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Title: Initiation into Literature
Author: Faguet, Émile, 1847-1916
Language: English
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INITIATION INTO LITERATURE

By Émile Faguet


Translated From The French By Sir Home Gordon, Bart.

The Translator begs to acknowledge with appreciation the courtesy of the
Author in graciously consenting to make some valuable additions, at his
request, specially for the English version.



PREFACE


This volume, as indicated by the title, is designed to show the way to
the beginner, to satisfy and more especially to excite his initial
curiosity. It affords an adequate idea of the march of facts and of
ideas. The reader is led, somewhat rapidly, from the remote origins to
the most recent efforts of the human mind.

It should be a convenient repertory to which the mind may revert in order
to see broadly the general opinion of an epoch--and what connected it
with those that followed or preceded it. It aims above all at being _a
frame_ in which can conveniently be inscribed, in the course of
further studies, new conceptions more detailed and more thoroughly
examined.

It will have fulfilled its design should it incite to research and
meditation, and if it prepares for them correctly.

E. FAGUET.



CONTENTS


CHAPTER I

ANCIENT INDIA

The Vedas. Buddhist Literature. Great Epic Poems, then very Diverse, much
Shorter Poems. Dramatic Literature. Moral Literature.


CHAPTER II

HEBRAIC LITERATURE

The Bible, a Collection of Epic, Lyric, Elegiac, and Sententious
Writings. The Talmud, Book of Ordinances. The Gospels.


CHAPTER III

THE GREEKS

Homer. Hesiod. Elegiac and Lyric Poets. Prose Writers. Philosophers and
Historians. Lyric Poets, Dramatic Poets. Comic Poets. Orators. Romancers.


CHAPTER IV

THE LATINS

The Latins, Imitators of the Greeks. Epic Poets. Dramatic Poets. Golden
Age: Virgil, Horace, Ovid. Silver Age: Prose Writers, Historians, and
Philosophers: Titus-Livy, Tacitus, Seneca. Decadence Still Brilliant.


CHAPTER V

THE MIDDLE AGES: FRANCE

_Chansons de Geste: Song of Roland_ and Lyric Poetry. Popular
Epopee: _Romances of Renard_. Popular Short Stories: Fables.
Historians. The Allegorical Poem: _Romance of the Rose_. Drama.


CHAPTER VI

THE MIDDLE AGES: ENGLAND

Literature in Latin, in Anglo-Saxon, and in French. The Ancestor of
English Literature: Chaucer.


CHAPTER VII

THE MIDDLE AGES: GERMANY

Epic Poems: _Nibelungen_. Popular Poems. Very Numerous Lyric Poems.
Drama.


CHAPTER VIII

THE MIDDLE AGES: ITALY

Troubadours of Southern Italy. Neapolitan and Sicilian Poets: Dante,
Petrarch, Boccaccio.


CHAPTER IX

THE MIDDLE AGES: SPAIN AND PORTUGAL

Epic Poems: _Romanceros_. Didactic Books. Romances of Chivalry.


CHAPTER X

THE SIXTEENTH AND SEVENTEENTH CENTURIES: FRANCE

First Portion of Sixteenth Century: Poets: Marot, Saint-Gelais; Prose
Writers: Rabelais, Comines. Second Portion of Sixteenth Century: Poets:
"The Pleiade"; Prose Writers: Amyot, Montaigne. First Portion of
Seventeenth Century: Intellectual and Brilliant Poets: Malherbe,
Corneille; Great Prose Writers: Balzac, Descartes. Second Portion of
Seventeenth Century: Poets: Racine, Molière, Boileau, La Fontaine; Prose
Writers: Bossuet, Pascal, La Bruyère, Fénelon, etc.


CHAPTER XI

THE SIXTEENTH AND SEVENTEENTH CENTURIES: ENGLAND

Dramatists: Marlowe, Shakespeare. Prose Writers: Sidney, Francis Bacon,
etc. Epic Poet: Milton. Comic Poets.


CHAPTER XII

THE SIXTEENTH AND SEVENTEENTH CENTURIES: GERMANY

Luther, Zwingli, Albert Dürer, Leibnitz, Gottsched.


CHAPTER XIII

THE SIXTEENTH AND SEVENTEENTH CENTURIES: ITALY

Poets: Ariosto, Tasso, Guarini, Folengo, Marini, etc. Prose Writers:
Machiavelli, Guicciardini, Davila.


CHAPTER XIV

THE SIXTEENTH AND SEVENTEENTH CENTURIES: SPAIN AND PORTUGAL

Poets: Quevedo, Gongora, Lope de Vega, Ercilla, Calderon, Rojas, etc.
Prose Writers: Montemayor, Cervantes, etc. Portugal: De Camoèns, etc. The
Stage.


CHAPTER XV

THE EIGHTEENTH AND NINETEENTH CENTURIES: FRANCE

Of the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries: Fontenelle, Bayle. Of the
Eighteenth: Poets: La Motte, Jean Baptiste Rousseau, Voltaire, etc.;
Prose Writers: Montesquieu, Voltaire, Buffon, Jean Jacques Rousseau, etc.
Of the Nineteenth Century: Poets: Lamartine, Victor Hugo, Musset, Vigny,
etc.; Prose Writers: Chateaubriand, Michelet, George Sand, Mérimée,
Renan, etc.


CHAPTER XVI

THE EIGHTEENTH AND NINETEENTH CENTURIES: ENGLAND

Poets of the Eighteenth Century: Pope, Young, MacPherson, etc. Prose
Writers of the Eighteenth Century: Daniel Defoe, Richardson, Fielding,
Swift, Sterne, David Hume. Poets of the Nineteenth Century: Byron,
Shelley, the Lake Poets. Prose Writers of the Nineteenth Century: Walter
Scott, Macaulay, Dickens, Carlyle.


CHAPTER XVII

THE EIGHTEENTH AND NINETEENTH CENTURIES: GERMANY

Poets of the Eighteenth Century: Klopstock, Lessing, Wieland. Prose
Writers of the Eighteenth Century: Herder, Kant. Poets of the Nineteenth
Century: Goethe, Schiller, Körner.


CHAPTER XVIII

THE EIGHTEENTH AND NINETEENTH CENTURIES: ITALY

Poets: Metastasio, Goldoni, Alfieri, Monti, Leopardi. Prose Writers:
Silvio Pellico, Fogazzaro, etc.


CHAPTER XIX

THE EIGHTEENTH AND NINETEENTH CENTURIES: SPAIN

The Drama still Brilliant: Moratin. Historians and Philosophers,
Novelists, Orators.


CHAPTER XX

RUSSIAN LITERATURE

Middle Ages. Some Epic Narratives. Renaissance in the Seventeenth
Century. Literature Imitative of the West in the Eighteenth Century.
Original Literature in the Nineteenth Century.


CHAPTER XXI

POLISH LITERATURE

At an Early Date Western Influence Sufficiently Potent. Sixteenth Century
Brilliant; Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries highly Cultured;
Nineteenth Century Notably Original.


INDEX



INITIATION INTO LITERATURE



CHAPTER I


ANCIENT INDIA

The _Vedas_. Buddhist Literature. Great Epic Poems, then very
Diverse, much Shorter Poems. Dramatic Literature. Moral Literature.


THE _VEDAS_.--The ancient Indians, who spoke Sanscrit, possess a
literature which goes back, perhaps, to the fifteenth century before
Christ. At first, like all other races, they possessed a sacred
literature intimately bound up with their religion. The earliest volumes
of sacred literature are the _Vedas_. They describe and glorify the
gods then worshipped, to wit, Agni, god of fire, of the domestic hearth,
of the celestial fire (the sun), of the atmospheric fire (lightning);
Indra, god of atmosphere, analogous to Zeus of the Greeks; Soma, the
moon; Varuna, the nocturnal vault, the god who rewards the good and
punishes the evil; Rudra, the irascible god, more evil than well
disposed, though sometimes helpful; others too, very numerous.

The style of the _Vedas_ is continually poetic and metaphorical.
They contain a sort of metaphysics as well as continual allegories.

BUDDHA.--Buddhism, a philosophical religion, sufficiently analogous to
Christianity, which Sakyamuni, surnamed Buddha (the wise), spread through
India towards 550 B.C., created a new literature. It taught, as will be
remembered, the equality of all castes in the sight of religion,
metempsychosis, charity, and detachment from all passions and desires in
order to arrive at absolute calm (_nirvana_). The literature it
inspired was primarily _gnomic_, that is, sententious, analogous to
that of Pythagoras, with a tendency towards little moral tales and
parables, as in the Gospel.

This literature subsequently expanded into large and even immense epic
poems, of which the principal are the _Mahabharata_ and the _Ramayana_.

THE _MAHABHARATA_; THE _RAMAYANA_.--The _Mahabharata_ (that is, the
_great history of the Bharatas_) is a legend or a novel in verse
intersected with moral digressions, with episodes vaguely related to the
subject, with discourses and prayers. There are charming episodes full of
delicate sensibility, of moving tenderness--that is to say, of human
beauty, comparable to the farewells of Hector and Andromache in Homer;
and everywhere, amid tediousness and monotony, is found a powerful and
superabundant imagination.

The _Ramayana_, the name of the author of which, Valmiki, has come
down to us, is a poem yet more vast and unequal. There are portions which
to us are quite unreadable, and there are others comparable to the most
imposing and most touching in all epic poetry. Reduced to its theme, the
subject of _Mahabharata_ is extremely simple; it is the history of
Prince Rama, dispossessed of his throne, who saw his beloved wife, Sita,
ravished by the monstrous demon Ravana, who made alliance with the good
monkeys and with them constructed a bridge over the sea to reach the
island on which Sita was detained, who vanquished and slew Ravana, who
re-found Sita, and finally went back happily to his kingdom, which had
also been re-conquered.

The most noticeable exterior characteristic of the _Mahabharata_ is
the almost constant mingling of men and animals, a mingling which one
feels is in conformity with the dogma of the transmigration of souls. Not
only monkeys but vultures, eagles, gazelles, etc., are brought into the
work and form important personages. We are in the epoch when the animals
spoke. Battles are numerous and described in great detail; the
_Ramayana_ is the _Iliad_ of the Indians; pathetic scenes, as
well as those of love, of friendship, of gratitude are not rare, and are
sometimes exquisite. The whole poem is imbued with a great feeling of
humanity, heroism, and justice. Victory is to the good and right is
triumphant; the gods permit that the just should suffer and be compelled
to struggle; but invariably it is only for a time and the merited
happiness is at the end of all.

After these two vast giant epics there were written among the Indians a
number of shorter narrative poems, very varied both in tone and manner,
which suggest an uninterrupted succession of highly important and
animated schools of literature. Nearer to our own time--that is, towards
the fifth or sixth century of our era, lyric poetry and the drama were,
as it were, detached from the epopee and existed on their own merits.
Songs of love, of hate, of sadness, or of triumph took ample scope; they
were more often melancholy than sad, for India is the land of optimism,
or at least of resignation.

DRAMATIC POETRY.--As for the dramatic poetry, that is very curious; it is
not mixed with epopee in the precise sense of the word; but it is
continually mingled with descriptions of nature, with word-paintings of
nature and invocations to nature. The Indian dramatic poet did not
separate man from the air he breathed nor from the world around him; in
recalling the moment of the day or night in which the scene takes place,
_the actual hour_, the poet, no doubt in obedience to a law dictated
to him by his public, kept his characters in communication with earth
and heaven, with the dawn he described, the moon he painted, the evening
he caused to be seen, the plants he portrayed as withering or reviving,
the birds which he showed everywhere in the country or returning to their
habitation, etc.

From the purely dramatic aspect, these plays are often affecting or
curious, possessing penetrating and thoughtful psychology. The most
celebrated dramas still left to us of the Indian stage are _The Chariot
of Baked Clay_ and the affecting and delicate _Sakuntala_ the gem
of Indian literature, the work of the poet Kalidas, who was also a
remarkable lyric poet.

GNOMIC POETRY.--Gnomic, that is sententious, poetry, which, it has been
indicated, very early enjoyed high appreciation among the Indians, long
continued to obtain their approval. It was always wise and often
intellectual. The collection of Barthari, who belonged to the sixth or
seventh century A.D., contains thoughts which would do honour to the
highest moralists of the most enlightened epochs. "The fortune, ample or
restricted, which the Creator hath inscribed on thy forehead thou wilt
assuredly attain; wert thou in the desert or in the gold-mines of Meru,
more couldst thou not acquire. Therefore, of what avail to torment
thyself and to humiliate thyself before the powerful. A pot does not draw
more water from the sea than from a well."

And this might be by a modern man opposing La Rochefoucauld: "The modest
man is one poor in spirit, the devout a hypocrite, the honest man is
artful, the hero is a barbarian, the ascetic is a fool, the unreserved
a chatterbox, the prudent a waverer. Tell me, which is the virtue among
all the virtues that human malice cannot vilify?"

Here, finally, is a truth for all time: "It is easy to persuade the
ignorant, still easier to persuade the very wise; but he who hath a
commencement of wisdom Brahma himself could not cajole."

Indian literature continued to be productive, though losing much of its
fecundity, until the fifteenth or sixteenth century of our era. Without
exaggeration, it is permissible to conject that its scope extended over
twenty-five centuries. It possesses the uniquely honourable trait that it
is, assuredly, the only one which owes nothing to any other and is
literally indigenous.



CHAPTER II


HEBRAIC LITERATURE

The Bible, a Collection of Epic, Lyric, Elegiac, and Sententious
Writings. The Talmud, Book of Ordinances. The Gospels.


THE BIBLE.--The Hebrew race possessed a literature from about 1050 B.C.
It embodied in poems the legends which had circulated among the people
since the most remote epoch of their existence. It was those poems,
gathered later into one collection, which formed what, since
approximately the year 400, we call the Bible--that is, the Book of
books.

In the Bible there are histories (_Genesis_, _History of the Jews
up to Joshua_, the _Book of Joshua_, _Judges_, _Kings_, etc.), then
anecdotal episodes (_Ruth_, _Esdras_, _Tobit_, _Judith_, _Esther_), then
books of moral philosophy(_Proverbs of Solomon_, _Ecclesiastes_,
_Wisdom_, _Ecclesiasticus_), then books of an oratorical and lyrical
character (_Psalms of David_ and all the _Prophets_). Finally, a single
work, still lyrical but in which there are marked traces of the dramatic
type (the _Song of Songs_).

THE TALMUD.--To the works which have been gathered into the Bible, it is
necessary to add the Talmud, a collection of commentaries on the civil
and religious laws of the Jews, which forms an indispensable supplement
to the Bible, to anyone desiring to understand the Hebraic civilisation.

THE GOSPELS.--The Gospels, published in the Greek tongue, have nothing
Hebraic except that they were compiled by Jews or by their immediate
disciples and that they have preserved something of the manner of writing
of the Jews.

BIBLICAL WRITINGS.--The Biblical writings, regarded solely from the
literary point of view, form one of the finest monuments of human
thought. The sentiment of grandeur and even of infinity in _Genesis_;
the profound and simple sensibility as in the _History of Joseph_,
_Tobit_, and _Esther_; eloquence and exquisite religious sentiment as in
the _Book of Job_ and the _Psalms of David_; ecstatic lyricism, vehement
and fiery, accompanied with incredible satiric force as in the
_Prophets_; wisdom alike equal to that of the Stoics and of the serious
Epicureans as in _Ecclesiastes_ and the _Proverbs_; everywhere
marvellous imagination, always concise at least, if not restrained;
lyrical sensuality which recalls the most perturbed creations of erotic
Greeks and Latins, whilst surpassing them in beauty as in the _Song of
Songs_; and throughout there is this grandeur, this simple majesty, this
easy and natural sublimity which in the same degree is to be found only
occasionally in Homer and which appears to be the privilege of the
people who were the first to believe in a single God. That is what
makes, almost in a continuous way, the astonishing beauty of the Bible,
and which explains how whole nations, of other origin, have made down to
our own day, and still continue to make, the Bible their uninterrupted
study, and draw from it courage, serenity, exaltation of soul, and a
singular ferment of their poetic and literary genius.

As has been the case with many other literary monuments, it is possible,
without owning that it is desirable, that the Bible may even survive the
numerous and important religions which have been born from it.



CHAPTER III


THE GREEKS

Homer. Hesiod. Elegiac and Lyric Poets. Prose Writers. Philosophers and
Historians. Lyric Poets. Dramatic Poets. Comic Poets. Orators. Romancers.


HOMER.--The most ancient Greek writer known is Homer, and it cannot be
absolutely stated in what epoch he lived.

Since the seventeenth century it has even been asked if he ever existed
and if his poems are not collections of epic songs which had circulated
in ancient Greece and which at a very recent epoch, that of Pisistratus,
had been gathered into two grand consecutive poems, thanks to some
rearrangement and editing. At the commencement of the nineteenth century
the erudite were generally agreed that Homer had never existed. Now
they are reverting to the belief that there were only two Homers, one the
author of the _Iliad_ and the other of the _Odyssey_.

THE _ILIAD_.--The _Iliad_ is the story of the wrath of Achilles, of his
retreat far from his friends who were endeavouring to capture Troy and of
his return to them.

It is the poem of patriotism. It is filled with the spirit that when a
people is divided against itself, all misfortunes fall on and overwhelm
it. Achilles, unjustly offended, deprived his fellow-countrymen of his
support; they are all on the point of perishing; he returns to them in
order to avenge the death of his dearest friend and they are saved.

The _Iliad_ is almost entirely filled with battles, which are very
skillfully diversified. Some episodes, such as the farewell of Hector to
his wife Andromache when he quits her for the fight, or King Priam
coming, in tears, to ask Achilles for the corpse of his son Hector that
he may piously inter it, are among the most beautiful passages that ever
came from a human inspiration.

THE _ODYSSEY_.--The _Odyssey_ is also the poem of patriotism,
of the _little homeland_, of the native land. It is the story of
Ulysses, after the siege of Troy, reconquering Ithaca, the small island
of which he is king, and taking ten years to acquire it. What makes the
unity of the poem, what forms the backbone of the poem, is the smoke
which rises above the house of Ulysses, which he always perceives in the
dream of his hopes and desires, which invincibly attracts him, which he
desires to see again before he dies, and the thought of which sustains
him in his trials and causes him to scorn all joys on his road thither.
The thousand adventures of Ulysses, his sojourn with the nymph Calypso,
his terrible perils in the cave of the giant Polyphemus and near the isle
of the Sirens, the tempests which he survives, the hospitality he
receives from King Alcinoüs, the visit he pays to the dead--among whom is
Achilles regretting the earth and preferring to be a ploughman among the
living rather than king among the dead; these are vigorous, curious,
interesting, touching, picturesque scenes from which all subsequent
literatures have drawn inspiration and which still delight all races.

HESIOD.--Posterior, very probably, to Homer, Hesiod has left two great
poems, one on the families of the gods (_Theogenia_) and the other
on the works of man (_Works and Days_). The _Theogenia_ is very
valuable to us because we learn from it and it makes us understand how
the Greeks understood the divinity, its different manifestations, and, so
to say, its evolution through the world. _Works and Days_ is a poem
filled with both sadness and courage, the author finding the world wicked
and men unjust; but always concluding that with energy, perseverance, and
obstinacy it is possible to save oneself from anything, and that there is
only one real misfortune, which is to know despair.

ELEGIACAL AND LYRICAL POETS.--Almost from the most remote antiquity, from
the seventh century, perhaps the eighth century before the Christian era,
the Greeks possessed elegiacal and lyrical poets--that is to say, poets
who put into verse their personal sentiments, the joys and sorrows which
they felt as men. Such were Callinos, the satiric Archilochus, the
satiric Simonides of Amorgos, the martial Tyrtaeus. Then there were
the poets who made verses to be set to music: Alcaeus, Sappho, Anacreon,
Alcman. Alcaeus appears to have been the greatest lyrical Greek poet
judging by the fragments we possess by him and by the lyrical poems of
Horace, which there are reasons for believing were imitated from Alcaeus.

Of the poetess Sappho we have too little to enable us to judge her very
exactly; but throughout antiquity she enjoyed a glory equal to that of
the greatest. She specially sang of love and in such a manner as to lead
to the belief that she herself had not escaped the passion.

Anacreon sang after the same fashion and with a charm, a grace, a witty
ingenuity which are fascinating. He was the epicurean of poetry (before
the birth of Epicurus) and from him was born a type of literature known
as anacreonotic, which extended right through ancient times and has been
prolonged to modern times.

PROSE WRITERS.--Finally prose was born, in the sixth century before
Christ, with the philosophers Thales, Heraclitus, Anaxagoras, and with
the historians, of whom only one of that epoch has remained famous,
namely Herodotus.

HERODOTUS.--Herodotus, in a general history of his own time and of that
immediately preceding it, is often not far from epic poetry. His style is
at once limpid and warm, he possesses a pleasing power of distinction,
the taste for and curiosity about the manners of foreign peoples, a
laughing and easy imagination without any pretence at the philosophy of
history or of moralising through history. He was, above all, a delightful
writer.

AESOP.--To this period (albeit somewhat at hazard) it is possible to
ascribe Aesop, about whom nothing is known except that he wrote the
fables which have been imitated from generation to generation. The
collection that we possess under his name is one of these imitations,
perpetrated long after his death, but as to which it is impossible to
assign a date.

PINDAR.--Pindar, the Theban, broadened and extended the lyrical type.
Under him it preserved its power, its high spirits, its verse and, so to
say, its fine fury; but he introduced into the epic the narration of
ancient legends, the acts and gestures of the ancient heroes, and
effected this so admirably that the most lyrical of Grecian lyricists is
an historian. Capable of sustained elevation, of sublime thoughts and
expressions, of a fine disorder which has been overpraised, and which on
close expression is found to be very careful, he has been regarded as the
very type of dignified and poetic style, and more or less to be imitated
by all ambitious poets commencing with Ronsard. The wise, like Horace,
have contented themselves with praising him. From fragments left to us he
is infinitely impassioned to read.

GREEK TRAGEDY.--Greek tragedy, which is one of the miracles of the human
brain, began in the sixth century B.C. It was born of the dithyramb. The
dithyramb is a chant in chorus in honour of a god or a hero. From this
chorus emerged a single actor who sang the praises of the god, and to
which the choir replied. When, instead of one actor, there were two who
addressed one another in dialogue and were answered by the choir, the
dramatic poem was founded. When there were three--and there were hardly
ever any more--tragedy, as the Greeks understood it, existed.

THESPIS; AESCHYLUS; SOPHOCLES.--Thespis was the earliest known to us who
took rudimentary tragedies from town to town in Attica. Then came
Aeschylus, whose tragedy, already rigid and hieratical, was very
powerful, imbued with terrible majesty; then came Sophocles, a religious
philosopher, having a feeling for the old religion and the art of giving
it a moral character, great lyrical poet, master of dialogue, eloquent,
moving, knowing how to construct and carry on a dramatic poem with
infinite skill, to whom, in fact, can be denied no quality of dramatic
poetry and who attains a conception of perfection.

EURIPIDES.--Euripides, less religious as a philosopher, sometimes
suggesting the sophist and a little the rhetorician, but full of ideas,
eloquent, affecting, "the most tragic" (that is, the most pathetic) of
all the acting dramatists, as Aristotle observed, the most modern, too,
and the one we best understand, has been the true source whence have been
freely drawn the tragedies of modern times, more particularly of our own.

The greatest works of Aeschylus are _Seven Against Thebes_ and
_Prometheus Bound_; the greatest of Sophocles: _Antigone_, _Oedipus
the Tyrant_ and _Oedipus at Colonos_; the greatest of Euripides:
_Hippolytus_ and _Iphigenia_.

After Euripides tragedy was exhausted and only produced very second-rate
works.

COMEDY.--Comedy enjoyed a longer existence. Very obscure in origin, no
doubt proceeding from the opprobrious jests exchanged by the lower
classes in mirthful hours, it was at first freely fantastical, composed
in dialogue, oratorical, lyrical, satirical, even epical at times. Like
tragedy, it possessed a chorus for which the lyrical part was specially
reserved. It was personal--that is, it directly attacked known
contemporaries, often by name and often by bringing them on the stage.
The celebrated authors of this "ancient comedy" were Eupolis, Cratinos,
of whom we have only fragments, and Aristophanes, whose work has come
down to us.

ARISTOPHANES.--Aristophanes was a great poet, with incisive humour and
also incomparable lyrical power, with voluntary vulgarity which is often
shocking and an elevation of ideas and language which frequently raise
him to the heights of Aeschylus and Sophocles. Here was one of the
grandest poetic minds that the world has produced. His most considerable
achievements are _The Frogs_, the earliest known work of literary
criticism, in dramatic form too, wherein he sets up a parallel between
Aeschylus and Euripides and cruelly jeers at the latter; _The
Clouds_, in which he mocks the sophists; _The Wasps_, wherein he
ridicules the Athenian mania for judging, and magnificently praises the
old Athenians of the time of Marathon.

MENANDER.--To this "ancient comedy," immediately succeeded the "middle
comedy," in which it was forbidden to introduce personalities and of
which Aristophanes gave an example and a model in his _Plutus_.
Later, in the fourth century before Christ, with the refined, witty, and
discreet Menander, the "new comedy" was analogous to that of Plautus, of
Terence, and that of our own of the seventeenth century.

THUCYDIDES.--To return to the time of Pericles; Attic prose developed in
the hands of historians, sages, and philosophers. Thucydides founded true
history, scientific, drawn from the sources, supported and strengthened
by all the information and corroboration that the skilled historian can
gather, examine, and control. As a writer, Thucydides was terse, bare,
limpid, and possessed an agreeable sober elegance. He introduced into his
history imaginary discourses between great historical personages which
allowed him to show the general state of Greece or of particular portions
of Greece at certain important times. It is not known why these
discourses were written in a style differing from that of the rest of the
work, wise, even beautiful, but so extremely concise and elliptic as, in
consequence, to be extremely difficult to understand.

HIPPOCRATES.--Hippocrates created scientific medicine, the medicine of
observation, denying prodigies, seeking natural causes for diseases, and
already setting up rational therapeutics. There are seventy-two works
called "Hippocratical," which belong to his school; some may be by
himself.

SOPHISTS AND ORATORS.--The language grew flexible in the hands of the
learned, subtle, and ingenious sophists (Gorgias, Protagoras) who
attacked Socrates by borrowing his weapons, as it were, and making them
perfect.

A new type of literature was created: the oratorical. Antiphon was the
earliest in date alike of the Athenian orators and of the professors of
eloquence. In a crowd after him came Isocrates, Andocides, Lysias,
Aeschines, Hyperides, and the master of them all, that astonishing
logician, that impassioned and terrible orator, Demosthenes.

THE PHILOSOPHERS: PLATO.--Contemporaneously the philosophers, quite as
much as the sophists, even confining the matter to the literary aspect,
cast immortal glory on Attica. Imbued with the spirit of Socrates, even
when more or less unfaithful to him, Plato, psychologist, moralist,
metaphysician, sociologist, marvellous poet in prose, seductive and
fascinating mythologist, really created philosophy in such fashion that
even the most modern systems, if not judged by how much they agree or
differ from him, at least invariably recall him, whether they seem a
distant echo of him or whether they challenge and combat him.

ARISTOTLE; XENOPHON; THEOPHRASTUS.--Aristotle, pre-eminently learned,
admirably cultivated naturalist, acquainted also with everything known in
his day, more prudent metaphysician than Plato but without his depth, a
precise and sure logician and the founder of scientific logic, a clear
and dexterous moralist, an ingenious and pure literary theorist;
Xenophon, who commanded the retreat of the ten thousand, moralist and
Intelligent pedagogue displaying much attractiveness in his
_Cyropoedia_, the sensible, refined, and delightful master of
familiar and practical life in his _Economics_; Theophrastus,
botanist, very witty satirical moralist, highly caustic and
realistic--these three established Greek wisdom for centuries, and
probably for ever, erecting a solid and elegant temple wherein humanity
has almost continuously sought salutary truths, and where some at least
of our descendants, and those not the least illustrious, will always
perform their devotions.

The chief works of Plato are the _Socratic Dialogues_, the
_Gorgias_, the _Timoeus_, the _Phaedo_ (immortality of the
soul), the _Republic_, and the _Laws_. The principal books of
Aristotle are his _Natural History_, _Metaphysics_, _Logic_, _Rhetoric_,
_Poetica_. The most notable volumes of Xenophon are the _Cyropoedia_,
the _Economics_ and the _Memorabilia of Plato_. The only work of
Theophrastus we possess is his _Characters_, which was translated
and _continued_ by La Bruyère.

