Изображения страниц


value to the lostiest productions of the English mind. It seemed to her most fit and desirable, that America - having received so much from England, and returned so little-should do what remained to be done towards rendering this great legacy available, as its authors meant it to be, to all future time. This purpose was frustrated; and it will be seen in what spirit she acquiesces.

* The author was forced to bring it back, and contribute it to the literature of the country from which it was derived, and to which it essentially and inseparably belongs. It was written, every word of it, on English ground, in the midst of the old familiar scenes and household names, that even in our nursery songs revive the dear ancestral memories; those royal pursuivants' with which our mother-land still follows and retakes her own. It was written in the land of our old kings and queens, and in the land of our own PHILOSOPHERS and POETS also. It was written on the spot where the works it unlocks were written, and in the perpetual presence of the English mind; the mind that spoke before in the cultured few, and that speaks to-day in the cultured many. And it is now at last, after so long a time-after all, as it should be—the English press that prints it. It is the scientific English press, with those old gags (wherewith our kings and queens sought to stop it, ere they knew what it was) champed asunder, ground to powder, and with its last Elizabethan shackle shaken off, that restores, “in a better hour,' the torn and garbled science committed to it, and gives back the bread cast on its sure waters.

There remains little more for me to say. I am not the editor of this work; nor can I consider myself fairly entitled to the honor (which, if I deserved it, I should feel to be a very high as well as a perilous one) of seeing my name associated with the author's on the title-page. My object has been merely to speak a few words, which might, perhaps, serve the

purpose of placing my countrywoman upon a ground of amicable understanding with the public. She has a vast preliminary difficulty to encounter. The first feeling of every reader must be one of absolute repugnance towards a person who seeks to tear out of the Anglo-Saxon heart the name which for ages it has held dearest, and to substitute another name, or names, to which the settled belief of the world has long assigned a very different position.


What I claim for this work is, that the ability employed in its composition has been worthy of its great subject, and well employed for our intellectual interests, whatever judgment the public may pass upon the questions discussed. And, after listening to the author's interpretation of the Plays, and seeing how wide a scope she assigns to them, how high a purpose, and what richness of inner meaning, the thoughtful reader will hardly return again—not wholly, at all events—to the common view of them and of their author. It is for the public to say whether my countrywoman has proved her theory. In the worst event, if she has failed, her failure will be more honorable than most people's triumphs; since it must fling upon the old tombstone, at Stratford-on-Avon, the noblest tributary wreath that has ever lain there.







One time will owe another.'- Coriolanus. THIS THIS work is designed to propose to the consideration, not

of the learned world only, but of all ingenuous and practical minds, a new development of that system of practical philosophy from which THE SCIENTIFIC ARTS of the Modern Ages proceed, and which has already become, just to the extent to which it has been hitherto opened, the wisdom, - the universally approved, and practically adopted, Wisdom of the Moderns.

It is a development of this philosophy, which was deliberately postponed by the great Scientific Discoverers and Reformers, in whose Scientific Discoveries and Reformations our organised advancements in speculation and practice have their origin;- Reformers, whose scientific acquaintance with historic laws forbade the idea of any immediate and sudden cures of the political and social evils which their science searches to the root, and which it was designed to eradicate.

The proposition to be demonstrated in the ensuing pages is this: That the new philosophy which strikes out from the Court — from the Court of that despotism that names and gives form to the Modern Learning, — which comes to us


from the Court of the last of the Tudors and the first of the Stuarts, — that new philosophy which we have received, and accepted, and adopted as a practical philosophy, not merely in that grave department of learning in which it comes to us professionally as philosophy, but in that not less important department of learning in which it comes to us in the disguise of amusement,- in the form of fable and allegory and parable, – the proposition is, that this Elizabethan philosophy is, in these two forms of it, — not two philosophies, — not two Elizabethan philosophies, not two new and wondrous philosophies of nature and practice, not two new Inductive philosophies, but one,- one and the same: that it is philosophy in both these forms, with its veil of allegory and parable, and without it; that it is philosophy applied to much more important subjects in the disguise of the parable, than it is in the open statement; that it is philosophy in both these cases, and not philosophy in one of them, and a brutish, low-lived, illiterate, unconscious spontaneity in the other.

The proposition is that it proceeds, in both cases, from a reflective deliberative, eminently deliberative, eminently conscious, designing mind; and that the coincidence which is manifest not in the design only, and in the structure, but in the detail to the minutest points of execution, is not accidental.

It is a proposition which is demonstrated in this volume by means of evidence derived principally from the books of this philosophy — books in which the safe delivery and tradition of it to the future was artistically contrived and triumphantly achieved:- the books of a new school' in philosophy; books in which the connection with the school is not always openly asserted; books in which the true names of the authors are not always found on the title-page;-- the books of a school, too, which was compelled to have recourse to translations in some cases, for the safe delivery and tradition of its new learning.

The facts which lie on the surface of this question, which are involved in the bare statement of it, are sufficient of themselves to justify and command this inquiry.

The fact that these two great branches of the philosophy


« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »