet,  though  the  years  following  were  so  troublous  as  not  to 
favor  drama,  it  was  necessary  in  1647  to  repeat  the  edict, 
because  surreptitious  and  garbled  performances  of  plays 
formerly  popular  had  been  given,  and  because  vulgarized 
excerpts  from  comic  portions  of  past  plays  had  been  given 
at  fairs  and  other  public  gatherings.  Clearly,  so  strong  was 
the  instinct,  the  craving  for  drama,  that  if  the  public  could 
not  get  new  plays,  or  even  its  old  plays  as  wholes,  it  would 
accept  far  less  worthy  entertainment  rather  than  go  with- 


370  DRAMA 

out.  Even  in  this  country,  far  more  recently,  in  many  com- 
munities where  theatres  were  regarded  at  least  with  hesita- 
tion, the  panorama  was  popular,  and  local  branches  of  the 
G.  A.  R.  gave  to  enthusiastic  audiences  "The  Drummer  Boy 
of  Shiloh."  To-day,  many  who  will  not  attend  the  theatre 
do  attend  the  moving-picture  show.  One  cannot  annihilate 
an  instinct  of  the  races  old  aa  time;  to  legislate  against  it 
is  to  risk  repressing  only  the  better  part;  what  is  necessary 
is  to  make  the  undesirable  .unattractive. 


The  only  sound  basis  for  thii  result  is  a  widespread  taste 
in  the  public  for  good  dram*.  While  it  is  not  true,  as 
George  Farquhar  wrote,  that  'Tlays  are  like  suppers, 
poets  are  the  cooks,'*  there  is  yet  truth  in  Samuel  John- 
son's saying  that  "The  drama's  laws  the  drama's  patrons 
give."  He  who  serves  his  dramatic  meal,  cooked  and 
reasoned  exactly  for  what  he  takes  to  be  the  tastes  of 
his  public,  merely  writes  plays;  he  does  not  create  drama. 
To  try  to  hit  public  taste  in  the  drama  is  like  trying 
to  hit  the  bull's-eye  of  a  rapidly  shifting  target  on  a 
very  foggy  day.  On  the  other  hand,  the  public  speaker 
who  should  try  to  present  his  subject  to  a  public  knowing 
nothing  of  it,  and  to  a  public  pf  which  he  knows  nothing, 
must  skillfully  interest  them  by  finding  in  his  subject  some 
appeal  of  a  general  nature.  In  similar  fashion  works  the 
dramatist.  He  cannot  write  comedies  and  farces  for  a  com^ 
munity  lacking  in  humor,  He  can  do  little  in  grim  story 
play  or  tragedy  with  a  laughter^loving  public.  Granted  a 
public  fond  of  the  theatre,  he  is  sure  of  a  hearing  and 
probably  an  appreciative  one;  but  the  fuller  and  the  more 
accurate  his  public's  knowledge  of  good  drama  in  the  past, 
the  greater  his  chance  for  an  attentive  and  comprehending 
hearing  when  he  writes  what  should  be  good  drama  to-day. 


In  reading  plays,  however,  it  should  always  be  remem- 
bered that  any  play,  however  great,  loses  much  when  not 


seen  In  action.  As  John  Marston  wrote  in  1606:  "Comedies 
are  writ  to  be  spoken,  not  read;  remember  the  life  of  these 
things  consists  in  action";  or,  as  Moliere  put  it:  "Comedies 
are  made  to  be  played,  not  to  be  read."  Any  play  is  so 
planned  that  it  can  produce  its  exact  effect  only  with  its 
required  scenery,  lighting,  and  acting.  And  that  acting 
means  the  gesture,  movement,  and  voice  of  the  actor. 
Above  all,  it  means  the  voice,  the  instrument  which  conveys 
to  the  audience  the  exact  shade  of  meaning  of  the  author 
and,  like  music,  opens  up  the  emotions.  Drama  read  to  one- 
self is  never  drama  at  its  best,  and  is  not  even  drama  as  it 
should  be.  Usually,  too,  just  because  readers  do  not  rec- 
ognize the  difference  between  drama  and  other  forms  of 
fiction,  they  lose  the  effects  they  might  gain  even  in  reading. 
Closer  attention  than  with  a  novel  or  short  story  is  required. 
The  dramatist  does  not  guide  us  by  explanations,  analysis, 
and  comment  in  our  visualizing  of  his  figures.  Instead,  he 
depends  on  a  few  stage  directions  as  to  their  movements, 
and  on  the  rightness  of  his  chosen  words  in  the  dialogue. 
Unfortunately,  many  a  reader,  accustomed  to  hasty  reading 
of  the  sketchy  stories  so  common  in  the  magazines,  does  not 
piece  out  what  is  given  him  but  sees  only  just  what  the 
words  of  the  text  force  him  to  see  with  no  effort  on  his 
part.  He  is  not  active  and  cooperative.  No  play  read  in 
this  way  yields  its  real  value.  First,  see  in  your  mind  the 
setting  as  described.  Then,  reading  sympathetically,  thought- 
fully, and  slowly  if  need  be,  visualize  the  figures  as  they 
come  and  go.  The  lines  of  any  good  play  mean  more  than 
appears  at  a  hasty  glance.  They  have  been  chosen  not 
simply  because  they  say  what  the  character  might  have  said, 
but  because  what  is  said  will  advance  the  plot,  and,  because 
better  than  some  half  dozen  other  phrases  considered  by  the 
author,  they  will  rouse  the  emotions  of  the  audience.  Keep 
the  sympathetic,  not  the  critical  mood,  to  the  fore.  Reading 
to  visualize,  feel  because  you  visualize,  and  feel  as  fully  as 
you  can.  Then  when  you  close  the  book,  moved  and  admir- 
ing, and  then  only,  let  your  critical  training  tell  you  whether 
you  have  done  well  to  admire.  Don't  let  prejudices,  moral 
or  artistic,  cause  prejudgments:  keep  an  .open  mind  as  you 
read.    A  writer  may  so  treat  a  subject  for  which  you  have 

372  DRAMA  * 

never  cared  as  to  make  you  care  for  it.  He  may  so  treat  a 
subject  you  have  regarded  as  taboo  as  to  make  it  acceptable 
and  helpful.  Don't  assume  because  a  play  is  different  from 
the  plays  you  have  known  that  it  is  bad.  As  the  general 
editor  has  said:  "It  is  precisely  this  encounter  with  the 
mental  states  of  other  generations  which  enlarges  the  out- 
look and  sympathies  of  the  cultivated  man."  When  a  play 
of  a  different  nation  or  period  at  first  proves  unattractive, 
don't  assume  that  it  will  remain  so.  Rather,  study  the  con- 
ditions of  stage  and  audience  which  gave  it  being.  Usually 
this  will  transmute  a  seemingly  dull  play  into  a  living,  ap- 
pealing work  of  art.  In  any  case,  when  you  have  finished 
reading,  judge  with  discretion.  Say,  if  you  like,  "This  play 
is  not  for  me — for  a  person  of  my  tastes,"  but  not,  "This  is 
a  bad  play  for  all,"  unless  you  are  able  to  explain  why  what 
is  poison  for  you  should  be  poison  for  the  general  public 
In  all  the  great  periods  of  the  drama  perfect  freedom  of 
choice  and  subject,  perfect  freedom  of  individual  treatment, 
and  an  audience  eager  to  give  itself  to  sympathetic  listen- 
ing, even  if  instruction  be  involved,  have  brought  the  g^eat 
results.  If  a  public  widely  read  in  the  drama  of  the  past  and 
judging  it  as  suggested  would  come  to  the  acting  drama  of 
to-day  in  exactly  that  spirit,  almost  anything  would  become 
possible  for  our  dramatists. 


But  what  is  drama?  Broadly  speaking,  it  is  whatever  by 
imitative  action  rouses  interest  or  gives  pleasure.  The 
earliest  of  the  mediaeval  plays,  the  trope  of  the  church  in 
which  the  three  Marys  go  to  the  tomb  to  find  that  Christ  has 
risen,  and  make  their  way  thence  rejoicing,  does  not  dif- 
ferentiate one  Mary  from  another.  The  words,  which  were 
given  to  music,  have  only  an  expository  value.  Here,  as 
through  the  ages  succeeding,  it  is  action,  not  characteriza- 
tion however  good,  not  dialogue  for  the  sake  of  character- 
ization or  for  its  own  sake,  which  counts.  Of  course,  this 
very  early  drama  is  too  bald  and  too  simple  to  have  value  as 
literature.  As  the  trope  in  the  tenth  to  the  thirteenth  cen- 
turies adds  to  the  episode  of  the  Resurrection  or  the  Nativity 

DRAMA  373 

preliminary  or  continuing  Biblical  material,  so  story  de- 
velops around  the  original  episode.  Almost  inevitably,  in 
order  to  make  these  differing  episodes  convincing,  char- 
acterization appears,  for,  unless  the  people  are  unlike,  some 
of  the  episodes  could  not  occur.  The  dialogue  ceases  to  be 
merely  expository  and  begins  to  characterize  each  speaker. 
Later  Jt  comes  to  have  charm,  amusingness,  wit,  that  is, 
quality  of  its  own.  When  the  drama  attains  a  characteriza- 
tion which  makes  the  play  a  revelation  of  human  conduct 
and  a  dialogue  which  characterizes  yet  pleases  for  itself, 
we  reach  dramatic  literature. 

So,  too,  as  times  goes  on,  there  develop  the  play  of  story, 
the  play  mainly  of  characterization,  the  play  in  which  dia- 
logue counts  almost  as  much  as  plot  or  character,  and  the 
great  masterpieces  in  which  all  these  interests,  plot,  char- 
acter, and  dialogue  are  blended  into  a  perfect  whole.  "The 
Duchess  of  Malfi"*  of  Webster  is  a  story  play  which  illus- 
trates a  change  in-  public  taste.  For  a  modern  reader, 
probably  more  interested  in  the  character  of  the  Duchess 
than  in  the  story  itself,  the  last  act  doubtless  lacks  the  in- 
terest it  had  for  its  own  public.  In  Jonson's  "Alchemist"^ 
it  is  character  mainly  which  interests  us.  In  Sheridan's 
"School  for  Scandal,"'  as  in  Congreve's  "Way  of  the 
World,"  dialogue  counts  as  much  as  character.  In  "Ham- 
let," "Lear,"  and  "Macbeth"*  there  is  a  perfect  union  of 
story,  characterization,  and  dialogue. 


Once  the  idea  was  widespread  that  tragedy  and  comedy 
differ  essentially  in  material.  Dryden  maintained  that 
tragedy  must  deal  with  people  of  exalted  rank  in  extraor- 
dinary situations,  expressing  themselves  in  speech  befitting 
their  extraordinary  circumstances.  This  idea,  first  stated 
by  Aristotle  in  his  "Poetics"  as  a  result  of  his  observation 
of  the  Greek  Tragedy — which  the  definition  perfectly  fits- 
was  fostered  and  expanded  by  critical  students  of  dramatic 
theory  till  it  found  expression  in  the  exaggeration  of  the 

^Harvard  Chssics,  xlvii,  72iff.  »  77.  C,  xlvii,  521  ff. 

■H.  C,   xviii,  losff.  •H.  C,  xlvi,  87,  203,  305. 


Heroic  Drama  in  England  and  the  dignified  if  somewhat 
cold  tragedies  of  Corneille  and  Racine.'  The  coming  of  the 
Sentimental  Comedy  in  England  in  the  first  thirty  years  of 
the  eighteenth  century,  the  related  '*Drame  Larmoyante"  of 
France,  and  the  "Burgerliche  Drama"  in  Germany,  showed 
that  tragedy  may  exist  in  all  ranks  from  high  to  low,  from 
educated  to  uneducated. 

