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traces of careful thought and reading; and it makes us regret that it is only what it pretends to be, "a manual.” For we want more than this. We want a history in which the progress and succession of thought, the connexion between our civil history and literature, the growth of that literature from the first dawn to the latest development, the deep searching questions which produced it and of which it is the utterance, should be fully and carefully examined.

There are some distinct features in our literature, a right understanding of which is indispensable to the study of it, and which such a work would bring prominently forward. We refer, first of all, to the various foreign sources from which so much of it, in all that pertains to form and expression, is derived. In geographical position, in national institutions, in social life, in individual character, we are a most insular people; but our literature is least insular; as though in the sphere of thought the lines which separate nation from nation were unknown, and one purpose and inspiration made all men kin. It is not too much to say that our four great schools of poetry, of which Chaucer; Spenser, Shakespeare, and Milton; Pope; Scott and Wordsworth are representatives, followed and were formed upon the parallel schools of Italy, France, and Germany. Nor does this fact, which we take to be the starting-point of all criticism, lessen the glory and greatness of our poets. In Chaucer these foreign influences are most plainly manifest. His earlier poems (The Assembly of Foules, The Flower and the Leaf, The Court of Love, Chaucer's Dreme, Romaunce of the Rose) represent the Provençal and French Trouvères schools ; his later and more memorable works (The Canterbury Tales, Troylus and Crescide) owe their subject matter to the masterpieces of Italian literature of the fourteenth century. But the glory of Chaucer is not dimmed because the stores of antiquity were opened to him by Italian students. If he drew the outline from “ the Laureat Poete," or from Boccaccio, it was out of the rich fulness of his own genius and observation that he filled up the picture with the manners, deeds, and passions of his countrymen. He was not less an English poet because he had learned all that the poets of his time could teach him ; indeed, he had read, as few men have done since, the very hearts and lives of Englishmen.

Italian influences are no less apparent in the second great period of English poetry, which begins with Surrey and Wyat and culminates in Milton. Puttenham in his Art of Poesie, 1589, says of the two former in a well-known passage quoted by Hallam (Literary History, i. 430, fifth edition), that having travailed into Italy, and there tasted the sweet and stately measures and style of the Italian poesie, as novices newly crept out of the schools of Dante, Ariosto, and Petrarch, they greatly polished our rude and homely manner of vulgar poesie from that it had bene before.” Educated Italians to whom Shakespeare and Milton are as familiar as their own poets, would readily admit that in the higher gifts of imagination and truth to nature the English poets are more than equal to their own. lody of the noble Tuscan, without diminishing the vigour, smoothed


The me

the roughness of a tongue destined to utter truths that would speak to the hearts of Italians, as well as of Englishmen, for all time.

It is well known how strongly French influences acted upon the poets of the Restoration and the time immediately following, and how the revival of German literature in Lessing, Goethe, and Schiller, contributed to awaken that more natural and truer poetry which belongs to our century. Each one of these four periods is marked with its own distinctive character, can boast of its own excellences, is necessary to complete what without it would be wanting to the ensemble of English poetry. The freshness and simplicity of the first, the strong national and yet no less universal interest of the second, the elaborate skill and polish of the third, and the high aim and aspirations of the last, could ill be spared from our literature. Nor ought we to omit the influence exercised by the Neapolitan Marini* over many of our poets, e.g. Donne, Cowley, and Waller. It is Milton's praise to have been unaffected by his and their example. He is eminently free from the borrowed conceits, whimsical comparisons,“ poetical punning, and research," which disfigure the best pieces of his contemporaries.

We think that a history of English literature should examine the causes of the periodical character of that literature. Why, e.g. is there such a void between Chaucer and Spenser? In that long time, no work appeared worthy to be compared with what preceded and followed, and the absence of which would be missed by any but professional students. It is instructive to find the same void in Italian literature. Sismondi (Histoire des Republiques Italiennes, vol. viii. c. lvii. p. 5) observes of the Italian literature which rose and set with the fourteenth century, that all at once the Muses are silent, and at the close of the century not one genius remained to do honour to his mother tongue, which seemed already exhausted, and to need a century of repose, before being employed upon new creations. “ L'antiquité avait été découverte; et, dans un saint respect pour elle, on avait voulu lui faire occuper la place du temps présent : l'étude des langues mortes avait tout-à-coup suspendu la vie chez cette nation, si prompte à prendre des formes nouvelles.” The wars with France, followed by the swift retribution of our thirty years' civil war, partly explain the silence of the fifteenth century in England. The shaking of men's minds, by the innovating spirit in politics and religion, which called forth the Reformation, the changing of the old order of received opinions concerning the ground on which truth rested and the authority on which it was to be received breathed new life into the first half of the sixteenth century; but it was not a life which spent itself upon literature. Again, the opening of the treasures of Greek literature and the new and engrossing study of ancient authors tended to overlay, rather than to quicken, for a time at least, original thought. Mr. Arnold has rightly called the fifteenth century a time of active preparation