STOICS AND EPICUREANS.--In the fourth and even the third century,
philosophy spoke to mankind through two principal schools: those of the
Stoics and of the Epicureans. The chief representatives of the Stoics
were Zeno and Cleanthes. Chrysippus taught an austere morality which may
be summed up in these words: "Abstain and endure." The Epicureans, whose
chief representatives were Epicurus and Aristippus, taught, when all was
taken into account, the same morality but starting from a different
principle, which was that happiness must be sought, and in pursuance of
this principle they advised less austerity, even in their precepts.
Although these are schools of philosophy, yet they must be taken into
account here because each of them has exercised much influence over
writers, the first on Seneca and much later on Corneille; the second on
Lucretius and Horace; both sometimes on the same man, one example being
Montaigne.

After Alexander, intellectual Greece extended and enlarged itself so that
Instead of having one centre, Athens, it possessed five or six: Athens,
Alexandria, Antioch, Pergamos, Syracuse. This was an admirable literary
efflorescence; the geniuses were less stupendous but the talents were
innumerable.

In the cities named, and in others, history, rhetoric, geography,
philosophy, history of philosophy, philology, were taught with ardour and
learnt with enthusiasm; the literary soil was rich and it was assiduously
cultivated.

ALEXANDRINE LITERATURE.--From this soil rose a fresh literature--more
erudite, less spontaneous, less rich in popular vigour, yet very
interesting. This is the literature known as _Alexandrine_. With
this literature first appeared the _romance_, unknown to the
ancients. The historical romance began with Hecataeus of Abdera, the
philosophical romance with Evemerus of Messenia, who pretended to have
found an ancient inscription proving that the gods of ancient Greece were
old-time kings of the land deified after death, an ingenious invention
from which was to come a whole school of criticism of ancient mythology.

THE ELEGY AND IDYLL: THEOCRITUS.--True and, at the same time, great poets
belonged to this period. One was Philetas of Cos, founder of the Grecian
elegy, celebrated and affectionately saluted centuries later by André
Chénier. Of his works only a few terse fragments remain. Another was
Asclepiades of Samos, both elegiac and lyric, of whose _epigrams_,
(short elegies) those preserved to us are charming. Yet another was the
sad and charming Leonidas of Tarentum. The two leaders of this choir were
Theocritus and Callimachus. Theocritus, a Sicilian, passes as the founder
of the idyll which he did not invent, but to which he gave the importance
of a type by marking it with his imprint. The idyll of Theocritus was
always a picture of popular customs and even a little drama of popular
morals; but at times it had its scene set in the country, at others in a
town, or again by the sea, and consequently there are rustic idylls
(properly _bucolics_), maritime idylls, popular urban idylls. An
astonishing sense of reality united to a personal poetic gift and a
highly alert sensitiveness made his little poems alike beautiful for
their truth and also for a certain ideal of ardent and profound passion.
It is curious without being astonishing that the idyll of Theocritus
often suggests the poetry of the Bible.

PUPILS OF THEOCRITUS.--Moschus and Bion were the immediate pupils of
Theocritus. He had more illustrious ones, commencing with Virgil in his
_Eclogues_, continuing with the numerous idylls of the Renaissance
in France and Italy, as well as with Segrais in the seventeenth century,
and ending, if it be desired, with André Chénier, though others more
modern can be traced.

CALLIMACHUS.--Callimachus, more erudite, more scholastic, was what is
termed a neoclassic, which is that he desired to treat in a new way the
same subjects that had been dealt with by the great men of ancient
Greece, and so far as possible to conceive them in the same spirit.
Therefore he wrote tragedies, comedies, "satiric dramas" (a kind of farce
in which secondary deities were characterised), lyric and elegiac poems
after the manner of Alcaeus or Sappho, a familiar epopee, a romance in
verse, which was perhaps a novel type, but more probably imitated from
certain poems of ancient Greece which we no longer possess. To us his
poetry seems cold and calculated, although clever and dexterous. It was
held in high esteem not only in his own day but to the close of
antiquity.

DIDACTIC POETRY: ARATUS; APOLLONIUS.--Didactic poetry, of the cultivation
of which there had been no trace since Hesiod, was destined to be revived
in this clever period; and, in fact, at this time Aratus wrote his
_Phoenomena_, which is a course of astronomy and meteorology in
conformity with the science of his era. More ambitious, and desirous not
only of writing an epic fragment like Callimachus, but also of restoring
the old-time grand epic poem after the manner of Homer (Callimachus and
he had a violent quarrel on the subject), Apollonius of Rhodes in his
_Argonautics_ narrated the expedition of Jason. It was a fine epic
poem and especially an astonishing psychological poem. The study of
passion and of the progress and catastrophe of the infatuation of Medea
form a masterpiece. Assuredly Virgil in his _Dido_, and perhaps
Racine in his _Phèdre_ remembered Apollonius.

LYCOPHRON.--Lycophron also belongs to this period. He left such an
admirable poem (_Alexandra_, that is Cassandra) that his
contemporaries themselves failed to understand it in spite of all their
efforts. He is the head and ancestor of that great school of inaccessible
or impenetrable poets who are most ardently admired. Maurice Scève in the
sixteenth century is the illustrious example.

THE EPIGRAMMATISTS: MELEAGER.--To these numerous men of great talent must
be added the epigrammatists--that is, those who wrote very short, very
concise, very limpid poems wherein they sought absolute perfection. They
were almost innumerable. The most illustrious was Meleager, in whom we
can yet appreciate delicate genius and exquisite sensibility.

POLYBIUS.--Reduced to Roman provinces (successively greater Greece,
Greece proper, Egypt, Syria), the Grecian world none the less continued
to be an admirable intellectual haven. As early as the Punic wars, the
Greek Polybius revealed he was an excellent historian, military,
political, and philosophical, inquisitive about facts, inquisitive, too,
about probable causes, constitutions, and social institutions, the
morals, character, and the underlying temperament of races. His principal
work is the _Histories_--that is, the history of the Graeco-Roman
world from the second Punic war until the capture of Corinth by the
Romans. He was an intellectual master; unfortunately he wrote very badly.

EPICTETUS; MARCUS AURELIUS.--It must, however, be recognised that in the
first century before Christ and in the first after, Greece--even
intellectually--was in a state of depression. But dating from the Emperor
Nerva--that is, from the commencement of the second century--there was a
remarkable Hellenic revival. Primarily, it was the most brilliant moment
since Plato in Grecian philosophy. Stoicism exerted complete sway over
the cultivated classes; Epictetus gave his _Enchiridion_ and
_Manual_, wherein are condensed the elevated and profound thoughts
most deeply realised of the doctrine of Zeno; later, the Emperor Marcus
Aurelius, in his solitary meditations entitled _For Myself_, depicts
his own soul, admirable, chaste, pure, severe to himself, indulgent to
others, pathetically resigned to the universal order of things and
adhering to them with a renunciation and a faith that are truly
religious. Less severe, even playful and smiling, Dion Chrysostom (that
is, mouth of gold, nickname given to him because of his eloquence) is
penetrated with the same spirit a little mingled with Platonism, which
makes him, therefore, perhaps, penetrate more easily than the
over-austere pure Stoics.

PLUTARCH.--Plutarch, as historian discreetly romantic, as philosophical
moralist decidedly dexterous, gently obstinate in conciliation and
concord, in a large portion of his _Parallel Lives_ narrated those
of illustrious Romans and Greeks to show how excellent they were and how
highly they ought to esteem one another; elsewhere, in his moral works,
he sought to conciliate philosophy and paganism, no doubt believing in a
single God, as did Plato, but also believing in a crowd of intermediary
spirits between God and man, which allowed him to regard the deities of
paganism as misunderstood beings and even in a certain sense to admit
their authority. Emphatically a man who observed the golden mean, he
opposed the Stoics for being too severe on human nature and the
Epicureans for being too easy or for too lightly risking the future. He
was an elegant writer--gracious, self-restraining; nearer, all said and
done, to eclecticism than to simplicity, and he must not be judged by the
geniality which was virtually imparted to him by Amyot in translating
him. Throughout Europe, since the Renaissance, of all the Grecian authors
he has perhaps been the most read, the most quoted, the best loved, and
the most carefully edited.

THE GREEK HISTORIANS.--Greek historians multiplied about this period. To
mention only the most notable: Arrian, philosopher, disciple of
Epictetus, and historian of the expedition of Alexander; Appian, who
wrote the history of the Roman people from their origin until the time of
Trajan; Dion Cassius, who also compiled Roman history in a sustained
manner full of elegance and nobility; Herodian, historian of the
successors of Marcus Aurelius, who would only narrate what he had himself
witnessed, a showy writer who seems over-polished and a little
artificial.

A historian of a highly individualistic character was Diogenes of
Laertius, who wrote the _Lives of Philosophers_, being very little
of a philosopher himself and too prone to drop into anecdotage, but
interesting and invaluable to us because of the scanty information we
possess about ancient philosophy.

LUCIAN.--Immeasurably superior to those just cited since Plutarch, Lucian
of Samosata (Syria) may be regarded as the Voltaire of antiquity--witty,
sceptical, amusing, even comic. He was primarily a lecturer, wandering
like a sophist from town to town, in order to talk in vivacious,
animated, nimble, and paradoxical fashion. Then he was a polygraphic
writer, producing treatises, satires, and pamphlets on the most diverse
subjects. He wrote against the Christians, the pagans, the philosophers,
the prejudiced, sometimes against common sense. Amongst his works were
_The Way to Write History_, partly serious, partly sarcastic; _The
Dialogues of the Dead_, moralising and satirical, imitated much later
in very superior fashion by Fontenelle; _The Dialogues of the Gods_,
against mythology; _True History_, a parody of the false or romantic
histories then so fashionable, more especially about Alexander. He
certainly possessed little depth, but his talent was incredible:
alertness, causticity, amusing logic, burlesque dialectics, an
astonishing instinct for caricature, the art of natural dialogue, gay
insolence, light but vivid psychological penetration, an almost profound
sense of the ridiculous, joyous fooling; above all, that first essential
of satire, to be himself amused by what he wrote to amuse others; all
these he possessed in a high degree. Rabelais has been called the Homeric
buffoon, Lucian is certainly the Socratic.

POETRY AND ROMANCE.--Greek poetry no longer existed at this period.
Hardly is it permissible to cite the didactic Oppian, with his poem on
sin, and the fabulist Babrius, imitator of Aesop in his fables. In
reparation, the romance was born and the scientific literature was
important. The romance claimed among its representatives Antonius
Diogenes, with his _Marvels Beyond Thule_; Heliodorus, with his
_Aethiopica_ or _Theagenes and Chariclea_, the love-story so
much admired by Racine in his youth; Longus, with his _Daphnis and
Chloe_, which still retains general approval and which possesses real,
though somewhat studied grace, and of which the ability of the style is
quite above the normal.

SCIENTIFIC LITERATURE.--Scientific literature includes the highly
illustrious mathematician and astronomer Ptolemy, whose system obtained
respect and belief until the advent of Copernicus; the physician Galen;
the philosopher-physician Sextus Empiricus, who was a good historian,
highly sceptical, but well informed and intelligent about philosophical
ideas.

DECADENCE OF THE GREEK SPIRIT.--Vitality was slowly withdrawn from the
Grecian world, although not without revivals and highly interesting
semi-renaissances. In the fourth century, the sophist--that is, the
professor of philosophy and of rhetoric--Libanius left a vast number of
official or academic discourses and letters which were dissertations.
Like his friend the Emperor Julian, he was a convinced pagan, and with
kindly but firm spirit combated the Christian bishops, priests, and
particularly the monks, who were objects of veritable repulsion to him.
He possessed talent of a secondary but honourable rank.

THE EMPEROR JULIAN.--The Emperor Julian, a Christian in childhood, but
who on attaining manhood reverted to paganism, which earned him the title
of "the Apostate," was highly intelligent, pure in heart, and filled with
a spirit of tolerance; but he was a heathen and he wrote against
Christianity. He possessed satiric force and wit, even a measure of
eloquence. A pamphlet by him, the _Misopogon_, directed against the
inhabitants of Antioch, who had chaffed him about his beard, makes
amusing reading. He died quite young; he would, in all probability, have
become a very great man.

PROCOPIUS.--It is necessary to advance to the sixth century to mention
the historian Procopius, that double-visaged annalist who, in his
official histories, was lost in admiration of Justinian, and who, in his
_Secret History_, only published long after his death, related to us
the turpitude, real or imagined, of Theodora, wife of the Emperor
Justinian, and of Antonina, wife of Belisarius.

POETRY.--Greek poetry was not dead. Quintus of Smyrna, who was of the
fourth century, perhaps later, wrote a _Sequel to Homer_, without
much imagination, but with skill and dexterity; Nonnus wrote the
_Dionysiaca_, a poetic history of the expedition of Bacchus to
India, declamatory, copious, and powerful, full alike of faults and
talent; Musaeus (date absolutely unknown) has remained justly celebrated
for his delicious little poem _Hero and Leander_, countless times
translated both in prose and verse.

GRECIAN CHRISTIAN WRITERS.--It is necessary to revert to the fourth
century in order to enumerate Grecian Christian writers. As might be
expected these were almost all controversial orators. Saint Athanasius of
Alexandria was an admirable man of action, a fiery and impassioned
orator, the highly polemical historian of the Church, after the manner of
Bossuet in his _History of Variations_. Saint Basil, termed by his
admirers "the Great," without there being much hyperbole in the
qualification, was an incomparable orator. He, as it were, reigned over
Eastern Christianity, thanks to his word, his skill, and his courage.
Even to us his works possess charm. He intermingled the finest ideas of
Plato and of Christianity in the happiest and most orthodox manner. The
humanists held him in esteem for having rendered justice to antiquity in
his _Lecture on Profane Authors_ and having advised Christians to
study it with prudence but with esteem. Saint Gregory of Nazianzen, the
intimate friend of Saint Basil, was also a great orator, exalted, ardent,
and lyrical, whilst he was also as a poet, refined, gracious, and full of
charm. Saint Gregory of Nyssa, brother of Saint Basil, was essentially a
theologian and in his day a theological authority.

SAINT JOHN CHRYSOSTOM.--The most splendid figure of the Greek Church was
Saint John Chrysostom, celebrated in political history for his struggle
with the Emperor Arcadius and the Empress Eudoxia, and for the
persecutions he had in consequence to suffer. His heated, fiery, and
violent eloquence, which was altogether that of a tribune of the people,
can still profoundly affect us because therein can be felt a deeply
sincere ardour, a passion for justice, charity, and love. A bellicose
moralist, he was, like Bourdaloue, a realist and therefore an exact and
cruel delineator of the customs of his time, which were not good; and he
teaches us better than anyone else what was the sad state of Eastern
morality in his day. His widely varied genius, passing from the most
spiritually familiar of tones to the height of moving and imposing
eloquence, was one of the grandest of all antiquity.

EUSEBIUS.--Allusion should be made to that good historian Eusebius, who
narrated Christian history from its origins until the year 323.

THE BYZANTINE PERIOD.--What is termed the Byzantine period extended from
the close of the reign of Justinian to the definite fall of the Eastern
Empire (565-1453). This long epoch, practically corresponding to the
Middle Ages of the West, is very weak from the literary point of view,
but yet possessed a number of interesting and valuable historians (Joseph
of Byzantium, Comnenus, etc.) and skilled and learned grammarians, that
is professors of language and literature (Eustathius, Cephalon, Planudes,
Lascaris). It was the later of these grammarians, among them Lascaris,
who after the fall of Constantinople being welcomed in France and Italy,
brought the Greek writers to the West, commentated on them, made them
known, and thence came the Renaissance of Literature.



CHAPTER IV


THE LATINS

The Latins, Imitators of the Greeks. Epic Poets, Dramatic Poets. Golden
Age: Virgil, Horace, Ovid. Silver Age: Prose Writers, Historians and
Philosophers:--Titus-Livy, Tacitus, Seneca. Decadence Still Brilliant.


LATIN LITERATURE.--Latin literature is little more than a branch of Greek
literature. It commenced much later, finished earlier, and has always
poured into the others at least a portion of its living force. Roman
literature really begins only at the moment when the Romans came into
contact with the Greeks, read their works, and were tempted to imitate
them; that is to say, it commences in the third century before Christ.
The first manifestation of this literature was epic. Naevius and Livius
Andronicus made epopees. They are destitute of talent. Ennius made one:
it possessed merit; what the Latin critics have quoted of his
_Annals_ is marked, first by an energetic patriotic sentiment which
affords pleasure; then it possesses energy and sometimes even a certain
brilliance. In addition, Ennius wrote several didactic and satiric poems.
Among the Romans, Ennius was the great ancestor and father of Latin
literature.

LUCILIUS.--Lucilius was a satirist. Judging by the fragments of his work
which have come down to us, he was a very acute and penetrating political
satirist. Horace, despite his sovereign disdain for all that preceded his
own century, did not fail to value him and agreed that there was
something to be drawn and appreciated from this "muddy torrent."

COMEDY: PLAUTUS; TERENCE.--Comedy and tragedy existed at this period. It
may be apposite here to point out that it was later and in the finest
period of Latin literature that they ceased to exist. Plautus conceived
the plan of transporting to Rome Grecian comedies of the time of the new
comedy and of adapting them more or less to Latin morals. He possessed a
strong and brutal verve which did not lack power, and more than once
Molière did him the honour of taking inspiration from him. Terence, after
him, the friend of Scipio the second Africanus, and perhaps in
collaboration with him, in a way widely different from that of Plautus so
far as type of talent, tender, gentle, romantic, sentimental, smiling
rather than witty, so far as can be judged directly inspired by Menander,
wrote comedies which are highly agreeable to read, but it is doubtful if
they could ever have been widely appreciated on the stage. However, the
Roman writers held him in great esteem, and at one epoch of our own
history, in the seventeenth century, he enjoyed remarkable and unanimous
appreciation.

L'ATELLANE.--To comedy strictly defined, whether it dealt with Romans or
Greeks, the Romans also added the atellane, which came to them from the
Etruscans (Atella, a city of Etruria) and which was a sort of farce with
stereotyped characters (the fat glutton, the lean glutton, the old miser
always baffled, etc.). Pomponius and Naevius endeavoured to raise this
popular recreation to a literary standard and succeeded. It then became a
thoroughly national characteristic. There was considerable analogy
between it and the modern popular Italian comedy, showing its Cassandras,
its Pantaloon, and its Harlequin, without it being possible to assert
that the Italian comedy proceeded from the atellane. The atellane enjoyed
much success in the second century before Christ. It was, however, ousted
by the mime, which was the kind of comic literature thoroughly national
at Rome. The mime was a farce of popular morals, particularly of the
lower classes; it was a portrayal of the dregs of society in their comic
aspects. It maintained its sway until the close of the Roman Empire
without becoming more dignified; rather the reverse. The names of some
authors of mimes have survived: Publius Syrus and Laberius, in the time
of Caesar. What is curious is that these mimes, licentious and even
obscene though they were, throughout gave occasional utterance to highly
moral observations which Latin grammarians have preserved for us. This
curious mixture may be explained or contrasted at pleasure; perhaps it
was only a conventional habit.

TRAGEDY.--As for what there was of tragedy, it was destined to be yet
shorter-lived than comedy, but it was evidently very brilliant and it is
regrettable that it has not been preserved. Livius Andronicus and Nasvius
wrote tragedies, but the three greatest tragedians were Ennius, his
nephew Pacuvius, and Attius. Ennius imitated Euripides, Pacuvius
Sophocles, and Attius Aeschylus. All three soared to the grand, the
majestic, and the sublime; all seem to have been very sententious and
replete with maxims; but it is needful to be cautious: these authors are
known to us only by the citations made by grammarians, and grammarians
who, having naturally cited phrases rather than fragments of dialogue,
make it possible that these authors appear to us sententious when they
were in reality not abnormally so.

PROSE LITERATURE.--Prose literature at Rome appeared almost at the same
time as the poetic. Cicero has given us the names of great orators,
contemporaries of Ennius, and there were historians and didacticians in
prose of the same period. The elder Cato, the great censor, was an
historian; he wrote a work, _The Origins_, which seems to have been
the history not only of Rome but of all Italy since the foundation of
Rome; he was didactic; he wrote a _De Re Rustica_ (On Rural Life)
which has come down to us and is infinitely valuable as showing the
simplicity, the hardness, and the avarice of the old Roman proprietors,
all qualities which Cato thoroughly well knew they possessed.

THE AGE OF CAESAR.--The age of Caesar was a great literary epoch. Before
all and almost over all was Caesar himself: great orator, letter-writer,
grammarian, and historian. His _Commentaries_, that is, his memoirs,
history of his campaigns, are admirable in their conciseness and
precision of rapid and running narrative. Apart from him, Cornelius Nepos
made a very clear abridgment, characterised by marked sobriety, of
universal history under the title of _Chronica_. Varro, a kind of
encyclopaedist, wrote a _De Re Rustica_, also a work on the Latin
language, _Menippic Satires_--satires it is true, but mixtures of
prose and verse--and a work on _Roman Life_, as well as a crowd of
small books dealing with every possible subject. Cicero told him, "You
have taught us all things human and divine." He possessed immense
erudition and a violent mind not without charm. He can be imagined as a
sage of our own sixteenth century.

CICERO.--Cicero was perhaps the greatest _littérateur_ that has ever
lived. It is obvious that all tastes were in his soul at the same time,
as Voltaire said of himself, and he gratified them all. He was
politician, lawyer, orator, poet, philosopher, professor of rhetoric,
moralist, grammarian, political writer, correspondent; he encompassed all
human knowledge, involved himself in all human matters and was a very
great writer. What to-day interests us most in his immense output are his
political discourses, his letters and his moral treatises. His political
discourses are those of an honest man who always held upright views and
the sentiment of the great interests of his country; his letters are
those of a witty man and of an excellent friend; his moral treatises,
more particularly his _De Officiis_ (On Duties), are in a very
elevated spirit which subordinates all other human duties beneath
obligations towards one's country. He did not always rise to
circumstances; he was well content, on the contrary, that they should
serve him.

SALLUST.--Sallust, who as an individual seems to have been contemptible,
was a highly sagacious and excellent historian. He has left a history of
Catiline and another of Jugurtha. They are masterpieces of lucidity and
of dramatic vivacity. Admirable especially are his maxims, which seem as
well thought out as those of La Rochefoucauld: "Friendship is to desire
the same things and to hate the same things"; "the spirit of faction is
the friendship of scoundrels."

POETRY: CATULLUS.--Poetry was not less brilliant than prose in the time
of Caesar. It was the era of Lucretius and of Catullus. Catullus, a
delightful man of the world, a charming voluptuary, passionate and
eloquent lover, formidable epigrammatist, a little coloured by
Alexandrianism (but barely, for this trait has been much exaggerated),
comes very close to being a great poet. In many respects he closely
recalls André Chénier, who, it may be added, was thoroughly conversant
with his writing.

LUCRETIUS.--Lucretius is a very noble poet. If we knew Epicurus otherwise
than by fragments, it is highly probable we should be tempted to assert
that Lucretius was only a translator; but on that we cannot pronounce,
and of the didactic part of the poem of Lucretius (_On Nature_),
even if it were a simple translation, all the oratorical and the
descriptive portions would remain, and they are the most beautiful of the
work. In his invocations to Epicurus, in his prosopopoeia of nature to
man inviting resignation to death, in his descriptions of the immolation
of Iphigenia and of the cow wandering in the fields in search of her lost
heifer, there are a breadth, a grasp, and an epic grandeur, which recall
Homer, arouse thoughts of Dante, and which Virgil himself, whilst much
less unequal though never greater, has not attained.

THE AUGUSTAN AGE.--The Augustan Age, which was only really very great if
under this title is also included the epoch of Caesar and also that of
Octavius, and thus it was understood by our ancestors, does not fail to
offer writers of fine genius. These are Virgil, Horace, and Titus-Livy.

TITUS-LIVY.--Titus-Livy, who is one of the purest and most beautiful
writers and an orator of seductive talent in his own chamber, wrote a
Roman history composed, as to the first portion, of the legends
transmitted at Rome from generation to generation, and in which it is
impossible for us to distinguish the false from the true; for two-thirds
of the work made very accurate investigations of all that previous
historians and the annals of the pontiffs could give the author. As has
been observed, Titus-Livy, being a Cisalpine, was a Gaul who already
possessed the French qualities: order, clearness, regulated development,
sustained and careful style, oratorical tastes. An ardent patriot,
republican at his soul, yet treated in friendly fashion by Augustus, he
wrote Roman history at first, no doubt, to make it known, but above all
to inspire the Romans of his own time with admiration, respect, and love
for the austere morals and exalted virtues of their ancestors. He erected
a monument, one portion of which is unhappily destroyed, but into which
modern tragedians have often quarried and which orators have not scorned
when desiring to instruct themselves in their art.

VIRGIL.--Virgil came from almost the same country. His was a charming
soul, tender and gentle, infinitely capable of friendship, very pure and
white, as Horace said, with a tendency to melancholy. The two sources of
his inspiration were Homer and love of Rome; add, for a time, Theocritus.
Lover of the country and of moral life, he first wrote those delicious
_Bucolics_ wherein he did not venture to be as realistic as the
Sicilian poet, but in which there is not only infinite grace and delicate
sensibility, but also, in certain verses, admirable descriptions that
arouse memories of those of La Fontaine. Lover of the soil and desirous,
in harmony with Augustus, to attract the Italians back to a taste for
agriculture, he wrote the _Georgics_: that is, the toils of the
field, describing these labours with singular exactitude and precision;
then, to give the reader variety, he introduced from time to time an
episode which is a fragment of history or of mythological legend. At
length, desirous of attributing to Rome the most glorious past possible,
he revived the old legend which claimed that the ancient kings of Rome
descended from the famous kings of Troy in her zenith, and he composed
the _Aeneid_. The _Aeneid_ is at once both an _Odyssey_ and an
_Iliad_. The first five books containing the adventures of
Aeneas after the fall of Troy until his arrival in Italy form an
_Odyssey_; the last six books, containing the combats of Aeneas in
Italy in order to conquer a place for himself, form an _Iliad_. In
the middle, the sixth book is a descent into hell, again an imitation of
Homer, yet altogether new, enriched as it is with very fine philosophical
ideas which Homer could never have known. The main theme of the poem and
what gives it unity is Rome, which does not yet exist, but which is
always to be seen looming in the future. All the poem leans in that
direction, and alike by ingenious artifices, by prophecies more and more
exact, by the description of the shield of Aeneas, Roman history itself,
in its broad lines, is traced.

The sovereign merit of Virgil is his artistic sense. Others are more
powerful or more profound. No man has written better verse than he on any
subject on which he wrote.

HORACE.--Horace was a man of infinite wit, profoundly conversant with the
Grecian poets. With that knowledge of the poets he filled his odes with
recollections of Alcasus and Stesichorus; they were minutely and finely
polished, accustoming the Romans to find in Latin words the musical
phrases of the Greeks, but withal remaining very cold. With his wit, his
verve, his very lively sense of humour, his pretty moral philosophy
borrowed a little from the Stoics but mainly from the Epicureans, he
created his _Satires_ and his _Epistles_, which form the most
delicate feast and which have no more lost their interest for us than
Montaigne has. Here was a charming man. He was not a great poet. He was
the most witty of poets, the poet of the men of wit.

TIBULLUS; PROPERTIUS; OVID.--Tibullus, Propertius, and Ovid immediately
followed him. Tibullus was a tender and sad elegiast, less passionate and
less powerful than Catullus, but gracious and touching. All the elegiacal
poets, and André Chénier in particular, have evinced recollections of
him. Propertius possessed great talent for versification, but was more
erudite than inspired; being almost pure Alexandrine, he is more
interesting to the humourist than to the ordinary man. Ovid, gifted with
facility and the skill of a prodigious versifier, dexterous descriptist
in his _Metamorphoses_, ingenious and cold in his _Art of
Love_, has found some pathetic notes in his elegies wherein as an
exile he weeps over his own misfortunes.

DECADENCE.--With the second century arrived the commencement of
decadence. The rhetoricians, who in Rome were what the sophists were in
Athens, only far less intelligent, directed the public mind. They did
not spoil it completely, but they did not give it strength, and the
Latins, believing they had reached the zenith of the Greeks, seemed to
draw less inspiration from the eternal models.

QUINTUS CURTIUS.--However, the Latin sap is still strong. Quintus
Curtius, romantic historian, who wrote a history of Alexandria which is
too generous towards the legendary, narrates brilliantly and strews his
pages with vigorously phrased maxims and apothegms. He is a remarkable
author. The elder Pliny, a very erudite sage and a somewhat precious
writer, is a worthy successor of Varro.

SENECA.--Seneca, who certainly was well nurtured in Greek philosophy,
preached stoicism in concise, antithetic, and epigrammatic styles, all in
highly thoughtful points which sometimes attain power.

PETRONIUS; LUCIAN; MARTIAL.--Petronius was a man possessing highly
refined taste who painted extremely ugly morals. Tragedy endeavoured to
obtain renaissance with Seneca the tragic, who is perhaps the same as the
moralist Seneca, alluded to above, and the effort was sufficiently
brilliant for our tragedians of the sixteenth century, and even Racine in
his _Phèdre_, frequently to follow it. Perseus, pupil of Horace so
far as his satires are concerned, was concise to the point of obscurity,
but often displayed such vigour and ruggedness as to be powerfully
moving. Lucian, spoilt by a certain taste for declamation, is really a
sound poet, more especially as a poetic orator, and in this respect he is
often admirable. Silius Italicus, Valerius Flaccus, Statius, revert to
the school of Virgil and display talent for versification. Martial,
almost exclusively epigrammatic, was extremely witty.

JUVENAL.--Juvenal, arising sardonically from the crowd, is the prince of
satirists for all time. He possessed a passion for honesty, spirit, and
oratorical breadth, and incredible vigour as colourist, the gift of verse
cast in medallions and also the gift of energetic metallic sonorousness.
Victor Hugo, in the satiric portion of his work, not merely drew
inspiration from but seemed saturated with him.

THE TRAJAN EPOCH.--now came the Trajan epoch. Quintilian, in elegant
fashion, with point and rather affected graces, taught us excellent
rhetoric full of sense and taste. Pliny the Younger, gentle and gay,
honest and amusing, pleaded as an insinuating orator, and, under the
pretext of _Letters_ to his friends, wrote essays of amiable
morality which evoke recollections of Montaigne.

TACITUS.--Tacitus is a great psychological historian and moralist. He is,
as Racine observed, "the greatest painter of antiquity," and Racine meant
the greatest painter of portraits. He possessed an entirely fresh style
of his own creation: nervous, articulate, coloured, concise, with brief
metaphors which reveal not only a poet, but a fine poet, in the vein of
Michelet, but with the difference of febrility to the potent discharge of
power.

AULUS GELLIUS; APULEIUS.--Under Marcus Aurelius Latin literature fell
into decay. Aulus Gellius was only a rather untidy or at least not very
methodical scholar who wrote feebly; Apuleius with his _Golden Ass_
was merely a fantastic romancist, very complex, curious about everything,
more especially with regard to singularities, lively, amusing, mystical
at times; in short, distinctly disconcerting.

WRITERS ON CHRISTIANITY.--Christianity was at an adult age. There were
writers of importance and some who were really great; the energetic and
violent Tertullian, beloved by Bossuet; Saint Cyprian, full of unction,
gentleness, and charity; Lactantius, skilful Christian philosopher,
ingenious and possessing insinuating subtlety; Saint Hilarius, an ardent
polemist, impetuous and torrential; Saint Ambrose, exalted, wise, serene,
very well read, very "Roman," who may be styled the Cicero of
Christianity; Saint Jerome, ardent, impassioned, possessing lively
sensibility, an animated and seductive imagination, who--excluding all
idea of scandal--suggests what is purest and most beautiful in Jean
Jacques Rousseau; finally, that great doctor and noble philosopher of
the Church, Saint Augustine.

SAINT AUGUSTINE.--Saint Augustine is pre-eminently a philosopher, a man
who analysed ideas and saw all that they contained, their first principle
and their trend as well as their ultimate consequences. He was in
addition a great orator; he was also a historian, or at least a
philosopher of history, in his _City of God_; finally, he was a poet
at heart and imbued with the most exquisite sensibility in his immortal
_Confessions_. Probably he was the most extraordinary man of the
world of antiquity.

CHRISTIAN POETS.--Christianity even had its poets: Commodian, Juvencus,
the impassioned and skilful Prudentius, St. Paulinus of Nola. None were
very prominent, all possessed lively sentiment, such as Chateaubriand
evinced, for what is profoundly poetic in Christianity.

SECULAR POETS.--The last mundane poets were more brilliant than those of
Christianity. Avienus possessed charming elegance and rather effeminate
grace. It should be noted that he (with Prudentius) was the sole lyric
poet after Horace. Ausonius had sensibility and remarkable descriptive
talent; Claudian, rhetorician in verse, rose sometimes to veritable
eloquence and maintained a continual brilliance which is fatiguing
because it is continual, but does not fail to be a marvellous fault.
Finally must be cited Rutilius, first because he had talent, then because
even amid the invasions of the barbarians he made an impassioned eulogy
of Rome which is, involuntarily, a funeral oration; finally, because,
despite being a bitter foe to Christianity, he once more involuntarily
defined the great and noble change from paganism to Christianity: _Tunc
mutabantur corpora, nunc animi_ ("Formerly bodies were metamorphosed,
now souls").



CHAPTER V


THE MIDDLE AGES: FRANCE

_Chansons de Geste: Song of Roland_ and Lyric Poetry. Popular
Epopee: _Romances of Renard_. Popular Short Stories: Fables.
Historians. The Allegorical Poem: _Romance of the Rose_. Drama.


_CHANSONS DE GESTE_.--The literature of the Middle Ages freed itself from
Latin about the tenth century. This was the moment when the great epopees
which are called _chansons de geste_ began to be heard. The most
celebrated is the one entitled _The Song of Roland_. It is the story
of the last struggle in which Roland engaged on returning from Spain at
the pass of Roncevaux and of his death. The form of this poem is rather
dry and a little monotonous; but there are admirable passages such as the
benediction of the dying by the Bishop Turpin, the farewell of Roland to
Oliver, Roland holding out his glove to his Lord God at the moment of
death, etc. The _chansons de geste_ were numerous. Some
commemorated Charlemagne and his comrades, others Arthur, King of
Britain, and his knights, others, as a rule less interesting, were about
the heroes of antiquity, Troy, Alexander, not well known but not
forgotten. The _chansons de geste_ permeated the whole of the
eleventh and twelfth centuries.

JOINVILLE; VILLEHARDOUIN.--In the thirteenth century appeared an
historian, Joinville, friend of St. Louis, who described the crusade in
which he took part with his master. He possessed _naïvéte_, grace,
naturalness, and picturesqueness. Villehardouin, who described the fourth
crusade, in which he played his part, was a realist--exact, precise,
luminous--in whom the strangeness and grandeur of the things he had
witnessed sometimes inspired a true nobility, simple enough but
singularly impressive.

THE TROUBADOURS.--Lyric poetry barely existed during these centuries
except south of the Loire, in the Latin country, among the poets called
troubadours; nevertheless, in the north, the noble Count Thibaut of
Champagne, to cite only one, wrote songs possessing amiable inspiration
and happily turned. Beside him must be instanced the highly remarkable
Ruteboeuf, narrator, elegiast, lyric orator, admirably gifted, who, to be
a great poet, only needed to live in a more favourable period and to have
at his disposition a more flexible language, one more abundant and more
widely elaborated.

_THE ROMANCES OF RENARD_.--In the fourteenth century, the _Romances of
Renard_ enjoyed remarkably wide popularity and multiplied in
abundance. Each was like a fable by La Fontaine expanded to the
proportions of an epic poem. Under the names of animals they were human
types in action and concerned in multifarious adventures: the lion was
the king; the bear, called Bruin, was the seigneurial lord of the soil;
the fox was the artful, circumspect citizen; the cock, called
Chanticleer, was the hero of warfare, and so on. Some of the _Romances
of Renard_ are insipid; others possess a satiric and parodying spirit
that is extremely diverting.

THE FABLES.--Contemporaneously the _Fables_ amused our ancestors.
They were anecdotes, tales in verse for the most part dealing with
adventures of citizens, analogous to the tales of La Fontaine. The
majority were jeering, bantering, and satirical; some few were affecting
and refined. They were certainly the most living and characteristic
portion of old French literature.

THE BIBLES.--The Middle Ages, after the manner of the ancients, delighted
in gathering into one volume all the knowledge current. These didactic
books were called bibles. Some were celebrated: the _Bible_ of Guyot
of Provence, the _Bible_ of Hugo of Berzi. As a rule, whilst learned
as far as the resources of the times permitted, they were also satiric,
precisely as almost the whole of the literature of the Middle Ages is
satiric.

_THE ROMANCE OF THE ROSE_.--The _Romance of the Rose_, which was by
two authors writing with almost half a century of interval between them,
was in the first portion, of which the author is William of Lorris, an
art of love in the form of a romance in verse; and the second part,
written by John de Meung, formed in some measure a continuation of the
first, but above all was a work of erudition and instruction, in which
the poet put all that he knew as well as his philosophical conceptions,
often of a remarkable and highly unexpected boldness. Aptly John de Meung
has been compared with Rabelais, and it is not astonishing that the
popularity of this poem should have lasted more than two centuries nor
that it should have charmed or irritated our ancestors according to the
tendency of their minds.

FROISSART.--The representative of history in the fourteenth century was
Froissart, a picturesque chronicler, very vital, always full of interest,
although it is indisputable that he was lacking in historical criticism;
and among the orators, polemists, and controversialists of the times must
at least be cited the impassioned and virtuous Gerson, who expended his
life in incessant struggles on behalf of his Christian faith.

To him, without decisive proof, has often been attributed the
_Imitation of Jesus Christ_, which, in any case, whoever wrote it,
must be emphasised as one of the purest products of the religious spirit
of the Middle Ages.

CHARLES OF ORLEANS; VILLON.--The fifteenth century, otherwise somewhat
sterile, introduced one distinguished poet, Charles of Orleans, graceful
and pleasing; and one who at moments rose to the height of being almost
a great poet: this was Francis Villon, the celebrated author of _The
Ballade of Dames of Ancient Times_, of which the yet more famous
refrain was, "Where are the snows of last year?"

MYSTERIES AND MIRACLES.--To deal with the theatre of the Middle Ages it
is necessary to go further back. Without considering as drama those pious
performances which the clergy organised or tolerated even in the churches
from the tenth century and probably earlier, there was already a popular
drama in the twelfth century outside the church whereat were performed
veritable dramas drawn from holy writ or legends of saints. This
developed in the thirteenth century, and in the fourteenth and fifteenth
it was prolific in immense dramatic poems which needed several days for
their performance. These were _Mysteries_, as they were termed, or
_Miracles_, wherein comedy and tragedy were interwoven and a great
deed in religious history or sometimes in national history commemorated,
such as the _Mystery of the Siege of Orleans_, by Greban.

FARCES; FOLLIES; MORALITIES.--The comic theatre also existed. It provided
_farces_, which were really little comedies (the most famous was the
_Farce of the Lawyer Patelin_); _follies_, which are farcical
but good-humoured caricatures of students and clerks; and
_moralities_, which are small serious dramas, interspersed with
comedy, having real personages mingled with allegorical ones. The drama
of the Middle Ages was very living and highly original, coming from the
soil and exactly adapted to the sentiments, passions, and ideas of the
people for whom and, a little later, by whom it was written.



CHAPTER VI


THE MIDDLE AGES: ENGLAND

Literature in Latin, in Anglo-Saxon, and in French. The Ancestor of
English Literature: Chaucer.


THE THREE LITERATURES.--In England, prior to the Norman invasion, that is
before 1066, England possessed Saxon bards who sang of the prowess of
forbears or contemporaries, and monks who wrote in Latin the lives of
saints or even lay histories.

From 1066 must be distinguished in England three parallel literatures:
the Latin literature of the cloister, the Anglo-Saxon literature, and the
French literature of the conquerors.

Latin literature, so far as prose is regarded, was devoted exclusively to
philosophy and history; in verse the subjects are more diversified,
satire more especially flourished.

The poets of the French tongue wrote more particularly _chansons de
geste_, and those of such songs which form what is termed the _Cycle
of Artus_ are for the most part the work of poets born in England.

Finally, in the different popular dialects, Saxon, Western English, etc.,
epic poems were written in verse, or romances, discourses, homilies,
different religious work in prose. The Normans, ardent, energetic, and
practical, had founded universities whence issued, endowed and equipped,
those who by patriotic sentiment or taste were destined to write in
Anglo-Saxon or in English.

CHAUCER; GOWER.--The greatest name of the period and the one which
radiates most brilliantly is that of Chaucer in the fourteenth century,
author of _The Canterbury Tales_ and a crowd of other works. He
possessed very varied imagination, sometimes vigorous, sometimes
humorous, an extraordinary sense of reality, much spirit, and a fertility
of mind which made him the ancestor and precursor of Shakespeare. To his
illustrious name must be added that of his friend and pupil Gower, who is
curious because he is representative of the three literatures still in
use in his day, having written his _Speculum Meditatus_ in French,
his _Vox Clamantis_ in Latin, and his _Confessio Amantis_ in
English. So far as I am aware this phenomenon was never repeated.



CHAPTER VII


THE MIDDLE AGES: GERMANY

Epic Poems: _Nibelungen_. Popular Poems. Very numerous Lyric Poems.
Drama.


FIRST LITERARY WORK.--The most ancient monument of German literature is
the _Song of Hildebrand_, which goes back to an unknown antiquity,
perhaps to the ninth century, and a very beautiful fragment of which has
been preserved by a happy chance. We are entirely ignorant of works
written in German between the _Song of Hildebrand_ and the
_Nibelungen_, except for some religious poems such as the
_Heliand_ in low German and the _Book of the Gospels_ in high
German.

THE NIBELUNGEN,--The _Nibelungen_ form a vast poem, written probably
in the thirteenth century (or, at that epoch, formed by juxtaposition of
more ancient popular songs). It is a great national monument wherein are
collected the legendary exploits of all the ancestors of the Germans,
Huns, Goths, Burgundians and Franks especially. Portions possess
admirable dramatic qualities. The analogy with the _Iliad_ is
remarkable, and the comparison may be made even from the literary point
of view.

VARIOUS PRODUCTIONS.--Then come productions less national in type,
imitations of French poems. _Song of Roland_, _Alexander_, songs of
the _Cycle of Arthur_ or of the _Round Table_, imitations of
Latin poems: for instance, the _Aeneid_, etc. Here, too, was spread
the _Story of Renard_, as in France, and even now the question is
unsettled whether the first poem of _Renard_ is French or German.
Religious and satiric poems were abundant in the thirteenth and
fourteenth centuries, but what is highly characteristic is the large
number of lyrical poets (Dietmar of Ast, Kürenberg, Frederic of Hausen,
the Emperor Henry VI, etc.) produced by the Middle Ages in Germany. This
poetry was generally amorous and melancholy, sometimes full of the
warlike ardour which is found among our own troubadours. The poets who,
as in France, wandered through Germany, from court to court and from
castle to castle, called themselves minnesingers (singers of love). The
one who has remained most famous is Tannhäuser. A fantastic and touching
legend has formed about his name.

Germany, like France, possessed a popular drama, less prolific possibly,
but very similar. Among the most ancient popular tragedies now known may
be cited _The Prophets of Christ_ and the _Game of Antichrist_,
which are curious because of the juxtaposition of biblical acts and
contemporaneous events. Later came _The Miracles of the Virgin_,
_The Wise and Foolish Virgins_, dramas more varied, with more
numerous characters, more elaborate mounting, and with the interest
relatively more concentrated.

COMEDY.--Comedy, as a rule very gross in character, enjoyed wide esteem,
especially in the fourteenth century. What were performed under the title
of _Carnival Games_ were generally nothing but _fables_ in
dialogue, domestic scenes, incidents in the market, interludes at the
cross-roads. Here was the vulgar plebeian joy allowing itself full
licence. The literary activity of Germany in the Middle Ages was at least
equal to that of the three literary western nations.



CHAPTER VIII


THE MIDDLE AGES: ITALY

Troubadours of Southern Italy. Neapolitan and Sicilian Poets. Dante,
Petrarch, Boccaccio.


THE TROUBADOURS.--The Italian literature of the Middle Ages is intimately
associated with the literature of the Troubadours in the south of France.
To express the case more definitely, the literature styled "Provençal,"
apart from mere differences of dialect, extended from the Limousine to
the Roman campagna, and French literature existed only in the northern
and central provinces of France, the rest being Provençal-Italian
literature. The Italian Troubadours, by which I mean those born in Italy,
who must at least be cited, are Malaspina, Lanfranc Cicala, Bartolomeo
Ziorgi (of Venice), Bordello (of Mantua), etc.

NAPLES AND SICILY.--Naples and Sicily, where were founded large
universities, were the seat of a purely Italian literature in the
thirteenth century, thanks to the impetus of the Emperor Frederick II. At
this seat were Peter of Vignes (_Petrus de Vineis_), who passes as
inventor of the sonnet; Ciullo of Alcamo, author of the first known
Italian _canzone_, etc. The influence of Sicily on all Italy was
such that for long in Italy all writing in verse was termed Sicilian.

BOLOGNA; FLORENCE.--The literary centre then passed, that is in the
thirteenth century, to Bologna and Florence. Among the celebrated Tuscans
of this epoch was Guittone of Arezzo, mentioned by Dante and Petrarch
with more or less consideration; Jacopone of Todi, at once both mystic
and buffoon, in whom it has been sought, in a manner somewhat flattering
to him, to trace a predecessor of Dante; Brunetto Latini, the authentic
master of Dante, who was encyclopaedic, after a fashion, and who
published, first in French, whilst he was in Paris, _The Treasure_,
a compilation of the knowledge of his time, then, in Italian,
_Tesoretto_, a collection of maxims drawn from his previous work,
besides some poetry and translations from Latin.

The fourteenth century, which for the French, Germans, and English was
the last or even the last century but one of the Middle Ages, was for the
Italians the first of the Renaissance. Two great names dominate this
century: Dante and Petrarch.

DANTE: _THE DIVINE COMEDY_.--Dante, highly erudite, theologian,
philosopher, profound Latin scholar, not ignorant of Greek, much involved
in the agitations of his age, exiled from his home, Florence, in the
tumult of political discords, proscribed and a wanderer, coming as far as
France, studied at the University of Paris, wrote "songs," that is to
say, lyrical poetry gathered into the volume entitled _The
Canzoniere_, the _Vita Nuova_, which is also a collection of
lyric efforts, though more philosophical, and finally _The Divine
Comedy_, which is a theological epic poem. _The Divine Comedy_ is
composed of three parts: hell, purgatory, and heaven. Hell is composed
of nine circles which contract as they approach the centre of the earth.
There Dante placed the famous culprits of history and his own particular
enemies. The most popular episodes of hell are Ugolino in the tower of
hunger devouring his dead children, Francesca of Rimini relating her
guilty passions and their disastrous consequence, the meeting with
Sordello, the great Lord of Mantua, ever invincibly proud, looking "like
the lion when he reposes." Purgatory is a cone of nine circles which
contract as they rise to heaven. Heaven, finally, is composed of
nine globes superimposed on one another; over each of the first seven
presides a planet, the eighth is the home of the fixed stars, and the
last is pure infinity, home of the Trinity and of the elect. The power of
general imagination and of varied invention always renewed in style, and
the warmth of passion which throws life and heat into each part, have
assured Dante universal admiration. The community of literature
pre-eminently admires the hell; the eclectic have been compelled to
assert and therefore to believe that the paradise is infinitely superior.

PETRARCH.--Petrarch, a Florentine born in exile, brought up at Avignon,
Carpentras, and Montpellier, during four fifths of his life thought only
of being a great scholar, of writing in Latin, and of obtaining the
repute of an excellent humanist. Hence his innumerable works in Latin.
But when twenty-three he was deeply affected by love for a maiden of
Avignon, and he sang of her living and dead and still triumphant in glory
and eternity, and hence his poems in Italian, the _Rhymes_ and
_Triumphs_. The sensitiveness of Petrarch was admirable; never did
pure love, growing mystical and mingling with divine love, find accents
alike more profound and noble than came from this Platonist refined with
Italian subtlety. Petrarchism became a fashion among the mediocre and a
school among these above the common. In the fifteenth and sixteenth
centuries there were innumerable imitators of Petrarch in Italy, and
later still in France. It is impossible not to instance Lamartine as the
last in date.

BOCCACCIO: _THE DECAMERON_.--Immediately after these two great men
came Boccaccio, born in Paris but of Italian parentage, who resided at
Naples at the court of King Robert. He was a great admirer of Dante and
Petrarch, and himself wrote several estimable poems, but, in despair no
doubt of attaining the height of his models and also to please the taste
of Mary, daughter of King Robert, he wrote the libertine tales which are
gathered in the collection entitled _The Decameron_ and which
established his fame. He is one of the purest authors, as stylist, of all
Italian literature, and may be regarded as the principle creator of prose
in his own land.

THE FIFTEENTH CENTURY IN ITALY.--The fifteenth century, less great among
the Italians than the fourteenth, yielded many wise men: Marsiglio
Ficino, Pico della Mirandola, Aurispa, etc. But omission must not be
made of poets such as Ange Politien, refined humanist, graceful lyrist;
and the earliest of dramatic poets of any rank, such as Pulci and
Bojardo. In prose note Pandolfini, master and delineator of domestic
life, as was Xenophon in Greece, and Leonardo da Vinci, the great painter
who left a treatise on his art; nor must it be forgotten that Savonarola
was a remarkably fine orator.



CHAPTER IX


THE MIDDLE AGES: SPAIN AND PORTUGAL

Epic Poems: _Romanceros_. Didactic Books, Romances of Chivalry


COMMENCEMENTS OF SPANISH LITERATURE.--Known Spanish literature does not
go back beyond the twelfth century. Like that of the French it began with
a _chanson de geste_, and if France has Roland, Spain has the Cid.
The _Poem of the Cid_, or _The Song of the Cid_, dates from the
commencement of the thirteenth century; in rude but expressive language
it narrates the ripe years and old age of the famous captain.

ALPHONSO X; JOHN MANUEL.--At the close of this century, Alphonso X, King
of Castile, surnamed the Sage or the Wise, versed in all the knowledge of
his time, produced, no doubt with collaborators, the universal chronicle,
history mingled with legends, of all peoples on the earth, and the
_Seven Parts_, a philosophical, moral, and legal encyclopaedia. His
nephew, Don John Manuel, regent of Castile during the minority of
Alphonso XI, a very pure and erudite writer, collated the code of the
kingdom in his _Book of the Child_, and the code of chivalry in his
_Book of the Knight and Squire_, with a series of apologues in the
volume known under the title of _The Count Lucanor_.

_THE ROMANCERO_.--Of the same period and going back to the commencement
of the thirteenth century, if not earlier, is what is called the
_Romancero_. The _Romancero_ is the collection of all the
national romances, which are more or less short but are never long epic
poems. All the romances relating to a hero form the _Romancero_ of
that personage, and all the _Romanceros_ are called the Spanish
_Romancero_. It is in the _Romancero_ of Rodriguez that we find
the youth of Cid as known to us, or approximately, for it is purified
and spiritualised by ageing and, for example, Chimanes curses Rodriguez
but also asks for him in marriage: "Oh, king ... each day that shines, I
see him that slew my father parading on horseback and loosing his falcon
to my dovecot and with the blood of my doves has he stained my skirts and
he has sent me word he will cut the hem of my robe.... He who slew my
father, give him to me for equal; for he who did me so much harm I am
convinced will do me some good." And the king said: "I have always heard
said and now see that the feminine sex is most extraordinary. Until now
hath she asked of me justice against him and now she doth ask him of me
in marriage. I will do it with a good will. I shall send him a letter,
etc...."

THE FIFTEENTH CENTURY.--The fifteenth century in Spain, as everywhere
else, was destitute of great works. In poetry it was the era of lovesongs
and of the influence of Italian literature, which only later was
decidedly happy. In prose may be found many chronicles extremely valuable
to the historian, and some moral works such as the _Dialogue of the
Happy Life_ of Lucena and, finally, the famous _Amadis des
Gaules_, an ancient chivalric romance of unknown origin, brought to
publicity in that century by Montalvo.

PORTUGUESE LITERATURE.--Portuguese literature, which is highly
interesting though evolved in too restricted a circle, is, above
all, epic and lyrical. The Portuguese lyrics almost exclusively dealt
with love; the epic poets celebrated a certain number of salient
achievements in national history. It is only in the sixteenth century
that a genuine expansion of Portuguese literature can be noted.



CHAPTER X


THE SIXTEENTH AND SEVENTEENTH CENTURIES: FRANCE

First Portion of Sixteenth Century: Poets: Marot, Saint-Gelais; Prose
Writers: Rabelais, Comines. Second Portion of Sixteenth Century: Poets:
"The Pleiade"; Prose Writers: Amyot, Montaigne. First Portion of
Seventeenth Century: Intellectual and Brilliant Poets: Malherbe,
Corneille. Great Prose Writers: Balzac, Descartes. Second Portion of
Seventeenth Century: Poets: Racine, Molière, Boileau, La Fontaine; Prose
Writers: Bossuet, Pascal, La Bruyère, Fénelon, etc.


THE RENAISSANCE OF LETTERS.--The sixteenth century was for France the
epoch of the Renaissance of letters. What is called the Renaissance of
letters is the result, to each race, of the closest contact of the
educated people with ancient literature, contact which sometimes
strengthened the national vein, sometimes weakened it, according to the
divergent temperaments of these races.

MAROT; SAINT-GELAIS.--The sixteenth century in France was ushered in by
Marot and Saint-Gelais. Marot was a gracious, fluent, and satiric singer.
He was infinitely witty without venom, or mannerism, or affectation; at
times he attained to a somewhat serious philosophic poesy and also to
eloquence. Saint-Gelais, because he was most emphatically court-poet of
all those who have ever been court-poets, was placed by his
contemporaries above Marot, and literary historians have left him for the
most part in that position. The truth is that his work is worthless. It
would be impossible, however, to rob him of the glory of having brought
the sonnet from Italy, where he long abode in youth.

COMINES.--In this first half of the sixteenth century must be noted
Comines, the historian of Louis XI, a political historian and a
historical statesman, remarkably subtle in perceiving the characters and
temperaments of prominent individuals, as well as a writer possessing
exactitude and limpidity rare in his generation.

RABELAIS.--Francis Rabelais, in his two epic romances, _Gargantua_
and _Pantagruel_, was erudite, capable of a certain philosophic
wisdom which has been greatly exaggerated, but above all was picturesque
to one's heart's content, and possessed the art of telling a tale as well
as any one in the wide world. He has been called "the buffoon Homer," and
the nickname may be legitimately granted to him.

THE PLEIADE.--The second half of the sixteenth century was in all
respects the more remarkable. In poetry there was the Pleiade:
that is, the true and complete "Renaissance," although Marot had already
been a good workman at its dawn. The Pleiade consisted of Ronsard, Du
Bellay, Pontus of Tyard, Remy Belleau, and others; that is, folk who
wished to give to France in French the equivalent of what the classics
had produced in nobility and beauty. They did not succeed, but they had
the honour of having undertaken the task, and they also, all said and
done, produced some fine things.

RONSARD; DU BELLAY.--If the truth must be written, Ronsard created an
epic poem which it is impossible to read, and some rather overpowering
odes after the Pindaric manner; but he wrote detached epic pieces which,
though always a trifle artificial, possess real beauty, and some
_odelettes_ which are enchanting in their grace and genuineness of
feeling, as well as sonnets that are in all respects marvellous. Joachim
du Bellay, on his part, wrote sonnets which must be numbered among the
most beautiful in the French tongue--the rest often had agreeable
inspirations.

DRAMATIC POETS.--Add to their group some dramatic poets who did not yet
grasp what constituted a living tragedy and who, even when they imitated
Euripides, belonged to the school of Seneca, but who knew how to write in
verse, to make a discourse, and, occasionally, a gentle elegy. To mention
only the chief, these were Jodelle, Robert Garnier, and Montchrestien.