What  then  is  tragedy?  In  the  Elizabethan  period  it  was 
assumed  that  a  play  ending  in  death  was  a  tragedy,  but  in 
recent  years  we  have  come  to  understand  that  to  live  on  is 
sometimes  far  more  tragic  than  death.  Nor  is  the  presence 
of  tragic  incidents  in  a  play  sufficient  reason  for  calling  it  a 
tragedy,  for  many  plays  that  end  happily  have  in  them  pro- 
foundly moving  episodes.  Why,  then,  is  it  that  we  are  so 
agreed  in  calling  "Hamlet,"  "The  Duchess  of  Malfi"  and 
"The  Cenci"'  tragedies?  Because  in  them  character  clash- 
ing with  itself,  with  environment,  or  with  other  tempera- 
ments, moves  through  tragic  episodes  to  a  final  catastrophe 
that  is  the  logical  outcome  of  what  we  have  observed.  By 
"logical"  I  mean  that  the  ending  is  seen  to  grow  from  the 
preceding  events  in  accordance  with  the  characters.  That 
is,  it  conforms  with  human  experience  as  known  to  us  or  as 
revealed  to  us  by  the  dramatist  in  question. 


Suppose,  however,  that  we  have  tragic  circumstance  not 
justified  by  the  characterization  of  the  figures  concerned. 
For  instance,  in  some  pliy  on  Cleopatra  the  special  scenes 
may  move  us  even  if  they  do  not  put  before  us  a  character 
whose  willfulness  and  exacting  love  seem  great  enough  to 
bring  about  the  final  catastrophe.  Then  what  have  we? 
Melodrama  in  the  broadest  sense  of  the  word.  Melodrama 
in  this  sense  of  plays  insufficiently  motivated  in  character- 
ization has  existed  from  the  beginning  of  drama.  Techni- 
cally, the  word  came  into  England  early  in  the  nineteenth 
century  to  designate  an  importation  from  France  of  sensa- 
tional scenes  with  frequent  musical  accompaniment.  As 
this  particular  combination  disappeared,  the  name  remained 

•H.  C,  xxvi,  71,  125.  •//.  C,  xviii,  281  ff. 


for  pi  ays  of  sensational  incident  and  inadequate  character- 


Between  the  two — melodrama  and  tragedy — ^both  perhaps 
sensational  in  episode,  but  only  the  second  justifying  its 
episodes  by  perfectly  motivated  character,  lies  the  story 
play.  In  this  the  light  and  the  serious,  the  comic  and  the 
tragic,  mingle,  though  the  ending  is  cheerful.  "The  Mer- 
chant of  Venice,"  regarded  as  Shakespeare  regarded  it  as 
the  story  of  Portia  and  Bassanio,  is  clearly  not  a  tragedy 
but  a  story  play.  If,  however,  we  sympathize  with  Shylock 
as  modem  actors,  especially  by  their  rearrangement  of  the 
scenes,  often  make  us,  is  it  not  a  tragedy?  There  lies  the 
important  distinction.  There  is  no  essential  difference  be- 
tween the  material  of  comedy  and  tragedy.  All  depends  on 
the  point  of  view  of  the  dramatist,  which,  by  clever  em- 
phasis, he  tries  to  make  the  point  of  view  of  his  audience. 
The  trial  scene  of  Shylock  perfectly  illustrates  the  idea:  to 
the  friends  of  Bassanio,  as  to  most  of  the  Elizabethan 
audience,  this  Jew-baiting  was  highly  delightful;  to  Shylock 
it  was  torture  and  heartbreak.  The  dramatist  who  presents 
such  material  so  as  to  emphasize  in  it  what  would  appeal  to 
the  friends  of  Bassanio,  writes  comedy.  He  who  presents 
it  to  an  audience  likely  to  feel  as  Shylock  felt,  writes 


Comedy  divides  into  higher  and  lower.  Low  comedy 
concerns  itself  directly  or  indirectly  with  manners.  "The 
Alchemist"  of  Jonson  busies  itself  directly  with  manners  by 
means  of  characters  varying  from  types  of  a  single  aspect 
to  well-individualized  figures.  Comedy  of  intrigue,  center- 
ing about  a  love  story,  deals  in  complicated  situations  arising 
therefrom,  but  indirectly  paints  manners  as  it  characterizes. 
"The  Shoemaker's  Holiday"  ^  may  perhaps  stand  as  a  speci- 
men of  this  type,  though  Fletcher's  "Wild-Goose  Chase"  is 
a  better  example.  High  comedy,  as  George  Meredith 
pointed  out  in  his  masterly  "Essay  on  Comedy,"  deals  in 

»  H.  C,  xlTii,  447ff. 

376  DRAMA 

thoughtful  laughter.  This  laughter  comes  from  the  rccc^- 
nition,  made  instantaneously  by  the  author,  of  the  comic 
value  of  a  comparison  or  contrast.  For  instance,  in  "Much 
Ado  About  Nothing"  it  is  high  comedy  at  which  we  laugh 
when  from  moment  to  moment  we  contrast  Benedick  and 
Beatrice  as  they  see  themselves  and  as  we  see  them  in  the 
revelatory  touches  of  the  dramatist 

Farce  treats  the  improbable  as  probable,  the  impossible  as 
possible.  In  the  second  case  it  often  passes  into  extrava- 
ganza or  burlesque.  "The  Frogs"*  of  Aristophanes  illus- 
trates farcical  burlesque.  In  the  best  farce  to-day  we  start 
with  some  absurd  premise  as  to  character  or  situation,  but 
if  the  premises  be  once  granted  we  move  logically  enough 
to  the  ending. 


Yet,  even  if  one  understands  these  differences,  one  may 
find  it  difficult  at  first  to  appreciate  the  drama  of  a  past  time. 
Modem  drama  from  980  A.  D.  onward  passes  from  the 
simple  Latin  trope,  already  described,  by  accumulation  of 
incident,  developing  characterization,  and  a  feeling  for  ex- 
pression for  its  own  sake,  to  similar  work  in  the  vernacular, 
be  it  English,  French,  or  German.  Then  slowly  it  g^ins 
enormously  in  characterization  till  some  of  the  miracle  and 
morality  plays  of  the  late  fifteenth  century  equal  or  surpass 
any  English  drama  up  to  Marlowe.  But  what  lay  behind  all 
this  drama  of  miracle  play  and  morality  was  an  undivided 
church.  With  the  coming  of  the  Reformation  and  its  in- 
sistence on  the  value  and  finality  of  individual  judgment,  the 
didactic  drama  gave  way  to  the  drama  of  entertainment — the 
interludes  and  the  beginnings  of  the  five-act  plays.  Yet,  fine 
as  are  some  of  the  plays  of  the  days  of  Elizabeth  and  James 
I,  we  find  in  them  a  brutality  of  mood,  a  childish  sense  of 
the  comic,  a  love  of  story  for  mere  story's  sake  that  make 
them  oftentimes  a  little  hard  reading.  Moreover,  their 
technique — ^their  frequent  disregard  of  our  ideas  of  unity, 
their  methods  of  exposition  by  chorus,  soliloquy,  and  aside — 
frequently  appears  to  us  antiquated.  Except  for  the  great- 
est of  these  plays — mainly  by  Shakespeare — the  Elizabethan 

•H.  C,  xviii,  419^. 


DRAMA  377 

drama  seems  strange  to  us  at  a  first  reading.  Only  coming 
to  know  the  conditions  from  which  it  sprang  can  give  us  its 
real  values. 

Even  the  great  dramas  of  -^schylus,  Sophocles,  and  to  a 
less  extent  of  Euripides,  because  he  is  more  modem,  are 
best  read  when  we  know  something  of  the  Greek  life  around 
these  dramas  and  of  the  stage  for  which  they  were  written. 
To  these  plays  a  great  audience  of  perhaps  10,000  brought 
a  common  knowledge  of  the  myths  and  stories  represented, 
akin  to  our  universal  knowledge  a  generation  ago  of  Biblical 
story.  The  audience  brought  also  memories  of  successive  and 
even  recent  treatments  of  the  same  myth  by  other  dramatists, 
taking  delight,  not  as  we  do  in  something  because  it  seems 
new,  but  in  the  individual  treatment  of  the  old  story  by  the 
new  dramatist.  The  same  attitude  held  for  the  Elizabethan 
public  which  delighted  in  successive  versions  of  "Romeo 
and  Juliet,"  "Julius  Caesar,"  and  "Hamlet."  In  judging  the 
drama  of  Greece  or  Elizabethan  England  this  fact  must  be 
kept  constantly  in  mind. 

As  one  turns  from  Greek  and  Elizabethan  drama,  written 
for  the  delight  and  edification  of  the  masses,  to  the  work  of 
Corneille  and  Racine,  one  faces  plays  written  primarily  for 
the  cultivated,  and  worked  out,  not  spontaneously  by  indi- 
vidual genius,  but  carefully  according  to  critical  theory  de- 
rived not  so  much  from  study  of  classic  drama  as  from  com- 
mentators on  a  commentator  on  the  Greek  drama — Aristotle. 
From  him,  for  instance,  came  the  idea  as  to  the  essentiality 
of  the  unities  of  time,  action,  and  place,  themselves  the  re- 
sult of  physical  conditions  of  the  Greek  stage.  By  contrast, 
then,  this  French  tragedy  of  the  seventeenth  century  is  a 
drama  of  intellectuals. 

Then  as  the  spirit  of  humanitarianism  spread  and  men 
shared  more  and  more  in  Samuel  Johnson's  desire  "with  ex- 
tensive view"  to  "survey  mankind  from  China  to  Peru,"  the 
drama  reflected  all  this.  No  longer  did  the  world  laugh  at 
the  selfish  complacency  and  indulgence  of  the  rake  and  fop, 
but  it  began  to  sympathize  with  his  wife,  fiancee,  or  friend 
who  suffered  from  this  selfishness  and  complacency.  Illus- 
trating that  the  difference  between  tragedy  and  comedy  lies 
only  in  emphasis,  Restoration  comedy  turned  from  thought- 

378  DRAMA 

less  laughter  to  S3rmpathetic  tears.  But  such  psychology  as 
the  sentimental  comedy  shows  is  conventional  and  superficial. 
It  is  in  the  nineteenth  century  that  the  drama,  ever  sensitive 
to  public  moods  and  sentiment,  undergoes  great  changes. 
In  France  and  Germany  it  breaks  the  shackles  of  the 
pseudoclassicism  which  had  for  centuries  held  the  drama  to 
empty  speech  and  a  dead  level  of  characterization.  Goethe, 
Schiller,  Hugo,  Dumas  pere,  and  Alfred  de  Vigny  reveal  a 
new  world  of  dramatic  romance  and  history.  In  turn  this 
romance  leads  to  realism  with  an  underlying  scientific  spirit 
which  takes  nothing  at  its  old  values. 


This  searching  scrutiny  of  accepted  ideas  of  personality, 
conduct,  right,  wrong,  and  even  causation  in  general,  is 
seen  in  Ibsen  and  all  his  followers.  Planting  themselves 
firmly  on  the  new  and  developing  science  of  psychology, 
guided  by  the  most  intense  belief  in  individualism,  demand- 
ing its  passports  from  every  accepted  idea,  the  dramatists 
of  the  last  half  century  have  steadily  enlarged  the  scope  of 
their  art.  From  mere  story-telling  they  passed  to  ethical 
drama.  Convinced  by  practice  that  it  is  difficult  for  a  play 
in  its  limited  time — ^two  and  a  half  hours  at  the  most — ^to  do 
more  than  state  a  problem  or  paint  a  set  of  social  conditions, 
they  have  taken  to  merely  drawing  pictures  or  raising  ques- 
tions rather  than  attempting  even  to  suggest  an  answer.  As 
we  have  seen,  in  the  eighteenth  century  the  writer  of  senti- 
mental comedy  painted  social  conditions,  but  with  a  psy- 
chology purely  intuitional.  To-day  we  have  swung  to  the 
other  extreme.  Recognizing  the  limited  space  of  the 
dramatist,  confused  by  contrasting  psychological  theories, 
puzzled  by  the  baffling  intricacies  of  the  human  soul,  con- 
vinced that  the  great  questions  raised  cannot  be  settled  in  a 
breath,  or  with  any  ready-made  panacea,  many  a  dramatist 
to-day  merely  pictures  an  evil  condition,  waiting  for  others 
to  find  its  exact  significance  or,  better  still,  a  solution. 
"Justice"  of  Mr.  Galsworthy,  like  "La  Robe  Rouge"  of  M. 
Brieux,  offers  no  solution,  yet  both  led  to  changes  in  the 
conditions  portrayed — in  the  former,  conditions  of  prison 

DRAMA  379 

life;   in   the  latter,   evils   attending  the  life  of  the  petty 
judiciary  of  France. 