“The celebrated innovator on classic Italian taste, who first seduced the poets of the seventeenth century into that laboured and affected style, which his own richness and vivacity of imagination were so well calculated to recommend,” as Sismondi (Literature of the S. of Europe, Roscoe, vol. ii. 262) describes him.

in every country of Europe, and “the first two-thirds of the sixteenth century fall under the same description.” England was behind France and Italy in the extent of her knowledge of antiquity. She needed to meditate, to assimilate to herself what had become the world's literary possession. The arrival and great outburst of her literature could not fail to follow the discussion and settlement, at least for that generation, of the more serious questions concerning faith and righteousness.

Another feature of our literary history equally claims attention, None of our great poets stands alone. Each one is the sun of a poetic system. Chaucer was surrounded with Gower, Occleve, Lydgate, whose lesser light has been obscured, if not quenched, for posterity by the greater light of his. But no age is so remarkable for the number of its choice and master spirits as that between 1590 and 1620—the age which saw the

publication of the Faerie Queene, the plays of Shakespeare, Hooker’s Ecclesiastical Polity, and Bacon's Essays. There is another great gathering in the reign of Anne. Pope, Swift, Dryden, Steele, and Addison make up one, however divided, household.

Mr. Arnold has not overlooked these features of our history : we think he has hardly given them sufficient attention. Some passages of his manual we have found faulty and incomplete. In his review of the Norman period, he comes across the venerable Anselm, and he is scarcely just to him. Whether Anselm founded scholasticism or not, whether his method of reasoning originated with himself or not, he was unquestionably the first great theologian of the medieval church, the first who opened the door of inquiry, and who tried to prove as a logician truths which he loved and believed as a Christian. His theories to explain the Atonement, the Trinity, and the existence of God, survive to this day, and in some systems of theology have been incorporated with Christianity itself. It is strange that Mr. Arnold does not even mention Anselm's striking thought, that the fact of our being able to conceive the existence of God is the sure proof of his existence : the thought which,“ with no knowledge of its medieval origin, forced itself on Descartes, was reasserted by Leibnitz, if not rejected, was thought insufficient by Kant, revived in another form by Schelling and by Hegel, latterly has been discussed with singular fulness and originality by M. de Rémusat” (Milman's History of Latin Christianity, iii. 250, second edition, 1857).

Mr. Arnold depreciates the literary worth of Wycliffe's writings. “Wycliffe cannot be said to have contributed to the


of our literature, or aided to polish our language.” If Mr. Arnold will compare Wycliffe's translation of the 21st chapter of St. Luke with that of our Authorised Version (to the literary excellence of which Version Mr. Arnold cannot be insensible, although in a manual of English literature he has passed it by without even a notice), he will find how great is the likeness between the language of the one and that of the other, how much the one is indebted to the other. Some critics will perhaps detect in Mr. Arnold's book an undercurrent of disesteein towards the great Anglican divines. We shall only complain that Mr. Arnold is content


with merely classing the first book of Hooker's Ecclesiastical Polity “among contributions to moral and political science.” Surely in any review, however cursory, more should have been said than this of a work which, in the judgment of so learned and impartial a writer as Hallam, marked an era in English literature.