PROSE WRITERS: AMYOT; CALVIN.--In prose, in this second half of the
sixteenth century, there were translators like Amyot, who set forth
Plutarch in a limpid French full of ease and geniality, as well as
somewhat careless. Religious writings such as those of Calvin, in a hard
style and "dreary," as Bossuet expressed it, exhibited vigour, power, and
sobriety. Among political writers was the eloquent La Boëtie, the friend
of Montaigne, who in his _Discourse on Voluntary Servitude_
vindicated the rights of the people against _One_, that is the
monarch. Among authors of _Memoirs_ were Montluc and Brantôme,
picturesque in divergent manners, but both inquisitive, well-informed,
very alert and furnishing important contributions to history.

MORALISTS: DU VAIR.--Finally, there were moralists such as Du Vair, too
long forgotten, and Montaigne. Du Vair was an eloquent orator who
exhibited plenty of courage during the troubles of the League; he left
some fine philosophical treatises: _The Moral Philosophy of the Stoics_,
_On Constancy and Consolation in Public Calamities_, etc.

MONTAIGNE.--Montaigne, less grave and stoical, a far better writer, and
one of the two or three greatest masters of prose France ever produced,
possessed excellent sense sharpened with wit and enriched with a charming
imagination. According to his humour--now stoic, next epicurean, then
sceptic--always wise and refined and also always the sincere admirer of
greatness of soul and of courage, he is the best of advisers and of
companions through life, and of him more than of anyone else it ought to
be said: "To have found pleasure in him is to have profited by him." The
sole reproach could be that he wrote a little too much of himself,
that is, in entering into personal details that could well have been
spared.

COMMENCEMENT OF THE SEVENTEENTH CENTURY.--The first half of the
seventeenth century in France was only the corollary of the sixteenth,
though naturally with some distinctive personalities and with one,
practically isolated, effort of reaction against that sixteenth century.
At that period could be found writing men, like Agrippa d'Aubigné, who
were absolutely in the spirit of the previous century; d'Aubigné,
amiable, gracious, and also fairly often witty, which is too frequently
forgotten, was ardent, passionate, a rough and violent fighter more
particularly in his _tragedies_, which are baldly crude satires,
illumined with astonishingly beautiful passages fairly frequent in
recurrence, against the Catholics and their leaders. Others of very
different temperament displayed yet more than the poets of the sixteenth
century that liberty, that fantasy, that disorder which were
characteristic of the times of Ronsard. So far as poets were concerned,
that generation must be regarded as entering on a first romanticism.
Theophilus de Vian, a fine but over-prodigal poet, without ballast, did
not live long enough to grow wise and acquire self-mastery: Cyrano
de Bergerac was a brilliant madman, sometimes sparkling with wit and
imagination, but often dirty and ridiculous. Saint-Amant possessed plenty
of imagination and capacity for exquisite poetical feeling, but he lacked
taste and too often was puerile. Wiser than they, yet themselves verbose,
long-winded, slow, and spun out, Desportes translated into French verse
Italian poetry of the sixteenth century, often with very happy turns of
expression, and Bertaut, melancholy and graceful, lacked brilliance even
if he possessed poetic emotion.

REGNIER.--Regnier the satirist, pupil of Horace and Juvenal, also assumed
the mental attitude of the sixteenth century owing to his viridity, his
crudity, his lack of avoidance of obscenity, even though he was a true
poet, vigorous, powerful, oratorical, and epigrammatical, as well as a
witty and mordant caricaturist.

PRÉCIEUX AND BURLESQUES.--Then succeeded the _précieux_ and the
_burlesques_, who resembled each other, the _précieux_ seeking
wit and believing that all literary art consisted in saying it did not
matter what in a dainty and unexpected fashion; the _burlesques_
also sought wit but on a lower plane, desiring to be "droll," buffoons,
prone to cock-and-bull stories or crude pranks in thought, style, and
parody. Voiture is the most brilliant representative of the
_préieux_ and Scarron the most prominent of the _burlesques_.

MALHERBE.--In the midst of this unrestrained literature one man attempted
to impose reason, accuracy of mind, taste, and conciseness. This was
Malherbe, who was also a powerful lyric poet, a stylist with an ear for
melody. His influence was considerable, but forty years after his own
time; for it was the poets of 1660 who were formed of him and proclaimed
themselves his disciples. In his own day he had only Maynard and Racan
as pupils, or rather as partisans, for their work but little resembled
his.

THE THEATRE.--On the stage the first portion of the seventeenth century,
certainly as far as 1636, was only the corollary of the sixteenth. Hardy,
writing without method or rule, being in addition a very weak poet,
presided in the theatre whilst Mairet, in imitation of the Italians and
in imitation too of the bulk of the dramatists of the sixteenth century,
essayed to establish formal tragedy, but without creating much effect
because his talent was of an inferior description.

At last Corneille arose and, after feeling his way a little, created
French tragedy; but as this was only in 1636, and as in the course of his
long career he came into the second half of the century, he will be dealt
with a little later.

PROSE: BALZAC; DESCARTES.--In prose, the first half of the seventeenth
century was fruitful in important works. Cardinal de Perron, who began as
an amiable elegant poetaster, became a great orator and formidable
controversialist. Guez de Balzac, a little lacking in ideas yet an
extremely good writer, though but little detached from preciosity, as
Voltaire observed, imparted harmony to his phrases both in his letters
and in his _Socrates a Christian_. Vaugelas arranged the code of
the language founded on custom. Descartes, with whose philosophic ideas
we have here nothing to do, in his broad, ample periods, well delivered
and powerfully articulated, reproduced the Ciceronian phrase though
without its rather weak grace, and in great measure formed the mould
whence later was to flow the eloquence of Bossuet. The important works of
Descartes are his _Discourses on Method_, his _Meditation_, and
his _Treatise on the Passions_.

THE GOLDEN AGE: CORNEILLE.--The second half of the seventeenth century is
in all respects the golden age of French literature. Great poets and
great prose writers were then crowded in serried ranks. To begin with the
dramatic poets, who furnished the most vivid glory of the epoch, there
was Corneille, who, from 1636, with _The Cid_, was in full splendour
and who before 1650 had produced his most beautiful works, _Cinna_, _The
Horaces_, _Polyeucte_, continued for twenty-four years after 1650 to
furnish the stage with dramas that often possessed many fine qualities,
among which must be cited _Don Sancho of Aragon_, _Nicomedes_, _Oedipus_,
_Sertorius_, _Sophonisba_, _Titus and Berenice_, _Psyche_ (with Molière),
_Rodogune Heraclius_, _Pulcheria_. Corneille must be regarded as the
real creator of _all_ the French drama, because he wrote comedies,
tragedies, operas, melodramas. It was therein, apart from his universal
virtuosity, that he more particularly made his mark, and in his best work
he was the delineator of the human will overcoming passions and, as it
were, intoxicated with this victory and his own power, so that he has
become a great advocate of energy and a prominent apostle of duty.

RACINE.--Racine, altogether different, without being opposed to duty,
loved to depict passions victorious over man and man the victim of his
passions and of the over-powering misfortunes therefrom resulting, thus
furnishing a moral lesson. He was a more penetrating psychologist than
Corneille, although the latter knew the human heart well, and he showed
himself infallibly wise in composition and dramatic disposition, as well
as an absolutely incomparable master of verse. His tragedies, especially
_Andromache_, _Britannicus_, _Berenice_, _Bajazet_, _Phèdre_, and
_Athalie_ will always enchant mankind.

MOLIÈRE.--Molière who was admirably gifted to seize the ridiculous with
its causes and consequences, very quick and penetrating in insight, armed
with somewhat narrow but solid common-sense calculated to please the
middle classes of all time, possessed prodigious comic humour, and who
never gave the spectator leisure to reflect or breathe--in short, a great
writer although hasty and careless--created a whole répertoire of comedy
(_The School of Women_, _Don Juan_, _Tartufe_, _The Misanthrope_,
_Learned Ladies_) which left all known comedy far behind, which
eliminated all rivalry in his own time, knew eclipse only in the middle
of the eighteenth century, and for the last hundred and forty years has
proved the delight of Europe. He remains the master of universal comedy.

BOILEAU.--Boileau was only a man of good sense, of ability, and of
excellent taste, who wrote verse industriously. This was not enough to
constitute a great poet but enough to make him what he was, a diverting
and acute satirist, an agreeable moralist and critic in verse--which his
master Horace had been so often--expert, dexterous, and possessing much
authority. His _Poetic Art_ for long was the tables of the law of
Parnassus, and even now can be read not only with pleasure but even with
profit.

LA FONTAINE.--La Fontaine was one of the greatest poets of any epoch. He
had a profound sentiment for nature, a fine and penetrating knowledge of
the character of men he depicted under the names of animals; he was free
and fantastic as a philosopher but well instructed and sometimes
profound; he had a gentle and smiling sensibility capable at times of
melancholy and also now and again of a delicious elegiac; above all, he
was endowed with incomparable artistic sense, which rendered him the
safest and most dexterous manipulator of verse, of rhythms, and of
musical sonorities, who appeared in France prior to Victor Hugo. It is
much more difficult to state what he lacked than to enumerate the
multiple and miraculous gifts with which he was endowed. His complete
lack of morality or his ingenuous carelessness in this respect formed the
only subject for regret.

SECONDARY ABILITY.--Near such great geniuses, it is only possible to
mention those of secondary talent; but no compunction need be felt at
alluding to Segrais, a graceful manufacturer of eclogues, and Benserade,
who rhymed delightfully for masquerades and was capable, on occasions, of
being wittily but also tenderly elegiac.

GREAT PROSE WRITERS.--The writers in prose of the second half of the
seventeenth century are legion and but few fail to attain greatness. La
Rochefoucauld, in his little volume of _Maxims_, enshrined thoughts
that were often profound in a highly accurate and delicate setting.
Cardinal de Retz narrated his tumultuous career in his _Memoirs_,
which are strangely animated, vivid, and representative of what occurred.
Arnauld and Nicole have explained their rigid Catholicism, which was
Jansenism, in solid and luminous volumes; the latter, more especially,
merits consideration and in his _Moral Essays_ proved an excellent
writer. Mezeray, conscientious, laborious, circumstantial as well as
capable writer, should be reckoned as the earliest French historian.
Bourdaloue, sound logician and good moralist, from his pulpit as a
preacher uttered discourses that were admirable, though too dogmatically
composed, and painted word-pictures that piously satirised the types and
the eccentrics of his day. Malebranche, reconsidering what Descartes had
thought and revitalising his conclusions, arranged in his _Research
after Truth_ a complete system of spiritualist and idealistic
philosophy which he rendered clear, in spite of its depth,
and extremely attractive owing to the merits of his powerful and
facile imagination and of his rich, copious, and elastic style, that
attained the happy mean between conversation and instruction. But five
writers of the highest rank came into the perennial forefront, attracting
and retaining general attention: Pascal, Bossuet, Mme. de Sévigné,
La Bruyère, and Fénelon.

PASCAL.--Pascal, a scholar and also by scientific education
mathematician, geometrician, physician, turned, not to letters
which he scorned, but to the exposition of those religious ideas which at
the age of thirty-three were precious to him. To defend his friends the
Jansenists against their foes the Jesuits, he wrote _The Provincial
Letters_ (1656), which have often been regarded as the foremost
monument of classic French prose; such is not our view, but they
certainly form a masterpiece of argument, of dialectics, of irony, of
humour, of eloquence, and are throughout couched in a magnificent style.
Dying whilst still young, he left notes on various subjects, more
particularly religion, philosophy, and morality, which have been
collected under the title of _Thoughts_ and are the product of a
great Christian philosopher, of a profound moralist, of a marvellously
concise orator, and also of a poet who lacked neither acute sensitiveness
nor vast and imposing imagination.

BOSSUET.--Bossuet is universally admitted to be the king of French
orators; all his life he preached with a serious, imposing, vast,
copious, and sonorous eloquence, fed from recollections of Holy Writ and
of the Fathers, being insistent, convincing, and persuasive. His few
funeral orations (on Henrietta of France, Henrietta of England, the
Prince de Condé) are prose poems of glory, grief, and piety. He wrote
against all those he regarded as enemies of true religion (_History
of Variations_, _Quarrels of Quietness_), controversial works sparkling
with irony and exalted eloquence. He traced in his _Universal
History_ the great design in all its stages of God towards humanity
and the world. He knew all the resources of the French language and of
French style, and in his hands they were expanded. Despite his errors,
which were those of his epoch, his date counts in the history of France
as a great date, the date in which the religion to which he belonged
reached its apogee and when the grand style of French prose was in its
zenith.

MADAME DE SÉVIGNÉ.--Madame de Sévigné only wrote letters to her friends;
but they were so witty, lively, picturesque, admirable in aptly
recounting the anecdotes of her day and in depicting the scenes and
those concerned in them, written in a style so brisk and seductive,
uniting the promise of 1630 with the harvest of 1670, that her work still
remains one of the greatest favourites with people of literary taste.

She was the friend of M. de la Rochefoucauld, of Cardinal de Retz, and of
that amiable, refined, and gentle Mme. de la Fayette, whose novel, _The
Princess of Cleves_, is still read with interest and emotion.

LA BRUYÈRE.--La Bruyère translated and continued Theophrastus; he was a
moralist, or rather a depicter of morals. He described the court, the
town, and (very rarely) the village and the country. He was on the
lookout for fools in order to be their scourge. He painted, or, better
still, he engraved in an incisive way that was sharp, like aqua-fortis.
Almost invariably bitter to an extreme, he sometimes had flashes of quite
unexpected and very singular sensibility which make him beloved. Somewhat
in imitation of La Rochefoucauld, but more particularly in conformity
with his own nature, he developed a brief, concise, brusque style which
became that of the moralist and even of the general author for the next
fifty years, a style which was that of Montesquieu and Voltaire, and
superseded the broad, sustained, balanced, harmonious, and measured style
of the majority of the writers of the eighteenth century. In the field of
ridicule, wherein he sowed copiously, more so even than Molière, the
comic poets of the eighteenth century came to glean copiously, which did
them less credit (for it is better to observe than to read) than it
conferred on the wise and ingenious author of the _Characters_.

FÉNELON.--Fénelon, extremely individual and original, having on every
subject ideas of his own which were sometimes daring, often practical,
always generous and noble, was a preacher like Bossuet; also like
Bossuet, he was a dexterous, skilled, and formidable controversialist,
whilst, for the instruction of the Duke of Burgundy, which had been
confided to him, he became a fabulist, an author of dialogues, in some
degree a romancer or epic poet in prose in his famous _Telemachus_,
overadmired, then overdepreciated, and which, despite weaknesses, remains
replete with strength and dazzling brilliance. Nowadays there is a marked
return to this prince of the Church and of literature, whose brain was
complex and even complicated, but whose heart was quite pure and his
reasoning on a high level.



CHAPTER XI


THE SIXTEENTH AND SEVENTEENTH CENTURIES: ENGLAND

Dramatists: Marlowe, Shakespeare. Prose Writers: Sidney, Francis Bacon,
etc. Epic Poet: Milton. Comic Poets.


ELIZABETHAN AGE: SPENSER.--In England the Elizabethan Age is the period
extending from the commencement of the reign of Elizabeth to the end of
her successor, James I; that is, from 1558 to 1625. This was the golden
age of English literature: the epoch in which, awakened or excited by the
Renaissance, her genius gave forth all its development in fruits that
were marvellous.

First, there was Spenser, alike impregnated with the Italian Renaissance
and gifted with the slightly fantastic imagination of his own countrymen,
who wrote eclogues, in his _Shepheard's Calender_, in imitation of
Theocritus and Virgil as well as of the Italians of the sixteenth
century, and who gave charming descriptions in his _Faerie Queene_.

Next came Sidney, the sonnetist, at once passionate and precious, and
then that highest glory of this glorious period, the dramatic poets.

THE STAGE: MARLOWE.--As in France, the English stage in the Middle Ages
had been devoted to the performance of mysteries (under the name of
_miracles_), later of moralities. As in France, tragedy, strictly
speaking, was constituted in the sixteenth century. Towards its close
appeared Marlowe, a very great genius, still rugged but with
extraordinary power, more especially lyrical. His great works are
_Doctor Faustus_ and _Edward II_.

SHAKESPEARE.--Then (at the same time as the rest, for they are of about
the same age, though Marlowe appeared the earlier) came William
Shakespeare, who is perhaps the greatest known dramatic poet. His immense
output, which includes plays carelessly put together and, one may venture
to say, negligibly, also contains many masterpieces: _Othello_, _Romeo
and Juliet_, _Macbeth_, _Hamlet_, _The Taming of the Shrew_, _The Merry
Wives of Windsor_, _As You Like It_, and _The Tempest_. The _types_ and
personages of Shakespeare, which have remained celebrated and are still
daily cited in human intercourse, include Othello, that tragic figure of
jealousy; Romeo and Juliet, the young lovers separated by the feuds of
their families but united in death; Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, the
ambitious criminals; Hamlet, the young man with a great mind and a great
heart but with a feeble will which collapses under too heavy a task and
comes to the verge of insanity; Cordelia, the English Antigone, the
devoted daughter of the proscribed King Lear; Falstaff, glutton, coward,
diverting and gay, a kind of Anglo-Saxon Panurge. A whole dramatic
literature has come from Shakespeare. To France he was introduced by
Voltaire and then scorned by him because he had succeeded only too well
in popularising him; subsequently he was exalted, praised to hyperbole,
and imitated beyond discretion by the romantics. In addition to his
dramatic works, Shakespeare left _Sonnets_, some of which are obscure,
but the majority are perfect.

BEN JONSON.--Ben Jonson, classical, exact, pretty faithful imitator of
the writers of antiquity, interested in unusual characters and customs,
gifted with a ready and lively imagination in both comedy and tragedy
like Shakespeare, succeeded especially in comedy (_Every Man in his
Humour_, _The Silent Woman_, etc.). Beaumont and Fletcher, who wrote in
collaboration, are full of elevation, of delicacy and grace expressed in
a style which is regarded by their fellow-countrymen as exceptionally
beautiful.

PROSE WRITERS: LYLY; SIDNEY; BACON; BURTON.--In prose this amazing
period was equally productive. Lyly, who corresponds approximately to the
French Voiture, created _euphemism_: that is, witty preciosity. Sidney,
in his _Arcadia_ furnished a curious example of the chivalric romance.
Further in his _Defence of Poesie_, he founded literary criticism.
Francis Bacon, historian, moralist, philosopher, perhaps collaborator
with Shakespeare, has a place equally allocated to him in a history of
literature as in a history of philosophical ideas. Robert Burton,
moralist or rather _Meditator_, who gave himself the pseudonym of
Democritus Junior because he was consumed with sadness, left a great
work, but one in which there are many quotations, called _The Anatomy of
Melancholy_. There is much analogy between him and the French Sénancour.
Sterne, without acknowledgment, profusely pilfered from him. He is
thoroughly English. He did not create melancholy but he greatly
contributed to it and made a specialty of it. Despite his pranks and
whimsicality, he possessed high literary merit.

POETRY: WALLER.--The English seventeenth century, strictly speaking,
virtually commencing about 1625, was inferior to the sixteenth, that has
just been considered, which is easily explained by the civil wars
distracting England at this period. In poetry, on the one hand, may be
noticed the softened and pleasing Epicureans, of which the most prominent
representative was Waller, a witty man of the world, who dwelt long in
France, and was a friend of Saint-Évremond (who himself spent a portion
of his life in England). Waller made a very fine eulogy of his cousin
Cromwell, later another of Charles II, and was told by the latter, "This
is not so good as that on Cromwell," whereupon he replied, "Sire, you
know that poets always succeed better in fiction than in fact." Here was
a man of much wit.

HERBERT; HABINGTON.--Also must be remarked the austere and mystical such
as George Herbert, with his _Temple_, a collection of religious and
melancholy poems, and like Habington, sad and gloomy even as far as the
thirst for dissolution, analogous to the modern Schopenhauer: "My God, if
it be Thy supreme decree, if Thou wilt that this moment be the last
wherein I breathe this air, my heart obeys, happy to retire far from the
false favours of the great, from betrayals where the just are preyed
upon...."

DRAMATIC POETS.--Let the estimable dramatic poets be alluded to.
Davenant, perhaps a son of Shakespeare; Otway, the illustrious author of
_Venice Preserved_ and of many adaptations from the French (_Titus
and Berenice_, the _Tricks of Scapin_, etc.); Dryden, declamatory,
emphatic, but admirably gifted with dramatic genius, author of _The
Virgin Queen_, _All for Love_ (Cleopatra), _Don Sebastian_, was always
hesitating between the influence of Shakespeare and that of the French,
over-inclined, too, to licentious scenes but pathetic and eloquent.

MILTON.--Quite apart arose Milton, the imperishable author of _Paradise
Lost_, the type and model of the religious epic permeated, in fact, with
profound and ardent religious feeling, but also possessing very
remarkable grandeur and philosophical breadth. Milton became a second
Bible to the people to whom the Bible was the inevitable and essential
daily study. To _Paradise Lost_, Milton added the inferior _Paradise
Regained_ and the poem of _Samson_. Apart from his great religious poems,
Milton wrote Latin poems (especially in his youth) which are extremely
agreeable, and also works in prose, generally in relation to polemical
politics, which came from a vigorous and exalted mind. Milton, from the
aspect of his prodigious productiveness and his varied life, divided
between literature and the intellectual battles of his times, is
comparable to Voltaire, reservation being made for his high moral
character, wherein no comparison can be entertained with the French
satirist. He did himself full justice. Having become blind, he wrote:


  "Cyriack, this three years' day these eyes, though clear,
    To outward view, of blemish or of spot,
    Bereft of light, their seeing have forgot;
    Nor to their idle orbs doth sight appear
  Of sun, or moon, or star, throughout the year,
    Or man, or woman. Yet I argue not
    Against Heaven's hand or will, nor bate a jot
    Of heart or hope, but still bear up and steer
  Right onward. What supports me, dost thou ask?
    The conscience, friend, to have lost them overplied
    In Liberty's defence, my noble task,
  Of which all Europe rings from side to side.
    This thought might lead me through the world's vain mask
    Content, though blind, had I no better guide."


NOTABLE PROSE WRITERS.--In prose must be noted, on the austere side,
George Fox, founder of the sect of Quakers, impassioned and powerful
popular orator, author of the _Book of Martyrs_; John Bunyan, an
obstinate ascetic, author of _Grace Abounding_, a kind of edifying
autobiography, and of _The Pilgrim's Progress_, which became one of the
volumes of edification and of spiritual edification to the emigrant
founders of the United States of America; on the side of the Libertines,
Wycherley, who, thoroughly perceiving the moral lowness, fairly well
concealed, which lies at the source of Molière, carried this Gallic vein
to an extreme in shameless imitations of _The School for Women_
and _The Misanthrope_ (_The Country Wife_ and _The Plain Dealer_);
delightful Congreve, a far more amusing companion--witty, spiritual,
sardonic, writing excellently, knowing how to create a type and charming
his contemporaries whilst not failing to write for posterity in his
_Old Bachelor_, _Love for Love_, and _Way of the World_.

NEWTON; LOCKE.--It must not be forgotten that at this epoch Newton and
Locke, the one belonging more to the history of science and the other to
the history of philosophy, both wrote in a manner entirely commensurate
with their genius.



CHAPTER XII


THE SIXTEENTH AND SEVENTEENTH CENTURIES: GERMANY

Luther, Zwingli, Albert Dürer, Leibnitz, Gottsched


NO RENAISSANCE.--The great originality of Germany from the literary point
of view--perhaps, too, from others--is that she _had no renaissance_, no
contact, at all events close, with classic antiquity. Her temperament
was no doubt hostile; the Reformation, that is, the impassioned adoption
of a primitive unadulterated Christianity conservative and directly
opposed to antiquity whether pagan or philosophical, added to the
repugnance. However that may be, the fact remains: Germany enjoyed no
renaissance.

LUTHER.--Also in the sixteenth century in Germany, as in France in the
fourteenth century, there was only popular poetry, and all the prose is
German, all reformist, all moralising, and has little or practically no
echo of antiquity. Luther, by his translation of the Bible into the
vulgar tongue, by his _prefaces_ to each book of the Bible, in his
polemical writings (_The Papacy and its Members_, _The Papacy Elevated at
Rome by the Devil_, etc.), by his _Sermons and Letters_, gave to Teutonic
thought a direction which long endured, and to Teutonic prose a solidity,
purity, sobriety, and vigour which exercised an immense influence on
human minds.

THE REFORMERS.--Following Luther, Zwingli, Hutten, Eberling, Melanchthon
(but in Latin), Erasmus (most frequently in Latin but sometimes in
French) spread the new doctrine or doctrines in relation thereto.

ERASMUS; ALBERT DÜRER; GOTTSCHED.--An exception must be made about
Erasmus in what has just been observed. With a very unfettered mind,
often as much in opposition to the side of Luther as to the side of Rome,
and also prone to attack the pure humanists who styled themselves
Ciceronians, Erasmus was a humanist, an impassioned student of ancient
letters, so that he has one foot in the Renaissance and one in reform,
and withal possessed a very original brain, and was, from every aspect,
"ultra-modern."

Albert Dürer must also be cited: mathematician, architect, painter, yet
belonging to our subject by his _four books on the human proportion_
wherein he shows, in chastened and precise style, that he himself is
nothing less than the earliest founder of Teutonic æstheticism.

The seventeenth century--extending it, as is reasonable enough, up to the
region of 1730--is almost exclusively the era of French influence and a
little, if desired, of Italian influence. The critic Gottsched (_Poetic
Art, Grammar, Eloquence_) maintained the excellence of French literature
and the necessity of drawing inspiration from it with an energy of
conviction which drew on him the hatred of the succeeding generation.

LEIBNITZ.--German poetry of his period, possessing neither originality
nor power, could only interest the erudite and the searchers. The domain
of prose is more enthralling. Leibnitz, who wrote in Latin and French,
and even in German, is pre-eminently the great thinker he is reputed
to be; but though he never possessed nor even pretended to possess
originality in style, he is nevertheless highly esteemed for the purity,
limpidity, and facility of his language.



CHAPTER XIII


THE SIXTEENTH AND SEVENTEENTH CENTURIES: ITALY

Poets: Ariosto, Tasso, Guarini, Folengo, Marini, etc. Prose Writers:
Machiavelli, Guicciardini, Davila.


THE SIXTEENTH CENTURY.--Italy, after Dante and Petrarch, possessed
literary strength and much literary glory in the sixteenth century.
She produced an admirable pleiad of poets and prose writers of high
merit. These were Ariosto, Tasso, Berni, Sannazaro, Machiavelli,
Bandello, Guicciardini. Below them were a hundred distinguished writers,
among which must be cited Aretino, Folengo, Bembo, Baldi, Tansillo,
Dolce, Benvenuto Cellini, Hannibal Caro, and Guarini.

ARIOSTO.--Ariosto wrote _Orlando Furioso_, which is not the epic in
parody, as has been too often observed, but the gay and joyous epopee of
Orlando and his companions. The principal characters are Orlando,
Charlemagne, Renaud, Agramant, Ferragus, Angelica, Bradamante, Marphisa.
The tone is extremely varied and the author is in turns joyous,
satirical, pathetic, melancholy, and even tragical. Ariosto is the
superlative poet of fantastic imagination combined with a foundation of
good sense, reason, and benevolence. Goethe has said of him very aptly:
"From a cloud of gold wisdom sometimes thunders sublime sentences, whilst
to a harmonious lute, folly seems to riot in savage digressions yet all
the while maintains a perfect measure." Ariosto was well read in the
classics, but fundamentally his master was Homer.

TASSO.--Torquato Tasso, whose life was characterised by a thousand trials
and who was long the victim of a mental malady, wrote a poem on the
crusade of Godfrey de Bouillon. The poem is full of the supernatural;
the chief characters are Renaud, Tancred, the enchantress Armida,
Clorinda. The inspiration of Tasso is specially mystic and lyrical;
his facility for description is delicious. The repute of _Jerusalem
Delivered_ in the seventeenth century was immense, and all the
literatures of Europe have innumerable references to the personages and
episodes of the poem. In Italy there were fervid partisans of the
superiority of Tasso over Ariosto or of Ariosto over Tasso, and many
duels on the subject, the most bellicose being, as always happens,
between those who had read neither.

BERNI.--Berni, like Ariosto, was half burlesque in the diverting portions
of his works. He wrote satires which were often virulent, paradoxes such
as the eulogy of the plague and of famine, and an _Amorous Orlando_
which is quite agreeable. The Bernesque type, that is, the humoristic,
was created by him and bears his name.