A  veritable  passion  for  the  theatre  is  shown  by  the 
younger  generation  to-day  in  the  United  States.  It  crowds 
the  theatres — if  we  use  the  word  to  include  not  only  places 
giving  performances  of  legitimate  drama  but  also  vaudeville 
houses  and  picture  shows — as  in  this  country  it  never  has 
crowded  them  before.  To  go  to  a  theatre  of  the  older  type 
one  must  usually  travel  some  distance  and  often  one  must 
save  beforehand.  Vaudeville  and  picture  shows  cheap 
enough  for  almost  any  purse  are  provided  at  our  very  doors. 
The  difficulty  is  that  what  they  offer  is  sometimes  as  low  in 
art  as  in  price.  Yet  surely,  it  may  be  said,  there  is  good 
vaudeville,  and  surely  proper  legislation  ought  to  dispose  of 
what  is  poor  or  dangerous  in  it  or  the  picture  show. 
Granted,  but  there  are  inherent  dangers  which  legislation 
cannot  reach.  In  the  first  place,  the  balcony  and  galleries 
of  our  theatres  are  far  less  filled  than  they  used  to  be  before 
vaudeville  and  the  picture  show  provided  at  much  less  ex- 
pense and  with  greater  comfort  entertainment  to  many  as 
satisfactory  as  the  theatre  itself.  This  decrease  in  attend- 
ance at  the  theatres  naturally  jeopardizes  the  chances  of 
many  a  play  which  can  be  produced  only  if  the  manager 
feels  reasonably  sure  of  large  houses  or  a  public  more 
general  than  usually  frequents  the  orchestra.  Vaudeville, 
too,  like  the  collections  of  short  stories  we  read  in  the 
train,  is  usually  a  mere  time  killer,  making  the  least  possible 
demand  on  our  application  and  attention.  In  vaudeville,  if 
something  grips  our  interest  we  pay  attention;  if  one  "turn" 
does  not  interest  us  we  simply  wait  for  the  next.  Sooner  or 
later,  without  any  effort  on  our  part,  something  will  win 
our  absorbed  attention.  Now  drama  that  has  literary  value 
demands,  when  read,  as  I  have  pointed  out,  concentration, 
an  effort  to  visualize.  Acted  drama  requires  surrender  of 
one's  self,  sympathetic  absorption  in  the  play  as  it  develops. 
These  absolutely  essential  conditions  grow  less  possible  for 
the  person  trained  by  vaudeville.    The  moving  picture  show. 

380  DRAMA 

too,  IS  at  best  drama  stripped  of  everything  but  motion. 
The  greatest  appeal  of  all,  the  voice,  except  in  so  far  as  the 
phonograph  can  reproduce  it,  is  wanting.  But  can  any  com- 
bination of  mechanical  devices  such  as  the  cinematograph 
and  the  graphophone  ever  equal  in  human  significance,  in 
reality  of  effect,  in  persuasive  power,  the  human  being — 
most  vividly  seen  and  felt  in  drama  at  its  best?  A  combina- 
tion of  the  cinematograph  and  the  phonograph  can  be  at 
best  only  a  dramatic  Frankenstein's  automaton.  Dramatic 
literature  is  really  threatened  by  the  picture  show  and 


All  this  would  be  discouraging  were  not  these  conditions 
somewhat  counteracted  by  drama  as  we  find  it  in  our  schools, 
colleges,  and  social  settlements.  As  far  back  as  the  six- 
teenth century  in  England  and  on  the  Continent  the  value 
for  pronunciation,  enunciation,  and  deportment  of  acting 
by  school  children  was  recognized.  Ralph  Radcliffe,  a 
schoolmaster  of  Hitchen  in  Hertfordshire,  wrote  many 
plays  for  his  scholars.  Nicholas  Udall,  successively  a  mas- 
ter of  Eton  and  Westminster  schools,  left  us  one  of  the  early 
landmarks  of  English  drama,  "Ralph  Roister  Doister,"  a 
mixture  of  early  English  dramatic  practice  and  borrowings 
from  the  Latin  comedy.  On  the  Continent,  fathers  and 
mothers  gathered  often,  fondly  to  watch  their  boys  in 
similar  Latin  or  vernacular  plays.  In  like  manner  to-day, 
all  over  this  country,  in  grammar  and  high  schools,  wise 
teachers  are  guiding  their  pupils  in  varied  expression  of 
their  dramatic  instinct.  Many  a  high  school  to-day  has,  as 
part  of  its  equipment,  a  small  stage  on  which  standard  plays 
of  the  past,  plays  selected  from  the  best  written  to-day,  and, 
occasionally,  even  plays  written  by  the  students  themselves 
are  given.  From  participation  in  such  performances  more 
results  than  a  mere  gain  in  enunciation,  pronunciation,  and 
deportment.  The  standards  of  a  youth  who  associates  often 
with  the  best  in  dramatic  literature  must  improve.  Inculcate 
thus  pleasantly  right  standards  of  drama,  and  the  lure  of 
vaudeville  and  picture  show  is  weakened.  But  the  training 
must  be  broad:  our  youth  must  know  the  best — comedy. 

DRAMA  381 

tragedy,    farce,    burlesque — in    the    drama    of    to-day    and 

No  such  training  of  our  youth  can  ever  be  complete  if  in 
the  home  there  is  no  real  understanding,  at  least  from  read- 
ing, of  what  the  best  in-  drama  has  been.  Otherwise  how 
can  the  elders  sympathize  with  this  natural  demand  of  the 
young,  for  probably  they  will  not  recognize  either  the  worthi- 
ness or  the  permanence  of  the  appeal  which  the  drama  prop- 
erly makes.  While  youth  inevitably  seek  entertainment  in 
the  theatre,  their  elders  must  see  to  the  kind  of  entertain- 
ment provided.    That  is  a  fair  and  natural  division. 

Year  by  year  we  receive  at  Ellis  Island  people  from  all 
over  the  world,  people  little  fitted  for  the  responsibilities  of 
a  citizenship  that  was  planned  for  a  people  relatively  homo- 
geneous and  trained  for  centuries  in  a  growing  political 
power  which  rested  on  the  responsibility  of  the  individual. 
How  shall  we  reveal  to  this  immigrant  what  this  great 
varied  American  life  means  and  thus  assimilate  him  into  the 
body  politic?  Seeking  an  answer  to  this  problem,  the  settle- 
ment houses  have  found  one  of  their  most  effective  means 
in  the  drama.  The  southern  or  southeastern  European, 
filled  with  emotion,  loves  to  act.  In  the  settlement  house, 
through  carefully  selected  plays,  he  learns  our  language  and 
gains  the  ideals  of  the  land  in  which  he  is  to  live. 


Responsive  to  all  this  widespread  interest  of  the  people  at 
large,  men  and  women  all  over  the  country  are  busied  with 
the  difficult  art  of  the  dramatist.  In  turn  responsive  to  their 
needs,  our  colleges  are  developing  courses  in  dramatic  com- 
position, though  ten  years  ago  not  one  existed.  But  to  these 
playwrights  comes  sooner  or  later  the  question:  "Shall  I 
write  so  as  surely  to  make  money,  but  pandering  to  the  lower 
artistic  and  moral  taste  of  my  public;  or  shall  I  keep  to  my 
inculcated  and  self -discovered  standards  of  dramatic  art  till 
I  win  my  public  to  them?"  For  the  latter  result  there  must 
be  a  considerable  part  of  the  public  which  so  understands 
and  loves  the  best  of  the  drama  of  the  past  that  it  can 
quickly  discover  promise  in  the  drama  to-day.    Out  of  the 

382  drama; 

past  come  the  standards  for  judging  the  present;  standards 
in  turn  to  be  shaped  by  the  practice  of  present-day  drama- 
tists into  broader  standards  for  the  next  generation.  The 
drama  possesses  a  great  literature  growing  out  of  an  eternal 
desire  of  the  races.  The  drama  is.  a  great  revealer  of  life. 
Potentially,  it  is  a  social  educative  force  of  the  greatest 
possibilities,  provided  it  be  properly  handled.  You  cannot 
annihilate  it  Repressing  it  you  bring  its  poorer  qualities  to 
the  front.  How,  then,  can  any  so-called  educated  man  fail 
to  try  to  understand  it  ?  But  to  understand  it  one  must  read 
closely,  sympathetically,  and  above  all  widely. 

For  such  results  a  collection  like  this  must  be  but  the  fillip 
thaft  creates  a  craving  for  more.  Here  is  only  a  little  of  all 
the  Elizabethan  and  Jacobean  drama.  Here  it  is  possible  to 
represent  only  by  a  few  masterpieces  the  vast  stores  of  the 
drama  in  France,  Germany,  England,  Scandinavia,  Italy, 
Spain,  and  Russia  in  the  nineteenth  and  twentieth  centuries. 
To-day,  English  drama,  with  only  a  few  exceptions  better 
than  any  written  since  the  seventeenth  century,  comes  often 
to  the  stage.  From  month  to  month  the  drama  is  making 
history.  In  England  and  the  United  States  to-day  it  is  won- 
derfully alive,  independent,  ambitious,  seeking  new  ways  of 
expression  on  an  infinite  variety  of  subjects.  Yet  it  is  often 
crude,  especially  in  this  country.  It  will  never  know  how 
crude  till  its  public  forces  it  to  closer,  finer  thinking,  more 
logical  characterization,  and  stern  avoidance  of  mere 
theatriciality.  Back  of  any  such  gains  must  stand  a  public 
with  a  love  for  the  drama,  gained  not  merely  from  seeing 
plays  of  to-day  but  from  wide  reading  in  the  drama  of  dif- 
ferent periods  and  different  nations  in  the  past 


No  drama,  however  great,  is  entirely  independent  of  the 
stage  on  which  it  is  given.  In  a  great  period  the  drama 
forces  its  stage  to  yield  to  its  demands,  however  exacting, 
till  that  stage  becomes  plastic.  At  a  time  of  secondary 
drama  plays  yield  to  the  rigidities  of  their  stage,  making  life 
conform  to  the  stage,  not  the  stage  to  life.  Consequently, 
just  as  different  periods  have  seen  different  kinds  of  drama, 

