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ment of their connection with them — conditions which made the secret of an Association of Naturalists' applying science in that age to the noblest subjects of speculative inquiry, and to the highest departments of practice, a life and death secret. The physical impossibility of publishing at that time, anything openly relating to the questions in which the weal of men is most concerned, and which are the primary questions of the science of man’s relief, the opposition which stood at that time prepared to crush any enterprise proposing openly for its end, the common interests of man as man, is the point which it was the object of that part of the work to exhibit. It was presented, not in the form of general statement merely, but in those memorable particulars which the falsified, suppressed, garbled history of the great founder of this school betrays to us; not as it is exhibited in contemporary documents merely, but as it is carefully collected from these, and from the traditions of the next ages.'

That the suppressed Elizabethan Reformers and Innovators were men so far in advance of their time, that they were compelled to have recourse to literature for the purpose of instituting a gradual encroachment on popular opinions, a gradual encroachment on the prejudices, the ignorance, the stupidity of the oppressed and suffering masses of the human kind, and for the purpose of making over the practical development of the higher parts of their science, to ages in which the advancements they instituted had brought the common mind within hearing of these higher truths; that these were men whose aims were so opposed to the power

that was still predominant then, — though the wrestling' that would shake that predominance, was already on foot, — that it became necessary for them to conceal their lives as well as their works, – to veil the true worth and nobility of them, to suffer those ends which they sought as means, means which they subordinated to the noblest uses, to be regarded in their own age as their ends; that they were compelled to play this great game in secret, in their own time, referring themselves to posthumous effects for the explanation of their designs;

postponing their honour to ages able to discover their worth; this is the proposition which is derived here from the works in which the tradition of this learning is conveyed to us.

But in the part of this work referred to, from which the ensuing extracts are made, it was the life, and not merely the writings of the founders of this school which was produced in evidence of this claim. It was the life in which these disguised ulterior aims show themselves from the first on the historic surface, in the form of great contemporaneous events, events which have determined and shaped the course of the world's history since then; it was the life in which these intents show themselves too boldly on the surface, in which they penetrate the artistic disguise, and betray themselves to the antagonisms which were waiting to crush them; it was the life which combined these antagonisms for its suppression; it was the life and death of the projector and founder of the liberties of the New World, and the obnoxious historian and critic of the tyrannies of the Old, it was the life and death of Sir Walter Raleigh that was produced as the Historical Key to the Elizabethan Art of Tradition. It was the Man of the Globe Theatre, it was the Man in the Tower with his two Hemispheres, it was the modern ‘Hercules and his load too,' that made in the original design of it, the Frontispiece of this volume.

"But stay I see thee in the hemisphere
Advanced and made a constellation there.
Shine forth, thou Star of Poets, and with rage
Or influence, chide or cheer the drooping stage,
Which since thy flight from hence hath mourned like night,
And despairs day, but for thy Volume's light.

[" To draw no envy Shake-spear on thy name,
Am I thus ample to thy book and fame.'— BEN JONSON.]

The machinery that was necessarily put in operation for the purpose of conducting successfully, under those conditions, any honourable or decent enterprise, presupposes a forethought and skill, a faculty for dramatic arrangement and successful plotting in historic materials, happily so remote from anything

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an age

which the exigencies of our time have ever suggested to us, that we are not in a position to read at a glance the history of such an age; the history which lies on the surface of such

when such men men who are men are at work in it. These are the Elizabethan men that we have to interpret here, because, though they rest from their labours, their works do follow them — the Elizabethan Men of Letters; and we must know what that title means before we can read them or their works, before we can . untie their spell.

CHAPTER II.

THE AGE OF ELIZABETH AND THE ELIZABETHAN

MEN OF LETTERS.

The times, in many cases, give great light to true interpretations.

Advancement of Learning.

•On fair ground
I could beat forty of them.'

• I could myself
Take up a brace of the best of them, yea the two tribunes.'

* But now 'tis odds beyond arithmetic,
And manhood is called foolery when it stands

Against a falling fabric.'- Coriolanus.
THE fact that the immemorial liberties of the English PEOPLE,

and that idea of human government and society which they brought with them to this island, had been a second time violently overborne and suppressed by a military chieftainship,

one for which the unorganised popular resistance was no match, that the English People had been a second time conquered' - for that is the word which the Elizabethan historian suggests - less than a hundred years before the beginning of the Elizabethan Age, is a fact in history which the great Elizabethan philosopher has contrived to send down to us, along with his philosophical works, as the key to the reading of them.

It is a fact with which we are all now more or less familiar, but it is one which the Elizabethan Poet and Philosopher became acquainted with under circumstances calculated to make a much more vivid impression on the sen. sibilities than the most accurate and vivacious narratives and expositions of it which our time can furnish us.

That this second conquest was unspeakably more degrading than the first had been, inasmuch as it was the conquest of a chartered, constitutional liberty, recovered and established in

acts that had made the English history, recovered on battle-fields that were fresh, not in oral tradition only; inasmuch as it was effected in violation of that which made the name of Englishmen, that which made the universally recognised principle of the national life; inasmuch, too, as it was an undivided conquest, the conquest of the single will — the will of the one only man' not unchecked of commons only, unchecked by barons, unchecked by the church, unchecked by council of any kind, the pure arbitrary absolute will, the pure idiosyncrasy, the crowned demon of the lawless, irrational will, unchained and armed with the sword of the common might, and clothed with the divinity of the common right; that this was a conquest unspeakably more debasing than the conquest commonly so called,'— this, which left no nobility,—which clasped its collar in open day on the proudest Norman neck, and not on the Saxon only, which left only one nation of slaves and bondmen—that this was a subjugationthat this was a government which the English nation had not before been familiar with, the men whose great life-acts were performed under it did not lack the sensibility and the judgment to perceive.

A more hopeless conquest than the Norman conquest had been, it might also have seemed, regarded in some of the aspects which it presented to the eye of the statesman then; for it was in the division of the former that the element of freedom stole in, it was in the parliaments of that division that the limitation of the feudal monarchy had begun.

But still more fatal was the aspect of it which its effects on the national character were continually obtruding then on the observant eye, – that debasing, deteriorating, demoralising effect which such a government must needs exert on such a nation, a nation of Englishmen, a nation with such memories. The Poet who writes under this government, with an appreciation of the subject quite as lively as that of any more recent historian, speaks of the face of men’ as a 'motive'- a motive power, a revolutionary force, which ought to be sufficient of itself to raise, if need be, an armed opposition to such a government, and sustain it, too, without the compulsion of an oath

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