SANNAZARO.--Sannazaro wrote both in Latin and Italian. His chief claim to
fame lies in his _Arcadia_, an idyllic poem of bucolic sentiment,
destined to evoke thousands of imitations. He also produced eclogues and
sonnets in Italian which give sufficient grounds for regarding him as one
of the chief masters of that language.

MACHIAVELLI.--Great thinker, great politician, great moral philosopher,
Machiavelli possessed one of the most powerful minds ever known. He wrote
_The Prince_, _Discourses upon Livius_, an _Art of War_, diplomatic
letters and reports, for he was at one time secretary to the Florentine
Republic, a _History of Florence_, a comedy (_The Mandrake_),
romances and tales. _The Prince_ is a treatise of the art of acquiring
and preserving power by all possible means and more particularly by
intelligent and discreet crime. Machiavelli emphasised the separation, at
times relative, at times absolute, which exists between politics and
morals. His _Discourses upon Livius_ are full of sense, penetration, and
profundity; his light works show a singular dexterity of thought united
to a fundamental grossness which it would be impossible to misunderstand
or excuse.

BANDELLO.--Bandello is the author of novels in the vein of those of
Boccaccio or of Brantôme. His voluntary or spontaneous originality
consists in mixing licentious tales with sentences and maxims which are
most austere and moral. He also wrote elegiac odes that were highly
esteemed. His very pure style is considered in Italy to be strictly
classical.

GUICCIARDINI.--Guicciardini wrote with infinite patience, severe
conscientiousness, and imperturbable frigidity in a style that was
pure, though somewhat prolix, that _History of Florence_, virtually a
history of Italy, which from its first appearance was hailed as a classic
and has remained one. His history is altogether that of a statesman; he
passed his life among prominent public affairs, being Governor of Modena,
Parma, and Bologna, a diplomatist involved in the most important
negotiations; this historian is himself a historical personage.

FOLENGO.--Folengo wrote a macaronic poem: that is to say, one in which
Latin and Italian were mixed, called _Coccacius_ (which must be
remembered because when translated into French it became the earliest
model for Rabelais), as well as _Orlandini_ (childhood of Orlando), which
is amusing. Other serious works did not merit serious consideration.

ARETINO.--Aretino was a satirist and a poet so fundamentally licentious
that he has remained the type of infamous author. He wrote comedies
(_The Courtesan_, _The Marshal_, _The Philosopher_, _The Hypocrite_),
intimate letters that are extremely interesting for the study of the
customs of his day, religious and edifying books, replete with talent if
not with sincerity, as well as an innumerable mass of satires, pamphlets,
statements, diatribes which caused all the princes of his day to tremble,
and through making them tremble also brought gold into the coffers of
Aretino; he had raised blackmail to the height of a literary department.

BEMBO; BALDI.--Cardinal Bembo, a devout Ciceronian to the verge of
fanaticism, wrote more especially in Latin, but left Italian poems of
much elegance and charm; he ranks among the most brilliant
representatives of the Italian Renaissance.

Baldi, a very widely versed scholar, sought relaxation from his erudition
in writing _eclogues_, _moral poems_, and a very curious didactic poem on
_navigation_.

TANSILLO; DOLCE.--Tansillo, a very fertile poet, composed a rather
licentious poem entitled _The Vintager_, and a religious poem called
_The Tears of St. Peter_ (which the younger Malherbe thought so beautiful
that he partially translated it), _The Rustic Prophet_ and _The
Nurse_, wherein he showed himself the pupil of Tasso, comedies, a
bucolic drama, etc.

Dolce, not less prolific, produced five epic poems of which the best is
_The Childhood of Orlando_, many comedies, for the most part imitations
of Plautus, tragedies after Euripides and Seneca, and then one which
seems to have been original and was the celebrated _Mariamna_, so often
imitated in French. He was also an indefatigable translator of Horace,
Cicero, Philostrates, etc.

BENVENUTO CELLINI.--The great sculptor and chaser, Benvenuto Cellini,
belongs to literary history because of his _Treatise on Goldsmithing and
Sculpture_ and his admirable _Memoirs_, which are certainly in part
fictitious, but are a literary work of the foremost rank.

HANNIBAL CARO; GUARINI.--Hannibal Caro, by his _poems_, his
_letters_, his literary criticism, his comedy, _The Beggars_, and his
metrical translation of the _Aeneid_, acquired high rank in the judgment
both of Italy and Europe.

Guarini, the friend of Tasso, whom he helped in the labour of revising
and correcting _Jerusalem Delivered_, was unquestionably his pupil. Tasso
having written a bucolic poem, _Aminta_, Guarini wrote a bucolic poem,
_The Faithful Shepherd_, which has been one of the greatest literary
successes ever known. It was a kind of irregular drama mingled with
songs and dances, highly varied, poetic, pathetic sometimes in a rather
insipid way. All the _pastorals_, whether French or Italian, and later
the opera itself, can be traced to Guarini, or at least the taste for the
eclogue may be derived from the dramas Guarini originated. This was a man
whose influence has been considerable not only on literature, but also on
manners, customs, and morals.

DECADENCE OF LITERATURE.--In the seventeenth century Italian literature
indisputably was in decadence. In verse more especially, but also in
prose, it was the period of ability without depth and even without
foundation, of elegant and affected verbiage or burlesque lacking alike
in power, thought, and passion. Marini loomed large with his _Adonis_, an
ingenious mythological epic, sometimes brilliant but also lame, sometimes
full of points, but also with trifles. Great as was his reputation in
Italy, it was perhaps surpassed in France, where he was welcomed and
flattered by Marie de' Medici and hyperbolically praised by Voiture,
Balzac, Scudéry, etc.

SALVATOR ROSA; TASSONI; MAFFEI.--The great painter Salvator Rosa devoted
himself hardly less to literature; he left lyrical poems and particularly
satires which are far from lacking spirit, though often destitute of
taste. Satiric, too, was the paradoxical Tassoni, who scoffed at
Petrarch, and who in his _Thoughts_, long prior to J.J. Rousseau, was the
first, perhaps (but who knows?), to maintain that literature is highly
prejudicial to society and humanity, and who achieved fame by his _Rape
of the Bucket_: that is, by a burlesque poem on the quarrel between
the Bolognese and the inhabitants of Modena about a bucket.

Maffei (intruding somewhat on the eighteenth century), good scholar and
respected historian, produced in 1714 his _Merope_, which was an
excellent tragedy, as Voltaire well knew and also testified.

HISTORIANS AND CRITICS.--In prose there are none to point out in the
eighteenth century in Italy except historians and critics. Among
the historians must be noted Davila, who spent his youth in France near
Catherine de' Medici, served in the French armies, and on his return to
Padua devoted his old age to history. He wrote a _History of the Civil
Wars in France_ which was highly esteemed, and which Fénelon recollected
when writing his _Letter on the Pursuits of the French Academy_. The
foregoing are what must be mentioned as notable manifestations of
literary activity in Italy during the seventeenth century, but let it
not be forgotten that the scientific activity of the period was
magnificent, and that it was the century of Galileo, of Torricelli; of
the _four_ Cassini, as well as of so many others who were praised, as
they deserved to be, in the _Eulogies of the Learned_ of Fontenelle.



CHAPTER XIV


THE SIXTEENTH AND SEVENTEENTH CENTURIES: SPAIN AND PORTUGAL

Poets: Quevedo, Gongora, Lope de Vega, Ercilla, Calderon, Rojas, etc.
Prose Writers: Montemayor, Cervantes, etc. Portugal: De Camoens, etc. The
Stage.


POETRY: QUEVERO; GONGORA.--The sixteenth century and the first half at
least of the seventeenth century were the golden age of both Spanish and
Portuguese literature. In poetry Quevedo is the first to be noticed, and
he is also notable in prose. Born at Madrid, but compelled by the
consequences of his youthful follies to take refuge in Sicily, then back
in Spain and either at the height of his fortune near the Duke of
Olivares or else pursued, imprisoned, and tortured by that minister, he
possessed facility and force which were alike extraordinary. His poems,
which are most satirical, revealed a glow and a freshness that were very
remarkable.

Gongora, like Lyly in England and Marini in Italy, enjoyed the fame of
founding a bad school. It was _Gongorism:_ that is, the art of writing
not to make oneself read, which could only suit lawyers, orators,
critics, and scientists, but the art of writing to cause one's idea only
to be discovered after many efforts, or even so as to prevent its being
discovered at all. _Gongorism_ belongs to every epoch, and in each epoch
is the means of scaring away the crowd, of obtaining a small band of
enthusiastic admirers, and of being able to scorn the suffrage of the
multitude. Gongora, both in Spain and in France, found devoted admirers
and imitators.

LOPE DE VEGA.--Lope de Vega was one of the greatest of the world's poets,
although he was intelligible. Prodigiously fertile, which is not
necessarily a sign of mediocrity, he published some romances in prose
(_Dorothea Arcadia_), some novels, epic or historic poems (_Circe,
_Shepherds of Bethlehem_, Jerusalem Conquered_, _The Beauty of Angelica_,
_The Pilgrim in his Land_, _The White Rose_, _The Tragic Crown_, of which
Mary Stuart is the heroine, _The Laurel of Apollo_, etc.), burlesque and
satirical poems, and dramatic poems the number of which exceed eighteen
hundred. In this mass of production may be discerned comedies of manners,
comedies of intrigue, pastorals, historical comedies (with characters
whose names are known in history), classical and religious tragedies,
mythological, philosophical, and hagiological comedies. Despite these
distinctions, which are useful as a guide in this throng, all the
dramatic work of Lope de Vega is that of imagination which seems to owe
little to practical observation and is valuable through happy invention,
dexterous composition, and the charming fertility and variety of ideas in
the details. The dramatic work of Lope de Vega (as yet incompletely
published and which probably never will be published in its entirety) was
a vast mine wherein quarried not only all the dramatic authors but all
the romancists and novelists of Europe. This prodigious producer, who
wrote millions of verses, is the Homer of Spain and more fertile than
Homer, whilst also a Homer as to whose existence there is no doubt.

ERCILLA.--Alonso de Ercilla created a peculiar species, that of
memorialist epic poems. He was a man concerned in important events, who
took daily notes and subsequently, or even concurrently, put them into
verse. Thus Ercilla made his _Araucana_: that is, the poem of the
expedition against the Araucanians in Chili, or rather he thus wrote the
first (and best) of the three parts; later, desirous of rising to epic
heights, he had resort to the contrivances and conventional traditional
ornaments of this type of work and became dull, without entirely losing
all his skill. "This poem is more savage than the nations which form its
theme," said Voltaire in a pretty phrase which was somewhat hyperbolical.
The _Araucana_ is agreeably savage in its first part without being
ferocious and fastidiously civilised in the sequels without being
contemptible.

MENDOZA.--Hurtado de Mendoza must be regarded--that proud, gloomy,
bellicose and haughty minister of Charles V--because he was the earliest
of the picaresque romancists. The picaresque method consisted in
delineating the habits of outcasts, bohemians, spongers, swindlers, and
vagrants. It lasted for about three quarters of a century. To this class
belonged _Guzmar of Alfargue_, by Mateo Aleman; _Marco of Obregon_, by
Espinel; _The Devil on Two Sticks_, by Guevara; and somewhat, in France,
the _Gil Bias_ of Le Sage. Now the prototype of all these was _The
Lazarillo of Tormes_, by Hurtado de Mendoza.

GUEVARA.--A moment's heed must be paid to the amiable Antonio de Guevara,
an insinuating moralist whose _Familiar Letters_ and _Dial of Princes_,
though rather affectedly grave, contain interesting passages which
commend the author to readers. He is more particularly interesting to
Frenchmen because it was from him La Fontaine borrowed his _Countrymen
of the Danube_, attributing it to Marcus Aurelius (which led to much
confusion), because the principal personage in _The Dial of Princes_ is
one Marcus Aurelius, who is discreetly intended for Charles V. In spite
of what Taine wrote, though his criticisms in detail were accurate,
La Fontaine followed pretty closely the fine and highly original wording
of Guevara.

THE ROMANCE.--The Spanish romance was at its zenith in the sixteenth and
seventeenth centuries. It had a legion of authors, but here the principal
only can be mentioned. Montemayor, who lived at the close of the
sixteenth century and led an adventurous existence, wrote the _Diana in
Love_, which became celebrated in every country under the title of
"_Diana_ of Montemayor." It is a mythological, bucolic, and magical
romance, entirely lacking in order, being wholly fantastical, sometimes
cruelly dull, sometimes graceful, affecting, seductive, and pathetic,
always ridiculously romantic. Its vogue was considerable in Spain,
France, and Italy. The _Astrea_ of Honoré d'Urfé proceeds in part from
it, but is more sensible and more restrained.

QUEVEDO.--Here Quevedo is again found, now as prose writer and in this no
worse than as poet. He was prolific in romances or satirical fantasies,
in social reveries wherein contemporary society is not spared and Juvenal
is often suggested. Finally, he put forth all his powers, which were
considerable, in his great romance, _Don Pablo of Segovia_, which, twenty
years ago, would have been called naturalist. Quevedo obviously was an
observer, possessed psychological penetration or, at least, the wisdom of
the moralist; but above all, his imagination was curiously original, he
invented, on an apparently true foundation, adventures which were almost
probable and were diverting, burlesque, or possessed a bitter flavour.
His was one of the most original brains in Spain, which has abounded in
mental originalities.

CERVANTES.--Montesquieu has said of the Spaniards: "They have only one
good book, the one which mocks at all the others." Nothing could be more
witty nor more unjust; but it is true that the greatest Spanish book is
that in which the author does mock at many other Spanish books. Cervantes
wrote his _Don Quixote_ to ridicule the romances of chivalry which in his
land were a craze among the townsfolk and smaller aristocratic
landowners, but he wrote in no spirit of animosity and even reserved for
his comic hero, that is, for his victim, a discreet sympathy which he
made his reader share. A hero of chivalry himself, warrior with
indomitable courage, thrice wounded at the battle of Lepanto, where he
lost an arm, seven years in captivity in Algiers, on his return to Spain
he became involved in adventures which again consigned him to prison
before he at length attained success, if not fortune, with _Don Quixote_.
_Don Quixote_ is a realistic romance traversed by a frenzied idealist:
here are the manners of the populace, of innkeepers, muleteers,
galley-slaves, monks, petty traders, peasants, and amid them passes a man
who views the entire world as a romance and who believes he finds romance
at every turn of his road. This perpetual contrast is, first, effective
and supremely artistic in itself, then is of a reality superior to that
of any realism, since it is the complete life of humanity which is thus
painted and penetrated to its very foundations and shown in all its
aspects. There are two portions to this romance, and they are constantly
near each other and, as it were, interlaced; namely, the episodes and the
conversations. The episodes, comic incidents, humorous or sentimental
adventures are of infinite variety and display incredible imagination;
the conversations between Don Quixote and his faithful Sancho represent
the two tendencies of the human mind to recognise on the one side, the
goodness, generosity, devotion, the spirit of sacrifice, and the
illusions; on the other side, common sense, the sense of reality, the
sense of the just mean and, as it were, the proverbial reason, without
malice or bitterness. This masterpiece is perhaps the one for which
would have had to be invented the epithet of _inexhaustible_.

Apart from his immortal romance, Cervantes wrote novels, romances,
sonnets, and also tried the drama, at which he did not succeed. The whole
world, literally, was infatuated with _Don Quixote_, and, despite all
changes of taste, it has never ceased to excite the admiration of all who
read.

THE DRAMA: FERDINAND DE ROJAS.--The drama, even apart from Lope de Vega,
of whom we have written, was most brilliant in Spain during these two
centuries. The Spanish stage was very characteristic, very original among
all drama in that, more than the ancient drama, more than in the plays of
Shakespeare himself, it was essentially lyrical, or, to express the fact
more clearly, it was based on a continual mixture of the lyric and the
dramatic; also it nearly always laid stress on the sentiment and the
susceptibility of honour, "the point of honour," as it was called, and
upon its laws, which were severe, tyrannical, and even cruel. These two
principal characteristics gave it a distinct aspect differing from all
the other European theatres. Without going back to the confused origins
and without expressing much interest in the Spanish drama until the
religious dramas of the _autos sacramentales_(which continued their
career until the seventeenth century), it is necessary, first, to note,
at the close of the fifteenth century, the celebrated _Celestine_ of
Ferdinand de Rojas, a spirited work, unmeasured, enormous, unequal, at
times profoundly licentious, at times attaining a great height of moral
exaltation, and also at times farcical and at others deeply pathetic.
_Celestine_ was translated several times in various languages, and
especially in Italy and France was as much appreciated as in Spain.

CALDERON.--In the seventeenth century (after Lope de Vega) came Calderon.
Almost as prolific as Lope, author of at least two hundred plays, some
authorities say a thousand, Calderon was first prodigiously inventive,
then he was dogmatic, moralising, almost a preacher. Whether in his
religious plays, in his love dramas, in his cap and sword tragedies, even
in his comedies and highly complicated intrigues, the great sentiments
of the Spanish soul--honour, faith, the inviolability of the oath,
loyalty, fidelity, the spirit of great adventures--broaden, animate
and elevate the whole work. With Calderon the titles are always
indicative of the subject. His most celebrated plays are: _In this Life
All Is Truth and Falsehood_, _Life is a Dream_, _The Devotion to the
Cross_, _The Lady before All_, _The Mayor of Zamalea_, _Love after
Death_, _The Physician of his Own Honour_.

ALARCON.--Alarcon comes nearer to us owing to his regular and almost
classic compositions. Nevertheless he was a man of imagination and humour
with an adequate dramatic force. His tragedies must be mentioned: _What
Is Worth Much Costs Much_, _Cruelty through Honour_, _The Master of
Stars_; his comedies, _The Examination of Husbands_, and that charming
_The Truth Suspected_, from which Corneille derived _The Liar_.

TIRSO DE MOLINA.--Tirso de Molina was another prodigy of dramatic
literature, and his fellow-countrymen assert that he wrote three hundred
dramas, of which sixty-five are in existence. All Spanish dramatists
were unequal, he more especially; he passed from grossness to sublimity
with surprising facility and ease. He particularly delighted in
ingeniously complicated intrigue, in surprises, and in unexpected
theatrical touches. Yet _The Condemned in Doubt_ is a sort of moral
epopee, adapted to the stage, possessing real beauty and not without
depth. His most celebrated drama, in so far as it has aroused direct or
indirect imitations, and owing to the type he was the first to suggest,
was _The Jester of Seville_: that is, Don Juan. All European literatures,
utilising Don Juan, became tributaries to Tirso de Molina.

FRANCIS DE ROJAS; CASTRO; DIAMANTE.--Francis de Rojas, who must not be
confused with Ferdinand de Rojas, author of _Celestine_, though
possessing less spirit than his predecessors, is nevertheless a
distinguished dramatic poet. The French of the seventeenth century freely
pilfered from him. Thomas Corneille borrowed a goodly portion of his
_Bertrand de Cigarral_, Scarron a large part of his _Jodelet_, Le Sage an
episode in _Gil Blas_. If only for their connection with the French
drama, William de Castro and Diamante must be noticed. William de Castro
wrote a play, _The Exploits of the Cid in Youth_, which Corneille knew
and which he imitated in his celebrated tragedy, adding incomparable
beauty. Diamante in his turn imitated Corneille very closely in _The Son
who Avenges his Father_. Voltaire, mistaken in dates, believed Corneille
had imitated Diamante.

PORTUGUESE WRITERS.--In Portugal the sixteenth century was the golden
age. Poets, dramatists, historians, and moralists were extremely
numerous; several possessed genius and many displayed great talent. Among
lyrical poets were Bernardin Ribeiro, Christoval Falcam, Diogo Bernardes,
Andrade Caminha, Alvarez do Oriente, Rodriguez Lobo. Ribeiro wrote
eclogues half in narrative or dialogue, half lyrical. He also produced a
romance intersected with tales (Le Sage in his _Gil Blas_ thus wrote, as
is known, and in this only imitated the Spaniards), entitled _The
Innocent Girl_, which often evinces great refinement.

Christoval Falcam was also bucolic, but his eclogues often ran to nine
hundred verses. He also wrote _Voltas_, which are lyric poems suitable
for setting to music. Diogo Bernardes also wrote eclogues and letters
collected under the title of the _Lyma_. The Lyma is a river. To
Bernardes the Lyma was what the Lignon was to D'Urfé in his _Astrea_.

Caminha, a court poet decidedly analogous to the French Saint-Gelais,
possessed dexterity and happy phraseology. Eclogues, elegiacs, epitaphs,
and epistles were the ordinary occupations of his muse.

Alvarez do Oriente has left a great romanesque work, a medley of prose
and verse entitled _Portugal Transformed_ (_Lusitania transformanda_),
which is extremely picturesque apart from its idylls and lyrical poems.

Lobo was highly prolific. He was author of pastoral romances, medleys of
verse and prose (_The Strange Shepherd_, _The Spring_, _Disenchantment_),
a great epic poem (_The Court at the Village_), in prose conversations
on moral and literary questions which have remained classic in Portugal,
as well as romances and eclogues.

EPIC POETS.--The most notable epic poets were Corte-Real, Manzinho,
Pereira de Castro, Francisco de Saa e Menezès, Doña de la Lacerda, and,
finally, the great Camoens. Corte-Real, a writer of the highest talent,
was author of an epic which we would style a romance in verse, although
founded on fact, upon _The Shipwreck of Sepulveda_ and her husband
Lianor. The varied and picturesque narrative is often pathetic. It would
be more so, to us at least, were it not for the incessant intervention of
pagan deities.

Francisco de Saa e Menezès sang of the great Albuquerque and of _Malaca
Conquered_. He mingled amorous and romantic tales with narratives and
descriptions of battles. He possessed the sense of local colour and
brilliant imagination; he has been accused of undue negligence with
regard to correction.

Doña de la Lacerda, professor of Latin literature to the children of
Philip III, although born at Porto, wrote nearly always in Spanish. The
_Spain Delivered_ (from the Moors), an epic poem, is her chief work; she
also composed comedies and various poems in Spanish. On rare occasions
she wrote in Portuguese prose.

CAMOËNS.--The glory of these sound poets is effaced by that of Camoëns.
Exiled in early youth for a reason analogous to the one which occasioned
the banishment of Ovid, a soldier who lost an eye at Ceuta, wandering in
India, shipwrecked and, according to tradition, only saving his poem
which he held in one hand whilst swimming with the other, he returned to
Portugal after sixteen years of exile, assisting at the struggles,
decline, and subjection of his country, dying (1579) at the moment when
for a time Portugal ceased to have a political existence. He wrote _The
Lusiad_ (that is the Portuguese), which was the history of Vasco da Gama
and of his expedition to India. The description of Africa, the Cape of
Tempests (the Cape of Good Hope), with the giant Adamaston opposing the
passage, and the description of India were the foundation of the
narrative. Episodes narrated by individuals, as in Virgil and as in the
Spanish romance, formed an internal supplement, and thus was narrated
almost all the history of Portugal, and so it came to pass that the love
of Inez de Castro and of Don Pedro formed part of the story of Vasco da
Gama. Camoëns was a powerful narrator, a magnificent orator in verse,
and, above all, a very great painter. He evinced curious taste, even as
compared with his contemporaries, such as the continual commingling of
mythological divinities with Christian truths: for instance, a prayer
addressed by Vasco to Jesus Christ was granted by Venus. It may also be
observed that the poem lacked unity and was only a succession of poems.
But, as Voltaire said, "The art of relating details, by the pleasure
it affords, can make up for all the rest; and that proves the work to be
full of great beauties, since for two hundred years it has formed the
delight of a clever race who must be well aware of its faults."

DRAMATISTS.--The principal Portuguese dramatists were Saa de Miranda,
Antonio Ferreira, Gil Vicente. Saa de Miranda was a philosophical poet
or, to express it more correctly, a poet with ideas; he broke with
the eternal idylls, eclogues, bucolics, and pastorals of his predecessors
without declining to furnish excellent examples, but more often aiming
elsewhere and higher. He also reformed the versification, introducing
metres employed in other languages, but hitherto unused in his tongue. He
wrote odes, epistles after the manner of Horace, sonnets, lyric poems in
Latin, and epic compositions. In all this portion of his work he may be
compared to Ronsard. Finally, he wrote two comedies in prose--_The
Strangers_ and _The Villalpandios_ (the _Villalpandios_ are Spanish
soldiers, who have a recognised position in comedy). His mind was one of
the most elevated and best stored with classic literature that Portugal
ever produced.

FERREIRA.--Ferreira, who wrote lyric poems, elegiac poems, and especially
epistles, by which he gained for himself the name of the Portuguese
Horace, was more particularly a dramatist. He created _Farcas_, which
must not be regarded as farces, but as dramatic poems in which the
profane and religious are interwoven; he wrote _The Bristo_, a popular
comedy; _The Jealous One_, which was perhaps the earliest comedy of
character ever produced in Europe, and finally, a tragedy, _Inez de
Castro_, the national tragedy, a tragedy so orthodox and regular in form
that the author felt bound to introduce a chorus in the classic manner;
it is charged with pathos and handled with much art.

GIL VICENTE.--Gil Vicente, a prolific poet who wrote forty-two dramatic
pieces, two thirds in Spanish and the rest in Portuguese, touched every
branch of theatrical literature; he produced religious plays (_autos_),
tragedies, romantic dramas, comedies, and farces. His chief works are
_The Sibyl Cassandra_, _The Widow_, _Amadis de Gaule_, _The Temple of
Apollo_, _The Boat of Hell_. His comedies possess a vivacity that is
Italian rather than Portuguese. Tradition has it that Erasmus learnt
Portuguese for the sole purpose of reading the comedies of Gil Vicente.



CHAPTER XV


THE EIGHTEENTH AND NINETEENTH CENTURIES: FRANCE

Of the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries: Fontenelle, Bayle. Of the
Eighteenth: Poets: La Motte, Jean Baptiste Rousseau, Voltaire, etc. Prose
Writers: Montesquieu, Voltaire, Buffon, Jean Jacques Rousseau, etc. Of
the Nineteenth Century: Poets: Lamartine, Victor Hugo, Musset, Vigny,
etc.; Prose Writers: Chateaubriand, Michelet, George Sand, Mérimée,
Renan, etc.


FONTENELLE.--The eighteenth century, which was announced, and announced
with great precision, by La Bruyère, was inaugurated by his enemy
Fontenelle. Fontenelle, nephew of Corneille, began with despicable
trifles, eclogues, operas, stilted tragedies, letters of a dandy, so he
might be justly regarded as an inferior Voiture. Very soon, because he
possessed the passion of the eighteenth century for science and
free-thought, he showed himself to be a serious man, and because he had
wit he showed himself an amusing serious man, which is rare. His
_Dialogues of the Dead_ were very humorous and, at the same time, in many
passages profound; he wrote his _Discourses on the Plurality of_
(Habitable) _Worlds_; then because he was perpetual secretary of the
Academy of Sciences, came his charming and often astonishing _Eulogies of
Sages_, which ought to be regarded as the best existent history of
science in the seventeenth century and in the eighteenth up to 1740.

BAYLE.--Bayle, a Frenchman who lived in Holland on account of religion, a
journalist and lexicographer, in his _News of the Republic of Letters_
and in his immense _Dictionary_, gave proof of broad erudition about all
earthly questions, especially philosophical and religious, guiding his
readers to absolute scepticism. Fontenelle and Bayle are the two heralds
who opened the procession of the eighteenth century. Successively must
now be examined first the poets and then the prose writers of the first
half of that era.

LA MOTTE.--La Motte, as celebrated in his own time as he is forgotten in
ours, was lyricist, fabulist, dramatic orator, epical even after a
certain fashion. He wrote odes that were deadly cold, fables that were
often quite witty but affected and laboured, comedies sufficiently
mediocre, of which _The Magnificent Lover_ was the most remarkable,
and a tragedy, _Inez de Castro_, which was excellent and enjoyed one of
the greatest successes of the French stage. Finally, becoming the
partisan of the modernists against the classicists, he abridged the
_Iliad_ of Homer into a dozen books as frigid as his own lyric poems. He
had parodoxical ideas in literature, and, being a poet, or believing
himself one, he considered that verse enervated thought and that
sentiments should only be written in prose. It was against these
tendencies that Voltaire so vigorously reacted.

J.B. ROUSSEAU; POMPIGNAN.--Beside La Motte, being more gifted as a poet,
Jean Baptiste Rousseau was conspicuous. He wrote lyrical poems which were
cold as lyrics but were well composed and, sometimes at least, attained a
certain degree of eloquence. From Malherbe to Lamartine, lyrical poetry
was almost completely neglected by French poets, or at least very badly
treated. Jean Baptiste Rousseau had the advantage of being nearly
solitary and for approximately century was regarded as the greatest
national lyrical poet.