DRAMA  383 

they  have  seen  different  kinds  of  stage.  In  the  trope  the 
monks  acted  in  the  chancel  near  the  high  altar,  to  come  out, 
as  the  form  developed,  to  the  space  before  the  choir  screen 
under  the  great  dome  of  the  cathedral  where  nave  and  tran- 
septs met.  In  that  nave  and  in  the  adjoining  aisles  knelt  or 
stood  the  rapt  throng  of  worshipers.  Forced  by  numbers 
who  could  not  be  accommodated  in  the  cathedral  and  by 
other  causes,  the  monks,  after  some  generations,  brought 
their  plays  out  into  the  square  in  front  of  the  cathedral. 
That  all  might  see  them  to  the  best  advantage  they  were 
ultimately  given  on  raised  platforms.  Certainly  by  the  time 
these  plays  passed  from  the  hands  of  the  churchmen  to  the 
control  of  the  trade  guilds,  they  were  on  pageant  cars,  a 
construction  not  unlike  our  floats  for  trade  processions  ex- 
cept that  they  contained  two  stories,  the  lower  high  enough 
to  use  for  a  dressing  room.  These  pageant  cars  the  journey- 
men drew,  between  daylight  and  dark,  from  station  to  sta- 
tion across  a  city  like  York  or  Chester.  At  each  station 
people  filled  the  windows  of  the  houses,  the  seats  built  up 
arOund  the  sides  of  the  square,  and  even  the  roofs.  The 
very  nature  of  this  platform  stage  forbade  scenery,  though 
elaborate  properties  seem  to  have  been  used.  By  contrast, 
on  the  Continent,  especially  in  France,  constructions  re- 
sembling house  fronts,  city  gates,  or  walls  could  be  freely 
set  up  on  the  large,  fixed  stage  for  miracle  plays  which  was 
built  In  some  great  square  of  the  city.  To  this  one  place 
flocked  all  the  would-be  auditors.  The  point  to  remember 
is  that  down  to  the  building  of  theatres  the  stage  meant  a 
platform,  large  or  small,  movable  or  stationary,  in  some 
public  place.  Simply  treated,  as  was  the  case  when  it  was 
movable,  it  would  have  a  curtain  at  the  back,  shutting  off  a 
space  where  costumes  could  be  changed  and  where  the 
prompter  could  stand:  scenery  was  out  of  the  question. 
Elaborately  treated,  when  it  was  stationary,  constructions 
suggesting  houses,  ships,  town  walls,  etc.,  might  be  shown 
at  the  back  or  side  of  the  stage,  but  they  seem  never  to  have 
been  shifted  from  the  beginning  to  the  end  of  the  perform- 
ance. Such  houses,  walls,  etc.,  were  used  when  needed,  but 
when  not  in  use  were  treated  as  nonexistent 
In  the  sixteenth  century  when  playing  passed  from  the 

384  DRAMA 

hands  of  the  guilds  to  groups  of  actors,  the  latter  sought 
refuge  from  the  noise  and  discomforts  of  the  public  square 
in  the  yards  of  inns.  In  those  day  galleries  like  the  bal- 
conies of  our  theatres  were  on  all  four  sides  of  such  an  inn 
yard,  sometimes  two  and  sometimes  three.  The  players, 
erecting  a  rough  platform  opposite  the  entrance  from  the 
street,  hung  a  curtain  from  the  edge  of  the  first  gallery  to 
their  stage.  In  the  room  or  rooms  behind  this  they  dressed. 
Thus  they  gained  a  front  stage ;  a  rear  stage  under  the  first 
gallery  to  be  revealed  when  the  curtain  was  drawn ;  an  upper 
stage  in  the  first  balcony  representing  at  will  city  walls,  a 
balcony  for  Romeo  and  Juliet,  or  an  upper  room.  High 
above  all  this  one  or  more  galleries  rose  which  could  be  used 
for  heavens  in  which  gods  and  goddesses  appeared.  In  the 
yard  stood  the  pittites;  in  the  side  and  end  galleries  sat  the 
people  who  paid  the  higher  prices. 


When,  in  1576,  London  saw  its  first  theatre  just  outside 
Bishopsgate,  it  was  circular,  in  imitation  of  existing  bull- 
baiting  arenas.  So  far  as  a  stage  projecting  into  the  pit,  the 
rear  stage  underneath  the  balcony,  and  the  use  of  the  first 
balcony  itself  were  concerned,  the  actors  merely  duplicated 
conditions  to  which  they  had  grown  attached  in  the  old  inn 
yards.  As  under  the  older  conditions,  scenery  was  impos- 
sible except  as  painted  cloths  might  be  hung  at  the  back  of 
the  balcony  or  under  it.  Hence  the  care  of  the  Elizabethan 
dramatists  to  place  their  scene  by  some  hint  or  description 
in  the  text.  Moreover,  a  play  lacking  the  stage  settings  of 
a  century  later  must  be  given  atmosphere,  reality,  and  even 
charm  from  within.  More  and  more,  however,  influenced 
by  increasingly  elaborate  performances  at  court  of  the 
masks,  the  public  pressed  the  theatre  manager  as  far  as  pos- 
sible to  duplicate  their  gorgeous  and  illusory  settings.  But 
such  settings  at  the  court  were  on  stages  behind  an  arch 
like  our  modern  proscenium.  Consequently  by  1660  the 
stage  of  1590  to  1642  had  shrunk  behind  a  proscenium  arch. 
Then  follow  two  centuries  of  v^ry  elaborate  staging  by 
painted  drops  at  the  back,  side  flats  set  in  grooves,  and 


DRAMA  385 

painted  borders.  It  should  be  remembered  that  till  the 
second  half  of  the  sixteenth  century  public  performances 
were  given  by  daylight,  largely  because  of  the  difficulty  in 
using  flaring  and  unsteady  links  or  cressets  for  artificial 
light.  When  evening  performances  became  the  vogue, 
candles  gave  the  light  till  the  discovery  of  illuminating  gas 
made  a  revolution  in  theatrical  lighting.  About  i860,  the 
so-called  box  set,  a  means  of  shutting  in  the  whole  stage, 
replaced  for  interiors  a  back  drop  and  painted  side  flats. 
Undoubtedly,  some  of  the  splendid  and  imaginative  settings 
of  Macready,  Charles  Kean,  and  Sir  Henry  Irving,  seemed 
the  last  word  on  the  subject.  Steadily,  however,  producer 
and  dramatist  have  worked  together  to  make  the  stage  as 
illusive  as  possible.  On  the  one  hand,  realism  has  strained 
it  to  the  utmost;  on  the  other,  poetic  and  fantastic  drama 
have  forced  it  to  visualize  for  us  the  realms  of  imagination. 
Responding  to  all  this,  modern  science  and  invention  have 
come  to  the  aid  of  drama.  Electricity  has  opened  up  ways 
of  lighting  not  even  yet  fully  explored.  At  present,  par- 
ticularly in  Germany,  most  ingenious  devices  have  been  in- 
vented for  shifting  scenery  as  quickly  as  possible.  There 
and  elsewhere,  especially  in  Russia  and  England,  skill  and 
much  artistry  have  been  shown  in  quickening  the  imagina- 
tion of  the  audience  to  the  utmost  by  suggestion  rather  than 
by  representation  of  minute  and  confusing  detail.  Fre- 
quently to-day  the  elaborate  scenery  of  the  past  is  improved 
upon  by  a  stage  hung  about  with  curtains,  with  some  prop- 
erties here  and  there  or  a  painted  drop  at  the  back  to  give 
all  the  suggestion  needed.  Alert  and  responsive,  the  stage 
of  to-day  at  its  best,  in  sharpest  contrast  with  the  bare  stage 
of  the  sixteenth  century,  is  calling  on  architects  to  make  it 
flexible,  on  physicists  and  artists  to  light  it  elusively,  on 
great  designers  to  arrange  its  decorations.  In  brief,  the 
stage  throughout  its  history,  longing  always  and  trying  al- 
ways to  adapt  itself  to  the  demands  of  the  dramatist,  is  to- 
day, as  never  before,  plastic. 


Nor   has   the   drama   changed   merely   in  these   respects. 
Once  the  drama  was  almost  wholly  national.    Then  just  be- 
HCL — 13 

386  D^AMA 

cause  a  play  smacked  so  of  its  soil,  it  could  not  be  liitelH- 
gently  heard  elsewhere.  In  the  seventies,  as  far  as  the 
American  public  was  concerned,  this  was  true  of  the  plays 
of  Dumas  fils  and  Augief.  Now,  incteased  travel  and  all 
the  varied  means  of  intercommunication  between  nations 
make  fot  such  swift  interchange  of  ideas  that  the  dramatic 
success  of  Moieow,  St.  PetersbUfg,  Stockholm,  Paris,  Lon- 
don, or  Madrid  is  known  quickly  the  World  over.  With  the 
drawing  togethfef  of  the  nations  more  common  interests  have 
developed,  so  that  intellectual  and  mofal  movements  are  not 
merely  national  but  wotld-wide.  All  this  makes  any  national 
treatment  of  a  world  question  widely  Interesting:  it  even 
makes  the  wofld  interested  in  local  problems.  Most  marked 
change  of  all,  this  free  intercommunication  of  ideas  tends  to 
make  even  the  humor  of  one  nation  comprehensible  by  an- 

To-day,  then,  the  drama  has  become  cosmopolitan.  Broad- 
way stes  Reinhafdt's  Berlin  productions  t  Paris  and  Berlin 
see  '*Kismet.'*  Bfoadway  knows  Gorki,  Bdeux,  and 
Schnitzlef  J  English  and  American  plays  have  a  heafing  on 
the  Continent.  For  two  generations  the  dfama  has  been 
fighting  to  taktt  for  its  motto  "Nihil  mihi  alienum."  It  has 
won  that  fight.  Sensitive,  responsive,  eagerly  welcomed 
everywhere,  the  drama,  holding  the  mirror  up  to  nature,  by 
laughter  and  by  tears  reveals  to  mankind  the  world  of  men. 


By  Professor  Charles  Burton  Gulick 

THE  word  "drama*'  is  Greek,  and  means  action — or,  as 
the  Greeks  limited  its  use,  action  that  goes  on  before 
our  eyes.  In  this  way  they  distinguished  the  product 
of  the  theater  from  the  action  of  epic  poetry  and  the  action 
of  history,  both  of  which,  as  understood  and  written  by  the 
Greeks,  had  highly  dramatic  qualities. 

Three  centuries  roughly  coincide  with  the  three  periods 
of  development  into  which  the  history  of  the  Greek  theater 
naturally  falls.  The  sixth  century  B.  C.  is  the  time  of  prep- 
aration. The  fifth  witnessed  the  full  flowering  of  Athenian 
genius.  In  the  fourth  the  so-called  New  Comedy,,  largely 
inspired  by  the  realism  of  Euripides,  took  shape  in  the  com- 
edy of  manners,  the  portrayal  of  domestic  life,  and  the 
foibles  of  society. 


A  superficial  glance  at  any  play  contained  in  The  Harvard 
Classics  will  at  once  reveal  the  prominence  of  the  chorus. 
To  understand  this,  a  swell  as  other  features  in  the  structure 
of  a  play,  we  must  inquire  into  the  origin  of  tragedy  and 

This  inquiry,  slight  though  it  must  be,  is  the  more 
essential  because  it  was  the  constructive  genius  of  the 
Greeks  that  discovered  and  developed  the  drama  as  all  coun- 
tries and  ages  have  since  known  it. 

The  drama  is  founded  in  religion.  In  the  Greek  con- 
sciousness it  had  its  spring  in  the  worship  of  Dionysus,  who 
in  one  of  his  aspects  was  a  god  of  the  underworld,  latest 
comer  into  the  Greek  Pantheon,  whose  religion  had  evoked 
much  opposition,  and  whose  story  was  full  of  suffering  as 


388  DRAMA 

well  as  triumph  and  joy.  He  represented  the  life-giving 
forces  of  nature;  he  was  god  of  the  vine  and  of  wine,  and 
at  the  vintage  festival  the  country  folk  celebrated  him  in 
dance  and  song.  They  smeared  their  faces  with  wine  lees 
and  covered  their  bodies  with  goatskins,  to  imitate  the  goat- 
like attendants  of  the  god,  who  were  called  satyrs.  Thus 
their  song,  tragoedia,  was  the  "song  of  the  goats,"  tragoi, 
and  many  years  elapsed  before  it  became  dignified.  Toward 
the  end  of  the  seventh  century  B.  C.  the  poet  Arion  of 
Corinth  adapted  this  folksong  to  his  own  purposes  and  gave 
it,  under  the  name  of  dithyramb,  something  like  literary  dis- 
tinction. It  was  capable  of  great  variety  in  form  and  mat- 
ter, but  maintained  its  characteristic  pathos  throughout. 
The  chorus  gave  expression  to  cries  of  joy  or  ejaculations 
of  pity  and  terror  as  the  story  of  the  god  unfolded  itself. 
A  refrain,  in  which  the  same  words  were  repeated,  was  a 
constant  element. 