Mr. Arnold's longest and best criticism is upon Milton's Paradise Lost. He is not wanting in admiration for the poet, holding with Johnson that whatever diminishes the reputation of Milton diminishes in some degree the honour of our country. He questions the fitness of the subject for an epic poem, without disputing the universal Christian interest which belongs to it, and its superiority in this respect to the subjects of the Iliad, Æneid, and Jerusalem Delivered. His criticism is sound, that the subject of an epic poem should admit of expansion and amplification, and that Milton's subject does not allow this liberty. Few critics will doubt that the episode of the revolt and war in heaven, however beautiful in itself, is the weak side of Paradise Lost. The images of the heavenly are all of earth and material ; in strong contrast to the Paradiso of the great Italian, who needed for his description of the heavenly state “only the three ideas of light, music, and motion.” We dissent from Mr. Arnold's view of the unscripturalness and inconsistency of Milton's conception of Satan. In Scripture the "archangel ruined” is no less an angel of light in semblance, than the father of lies in reality. Nor does Milton's image of a being consumed with selfishness and pride and dragging himself and others down to ruin rather than submit to the restraints of divine law inadequately represent the principle and essence of evil. We have as little sympathy as Mr. Arnold with Milton's peculiar theology; but we think it unfair to charge him with describing man as falling from bis happy state, "in a sort of helpless predestined manner. The poet rises above the narrow system of Puritan doctrine in asserting the free action of the human will, as though, without that first truth of morality and religion, he could not justify the ways of God to man (cf. Paradise Lost, Book v. 230-245, viii. 635-643). If it be true that Eve is “ a soft yielding fascinating being, who, with all her attractions, is in moral and intellectual things rather a hindrance than a help to her nobler consort,” the deep corruption of the female character when Milton lived, as well as his own domestic unhappiness, explains the defect. It required two centuries of social progress to bridge over the wide difference between the Eve of Milton and the ideal of the Princess.

Lastly, Mr. Arnold seems to waver between the authority of Anthony Wood and Roger Ascham, as to the effect of the Reformation upon learning in England. The destruction of the Mss. of the library of Humphrey Duke of Gloucester by Edward's commissioners, and the falling-off in the number of students at both Universities, are set against Roger Ascham's testimony to the state of things under Bonner and Gardiner.* The gist of the question hardly lies here. Plato, Aristotle, Tully, and Demosthenes might be as little fruitful to the student as medieval schoolmen. It was the principle which the reformers proclaimed of the right and duty of inquiry which unclasped the fetters of the mind ; not whether such or such authors should be taken as models, systematised, and servilely followed. In this sense, and in this alone, the Reformation acted upon thought and literature, and with little intention called into life that critical study of the Scriptures which is now so powerfully affecting every one of us.

* “St John's stood in this state until those heavy times, and that grievous change, that chanced anno 1553, when more perfect scholars were dispersed from thence in one month than many years can rear up again. For when the Boar of the Wood (Aperde Silva, Psalm lxxx. 13) had passed the seas, and fastened his foot again in England, not only the two fair groves of learning in England were either cut up by the root, or trodden down to the ground, and wholly went to wrack, but the young spring there, and every where else, was pitifully nipt and over-trodden by very beasts, and also the fairest standers of all were rooted up and cast into the fire, to the great weakening, even at this day, of Christ's Church in England, both for religion and learning" (The Schoolmaster, by R. Ascham: Upton's edition, 1743, pp. 177-179)

V. The Missionary Life and Labours of Francis Xavier, taken from his

own Correspondence; with a Sketch of the general Results of Roman Catholic Missions among the Heathen. By Henry Venn, B.D., Prebendary of St. Paul's, Honorary Secretary of the Church Missionary Society. London : Longman and Co.

“It forms no part of the scope of these pages,” says Mr. Venn, "to describe at length the successes of Protestant missions;" yet such a work would have been far more worthy of the labour he has lavished on this. Notwithstanding "the taunts of the Romanist writers,” the apostolic life and labours of Xavier would have been better used as an incentive to emulation than as the subject of more than three hundred pages of not very successful disparagement. Any preëminence which can be asserted for the cause which he has at heart, by a carping criticism of its rivals, affords at best but a sorry triumph. The fact is, that Mr. Venn's position, as secretary of the Church Missionary Society, effectually prevented him from having the smallest sympathy with the man whose missionary enterprise he has undertaken to record. His book is rather a critique than a biography. It is a statement of such facts only as he finds mentioned in Xavier's own letters, while he rejects in toto the authority of all previous biographies. As to the more modern compilations, he may probably be right; but it is surely hard measure with respect to Acosta's work, which was published just twenty-one years after Xavier's death, and that of Tursellinus, which appeared only twenty-three years later. The contradictions, however, between their narratives and Xavier's letters, their "loose statements," and “geographical mistakes," have, it seems, destroyed all Mr. Venn's confidence in their “competency or fidelity;" an adoption of the sweeping critical canon which Dr. Colenso has applied to the Pentateuch, which was scarcely to be expected from such a quarter. Once apprised, however, of the system on which he has proceeded, his work is not undeserving of praise. Cold and almost unfriendly in tone, it



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