Le Franc de Pompignan has endured much ridicule, not the least being for
a certain naive vanity perceptible directly he passed from the south to
the north of France; but he had some knowledge; he was acquainted with
Hebrew, then a sufficiently rare accomplishment, and he was an assiduous
student of classic literature. His tragedy, _Dido_, succeeded; his
_Sacred Songs_ enjoyed popularity, no matter what Voltaire might say,
and deserved their success; in his odes, which were too often cold, he
rarely succeeded--only once triumphantly, in his ode on the death of Jean
Baptiste Rousseau.

THE _HENRIADE_.--So far as poets, strictly speaking, were concerned, the
foregoing are all that have to be indicated in the first half of the
eighteenth century, except the ingenious and frigid _Henriade_ of
Voltaire.

DRAMATIC POETS.--To counterbalance, the dramatic poets are numerous and
not without merit. Let us recall _Inez de Castro_ by De la Motte.
Campistron, the feeble pupil of Racine (and, moreover, there could be no
pupil of Racine, so original was the latter, so closely was his genius
associated with his mind), perpetrated numerous tragedies and operas
which enjoyed the success obtained by all imitative works: that is, a
success which arouses no discussion, and which today appears to be the
climax of tediousness.

CRÉBILLON.--Crébillon followed, vigorous, energetic, violently shaking
the nerves, master of horror and of terrors, not lacking some analogy
with Shakespeare, but without delicacy or depth, never even giving a
thought to being psychological or a moralist, writing badly and to a
certain extent meriting the epithet of "the barbarian" bestowed on him
by Voltaire.

The latter was infatuated with the drama, having the feeling for
beautiful themes and for new and original topics, adapting them to
the stage with sufficient aptitude, delighting, in addition, in pomp,
mimicry, and decorativeness, and causing tragedy to lean towards
opera, which in his day was no bad thing; but weak in execution, never
creating characters because he could not escape from himself, as moderate
in psychology and morality as Crébillon himself and replacing analysis of
passion by these and philosophical commonplaces. He left tragic dramas
which until about 1815 enjoyed success, but which then fell into a
disregard from which there is no probability they will ever emerge.

COMIC POETS.--The comic poets of this period were highly agreeable. The
most notable were Destouches, Regnard, La Chaussée. Destouches was the
very type of the comic writers of the eighteenth century already alluded
to, who took a portrait by La Bruyère and turned it into a comedy, and
that is what was called a comedy of character. Thus he wrote _The
Braggart_, _The Irresolute_, _The Ungrateful_, _The Backbiter_, _The
Spendthrift_, etc. Sometimes he took pains to be a trifle more original,
as in _The False Agnes_, _The Married Philosopher_; sometimes he borrowed
a subject from a foreign literature and adapted it fairly dexterously for
the Gallic stage, as in _The Impertinent Inquisitive_, taken from _Don
Quixote_ and _The Night Drum_, borrowed from an English author. His
versification was dexterous and correct without possessing other merit.

REGNARD.--Regnard, on the contrary, was an original genius, though
frequently imitative of Molière. He possessed the comic spirit, gaiety,
animation, the sense of drollery, and a prodigious capacity for humorous
verse of great flexibility and incredible ease, highly superior in point
of form to that of Boileau and even of Molière, for he suggests a Scarron
perfected by Molière himself and by the Italian poets. Still alive and
probably imperishable are such works as _The Gamester_, _The Universal
Legatee_, _The Unexpected Return_.

THE DRAMA: LA CHAUSSÉE.--La Chaussée possessed a vein of the popular
novel, the serial, as we should say, and at the same time a taste for the
stage. The result was he created a new species, which in itself is no
small achievement. He created _the drama_: that is, the stage-play
wherein common people, and no longer kings and princes, affect us by
their misfortunes. This has been called by all possible names; when it
is a comedy it is described as a tearful comedy; when a tragedy, as a
dramatic tragedy. This is the drama we have known in France for a hundred
and fifty years; such as it already existed in the sixteenth century
under the title of the morality play, such as Corneille, who foresaw
everything, anticipated and predicted in his preface to _Don Sancho_: "I
would rather say, sir, that tragedy should excite pity and fear, and that
in its essentials, since there is necessity for definition. Now if it be
true that this latter feeling is only excited in us when we see those
like ourselves suffer, and that their misfortunes put us in fear of
similar calamities, is it not also true that we can be more strongly
moved by disasters arriving to people of our own rank, having resemblance
to ourselves, than by the picture of the overthrow from their thrones of
the greatest monarchs, who can have no relation to us except in so far as
we are susceptible to the passions that overwhelmed them, which is not
always the case?" This domestic tragedy La Chaussée wrote in verse, which
is not against French rules, and which has been done by dramatists a
hundred and twenty years later; but it is probably an error, being even
more unlikely that citizens would express themselves in metre than that
kings and heroes should give utterance with a certain solemnity which
entails rhythm. Thus he wrote _The Fashionable Prejudice_, _The School of
Friends_, _Melanide_, very pathetic, _The School of Mothers_, etc. It
must be stated that he wrote his plays in verse somewhat systematically;
he had made his first appearance in literature by a defence of
versification against the doctrines of La Motte.

PIRON.--According to the old system, but in original verse, Piron, after
having met with scant success in tragedy, wrote the delicious
_Metromania_ which, with _The Turcaret_ of Le Sage, _The Bad Man_ of
Gresset, the masterpieces of Marivaux and the two great comedies
of Beaumarchais rank among the seven or eight superior comedies produced
in the eighteenth century.

GREAT PROSE WRITERS: MONTESQUIEU.--In prose, writers, and even great
writers, were abundant at this period. Immediately after Fontenelle and
Bayle appeared Montesquieu, sharp, malicious, satirical, already
profound, in _The Persian Letters_, a great political philosopher and
master of jurisprudence in _The Spirit of Laws_, a great philosophical
historian in _The Grandeur and Decadence of the Romans_. The influence of
Montesquieu on Voltaire, no matter what the latter may have said; on
Rousseau, however silent the latter may have been about it; on Mably, on
Raynal, on the encyclopaedists, on a large portion of the men in the
French Revolution, on the greatest minds of the nineteenth century, has
been profound and difficult to measure. As writer he was concise,
collected, and striking, seeking the motive and often finding it, seeking
the formula and invariably finding it--Tacitus mingled with Sallust.

LE SAGE; SAINT-SIMON.--In considering Le Sage and Saint-Simon, it is not,
perhaps, the one who is instinctively thought of as a novelist who really
was the greater romancer. They each wrote at the same time as
Montesquieu. Saint-Simon narrated the age of Louis XIV as an eyewitness,
both with spirit and with a feeling for the picturesque that were alike
inimitable, expressed in a highly characteristic fashion, which was often
incorrect, always incredibly vigorous, energetic, and masterful. Le Sage,
in the best of all French styles, that of the purest seventeenth century,
narrated Spanish stories in which he mingled many observations made in
Paris, and set the model for the realistic novel in his admirable _Gil
Blas_. As a dramatist he will be dealt with later.

MARIVAUX; PRÉVOST.--Marivaux also essayed the realistic novel in his very
curious _Marianne_, full of types drawn from contemporary life and drawn
with an art which was less condensed but as exact as that of La Bruyère,
and in his _Perverted Peasant_ with an art which was more gross, but
still highly interesting.

The Abbé Prévost, much inferior, much overpraised, generally insipid in
his novels of adventure, once found a good theme, _Manon Lescaut_, and,
though writing as badly as was his wont, evoked tears which, it may be
said, still flow.

HISTORY: DRAMA.--In history Voltaire furnished a model of vivid, rapid,
truly epic narration in his _History of Charles XII_, and an example, at
least, of exact documentation and of contemporaneous history studied with
zeal and passion in his _Philosophical Letters on England_. On the stage,
in prose there were the pretty, witty, and biting light comedies of
Dancourt, De Brueys and Palaprat, and Dufresny, then the delicious drama,
at once fantastic and perceptive, romantic and psychological, of
Marivaux, who, in _The Legacy_, _The False Confidences_, _The Test_,
_The Game of Love and of Shame_, showed himself no less than the true
heir of Racine and the only one France has ever had.

VOLTAIRE.--In the second portion of the eighteenth century, Voltaire
reigned. He multiplied historical studies (_Century of Louis XIV_),
philosophies (_Philosophical Dictionary_), dramas (_Zaïre_, _Mérope_,
_Alzire_ [before 1750], _Rome Saved_, _The Chinese Orphan_, _Tancred_,
_Guèbres_, _Scythia_, _Irene_), comedies (_Nanine_, _The Prude_),
romances(_Tales and Novels_), judicial exquisitions (the Calas, Labarre,
and Sirven cases), and articles, pamphlets, and fugitive papers on
all conceivable subjects.

THE PHILOSOPHERS.--But the second generation of philosophers was now
reached. There was Diderot, philosophical romancer (_The Nun_, _James the
Fatalist_), art critic(_Salons_), polygraphist (collaboration in the
Encyclopaedia); there was Jean Jacques Rousseau, philosophic novelist in
_The New Héloise_, publicist in his discourse against _Literature and the
Arts and Origin of Inequality_, schoolmaster in his _Emilius_, severe
moralist in his _Letters to M. d'Alembert on the Spectacles_,
half-romancer, charming, impassioned, and passion-inspiring in the
autobiography which he called his Confessions; there was Duclos,
interesting though rather tame in his _Considerations on the Manners of
this Century_; there was Grimm, an acute and subtle critic of the highest
intelligence in his _Correspondence_; then Condillac, precise,
systematic, restrained, but infinitely clear in the best of diction in
his _Treatise on the Sensations_; finally Turgot, the philosophical
economist, in his _Treatise on the Formation and Distribution of
Wealth_.

BUFFON; MARMONTEL; DELILLE.--Philosophy, meditation on great problems,
filled almost all the literary horizon, while scientific literature
embraced a score of illustrious representatives, of which the most
impressive was Buffon, with his _Natural History_. Nevertheless, in
absolute literature there were also names to cite: Marmontel gave his
_Moral Tales_, his _Belisarius_, his _Incas_, and his _Elements of
Literature_.

Delille, with his translation in verse of the _Georgics_ of Virgil,
commenced a noble poetic career which he pursued until the nineteenth
century; Gilbert wrote some mordant satires which recalled Boileau, and
some farewells to life which are among the best lyrics; Saint
Lambert sang of _The Seasons_ with felicity, and Roucher treated the same
theme with more vivid sensibility.

THE STAGE.--On the stage, a little before 1750. Gresset gave his
_Wicked Man_, which was witty and in such felicitous metre that it
carried the tradition of great comedy in verse; Diderot, theorist and
creator of the drama in prose, followed La Chaussée, and produced _The
Father of a Family_, _The Natural Son_, and _Is He Good, Is He Bad_? being
the portrait of himself. Innumerable dramas by the fertile Mercier and a
score of others followed, including Beaumarchais, himself a devotee of
the drama, but only able to succeed in comedy, wherein he gave his two
charming works, _The Barber of Seville_ and _The Marriage of Figaro_.

ANDRÉ CHÉNIER.--Almost on the verge of the Revolution, quite unexpectedly
there emerged a really great poet, André Chénier, marvellously gifted in
every way. As the poet of love he recalled Catullus and Tibullus; in
political lyricism he suggested d'Aubigny, though with more fervour; as
elegiac poet he possessed a grace that was truly Grecian; as the poet of
nature he employed the large manner of Lucretius; in polemical prose he
was remarkably eloquent. Struck down whilst quite young amid the turmoil
of the Revolution, he bequeathed immortal fragments. No doubt he would
have been the greatest French poet between Racine and Lamartine.

BERNARDIN DE SAINT-PIERRE.--In prose, his contemporary, Bernardin de
Saint-Pierre, primarily was a man of genius, since he wrote that immortal
idyllic romance, _Paul and Virginia_; subsequently he became a gracious
and amiable pupil of Jean Jacques Rousseau, being smitten with the
sentiment of nature in his _Harmonies of Nature_; finally he attained
a great importance in literary history as the creator of exotic
literature through the descriptions he wrote of many lands: Asia,
African isles traversed and studied by him, Russia, and Germany.

THE REVOLUTIONARY ORATORS.--During the revolutionary period may be
pointed out the great orators of the Assembly: Mirabeau, Barnave, Danton,
Vergniaud, Robespierre; the ill-starred authors of national songs:
Marie Joseph Chénier; the author of the _Marseillaise_, Rouget de Lisle,
who only succeeded on the day that he wrote it. And so we reach the
nineteenth century.

THE NINETEENTH CENTURY.--At the commencement of a century which was so
brilliant from the literary aspect, James Delille was despotic: his
earlier efforts have already been attended to. A skilled versifier, but
without fire or many ideas, he made cultured translations from Virgil and
Milton, wrote perennially descriptive poems, such as _The Man in the
Fields_, _The Gardens_, etc., and a witty satirical poem on
_Conversation_, which, in our opinion, was the best thing he wrote.

GREAT POETS: LAMARTINE.--Great poets were to come. Aroused, without
doubt, by the poetic genius of the prose writer Chateaubriand, the first
generation of the romantics was formed by Lamartine, Victor Hugo, and
Alfred de Vigny. Romanticism was the preponderance of imagination and
sensibility over reason and observation. Lamartine rebathed poetry in its
ancient and eternal sources: love, religion, and the sentiment of nature.
In his _Meditations_, his _Harmonies_, and his _Contemplations_, he
reawoke feelings long slumbering, and profoundly moved the hearts of men.
In _Jocelyn_ he widened his scope, and, emerging from himself, narrated,
as he imagined it, the story of the soul of a priest during the
Revolution, and subsequently in the obscurity of a rural parish; in
_The Fall of an Angel_ he reverted to the life of primaeval man as he
conceived it to be when humanity was still barbarous. Apart from his
poetic works, he wrote _The History of the Girondins_, which is a
romanesque history of almost the whole of the Revolution, some novels,
some autobiographic episodes, and a few discourses on literature.

VICTOR HUGO.--Victor Hugo, though less sensitive than Lamartine but more
imaginative, began with lyrical poems which were somewhat reminiscent of
the classical manner, then went on to pictures of the East, thence to
meditations on what happened to himself, and on all subjects (_Autumn
Leaves_, _Lights and Shades_); next, in full possession of his genius, he
dwelt on great philosophical meditations in his _Contemplations_, and in
_The Legend of the Centuries_ gave that epic fragment which is a picture
of history. His was one of the most powerful imaginations that the world
has ever seen, as well as a _creator of style_, who made a style for
himself all in vision and colour, and also in melody and orchestration.
Although in prose he lacked one part of his resources, he utilised
the rest magnificently, and _Notre Dame_ and _The Miserable_ are works
which excite admiration, at least in parts. Later, he will be dealt with
as a dramatist.

ALFRED DE VIGNY.--Alfred de Vigny was the most philosophical of these
three great poets, though inferior to the other two in creative
imaginativeness. He meditated deeply on the existence of evil on earth,
on the misfortunes of man, and the sadness of life, and his most
despairing songs, which were also his most beautiful, left a profound
echo in the hearts of his contemporaries. Some of his poems, such as
_The Bottle in the Sea_, _The Shepherd's House_, _The Fury of Samson_,
are among the finest works of French literature.

MUSSET; THÉOPHILE GAUTIER.--The second generation of romanticism, which
appeared about 1830, possessed Alfred de Musset and Théophile Gautier as
chief representatives. They bore little mutual resemblance, be it said,
the former only knowing how to sing about himself, his pleasures, his
illusions, his angers, and, above all, his sorrows, always with sincerity
and in accents that invariably charmed and sometimes lacerated; the
latter, supremely artist, always seeking the fair exterior and delighting
in reproducing it as though he were a painter, a sculptor, or a musician,
and excellent and dexterous in these "transpositions of art," whether
they were in verse or prose.

THE PROSE WRITERS: CHATEAUBRIAND.--The French prose writers of this first
half of the nineteenth century were emphatically poets, as had also
already been Jean Jacques Rousseau and even Buffon. Imagination,
sensibility, and the sentiment for nature were the mistresses of their
faculties. Chateaubriand was the promoter of all the literary movement
of the nineteenth century, alike in prose and poetry. He was a literary
theorist, an epic poet in prose, traveller, polemist, orator. His great
literary theory was in _The Genius of Christianity_, and consisted in
supporting that all true poetic beauties lay in Christianity. His epic
poems in prose are _The Natchez_, a picture of the customs of American
Indians, _The Martyrs_, a panorama of the struggle of paganism at its
close and of Christianity at its beginning; his travels were _The Voyage
in America_ and _The Itinerary from Paris to Jerusalem_. Member of the
parliamentary assemblies, ambassador and minister, he wrote and spoke in
the most brilliant and impassioned manner on the subjects that he took
up. Finally, falling back on himself, as he had never ceased to do more
or less all through his career, he left, in his marvellous _Memoirs from
Beyond the Tomb_, a posthumous work which is, perhaps, his masterpiece.
His infinitely supple and variegated style formed a continuous artistic
miracle, so harmonious and musical was it more musical even than that of
Jean Jacques Rousseau.

MME. DE STAËL.--At the same time, though she died long before him, Mme.
de Staël, by her curious and interesting, though never affecting, novels,
_Delphine_ and _Corinne_, by her dissertations on various serious
subjects, by her work on Germany, which initiated the French into the
habits and literature of neighbours they were ill acquainted with, also
directed the minds of men into new paths, and she was prodigal of ideas
which she had almost always borrowed, but which she thoroughly
understood, profoundly reconsidered, and to which she imparted an
appearance of originality even in the eyes of those who had given them to
her.

THE HISTORIANS.--Even the historians of this first half of the century
were poets: Augustin Thierry, who reconstituted scientifically but
imaginatively _The Merovingian Era_; Michelet, pupil of Vico, who saw in
history the development of an immense poem and cast over his account of
the Middle Ages the fire and feverishness of his ardent imagination and
tremulous sensitiveness. Guizot and Thiers can be left apart, for they
were statesmen by education and, although capable of passion, sought the
one to rationally generalise and "discipline history," as was said, the
other solely to capture facts accurately and to set them out clearly in
orderly fashion.

THE PHILOSOPHERS.--The philosophers were not sheltered from this
contagion, and if Cousin and his eclectic school loved to attach
themselves to the seventeenth century both in mind and style, Lamennais,
first in his _Essay on Indifference_, then in his _Study of a
Philosophy_ and in his _Words of a Believer_, impassioned, impetuous, and
febrile, underwent the influence of romanticism, but also gave to the
romantics the greater portion of the ideas they put in verse.

THE NOVEL.--As for the novel, it was only natural that it should be
deeply affected by the spirit of the new school. George Sand wrote
lyrical novels, if the phrase may be used--and, as I think, it is here
the accurate expression--entitled _Indiana_, _Valentine_, _Mauprat_, and
especially _Lelia_. She was to impart wisdom later on.

It even happened that a mind born to see reality in an admirably accurate
manner, saw it so only by reason of the times, or at least partly due to
the times, associated it with a magnifying but deforming imagination
converting it into a literary megalomania; and this was the case of
Honoré de Balzac.

NON-ROMANTIC LITERATURE.--Nevertheless, as was only natural, throughout
the whole of the romantic epoch there was an entire literature which did
not submit to its influence, and simply carried on the tradition of
the eighteenth century. In poetry there was the witty, malicious, and
very often highly exalted Béranger, whose songs are almost always
excellent songs and sometimes are odes; and there was also the able and
dexterous but frigid Casimir Delavigne. In prose there was Benjamin
Constant, supremely oratorical and a very luminous orator, also
a religious philosopher in his work _On Religions_, and a novelist in his
admirable _Adolphus_, which was semi-autobiographical.

Classical also were Joseph de Maistre, in his political considerations
(_Evenings in St. Petersburg_), and, in fiction, Mérimée, accurate,
precise, trenchant, and cultured; finally in criticism, Sainte-Beuve, who
began, it is true, by being the theorist and literary counsellor of
romanticism, but who was soon freed from the spell, almost from 1830, and
became author of _Port Royal_. Though possessing a wide and receptive
mind because he was personified intelligence, he was decisively classical
in his preferences, sentiments, ideas, and even in his style.

Stendhal, pure product of the eighteenth century, and even exaggerating
the spirit of that century in the dryness of his soul and of his style, a
pure materialist writing with precision and with natural yet intentional
nakedness, possessed valuable gifts of observation, and in his famous
novel, _Red and Black_, in the first part of the _Chartreuse of Parma_,
and in his _Memoirs of a Tourist_, knew how to draw characters with
exactness, sobriety, and power, and to set them in reliefs that were
remarkably rare.

THE STAGE.--The drama was very brilliant during this first half of the
nineteenth century. The struggle was lively for thirty or thirty-five
years between the classicists and the romanticists; the classics
defending their citadel, the French stage, much more by their polemics in
the newspapers than by the unimportant works which they brought to the
_Comédie française_, the romantics here producing nearly all the plays of
Hugo (_Hernani_, _Marion de Lorme_, _Ruy Blas_, _The Burghers_, etc.),
and the works of Vigny(_Othello_, _Marshal d'Ancre_), as well as the
dramas of Dumas (_Henry III and his Court_, etc.). Between the two
schools, both of which were on the stage nearer to the modern than to the
antique, the dexterous Casimir Delavigne, with almost invariable success,
gave _Marino Faliero_, _Louis XI_, _The Children of Edward_, _Don Juan of
Austria_, and _Princess Aurelia_, which was pretty, but without
impassioned interest.

A veritable dramatic genius, although destitute of style, of elevation of
thought and of ideas, but a prodigious constructor of well-made plays,
was Eugène Scribe, who, by his dramas and comedies, as well as the
libretti of operas, was the chief purveyor to the French stage between
1830 and 1860.

ROMANTICISM AND REALISM.--So far as pure literature was concerned, the
second half of the nineteenth century was divided between enfeebled but
persistent romanticism and realism. Théophile Gautier, in 1853, gave his
_Enamels and Cameos_, his best poetic work, and later (1862) his
_Captain Fracasse_. Hugo wrote his _Miserables_, the second and third
_Legends of the Centuries_, _Songs of the Streets and the Woods_, etc.

A third romantic generation, of which Théodore de Banville was the most
brilliant representative, and which proceeded far more from Gautier than
from Hugo or De Musset, pushed verbal and rhythmic virtuosity to the
limit and perhaps beyond. Then great or highly distinguished poets
appeared.

FAMOUS POETS.--Leconte de Lisle, philosophical poet, attracted by Indian
literature, by pessimism, by the taste for nothingness, and the thirst
for death, forcing admiration by his sculptural form and majestic rhythm;
Sully-Prudhomme, another philosopher, especially psychological,
manipulating the lyrical elegy with much art and, above all, infusing
into it a grave, sad, and profound sensibility which would have awakened
the affection and earned the respect of Catullus, Tibullus, and
Lucretius; Francis Coppée, the poet of the joys and sorrows of the lowly,
a dexterous versifier too, and possessed of a sincerity so candid as to
make the reader forget that there is art in it; Baudelaire, inquisitive
about rare and at times artificial sensations, possessing a laborious
style, but sometimes managing to produce a deep impression either morbid
or lugubrious, considered by an entire school which is still extant as
one of the greatest poets within the whole range of French literature;
Verlaine, extremely unequal, often detestable and contemptible, but
suddenly charming and touching or revealing a religious feeling that
suggests a clerk of the Middle Ages; Catulle Mendès, purely romantic,
wholly virtuoso, but an astonishingly dexterous versifier. To these poets
some highly curious literary dandies set themselves in opposition, being
desirous of renovating the poetic art by ascribing more value to the
sound of words than to their meaning, striving to make a music of poesy
and, in a general way--which is their chief characteristic--being
difficult to understand. They gave themselves the name of symbolists, and
accepted that of decadents; they regarded Stephen Mallarmé either as
their chief or as a friend who did them honour. This school has been
dignified by no masterpieces and will probably ere long be forgotten.

REALISTIC LITERATURE.--Confronting all this literature, which had a
romantic origin even when it affected scorn of the men of 1830, was
developed an entire realistic literature composed almost exclusively of
writers in prose, but of prose imbued with poetry written by some who had
read the romantics and who would not have achieved what they did had
romanticism not already existed, a fact which they themselves have
not denied, and which is now almost universally accepted. Flaubert, whose
masterpiece, _Madame Bovary_, is dated 1857, was very precisely divided
between the two schools; he possessed the taste for breadth of eloquence,
for the adventurous, and for Oriental colouring, and also the taste for
the common, vulgar, well visualised, thoroughly assimilated truth,
tersely portrayed in all its significance. But as he has succeeded
better, at least in the eyes of his contemporaries, as a realist than as
a man with imagination, he passes into history as the founder of realism
always conditionally upon considering Balzac as possessing much of the
vigorous realism which provided the impulse and furnished models.

NATURALISM.--From the realism of Flaubert was born the naturalism of
Zola, which is the same thing more grossly expressed. Also by his
energetic, violent, and tenacious talent, as well as by a weighty though
powerful imagination, he exercised over his contemporaries a kind of
fascination which it would be puerile to regard as an infatuation for
which there was no cause.

More refined and even extremely delicate, though himself also fond of the
small characteristic fact; possessed, too, with a graceful and gracious
sensibility, Alphonse Daudet often charmed and always interested us in
his novels, which are the pictorial anecdotes of the Parisian world at
the close of the second Empire and the opening of the third Republic.

The brothers De Goncourt also enjoyed notable success, being themselves
absorbed in the exceptional deed and the exceptional character whilst
possessing a laboured style which is sometimes seductive because of its
unlooked-for effects.

THE POSITIVISTS.--Two great men filled with their renown an epoch already
so brilliant; namely, Renan and Taine, both equally historians and
philosophers. Renan composed _The History of the Children of Israel_ and
_The Origins of Christianity_, as well as various works of general
philosophy, of which the most celebrated is entitled _Philosophical
Dialogues_. Taine wrote the history of _The Origins of Contemporary
France_: that is, the history of the French Revolution, and sundry
philosophical works of which the principal are _On Intelligence_ and
_The French Philosophers of the Eighteenth Century_. Both were
"positivists," that is to say, elevating Auguste Comte, who has his place
in the history of philosophy, but not here, because he was not a good
writer; both were positivists, but Renan possessed a lively and profound
sense of the grandeur and the moral beauty of Christianity, Taine being
imbued with more philosophic strictness. Renan, with infinite flexibility
of intelligence, applied himself to understand thoroughly and always
(with some excess) to bring home to us the great figures of the Bible,
the Gospels, and the early Christians, as well as their foes down to the
time of Marcus Aurelius. Further, he affirmed science to possess
_unique_ value in his _Future of Science_; elsewhere, under the
similitude of "dreams," he indulged in conceptions, hypotheses, and
metaphysical imaginations which were voluntarily rash and infinitely
seductive. As always happens, he possessed the style of his mind, supple,
sinuous, undulating, astonishingly plastic, insatiable, and charming,
evoking the comment, "That is admirably done and it is impossible to know
with what it is done."

TAINE.--Taine, more rigid, accumulating documents and methodically
arranging them in a method that refuses to be concealed, advances in a
rectilineal order, step by step, and with a measured gait, to a solid
truth which he did not wish to be either evasive or complex. Highly
pessimistic and a little affecting to be so, just as Renan was optimistic
and much affected being so, he believed in the evil origin of man and of
the necessity for him to be drastically curbed if he is to remain
inoffensive. He has written a history of the Revolution wherein he has
refused admiration and respect for the crimes then committed, which is
why posterity now begins to be very severe upon him. His learned style is
wholly artificial, coloured without his being a colourist, composed of
metaphors prolonged with difficulty, yet remaining singularly imposing
and powerful. He was a curious philosopher, an upright, severe, and
rather systematic historian, solid and laboriously original as a
writer.

BRUNETIÈRE.--Brunetière, of the great French thinkers before our
contemporaneous epoch, was critic, literary historian, philosopher,
theologian, and orator. As critic, he defended classic tradition against
bold innovations, and, especially, moral literature against licentious or
gross literature; as a literary historian he renovated literary history
by the introduction of the curious, audacious, and fruitful theory of
evolution, and his _Manual of the History of French Literature_ was a
masterpiece; as philosopher he imparted clearness and precision into the
system of Auguste Comte, whose disciple he was; as theologian, exceeding
Comte and utilising him, he added weight to Catholicism in France by
finding new and decisive "reasons for belief"; as orator he raised his
marvellously eloquent tones in France, Switzerland, and America, making
more than a hundred "fighting speeches." Since the death of Renan and
Taine, he has been the sole director of French thought, which he
continues to guide by his books and by the diffusion of his thought among
the most vigorous, serious, and meditative minds of the day.