The  dithyramb  remained  purely  lyric ;  but  during  the  sixth 
century,  we  know  not  how  or  through  what  personality,  it 
underwent  a  modification  of  profound  importance.  Some 
genius,  perhaps  Thespis,  conceived  the  idea  of  impersonat- 
ing the  god  or  some  hero  connected  with  his  myth,  in  the 
presence  of  his  chorus  of  worshipers.  He  wore  a  mask  and 
carried  other  properties  appropriate  to  his  nature,  and  with 
the  leader  of  the  chorus  interchanged  a  dialogue  which  was 
interrupted  from  time  to  time  by  the  comments  of  the 
chorus,  accompanied  by  dancing  and  gestures. 

Thespis,  whose  name  has  become  familiar  in  all  the  lit- 
eratures of  Europe,  was  a  native  of  Icaria,  a  village  in 
Attica,  at  the  foot  of  Mt.  Pentelicus.  The  region,  excavated 
by  American  explorers  some  years  ago,  is  still  known  as 
Dionysos.  It  lies  in  a  valley  which  leads  to  Marathon,  and 
the  scanty  ruins,  hidden  among  olive  groves  and  vineyards, 
betray  no  sign  that  it  is  the  birthplace  of  European  drama. 
Thespis  exhibited  here  during  the  latter  half  of  the  sixth 

None  of  his  works  have  survived.  They  were  prob- 
ably merely  sketched,  not  written  out,  and  still  followed 
the  method  of  improvisation  which,  Aristotle  says,  was  in 
vogue  in  the  early  steps  of  the  drama. 

DRAMA  389 


The  fifth  century  begins  with  authentic  names  and  shows 
more  positive  progress  toward  an  imposing  achievement. 
By  this  time  the  country  festivals  of  Dionysus  had  been 
taken  up  by  the  city.  As  early  as  the  middle  of  the  sixth 
century  the  god  had  been  brought  in  pomp  to  Athens,  and  a 
precinct  was  consecrated  to  him  at  the  southeast  slope  of 
the  Acropolis.  Beside  his  temple  the  ground  was  smoothed 
and  laid  out  in  a  great  dancing  circle — orchestra — with  an 
altar  in  the  center.  The  spectators,  or  theatron,  were 
ranged  on  the  slope  of  the  Acropolis.  Opposite  at  some 
distance  from  the  circle,  was  the  temple,  and  beyond  that 
Mt.  Hymettus  made  a  distant  background.  There  was  no 
scenery  except  what  nature  had  thus  provided,  but  a  con- 
vention soon  arose  whereby  it  was  understood  that  an  actor 
entering  from  the  right  of  the  spectators  came  from  the  city 
or  the  immediate  vicinity,  whereas  one  coming  from  the 
left  came  from  some  distant  country. 

The  early  composers  of  tragedy — for  the  author  composed 
music,  invented  dance  steps,  and  trained  the  chorus  to  sing 
— were  content  with  one  actor  who  by  changing  mask  and 
costume  in  a  neighboring  booth  (skene)  could  take  different 
roles.  The  chorus  leader  was  his  interlocutor  and  bore  the 
most  difficult  part,  if  we  may  judge  from  the  plays  of 
^schylus.  Among  the  earliest  poets  was  Phrynichus,  noted 
for  his  lofty  patriotism,  for  the  sweetness  of  his  lyrics,  for 
vigorous  inventiveness — which  dared  on  one  occasion  to 
employ  a  historical  theme,  "The  Fall  of  Mifetus" — and  for 
the  introduction  of  female  roles  among  those  assigned  to  the 
actor.  The  progress,  as  Aristotle  emphasizes,  was  slow  and 
tentative,  and  it  is  clear  that  the  audience  did  not  willingly 
allow  any  wide  departure  from  the  limits  imposed  by  the 
religious  origin  and  occasion  of  the  performance.  More 
than  once  the  conservative  complaint,  "This  has  nothing  to 
do  with  Dionysus,"  would  restrain  an  author  from  breaking 
too  hurriedly  with  tradition,  and  the  high  purpose  and 
seriousness  of  tragedy  was  due  not  so  much  to  any  latent 
germ  at  its  beginning — for  comedy  had  the  same  popular 
origin  in  the  vintage  festival — as  to  the  serious  intent  and 

390  DRAMA 

deep  religious  conviction  of  the  poets  of  the  time,  whose 
minds  were  also  impressed  by  the  gravity  of  the  coming 
conflict  with  Persia. 


^schylus  was  thirty-five  years  old  when  he  fought  at 
Marathon.  Born  at  Eleusis,  near  the  Greek  sanctuary  where 
the  Mysteries  of  Demeter,  Persephone,  and  Dionysus  (here 
worshiped  as  Bacchus)  were  celebrated,  his  soul  was 
charged  with  influences  which  affected  his  plays  and  explain 
why  religious  problems,  like  that  of  sin  and  the  justice  of 
God,  are  so  prominent  in  his  thought  Externally,  the 
gorgeous  vestments  of  the  Eleusinian  priests  inspired  him 
with  the  idea  of  perfecting  the  costume  of  his  players;  but 
it  was  his  own  genius  which  led  him  to  take  the  step  that 
entitles  him  to  be  called  the  Father  of  Tragedy.  This  was 
the  introduction  of  a  second  actor,  which  made  it  possible 
to  portray  two  contrasted  characters,  two  sets  of  emotions 
or  purposes,  and  to  bring  before  the  sympathizing  chorus 
and  spectators  a  conflict  of  ideals  which,  according  to  Hegel, 
is  the  essence  of  tragedy* 

The  dithyramb  was  a  comparatively  short  piece ;  hence  an 
early  tragedy  was  short.  When,  as  the  constructive  faculty 
increased,  it  became  evident  that  a  theme  could  not  be 
worked  out  within  the  limits  of  a  single  play,  the  custom 
arose  of  treating  it  in  a  group  of  three  plays,  to  which  was 
added,  in  deference  to  the  festival,  a  satyr  play,  wherein  the 
chorus  took  the  part  of  satyrs,  as  in  the  ancient  time.  Thus 
the  great  theme  of  the  commission,  transmission,  and  re- 
mission of  sin  has  its  beginning,  middle,  and  end  in  the 
"Agamemnon,"  "Libation-Bearers,"  and  "Furies,"*  the  only 
trilogy  that  is  extant.  Even  this  lacks  the  satyr  play  which 
once  made  the  group  a  normal  tetralogy.  The  "Prometheus 
Bound,"'  is  obviously  incomplete.  We  have  lost  the  part  of 
the  trilogy  in  which  the  reconciliation  between  the  rebellious 
Titan  and  his  enemy,  Zeus,  was  effected,  and  the  justice  of 
Zeus  vindicated. 

*  For  the  complete  trilogy  see  Harvard  Classics,  viii,  sff. 
•H.  C,  Tiii.  is6ff. 

DRAMA  891 

All  the  Greek  plays  contained  in  The  Harvard  Classics 
belong  to  the  period  of  Athenian  expansion  following  the 
successful  fight  against  Persia.  Poets,  painters,  sculptors, 
joined  in  celebrating  the  achievement  of  Greece,  due  mostly 
to  Athens,  in  ridding  Europe  for  centuries  from  the  fear  of 
Oriental  despotism.  Exploration  and  commerce  brought 
new  wealth  into  Attica,  which  now  controlled  the  sea,  and 
the  outburst  of  lyric  and  dramatic  genius  has  had  no  par- 
allel except  in  England  after  the  destruction  of  the  Spanish 


Sophocles,*  the  tragedian  who  represents  the  purest  type 
of  the  classical  Greek,  was  in  his  teens  when  the  Battle  of 
Salamis  was  won.  Beautiful  in  person  and  clear  sighted  in 
intellect,  he  was  the  first  to  use  the  new  Greek  art  in  the 
theater.  For  he  introduced  scene  painting.  Heretofore 
even  JEschylus  had  been  content  with  only  the  altar  in  the 
orchestra  and  a  few  statues  of  gods  on  the  outer  edge  away 
from  the  audience.  Sophocles  now  erected  a  scene  building, 
the  front  of  which  showed  to  the  audience  the  facade  of  a 
temple  or  palace,  pierced  by  a  single  door.  The  two  side 
entrances  were  retained,  -^schylus  adopted  the  innovation 
readily,  and  thus  we  find  the  scenery  of  the  "Agamemnon," 
simple  as  it  is,  far  advanced  from  the  earlier  conditions. 
Sophocles  also  enlarged  the  chorus  from  twelve  to  fifteen 
singers,  securing  greater  volume  of  tone  and  variety  of  mo- 
tion and  gesture.  But  from  this  time  onward  we  note  a 
steady  diminution  of  the  choral  parts  and  the  greater  prom- 
inence of  the  actors,  whose  number  Sophocles  increased  to 


In  Euripides  we  have  the  boldest  innovator,  both  in  the 
resources  of  dramaturgy  and  in  the  moral  problems  whiqh  he 
treats.  Even  he  cannot  break  entirely  with  tradition,  and 
it  is  a  curious  chance  that  the  latest  play  of  this  great  period, 
the  "Bacchae,"*  harks  back  to  the  theme  of  the  earliest 
tragedies,  the  savage  triumph  of  Dionysus  over  his  per- 

•  H.  C„  viii,  197.  *  H,  C„  viii,  349. 

392  DRAMA 

>  secutors.  But  the  method  of  Euripides  leads  him  to  devices 
for  which  he  was  bitterly  criticized.  His  characters  are  no 
longer  gods,  the  motive  power  in  his  plots  no  longer  divine. 
They  are  men  and  women,  often  moved  by  sordid  and  trivial 
causes,  yet  none  the  less  pathetic.  To  Aristotle  he  is  the 
most  tragic  of  the  three,  and  his  appeal  to  sympathy  is 
strong  because  his  personages  are  human.  The  effects  of 
tragedy,  pity  and  terror,  become  more  vivid  because  the 
sufferers  are  made  of  the  same  stuff  as  the  audience.  In 
plot  he  is  less  skillful  than  Sophocles  at  his  best,  and  he 
sometimes  has  recourse  to  the  deus  ex  machina  to  cut  the 
complicated  knot  of  his  own  tying.  Yet  even  here  the  ap- 
pearance of  the  god,  as  at  the  end  of  the  "Hippolytus,"  *  is 
justified  by  its  spectacular  effect. 

•H".   C,  viii,  287. 


By  Professor  W.  A.  Neilson 

WHEN  the  great  European  movement  known  as  the 
Renaissance  reached  England,  it  found  its  fullest 
and  most  lasting  expression  in  the  drama.  By  a 
fortunate  group  of  coincidences  this  intellectual  and  artistic 
impulse  affected  the  people  of  England  at  a  moment  when 
the  country  was  undergoing  a  rapid  and,  on  the  whole,  a 
peaceful  expansion — ^when  the  national  spirit  soared  high, 
and  when  the  development  of  the  language  and  the  forms 
of  versification  had  reached  a  point  which  made  possible  the 
most  triumphant  literary  achievement  which  that  country 
has  seen. 


Throughout  the  Middle  Ages  Ihe  English  drama,  like  that 
of  other  European  countries,  was  mainly  religious  and 
didactic,  its  chief  forms  being  the  Miracle  Plays,  which 
presented  in  crude  dialogue  stories  from  the  Bible  and  the 
lives  of  the  saints,  and  the  Moralities,  which  taught  lessons 
for  the  guidance  of  life  through  the  means  of  allegorical 
action  and  the  personification  of  abstract  qualities.  Both 
forms  were  severely  limited  in  their  oportunities  for  pictur- 
ing human  nature  and  human  life  with  breadth  and  variety. 
With  the  revival  of  learning  came  naturally  the  study  and 
imitation  of  the  ancient  classical  drama,  and  in  some  coun- 
tries this  proved  the  chief  influence  in  determining  the  prev- 
alent type  of  drama  for  generations  to  come.  But  in  Eng- 
land, though  we  can  trace  important  results  of  the  models 
given  by  Seneca  in  tragedy  and  Plautus  in  comedy,  the  main 
characteristics  of  the  drama  of  the  Elizabethan  age  were  of 
native  origin,  and  reflected  the  spirit  and  the  interests  of  the 
Englishmen  of  that  day. 


394  DRAMA 


Of  the  various  forms  which  this  drama  took,  the  first  to 
reach  a  culmination  was  the  so-called  Chronicle  History. 
This  is  represented  in  The  Harvard  Classics  by  the  "Ed- 
ward II."*  of  Marlowe,  the  greatest  of  the  predecessors  of 
Shakespeare;  and  Shakespeare  himself  produced  some  ten 
plays  belonging  to  the  type.  These  dramas  reflect  the  in- 
terest the  Elizabethans  took  in  the  heroic  past  of  their  coun- 
try, and  before  the  vogue  of  this  kind  of  play  passed  nearly 
the  whole  of  English  history  for  the  previous  three  hundred 
years  had  been  presented  on  the  stage.  As  a  form  of  dra- 
matic art  the  Chronicle  History  had  many  defects  and 
limitations.  The  facts  of  history  do  not  always  lend  them- 
selves to  effective  theatrical  representation,  and  in  the  at- 
tempt to  combine  history  and  drama  both  frequently  suffered. 
But  suprisingly  often  the  playwrights  found  opportunity  for 
such  studies  of  character  as  that  of  the  King  in  Marlowe's 
tragedy,  for  real  dramatic  structure  as  in  Shakespeare's 
"Richard  III,"  or  for  the  display  of  gorgeous  rhetoric  and 
national  exultation  as  in  "Henry  V."  These  plays  should 
not  be  judged  by  comparison  with  the  realism  of  the  modern 
drama.  The  authors  sought  to  give  the  actors  fine  lines  to 
deliver,  without  seeking  to  imitate  the  manner  of  actual 
conversation;  and  if  the  story  was  conveyed  interestingly 
and  absorbingly,  no  further  illusion  was  sought.  If  this  im- 
plied some  loss,  it  also  made  possible  much  splendid  poetry. 


Closely  connected  with  the  historical  plays  was  the  early 
development  of  Tragedy.  But  in  the  search  for  themes,  the 
dramatists  soon  broke  away  from  fact,  and  the  whole  range 
of  imaginative  narrative  also  was  searched  for  tragic  sub- 
jects. While  the  work  of  Seneca  accounts  to  some  extent 
for  the  prevalence  of  such  features  as  ghosts  and  the  motive 
of  revenge,  the  form  of  Tragedy  that  Shakespeare  devel- 
oped from  the  experiments  of  men  like  Marlowe  and  Kyd 

^Harvard    Classics,    xlvi,    sff.      For    "Doctor    Faustus"    »ec    Professor 
Francke's  article  below. 



was  really  a  new  and  distinct  type.  Such  classical  restric- 
tions as  the  unities  of  place  and  time,  and  the  complete 
separation  of  comedy  and  tragedy,  were  discarded,  and  there 
resulted  a  series  of  plays  which,  while  often  marked  by 
lack  of  restraint,  of  regular  form,  of  unity  of  tone,  yet  gave 
a  picture  of  human  life  as  affected  by  sin  and  suffering 
which  in  its  richness,  its  variety,  and  its  imaginative  ex- 
uberance has  never  been  equaled. 

The  greatest  master  of  Tragedy  was  Shakespeare,  and  in 
Tragedy  he  reached  his  greatest  height.  "Hamlet,"*  "King 
Lear,"*  and  "Macbeth"*  are  among  his  finest  productions, 
and  they  represent  the  noblest  pitch  of  English  genius.  Of 
these,  "Hamlet"  was  perhaps  most  popular  at  the  time  of  its 
production,  and  it  has  held  its  interest  and  provoked  dis- 
cussion as  perhaps  no  other  play  of  any  time  or  country  has 

This  is  in  part  due  to  the  splendor  of  its  poetry,  the 
absorbing  nature  of  the  plot,  and  the  vividness  of  the  draw- 
ing of  characters  who  marvelously  combine  individuality 
with  a  universal  and  typical  quality  that  makes  them  appeal 
to  people  of  all  kinds  and  races.  But  much  also  is  due  to 
the  delineation  of  the  hero,  the  subtlety  of  whose  character 
and  the  complexity  of  whose  motives  constitute  a  perpetual 
challenge  to  our  capacity  for  solving  mysteries.  "King 
Lear"  owes  its  appeal  less  to  its  tendency  to  rouse  curiosity 
than  to  its  power  to  awe  us  with  an  overwhelming  spectacle 
of  the  suffering  which  folly  and  evil  can  cause  and  which 
human  nature  can  sustain.  In  spite  of,  or  perhaps  because 
of,  its  intricacy  of  motive  and  superabundance  of  incident, 
it  is  the  most  overwhelming  of  all  in  its  effect  on  our  emo- 
tions. Compared  with  it,  "Macbeth"  is  a  simple  play,  but 
nowhere  does  one  find  a  more  masterly  portrayal  of  the 
moral  disaster  that  falls  upon  the  man  who,  seeing  the  light, 
chooses  the  darkness. 

Though  first,  Shakespeare  was  by  no  means  alone  in  the 
production  of  great  tragedy.  Contemporary  with  him  or 
immediately  following  came  Jonson,  Marston,  Middleton, 
Massinger,  Ford,  Shirley,  and  others,  all  producing  brilliant 
work;  but  the  man  who  most  nearly   approached  him  in 

396  DRAMA 

tragic  intensity  was  John  Webster.  "The  Duchess  of  Malfi"  * 
is  a  favorable  example  of  his  ability  to  inspire  terror  and 
pity;  and  though  his  range  is  not  comparable  to  that  of 
Shakespeare,  he  is  unsurpassed  in  his  power  of  coining  a 
phrase  which  casts  a  lurid  light  into  the  recesses  of  the 
human  heart  in  moments  of  supreme  passion. 


In  the  field  of  comedy,  Shakespeare's  supremacy  is  hardly 
less  assured.  From  the  nature  of  this  kind  of  drama,  we  do 
not  expect  in  it  the  depth  of  penetration  into  human  motive 
or  the  call  upon  our  profounder  sympathies  that  we  find  in 
Tragedy;  and  the  conventional  happy  ending  of  Comedy 
mkkes  difficult  the  degree  of  truth  to  life  that  one  expects 
in  serious  plays.  Yet  the  comedies  of  Shakespeare  are  far 
from  superficial.  Those  written  in  the  middle  of  his  career, 
such  as  "As  You  Like  It"  and  "Twelfth  Night,"  not  only 
display  with  great  skill  many  sides  of  human  nature,  but 
with  indescribable  lightness  and  grace  introduce  us  to  charm- 
ing creations,  speaking  lines  rich  in  poetry  and  sparkling 
with  wit,  and  bring  before  our  imaginations  whole  series  of 
delightful  scenes.  "The  Tempest"*  does  more  than  this. 
While  it  gives  us  again  much  of  the  charm  of  the  earlier 
comedies,  it  is  laden  with  the  mellow  wisdom  of  its  author's 
riper  years. 

"The  Alchemist,"^  representing  the  work  of  Ben  Jonson, 
belongs  to  a  type  which  Shakespeare  hardly  touched — the 
Realistic  Comedy.  It  is  a  vivid  satire  on  the  forms  of 
trickery  prevailing  in  London  about  1600 — alchemy,  astrol- 
ogy, and  the  like.  The  plot  is  constructed  with  the  care 
and  skill  for  which  its  author  is  famous;  and  though  its 
main  purpose  is  the  exposure  of  fraud,  and  much  of  its  in- 
terest lies  in  its  picture  of  the  time,  yet,  in  the  speeches  of 
Sir  Epicure  Mammon,  for  instance,  it  contains  some  splen- 
did poetry.  Dekker's  "Shoemaker's  Holiday"  *  in  a  much 
gayer  mood,  shows  us  another  side  of  London  life,  that  of 
the  respectable  tradesfolk.     Something  of  what  Jonson  and 

•/f.  C,  xlviij  72 iff.  'H.   C,  xlvi,  379ff. 

*H.  C.«  xlyii,  52 iff.  *lf«  C»,  xlvii,  447ff. 

DRAMA  397 

Dekker  do  for  the  city,  Massinger  does  for  country  life  in 
his  best  known  play,  "A  New  Way  to  Pay  Old  Debts,"  •  one 
of  the  few  Elizabethan  dramas  outside  of  Shakespeare 
which  have  held  the  stage  down  to  our  own  time.  Mas- 
singer's  characters,  like  Jonson*s,  are  apt  to  be  more  typical 
embodiments  of  tendencies,  less  individuals  whom  one  comes 
to  know,  than  Shakespeare's ;  yet  this  play  retains  its  inter- 
est and  power  of  rousing  emotion  as  well  as  its  moral  sig- 
nificance. The  "Philaster"  "of  Beaumont  and  Fletcher  be- 
longs to  the  same  type  of  romantic  drama  as  "The  Tempest" 
— ^the  type  of  play  which  belongs  to  Comedy  by  virtue  of  its 
happy  ending,  but  contains  incidents  and  passages  in  an  all 
but  tragic  tone.  Less  convincing  in  characterization  than 
Shakespeare,  Beaumont  and  Fletcher  yet  amaze  us  by  the 
brilliant  effectiveness  of  individual  scenes,  and  sprinkle  their 
pages  with  speeches  of  poetry  of  great  charm. 

The  dramas  of  the  Elizabethan  period  printed  in  The 
Harvard  Classics  serve  to  give  a  taste  of  the  quality  of  this 
literature  at  its  highest,  but  cannot,  of  course,  show  the  sur- 
prising amount  of  it,  or  indicate  the  extreme  literary-his- 
torical interest  of  its  rise  and  development.  Seldom  in  the 
history  of  the  world  has  the  spirit  of  a  period  found  so  ade- 
quate an  expression  in  literature  as  the  Elizabethan  spirit 
did  in  the  drama;  seldom  can  we  see  so  completely  mani- 
fested the  growth,  maturity,  and  decline  of  a  literary  form. 
But  beyond  these  historical  considerations,  we  are  drawn  to 
the  reading  of  Shakespeare  and  his  contemporaries  by  the 
attraction  of  their  profound  and  sympathetic  knowledge  of 
mankind  and  its  possibilities  for  suffering  and  joy,  for  sin 
and  nobility,  by  the  entertainment  afforded  by  their  dramatic 
skill  in  the  presentation  of  their  stories,  and  by  the  superb 
poetry  that  they  lavished  so  profusely  on  their  lines. 

•H.  C,  xlvii,  8i9ff.  "H.  C,  xlvii,  639a, 


By  Professor  Kuno  Francke 

THE  Faust  legend  is  a  conglomerate  of  anonymous 
popular  traditions,  largely  of  mediaeval  origin,  which 
in  the  latter  part  of  the  sixteenth  century  came  to  be 
associated  with  an  actual  individual  of  the  name  of  Faustus 
whose  notorious  career  during  the  first  four  decades  of  the 
century,  as  a  pseudoscientific  mountebank,  juggler,  and 
magician,  can  be  traced  through  various  parts  of  Germany. 
The  "Faust  Book"  of  1587,  the  earliest  collection  of  these 
tales,  is  of  prevailingly  theological  character.  It  represents 
Faust  as  a  sinner  and  reprobate,  and  it  holds  up  his  compact 
with  Mephistophiles  and  his  subsequent  damnation  as  an 
example  of  human  recklessness  and  as  a  warning  to  th( 
faithful  to  cling  to  the  orthodox  means  of  Christian  sal- 


From  this  "Faust  Book,"  that  is,  from  its  English  trans- 
lation, which  appeared  in  1588,  Marlowe  took  his  tragedy  of 
"Dr.  Faustus"*  (1589;  published  1604).  In  Marlowe's 
drama  Faust  appears  as  a  typical  man  of  the  Renaissance, 
as  an  explorer  and  adventurer,  as  a  superman  craving  for 
extraordinary  power,  wealth,  enjoyment,  and  wordly  emi- 
nence. The  finer  emotions  are  hardly  touched  upon.  Mephis- 
tophiles is  the  mediaeval  devil,  harsh  and  grim  and  fierce, 
bent  on  seduction,  without  any  comprehension  of  human 
aspirations.  Helen  of  Troy  is  a  she-devil,  and  becomes  the 
final  means  of  Faust's  destruction.  Faust's  career  has 
hardly  an  element  of  true  greatness.  None  of  the  many 
tricks,  conjurings,  and  miracles,  which  Faust  performs  with 
Mephistophiles's  help,  has  any  relation  to  the  deeper  mean- 

*  Harvard  Classics,  xix,  199. 



ing  of  life.  They  are  mostly  mere  pastimes  and  vanity. 
From  the  compact  on  to  the  end  hardly  anything  happens 
which  brings  Faust  inwardly  nearer  either  to  heaven  or  hell. 
But  there  is  a  sturdiness  of  character  and  stirring  intensity 
of  action,  with  a  happy  admixture  of  buffoonery,  through  it 
all.  And  we  feel  something  of  the  pathos  and  paradox  of 
human  passions  in  the  fearful  agony  of  F^U^t's  final  doom. 