THE CONTEMPORANEOUS DRAMA.--The drama, since 1850, has been almost
exclusively written in prose. Emil Augier, however, composed some
comedies and dramas in verse and in verse particularly suited to the
stage; but the major portion of his work is in prose, whilst Alexander
Dumas and Sardou have written exclusively in prose. Augier and Dumas came
from Balzac, and remained profoundly realistic, which was particularly
suitable to authors of comedy. They studied the manners of the second
Empire and depicted them wittily; they studied the social questions which
agitated educated minds at this time and drew useful inspiration. Augier
leant towards good middle-class common-sense, which did not prevent him
from having plenty of wit. Dumas was more addicted to paradox and
possessed as much ability as his rival. Victorien Sardou, as dexterous a
dramatic constructor as Scribe, and who sometimes rose above this,
dragged his easy tolerance from the grand historic drama to the comedy of
manners, to light comedy and to insignificant comedy with prodigious
facility and inexhaustible fertility.

The most admired living authors, whom we shall be content only to name
because they are living, are poets: Edmond Rostand, author of
_Loiterings_; Edmond Haraucourt, author of _The Naked Soul_ and _The Hope
of the World_; Jean Aicard, author of _Miette el Noré_; Jean Richepin,
author of _Césarine_, _Caresses_, _Blasphemies_, etc.; in fiction, Paul
Bourget, Marcel Prévost, René Bazin, Bordeaux, Boylesve, Henri de
Régnier; in history, Ernest Lavisse, Aulard, Seignobos, D'Haussonville;
in philosophy, Boutroux, Bergson, Théodule Ribot, Fouillée, Izoulet; in
the drama, Paul Hervieu, Lavedan, Bataille, Brieux, Porto-Riche,
Bernstein, Wolff, Tristan Bernard, Edmond Rostand, author of _Cyrano de
Bergerac_ and of _The Aiglon_; as orators, Alexander Ribot, De Mun
Poincaré, Jaurès, etc.



CHAPTER XVI


THE EIGHTEENTH AND NINETEENTH CENTURIES: ENGLAND

Poets of the Eighteenth Century: Pope, Young, MacPherson, etc.: Prose
Writers of the Eighteenth Century: Daniel Defoe, Richardson, Fielding,
Swift, Sterne, David Hume. Poets of the Nineteenth Century: Byron,
Shelley, the Lake Poets: Prose Writers of the Nineteenth Century: Walter
Scott, Macaulay, Dickens, Carlyle.


THE REIGN OF QUEEN ANNE: POETS.--As in France, the eighteenth century
(the age of Queen Anne) was in England richer in prose than in poetry. As
poets, however, must be indicated Thomson, descriptive and dramatic,
whose profound feeling for nature was not without influence over French
writers of the same century; Pope, descriptive writer, translator,
moralist, elegiast, very intelligent and highly polished, whose _Essay on
Criticism_ and _Essay on Man_ were remarkably utilised by Voltaire;
Edward Young, whose _Night Thoughts_ enjoyed the same prodigious
success in France as in England, and who contributed in no small measure
to darken and render gloomy both literatures; MacPherson, who invented
_Ossian_, that is, pretended poems of the Middle Ages, a magnificent
genius, be it said, who exercised considerable influence over the
romanticism of both lands; Chatterton, who trod the same road, but with
less success, yet was valued almost equally by the French romantic poets,
and to them he has owed at least the consolidation of his immortality;
Cowper, elegiac and fantastic, with a highly humorous vein; Crabbe, a
very close observer of popular customs and an ingenious novelist in
verse, quite analogous to the Dutch painters; Burns, a peasant-poet,
sensitive and impassioned, yet at the same time a careful artist
moved by local customs, the manifestations of which he saw displayed
before his eyes.

PROSE WRITERS.--The masters of prose (some being also true poets) were
innumerable. Daniel Defoe, journalist, satirist, pamphleteer, was the
author of the immortal _Robinson Crusoe_; Addison, justly adored by
Voltaire, author of a sound tragedy, _Cato_, is supremely a scholar, the
acute, sensible, and extremely thoughtful editor of _The Spectator_;
Richardson, the idol of Diderot and of Jean Jacques Rousseau, enjoyed a
European success with his sentimental and virtuous novels, _Pamela_,
_Clarissa Harlowe_, and _Sir Charles Grandison_. As a critic and as a
personality, Dr. Johnson has no parallel in any age or land. His
_Dictionary_ is famous despite its faults, and _Rasselas_, which he
wrote to pay for his mother's funeral, can still be read.

Fielding, who began by being only the parodist of Richardson, in
_Joseph Andrews_, ended by becoming an astounding realistic novelist, the
worthy predecessor of Thackeray and Dickens in his extraordinary _Tom
Jones_. The amiable Goldsmith, more akin to Richardson, wrote that
idyllic novel _The Vicar of Wakefield_, the charm of which was still felt
throughout Europe only fifty years ago. Laurence Sterne, the most
accurate representative of English _humour_, capable of emotion more
especially ironical, jester, mystificator, has both amused and disquieted
several generations with his _Sentimental Journey_ and his fantastical,
disconcerting and enchanting _Tristram Shandy_. Swift, horribly bitter, a
corrosive and cruel satirist, sadly scoffed at all the society of his
time in _Gulliver's Travels_, in _Drapier's Letters_, in his _Proposal to
Prevent the Children of the Poor Being a Burden_, in a mass of other
small works wherein the most infuriated wrath is sustained under the form
of calm and glacial irony.

HISTORY.--History was expressed in England in the eighteenth century by
David Hume, who chronicled the progress of the English race from the
Middle Ages until the eighteenth century; by Robertson, who similarly
handled the Scotch and who narrated the reign of Charles V; and by
Gibbon, so habitually familiar with the French society of his time, who
followed the Romans from the first Cæsars to Marcus Aurelius, then more
closely from Marcus Aurelius to the epoch of Constantine, and finally
the Byzantine Empire up to the period of the Renaissance. The imposing
erudition, the rather pompous but highly distinguished style of the
author, without counting his animosity to Christianity, caused him to
enjoy a great success, especially in France. The work of Gibbon is
regarded as the finest example of history written by an Englishman.

THE STAGE.--The stage in England in the eighteenth century sank far below
its importance in the seventeenth century; yet who does not know _She
Stoops to Conquer_ of Goldsmith, and that sparkling and lively comedy,
_The School for Scandal_, by Sheridan? Note, as an incomparable
journalist, the famous and mysterious Junius, who, from 1769 to 1772,
waged such terrible war on the minister Grafton.

THE LAKE POETS.--In the nineteenth century appeared those poets so
familiar to the French romanticists, or else the latter pretended
they were, who were termed the lake poets, because they were lovers of
the countryside; these were Southey, Coleridge, and Wordsworth. Southey
was an epic and elegiac poet, whilst he was also descriptive; Coleridge,
philosopher, metaphysician, a little nebulous and disordered, had very
fine outbursts and some lamentable falls. Wordsworth was a most
distinguished lyricist. Lord Byron did not acquire honour by so roughly
handling Southey and Wordsworth.

THE ROMANTIC EPOCH.--The two greatest English poets of the romantic
period were Lord Byron and Shelley; the former the admirable poet of
disenchantment and of despair, gifted with a noble epic genius, creating
and vitalising characters which, it must be confessed, differed very
little from one another, but an exalted figure with a grand manner and,
except Shakespeare, the only English poet who exercised genuine influence
over French literature; the latter an idealistic poet of the most suave
delicacy, aërial and heavenly, despite a private life of the utmost
disorder and even guilt, he is one of the most perfect poets that ever
lived; a great tragedian, too, in his _Cenci_, quite unknown in France
until the middle of the nineteenth century, but since then the object of
a sort of adoration among the larger number of Gallic poets and lovers
of poetry.

Keats was as romantic as Shelley and Byron, both in spite of and because
of his desperate efforts to assimilate the Grecian spirit. He dreamt of
its heroes and its ancient myths, but there is in him little that is
Grecian except the choice of subjects, and it is not in his grand poem,
_Endymion_, nor even in that fine fragment, _Hyperion_, that can be found
the real melancholy, sensitive, and modern poet, but in his last short
poems, _The Skylark_, _On a Greek Vase_, _Autumn_, which, by the
exquisite perfection of their form and the harmonious richness of the
style, take rank among the most beautiful songs of English lyrism.

Nearer to us came Tennyson, possessing varied inspiration, epical,
lyrical, elegiac poet, always exalted and pure, approaching the
classical, and himself already a classic.

Swinburne, almost exclusively lyrical, a dexterous and enchanting
versifier, inspired by the ancient Greeks, generally evinced a highly
original poetic temperament, and Dante Rossetti, imbued with mediaeval
inspiration, possessed a powerful and slightly giddy imagination. Far
less known on the Continent, where critics may feel surprise at her
necessary inclusion here, is his sister, Christina Rossetti. Her
qualities as a poet are a touching and individual grace, much delicate
spontaneity, a pure and often profound emotion, and an instinct as a
stylist which is almost infallible. The Brownings form a celebrated
couple, and about them Carlyle, on hearing of their marriage, observed
that he hoped they would understand each other. Elizabeth Barrett
Browning, translator of Aeschylus of Theocritus, gave proof in her
original poetry of a vigour, of a vividness, and of a vigorous exuberance
of similes that often recalled the Elizabethans, but marred her work by
declamatory rhetoric and by a tormented and often obscure style. Robert
Browning was yet more difficult, owing to his overpowering taste for
subtlety and the bizarre--nay, even the grotesque. Almost ignored, or at
least unappreciated by his contemporaries, he has since taken an exalted
place in English admiration, which he owes to the depth, originality, and
extreme richness of his ideas, all the more, perhaps, because they lend
themselves to a number of differing interpretations.

THE NOVELISTS.--In prose the century began with the historical novelist,
Sir Walter Scott, full of lore and knowledge, reconstructor and
astonishing _reviver_ of past times, more especially the Middle Ages,
imbuing all his characters with life, and even in some measure vitalising
the objects he evoked. None more than he, not even Byron, has enjoyed
such continuous appreciation with both French romantic poets and also the
French reading public. The English novel, recreated by this great master,
was worthily continued by Dickens, both sentimentalist and humourist, a
jesting, though genial, delineator of the English middle class, and an
accurate and sympathetic portrayer of the poor; by Thackeray, supreme
railer and satirist, terrible to egoists, hypocrites, and snobs; by the
prolific and entertaining Bulwer-Lytton, by the grave, philosophical,
and sensible George Eliot, by Charlotte Brontë, author of the affecting
_Jane Eyre_, etc., and her sister Emily, whose _Wuthering Heights_ has
been almost extravagantly admired.

Four other great prose writers presenting startling divergences from one
another cannot be omitted. Belonging to the first half of the nineteenth
century, Charles Lamb earned wide popularity by his _Tales from
Shakespeare_ and _Poetry for Children_, written in collaboration with his
sister Mary; but he was specially remarkable for his famed _Essays of
Elia_, wherein he affords evidence of possessing an almost paradoxical
mixture of delicate sensibility and humour, as well as of accurate and
also fantastic observation. Newman, at first an English clergyman but
subsequently a cardinal, after conversion to the Catholic Church, appears
to me hardly eligible in a history of literature in which Lamennais has
no place. As a literary man, his famous sermons at Oxford and the Tracts
exercised much influence, and provoked such impassioned and prodigious
revival of old doctrines and of an antiquated spirit in religion; then
the _Apologia Pro Vita Sua_, _Callista_, and the _History of Arianism_,
revealed him as a master of eloquence.

Ruskin, as art critic, in his bold volumes illumined with remarkable
beauty of styles, _Modern Painters_, _The Seven Lamps of
Architecture_, and _The Stones of Venice_, formulated the creed and the
school of pre-Raphaelitism. At the time of the religious revival at
Oxford, he preached a servile imitation of antiquity by the path of the
Renaissance, appealing to national and mediæval inspiration, not without
_naïveté_ and archaism, none the less evident because he was sincere and
mordant. George Meredith, who died only in 1910, was a prolific and often
involved novelist (the Browning of prose), with a passion for metaphors
and a too freely expressed eclectic scorn for the multitude. Withal, he
had a profound knowledge of life and of the human soul; impregnated with
humour, he was creator of unforgettable types of character, and no
pre-occupation of his epoch was foreign to his mind, whilst his vigorous
realism always obstinately refused to turn from contemporaneous themes,
or to gratify the needs and aspirations which it was possible to satisfy.
His epitaph might well be that he understood the women of his time, a
rare phenomenon.

HISTORY.--History could show two writers of absolute
superiority--Macaulay (_History of England since James II_), an
omnivorous reader and very brilliant writer, and Carlyle, the English
Michelet, feverish, passionate, incongruous, and disconcerting, who dealt
with history as might a very powerful lyrical poet.



CHAPTER XVII


THE EIGHTEENTH AND NINETEENTH CENTURIES: GERMANY

Poets of the Eighteenth Century: Klopstock, Lessing, Wieland; Prose
Writers of the Eighteenth Century: Herder, Kant. Poets of the Nineteenth
Century: Goethe, Schiller, Körner.


THE AGE OF FREDERICK THE GREAT.--In the literature of Germany the
eighteenth century, sometimes designated under the title of the age of
Frederick the Great, forms a Renaissance or, if preferred, an awakening
after a fairly prolonged slumber. This awakening was assisted by a
quarrel, sufficiently unimportant in itself, but which proved fertile,
between Gottsched, the German Boileau, and Bodmer, the energetic
vindicator of the rights of the imagination. In the train of Bodmer came
Haller, like him a Swiss; then suddenly Klopstock appeared. _The
Messiah_ of Klopstock is an epic poem; it is the history of Jesus Christ
from Cana to the Resurrection, with a crowd of episodes dexterously
attached to the action. The profound religious sentiment, the grandeur of
the setting, the beauty of the scenes, the purity and nobility of the
sermon, the Biblical colour so skilfully spread over the whole
composition, cause this vast poem, which was perhaps unduly praised on
its first appearance, to be one of the finest products of the human mind,
even when all reservations are made. German literature revived. As for
Gottsched, he was vanquished.

THE POETS.--Then came Lavater, Bürger, Lessing, Wieland. Lavater, a Swiss
like Haller, is remembered for his scientific labours, but was also a
meritorious poet, and his naive and moving _Swiss Hymns_ have remained
national songs; Bürger was a great poet, lyrical, impassioned, personal,
original, vibrating; Wieland, the Voltaire of Germany, although he began
by being the friend of Klopstock, witty, facile, light, and graceful,
whose _Oberon_ and _Agathon_ preserve the gift of growing old
felicitously, is one of the most delightful minds that Germany produced.
Napoleon did him the honour of desiring to converse with him as with
Goethe.

LESSING.--Lessing, personally, was a great author, and owing to the
influence he exercised over his fellow-countrymen, he holds one of the
noblest positions in the history of German literature. He was a critic,
and in his _Dramaturgie of Hamburg_ and elsewhere, with all his strength,
and often unjustly, he combated French literature to arrest the
ascendency which, according to his indolent opinion, it exercised over
the Germans; and in his _Laocoön_, with admirable lucidity, he made a
kind of classification of the arts. As author, properly speaking, he
wrote _Fables_ which to our taste are dry and cold; he made several
dramatic efforts none of which were masterpieces, the best being _Minna
von Barnhelm_ and _Emilia Galotti_, and a philosophical poem in dialogue
(for it could hardly be termed drama), _Nathan the Sage_, which
possessed great moral and literary beauties.

HERDER.--Herder was the Vico of Germany. Here was the historical
philosopher, or rather the thoughtful philosopher on history. He did
everything: literary criticism, works of erudition, translations, even
personal poems, but his great work was _Ideas on the Philosophy of the
History of Mankind_. This was the theory of progress in all its breadth
and majesty, supported by arguments that are at least spacious and
imposing. From Michelet to Quinet, on to Renan, every French author who
has at all regarded the unity of the destinies of the human race has
drawn inspiration from him. His broad, measured, and highly coloured
style is on the level of the subject and conforms to it. Even in an
exclusively literary history Kant must not be forgotten, because when he
set himself to compose a moral dissertation, as, for example, the one
upon lying, he took high rank as a writer.

THE GLORIOUS EPOCH.--Thus is reached the end of the eighteenth close on
the beginning of the nineteenth century. In this intermediary epoch shone
the most glorious hour of Teutonic literature. Simultaneously Iffland,
Kotzebue, Körner, Schiller, and Goethe were to the fore. This formed a
great constellation. Iffland, actor, manager, and author, friend and
protector of Schiller, wrote numerous dramas, the principal of which were
_The Criminal through Ambition_, _The Pupil_, _The Hunters_, _The
Lawyers_, _The Friends of the House_. He was realistic without being
gloomy. He resembled the French Sédaine. Kotzebue, who was the friend of
Catherine of Russia, subsequently disgraced by her, possessed a highly
irritable and quarrelsome disposition, and was finally killed in 1819
as a reactionary by a Liberal student, did not fall far short of genius.
He wrote a number of dramas and comedies. Those still read with pleasure
are _Misanthropy and Repentance_, _Hugo Grotius_, _The Calumniator_, and
_The Small German Town_, which has remained a classic.

KÖRNER.--Körner, the "Tyrtaeus of Germany," was simultaneously a brave
soldier and a great lyrical poet who was killed on the battlefield of
Gadebusch, wrote lyrical poems, dramas, comedies, farces, and, above all,
_The Lyre and Sword_, war-songs imbued with splendid spirit.

SCHILLER.--Schiller is a vast genius, historian, lyrical poet, dramatic
poet, critic, and in all these different fields he showed himself to be
profoundly original. He wrote _The Thirty Years' War_; odes, ballads,
dithyrambic poems, such as _The Clock_, so universally celebrated;
dissertations of philosophic criticism, such as _The God of Greece_ and
_The Artists_; finally, a whole repertory of drama (the only point on
which it is possible to show that he surpasses Goethe), in which may be
remarked his first audacious and anarchical work, _The Brigands_, then
the _Conjuration of Fieso_, _Intrigue and Love_, _Don Carlos_,
_Wallenstein_ (a trilogy composed of _The Camp of Wallenstein_, _The
Piccolomini_, _The Death of Wallenstein_), _Mary Stuart_, _The Betrothed
of Messina_, _The Maid of Orleans_, _William Tell_. By his example
primarily, and by his instruction subsequently (_Twelve Letters on Don
Carlos_, _Letters on Aesthetic Education_, _The Sublime_, etc.), he
exercised over literature and over German thought an influence at least
equal, and I believe superior, to that of Goethe. He was united to Goethe
by the ties of a profound and undeviating friendship. He died whilst
still young, in 1805, twenty-seven years before his illustrious friend.

GOETHE.--Goethe, whom posterity can only put in the same rank as Homer,
is even more universal genius, and has approached yet closer to absolute
beauty. Of Franco-German education, he subsequently studied at Strasburg,
commencing, whilst still almost a student, with the imperishable
_Werther_, to which it may be said that a whole literature is devoted
and, parenthetically, a literature diametrically opposed to what Goethe
subsequently became. Then a journey through Italy, which revealed Goethe
to himself, made him a man who never ceased to desire to combine classic
beauty and Teutonic ways of thinking, and who was often magnificently
successful. To put it in another way, Goethe in his own land is a
Renaissance in himself, and the Renaissance which Germany had not known
in either the sixteenth or seventeenth century came as the gift of
Goethe. Immediately after his return from Italy he wrote _Tasso_ (of
classic inspiration), _Wilhelm Meister_ (of Teutonic inspiration),
_Iphigenia_ (classical), _Egmont_ (Teutonic), etc. Then came _Hermann and
Dorothea_, which was absolutely classic in the simplicity of its plan and
purity of lyric verse, but essentially modern in its picture of German
customs; _The Roman Elegies_, _The Elective Affinities_, _Poetry and
Truth_ (autobiography mingled with romance), _The Western Eastern Divan_,
lyrical poems, and finally, the two parts of _Faust_. In the first part
of _Faust_, Goethe was, and desired to be, entirely German; in the
second, through many reveries more or less relative to the theme, he more
particularly desires to depict the union of the German spirit with that
of classical genius, which formed his own life, and led to _intelligent
action_, which also was a portion of his existence. And for beauty,
drama, pathos, ease, phantasy, and fertility in varied invention, nothing
has ever surpassed if anything has even equalled the two parts of _Faust_
regarded as a single poem.

Apart from his literary labours, Goethe occupied himself with the
administration of the little duchy of Weimar, and in scientific research,
notably on plants, animals, and the lines in which he displayed marked
originality. He died in 1832, having been born in 1749. His literary
career extends over, approximately, sixty years, equal to that of Victor
Hugo, and almost equal to that of Voltaire.

THE CONTEMPORANEOUS PERIOD.--After the death of Goethe, Germany could not
maintain the same height. Once more was she glorified in poetry by Henry
Heine, an extremely original witty traveller, in his _Pictures of
Travel_, elegiac and deeply lyrical, affecting and delightful at the same
time in _The Intermezzo_; by the Austrian school, Zedlitz, Grün, and the
melancholy and deep-thinking Lenau; in prose, above all, by the
philosophers, Fichte, Hegel, Schopenhauer, Hartmann, and lastly
Nietzsche--at once philosopher, moralist (after his own manner), and
poet, with an astonishing imagination; by the historians Niebuhr (before
1830), Treitschke, Mommsen, etc. Germany seems to have drooped, so far as
literature is concerned, despite some happy exceptions (especially in the
drama: Hauptmann, Sudermann), since her military triumphs of 1870 and the
consequent industrial activity.



CHAPTER XVIII


THE EIGHTEENTH AND NINETEENTH CENTURIES: ITALY

Poets: Metastasio, Goldoni, Alfieri, Monti, Leopardi. Prose Writers:
Silvio Pellico, Fogazzaro, etc.


LITERARY AWAKENING.--After a long decadence, Italy, less overwhelmed
politically than previously, reawoke about 1750. Once more poets came
forward: Metastasio, author of tragedies and operas; Goldoni, a very
witty and gay comic poet; Alfieri who revived Italian tragedy, which had
been languishing and silent since Maffei, and who, like Voltaire in
France, and with greater success, established a philosophical and
political tribune; Foscolo, sufficiently feeble in tragedy but very
touching and eloquent in _The Tombs_, inspired by Young's _Night
Thoughts_ and _The Letters of Jacob Ortis_, an interesting novelist and
eloquently impassioned patriot; Monti, versatile and master of all
recantations according to his own interests, but a very pure writer and
not without brilliance in his highly diversified poems.

EMINENT PROSE WRITERS.--Italy could show eminent prose writers, such as
those jurisprudent philanthropists Filangieri and Beccaria; critics and
literary historians like Tiraboschi.

NINETEENTH CENTURY.--In the nineteenth century may first be found among
poets that great poet, the unhappy Leopardi, the bard of suffering, of
sorrow, and of despair; Carducci, a brilliant orator, imbued with
vigorous passions; Manzoni, lyricist, dramatist, vibrating with patriotic
enthusiasm, affecting in his novel _The Betrothal_, which became popular
in every country in Europe. In prose, Silvio Pellico equally moved Europe
to tears by his book _My Prisons_, wherein he narrated the experiences of
his nine years of captivity at the hands of Austria, and found his
agreeable tragedy of _Francesca da Rimini_ welcomed with flattering
appreciation. Philosophy was specially represented by Gioberti, author of
_The Treatise on the Supernatural_, and journalism by Giordani, eloquent,
at times with grace and ease, and at others with harshness and violence.

THE MODERNS.--As these words were written came the news of the death of
the illustrious novelist Fogazzaro. Gabriel d'Annunzio, poet and
ultra-romantic novelist, and Mathilde Serao, an original novelist, pursue
their illustrious careers.



CHAPTER XIX


THE EIGHTEENTH AND NINETEENTH CENTURIES: SPAIN

The Drama still Brilliant: Moratin. Historians and Philosophers,
Novelists, Orators.


THE DRAMA. Since the middle of the seventeenth century, approximately,
Spain has exercised less literary influence than in the preceding
centuries. Nevertheless Spanish literature was not extinct; it was in the
drama more especially that it was manifest. Candamo, Cañizares, and
Zamora all illumined the stage. Candamo devoted himself to the historical
drama; his masterpiece in this type was _The Slave in Golden Chains_;
Cañizares, powerful satirist, displayed the comic spirit in his comedies
of character; Zamora manipulated the comedy of intrigue with remarkable
dexterity. Then came Vincente de la Huerta, skilful in combining the type
of French tragedy with something of the ancient dramatic national genius;
then Leandro Moratin (called Moratin the Younger to distinguish him from
his father Nicholas), very imitative, no doubt, of Molière, but in
himself highly gifted, and of whose works can still be read with pleasure
_The Old Man and the Young Girl_, _The New Comedy on the Coffee_, _The
Female Hypocrite_, etc. He also wrote lyrical poems and sonnets. He lived
long in France, where he became impregnated with Gallic classical
literature.

PROSE.--Stronger and more brilliant at that period than the poetry, the
prose was represented by Father Florez, author of _Ecclesiastical Spain_;
by the Marquis de San Phillipo, author of the _War of Succession in
Spain_; by Antonio de Solis, author of _The Conquest of Mexico_. In
fiction there was the interesting Father Isla, a Jesuit, who gave a
clever imitation of the _Don Quixote_ of Cervantes in his _History of the
Preacher Friar Gerund_. He was well read and patriotic. He was convinced
that Le Sage had taken all his _Gil Blas_ from various Spanish authors,
and he published a translation of his novel under the title: _The
Adventures of Gil Blas of Santiago, stolen from Spain and adopted in
France by M. Le Sage, restored to their country and native tongue by
a jealous Spaniard who will not endure being laughed at_. Another Jesuit
(and it may be noticed that Spanish Jesuits of the seventeenth century
often displayed a very liberal and modern mind), Father Feijoo, wrote a
kind of philosophical dictionary entitled _Universal Dramatic Criticism_,
a review of human opinions which was satirical, humorous, and often
extremely able. The historian Antonio de Solis, who was also a reasonably
capable dramatist, produced a _History of the Conquest of South America
Known under the name of New Spain_, in a chartered style that was very
elegant and even too elegant. Jovellanos wrote much in various styles.
Among others he wrote one fine tragedy, _Pelagia_; a comedy presenting
clever contrasts, entitled _The Honorable Criminal_; a mass of studies on
the past of Spain, economic treatises, satires, and pamphlets. Engaged in
all the historical and political vicissitudes of his country, he expired
miserably in 1811, after having been alternately in exile and at the head
of affairs.

ROMANTICISM.--In the nineteenth century Spanish romanticism was brought
back in dignified poetic style by Angel Saavedra, José Zorilla, Ventura
de la Vega, Ramon Campoamor, Espronceda. The latter especially counts
among the great literary Spaniards, for he was poet and novelist, who
wrote _The Student of Salamanca_ (Don Juan), _The Devil World_ (a kind of
Faust), lyrical poems, and an historical novel, _Sancho Saldano_.

THE NINETEENTH CENTURY.--In drama, _Quintana_ also produced a _Pelagia_;
the Duke of Rivas a _Don Alvaro_, which enjoyed an immediate success;
Zorilla a _Don Juan_ entirely novel in conception; Martinez de la Rose
tragedies, some in the classic vein, others with modern intrigue and
comedies; Gutierrez, by his _Foundling_, attracted the attention of
librettists of French operas; Breton de los Herreros wrote sparkling
comedies, the multiplicity of which suggest Scribe. In prose, Fernan
Caballero was a fertile novelist and an attentive and accurate painter of
manner. Trueba (who was also an elegant poet) was an affecting idyllic
novelist. Emilio Castelar, the Lamartine of Spain as he was called by
Edmond About, was a splendid orator, thrown by the chances of political
life for one hour at the head of national affairs, who raised himself to
the highest rank in the admiration of his contemporaries by his novels:
for instance, _The Sister of Charity_ and his works on philosophical
history and the history of art, _Civilisation in the First Centuries of
Christianity_, _The Life of Byron_, _Souvenirs of Italy_, etc. In our
day, there have been numerous distinguished authors (and for us, at
least, out of the crowd stands forth the dramatist José Echegaray), who
carry on the glorious tradition of Spanish literature.