The  German  popular  Faust  drama  of  the  seventeenth  cen* 
tury,  and  its  outgrowth,  the  puppet  plays,  are  a  reflex  both 
of  Marlowe's  tragedy  and  the  "Faust  Book"  of  1587,  al- 
though they  contain  a  number  of  original  scenes,  notably 
the  Council  of  the  Devils  at  the  beginning.  Here  agaii\. 
the  underlying  sentiment  is  the  abhorrence  of  human  reck- 
lessness and  extravagance.  In  some  of  these  plays  the 
vanity  of  bold  ambition  is  brought  out  with  particular  em- 
phasis through  th^  contrast  between  the  daring  and  dis- 
satisfied Faust  and  his  farcical  counterpart,  the  jolly  and 
contented  Casperle. 

In  the  last  scene,  while  FauPt  in  despair  and  contrition  is 
waiting  for  the  sound  pf  th«  midnight  bell  which  ii  to  be 
the  pignal  of  bis  destruction,  Casperle,  u  night  watchman, 
patrols  the  street*  pf  the  town  calling  out  the  hours  and 
singing  the  traditional  verges  of  admonition  to  qniet  wd 
orderly  conduct. 

To  the  sixteenth  and  seventeenth  centuries,  then,  Faust 
appeared  aa  a  criminal  who  sins  against  the  eternal  laws  of 
life,  as  a  rebel  against  holiness  who  ruins  his  better  self  and 
finally  receives  the  merited  reward  of  bis  misdeeds.  He 
could  not  appear  thus  to  the  eighteenth  century.  The 
eighteenth  century  is  the  age  of  Rationalism  and  of  Roman- 
ticism. The  eighteenth  century  glorifies  human  reason  and 
human  feeling.  The  rights  of  man  and  the  dignity  of  man 
are  its  principal  watchwords.  Such  an  age  was  bound  to  see 
in  Faust  a  representative  of  true  humanity,  a  champion  of 
freedom,  nature,  truth.  Such  an  age  was  bound  to  see 
in  Faust  a  symbol  of  human  striving  for  completeness  of 

400  DRAMA 


It  is  Lessing  who  has  given  to  the  Faust  Legend  this  turn. 
His  "Faust,"  unfortunately  consisting  only  of  a  few  frag- 
mentary sketches,  is  a  defense  of  Rationalism.  The  most 
important  of  these  fragments,  preserved  to  us  in  copies  by 
some  friends  of  Lessing's,  is  the  prelude,  a  council  of  devils. 
Satan  is  receiving  reports  from  his  subordinates  as  to  what 
they  have  done  to  bring  harm  to  the  realm  of  God.  The 
first  devil  who  speaks  has  set  the  hut  of  some  pious  poor  on 
fire;  the  second  has  buried  a  fleet  of  usurers  in  the  waves. 
Both  excite  Satan's  disgust.  "For,"  he  says,  "to  make  the 
pious  poor  still  poorer  means  only  to  chain  him  all  the  more 
firmly  to  God" ;  and  the  usurers,  if,  instead  of  being  buried 
in  the  waves,  they  had  been  allowed  to  reach  the  goal  of 
their  voyage,  would  have  wrought  new  evil  on  distant 

Much  more  satisfied  is  Satan  with  the  report  of  a  third 
devil,  who  has  stolen  the  first  kiss  from  a  young,  innocent 
girl  and  thereby  breathed  the  flame  of  desire  into  her  veins ; 
for  he  has  worked  evil  in  the  world  of  spirit,  and  that  means 
much  more  and  is  a  much  greater  triumph  for  hell  than  to 
work  evil  in  the  world  of  bodies.  But  it  is  the  fourth  devil 
to  whom  Satan  gives  the  prize.  He  has  not  done  anything 
as  yet.  He  has  only  a  plan,  but  a  plan  which,  if  carried  out, 
would  put  the  deeds  of  all  the  other  devils  into  the  shade — 
the  plan  "to  snatch  from  God  his  favorite."  This  favorite 
of  God  is  Faust,  "a  solitary,  brooding  youth,  renouncing  all 
passion  except  the  passion  for  truth,  entirely  living  in  truth, 
entirely  absorbed  in  it."  To  snatch  him  from  God — ^that 
would  be  a  victory  over  which  the  whole  realm  of  night 
would  rejoice.  Satan  is  enchanted;  the  war  against  truth 
is  his  element.  Yes,  Faust  must  be  seduced,  he  must  be  de- 
stroyed. And  he  shall  be  destroyed  through  his  very  aspira- 
tion. "Didst  thou  not  say  he  has  desire  for  knowledge? 
That  is  enough  for  perdition !"  His  striving  for  truth  is  to 
lead  him  into  darkness.  With  such  exclamations  the  devils 
break  up,  to  set  about  their  work  of  seduction;  but,  as  they 
are  breaking  up,  there  is  heard  from  above  a  divine  voice: 
"Ye  shall  not  conquer." 


DRAMA  401 

Goethe's  earlier  and  later  treatments 

It  cannot  be  denied  that  Goethe's  earliest  Faust  concep- 
tion, the  so-called  "Urfaust"  of  1773  and  1774,  lacks  the  wide 
sweep  of  thought  that  characterizes  these  fragments  of 
Lessing's  drama.  His  Faust  of  the  Storm  and  Stress  period  is 
essentially  a  Romanticist.  He  is  a  dreamer,  craving  for  a  sight 
of  the  divine,  longing  to  fathom  the  inner  working  of  nature, 
drunk  with  the  mysteries  of  the  universe.  But  he  is  also  an 
unruly  individualist,  a  reckless  despiser  of  accepted  morality ; 
and  it  is  hard  to  see  how  his  relation  with  Gretchen,  which 
forms  by  far  the  largest  part  of  the  "Urfaust,"  can  lead  to  any- 
thing but  a  tragic  catastrophe.  Only  Goethe's  second  Faust  * 
conception,  which  sets  in  with  the  end  of  the  nineties  of  the 
eighteenth  century,  opens  up  a  clear  view  of  the  heights  of  life. 

Goethe  was  now  in  the  full  maturity  of  his  powers,  a  man 
widely  separated  from  the  impetuous  youth  of  the  seventies 
whose  Promethean  emotions  had  burst  forth  with  volcanic 
passion.  He  had  meanwhile  become  a  statesman  and  phi- 
losopher. He  had  come  to  know  in  the  court  of  Weimar  a 
model  of  paternal  government,  conservative  yet  liberally  in- 
clined, and  friendly  to  all  higher  culture.  He  had  found  in 
his  truly  spiritual  relation  to  Frau  von  Stein  a  safe  harbor 
for  his  tempestuous  feelings.  He  had  been  brought  face  to 
face,  during  his  sojourn  in  Italy,  with  the  wonders  of  classic 
art.  The  study  of  Spinoza  and  his  own  scientific  investiga- 
tions had  confirmed  him  in  a  thoroughly  monistic  view  of 
the  world  and  strengthened  his  belief  in  a  universal  law 
which  makes  evil  itself  an  integral  part  of  the  good.  The  ex- 
ample of  Schiller  as  well  as  his  own  practical  experience  had 
taught  him  that  the  untrammeled  living  out  of  personality 
must  go  hand  in  hand  with  incessant  work  for  the  common 
welfare  of  mankind.  All  this  is  reflected  in  the  completed 
Part  First  of  1808 ;  it  finds  its  most  comprehensive  expression 
in  Part  Second,  the  bequest  of  the  dying  poet  to  posterity. 

Restless  endeavor,  incessant  striving  from  lower  spheres 
of  life  to  higher  ones,  from  the  sensuous  to  the  spiritual, 
from  enjoyment  to  work,  from  creed  to  deed,  from  self  to 
humanity — this  is  the  moving  thought  of  Goethe's  completed 

*H,  C,  xix,  7ff. 


"Faust."  The  keynote  is  struck  in  the  "Prologue  in 
Heaven."  Faust,  so  we  hear,  the  daring  idealist,  the  servant 
of  God,  is  to  be  tempted  by  Mephisto,  the  despiser  of  reason, 
the  materialistic  scoffer.  But  we  also  hear,  and  we  hear  it 
from  God'3  own  lips,  that  the  tempter  will  not  succeed.  God 
allows  the  devil  free  play,  because  he  knows  that  he  will 
frustrate  his  own  ends,  Faust  will  be  led  astray — "man  errs 
while  he  strives" ;  but  he  will  not  abandon  his  higher  aspira- 
tions; through  aberration  and  sin  he  will  find  the  true  way 
toward  which  his  inner  nature  instinctively  guides  him.  He 
will  not  eat  dust.  Even  in  the  compact  with  Mephisto  the 
same  ineradicable  optimism  asserts  itself.  Faust's  wager 
with  the  devil  is  nothing  but  an  act  of  temporary  despair, 
and  the  very  fact  that  he  docs  not  hope  anything  from  it 
shows  that  he  will  win  it.  He  knows  that  sensual  enjoy- 
ment will  never  give  him  satisfaction;  he  knows  that,  as 
long  as  he  gives  himself  up  to  self-gratification,  there  will 
never  be  a  moment  to  which  he  would  say :  "Abide,  thou  art 
so  fair!"  From  the  outset  we  feel  that  by  living  up  to  the 
very  terms  of  the  compact,  Faust  will  rise  superior  to  it; 
that  by  rushing  into  the  whirlpool  of  earthly  experience  and 
passion  his  being  will  be  heightened  and  expanded. 