CHAPTER XX


RUSSIAN LITERATURE

Middle Ages. Some Epic Narratives. Renaissance in the Seventeenth
Century. Literature Imitative of the West in the Eighteenth Century.
Original Literature in the Nineteenth Century.


THE MIDDLE AGES.--Russia possessed a literature even in the Middle Ages.
In the eleventh century the metropolitan Hilarion wrote a discourse on
the Old and the New Testament. In the twelfth century, the _Chronicle_
that is said to be by _Nestor_ is the first historical monument of
Russia. At the same period Vladimir Monomaque, Prince of Kief, who
devoted his life to fighting with all his neighbours, left his son an
autobiographic _instruction_, which is very interesting for the light it
throws on the events and, especially, on the customs of his day. At the
same time the hegumen (abbot) Daniel left an account of his pilgrimage to
the Holy Land. In the thirteenth century (probably) another Daniel,
Daniel the prisoner, wrote from his distant place of exile to his prince
a supplicatory letter, which is astonishing because in it is found a
remarkable and wholly unexpected degree of literary talent. In the
thirteenth or fourteenth century two epic pieces, _The Lay of the Battle
of Igor_ and _The Zadonstchina_, of which it is uncertain which imitated
the other, alike present vigorous and vivid accounts of battles. In the
fifteenth or sixteenth century there is a didactic work, _The Domostroi_,
which is a moral treatise, a handbook of domestic economy, a manual of
gardening, and a cookery book, etc. The Tzar Ivan the Terrible (sixteenth
century) was a dexterous diplomatist and a precise, nervous, and ironical
writer. He left highly curious letters.

RENAISSANCE.--Kutochikine (seventeenth century), who was minister in his
own land, then disgraced and exiled in Sweden, wrote an extremely
interesting book on the habits of his contemporaries. The "Renaissance,"
if it may be so termed, that is, the contact between the Russian spirit
and Western genius, occurred in the eighteenth century. Prince Kantemir,
Russian ambassador in London, who knew Montesquieu, Maupertuis, the Abbé
Guasco, etc., wrote satires in the manner of Horace and of Boileau.
Trediakowski took on himself to compose a very tedious _Telemachidus_,
but he knew how to unravel the laws of Russian metre and to write odes
which at least were indicative of the right direction.

LOMONOSOV.--Lomonosov is regarded as the real father of Russian
literature, as the Peter the Great of literature--a great man withal,
engineer, chemist, professor, grammarian. Regarding him solely as a
literary man, he made felicitous essays in tragedy, lyrical poetry, epic
poetry, polished the Russian versification, established its grammar, and
imparted a powerful impulse in a multitude of directions.

CREATION OF THE DRAMA.--Soumarokoff founded the Russian drama. He was
manager of the first theatre opened in St. Petersburg (1756). In the
French vein he wrote tragedies, comedies, fables, satires, and epigrams.
He corresponded with Voltaire. The latter wrote to him in 1769: "Sir,
your letter and your works are a great proof that genius and taste
pertain to all lands. Those who said that poetry and music belonged only
to temperate climates were deeply in error. If climate were so potent,
Greece would still produce Platos and Anacreons, just as she produces the
same fruits and flowers; Italy would have Horaces, Virgils, Ariostos, and
Tassos.... The sovereigns who love the arts change the climates; they
cause roses to bud in the midst of snows. That is what your incomparable
monarch has done. I could believe that the letters with which she has
honoured me came from Versailles and yours from one of my colleagues in
the Academy.... Over me you possess one prodigious advantage: I do not
know a word of your language and you are completely master of
mine.... Yes, I regard Racine as the best of our tragic poets.... He is
the only one who has treated love tragically; for before him Corneille
had only expressed that passion well in _The Cid_, and _The Cid_ is not
his. Love is ridiculous or insipid in nearly all his other works. I think
as you do about Quinault; he is a great man in his own way. He would not
have written the _Art of Poetry_, but Boileau would not have written
_Armida_. I entirely agree with what you write about Molière and of the
tearful comedy which, to the national disgrace, has succeeded to the only
real comic type brought to perfection by the inimitable Molière. Since
Regnard, who was endowed with a truly comic genius and who alone came
near Molière, we have only had monstrosities.... That, sir, is the
profession of faith you have asked of me." This letter is quoted, despite
its errors, because it forms, as it were, _a preface to Russian
literature_, and also a patent of nobility granted to this literature.

CATHERINE II.--The Empress wrote _in Russian_ advice as to the education
of her grandson, very piquant comedies, and review articles. Von Vizin, a
comic author, was the first to look around and to depict the custom of
his country, which means that he was the earliest humorous national
writer. The classic works of Von Vizin were _The Brigadier_ and _The
Minor_. Whilst pictures of contemporaneous manners, they were also
pleadings in favour of a reformed Russia against the Russia that existed
before Peter the Great, which still in part subsisted, as was only
natural. He made a journey to France and it will be seen from his
correspondence that he brought back a highly flattering impression.

RADISTCHEF.--Radistchef was the first Russian political writer. Under
the pretext of a _Voyage from Petersburg to Moscow_, he attacked serfdom,
absolute government, even religion, for which he was condemned to death
and exiled to Siberia. He was pardoned later on by Paul I, but soon after
committed suicide. He was verbose, but often really eloquent.

ORATORS AND POETS.--The preacher Platon, whose real name was Levchine,
was an orator full of sincerity, unction, and sometimes of real power. He
was religious tutor to the hereditary Grand Duke, son of Catherine II.
Another preacher, and his successor at the siege of Moscow, Vinogradsky,
was likewise a really great orator. It was he who, after the French
retreat from Russia, delivered the funeral oration on the soldiers killed
at Borodino. Ozerov was a classical tragedy writer after the manner of
Voltaire, and somewhat hampered thereby. Batiouchkov, although he lived
right into the middle of the nineteenth century, is already a classic. He
venerated and imitated the writers of antiquity; he was a devout admirer
of Tibullus, and wrote elegies which are quite exquisite. Krylov was a
fabulist: a dexterous delineator of animals and a delicate humourist.
Frenchmen and Italians have been alike fascinated by him, and his works
have often been translated; until the middle of the nineteenth century he
enjoyed European popularity.

THE GOLDEN AGE: PUSHKIN.--The true Russian nineteenth century and its
golden age must be dated from Pushkin. He wrote from his earliest youth.
He was an epic poet, novelist, and historian. His principal poems were
_Ruslan and Liudmila_, _Eugene Onegin_, _Poltava_; his most remarkable
historical essay was _The Revolt of Pugachev_. He possessed a fertile and
vigorous imagination, which he developed by continual and enthusiastic
study of Byron. He did not live long enough either for his own fame or
for the welfare of Russian literature, being killed in a duel at the age
of thirty-eight. Mérimée translated much by Pushkin. The French lyric
stage has mounted one of his most delicate inspirations, _La Rousalka_
(the water nymph). He was quite conscious of his own genius and, freely
imitating the _Exegi monumentum_ of Horace, as will be seen, he wrote: "I
have raised to myself a monument which no human hand has constructed....
I shall not entirely perish ... the sound of my name shall permeate
through vast Russia.... For long I shall be dear to my race because my
lyre has uttered good sentiments, because, in a brutal age, I have
vaunted liberty and preached love for the down-trodden. Oh, my Muse, heed
the commands of God, fear not offence, claim no crown; receive with equal
indifference eulogy and calumny, but never dispute with fools."

LERMONTOV.--Lermontov was not inferior to his friend Pushkin, whom he
closely resembled. Like him he drew inspiration from the romantic poets
of the West. He loved the East, and his short, glorious suggestions came
to him from the Caucasus. Among his finest poetic works may be cited _The
Novice Ismael Bey_, _The Demon_, _The Song of the Tzar Ivan_. He wrote a
novel, perhaps autobiographical, entitled _A Hero of Our Own Time_, the
hero of which is painted in highly Byronic colours.

GOGOL.--Russian taste was already veering to the epic novel or epopee in
prose, of which Gogol was the most illustrious representative until
Tolstoy. He was highly gifted. In him the feeling for Nature was acutely
active, and recalling his descriptions of the plains of the Crimea, its
rivers and steppes, he must be regarded as the Rousseau and Chateaubriand
of Russia. Further, he was a close student of village habits, and a
painter in astonishing hues. He eminently possessed the sense of epic
grandeur, and added a sarcastic vein of delightful irony. His _Taras
Bulba_, _King of the Dwarfs_, _History of a Fool_, and _Dead Souls_, have
the force of arresting realism, his _Revisor_ (inspector of finances) is
a caustic comedy which has been a classic not only in Russia but in
France, where it was introduced in translation by Mérimée.

TURGENEV.--Turgenev, less epical than Gogol, was also studious of local
habits and dexterous in describing them. He began with exquisite
_Huntsman's Tales_ impregnated with truth and precision, as well as
intimate and picturesque details; then he extended his scope and wrote
novels, but never at great length, and therefore suited to the exigencies
or habits of Western Europe (such as _Smoke_). He had selected Paris as
his abode, and he mixed with the greatest thinkers of the day: Taine,
Flaubert, Edmond About. In the eyes of his fellow-countrymen he became
ultimately too Western and too Parisian. His was a delicate, sensitive
soul, prone to melancholy and perpetually dreaming. He had a cult of form
in which he went so far as to make it a sort of scruple and superstition.

TOLSTOY.--Tolstoy, so recently dead, was a great epic poet in prose, a
very powerful and affecting novelist, and in some measure an apostle. He
began with _Boyhood Adolescence and Youth_, in itself very curious and
particularly valuable because of the idea it conveys of the life of the
lords of the Russian soil, and for its explanation of the formation of
the soul and genius of Tolstoy; then came _The Cossacks_, full of
magnificent descriptions of the Caucasus and of interesting scenes of
military and rural life; subsequently that masterpiece of Tolstoy's, _War
and Peace_, narratives dealing with the war of Napoleon with Russia and
of the subsequent period of peaceful and healthy rural life. It is
impossible to adequately admire the power of narration and descriptive
force, the fertility of incidents, characterisations, and dramatic
moments, the art or rather the gift of portraiture, and finally, the
grandeur and moral elevation, in fact, all the qualities, not one of
which he appeared to lack, of which Tolstoy gave proof and which he
displayed in this immense history of the Russian soul at the commencement
of the nineteenth century; for it is thus that it is meet to qualify this
noble creation. The only analogy is with _Les Misérables_ of Victor Hugo,
and it must be admitted that despite its incomparable merits, the French
work is the more unequal. _Anna Karenina_ is only a novel in the vein of
French novels, but very profound and remarkable for its analysis of
character and also impassioned and affecting, besides having considerable
moral range. _The Kreutzer Sonata_ is a romance rather than a novel, but
cruelly beautiful because it exposes with singular clairvoyance the
misery of a soul impotent for happiness. _Resurrection_ shows that
mournful and impassioned pity felt by Tolstoy for the humble and the
"fallen," to use the phrase of Pushkin; it realises a lofty dramatic
beauty. Tolstoy, in a thousand pamphlets or brief works, preached to his
own people and to mankind the strict morality of Christ, charity,
renunciation, peace at all price, without taking into account the
necessities of social life; and he denounced, as had Jean Jacques
Rousseau, the culpability of art and literature, being resigned to
recognising his own works as condemnable. His was the soul of an exalted
poet and a lofty poetical mind; from a poet must not be demanded
practical common sense or that feeling for reality which is demanded,
often unavailingly, from a statesman.

DOSTOEVSKY.--Dostoevsky, with a tragic genius as great as that of
Tolstoy, may be said to have been more restricted because he exclusively
delineated the unhappy, the miserable, and those defeated in life. He
knew them personally because, after being arrested in 1849 at the age of
fifty for the crime of belonging to a secret society, he spent years in
the convict prisons of Siberia. Those miseries he describes in the most
exact terms and with heart-rending eloquence in _Buried Alive: Ten Years
in Siberia_, and in the remarkable novel entitled _Crime and Punishment_.
He has lent invaluable aid in the propagation of two sentiments which
have created some stir in the West and which, assuredly, we desire to
foster: namely, "the religion of human suffering" and the cult of
"expiation."



CHAPTER XXI


POLISH LITERATURE

At an Early Date Western Influence sufficiently Potent. Sixteenth Century
Brilliant; Seventeenth and Eighteenth centuries highly Cultured;
Nineteenth Century Notably Original.


WESTERN INFLUENCE--Widely different from Russian literature, much more
Western, based more on Greek and Latin culture, Polish literature holds
high rank in the histories of European literature. Christians from the
tenth century, the Poles knew from this epoch religious songs written by
monks, in the vulgar tongue. To this is due the possession of the
_Bogarodzica_, a religious and bellicose song dedicated to the Virgin
mother of God, which is even now comprehensible, so little has the Polish
language changed. All through the Middle Ages, literary historians can
only find chronicles written sometimes in Latin, sometimes in the native
language. Under the influence of the universities, and also of the
parliamentary rule, the language acquired alike more consistency and more
authority in the fifteenth century, whilst the sixteenth was the golden
literary epoch of the Poles. There were poets, and even great poets, as
well as orators and historians. Such was Kochanowski, very much a
Western, who lived some time in Italy, also seven years in France, and
was a friend of Ronsard. His writings were epical, lyrical, tragical,
satirical, and especially elegiacal. He is a classic in Poland.
Grochowski left a volume of diversified poems, hymns on various texts of
Thomas à Kempis, _The Nights_ of Thorn, etc. Martin Bielski, who was an
historian too, but in Latin, left two political satires on the condition
of Poland, and his son Joachim wrote a history of his native land in
Polish.

SEVENTEENTH AND EIGHTEENTH CENTURIES.--Though somewhat less brilliant
than the preceding, the period of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries
is not unfavourable to Poland. Then may be enumerated the satirical
Opalinski, the lyrical Kochanowski, the dramatist Bogulawski, manager of
the theatre at Warsaw, who not only translated plays from the French,
English, and Spanish, but himself wrote several comedies, of which _The
Lover, Author, and Servant_ has remained the most celebrated. Rzewuski
was a dramatic author with such national plays as _Wladislas at Varna_
and _Zolkewishi_, and comedies as _The Vexations_ and _The Capricious_,
and he also was historian, orator, literary critic, and theorist.

Potocki was a literary and theoretical critic and founder of a sort of
Polish academy (society for the perfection of the tongue and of style).
Prince Czartoryski showed himself an excellent moralist in his _Letters
to Doswiadryski_. Niemcewicz extended his great literary talent into a
mass of diversified efforts. He wrote odes held in esteem, tragedies,
comedies, fables, and tales, historical novels, and he translated the
poems of Pope and the _Athalie_ of Racine.

LITERARY RENAISSANCE.--Losing her national independence, Poland
experienced a veritable literary renaissance, which offered but slender
compensation. She applied herself to explore her origins, to regain the
ancient spirit, and to live nationally in her literature. Hence her great
works of patriotic erudition. Czacki with his _Laws of Poland and of
Lithuania_, Kollontay with his _Essay on the Heredity of the Throne of
Poland_, and his _Letters of an Anonymous to Stanislas Malachowski_,
etc., Bentkowski with his _History of Polish Literature_ and his
_Introduction to General Literature_, etc. Thence came the revival of
imaginative literature, Felinski, on the one hand translator of
Crébillon, Delille and Alfieri on the other, he was the personally
distinguished author of the drama _Barbe Radzivill_; Bernatowicz, author
of highly remarkable historical novels, among which _Poïata_ gives a
picture of the triumph of Christianity in Lithuania in the fourteenth
century; Karpinski, dramatist, author of _Judith_, a tragedy;
_Alcestis_, an opera; _Cens_, a comedy, etc.; Mickiewicz, scholar, poet,
and novelist, who, exiled from his own land, was professor of literature
at Lausanne, then in Paris, at the College of France, extremely popular
in France, Germany, Switzerland, and Italy, the friend of Goethe,
Lamennais, Cousin, Michelet, and of all the French youth. He was the
author of fine poems, of a great historical novel, _Conrade
Vattenrod_, of _The People and the Polish Pilgrims_, of a _Lesson on the
Slav States_.

MODERN EPOCH.--At the time of writing, Poland continues to be a literary
nation well worthy of attention. She presents an example to the races
which incur the risk of perishing as nations because of their political
incapacity; by preserving their tongue and by sanctifying it with a
worthy literature they guard their country and, like the Greeks and
Italians, hope to reconquer it some day through the sudden turns of
fortune shown in history.



INDEX OF NAMES CITED


     A

     About
     Addison
     Aeschines
     Aeschylus
     Aesop
     Aicard
     Alarcon
     Alcasus
     Alcamo, Ciullo of
     Aleman
     Alexander
     Alfieri
     Alphonso X
     Alphonso XI
     Alvarez
     Ambrose, St.
     Amyot
     Anacreon
     Anaxagoras
     Andocides
     Anne, Queen
     Annunzio, Gabriel d'
     Antiphon
     Antonina
     Antonius Diogenes
     Apollonius
     Appian
     Apuleius
     Aratus
     Arcadius
     Archilochus
     Aretino
     Ariosto
     Aristophanes
     Aristotle
     Arnauld
     Arrian
     Asclepiades
     Athanasius, St.
     Attius
     Aubigné, Agrippa d'
     Augier
     Augustine, St.
     Augustus
     Aulard
     Aurispa
     Ausonius
     Avienus

     B

     Babrius
     Bacon, Francis
     Baldi
     Balzac, G. de
     Balzac, H. de
     Bandello
     Banville, T. de
     Barnave
     Barthari
     Basil, S.
     Bataille
     Batiouchkov
     Baudelaire
     Bayle
     Bazin
     Beaumarchais
     Beaumont
     Beccaria
     Belisarius
     Bellay, Joachim du
     Belleau
     Bembo
     Benserade
     Bentkowski
     Béranger
     Bergerac, Cyrano de
     Bergson
     Bernard, Tristan
     Bernardes
     Bernatowicz
     Berni
     Bernstein
     Bertaut
     Bielski, Joachim
     Bielski, Martin
     Bion
     Boccaccio
     Bodmer
     Boëtie, La
     Bogulawski
     Boileau
     Bojardo
     Bordeaux
     Bordello
     Bossuet
     Bourdaloue
     Bourget
     Boutroux
     Boylesve
     Brantôme
     Brieux
     Brontë, C.
     Brontë, E.
     Browning, E. B.
     Browning, Robert
     Brueys, de
     Brunetière
     Brunetto
     Buddha
     Buffon
     Bulwer-Lytton
     Bunyan
     Bürger
     Burgundy, Duke of
     Burns
     Burton, Robert
     Byron

     C

     Caballero
     Caesar, Julius
     Calderon
     Callimachus
     Callinos
     Calvin
     Caminha
     Camoëns
     Campistron
     Campoamor
     Candamo
     Cañizares
     Carducci
     Carlyle
     Caro
     Cassini
     Cassius
     Castelar
     Castro
     Catherine of Russia
     Cato
     Catullus
     Cellini, Benvenuto
     Cephalon
     Cervantes
     Charles of Orleans
     Charles II
     Charles V
     Chateaubriand
     Chatterton
     Chaucer
     Chénier, André
     Chénier, Marie-Joseph
     Chrysippus
     Chrysostom
     Cicero
     Claudian
     Cleanthes
     Coleridge
     Comines
     Commodian
     Comnenus
     Comte
     Condillac
     Congreve
     Constant
     Copernicus
     Coppée
     Corneille
     Corte-Real
     Cousin
     Cowper
     Crabbe
     Cratinos
     Crébillon
     Cromwell
     Cyprian, St.
     Czacki
     Czartoryski

     D

     Dancourt
     Daniel (the abbot)
     Daniel (the prisoner)
     Dante
     Danton
     Daudet
     Davenant
     Davila
     Defoe
     Delavigne
     Delille
     Demosthenes
     Descartes
     Desportes
     Destouches
     Diamante
     Dickens
     Diderot
     Dietmar
     Diogenes
     Dolce
     Dostoevsky
     Dryden
     Duclos
     Dufresny
     Dumas, (_père_)
     Dumas, (_fils_)
     Dürer

     E

     Eberling
     Echegaray
     Eliot, George
     Elisabeth
     Ennius
     Epictetus
     Epicurus
     Erasmus
     Ercilla
     Espinel
     Espronceda
     Eudoxia
     Eupolis
     Euripides
     Eusebius
     Eustathius
     Evemerus

     F

     Falcam
     Fayette, Mme. de la
     Feijoo
     Felinski
     Fénelon
     Ferreira
     Fichte
     Ficino
     Fielding
     Filangieri
     Flaubert
     Fletcher
     Florez
     Fogazzaro
     Folengo
     Fontenelle
     Foscolo
     Fouillée
     Fox
     Frederick II
     Froissart

     G

     Galen
     Galileo
     Garnier
     Gautier
     Gellius Aulus
     Gerson
     Gibbon
     Gilbert
     Gil Vicente
     Gioberti
     Giordani
     Goethe
     Gogol
     Goldoni
     Goldsmith
     Goncourt, de
     Gongora
     Gorgias
     Gottsched
     Gower
     Gregory, St.
     Gresset
     Grimm
     Grochowski
     Grün
     Guarini
     Guasco
     Guevara
     Guicciardini
     Guittone
     Guizot
     Gutierrez
     Guyot

     H

     Habington
     Haller
     Haraucourt
     Hartmann
     Hauptmann
     Haussonville, d'
     Hecataeus of Abdera
     Hegel
     Heine
     Heliodorus
     Henry VI
     Heraclitus
     Herbert
     Herder
     Herodian
     Herodotus
     Herreros
     Hervieu
     Hesiod
     Hilarion
     Hilarius, St.
     Hildebrand
     Hippocrates
     Homer
     Horace
     Huerta
     Hugo, Victor
     Hugo of Berzi
     Hume
     Hutten
     Hyperides

     I

     Iffland
     Isla
     Isocrates
     Ivan
     Izoulet

     J

     Jacopone
     James I
     Jaurès
     Jerome, St.
     Jodelle
     Johnson, Dr
     Joinville
     Jonson, Ben
     Joseph of Byzantium
     Jovellanos
     Julian the Apostate
     Junius
     Justinian
     Juvenal
     Juvencus

     K

     Kalidas
     Kant
     Kantemir
     Karpinski
     Keats
     Kempis, T. à
     Klopstock
     Kochanowski
     Kollontay
     Körner
     Kotzebue
     Krylov
     Kürenberg
     Kutochikine

     L

     Laberius
     La Bruyère
     Lacerda
     La Chaussée
     Lactantius
     La Fontaine
     Lamartine
     Lamb, C
     Lamennais
     La Motte
     Lanfranc
     La Rochefoucauld
     Lascaris
     Lavater
     Lavedan
     Lavisse
     Leconte de Lisle
     Leibnitz
     Lenau
     Leonardo da Vinci
     Leonidas
     Leopardi
     Lermontov
     Le Sage
     Lessing
     Libanius
     Livius
     Livy
     Lobo
     Locke
     Lomonosov
     Longus
     Lope de Vega
     Lorris, William of
     Louis, St
     Louis XI
     Lucena
     Lucian
     Lucilius
     Lucretius
     Luther
     Lycophron
     Lyly
     Lysias

     M

     Mably
     Macaulay
     Machiavelli
     MacPherson
     Maffei
     Mairet
     Maistre, Joseph de
     Malaspina
     Malebranche
     Malherbe
     Mallarmé
     Manuel, John
     Manzinho
     Manzoni
     Marcus Aurelius
     Marini
     Marivaux
     Marlowe
     Marmontel
     Marot
     Martial
     Martinez, Rose de la
     Mary, Princess
     Maynard
     Medici, Catherine de'
     Medici, Marie de'
     Melanchthon
     Meleager
     Menander
     Mendès
     Mendoza
     Mercier
     Meredith
     Mérimée
     Metastasio
     Meung, John de
     Mezeray
     Michelet
     Mickiewicz
     Milton
     Mirabeau
     Molière
     Mommsen
     Monomaque
     Montaigne
     Montalvo
     Montchrestien
     Montemayor
     Montesquieu
     Monti
     Montluc
     Moratin, Leandro
     Moratin, Nicholas
     Moschus
     Mun, de
     Musseus
     Musset, A. de

     N

     Naevius
     Napoleon
     Nepos
     Nerva
     Newman
     Newton
     Nicole
     Niebuhr
     Niemcewicz
     Nietzsche
     Nonnus

     O

     Olivares
     Opalinski
     Oppian
     Otway
     Ovid
     Ozerov

     P

     Pacuvius
     Palaprat
     Pandolfini
     Pascal
     Paulinus, St.
     Paul I
     Pellico
     Pereira
     Pericles
     Perron
     Perseus
     Peter the Great
     Petrarch
     Petronius
     Philetas
     Philip III
     Philostrates
     Pico della Mirandola
     Pindar
     Piron
     Pisistratus
     Planudes
     Plato
     Platon
     Plautus
     Pliny the Elder
     Pliny the Younger
     Plutarch
     Politien
     Polybius
     Pompignan
     Pomponius
     Pontus
     Pope
     Porto-Riche
     Potocki
     Prévost, Abbé
     Prévost, Marcel.
     Procopius
     Propertius
     Protagoras
     Prudentius
     Ptolemy
     Publius Syrus
     Pulci
     Pushkin

     Q

     Quevedo
     Quinet
     Quintana
     Quintilian
     Quintus
     Quintus Curtius

     R

     Rabelais
     Racan
     Racine
     Radistchef
     Raynal
     Regnard
     Régnier, H. de
     Régnier, M.
     Renan
     Retz, Cardinal de
     Ribeiro
     Ribot, A.
     Ribot, T.
     Richardson
     Richepin
     Rivas
     Robert
     Robertson
     Robespierre
     Rojas
     Ronsard
     Rosa
     Rosa, Salvator
     Rossetti, Christina
     Rossetti, Dante
     Rostand
     Roucher
     Rouget de Lisle
     Rousseau, J. B.
     Rousseau, J. J.
     Ruskin
     Rutilius
     Rzewuski

     S

     Saa de Miranda
     Saa e Menezès
     Saavedra
     Saint-Amant
     Saint-Évremond
     Saint-Gelais
     Saint-Lambert
     Saint-Pierre, Bernardin de
     Saint-Simon
     Sainte-Beuve
     Sakyamuni
     Sallust
     Sand, George
     San Phillipo
     Sannazaro
     Sappho
     Sardou
     Savonarola
     Scarron
     Scève, Maurice
     Schiller
     Schopenhauer
     Scipio
     Scott
     Scribe
     Scudéry
     Sédaine
     Segrais
     Seignobos
     Sénancour
     Seneca the Philosopher
     Seneca the Tragic
     Serao
     Sévigné
     Sextus Empiricus
     Shakespeare
     Shelley
     Sheridan
     Sidney
     Silius Italicus
     Simonides
     Socrates
     Solis
     Sophocles
     Soumarokoff
     Southey
     Spenser
     Staël, Mme. de
     Statius
     Stendhal
     Sterne
     Sudermann
     Sully-Prudhomme
     Swift
     Swinburne

     T

     Tacitus
     Taine
     Tannhäuser
     Tansillo
     Tasso
     Tassoni
     Tennyson
     Terence
     Tertullian
     Thackeray
     Thales
     Theocritus
     Theodora
     Theophrastus
     Thespis
     Thibaut
     Thierry
     Thiers
     Thomson
     Thorn
     Thucydides
     Tibullus
     Tiraboschi
     Tirso de Molina
     Tolstoy
     Torricelli
     Trajan
     Trediakowski
     Treitschke
     Trueba
     Turgenev
     Turgot
     Tyrtaeus

     U

     Urfé, Honoré d'

     V

     Vair, du
     Valerius Flaccus
     Valmiki
     Varro
     Vaugelas
     Ventura de la Vega
     Vergniaud
     Verlaine
     Vian, Theophilus de
     Vico
     Vignes, Peter of
     Vigny, Alfred de
     Villehardouin
     Villon
     Vinogradsky
     Virgil
     Vizin, von
     Voiture
     Voltaire

     W

     Waller
     Wieland
     Wolff
     Wordsworth
     Wycherley

     X

     Xenophon

     Y

     Young

     Z

     Zamora
     Zedlitz
     Zeno
     Ziorgi
     Zola
     Zorilla
     Zwingli





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