And  thus  everything  in  the  whole  drama,  all  its  incidents 
and  all  its  characters,  become  episodes  in  the  rounding  out 
of  this  grand,  all-comprehensive  personality.  Gretchen  and 
Helena,  Wagner  and  Mephisto,  Homunculus  and  Euphorion, 
the  Emperor's  court  and  the  shades  of  the  Greek  past,  the 
broodings  of  mediaeval  mysticism  and  the  practical  tasks  of 
modern  industrialism,  the  enlightened  despotism  of  the 
eighteenth  century  and  the  ideal  democracy  of  the  future^— all 
this  and  a  great  deal  more  enters  into  Faust's  being  and  is 
absorbed  by  him.  He  strides  on  from  experience  to  experi- 
ence, from  task  to  task,  expiating  guilt  by  doing,  losing  him- 
self, and  finding  himself  again.  Blinded  in  old  age  by 
Dame  Care,  he  feels  a  new  light  kindled  within.  Dying,  he 
gazes  into  a  far  future.  And  even  in  the  heavenly  regions 
he  goes  on  ever  changing  into  new  and  higher  and  finer 
forms.  It  is  this  irrepressible  spirit  of  striving  which  makes 
Goethe's  "Faust"  the  Bible  of  modern  humanity.* 

•  For  further  critical  comments  on  Goethe,  see  General  Index,  H,  C,  t, 


By  Dr.  Ernest  Bernbaum 

THE  modern  English  drama  is  represented  in  The  Har- 
vard Classics  by  two  comedies  of  the  eighteenth 
century  and  by  four  tragedies  of  the  seventeenth  and 
the  nineteenth.  Since  literary  fashions  change  from  age  to 
age,  and  since  the  authors  of  these  plays  were,  even  when 
contemporaries,  men  of  markedly  different  tastes,  it  is 
natural  that  the  six  dramas  should  be  more  or  less  conspicu- 
ously dissimilar.  Each  is  great  because  it  follows  an  ideal ; 
each  is  great  in  a  different  way  because  its  ideal  is  not  that 
of  the  others.  Which  of  these  ideals  is  absolutely  the  best, 
is  a  question  that  critics  have  much  debated,  sometimes 
acrimoniously:  Dryden  has  been  pitted  against  Shakespeare, 
Goldsmith  against  Sheridan,  Shelley  against  Browning,  and 
so  on.  Interesting  as  such  contentions  may  be,  they  tend  to 
obscure  rather  than  enlighten  the  mind  of  him  who  ap- 
proaches these  plays  simply  with  the  desire  to  enjoy  each  to 
the  full.  To  him  comparisons  are  odious  because,  instead  of 
leading  him  to  appreciate  many  plays  of  many  kinds,  they 
may  confine  his  enjoyment  to  those  of  one  school.  Yet, 
though  he  may  set  aside  the  vexatious  question  of  the  rela- 
tive worth  of  the  purposes  that  inspired  these  dramatists, 
he  will  not  gain  the  greatest  possible  delight  from  them  until 
he  understands  what  each  of  them  was  trying  to  do. 


Genial  Goldsmith*  delighted  in  the  kind  of  humor  that  is 
characteristic  of  "the  plain  people"  and  that  is  spontaneously 
enjoyed  by  them.  The  accidental  predicaments  into  which 
all  of  us  stumble,  to  our  embarrassment  and  the  amusement 
of  bystanders;  the  blunders  of  well-meaning  but  untrained 

*  harvard  Classics,  xviii,  203. 


404  DRAMA 

servants;  the  practical  jokes,  without  malice,  that  ever  de- 
light youth ;  the  shy  awkwardness  of  lovers ;  even  the  clown- 
ish tavern  jest  and  joviality ;  these  are  in  Goldsmith's  merry 
eyes  sources  of  wholesome  laughter.  It  troubles  him  not 
that  Young  Marlow  continues  to  believe  a  country  house  an 
inn,  and  the  host's  daughter  a  maidservant,  nor  that  Mrs. 
Hardcastle  mistakes  her  own  garden  for  a  distant  heath;  he 
ignores  the  improbability  of  such  situations  as  arouse  in- 
stinctive laughter.  It  is  the  unsophisticated  human  beings 
who  blunder  in  and  out  of  these  straits  that  he  wishes  to 
depict;  and  he  draws  simple  folk  like  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Hard- 
castle, Tony  Lumpkin,  and  Diggory,  with  extraordinary 
zest,  fidelity,  and  kindly  yet  shrewd  humor. 


Sheridan,  the  statesman,  orator,  and  wit,  wrote  of  the 
fashionable  world,  and  for  it  In  conformity  with  its  con- 
ventional existence,  and  its  taste  for  regularity,  he  admitted 
no  improbabilities  into  the  plot  of  "The  School  for  Scandal."  * 
As  men  and  women  of  fashion  tried  to  be  elegant,  witty,  or 
epigrammatic  in  speech,  he  aimed  to  bestow  like  graces  upon 
the  dialogue  of  his  personages — ^to  make  Joseph  Surface 
sententious,  Charles  sprightly,  Lady  Teazle  invincible  in 
repartee.  To  a  society  that  was  too  fastidious  to  be  enter- 
tained by  naive  simplicity,  rude  manners,  and  boisterous 
merriment,  Sheridan  wanted  to  reveal  the  comic  aspects  of 
its  usual  life.  He  laughed  at  the  scandal  mongers  who,  after 
tearing  others'  reputations  to  tatters,  departed  without  a  shred 
of  their  own,  at  the  foolish  though  innocent  young  wife  who 
was  fascinated  by  the  perilous  pleasures  of  a  fast  set,  and  at 
the  affected  young  hypocrite  whose  devious  schemes  undid 
him.  He  was  not  without  kindliness  of  heart,  as  the  humor  of 
the  final  scene  between  Sir  Peter  and  Lady  Teazle  shows ;  but 
'  satire  was  his  aim. 

DRYDEN    AND    '*ALL    FOR    LOVE" 

Like  most  tragedies,  Dryden's  "All  for  Love,"  *  shows  the 
pitiable    outcome    of    a    struggle    between    good    and    evil. 

•if.  C,  xviii,  105.  * H.  C,  xviii,  21. 

DRAMA  405 

Among  the  innumerable  manifestations  of  this  eternal  strife 
there  are  some  which  attract  by  their  singularity,  but  these 
were  not  of  interest  to  Dryden.  To  him  the  really  important 
tragic  conflicts  were  those  which  are  frequent  in  human 
life,  such  as  that  between  duty  and  passion.  He  chose  the 
theme  of  Antony  and  Cleopatra,  not  because  it  was  new  or 
extraordinary,  but  because  it  was  a  noble  illustration  of  a 
normal  dilemma  of  human  existence.  He  knew  of  course 
that  the  defeat  in  the  decisive  battle  of  Actium  of  the  last 
kingdom  of  the  Grecian  empire  by  triumphant  Rome  was 
epoch  making,*  and  offered  superb  opportunities  for  his- 
torical and -scenic  contrasts;  but  he  did  not  wish  to  write  a 
"world  drama."  When  he  raises  the  curtain,  Actium  has 
already  been  fought  and  the  destiny  of  nations  decided; 
what  remains  is  the  personal  fate  of  Antony  and  of  Cleo- 
patra, the  former  vainly  though  nobly  endeavoring  to  re- 
animate his  former  manhood  and  loyalty,  the  latter  trying 
amid  the  wreck  to  save  her  domination  over  him,  and  each 
tortured  by  lack  of  true  faith  in  the  other.  Their  emotions 
in  the  brief  final  crisis  of  their  lives  Dryden  sought  to  trace 
with  clearness  and  truth  to  nature,  and  to  express  with 
majestic  simplicity. 


When  Shelley  in  his  preface  to  "The  Cenci"*  speaks  of 
"teaching  the  human  heart,  through  its  sympathies  and  antip- 
athies, the  knowledge  of  itself,"  he  expresses  intentions  not 
widely  different  from  those  of  all  dramatists,  including 
Dryden ;  but  when  he  mentions  his  desire  to  "make  apparent 
some  of  the  most  dark  and  secret  caverns  of  the  human 
heart,"  he  indicates  his  own  predilection.  This  he  followed 
in  choosing  as  his  subject  a  "dark  and  secret"  crime,  the 
situation  into  which  the  monstrous  Cenci  forces  Beatrice 
being  unspeakable  and  abnormal.  As  suitable  backgrounds, 
Shelley  selects?  a  sinister  banquet,  a  gloomy  castle  at  night, 
and  a  prison  with  instruments  of  torture.  Yet  he  wishes 
not  to  fix  attention  upon  physical  horrors,  but  to  use  them  to 

*  "Lectures  on  Dr.  Eliot's  Five-Foot  Shelf  of  Books,"  History,  p.  7. 
•H.  C,  xviii,  281. 

406  DRAMA 

call  forth  in  his  characters  extreme  revelations  of  vice  and 
virtue.  He  feels  that  only  under  such  dread  circumstances 
can  the  deepest  potentialities  of  human  nature  be  displayed. 
The  very  extremity  of  Beatrice's  plight  lays  bare  the  core 
of  her  womanhood,  revealing  to  the  full  the  sensitiveness  of 
chastity  and  the  courage  of  innocence. 


Byron,  like  Shelley,  sought  what  lay  beyond  the  common- 
place, but  found  it  in  another  aspect  of  life.  His  "Manfred'* ' 
succumbs  not  to  man  or  society,  but  in  a  solitary  struggle 
with  the  mysteries  of  Nature.  From  her  he  has  wrested 
secrets,  her  forces  he  has  learned  to  command;  but  his 
proud  knowledge  and  power  have  been  gained  by  stifling 
the  social  feelings  of  humanity,  and  his  life  is  now  a  peni- 
tent search  for  oblivion,  in  which  science,  philosophy,  and 
religion  can  give  him  no  consolation.  "I  was,**  he  laments, 
"my  own  destroyer,  and  will  be  my  own  Hereafter!** 
Byron's  temperament  enabled  him  to  fathom  a  lonely  soul 
like  Manfred's,  and  urged  him  to  express  its  passions  with 
fiery  vigor.  The  subject  offered  almost  insuperable  obstacles 
to  dramatic  treatment,  since  most  of  the  forces  that  acted 
upon  Manfred  were  either  abstractions  or  inanimate  ob- 
jects. Byron,  however,  felt,  and  used  all  the  energy  of  his 
imagination  to  make  us  feel,  that  these  physical  phenomena 
and  laws  were  not  vague  or  dead  things,  but  that  earth  and 
air,  mountains  and  cataracts,  were  to  the  distracted  wanderer 
real  personalities,  and  exercised  upon  him  an  influence  more 
intimate  than  that  of  any  fellow  man. 


With  Browning's  "A  Blot  in  the  'Scutcheon**'  we  return 
to  the  kind  of  tragedy  that  arises  amid  normal  conditions  of 
life.  Yet  here  again  a  peculiar  aspect  of  the  tragic  is  em- 
phasized. Both  Dryden's  Antony  and  Shelley's  Cenci  know 
clearly  that  they  are  committing  wrong.  Browning  per- 
ceived that  there  are  tragic  cases  in  which  a  character  acts 

•  H.  C,  xviii,  403.  *  H.  C,  xviii»  3S7« 


DRAMA  407 

in  accordanoe  with  his  highest  moral  standard,  and  comes 
too  late  to  realize  that  his  standard  is  false  or  inapplicable. 
The  personages  in  "A  Blot  in  the  'Scutcheon"  are  of  ad- 
mirable nobility,  and  among  them  Thorold  is  not  the  least 
scrupulously  conscientious,  but  the  code  of  honor  which  he 
loyally  obeys  becomes  an  instrument  of  fatal  cruelty.  The 
very  intensity  with  which  he  looks  up  to  a  splendid  ideal 
blinds  his  judgment  regarding  the  apparent  dishonor  of  his 
beloved  sister,  so  that  he  fails  to  see  "through  the  surface 
of  crime  a  depth  of  purity  unmovable."  It  is  thus  a  subtle 
as  well  as  a  natural  course  of  events  that  Browning  aims  to 
trace,  and  only  a  rich  and  pregnant  style  could  express  the 
complex  thoughts  and  feelings  of  so  highly  cultivated  and 
exquisitely  sensitive  beings  as  his  Thorold,  Mildred,  and 

The  reader  of  these  six  dramas  who  understands  their 
main  purposes  will  surely  admire  the  conscientious  manner 
in  which  those  aims  are  carried  out.  He  will  perceive  that 
the  plot,  characterization,  and  dialogue  of  each  are  designed 
with  remarkable  skill  to  conform  to  its  dominant  ideal.  In 
fact,  the  chief  reason  why  these  plays  are  among  the  very, 
very  few  dramatic  masterpieces  of  their  time  is  that  their 
authors  clearly  knew  what  they  wanted  to  do,  and  came 
about  as  near  to  doing  it  as  human  limitations  permit.  The 
different  means  they  had  to  employ  interestingly  exhibit  the 
varieties  of  dramatic  technique;  and  the  diverse  views  of 
human  life  that  they  held  serve  to  enlarge  the  bounds  of 
our  sympathy  with  many  sorts  and  conditions  of  men. 



By  Professor  R.  B.  Dixon 

For  to  admire  and  for  to  see. 
For  to  be